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Eddard’s mother, aka ‘Lady Stark’


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#1 kissdbyfire

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 03:23 PM

I did browse the threads to see if this one had already been posted, but couldn’t find it. I do think there are mentions to Eddard’s mother in other threads but I would like to discuss the topic further, and would love to hear others’ opinions on the matter. The subject did turn up on another thread. Isn’t it extremely curious that there is no mention whatsoever of this woman?
I didn’t remember any mention of her in the appendixes; just checked them again and there is nothing. Even though they are incredibly thorough.
I’m afraid this is going to be long, but bear with me.

Here is the bit in ADwD when Bran sees Winterfell through the weirwood, with some observations. I did put the whole vision for context.
Bran is seeing backwards in time. So, let’s see...

“Watching the flames, Bran decided he would stay awake till Meera came back. Jojen would be unhappy, he knew, but Meera would be glad for him. He did not remember closing his eyes.
… but then somehow he was back at Winterfell again, in the godswood looking down upon his father. Lord Eddard seemed much younger this time. His hair was brown, with no hint of grey in it, his head bowed. “… let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them,” he prayed, “and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive …”
“Father.” Bran’s voice was a whisper in the wind, a rustle in the leaves. “Father, it’s me. It’s Bran. Brandon.”
Eddard Stark lifted his head and looked long at the weirwood, frowning, but he did not speak. He cannot see me, Bran realized, despairing. He wanted to reach out and touch him, but all that he could do was watch and listen. I am in the tree. I am inside the heart tree, looking out of its red eyes, but the weirwood cannot talk, so I can’t.
Eddard Stark resumed his prayer. Bran felt his eyes fill up with tears. But were they his own tears, or the weirwood’s? If I cry, will the tree begin to weep?
The rest of his father’s words were drowned out by a sudden clatter of wood on wood. Eddard Stark dissolved, like mist in a morning sun."

So, this is soon after the war; Robb and Jon must be babies. Ned wants them to grow up as brothers, and for Catelyn to forgive. Lyanna died in 283 AL. Ned must be 20 years old (He is 35 at the beginning of AGoT, in 298 AL).

“Now two children danced across the godswood, hooting at one another as they dueled with broken branches. The girl was the older and taller of the two. Arya! Bran thought eagerly, as he watched her leap up onto a rock and cut at the boy. But that couldn’t be right. If the girl was Arya, the boy was Bran himself, and he had never worn his hair so long. And Arya never beat me playing swords, the way that girl is beating him. She slashed the boy across his thigh, so hard that his leg went out from under him and he fell into the pool and began to splash and shout. “You be quiet, stupid,” the girl said, tossing her own branch aside. “It’s just water. Do you want Old Nan to hear and run tell Father?” She knelt and pulled her brother from the pool, but before she got him out again, the two of them were gone.”

Lyanna, who looks so much like Arya, and Benjen playing in the godswood. They are ‘children’. And children means really, really young in Westeros since 16 is ‘a man grown’, right? My guess would be Lyanna is 8-ish, Benjen younger.

“After that the glimpses came faster and faster, till Bran was feeling lost and dizzy. He saw no more of his father, nor the girl who looked like Arya, but a woman heavy with child emerged naked and dripping from the black pool, knelt before the tree, and begged the old gods for a son who would avenge her. “

And here we are. Is this ‘Lady Stark’? I think it is. Now, she begs the old gods for a son to avenge her... Avenge what? Could she have been forced into a marriage with a Stark to seal some alliance and resents it to the point of wanting to see the downfall of house Stark? I don’t think that’s it, I’m just trying to think of different possibilities. I’m really intrigued by this. What would she want to avenge? Also, clearly someone very close to the old gods.

“Then there came a brown-haired girl slender as a spear who stood on the tips of her toes to kiss the lips of a young knight as tall as Hodor.”

I don’t think this has to do with ‘Lady Stark’, but could the girl be Old Nan and the knight Hodor’s great-grandfather? Just curious...

“A dark-eyed youth, pale and fierce, sliced three branches off the weirwood and shaped them into arrows. The tree itself was shrinking, growing smaller with each vision, whilst the lesser trees dwindled into saplings and vanished, only to be replaced by other trees that would dwindle and vanish in their turn. And now the lords Bran glimpsed were tall and hard, stern men in fur and chain mail. Some wore faces he remembered from the statues in the crypts, but they were gone before he could put a name to them.
Then, as he watched, a bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree. A white-haired woman stepped toward them through a drift of dark red leaves, a bronze sickle in her hand.
“No,” said Bran, “no, don’t,” but they could not hear him, no more than his father had. The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed. And through the mist of centuries the broken boy could only watch as the man’s feet drummed against the earth…
but as his life flowed out of him in a red tide, Brandon Stark could taste the blood.”

That’s it. Any thoughts? /dunno.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunno:' />

#2 Winterfell is Burning

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 05:44 PM

The big knight is Dunk.

The woman praying for a son that avenge her is the most mysterious of those visions. Perhaps we'll see this in the next Dunk & Egg novel.

The last one...is the white haired woman Lady Stoneheart?

#3 kissdbyfire

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 05:55 PM

Ah... I did think of Dunk! I haven't finished The Mystery Knight yet, but they are on their way to Winterfell. Could Dunk be Hodor's great-grandfather? I mean, I think he could be, no? We don't know Old Nan's exact age, only that she is one of the oldest in Westeros. And at lord Butterwell's tourney, the 'late lord Frey' is a boy of four. Is it possible Old Nan is a bit older than him?

I think the woman who wants a son to avenge her is Eddard's mother. Very intriguing.

But I don't think the white-haired woman is lady Stoneheart. I think that is further back in the past, the trees are growing smaller etc.

#4 Été

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 06:24 PM

The sequence of visions suggests the angry pregnant lady is more recent than Dunk's visit to Winterfell, so 80 years ago at most, when Beron Stark was lord. There may be one or two unkown generations in between Beron and Edwyle (Ned's grandfather) but even so that doesn't give us too many Stark ladies to choose from.

I think it would be more interesting if the woman was Rickard Stark's mother, and his "southron ambitions" were part of that vengeance she wanted.

#5 Jem

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 06:29 PM

I think it would be more interesting if the woman was Rickard Stark's mother, and his "southron ambitions" were part of that vengeance she wanted.


I agree. I was just writing that as you posted!

#6 RickonTheBAMF

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:23 PM

But I don't think the white-haired woman is lady Stoneheart. I think that is further back in the past, the trees are growing smaller etc.


The hint there is a bronze sickle. The First Men used bronze weapons, I'm guessing iron didn't end up in circulation until the Andals turned up. The (sacrifice? Execution?) may have taken place in the earliest days of Winterfell.

#7 Maria Underfoot

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 01:57 AM

Do we know what house she was from? Truth is, Brandon and Rickard are mentioned a couple of times, by Jaime or Catelyn or someone else. But we don't so much as know Ned's mother NAME.. Could there be something there?

Edited by Maria Underfoot, 26 October 2011 - 03:55 AM.


#8 Errant Bard

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 02:11 AM

Ran knows, he only said it was surprising.

But to be fair, not even the author knew until a few years ago.

Edited by Errant Bard, 26 October 2011 - 02:12 AM.


#9 kissdbyfire

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 02:11 AM

Do we know what house was she from? Truth is, Brandon and Rickard are mentioned a couple of times, by Jaime or Catelyn or someone else. But we don't so much as know Ned's mother NAME.. Could there be something there?

Precisely my point. No, we don't know her name, we don't know what house she comes from, we know nothing of this woman. And I definitely think there is something there, with GRRM being so thorough and then there's nothing about her? Not buying it.

#10 daenerys snow

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 02:32 AM

Ran knows, he only said it was surprising.

But to be fair, not even the author knew until a few years ago.


is he gonna share this sweet tidbit of info with the rest of us then?

#11 kissdbyfire

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:05 AM

is he gonna share this sweet tidbit of info with the rest of us then?

No! lol Don't want to find out like this. I want to find out reading and figuring it out.

#12 kissdbyfire

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:07 AM

Ran knows, he only said it was surprising.

But to be fair, not even the author knew until a few years ago.

Does he know it from something that is in the books and he figured it out?

#13 Brandon the Epithetless

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:07 AM

Crackpot: Surprising was it? how about if ned's mom was descended from a Targ?
I seem to remember a conversation bet. Robert and Ned that went:
Bob: We should have made you king..(he only wanted to whore and fight and such..)
Ned: You had the better claim. (not You're the one with the claim)

Am I just imagining this or was there such a conversation? did I get the phrasing right? Would a good samaritan with book access please post the conversation?
I remember thinking 'As if anyone else (among the rebel leaders) had a claim', when I read that

Edited by Brandon the Epithetless, 26 October 2011 - 03:19 AM.


#14 daenerys snow

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:18 AM

Does he know it from something that is in the books and he figured it out?


but then why would it be a mystery to the author if it was readily available info in the books?

#15 Errant Bard

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:34 AM

Does he know it from something that is in the books and he figured it out?

No, he knows because GRRM told him, and he's writing "the world of ice and fire", if I remember correctly.



but then why would it be a mystery to the author if it was readily available info in the books?

Many things are a mystery to GRRM in the beginning, then at one point he decides what the details are.

Edited by Errant Bard, 26 October 2011 - 03:35 AM.


#16 kissdbyfire

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:35 AM

but then why would it be a mystery to the author if it was readily available info in the books?

Maybe because he had 'vague plans' for her, but hadn't decided exactly what those plans would be. Years go by, his plans/ideas take shape, and he uses Bran's vision to introduce her. But not in an obvious way, of course.
Whereas if there was mention to a name or house before, even if just in the appendixes, he would have been tied down by that info.

#17 daenerys snow

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:38 AM

No, he knows because GRRM told him, and he's writing "the world of ice and fire", if I remember correctly.



Many things are a mystery to GRRM in the beginning, then at one point he decides what the details are.


so does this mean he is putting it in another book? the she-wolves of winterfell, perhaps?

#18 kissdbyfire

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 03:55 AM

Ok, here’s my crackpot theory, or at least one of them.
The woman heavy with child who wants to be avenged has to be, IMO, Rickard’s or Eddard’s mother. The visions are going backwards in time, and in chronological order, and these two women are the ones who fit in the timeline.
I think Eddard’s mother would be more important plot-wise, so to speak. Especially because her name has been deliberately omitted, IMO. Sure, Rickard’s mother isn’t mentioned either, but, so what? What I mean is, the Starks are a major house, and Eddard is in the story. I find it odd not to know at least his mother’s name.
Either way (Eddard’s or Rickard’s mother), couldn’t she be a wilding or someone from north of the wall? She keeps the old gods, I think. Of course, she could be a westerner or southron who converted, but I find this unlikely.
The Starks have always been friends to the Night’s Watch, and several Starks have been brothers of the NW. Say she is someone from beyond the Wall who is rescued by a ranging party of brothers. The Others killed her family/clan, she is taken to the Wall by the rangers; there is a Stark there, and because the Wall is no place for a woman and the Starks are Wardens of the North and honourable, she is taken to Winterfell – maybe temporarily until a better arrangement can be made. There she meets Rickard and they fall in love and/or end up getting married.
When she is ‘heavy with child’, she prays for a son who will avenge her, someone who will destroy the Others. And the gods answer her prayers, but in a sort or roundabout way; it’s not her son who will avenge her, but her grandsons, to whom the old gods ‘send’ the direwolves. /idea.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':idea:' />

#19 Brandon the Epithetless

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 04:10 AM

We already know something of Rickard's wife, her mother was a Flint of the mountains. Which makes it likely that she (Eddard's mum) is not Southron. Of course part-Southron is still a possibility.

#20 Winterfell is Burning

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 05:01 AM

No, Rickard's mother was a Flint, not his wife.