- "Eddard" and "Ned" redirect here. For other characters called "Eddard" or "Ned", please see Eddard (disambiguation) and Ned (disambiguation).
Eddard Stark by AniaEm ©
The Quiet Wolf
Lord of Winterfell|
Warden of the North
Hand of the King
Protector of the Realm
|Born||In 263 AC, at Winterfell|
|Died||In 299 AC, at Great Sept of Baelor in King's Landing|
|Spouse||Lady Catelyn Tully|
The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)|
A Game of Thrones (POV)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
Sean Bean ~ Season 1|
Sebastian Croft ~ Season 6 (Younger Eddard)
|TV series||Season 1 | Season 6|
Eddard Stark, also called "Ned", is the head of House Stark, Lord of Winterfell, and Warden of the North. He is a close friend to King Robert I Baratheon, with whom he was raised. Eddard is one of the major POV characters in the books. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, he is played by Sean Bean in Season 1 and Sebastian Croft as Eddard in his youth during a flashback in Season 6.
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Eddard Stark
Eddard is in his mid-thirties. He has a long face, dark hair and grey eyes. His closely-trimmed beard is beginning to grey, making him look older than his years. His dark grey eyes reflect his moods, turning soft as fog or hard as stone. Among his enemies, Eddard has the reputation of having cold eyes. They are thought to reflect his frozen heart. Eddard is neither as large nor as handsome as his older brother Brandon was, according to Catelyn Stark; however, she also states that he has a "good sweet heart beneath his solemn face". He keeps faith with the old gods. He is fiercely protective of his wife and children, whom he loves deeply.
Eddard is known for his unwavering sense of honor and justice and his family finds him kind, although some consider his reserved personality a sign of coldness and disdain.
Eddard was fostered by Lord Jon Arryn at the Eyrie from the age of eight, alongside Robert Baratheon. Eddard befriended Robert and came to consider Lord Arryn a second father. When he reached the age of sixteen, Eddard was a man grown, and divided his time between Winterfell and the Eyrie. During one of his visits to Winterfell, Eddard carried a wedding proposal from Robert to his father, Lord Rickard, who agreed to betroth his daughter Lyanna to Eddard's friend. When Lyanna later expressed that her believe that Robert would never keep to one bed, having heard about Robert's bastard daughter in the Vale, Eddard recalled having seen the child, and is unable to deny her existence.
In 281 AC, at the age of eighteen, Eddard came down from the Eyrie to go to the tourney at Harrenhal, where, amongst others, Eddard's foster brother Robert Baratheon, his foster father Jon Arryn, and his three siblings, Brandon, Lyanna and Benjen were also present. It was during this tourney that Eddard would meet Howland Reed, one of his father's bannermen. Howland and Eddard would remain friends for the rest of their lives. During the opening feast, Eddard saw Ashara Dayne, a lady-in-waiting to Princess Elia Martell. He would dance with her later that night, but only after his older brother Brandon had spoken to her on his behalf, since he himself was too shy. Eddard was present during the final jousts, where Prince Rhaegar Targaryen passed over his own wife, Elia, to crown Lyanna the queen of love and beauty. Eddard would remember this moment as "the moment when all smiles died" years later.
The following year, Eddard's sister Lyanna was allegedly abducted by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Eddard's brother Brandon rode to King's Landing in anger, but when he threatened the crown prince, he was arrested. Lord Rickard Stark was summoned to King's Landing, and when he demanded a trial by combat, both he and Brandon were executed at the command of King Aerys II Targaryen. Aerys's next step was to demand that Jon Arryn send him the heads of his wards, Eddard and Robert. Jon refused and instead rose his banners.
With his father and brother dead, Eddard was now the Lord of Winterfell. He wanted to raise his banners to join the rebellion, but getting from the Vale of Arryn to the north was complicated by the fact that Gulltown, the Vale's chief port, had stayed loyal to the Iron Throne. Eddard had to cross the Mountains of the Moon to the Fingers and hire a fisherman to bring him to White Harbor with a boat. They were caught by a storm on the Bite and the fisherman drowned. However, his daughter managed to bring Eddard to the Three Sisters. When he arrived at Sisterton, House Borrell's maester urged Lord Borrell to deliver Eddard's head to King Aerys II Targaryen, but Lord Borrell, knowing that Jon Arryn and Robert Baratheon had taken Gulltown in the meantime, was unsure who would prevail in the conflict. Thus he let Ned leave for White Harbor, telling him to remain silent about his stay in Sisterton in case the rebellion failed.
Eddard called his banners, and marched south to join Robert and Jon, arriving in time to turn the tide at the Battle of the Bells. Afterward, he went to Riverrun to marry Catelyn Tully, who had been betrothed to his brother Brandon before his death. Jon Arryn married Catelyn's sister Lysa in the same ceremony. The double wedding bound House Tully to the rebels' cause.
The rebels won their decisive victory in the Battle of the Trident, in which Robert killed Prince Rhaegar Targaryen in single combat. Because Robert had been wounded by Rhaegar, it fell on Eddard to pursue the remnants of Aerys' armies to King's Landing. When he arrived there, Lord Tywin Lannister's force had already sacked the city. Eddard had developed contempt for House Lannister during the rebellion, as Lord Tywin had remained neutral in an apparent attempt to join the winning side in the end. Eddard's contempt increased when he learned that Lord Tywin had conquered the city by treachery and that his men had brutally killed Rhaegar's wife, Elia Martell, and children, Rhaenys and Aegon. In addition, Lannister flags were flying over the Red Keep when Eddard arrived and, as he rode into the throne room to claim the crown for Robert, he found King Aerys's body at the steps leading to the Iron Throne, on which the king's killer, Ser Jaime Lannister, was sitting. Eddard felt that the way in which the conquest of King's Landing had been conducted dishonored Robert's cause. He was disappointed that Robert, upon arriving in the city, did not share his moral outrage and in particular defended the murder of Rhaegar's children. He also ignored Eddard's counsel that Jaime should be made to join the Night's Watch for breaking his oath as a knight of the Kingsguard by not protect the king. Their disagreements about these issues created a temporary rift between Eddard and Robert that not even Jon Arryn was able to breach.
Eddard left Robert in King's Landing and went to Storm's End, where he lifted the siege of the castle. Mace Tyrell and his armies yielded to Eddard without a fight. Afterwards, Eddard travelled to the mountains of Dorne to liberate his sister Lyanna, who apparently was held at the Tower of Joy. When Eddard arrived along with six companions, he found the tower guarded by three members of the Kingsguard, including Ser Arthur Dayne. The resulting skirmish saw the deaths of all but Eddard and one companion, Howland Reed. Unfortunately, when Eddard found Lyanna, she was already dying. Before her death, she made Eddard promise her something; what he promised her has not yet been revealed. The experience haunts Eddard and he recalls her "promise me" on multiple occasions. However, the shared grief over Lyanna led to his reconciliation with his friend, now King Robert I.
Lord of Winterfell
Eddard returned home to Winterfell, bringing with him a bastard son, Jon Snow. This strained the relationship with his wife Catelyn, who had given birth to their son Robb during the war. Eddard refused to speak to her about the origins of Jon. However, stories concerning her identity circulated nonetheless. When Lady Catelyn heard rumors that the boy's mother was the Dornish noblewoman Ashara Dayne, she confronted Eddard about it, but he told her in a brusque manner that the child was his blood and that was all she needed to know. He subsequently silenced the rumors about Ashara. Sansa Stark recalls hearing whispers that Jon's mother was common born. Lord Edric Dayne believes that, rather than his aunt Ashara, Jon Snow's mother was a woman called Wylla, who worked for House Dayne and at one point served as Edric's wet-nurse. When asked about the mother of his bastard son by King Robert Baratheon, Eddard also mentions the name Wylla. However, Lord Godric Borrell claims that the daughter of the fisherman who sneaked Eddard away from the Fingers gave birth to Jon Snow.
After Robert's Rebellion, Eddard spent the next fifteen years as Lord of Winterfell, a task he had never expected and did not always feel equal to. He rarely left the North and did not involve himself in the complex intrigues of the southern courts. Although his bannermen were loyal, Eddard dealt with the problems that did arise swiftly. When Lord Jorah Mormont tried to sell poachers he had caught on his lands into slavery, Eddard travelled to Bear Island to bring him to justice for his crime, but, upon arrival, found that Mormont and his wife had fled into exile. In 289 AC, Eddard travelled south to fight alongside Robert once more, this time in the Greyjoy Rebellion. After the decisive Siege of Pyke and Balon Greyjoy's surrender, Eddard took Lord Balon's only surviving son Theon as a ward and hostage. While he would try to be like a father to Theon from time to time, Theon still thought Eddard to be cold.
A Game of Thrones
Lord Eddard executes a deserter of the Night's Watch who claims to have been attacked by Others. On the return to Winterfell, the party discovers a direwolf dead on the roadside, her throat pierced by a stag she had slain. Swayed by his bastard son Jon Snow, Eddard decides not to slay her newborn pups, and instead allow his children to raise them. That same day, a raven arrives bearing word of the death of Jon Arryn, who fostered Eddard as well as Robert Baratheon, and who had long served Robert as the King's Hand. Soon Robert arrives with half the court, and Eddard grudgingly accepts his offer to replace Lord Arryn as Hand, as well as a betrothal of Prince Joffrey to his daughter Sansa. Another message arrives, this one from Lysa Arryn, Jon's widow and Eddard's wife Catelyn's sister, sent to Winterfell in secret. Lysa warns the Starks that the Lannisters were involved in her husband's death. When Eddard's son Bran falls and slips into a coma, Eddard and the royal court remain at Winterfell for almost another fortnight, though they eventually decide to leave. During the journey south, Eddard's youngest daughter Arya is involved in an incident in which crown prince Joffrey Baratheon is injured by Arya's direwolf, Nymeria. When Nymeria cannot be found, Queen Cersei Lannister demands the death of Sansa Stark's direwolf, and Eddard executes the wolf himself. In order to prevent Queen Cersei from acquiring the pelt, he has her body sent north to be burried at Winterfell.
Upon arriving at King's Landing, Eddard is summoned to a small council meeting. Afterwards, Lord Petyr Baelish takes Eddard to one of his brothels, where he has been hiding Eddard's wife, Catelyn. Catelyn reveals to Eddard how a man tried to kill their son Bran with a Valyrian steel dagger. Baelish reveals that the dagger used to be his, but was won in a bet by Tyrion Lannister. Baelish promises to aid Eddard.
Now in King's Landing, Eddard is shocked to learn that the crown is heavily indebted due to Robert's extravagance, and Arryn and the small council had been unable to restrain him. Robert decrees a great tournament is to be held in honor of Eddard's appointment as Hand of the King, despite Eddard's protests of the cost. The tournament, featuring a joust, melee, and archery contest, attracts knights and freeriders from all over the Seven Kingdoms.
Eddard discovers that his daughter Arya is in the possession of a sword, but decides to have her trained in how to use it, instead of taking her sword away. He hires Syrio Forel, a former First Sword of Braavos. While Ned later wonders whether Syrio is a proper teacher for Arya, he allows the lessons to continue, and is eventually even willing to ask Syrio to continue his work at Winterfell.
Eddard begins making Jon Arryn's activities before his death, and discovers that Jon spent a great deal of time with Stannis Baratheon and had been visiting several of Robert's bastard children in the city. An issue presents itself when Lord Varys brings new to the small council, however. During their journey from Winterfell to King's Landing, Eddard and Robert had already been at odds about whether or not to be concerned about the wedding of Targaryen Princess Daenerys to Dothraki khal Drogo. When news reaches King's Landing that Daenerys is pregnant, Robert holds a council meeting demanding she be put to death. Eddard and Ser Barristan Selmy are the only ones to speak out against the move, but Robert, driven by his hatred of the Targaryens, insists on the assassination. Eddard, unwilling to cooperate, resigns his post in protest. Before his planned departure from King's Landing to return to Winterfell, Eddard visits another of Robert's bastard children, a girl named Barra, found by Petyr Baelish. Returning from this meeting he is ambushed by Jaime Lannister, who wants revenge for his brother Tyrion, who had been seized by Eddard's wife Catelyn's, a fact Eddard had learned the day before from Yoren. Eddard's leg is badly injured in the melee. While recovering, Robert visits his friend, pardoning him and returning him to office as Hand of the King.
Eddard sits on the Iron Throne and hears petitions while Robert is out on a hunt. Three river lords bring the news that several villages near the border of the westerlands have been ravaged by Gregor Clegane. Eddard sends Lord Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr and a number of knights, and members of his own household guard to bring Clegane to justice.
While investigating Jon Arryn's interest in Robert's bastard children, Eddard discovers to his horror that Robert's three legitimate children are the product of incest between Queen Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime. Eddard decides to confront Cersei with this knowledge, giving her a chance to flee with her children while she still can. However, Cersei uses the warning time to orchestrate Robert's assassination and buy off the City Watch of King's Landing. As Robert lays on his deathbed, Eddard rebuffs both Robert's younger brother Renly Baratheon's suggestion that they seize control of the royal children, and Petyr Baelish's urgings to rule as Regent while Cersei and Jaime's thirteen-year-old son Joffrey I Baratheon accede to the Iron Throne, instead planning to deliver it to the elder of Robert's brothers, Stannis. Baelish promises Eddard the support of the City Watch, promptly betraying him as soon as Robert dies. Cersei has Eddard imprisoned for treason, with the City Watch supporting her thanks to Baelish's treachery.
Varys visits Eddard Stark in the dungeons, informing him that if he confesses to treason his life will be spared and he will be given the opportunity to join the Night's Watch. Eddard initially refuses but agrees to swallow his honor to save the life of his daughter Sansa, who is in Lannister custody. He is taken to the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor where, unbeknownst to him, Yoren, his daughter Arya Stark, and the disguised Ser Barristan Selmy are amongst the crowd. Eddard makes a false public confession but the plan goes awry when King Joffrey declares that Eddard must be executed, to the evident shock of Cersei, Varys, and the High Septon. Ilyn Payne beheads Eddard Stark with his own greatsword, Ice. Joffrey has Eddard's head placed on a spike and forces his daughter Sansa to view it.
A Clash of Kings
Tyrion Lannister orders Lord Eddard's head, along with all the other heads to be removed from the spikes. He then sends Eddard's bones to Riverrun. Catelyn Stark tasks Hallis Mollen to take the bones north so Eddard can be buried in the crypt of Winterfell beside his father, brother and sister. The ironborn take Moat Cailin soon after and it is unknown if Eddard's bones made it past the Moat before its fall to House Greyjoy.
Eddard Stark's execution at the Great Sept of Baelor has caused a serious deterioration in relations between the crown and the Faith of the Seven, as the High Septon claims that Stark's beheading there profaned the Sept with blood.
A Dance with Dragons
Bran Stark, while training to become a greenseer, sees a vision of his father in the past through the eyes of the heart tree of Winterfell's godswood. Through the tree, Bran hears his father's prayers that his wife will forgive him and that Jon and Robb will grow together as brothers.
Lady Barbrey Dustin, who once aspired to marry Brandon before he was betrothed to Catelyn, mentions to Theon Greyjoy that she blames Eddard for the death of her husband, Lord Willam Dustin. She tells Theon that if she ever discovers the location of Eddard's bones, she will never allow them to be buried in the crypts of Winterfell along with his ancestors, in revenge for Eddard's failure to return her husband's bones to her. Many other northern houses remember Eddard Stark fondly, and are willing to march to war against House Bolton to rescue Eddard's daughter.
Quotes by Eddard
Bran: Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?
Eddard: That is the only time a man can be brave.
– Bran Stark and Eddard
The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.
– Eddard to Bran Stark
A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is.
– Eddard to Bran Stark
- Eddard to Robert I Baratheon
Ned: We are not the boys we were.
Robert: You were never the boy you were.
– Robert I Baratheon and Eddard
Know the men who follow you and let them know you. Don't ask your men to die for a stranger.
– Eddard to Robb Stark
Arthur: And now it begins.
Eddard: No. Now it ends.
– Arthur Dayne and Eddard
– Eddard's thoughts
Cersei: You should have taken the realm for yourself. It was there for the taking. Jaime told me how you found him on the Iron Throne the day King’s Landing fell, and made him yield it up. That was your moment. All you needed to do was climb those steps, and sit. Such a sad mistake.
Eddard: I have made more mistakes than you can possibly imagine, but that was not one of them.
– Cersei Lannister and Eddard
In this world only winter is certain. We may lose our heads, it's true ... but what if we prevail?
- Eddard to the Borrells
Quotes about Eddard
– Robert I Baratheon to Eddard
– Robert I Baratheon to Eddard
You never could lie for love nor honor, Ned Stark.
– Robert I Baratheon to Eddard
No, my lord, when the swords come out in earnest, you will be the only true friend Robert Baratheon will have.
– Varys to Eddard
You wear your honor like a suit of armor, Stark. You think it keeps you safe, but all it does is weigh you down and make it hard for you to move.
– Petyr Baelish to Eddard
You are an honest and honourable man, Lord Eddard. Ofttimes I forget that. I have met so few of them in my life... When I see what honesty and honor have won you, I understand why.
– Varys to Eddard
I knew Ned Stark as well. Your father was no friend of mine, but only a fool would doubt his honor or his honesty.
A long time ago, she remembered her father saying that when the cold wind blows the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. He had it all backwards. Arya, the lone wolf, still lived, but the wolves of the pack had been taken and slain and skinned.
– thoughts of Arya Stark
References and Notes
- See the Eddard Stark calculation.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Eddard Stark.
- See the Main Series calculations, 298AC to 299AC.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- Cast of Game of Thrones on IMDB
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 27, Daenerys II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Stark Lineage.
- A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
- So Spake Martin: Some Questions (March 16, 2000)
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 35, Eddard IX.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 10, Jon II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 44, Sansa III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 33, Eddard VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 32, Arya III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 76, Jon XI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
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