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]


House Stark traces their descent from the legendary Bran the Builder, who is said to have lived in the Age of Heroes[5] and built the Wall and Winterfell[6] 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.[7]

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.[7]

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.[8][9] The Starks also eventually conquered the troublesome island of Skagos.[10]

While "King of Winter" was used by ancient Stark monarchs, "King in the North" was used in more recent centuries.[7] 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. 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.[11]

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 son Robb to be the King in the North.[2] Robb is also later known as the King of the Trident.[12][13]

A Clash of Kings

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.[14]

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. According to a semi-canon source,[15] Robb decides to legitimize his bastard half-brother, Jon Snow, and names him as heir in his will.[16] Before Jon can be informed of Robb's decision, however, the king is murdered at the Twins during the Red Wedding.[17] One of Robb's betrayers, Lord Roose Bolton, is named Warden of the North by the Iron Throne.[18]

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,[19] although he redirects the ironborn offensives to the Reach.[20]

A Dance with Dragons

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.[21]

Jon Snow, who does not know he was Robb's chosen successor, is attacked and possibly slain by fellow members of the Night's Watch in the mutiny at Castle Black.[22]


Copyrighted work by Fantasy Flight Games (FFG)

The crown of the King in the North was shaped as an open circlet of hammered bronze incised with runes of the First Men, surmounted by nine black iron spikes in the shape of longswords.[23]

Bronze and iron are stronger than gold and silver. The old Kings of Winter wore such a sword-crown.[24]

- King Robb Stark

Known Kings

No precise lineage of Kings of Winter or Kings in the North is known, but the individuals listed below are supposed to be in rough chronological order.

References and Notes

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