Torrhen Karstark is a son of Rickard Karstark, Lord of Karhold and head of House Karstark. He is fighting alongside his father for King Robb Stark in the War of the Five Kings. He is killed by Ser Jaime Lannister during an escape attempt. He is played by Tyrone McElhennon and only appears in "A Man Without Honor".
The army led by Robb Stark against the forces of House Lannister is camped in the Westerlands. Torrhen Karstark is assigned to guard the prison cell of Ser Jaime Lannister and Ser Alton Lannister. Jaime Lannister has been held since his capture in the Battle of the Whispering Wood, while Alton Lannister has just returned from King's Landing with the crown's peace terms. As the other cells are full, Alton Lannister is put in the cell with his distant cousin. Their cell is guarded by Torrhen Karstark.
Ser Jaime kills his cousin to create a distraction. When Torrhen Karstark enters the cell to check on the two, he sees both prisoners bloody with Jaime collapsed against the post he is chained to and Alton Lannister convulsing on the ground. As he leans over the body, Jaime is able to approach Torrhen from behind and strangle him with his shackles. After killing Torrhen, Jaime takes the keys off his belt and frees himself.
However, Jaime does not get very far (due to being fatigued from his imprisonment), and he is soon recaptured. Lord Rickard demands the head of the Kingslayer in revenge for the loss of his son. Catelyn is only barely able to get him to agree to wait for King Robb to return to decide the issue, but the Karstark forces grow restless as the night progresses. Fearing that the Karstarks will kill their valuable political hostage before dawn even arrives, Catelyn frees Jaime to trade him for the return of her daughters (as soon as Jaime reaches King's Landing). The anger of Lord Rickard and his need of a father's revenge sows dissension in Robb's army.
Lord Rickard attempts to justify his killing of Willem and Martyn Lannister as vengeance for the deaths of Harrion and Torrhen although Robb Stark does not accept his rationale and executes him for murder.
Later, an imprisoned Theon Greyjoy is at the mercy of an unknown boy (Ramsay Snow) who threatens to flay Theon's pinky if he cannot guess their current location, the boy's identity, and why he is torturing Theon. At first, the boy rather convincingly gives Theon the impression that he guessed right about them being in Karhold and that the boy is Torrhen's younger brother, angry over his death at the hands of the Kingslayer. But then the boy quickly crushes Theon's relief by revealing all of that was a lie and flays Theon's pinky anyway.
Although Torrhen is never again mentioned by name, his death is alluded to when Jaime argues with his sister-lover Cersei that he murdered people (alluding to Alton Lannister as well) to get back to her but she coldly replies, "You took too long."
- Robb Stark: "It took five of you to murder two unarmed squires."
- Rickard Karstark: "Not murder, your grace. Vengeance."
- Robb Stark: "Vengeance? They didn't kill your sons. I saw Harrion die on the battlefield and Torrhen..."
- Rickard Karstark: "Was strangled by the Kingslayer. They were his kin."
- Robb Stark: "They were boys!"
- — Robb Stark rebuffs Rickard Karstark's "justification" for killing Willem and Martyn Lannister.[src]
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What Is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Torrhen Karstark is the third son of Lord Rickard, and also joins his father and brothers, Harrion, the eldest, and Eddard, the second, as part of the Northern forces in the War of the Five Kings. He is named after Torrhen Stark, the King in the North at the time of the War of Conquest.
However, he is killed by Jaime during the Battle of the Whispering Wood. He serves alongside his brother Eddard as part of Robb Stark's personal bodyguard. When Jaime realizes that his army is lost during the Battle of the Whispering Wood, he makes a final push to single-handedly carve his way through the Northern army in an attempt to kill Robb Stark in single combat. Jaime manages to reach Robb's personal bodyguard and kill several of them, among them Torrhen and Eddard Karstark, before he is knocked unconscious.
The TV series's depiction of an escape attempt by Jaime, during which he kills Torrhen Karstark, is a very loose adaptation of events in the books. Originally, Jaime was kept in relatively comfortable imprisonment, but then killed two guards and seriously injured a third during a failed escape attempt, after which he was chained up in the dungeon. Torrhen Karstark, however, was not one of these guards.
In the TV version, Jaime kills Torrhen because he was guarding his cell, which causes Lord Rickard Karstark to become enraged and demand revenge, to the point that Catelyn releases Jaime (in promise of her daughters' safe return from King's Landing) because she fears he won't live out the night. In the books, Jaime killed Rickard's sons Torrhen and Eddard Karstark at the Battle of the Whispering Wood (Eddard Karstark's death is apparently unchanged in the TV version). While Lord Karstark was certainly upset in the books, he wasn't going to disobey Robb's direct command as his liege-lord that Jaime must remain unharmed (at least because he thought they'd execute him eventually). Catelyn's decision to exchange Jaime as a prisoner isn't rushed by pressure from within the Stark camp, but is rather due to her grief at hearing the (false) report that Bran and Rickon have been killed by Theon at Winterfell. Believing (somewhat justifiably) that even holding Jaime as prisoner is no guarantee that the crazed Joffrey won't have her daughters killed on a whim, Catelyn decides that keeping her remaining children safe is what matters most, so she releases Jaime, sending him under escort by Brienne to King's Landing. Rickard Karstark only truly becomes enraged after Catelyn releases Jaime, because he never thought they'd release the killer of his sons, as well as because it is a very poor exchange to trade a prominent Lannister warrior for two girls. The TV series may have moved Torrhen's death around to make it closer to Jaime's release, instead of just mentioning that Jaime killed Torrhen at the end of Season 1 and expecting the audience to remember this over a season later.
|Lord:||Harald Karstark (uncertain)||Heir:||Alys Karstark|
|Title(s):||Lord of Karhold|
|Ancestors:||Brandon the Builder · Rodrik Stark · Karlon Stark · Beric Karstark · Mara Karstark · Commard Karstark · Regan Karstark · Berrican Karstark · Petyr Karstark · Laurence Karstark · Jon Karstark|
|Current members:||Alys Karstark|
|Deceased members:||Rickard Karstark · Torrhen Karstark · Harrion Karstark|