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 In 262 AC[3]Winterfell[4]
Died In 282 ACKing'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

Brandon was in appearance and character very different from Eddard.[5] He had grey eyes,[6] and was tall and handsome.[5][4] He was rather hot-blooded,[7][5] a trait their father, Lord Rickard, 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 the best swordsman among his siblings, and an excellent jouster.[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] Brandon was absolutely not shy about taking what he wanted, which included women.[9] When asked if Brandon had any issue, George R. R. Martin answered the following:

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.[10]


Early Life

Born in 262 AC[3] at Winterfell,[4] Brandon was the eldest son and heir of Lord Rickard and Lady Lyarra Stark.[11] Brandon was fostered at Barrowton with Lord Dustin, father of Willam Dustin. He spent most his time riding in the Rills. He took the maidenhead of Barbrey Ryswell, who was infatuated with him.[9] He was eventually betrothed to Catelyn Tully of Riverrun,[9][12] who considered him to be more handsome than his younger brother Eddard.[5] To Barbrey, Brandon swore he did not want to marry Catelyn, but Lord Rickard's ambitions did not allow him to marry the daughter of a northern bannermen.[9]

In 281 AC, Brandon was present at the tourney at Harrenhal in 281 AC. There, he was introduced to the crannogman Howland Reed by his sister, Lyanna. During the opening feast of the tourney, Brandon asked Ashara Dayne to dance with Eddard, who was too shy to ask her himself.[1] Brandon later entered the lists, but was unhorsed by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.[13][1] After Prince Rhaegar won the tournament, he crowned Brandon's sister Lyanna as his queen of love and beauty, passing over his own wife, Princess Elia Martell.[13][14] Brandon had to be restrained from confronting Rhaegar, as he took Rhaegar's action as a slight upon Lyanna's honor, since Lyanna had been betrothed to Lord Robert Baratheon for a long time.[14]

In 282 AC,[15] Brandon was present at Riverrun when the date for his wedding to Catelyn was announced.[16] Petyr Baelish, the ward of Catelyn's father, Lord Hoster Tully, challenged Brandon to a duel for her hand.[17] They fought in the lower bailey at Riverrun. Catelyn begged him to spare Petyr's life, and Brandon promised her to do so. Brandon armored himself for battle, aided by Catelyn's young brother, Edmure Tully, who served as Brandon's squire. When Brandon saw that 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, but when Petyr kept refusing, Brandon ended the duel by injuring Petyr severely.[6] Afterwards he departed Riverrun, promising Catelyn to return soon so they could wed.[18]

Death and legacy

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

From Riverrun, Brandon left to join his father's wedding party, coming down from the north.[19] They were on their way again back to Riverrun for the wedding when word reached Brandon 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.[20] 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.[20][21]

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 strangled himself attempting to get to the sword so he could save his father. He was twenty years old at the time.[22][20]

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 a statue by their brother Eddard, as he had loved them very much.[23]

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

Recent Events

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.[24]

When Bran, Rickon, Osha, Hodor and the Reeds 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.[25]

When Catelyn Stark visits his cell, 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.[20]

A Dance with Dragons

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


A bloody sword is a beautiful thing.[9]

—Brandon to Barbrey Ryswell

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.[12]

The gallant fool.[20]

Hoster Tully, upon learning of Brandon's plans to ride south

Brandon was different from his brother, wasn't he? He had blood in his veins instead of cold water. More like me.[20]

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 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 5.2 5.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
  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 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
  10. So Spake Martin: Interview in Barcelona (July 29, 2012)
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Stark lineage.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  14. 14.0 14.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring.
  15. See the Petyr Baelish's duel against Brandon Stark calculation.
  16. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Petyr Baelish.
  17. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  18. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn X.
  19. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Catelyn Tully.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
  21. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
  22. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  23. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  24. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  25. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.