Torrhen Stark

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House Stark.svg King
Torrhen Stark
the King Who Knelt
House Stark.svg
Torrhen Stark, as depicted in Game of Thrones: Histories & Lore.
Reign Ended in the War of Conquest
Full name Torrhen Stark
Predecessor Unknown
Successor None
Personal Information
Alias The King Who Knelt
Died 249 AC
Buried Winterfell
Race First Men
Culture Northmen
Dynasty House Stark
Issue Sons
Brandon Stark (possibly)
At least one daughter

Torrhen Stark, known as the King Who Knelt, was a head of House Stark who reigned as King in the North until Aegon I Targaryen invaded Westeros with his dragons. He was named Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North after submitting to Aegon during the Conquest.[1]


Aegon's Conquest

Torrhen Stark kneels before Aegon I Targaryen, as depicted by Chase Stone in The World of Ice & Fire.

After the riverlands and Storm's End had fallen under the control of Aegon the Conqueror, Torrhen called his banners as King in the North. He was aware that, due to the vast distance of the north, it would take a long time to assemble his army. After the Field of Fire, whilst at Highgarden, Aegon I learned that Torrhen had crossed the Neck and entered the riverlands, leading an army of thirty thousand men. Aegon abandoned his plans to march south, and at once started his way north, racing ahead of his army on Balerion, his dragon. Both Rhaenys and Visenya Targaryen, as well as all the lords who had bent the knee to Aegon after the burning of Harrenhal and the Field of Fire, were sent word of this movement. When Torrhen reached the banks of the Trident, he found a host of forty-five thousand men and three dragons waiting for him.[2]

Torrhen's scouts had reported seeing the ruins of Harrenhal, and the king had heard accounts of the Field of Fire as well. Some of Torrhen's lords urged him to attack, but he realized that a similar fate would await him if he tried to force a crossing. Other lords urged the King of the North to fall back to Moat Cailin and make his stand there. Torrhen's bastard half-brother, Brandon Snow, offered to cross the Trident at dark to kill the dragons.[2]

In the end, Torrhen sent Brandon Snow to Aegon's camp, with three maesters, to treat with Aegon. Messages went back and forth that night, and the next morning, Torrhen crossed the Trident, knelt and laid his crown at the feet of Aegon I Targaryen, and swore fealty. For his surrender, he was named the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.[3][2] Ever since, Torrhen is known as the King Who Knelt.[2] It is unknown what Aegon did with Torrhen's crown.[4] The Inn of the Kneeling Man later arose where Torrhen had bent the knee.[5]

Warden of the North

Torrhen, by Peteryeeter

After Torrhen's surrender, the Company of the Rose, a sellsword company, was formed by men and (according to some accounts) women from the north who refused to bend the knee to Aegon I Targaryen. These men and women willingly chose exile across the narrow sea.[6] Torrhen's sons did not agree with the rule of House Targaryen either, with some speaking of rebelling and raising the banner of House Stark.[7]

Since the fleet of House Arryn had been lost in the battle in the waters off Gulltown, King Aegon relied upon the Starks to suppress the Sistermen's Rebellion. Lord Torrhen sent Ser Warrick Manderly to the Three Sisters to successfully end the uprising of Queen Marla Sunderland.[8] Torrhen also sent longships from Bear Island to aid Aegon in his invasion of the Iron Islands.[8]

Lord Torrhen's daughter was married to Ronnel Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie.[7][9] This marriage had been arranged by Queen Rhaenys Targaryen, as an attempt to knit the new realm together. There are letters at the Citadel which suggest that Lord Stark only agreed to this match after much protest, and that his sons had refused to attend the wedding.[7] Lord Ronnel would be killed early in the reign of King Aenys I Targaryen by his own brother, Jonos.[9][10] It is unknown whether Torrhen's daughter was still alive at this point.

Torrhen was entombed in the crypts of Winterfell after his death.[3]


Torrhen had several sons and at least one daughter.[7]

the Boisterous


From that day to this day, Torrhen Stark is remembered as the King Who Knelt ... but no northman left his burned bones beside the Trident, and the swords Aegon collected from Lord Stark and his vassals were not twisted nor melted nor bent.[11]

—writings of Gyldayn

Brienne: Is this some special place?

Cleos: This is the Inn of the Kneeling Man, my lady. It stands upon the very spot where the last King in the North knelt before Aegon the Conqueror to offer his submission. That's him on the sign, I suppose.

Jaime: Torrhen had brought his power south after the fall of the two kings on the Field of Fire, but when he saw Aegon's dragon and the size of his host, he chose the path of wisdom and bent his frozen knees.[5]

See also


  1. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  4. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
  6. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Lords of Winterfell.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragon - The Wars of King Aegon I.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: House Arryn.
  10. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  11. Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
Last known title holder:
Brandon Ice Eyes
King in the North
?–2/1 BC
Title next held by
Robb Stark
New title 1st
Lord of Winterfell
Warden of the North

2/1 BC–?
Succeeded by