One of the great houses of the seven kingdoms with its residence at Winterfell in the north. It is represented by the Direwolf and its words are ‘Winter is coming’.
Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark is the warden of the north who is described as a cold ‘dead eyes’ person but who is known throughout the north and by his people as warm, friendly and bound by duty and honour. Ned is the second son of Rickard Stark who was fostered by Jon Arryn at the Vale along with Robert Baratheon who he became lifelong friends with. Ned became ward of Winterfell when his father and older Brother Brandon was killed by Aerys II as a result of a rebellion that started after Roberts sister Lyanna was abducted by Aerys’s son Raegar Targaryen. Ned marry Catelyn Tully (who was previously engaged to his brother Brandon) but soon after he joined Robert in the uprising to find Lyanna (who he was in love with) but it was too late. During his time away, he conceived a bastard, Jon Snow with a woman he told Robert was called wylla. Ned fathered 5 children with Catelyn; Rob, Sansa, Bran, Arya, Rickon and was ward to Theon Greyjoy who was captured as collateral damage in the Greyjoy rebellions.
Ned is only featured in the first book A Game Of Thrones and mentioned briefly throughout the others. To teach his sons the importance of honour and duty, at the start of the novel he brought them to watch his beheading of a deserter (a man who ran away from his duties at the wall). upon his return he learns that his lifelong friend and now the king, Robert Baratheon and his family are on their way to Winterfell. During the visit, Robert convinced him that he is needed at King’s Landing (the Kings residence) to be the hand of the King as he fears his life is in danger, being the duty bound person that he is, he could not refuse, especially since Catelyn showed him a letter from her sister Lysa claiming that Jon Arryn was murdered by the Lannisters (whom the king is now married to) and Robert may be in the same danger. Before Ned depart Winterfell though, his son, Bran, fell from a tower and was left paralyzed (it was revealed later that the Lannisters had a hand in this). Ned traveled to kings Landing with his eldest daughter Sansa (who became betrothed to Robert’s eldest son Joffery) and his youngest daughter Arya.
In Kings Landing, serving as the new Hand of the King, Ned is spied upon by everyone. He pursued his enquiry into Arryns death and soon gained enemies who do not wish for such information to be revealed. He began to look into the physical appearance of past noblemen and women in a book given to him by Grand Maester Pycelle, an activity Arryn was also doing before he was murdered. Soon after Catelyn arrived in kings Landing to tell him that it was the Lannisters who pushed Bran from a window that almost caused his death. Robert think he is unto something big and soon learned about an illegitimate child of robert (Gendry) and went to look for the boy. He finally put the pieces together and realized that Roberts supposedly legitimate children (Joffery, Mycella and Tommen) were all fathered by Cersei’s twin brother Jaime Lannister. Ned, foolishly confronts Cersei with this damning piece of information and threatened to reveal it to Robert, before he could do so though, the king was severely wounded in a hunting match and Ned did not have the heart to tell his friend he was not the father of his children. On his deathbed, Robert made Ned regent until his son takes the throne. upon Roberts’ death, Ned wrote to Stannis declaring Jofferys’ illegitimacy and his right to the throne but his letter was intercepted. Ned was arrested for Treason and refuse to take back his words about King Joffery. Varys (the master of whisperers) convinced Ned to take back his words stating that Sansa is being held hostage and his eldest son Robb is on a siege to declare war on the Lannisters, in turn he would be exiled to the wall to join the Night’s Watch. Ned agreed. The day he declared that he was wrong in stating that Joffery was illegitimate and plead fealty to Joffery however, he died. On Baelor’s sept, Joffery took back his word and ordered Ned be beheaded as an example while Sansa and Arya watched. Helpless.
And so began the war of the Five Kings. Robb declared himself king in the North, Stannis declared himself the lawful heir of the throne, Renly, Robert’s younger brother also declared himself king and the road to war began.
So many Kings and only one Iron Throne.