King in the North

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King in the North and King of Winter are ancient titles held for thousands of years by House Stark of Winterfell.[1][2][3] 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.[4]

Customs

Crown of Winter, illustrated by John Goodenough. Fantasy Flight Games ©

The crown of the Kings of Winter was an open circlet of hammered bronze incised with runes of the First Men, surmounted by nine black iron spikes in the shape of longswords.[5]

The Kings in the North are buried in the crypt of Winterfell, with older kings buried in deep and dark lower levels.[6] Each king's stone statue has an iron sword across its lap and is guarded by a stone wolf.[7] The servants of the kings are buried in a lichyard next to Winterfell's First Keep.[8]

History

House Stark traces their descent from the legendary Bran the Builder, who is said to have lived in the Age of Heroes[9] and built the Wall and Winterfell[10] 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.[11]

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.[11]

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.[12][13] The Starks also eventually conquered the troublesome island of Skagos.[14]

While "King of Winter" was used by ancient Stark monarchs, "King in the North" was used in more recent centuries.[11] 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.[5] 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.[15]

Recent Events

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.[2] Robb is also later known as the King of the Trident.[16][17]

A Clash of Kings

The smith of Riverrun makes a crown for Robb inspired by the old crown of the Kings of Winter.[5]

After Balon Greyjoy conquers several portions of the north, he styles himself "King of the Isles and the North" by right of conquest, disputing the Stark claim.[18]

A Storm of Swords

Along with being King in the North, Robb is also the King of the Trident.[17] After the ironborn capture Moat Cailin, Deepwood Motte, Torrhen's Square, and Winterfell, Robb is called by some the King Who Lost the North.[19][20]

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,[21] Robb decides to legitimize his bastard half-brother, Jon Snow, and names him as heir in his will.[22] Before Jon can be informed of Robb's decision, however, the king is murdered at the Twins during the Red Wedding.[23] One of Robb's betrayers, Lord Roose Bolton, is named Warden of the North by the Iron Throne.[24]

An unknowing Jon is elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.[25]

A Feast for Crows

King Balon's brother and successor, Euron Crow's Eye, continues to style himself King of the Isles and the North,[26] although he redirects the ironborn offensives to the Reach.[27]

A Dance with Dragons

When Stannis Baratheon requests homage, Lyanna Mormont answers that the Mormonts are loyal to the Stark King in the North.[28]

During the wedding feast for Ramsay Bolton and "Arya Stark" (Jeyne Poole), Lady Barbrey Dustin tells Theon Greyjoy that Ramsay's father, Lord Roose, may aspire to become "King of the North".[29]

Jon Snow is attacked and possibly slain by fellow members of the Night's Watch in the mutiny at Castle Black.[30]

Known Kings

The following is a possible chronology of known Kings in the North; no precise lineage is known and some published information may be contradictory.

Antiquity
Wolf's Den
Recent kings
Uncertain era
Crypts

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.[6] 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.[3] It is unconfirmed if this is a reverse chronological listing.

In Chapter 41 of A Dance with Dragons, Theon Greyjoy recalls the names of some statues in the crypt, mentioning Kings Edrick, Brandon the Shipwright, and Theon, as well as Lord Beron.[43]

Quotes

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.[44]
- thoughts of Eddard Stark


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.[45]
- Jon Snow to Samwell Tarly


Osha: Grim folk, by the look of them.

Bran: They were the Kings of Winter.
Osha: Winter's got no king. If you'd seen it, you'd know that, summer boy.[6]

- Osha and Bran Stark


Walder: Some would say it's a poor king who crowns himself with bronze, Your Grace.

Robb: Bronze and iron are stronger than gold and silver. The old Kings of Winter wore such a sword-crown.
Walder: Small good it did them when the dragons came.[46]

- Walder Frey and Robb Stark


Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK.[28]
- Lyanna Mormont writing to Stannis Baratheon


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.[43]
- thoughts of Theon Greyjoy


References and Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
  4. So Spake Martin: Heraldry in Westeros, April 13, 1999
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
  6. 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.
  7. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 50, Arya IV.
  8. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
  9. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
  10. The World of Ice and Fire, The North: Winterfell.
  11. 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.
  12. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
  13. The World of Ice and Fire, The Vale.
  14. 14.0 14.1 The World of Ice and Fire, The North: The Stoneborn of Skagos.
  15. The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: The Dawn Age.
  16. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.
  18. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
  19. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 20, Catelyn III.
  20. 20.0 20.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  21. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Robb Stark.
  22. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
  23. 23.0 23.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
  24. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
  25. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 79, Jon XII.
  26. A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
  27. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
  28. 28.0 28.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
  29. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  30. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
  31. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
  32. The World of Ice and Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  33. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
  34. The World of Ice and Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
  36. The World of Ice and Fire, The North: The Crannogmen of the Neck.
  37. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
  38. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
  39. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
  40. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
  41. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
  42. 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. 43.0 43.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
  44. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  45. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon IV.
  46. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.

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