Brandon Stark - by acazigot ©
|Alias||The Wild Wolf|
|Born||In 261 AC, at Winterfell|
|Died||In 282 AC, at King's Landing|
A Game of Thrones (Mentioned)|
A Clash of Kings (Mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Mentioned)
Appearance and Character
Brandon was in appearance and character very different from Eddard. He was rather hot-blooded, something his younger brother described as coming from the wolfblood. He shared this trait with his sister. Eddard believes this led them both to an early death. Brandon was tall and handsome, and was an excellent swordsman and jouster.
Brandon was fostered at Barrowton with Lord Dustin, father of Willam Dustin, but he spent most his time riding in the Rills. Brandon and his sister Lyanna both loved to ride; Lady Dustin compares them to "a couple of centaurs". Brandon also enjoyed practicing sword-play, and loved his sword. In his youth, he took the maidenhead of Barbrey Ryswell, who was infatuated with him. When he was fifteen, he was promised to Catelyn Tully of Riverrun, who was twelve at the time. Barbrey claims that Brandon never wanted to marry Catelyn and that the match was made at the behest of Lord Rickard.
Brandon was present at the Tourney at Harrenhal. After Brandon's sister Lyanna found the crannogman Howland Reed being bullied by three young squires, she took the injured man back to a tent, binding his wounds, and introduced the guest to her brothers: Eddard ("the quiet wolf"), and Benjen ("the young pup"), and finally to Brandon ("the wild wolf"), the leader of the pack. Lyanna persuaded Reed to attend the feast marking the start of the tournament; he consented and ate at the same table as the Starks. During the feast, Brandon asked Ashara Dayne to dance with his younger brother Eddard (who was too shy to ask her himself). It is also implied (but not confirmed) that Brandon later bedded Ashara Dayne and got her with child. Brandon later entered the lists, but was unhorsed by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
When Catelyn and Brandon's betrothal was announced, Petyr Baelish, a ward of Catelyn's father, challenged Brandon to a duel for her hand. They fought in the lower bailey at Riverrun. Brandon easily won their duel, but did not kill Petyr, in concession to Catelyn's pleas. He then departed Riverrun, promising to return soon.
Death and burial
Brandon was on his way back to Riverrun to wed Catelyn when word reached him of Lyanna's supposed abduction by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Brandon, along with his squire Ethan Glover, Kyle Royce, Elbert Arryn, and Jeffory Mallister, rode to King's Landing immediately, while Hoster Tully became incensed, thinking it a rash action. Upon entering the Red Keep, Brandon shouted for Rhaegar to "come out and die". Rhaegar was not there to answer the challenge; they were arrested by King Aerys and charged with plotting Rhaegar's murder. Their fathers were called to court to answer the charges. Brandon was forced to watch as his father was cooked alive in his own armor. He was bound with a leather cord around his neck and a longsword just out of reach, and he strangled himself trying to get to the sword to save his father. He was twenty years old at the time.
Brandon was buried in the crypts beneath Winterfell. Bran Stark notes that only the kings and lords of Winterfell are supposed to have statues in their likeness, not their family members, but Eddard wished to honor his beloved siblings and had them made anyway.
Appearance in nightmares and namesake
Eddard Stark names his second true born son Brandon (affectionately known as "Bran") in his elder brother's memory. When Bran, Rickon, Osha, Hodor and the Reeds escape the crypts after the Sack of Winterfell, Bran takes with him Brandon's sword. As he does so, he notes the relevance of using the steel of his namesake. Later, as Reek and Lady Dustin enter the crypts, Reek notices that Brandon's sword is missing.
In A Clash of Kings, Theon 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. But he also notices faces that he had never known in life. Among them is Brandon's sister Lyanna: a slim, sad girl wearing a crown of pale blue roses and a white gown splattered with blood. Then Brandon appears, standing beside her, their father Lord Rickard just behind them. Theon wakes up screaming when Robb Stark and Grey Wind, both bleeding, join the feast.
A bloody sword is a beautiful thing.
Quotes about Brandon
The gallant fool.
– Hoster Tully, upon learning of Brandon's plans to ride south
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.
References and Notes
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.