Eddard Stark

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Eddard Stark
House Stark.PNG
Eddard by AniaEm.jpg
Artwork by Anja Dalisa ©

Alias Ned
The Ned
The Quiet Wolf
Title Lord of Winterfell
Warden of the North
Hand of the King
Allegiance House Stark
Culture Northmen
Born In 263 AC, at Winterfell
Died In 298 AC, at King's Landing
Spouse Catelyn Tully
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (POV)
A Clash of Kings (Mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (Mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Mentioned)

Played by Sean Bean
TV series Season 1
Ned appointed Hand of the King, by Daaria©
Ned's execution (TV series)

Eddard Stark, also affectionately called "Ned", is the head of House Stark, Lord of Winterfell, and Warden of the North. He is a friend to King Robert Baratheon, whom he was raised with and helped to win the Iron Throne, and is eventually named his Hand. He is one of the major POV Character in the books. In the TV series, he is played by Sean Bean.[1]

Character and Appearance

Eddard is in his mid-thirties. He has a long face, dark hair and grey eyes. His closely-trimmed beard is beginning to grey.[2] His dark grey eyes reflect his moods, turning soft as fog or hard as stone. [3] Among his enemies, Eddard has the reputation of having cold eyes. They are thought to reflect his frozen heart. [4] Jaime Lannister finds similarities between the eyes of Eddard and those of Roose Bolton[5] Eddard is neither as large nor as handsome as his brother Brandon was.[6]

Eddard is known for his sense of honor and justice and his family finds him kind, although some consider his reserved personality a sign of coldness and disdain.


Eddard was fostered by Lord Jon Arryn at the Eyrie from the age of eight, alongside Robert Baratheon.[7] Ned befriended Robert and came to consider Lord Arryn a second father. Ned's father and brother were executed at the command of King Aerys II, who further demanded that Arryn send him the heads of his wards. Arryn refused and instead launched a rebellion. With his father and brother dead, Ned, now Lord of Winterfell, rallied the North in rebellion.

At the beginning of the rebellion, Eddard had a fisherman try to sneak him from the Vale to White Harbour, so he could raise his forces in the North, but due to storms the fisherman died and his daughter was only able to get him to Sweetsister. Lord Borrell later snuck him into White Harbour. Before marching to aid Robert, who was warring in the south, Ned married Catelyn Tully, who had been betrothed to Ned's brother Brandon before his death.[8] At the tail end of the rebellion, Ned, along with six of his companions, traveled to the Dornish border to find the Tower of Joy, where Prince Rhaegar Targaryen had hidden his sister Lyanna. It was guarded by three members of the Kingsguard, including Ser Arthur Dayne. The resulting skirmish saw the deaths of all but Ned and Howland Reed. Unfortunately, Lyanna had died shortly after the battle, a moment that haunted Ned ever since.

Once the conflict had ended and Robert had taken the throne, Ned returned home, bringing with him a bastard son, Jon, about whose origins he refused to speak, even to his own wife; he quickly silenced rumors that the boy's mother was the Dornish noblewoman Ashara Dayne.[7] Godric Borrell claims that the daughter of the fisherman who sneaked Ned to Sweetsister gave birth to Jon Snow.[9] He spent the next fifteen years as Lord of Winterfell, a task he had never expected and did not always feel equal to; he rarely left his lands, and did not involve himself in the complex intrigues of the southern courts. The one time he did leave the North was to fight alongside Robert once more, helping him end the Greyjoy Rebellion.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Lord Eddard executes a deserter of the Night's Watch who claims to have been attacked by Others. On the return to Winterfell, the party discovers a direwolf dead on the roadside, her throat pierced by a stag she had slain. Swayed by the bastard Jon Snow, Ned decides not to slay her newborn pups, with one going to each of the Stark children. Soon, a raven arrives bearing word of the death of Jon Arryn, who fostered Ned as well as Robert Baratheon, and who had long served Robert as the King's Hand.[10] Soon Robert arrives with half the court, and Ned grudgingly accepts his offer to replace Lord Arryn as Hand, as well as a betrothal of Prince Joffrey to his daughter Sansa.[7] Another message arrives, this one from Lysa Arryn, Jon's widow and Ned's wife Catelyn's sister. Lysa warns the Starks that the Lannisters were involved in her husband's death. Upon arriving at King's Landing Eddard was shocked to learn that the crown was heavily indebted due to Robert's extravagance, and Arryn and the Small Council had been unable to restrain him. Robert decreed a great tournament was to be held in honor of Eddard's appointment as Hand of the King, despite Ned's protests of the cost.[11] The tournament, featuring a joust, melee, and archery contest, attracted knights and freeriders from all over the Seven Kingdoms.

While making inquiries about Jon Arryn's activities before his death, Eddard discovered that Jon spent a great deal of time with Stannis Baratheon and was visiting several of Robert's bastard children in the city.[12] He also learned from Yoren of the Night's Watch that his wife Catelyn had abducted Tyrion Lannister.

When Robert Baratheon held a council meeting demanding that the pregnant Daenerys Targaryen be put to death, Ned and Ser Barristan were the only ones to speak out against the move. Robert, driven by his hatred of the Targaryens, insisted on the assassination; Ned resigned his post in protest.[13] Before his planned departure from King's Landing to return to Winterfell, Ned visited another of Robert's bastard children, a girl named Barra. Returning from this meeting he was ambushed by Jaime Lannister, who wanted revenge for Catelyn's kidnapping of his brother, Tyrion.[14] Eddard's leg was badly injured in the melee. While recovering, Robert visited his friend, pardoning him and returning him to office as Hand of the King.[15]

Eddard sat on the Iron Throne and heard petitions while Robert was out on a hunt. Three Riverland Lords brought the news that several villages near the border of the Westerlands had been ravaged by Gregor Clegane. Eddard sent Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr and a number of knights, and members of his own household guard to bring Clegane to justice.[16]

While investigating Jon Arryn's interest in Robert's bastard children, Ned discovered to his horror that Robert's three legitimate children were in fact the product of incest between Queen Cersei and her brother Jaime.[17] Eddard decided to confront Cersei with this knowledge, giving her a chance to flee with her children while she could.[18] However, Cersei used the warning time to orchestrate Robert's assassination and buy off the City Watch of King's Landing. As Robert lay on his deathbed, Ned rebuffed both Robert's younger brother Renly Baratheon's suggestion that they seize control of the royal children, and Petyr Baelish's urgings to rule as Regent while Cersei and Jaime's thirteen-year-old son Joffrey accede to the Iron Throne, instead planning to deliver it to the elder of Robert's brothers, Stannis.[19] Baelish promised Ned the support of the City Watch, promptly betraying him as soon as Robert died.[20] Cersei had Ned imprisoned for treason, with the City Watch supporting her thanks to Baelish's treachery.

Varys visited Eddard Stark in the dungeons, informing him that if he confessed to treason his life would be spared and he would be given the opportunity to join the Night's Watch. Ned initially refuses but agrees to swallow his honor to save the life of his daughter Sansa, who was in Lannister custody.[21] He is taken to the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor where, unbeknownst to him, Yoren, his daughter Arya Stark, and the disguised Ser Barristan Selmy were amongst the crowd. Eddard made a false public confession but the plan went awry when King Joffrey declared that Eddard must be executed, to the evident shock of Cersei, Varys, and the High Septon. Ilyn Payne beheaded Eddard Stark with his own greatsword, Ice.[22] Joffrey has Eddard's head placed on a spike and forces his daughter Sansa to view it.[23]

A Clash of Kings

Tyrion Lannister orders Lord Eddard's head, along with all the other heads to be removed from the spikes. The bones of Eddard Stark were sent to Riverrun by Tyrion Lannister. Catelyn Tully asks Hallis Mollen to take the bones north so Ned can be buried in Winterfell's crypts beside his father, brother and sister. The Ironborn shortly after take Moat Cailin and it is unknown if Eddard's bones made it past the Moat before its fall to House Greyjoy.

A Dance with Dragons

Bran Stark, while training to become a greenseer, sees a vision of his father in the past through the eyes of the Heart Tree of Winterfell. Through the tree, Bran hears his father's prayers that his wife will forgive him and that Jon and Robb will grow together as brothers.[24]

Barbrey Ryswell, who once aspired to marry Brandon before he was betrothed to Catelyn, mentions to Theon Greyjoy that she blames Eddard for the death of her husband Willam Dustin. She tells Theon that if she ever discovers the location of Eddard's bones, she will never allow them to be buried in the crypts of Winterfell along with his ancestors, in revenge for Eddard's failure to return her husband's bones to her.[25]

However, many other northern houses remember Eddard Stark with love and respect due to his fair and honorable leadership, despite Eddard never feeling he was equal to his older brother Brandon.


Bran- "Can a man still be brave when he's afraid?"

Eddard - "That's the only time a man can be brave."[2]

"If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you can not do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die. [...] A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is."[2]

Quotes about Eddard

"Was it really such a terrible thing, to want a pretty wife? She remembered her own childish disappointment, the first time she had laid eyes on Eddard Stark. She had pictured him as a younger version of his brother Brandon, but that was wrong. Ned was shorter and plainer of face, and so somber. He spoke courteously enough, but beneath the words she sensed a coolness that was all at odds with Brandon, whose mirths had been as wild as his rages. Even when he took her maidenhood, their love had more of a duty to it than of passion."'[6]

- Catelyn Tully

""A long time ago, she remembered her father saying that when the cold wind blows the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. He had it all backwards. Arya, the lone wolf, still lived, but the wolves of the pack had been taken and slain and skinned." [26]

- Arya Stark

"As for your Ned, he should have kissed the hand that killed Aerys, but he preferred to scorn the arse he found sitting on Robert's throne"[27]

- Jaime Lannister

"I knew Ned Stark as well. Your father was no friend of mine, but only a fool would doubt his honor or his honesy"[28]

- Stannis Baratheon speaking to Jon Snow


Jon Snow

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at House Stark. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of House Stark. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.