Lyanna Stark

From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
(Redirected from Lyanna)
Jump to: navigation, search
House Stark.svgLyanna StarkHouse Stark.svg
Hallmarccus Lyanna.jpg
Lyanna Stark by Marcos Feittosa ©

Allegiance House Stark
Culture Northmen
Born 266267 AC[5]
Winterfell, the North[6]
Died 283 AC[5] (aged 16)[7]
the tower of joy, Dorne[6]
Father Rickard Stark
Mother Lyarra Stark

Played by Aisling Franciosi
Cordelia Hill (young Lyanna)
TV series Game of Thrones:
Season 6 | 7

Lyanna Stark was the only daughter of Lord Rickard Stark and his wife, Lady Lyarra Stark. She had two older brothers, Brandon and Eddard, and one younger brother, Benjen. Her abduction by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen ultimately triggered Robert's Rebellion and led to the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty.

Lyanna is portrayed by both Cordelia Hill (as a child) in Season 6 and Aisling Franciosi (as a young adult) during Season 6 and Season 7 flashbacks in the television adaptation Game of Thrones.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Lyanna Stark

Lyanna was slim of frame.[8] Arya Stark, with her brown hair, long face and grey eyes,[9][10] resembles Lyanna in appearance, according to Eddard Stark.[11] Margaery Tyrell, also brown of hair,[12] is believed by some to resemble Lyanna, though Eddard disagrees.[12]

Though Maester Yandel describes Lyanna as "a wild and boyish young thing with none of the Princess Elia's delicate beauty",[13] Ser Kevan Lannister recalls Lyanna having a "wild beauty" about her.[14] According to her brother Eddard, Lyanna had been a child-woman of surpassing loveliness.[7]

According to Eddard Lyanna had a touch of wildness to her, which was described as "the wolf blood" by her father, Lord Rickard Stark. Eddard compares Lyanna to his tomboyish daughter Arya in personality, adding that Lyanna probably would have carried a sword if their father had allowed it.[11] Lyanna was strong of will.[1]

King Robert I Baratheon, who had been deeply infatuated with Lyanna, remains in love with her memory over fifteen years after her death to the point of causing major strain in his marriage to Queen Cersei Lannister;[7][15] Robert believes Lyanna would never have publicly shamed him the way Cersei does.[16] Lyanna seems to have been less enthusiastic about their betrothal than Robert was, as she commented to Ned that Robert's love for her would not prevent him from being unfaithful after their marriage.[17]

Lyanna is noted to have been a skilled rider who loved to ride.[18][19] According to Harwin of Winterfell, Lyanna rode "like a northman",[18] while Lady Barbrey Dustin describes her as a centaur[19] and Lord Roose Bolton states that Lyanna was "half a horse herself".[20] According to a semi-canon source, Lyanna also practiced at tilting at rings.[6]

Fond of flowers,[7] Lyanna loved the scent of winter roses.[21]


Early life

Born at Winterfell,[6] Lyanna was the only daughter of Lord Rickard Stark and Lady Lyarra Stark. She had two older brothers, Brandon and Eddard, and one younger brother, Benjen.[22][23]

Eddard was fostered at the Eyrie by Lord Jon Arryn since the age of eight, where he befriended his fellow ward, Robert Baratheon.[24] Eddard brought Robert's suit to Winterfell,[6] and Rickard agreed to betroth his daughter to the young Lord of Storm's End.[17] However, that night Lyanna confided to Eddard that she believed Robert would never be able to keep to one bed. She had heard that Robert had an illegitimate daughter in the Vale of Arryn, which Eddard could not deny. He attempted to persuade her that what Robert had done before their betrothal was insignificant and that he would love her, but Lyanna informed him that love could not change a man's nature.[17]

Tourney at Harrenhal

Rhaegar Targaryen giving the victor's laurels to Lyanna, by M.Luisa Giliberti ©

Lyanna was present at the tourney at Harrenhal during the year of the false spring, 281 AC. She happened upon a crannogman, Howland Reed, who was being bullied by three young squires, none older than fifteen. She roared "That's my father's man you're kicking", and attacked them with a tourney sword. The bullies scattered and Lyanna took Howland back to her tent, where she cleaned his wounds and bound them with linen. Then she introduced him to her brothers, Brandon, Eddard, and Benjen. That evening, a feast was held to celebrate the start of the tourney. Lyanna persuaded Howland to attend the feast, as he was highborn and had as much right to attend as anyone. During the feast Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and a noted musician, performed a sad and beautiful song that made Lyanna weep. However, when Benjen teased her for crying, she poured wine over her younger brother's head.[1] During the feast, Lyanna recognized the three squires who had bullied Howland and pointed them out to her brothers.[1]

During the tourney's jousting, a short mystery knight known as the Knight of the Laughing Tree defeated the knights the three bullies served, and demanded they be chastised as ransom payment.[1] Some readers have suggested Lyanna for the identity of the mystery knight. King Aerys II Targaryen demanded that the mystery knight's identity be revealed and even sent his son Rhaegar in search of him,[13] but nothing was found aside from the knight's shield in a tree.[1]

Prince Rhaegar won the tournament by defeating Ser Barristan Selmy, but instead of crowning his own wife, Princess Elia Martell, as the queen of love and beauty, Rhaegar shocked those present by presenting the laurel of blue winter roses to Lyanna, placing it in her lap with the tip of his lance.[21][13] At that moment "all the smiles died".[21] Brandon believed Rhaegar's action to have been a slight upon Lyanna's honor. Some people say that Robert Baratheon, Lyanna's betrothed, laughed at Rhaegar's action, claiming that Rhaegar had only paid Lyanna her due; however, those closer to Robert claim that Robert brooded over the insult, and grew resentful of Rhaegar henceforth.[13]

Robert's Rebellion

Lyanna, wearing a crown of blue winter roses, by Enife ©

The next year, Lyanna came face to face with Rhaegar Targaryen ten leagues from Harrenhal,[13] and she was taken by him with the help of Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Oswell Whent, both of his father's Kingsguard.[25] When her brother Brandon, on his way to Riverrun for his wedding, learned about Lyanna's disappearance, he changed course towards King's Landing, accompanied by several companions (Ethan Glover, Jeffory Mallister, Kyle Royce and Ser Elbert Arryn). At the Red Keep, Brandon roared for Rhaegar "to come out and die". Though Rhaegar was not present, King Aerys II Targaryen had Brandon and his companions arrested and charged them with treason, accusing them of plotting the murder of the crown prince.[26]

Aerys summoned the captives' fathers to court, supposedly to answer the charge against their sons. Lord Rickard Stark demanded a trial by combat, and though the king granted him the request, he chose "fire" as his champion. Lord Rickard was suspended from rafters of the throne room over a blazing fire whilst dressed in his armor, while Brandon, attached to a device which tightened a cord around his neck whenever he moved, was forced to watch as his father was slowly cooked inside his armor. Brandon strangled himself in an attempt to get to a longsword placed just out of his reach, to save Rickard. When King Aerys next demanded the heads of Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark from the Eyrie, Lord Jon Arryn responded by raising his banners in revolt, starting Robert's Rebellion.[26][27][28]

Opinions on Rhaegar's motivation in taking Lyanna differ. According to Robert, Rhaegar raped Lyanna "hundreds of times".[7] This is repeated by Eddard's young son Bran Stark.[29] However, Ser Barristan Selmy is convinced that "Prince Rhaegar loved his Lady Lyanna".[30] Daenerys Targaryen believes that Rhaegar had stolen Lyanna away from her betrothed,[31] and when she is about to marry, Daenerys thinks to herself that if her paramour loved her, he would "come and carry you off at swordpoint, as Rhaegar carried off his northern girl".[32] According to Viserys Targaryen, Rhaegar had fought and died for "the woman he loved",[33] something which his sister Daenerys also believes.[34] Additionally, one of the visions Daenerys sees in the House of the Undying depicts Rhaegar's death, in which he whispers Lyanna's name with his last breath.[35][25] However, Viserys also believes that Rhaegar had simply not been happy with his marriage to Elia, which had led to him taking Lyanna.[31] Cersei Lannister, who was infatuated with Rhaegar, has similar beliefs, as she is convinced that Rhaegar would never have looked twice at the "wolf girl" if he had been satisfied in his wife.[4] Cersei's uncle, Ser Kevan Lannister, believes that, if Aerys had accepted the proposal from Lord Tywin Lannister to marry Cersei to Rhaegar, the war might have been avoided, as Cersei had been much more beautiful than Lyanna, and would have been able to give Rhaegar the sons he had wanted,[36] something which Princess Elia Martell could not.[37]

The war, led by Lyanna's fiancé Robert, her brother Eddard, and their foster father Jon, lasted "close to a year".[38] Lyanna's exact whereabouts during this time are unknown. Rhaegar himself could not be found, either, for a large part of the war,[25] though he finally returned "from the south"[39] after King Aerys II had dispatched Ser Gerold Hightower, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, to find him.[25] Robert and Eddard faced Rhaegar and the royal army in the Battle of the Trident, in which Robert slew Rhaegar in single combat at the ruby ford and the rebels defeated the royal army.[7] A fortnight later, the Sack of King's Landing officially ended the war,[40] with King Aerys slain by Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard.[38]

Lyanna still remained missing, however, and the last opposition still had to be dealt with. Robert and Eddard had had a falling out after Robert was accepting of the manner at which Rhaegar's wife, Elia Martell, and two young children, Princes Rhaenys and Prince Aegon Targaryen, had been slain by Lord Tywin Lannister's men during the Sack of King's Landing.[38] From King's Landing, Eddard rode south to the stormlands to lift the siege of Storm's End. From there he rode to a place Rhaegar was said to have named the tower of joy, located in the Red Mountains of Dorne.[3]


"‎Promise me Ned", by Asiulus ©

Eddard brought only six companions with him: Martyn Cassel, Theo Wull, Ethan Glover, Ser Mark Ryswell, Howland Reed and Lord Willam Dustin. At the tower of joy, they found Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Oswell Whent, and Ser Gerold Hightower, the three remaining loyalist Kingsguard of the late Aerys II Targaryen's Kingsguard. The men met in battle, with only Eddard and Howland surviving.[3]

Inside the tower, Eddard found Lyanna in a "bed of blood"[3][6] within a room smelling of "blood and roses".[7] A fever had taken her strength, and her voice had been faint as a whisper. There was fear in Lyanna's eyes, while she called for "Ned" to promise her something. When her brother gave his word, the fear left her. She smiled, and her fingers clutched his own in a tight grip.[7] Lyanna died shortly thereafter.[17] Eddard was still holding her as she "gave up her hold on life" and rose petals slipped from her palm, dead and black. Later, Howland found Eddard still holding the corpse. The crannogman separated the hands of the living man and the dead girl, though Eddard had no recollection of what happened after Lyanna died.[7]

It is unknown what promise Lyanna extracted from Eddard, and what had caused her fear. Lyanna's last words, "Promise me, Ned", would haunt Eddard, who had to pay a price in order to keep his promises to her,[17] for the rest of his life.[41][21]

At the time of her death, Lyanna had been sixteen years old.[7] Though Eddard buried the bodies of his deceased companions and the three slain Kingsguard knights in cairns he created out of the stones from the tower,[3] he transported Lyanna's bones from Dorne back to Winterfell.[19] According to Eddard, Lyanna had wanted to be buried beside her father and brother.[7] Her tomb lies in the crypts of Winterfell, beside that of Lord Rickard and Brandon.[29] While only the kings and lords of Winterfell traditionally have statues made in their likeness, not their family members, both Lyanna and Brandon were given a statue by Eddard because he wished to honor his beloved siblings.[29]


Lyanna's death and the grief they shared over her passing eventually reconciled Eddard Stark and the new monarch, King Robert I Baratheon. Though Robert had no desire to marry after Lyanna's death, he was eventually convinced by Lord Jon Arryn that the realm needed an heir. As such, Robert was wed to Cersei Lannister.[16] However, during their wedding night, a drunken Robert called Cersei "Lyanna",[42] which began the strains in their marriage. Robert remained in love with Lyanna,[15] and named the beautiful war galley Lady Lyanna of the royal fleet in her honor.[43]

At Bear Island, Lady Maege Mormont named her youngest daughter Lyanna, after Lyanna Stark, which according to Stannis Baratheon was an attempt to win the favor of Lord Eddard Stark.[44]

Eddard brings flowers to Lyanna's tomb whenever possible, as she had been fond of flowers.[7]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon visiting Lyanna Stark's tomb in the crypt of Winterfell, by Thomas Denmark © Fantasy Flight Games

Upon arriving at Winterfell to ask Lord Eddard Stark to become the new Hand of the King after the death of Lord Jon Arryn, King Robert I Baratheon, insists that his childhood friend bring him to the crypt of Winterfell so he can pay his respects to Lyanna at her tomb. The king feels the stonemason failed to capture her beauty.[7]

Queen Cersei Lannister tells her brother, Ser Jaime Lannister of the Kingsguard, that Robert is still in live with Lyanna. Cersei worries that Robert will put her aside.[15]

When Eddard's daughter Sansa pleads for the life of her direwolf, Lady, at Darry, it reminds him of Lyanna's pleading.[45]

Lord Renly Baratheon plots to have Robert replace Cersei with his own sister, Margaery Tyrell, so he shows Eddard a locket with a painted miniature of Margaery. Renly hopes that Margaery resembles Lyanna, but Eddard disagrees.[12]

Under the influence of milk of the poppy after being wounded in the streets of King's Landing, Eddard has a fever dream about the combat at the tower of joy. While Eddard and his six companions battle three knights of the Kingsguard, Lyanna is heard screaming his name inside the tower.[3]

Eddard has a nightmare involving Lyanna and the statue of her placed at her tomb. In the dream, Eddard walks through the crypts of Winterfell. He can hear the statue of Lyanna whispering: "Promise me, Ned". He notices the statue wearing a garland of pale blue roses, while her eyes weep blood. Eddard immediately wakes with his heart racing.[41] As Robert dies after being mortally wounded by a boar, he tells Ned he will give Lyanna his love.[41] King Joffrey I Baratheon later has Eddard executed for treason.[46]

A Clash of Kings

Having proclaimed himself Prince of Winterfell after capturing the castle, 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 or command. He also notices faces that he had never known in life. Among them is Lyanna: a slim, sad girl wearing a crown of pale blue roses and a white gown splattered with blood. Her older brother Brandon stands beside her, their father Rickard Stark just behind them.[8]

A Storm of Swords

Meera and Jojen Reed tell Bran Stark about the tourney of Harrenhal in which a she-wolf defended a crannogman.[1]

Daenerys Targaryen and Arstan Whitebeard discuss the tourney at Harrenhal in which Prince Rhaegar Targaryen named Lyanna the queen of love and beauty.[31]

A Dance with Dragons

Within the cave of the three-eyed crow found beyond the Wall, Bran Stark witnesses a vision from the past in which he sees a boy and a girl playing with wooden branches in the godswood of Winterfell.[47] Some readers believe this to have been Benjen and his older sister, Lyanna, as Bran describes the girl as being the eldest of the two, and states that she looks like his sister Arya,[32] who is said to look like Lyanna had.[11] Additionally, the girl refers to Old Nan,[47] placing the event Bran witnesses as having taken place in more recent generations.

Ser Barristan Selmy regrets having been defeated by Rhaegar at Harrenhal, thinking he would have named Ashara Dayne as queen of love and beauty instead and Robert's Rebellion would have been avoided.[30]

Quotes by Lyanna

Lyanna Stark by Dreambeing ©

Robert will never keep to one bed. I hear he has gotten a child on some girl in the Vale. Love is sweet, dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man's nature.[17]

—Lyanna to Eddard Stark

Promise me, Ned.[17]

—Lyanna to Eddard Stark

Quotes about Lyanna

Lyanna by eliafernandez©

Lyanna had only been sixteen, a child-woman of surpassing loveliness. Ned had loved her with all his heart. Robert had loved her even more. She was to have been his bride.[7]

—thoughts of Eddard Stark

She was more beautiful than that. Ah, damn it, Ned, did you have to bury her in a place like this? She deserved more than darkness ...[7]

My husband grows more restless every day. Having Stark beside him will only make him worse. He's still in love with the sister, the insipid little dead sixteen-year-old. How long till he decides to put me aside for some new Lyanna?[15]

Robert: Go down into your crypt and ask Lyanna about the dragon's honor!

Eddard: You avenged Lyanna at the Trident.

Robert: That did not bring her back. The gods be damned. It was a hollow victory they gave me. A crown ... it was the girl I prayed them for. Your sister, safe ... and mine again, as she was meant to be. I ask you, Ned, what good is it to wear a crown?[38]

Arya: Lyanna was beautiful.
Eddard: She was, beautiful, and willful, and dead before her time.[11]

You never knew Lyanna as I did, Robert. You saw her beauty, but not the iron underneath.[16]

Rhaegar ... Rhaegar won, damn him. I killed him, Ned, I drove the spike right through that black armor into his black heart, and he died at my feet. They made up songs about it. Yet somehow he still won. He has Lyanna now, and I have her.[3]

Eddard: I remember Robert as he was the day he took the throne, every inch a king. A thousand other women might have loved him with all their hearts. What did he do to make you hate him so?

Cersei: The night of our wedding feast, the first time we shared a bed, he called me by your sister's name. He was on top of me, in me, stinking of wine, and he whispered Lyanna.

Eddard: I do not know which of you I pity most.[42]

You ride like a northman, milady. Your aunt was the same.[18]

The northern girl had a wild beauty, as he recalled, though however bright a torch might burn it could never match the rising sun.[36]

—thoughts of Kevan Lannister



Behind the Scenes

In a 1993 draft of A Game of Thrones, Eddard Stark's recollection of Lyanna's death and her "Promise me" quote is not present.[48]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Citadel: FAQ, entry 6.2.6- Who were the different people in Meera's story?" (2007
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  5. 5.0 5.1 See the Lyanna Stark calculation.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Lyanna Stark.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  9. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
  10. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring.
  14. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 35, Eddard IX.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 17, Arya III.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
  20. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  22. The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Stark lineage.
  23. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  24. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Rhaegar Targaryen.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
  27. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  28. The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: Robert's Rebellion.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  30. 30.0 30.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  32. 32.0 32.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  33. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  34. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 64, Daenerys VIII.
  35. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
  36. 36.0 36.1 A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  37. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  39. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
  40. The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The End.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
  42. 42.0 42.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
  43. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 58, Davos III.
  44. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
  45. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  46. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
  47. 47.0 47.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III.
  48. Secrets of the Cushing Library: A Game of Thrones - gsteff on Reddit

External Links