Lord of Winterfell
When King Torrhen Stark peacefully yielded to King Aegon I Targaryen and gave up his crown, Aegon named him He rose as Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. Nonetheless, relations between House Stark and House Targaryen were troublesome during the first century of the Targaryen Dynasty. At the behest of Queen Rhaenys Targaryen, Lord Torrhen married his daughter to Lord Ronnel Arryn, though after much protest. His sons even spoke of rebelling. King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and Queen Alysanne Targaryen forced Lord Stark[N 1] to donate land to the Night's Watch, which was renamed the New Gift, leaving the Starks bitter. According to maester Yandel, this might have been the reason why Lord Ellard Stark supported the claim of Laenor Velaryon over the claim of Prince Viserys Targaryen during the Great Council of 101 AC.
Lord Cregan Stark agreed to support Rhaenyra Targaryen during the Dance of the Dragons with the Pact of Ice and Fire. Cregan delayed giving aid, however, and by the time he led his army south King Aegon II Targaryen had been poisoned and Lord Corlys Velaryon had already send out ravens sueing for peace, preventing Cregan from punishing the lords who had supported Aegon II. While court awaited the replies, Cregan held sway and arrested all those involved in Aegon II's death, cowing young King Aegon III Targaryen into naming him Hand of the King. Cregan served only a single day in that office, a time known as the Hour of the Wolf, and held trials for twenty-one out of twenty-two of his prisoners. The only one spared a trial was Lord Corlys; King Aegon III pardonned him and restored his titles to him, and Cregan agreed to allow it when Aly Blackwood offered him her hand in marriage. Cregan returned north the next day.
In the past century, several of the Lords of Winterfell died in battle. Lord Barthogan Stark died in the Skagosi rebellion during the reign of Daeron II Targaryen, and Lord Beron Stark was fatally injured after facing Lord Dagon Greyjoy in battle early in the reign of Aerys I Targaryen. As he slowly succumed of his wounds, his wife and several recent Stark widows struggled over the succession, as there were multiple potential heirs. Lord Willam Stark was killed by Raymun Redbeard, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, in 226 AC. In 282 AC, Lord Rickard Stark was killed alongside his heir, Brandon, by King Aerys II Targaryen, which sparked the outbreak of Robert's Rebellion, in which Lord Eddard Stark was one of the leaders.
A Game of Thrones
After the death of Jon Arryn, Lord of the Eyrie, King Robert I Baratheon names Lord Eddard Stark as his Hand of the King. After Robert dies, Eddard is arrested for treason and later executed. Robb Stark now the Lord of Winterfell, marches south with an army and is later declared King in the North by his bannermen.
A Storm of Swords
King Stannis Baratheon offers to legitimize Jon Snow and name him Lord of Winterfell. He plans to marry Val to his new Lord of Winterfell. Jon considers the offer, but realizes he cannot forsake his father's gods, which is one of the conditions of becoming Lord of Winterfell. He is elected as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch not long after.
A Dance with Dragons
Stannis offers once more to make Jon the Lord of Winterfell, but Jon refuses, insisting that Winterfell belongs to his sister, Sansa Stark. Stannis considers granting Winterfell to Arnolf Karstark instead.
Lords of Winterfell
The known Lords of Winterfell are:
- Lord Torrhen Stark, the King Who Knelt and the first Lord of Winterfell.
- Lord Brandon Stark. 
- Lord Walton Stark. 
- Lord Alaric Stark. 
- Lord Ellard Stark.
- Lord Benjen Stark.
- Lord Rickon Stark, Benjen's son.
- Lord Cregan Stark, Rickon's son.
- Lord Jonnel Stark, Cregan's second son
- Lord Barthogan Stark, Jonnel's brother, who ruled Winterfell during the reign of Daeron II Targaryen.
- Lord Brandon Stark, Barthogan's younger brother.
- Lord Rodwell Stark, Brandon's son.
- Lord Beron Stark, Rodwell's younger brother. Succumbed of wounds early in the reign of Aerys I Targaryen.
- Lord Donnor Stark, Beron's eldest son.
- Lord Willam Stark, Donner's younger brother. Slain in 226 AC by Raymun Redbeard.
- Lord Edwyle Stark, William's son.
- Lord Rickard Stark, Edwyle's son. Rickard was executed by King Aerys II Targaryen before the onset of Robert's Rebellion.
- Lord Eddard Stark, Rickard's second son.
- Lord Robb Stark, Eddard's eldest son. Named King in the North.
- Lord Ramsay Bolton, Lord of Winterfell through his marriage to "Arya Stark".
- Earlier prints of The World of Ice & Fire state that Lord Ellard Stark was the lord who had been forced to give up the New Gift. However, it has been confirmed that this is an error, and that the statement would be replaced by "the Starks were glad" in later prints, leaving it unknown for the time being which Stark had been the lord in question.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Lords of Winterfell.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Stoneborn of Skagos.
- The Mystery Knight.
- So Spake Martin: Boskone (February 17, 2006), report 1
- So Spake Martin: Boskone (February 17, 2006), report 2
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 7, Jon II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 76, Jon XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 79, Jon XII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 26, The Wayward Bride.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Stark Lineage.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.