King in the North
King in the North and King of Winter are ancient titles held for thousands of years by House Stark of Winterfell. They were the last kingdom of the First Men and continued to rule the North after the Andals invaded and took over the southern kingdoms of Westeros. While the running direwolf is the sigil of House Stark, some Kings in the North had personal variants.
House Stark traces their descent from Bran the Builder who is said to have lived in the Age of Heroes and built the Wall at the end of the Long Night. Ballads claim the ancient kings drove giants from the North and slew the skinchangers led by Gaven Greywolf in the War of the Wolves. Over thousands of years, the Kings of Winter conquered and reduced to vassalage a number of rival kings, including Barrow Kings of House Dustin, Red Kings of House Bolton, Flints, Slates, Umbers, Lockes, Glovers, Fishers, and Ryders. They defeated the Warg King and Marsh King, forced the Blackwoods to flee, and vanquished the Greenwoods, Towers, Ambers, and Frosts. Many of their defeated enemies were forced to yield their women as prizes or brides.
Originally, "King of Winter" was the title used by the Starks who ruled the proto-kingdom centered around Winterfell itself. Centuries later, as they united most of the North under their rule, they increasingly called themselves "King in the North", a title claiming authority over the entire region. The shift in titles became solidified around 6,000 years ago, after the Starks finally subdued the Boltons - just as the first ships of the Andal invasion were beginning to land on the eastern coasts of Westeros. In subsequent generations the Starks rallied the entire North to resist encroachments by the Andals.
The Stark kings often warred with the ironborn from the Iron Islands and wildlings from beyond the Wall. After the Rape of the Three Sisters, the Starks battled with the Arryns for a thousand years over the Bite in the War Across the Water.
The last King in the North prior to the end of the third century was Torrhen Stark, who bent the knee to Aegon the Conqueror during the War of Conquest, thus making the North part of the Seven Kingdoms controlled by the Iron Throne. Since then Lord Stark has traditionally held the title Warden of the North for the Iron Throne.
The history of the Stark kings is described in Maester Childer's Winter's Kings, or the Legends and Lineages of the Starks of Winterfell.
A Game of Thrones
The title is revived during the War of the Five Kings by Robb Stark, who breaks away from the Iron Throne after the murder of his father, Lord Eddard Stark. Rejecting House Baratheon of King's Landing, the northern and river lords assembled at Riverrun declare Robb to be the King in the North. He is also later known as the King of the Trident.
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
Because he is childless and his younger brothers, Bran and Rickon, are believed dead, King Robb worries that Tyrion Lannister will claim Winterfell through his marriage to Sansa Stark. Robb decides to legitimize his bastard half-brother, Jon Snow, and names him as heir in his will. Before Jon can be informed of Robb's decision, however, the king is murdered at the Twins during the Red Wedding. One of Robb's betrayers, Lord Roose Bolton, is named Warden of the North by the Iron Throne.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
|“||Bronze and iron are stronger than gold and silver. The old Kings of Winter wore such a sword-crown.||”|
- King Robb Stark
Known Kings in the North
No precise lineage of Kings in the North is known, but the individuals listed below are supposed to be in rough chronological order.
- Bran the Builder, founder of house Stark and the first King in the North, builder of Winterfell, Storm's End castles and the Wall.
- King Brandon the Breaker, allied with Joramun to defeat the Night's King.
- King Theon the Hungry Wolf.
- King Brandon the Shipwright, loved sailing and built up a mighty northern fleet.
- King Brandon the Burner, son of Brandon the Shipwright, burned the entire northern fleet after the disappearance of his father on the Sunset Sea.
- King Jonnel Stark.
- King Dorren Stark.
- King Jon Stark, built the Wolf's Den after driving away sea raiders.
- King Rickard Stark, son of Jon, defeated the Marsh King, extending their kingdom to include the Neck.
- King Rodrik Stark, son of Rickard, won Bear Island from the ironborn in a wrestling match and awarded it to House Mormont.
- King Edrick Snowbeard.
- King Brandon "Ice Eyes", great-grandson of Edrick.
- King Benjen the Bitter.
- King Benjen the Sweet.
- King Eyron Stark.
- King Edderion the Bridegroom.
- King Walton the Moonking.
- King Brandon the Bad.
- King Jorah Stark.
- King Jonos Stark.
- King Edwyn the Spring King.
- King Harlon Stark.
- King Brandon IX Stark, who destroyed the ships of the Skagosi.
- Torrhen the King Who Knelt, who bent the knee to Aegon the Conqueror, making the North part of the Seven Kingdoms subject to the Iron Throne.
- Robb the Young Wolf, the last King in the North and the first after Aegon's Conquest, who never lost a battle and died at the events of the Red Wedding. He was also King of the Trident.
Line of succession
The following is the hypothetical line of succession to the title and position King in the North following on from King Robb Stark. It can also be taken as the line of succession to Lordship of Winterfell.
- Prince Jon (Snow) Stark, secretly legitimised as a Stark and declared heir by decree of King Robb. Jon may be dead after being attacked by his own men of the Night's Watch, where he served as Lord Commander.
- Prince Brandon Stark, second in line. Currently beyond the Wall and believed dead.
- Prince Rickon Stark, third in line. Currently on Skagos, also believed dead.
- Princess Sansa Stark, fourth in line. Currently in hiding as "Alayne Stone" in the Vale, accused in the regicide of King Joffrey Baratheon.
- Princess Arya Stark, fifth in line. Missing and presumed dead. (In actuality currently in Braavos as an apprentice of the Faceless Men.)
The positions as ordered assume the following:
- The Kingdom of the North is an extant kingdom distinct from the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, an independent political entity;
- King Robb is without issue, his Queen Jeyne Westerling having been unable to conceive an heir due to Sybell Spicer's manipulation;
- Jon Snow's legitimisation by King Robb is considered legal and accepted by his bannermen;
- Jon Snow's legitimisation is unconditional and independent of the survival of any of the legitimate offspring of Lord Eddard Stark;
- The Starks practice male-preference cognatic primogeniture, that is not excluding female heirs from the succession, but placing female heirs behind male heirs regardless of birth order; and
- Sansa Stark was not removed from the line of succession by King Robb's decree following her marriage to Tyrion Lannister.
References and Notes
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
- ↑ So Spake Martin: Heraldry in Westeros, April 13, 1999
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The Kings of Winter.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, The Vale.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, "Robb Stark" entry.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.