Fangirl Fridays – House Stark from Game of Thrones
In May 2013, I started reading the first book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. This is one of Wench Angela’s favorite series, and had been sitting on my TBR list for awhile. I just needed to wrap my head around the size of these books, and then I was all set. My plan was, as I finish a book, I will then watch the corresponding season. I know many fans of the show who have never read the books, so don’t let that deter you from watching Game of Thrones on HBO. Right now, I have just finished watching season one of the show, and I am currently halfway through the second book in the series, A Clash of Kings.
All of the early events of this series are very fresh in my mind. Please join me after the jump in my admiration of House Stark. Major spoilers ahead.
Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark
We met Lord Eddard in Winterfell, surrounded by his loving family. He was a man who had everything and could want for nothing more. Then, King Robert showed up asking him to go back to King's Landing and take the position as the Hand of the King. Ned felt that he couldn’t refuse his old friend, and he reasoned that he could do a lot of good for the Realm if he went. He also wanted to solve the details of the death of the previous Hand, Lord Jon Arryn, his friend and brother-in-law. Ned soon found out that “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” (famous words from Queen Cersei to Ned).
God, Ned. I am almost at a loss for words at the tragedy that unfolded for him in A Game of Thrones. Sadly, the moral of his story is “Nice guys finish last,” or “It doesn’t pay to do the right thing.”
“Tell me, Jon, if the day should ever come when your lord father must needs choose between honor on the one hand and those he loves on the other, what would he do?” ~Master Aeman, high officer of the Night’s Watch.
Well, we know what Ned chose. He chose his family: the safety of his two daughters who were still in Lannister hands. After all the good he tried to do for his family, for King Robert, and for the Realm, he finally tried the coat of dishonor on for a change. Too little, too late. He lied and said he committed treason, and King Joffrey shocked everyone by ordering him beheaded that instant.
Ned’s story isn’t quite over despite being dead. The loose end of who is Jon Snow’s mother is still out there. We know her name is Wylla; he told Robert that in the crypt beneath Winterfell. We also know that he refused to discuss anything about her. Who is this woman who would make the honorable Lord Eddard Stark briefly forget his honor? I do hope we find out!
Lady Catelyn “Cat” Stark
Cat, you are an example of feminine strength in this series. The list is long, all the things she’s done for her family and for others. She saved Bran from the attacker, she has been good counsel to Robb in the war, and she saved Brienne when “King” Renly’s army would’ve been looking for someone to blame for his death. I admire the way she has forced herself to step back and let Robb grow up overnight to become the “King of the North.” Considering that she just lost her husband, and she nearly lost her young son, I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch Robb put himself in mortal danger.
The one thing she did that I disagreed with was taking Tyrion Lannister as a prisoner. I, personally, felt that she was incorrect, but she acted on the information she had. She trusted Petyr Baelish’s word, another example of how the Starks are too trusting. Let us not confuse too trusting with weak, however. Lady Catelyn has demonstrated that she will fight for her family with everything she has.
“Every morning, when I wake, I remember that Ned is gone. I have no skill with swords, but that does not mean that I do not dream of riding to King’s Landing and wrapping my hands around Cersei Lannister’s white throat and squeezing until her face turns black.”
|You go girl!|
Robb, wise beyond his years, brings pride to the Stark name. He was the Lord of Winterfell while his father and mother were away, learning as he went. He had a shining example in his father, Ned. Soon, we find him leading a host to war. I am so impressed with how he carries himself with the bannermen, even when he feels unsure. His war strategy that won him the battle at Whispering Woods and captured the Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister, was just outstanding! I LOVE that the rest of the Realm thought he was just a green boy who would be so easy to defeat, and now they are having to eat their words. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him!
Bastard or not, I can't exclude Jon Snow. Not only does he look like his father, Ned Stark, but he has his honor, kindness, and bravery, as well. Jon decided to join the Brotherhood of the Night’s Watch early in the story. Once you "take the black," you may never leave the Wall. It wasn't long before his honor was tested. When Ned was killed, and then Robb went to war, Jon felt he needed to fight alongside his brother. He very nearly broke his vows and left, but his friends followed him and brought him back. All this shows is that Jon is human, and I can hardly fault his loyalty to his family. He’s learning a very hard lesson.
We also saw Jon stand up to the bullying Ser Alliser Thorne, weapons trainer for new recruits to the Night’s Watch. He befriended new recruit and self-admitted coward, Samwell Tarly, saving him from certain ostracization from Ser Alliser and the other boys.
Another shining moment of Jon’s is when he saved Lord Commander Mormont from the white walker. His dire-wolf, Ghost, helped too, but it was Jon who grabbed burning drapes with his bare hands and flung them at the walker.
Oh, Sansa, I feel for her. I really do. She’s made some mistakes, sure, but other than some sibling meanness towards Arya, she is not a bad person. She was delusional, and that is not a crime. Sansa bought into the dream of being the little woman behind the man. All she wanted out of life was a future of taking care of the children, and her biggest concern being what dress to wear to the many tournaments and feasts. Lord Petyr Baelish tried to warn her, but she had to learn the hard way that all is not rainbows and unicorns when you play the Game of Thrones.
“Life is not a song, sweetling. You may learn that one day to your sorrow.”~ Lord Petyr Baelish to Sansa Stark
Arya is the complete opposite of her older sister, Sansa. She has all the best qualities of both mother and father. In this age, a girl like her is rare. Jon gave her a sword before he took the black, which became Arya’s most prized possession. She’s more interested in sword fighting lessons than dancing and sewing. Arya is a quick thinker, and she knew she needed to get out of the Red Keep when her father’s men were being attacked.
She’s a survivor.
Her mantra, taught to her by her “dancing master,” the Braavosi, Syrio Forel:
“Fear cuts deeper than swords.”
Bran is a strong little boy who had to grow up fast. He was a typical boy who loved to climb until he was pushed from a window by Jaime Lannister. He survived the fall, but he lost the use of his legs. Thanks to Tyrion Lannister, he is able to ride a horse, and he still dreams of becoming a knight one day. For the moment, he is doing well as the little Lord of Winterfell, as his parents and all of his older siblings are away. He's been having strange dreams though. He might be special, but I'm not sure exactly how yet. I’m very curious to see what’s in store for him.
The baby Stark is just three years old when we first meet him, although we don’t see much of him at all. He does not understand the actions of the adults around him. His parents, brothers, and sisters (save Bran) all left him behind at the castle at about the same time. Before too long, he dreams that his father is dead, and then he finds out that it’s true. I can only imagine that now he is thinking that none of them will come back. He’s just a young boy who misses his family.
This concludes my fangirling of House Stark. I leave you with this reminder:
|Everybody! PLEASE! Leave the man alone!|
So, ASOIAF fans, let us know below. Are you a House Stark fan? If so, who is your favorite Stark, and why?
**All images courtesy of Tumblr.com