Lyanna Stark

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House Stark.svgLyanna StarkHouse Stark.svg
Hallmarccus Lyanna.jpg
Lyanna Stark by Marcos Feittosa ©

Allegiance House Stark
Culture Northmen
Born In 266 AC or 267 AC[5]Winterfell[6]
Died In 283 AC[5] (aged 16)[7], the tower of joy[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 was the event that ultimately triggered Robert's Rebellion and led to the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty. She 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 is described by a couple of people as beautiful.[7][8] Though Maester Yandel describes her as "a wild and boyish young thing with none of the Princess Elia's delicate beauty",[9] Kevan Lannister recalls Lyanna having a "wild beauty" about her.[10] According to her brother Eddard Stark, Lyanna had been a child-woman of surpassing loveliness.[7] She was slim of frame.[11] Arya Stark, with her brown hair, long face and grey eyes,[12][13] resembles Lyanna in appearance, according to Eddard.[8] Margaery Tyrell, also brown of hair,[14] is believed by some to resemble Lyanna, though Eddard disagrees.[14]

According to Eddard Lyanna had a touch of wildness to her, which was described as "the wolf blood" by her father, Rickard Stark. Eddard compares her to his tomboyish daughter Arya in personality, adding that Lyanna probably would have carried a sword if their father had allowed it.[8] Lyanna was strong of will.[1] While Robert Baratheon, who had been deeply infatuated with Lyanna and remains very much in love with her memory over fifteen years after her death to the point of causing major strain in his marriage to Cersei Lannister,[7][15] believes Lyanna would never have publicly shamed him the way Cersei does.[16] Lyanna seems to have been considerably less enthusiastic about the marriage 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 Barbrey Dustin describes her as a centaur,[19] and 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]

Lyanna had been fond of flowers,[7] and loved the scent of winter roses.[21]


Lyanna, her brother, and Rhaegar by M.Luisa Giliberti ©
Lyanna, wearing a crown of blue winter roses – by Enife ©

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]

Lyanna's brother 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, 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]

The Year of the False Spring

Lyanna was present at the tourney at Harrenhal in 281 AC. She happened upon 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 Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, a noted musician, performed a sad and beautiful song that made Lyanna weep. However, when Benjen teased her for crying, she poured wine over his head.[1] During the feast, Lyanna recognized the three squires who had bullied Howland and pointed them out to her brothers.[1] A mystery knight known as the Knight of the Laughing Tree defeated the knights the three bullies served, and demanded them to be chastised as ransom payment.[1] Some fans have suggested Lyanna for the identity of the mystery knight.

Prince Rhaegar won the tournament, 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][9] At that moment "all the smiles died".[21] Brandon Stark believed Rhaegar's action to have been a slight upon Lyanna's honor. Some people say that Robert, 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.[9]

Robert's Rebellion

Lyanna by eliafernandez©

The next year, Lyanna came face to face with Rhaegar ten leagues from Harrenhal,[9] and 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, he roared for Rhaegar "to come out and die". Though Rhaegar was not present, King Aerys II had Brandon and his companions arrested and charged them with treason, accusing them of plotting the murder of the crown prince. Aerys summoned their 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 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 his father. When King Aerys next demanded the heads of Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, 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 Baratheon, 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, she 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, where 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]

Lyanna Stark by Dreambieng ©

The war, led by Lyanna's fiancé Robert, her brother Eddard, and their foster father Jon Arryn, 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 Prince Rhaegar and the royal army at the Trident, where Robert slew Rhaegar in single combat and the rebels defeated the royal army.[7] A fortnight later, the Sack of King's Landing officially ended the war,[40] though Lyanna still remained missing and the last opposition still had to be dealt with. From King's Landing, Eddard Stark 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 the three remaining loyalist members of Aerys II Targaryen's Kingsguard, Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Oswell Whent, and Ser Gerold Hightower. The men met in battle, and only Eddard and Howland Reed survived.[3] Inside the tower, Eddard found Lyanna in a "bed of blood", dying.[3][6] Lyanna died in a room that smelled of "blood and roses".[7] A fever had taken her strength, and her voice had been faint as a whisper. There was fear in her 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 Reed found Eddard still holding the corpse. Howland managed to separate the hands of the living man and the dead girl, though Eddard had no recollection of what happened after Lyanna died.[7]

It is currently 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] When his daughter Sansa pleads for the life of her direwolf, Lady, it reminds him of Lyanna's pleading.[42]

Ned and Robert visiting Lyanna's tomb - by Pojypojy ©

At the time of her death, Lyanna had only 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 him, Lyanna had wanted to be buried beside her father and brother.[7] Her tomb lies in the crypts of Winterfell, beside that of Rickard and Brandon Stark.[29] A statue of Lyanna has been carved in the stone of her tomb, though Robert Baratheon feels the stonemason failed to capture her beauty.[7] While only the kings and lords of Winterfell are supposed to have statues 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] Eddard brought flowers to Lyanna's tomb whenever possible, as she had been fond of flowers.[7]


King Robert I Baratheon, Lyanna's betrothed, and Eddard, her brother, had had a falling out after Robert was accepting of the manner at which Rhaegar's wife and two young children had been slain during the Sack of King's Landing.[38] Lyanna's death and the grief they shared over her passing eventually reconciled them. 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 married to Cersei Lannister.[16] However, during their wedding night, a drunken Robert called Cersei "Lyanna",[43] which began the strains in their marriage. Robert remained in love with Lyanna,[15] and named the war galley Lady Lyanna in her honor.[44]

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.[45]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Under the influence of milk of the poppy, Eddard Stark dreams about the combat at the tower of joy. While Eddard and his six companions battle the three Kingsguard knights in front of the tower, Lyanna is screaming inside the tower.[3]

Eddard Stark 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]

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 or command. But 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.[11]

A Dance with Dragons

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.[46] Several fans 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.[8] Additionally, the girl refers to Old Nan,[46] placing the event Bran witnesses as having taken place in more recent generations.

Quotes by Lyanna

Love is sweet, dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man's nature.[17]

—Lyanna, to Eddard Stark

Promise me, Ned.[17]

—Lyanna's last words.

Quotes about Lyanna

Ned remembering Lyanna - by Voyagehour ©

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]

Beautiful, and willful, and dead before her time.[8]

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

Eddard: 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.[43]

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




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 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 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 8.2 8.3 8.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring.
  10. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
  13. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
  14. 14.0 14.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  15. 15.0 15.1 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. 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. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
  31. 31.0 31.1 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. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  37. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
  38. 38.0 38.1 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 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
  42. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  43. 43.0 43.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
  44. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 58, Davos III.
  45. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
  46. 46.0 46.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 34, Bran III.

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