Brandon Stark

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House Stark.svgBrandon StarkHouse Stark.svg
Brandon stark the wild wolf by mike hallstein-dadi0nx.jpeg
Brandon Stark, by Mike Hallstein ©

Alias The wild wolf[1][2]
Allegiance House Stark
Culture Northmen
Born 262 AC[3]
Winterfell, the North[4]
Died 282 AC
Great Hall, King's Landing
Father Rickard Stark
Mother Lyarra Stark
Lover Barbrey Ryswell

Played by Unidentified
TV series Game of Thrones: Season 1 (deleted scene)

Brandon Stark was the oldest son of Lord Rickard Stark and Lady Lyarra Stark and the heir to Winterfell prior to Robert's Rebellion. His younger siblings were Eddard, Lyanna, and Benjen.

Appearance and Character

The grey-eyed[5] Brandon was taller than his younger brother Eddard,[6][4] and Catelyn Tully found Brandon more handsome than Eddard.[6] He was also wilder and more mirthful than the somber Eddard.[6] Brandon was rather hot-blooded,[7][6] a trait his father, Lord Rickard Stark, described as originating from "the wolf blood". Brandon shared this trait with his sister, Lyanna, and Eddard believes this led them both to early deaths.[7]

Brandon was a better swordsman and jouster than his younger brothers, Eddard and Benjen Stark.[4][8] He loved to hone his sword, preferring it to be as sharp as possible.[9] He also loved to ride, and has been described by Barbrey Dustin as a centaur in that regard.[9] Lord Hoster Tully considers Brandon to have been a gallant fool.[10]

Brandon was not shy about taking what he wanted, including women.[9] When asked if Brandon had any issue, George R. R. Martin responded:

It'd be an exaggeration to say that Brandon died before he could have children. It's established in the books that he was no virgin. He could very well have left behind some little Snows in the various places he visited. But what's absolutely clear is that he had no legitimate children.[11]


Early Life

Born in 262 AC[3] at Winterfell,[4] Brandon was the eldest son and heir of Lord Rickard and Lady Lyarra Stark.[12]

Brandon was fostered at Barrowton with Lord Dustin, father of Willam Dustin, and he spent most his time riding in the Rills.[9] He took the maidenhead of Barbrey Ryswell, who was infatuated with him, and her father Rodrik, Lord of the Rills, desired to wed her to the heir of Winterfell.[9] Lord Stark eventually betrothed Brandon to Catelyn Tully of Riverrun, however.[9][13] Brandon swore to Barbrey he did not want to marry Catelyn, but Rickard's ambitions did not allow him to marry the daughter of a northern bannerman.[9]

In 281 AC, Brandon attended the tourney at Harrenhal, where he was introduced by his sister, Lyanna, to Howland Reed, a crannogman from the Neck.[1] Brandon laughed during the festivities.[14] At the opening feast of the tourney, Brandon asked Ashara Dayne to dance with his younger brother Eddard, who was too shy to ask her himself.[1] Brandon entered the lists, but he was unhorsed by Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone.[14][1] After Rhaegar won the tournament, he crowned Lyanna as his queen of love and beauty, passing over his own wife, Princess Elia Martell.[14][15] Brandon had to be restrained from confronting Rhaegar, as he took the prince's action as a slight upon Lyanna's honor, since Lyanna was already betrothed to Eddard's friend, Lord Robert Baratheon.[15]

In 282 AC,[16] Brandon was present at Riverrun when the date for his wedding to Catelyn was announced.[17] Petyr Baelish, the ward of Catelyn's father, Lord Hoster Tully, challenged Brandon to a duel for her hand. Catelyn begged Brandon to spare Petyr's life, and Brandon promised her to do so.[18] Catelyn gave Brandon her favor to wear during the duel.[19] Brandon armored himself for battle, aided by Catelyn's young brother, Edmure Tully, who served as Brandon's squire. When Brandon saw that the smaller Petyr wore only a helm and a breastplate, and mail, he took off most of his own armor. Brandon was more than a match for the much younger Petyr. He offered the boy several chances to yield during their duel in the castle's lower bailey, but when Petyr kept refusing, Brandon ended the duel by injuring Petyr severely.[5] Afterwards he departed Riverrun, promising Catelyn to return soon so they could wed.[20]


Deaths of Brandon and Rickard Stark, as depicted in the Complete Guide to Westeros.

From Riverrun, Brandon left to join his father Rickard Stark's wedding party, coming down from the north.[21] They were on their way back to Riverrun when word reached Brandon of Lyanna's abduction by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Brandon, along with his squire, Ethan Glover, and companions Kyle Royce, Elbert Arryn, and Jeffory Mallister, rode to King's Landing immediately.[10] Upon entering the Red Keep, Brandon shouted for Rhaegar to "come out and die". Rhaegar was not present, however, and Brandon and his companions were arrested by King Aerys II Targaryen and charged with plotting Rhaegar's murder. Their fathers were called to court to answer the charges.[10][22]

Rickard was suspended from the rafters of the throne room, above a fire lit by pyromancers. Brandon's hands were chained behind his back, and a leather cord was wrapped around his neck, attached to a Tyroshi device that would tighten the cord as it was pulled on. However, his legs were free, and his sword was placed just beyond his reach. Brandon was forced to watch as his father was burned alive in his own armor, and he strangled himself attempting to get to the sword so he could save his father. He was twenty years old at the time.[23][10] With the exception of Ethan, Brandon's companions and their fathers were also killed by the Mad King.[10]

After executing Lord Rickard and Brandon, King Aerys sent word to the Eyrie for Lord Jon Arryn to behead his former wards, Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon. Jon's refusal began Robert's Rebellion.[24] Instead of Brandon, Catelyn Tully wed Eddard at Riverrun, with Lord Arryn marrying Catelyn's sister Lysa at the same time.[24] House Targaryen was overthrown during the war, and Lyanna and Ethan died in the south.[25][26]


Brandon was buried in the crypts beneath Winterfell. Though only the kings and lords of Winterfell normally have statues in their likeness placed beside their tombs, both Brandon and his sister Lyanna were given statues by their brother, Lord Eddard Stark, as he had loved them very much.[27]

Eddard named his second trueborn son Brandon (affectionately known as "Bran") in his elder brother's memory.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Lord Eddard Stark and King Robert I Baratheon see the tombs of Brandon, Lord Rickard Stark, and Lyanna in the crypt of Winterfell.[23]

A Clash of Kings

Theon Greyjoy has a nightmare involving a feast of the dead at Winterfell. Many of the dead men and women attending are people that Theon knew personally or were slain by his own hand and/or command. Yet he also notices faces that he had never known in life. Among them is Brandon, standing with his father and sister.[28]

When Bran, Rickon, Osha, Hodor, and Meera and Jojen Reed escape the crypts after the Sack of Winterfell, Bran takes with him the sword of Brandon's statue, from the crypts. As he does so, he notes the relevance of using the steel of his namesake.[29]

When Catelyn Stark visits his cell in Riverrun, Ser Jaime Lannister tells her the tale of Brandon's death when he notices she does not know the details. Catelyn calls the story so hideous that it must be true.[10]

A Dance with Dragons

Theon and Lady Barbrey Dustin discuss Brandon while in the the crypts of Winterfell. Reek notices that Brandon's sword is missing, prompting Barbrey to state that Brandon would not be happy.[9]


A bloody sword is a beautiful thing.[9]

—Brandon to Barbrey Dustin

Quotes about Brandon

Brandon. Yes. Brandon would know what to do. He always did. It was all meant for Brandon. You, Winterfell, everything. He was born to be a King's Hand and father to queens. I never asked for this cup to pass to me.[13]

Robert: What Aerys did to your brother Brandon was unspeakable. The way your lord father died, that was unspeakable. And Rhaegar ... how many times do you think he raped your sister? How many hundreds of times?[25]

Eddard: I understand you knew my brother Brandon as well.

Petyr: Rather too well. I still carry a token of his esteem. Did Brandon speak of me too?

Eddard: Often, and with some heat.[30]

She remembered how her own father had raged when the news had been brought to Riverrun. The gallant fool, was what he called Brandon.[10]

—thoughts of Catelyn Stark

Jaime: Brandon was different from his brother, wasn't he? He had blood in his veins instead of cold water. More like me.

Catelyn: Brandon was nothing like you.

Jaime: If you say so.[10]

Brandon was never shy about taking what he wanted. I am old now, a dried-up thing, too long a widow, but I still remember the look of my maiden’s blood on his cock the night he claimed me. I think Brandon liked the sight as well. A bloody sword is a beautiful thing, yes. It hurt, but it was a sweet pain.[9]




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
  2. The Citadel: FAQ - 6.2.6. Who were the different people in Meera's story? (March 14, 2007)
  3. 3.0 3.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Brandon Stark.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
  7. 7.0 7.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  8. So Spake Martin: About Benjen Stark, December 15, 2000
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
  11. So Spake Martin: Interview in Barcelona, July 29, 2012
  12. The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Stark lineage.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring.
  16. See the Petyr Baelish's duel against Brandon Stark calculation.
  17. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Petyr Baelish.
  18. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  19. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 45, Catelyn VI.
  20. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn X.
  21. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Catelyn Tully.
  22. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
  23. 23.0 23.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  24. 24.0 24.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  25. 25.0 25.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  28. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  29. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
  30. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.