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.
The Kings in the North are buried in the crypt of Winterfell, with older kings buried in deep and dark lower levels. Each king's stone statue has an iron sword across its lap and is guarded by a stone wolf. The servants of the kings are buried in a lichyard next to Winterfell's First Keep.
House Stark traces their descent from the legendary Bran the Builder, who is said to have lived in the Age of Heroes and built the Wall and Winterfell in the aftermath of the Long Night. Ballads claim the ancient Kings of Winter, the Lords of Winterfell, 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 expanded from Winterfell, conquering and reducing to vassalage a number of rival kings, including Barrow Kings in the Thousand Years War, Red Kings of House Bolton, Flints, Slates, Umbers, Lockes, Glovers, Fishers, and Ryders. They defeated the Warg King and Marsh Kings, 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.
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 Arryn Kings of Mountain and Vale for a thousand years over the Bite in the War Across the Water. The Starks also eventually conquered the troublesome island of Skagos.
While "King of Winter" was used by ancient Stark monarchs, "King in the North" was used in more recent centuries. The last King in the North was Torrhen Stark, who bent the knee to House Targaryen during Aegon's Conquest, thus making the north part of the Seven Kingdoms controlled by the Iron Throne. The crown of the Kings of Winter was surrendered to Aegon. 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 after King Joffrey I Baratheon orders the execution of Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell. Rejecting House Baratheon of King's Landing and the Iron Throne, the northern and river lords assembled at Riverrun after the Battle of the Camps declare Eddard's eldest son, Robb, to be the King in the North. Robb is also later known as the King of the Trident.
A Clash of Kings
The smith of Riverrun makes a crown for Robb inspired by the old crown of the Kings of Winter.
A Storm of Swords
Along with being King in the North, Robb is also the King of the Trident. After the ironborn capture Moat Cailin, Deepwood Motte, Torrhen's Square, and Winterfell, Robb is called by some the King Who Lost the North.
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. According to a semi-canon source, 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
The following is a possible chronology of known Kings in the North; no precise lineage is known and some published information may be contradictory.
- Brandon the Builder, founder of House Stark and the first King in the North, alleged builder of Winterfell, Storm's End, the Hightower, and the Wall.
- Brandon the Breaker, who allied with Joramun to defeat the Night's King.
- Wolf's Den
- Jon, who built the Wolf's Den after driving sea raiders—possibly Ibbenese, Valyrians, or early Andals—away from the White Knife.
- Theon the Hungry Wolf, who defeated the greatest Andal invader, Argos Sevenstar, conquered the Three Sisters, and attacked the Fingers, possibly beginning the War Across the Water.
- Edrick Snowbeard, who ruled for near a century but lost the Wolf's Den to slavers from the Stepstones.
- Recent kings
- Brandon the Shipwright, who loved to sail and built up a mighty northern fleet.
- 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 first King in the North and King of the Trident after Aegon's Conquest, who never lost a battle but died in the Red Wedding. He was also called the King Who Lost the North.
- Uncertain era
- Dorren, who reigned when Redwyn fought giants and traded with children of the forest.
- Brandon IX, who destroyed the ships of the Skagosi.
- Rodrik, who won Bear Island from the ironborn in a wrestling match and awarded it to House Mormont. This occurred after the death of the Old Kraken, Loron Greyjoy, a High King of the Iron Islands chosen in a kingsmoot. Rodrik's sons and grandsons battled the ironborn over Cape Kraken.
- Harlon Stark, who centuries ago starved out the Dreadfort in a siege lasting two years.
- Benjen the Bitter
- Benjen the Sweet
- Edderion the Bridegroom
- Walton the Moon King
- Brandon the Bad
- Edwyn the Spring King
Traveling in the crypt of Winterfell in Chapter 66 of A Game of Thrones, Bran Stark sees the statues of Kings Jon, Rickard, Theon, Brandon the Shipwright, Brandon the Burner, Rodrik, and Torrhen. It is unconfirmed if this is a chronological listing.
While leaving the crypt in Chapter 69 of A Clash of Kings, Bran sees the statues of Kings Torrhen, Edwyn, Theon, Brandon the Burner, Brandon the Shipwright, Jorah, Jonos, Brandon the Bad, Walton, Edderion, Eyron, Benjen the Sweet, Benjen the Bitter, and Edrick. It is unconfirmed if this is a reverse chronological listing.
|“||The first Lords of Winterfell had been men hard as the land they ruled. In the centuries before the Dragonlords came over the sea, they had sworn allegiance to no man, styling themselves the Kings in the North.||”|
|“||The old Kings of Winter are down there, sitting on their thrones with stone wolves at their feet and iron swords across their laps, but it's not them I'm afraid of.||”|
|“||Osha: Grim folk, by the look of them.
Bran: They were the Kings of Winter.
|“||Walder: Some would say it's a poor king who crowns himself with bronze, Your Grace.
|“||Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK.||”|
|“||Theon had never felt comfortable in the crypts. He could feel the stone kings staring down at him with their stone eyes, stone fingers curled around the hilts of rusted longswords. None had any love for ironborn.||”|
References and Notes
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
- ↑ So Spake Martin: Heraldry in Westeros, April 13, 1999
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 50, Arya IV.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, The North: Winterfell.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 The World of Ice and Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, The Vale.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The North: The Stoneborn of Skagos.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: The Dawn Age.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 20, Catelyn III.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
- ↑ George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Robb Stark.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 79, Jon XII.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch.
- ↑ 35.0 35.1 35.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, The North: The Crannogmen of the Neck.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 42.4 42.5 42.6 42.7 42.8 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon IV.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.