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FylkirKarl

Where are all of the cadet branches?

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Where are the cadet branches for all of the great houses? Besides some relatives in House Lannister and House Tyrell, there are no cousins or distant relatives for any of the other great houses. Martell, Tully, Arryn, Baratheon, Greyjoy, etc. The only house with a few cadet branches that we know by name are House Stark with House Karstark and House Greystark, Greystark being extinct by thousands of years and Karstark having turned traitor. I know this is probably a fault of GRRM and his lack of foresight in the great big universe he created but still, where are all of the other Greyjoys or Boltons or Starks or Baratheons? House Baratheon is down to three people, Stark to five, Martell to three and a lot of bastards, Tully to three, Arryn to possibly one (I believe Sweetrobin is LF son), Greyjoy sits at 5, Bolton has the head, and a bastard, the Targaryens have possibly three etc.

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I keep thinking it's odd that there are apparently no other Starks, Tullys, Arryns, etc. around. Every lord will try to have as many sons as possible, and surely all the non-heirs can't have died or taken some vow to not have children. It seems like half these families are teetering on the edge of extinction.

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There are cadet branches for every family. The thing is, most of them are so far removed that their ties to the main family are only as strong as any other house that married into them. For example, as Petyr Baelish mentions, there is a branch of house Arryn in Gulltown, but Harry comes before them in succesion. There are families with the name Stark in White Harbour, at least 5 branches of Lannister between Lannisport and Casterly Rock. Logically therefore, we can assume that each major house has about half a dozen distant cadet branches either located in some city somewhere or ruling small tower's/keeps/holdfasts in their lands. Other branches will have either married back into the main branch (the ones with only daughters), become landless courtiers like guardsmen or castellans or master at arms' or died off, with their sons becoming NW brothers, Maesters, Septons (for the southerners), sellswords/hedge knights or merchants.

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Where did you hear that there are Starks in White Harbour? I know of the Arryns of Gulltown, and I mentioned the Lannisters having multiple relatives along with the Tyrells having a lot of family members around too, but never have I heard of there being Starks in White Harbour.

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Did Ned Stark have any uncle or aunt?

No.

I asume that important families like the Starks would keep in touch with their greatuncle and greatuncle's grandkids; cousin and 2nd cousin and 3rd cousin and so forth. So there would be a lot more Starks around than just the 7 we saw (like the Freys or Lannisters).

There are probably some descendants of offshoot branches from the family tree floating around the north, most likely in White Harbor and Barrowton.

The Stark Family, 06/10/2013, http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1239/

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Thank you, but I have a question. Do any of those cadet branches have a claim to Winterfell or do the Karstarks have a claim in the case that the current Starks of Winterfell were to die similar to House Caron all dying to sickness besides the heir and his bastard brother.

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I'm sure there are, but we know a handful of the main branches. Westeros is a feudal society. People don't have clean access to news or don't even want to be bothered to know what's up. 

And even if very distant branches of the main ones DO recieve news about what goes on, if I was a distant Stark dude living in another region, in a poor keep, I would definitely keep low.

Besides, you can always argue that George prefers simplicity so he can actually tell a story.

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2 hours ago, FylkirKarl said:

Thank you, but I have a question. Do any of those cadet branches have a claim to Winterfell or do the Karstarks have a claim in the case that the current Starks of Winterfell were to die similar to House Caron all dying to sickness besides the heir and his bastard brother.

They definitely have some claim.  Whomever has the most recent Lord as their ancestor would have the best claim.  Once the French monarchy had to go back 10 generations to find the next man of patrilineal descent so there would be real life precedent too.

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29 minutes ago, Belgarad said:

They definitely have some claim.  Whomever has the most recent Lord as their ancestor would have the best claim.  Once the French monarchy had to go back 10 generations to find the next man of patrilineal descent so there would be real life precedent too.

That's what I'm thinking. To use an example from the current story, there are doubtless at least half a dozen small houses ruling minor keeps and holdfasts in the Vale with the name Arryn and even more with some wierd variation of the name but Harrold Hardyng has a stronger claim to the Eyrie because his blood ties to the main Arryn's are more recent.

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First, although they do have a tradition of primogeniture, it's not the sort of strict rule modern Britain uses that unambiguously picks the best heir in any case. Harry Hardyng was a special case, where the Vale Lords got together and decided to work out the succession for their liege specifically to make sure there wouldn't be any troubles when Sweetrobin died.

More often it probably goes like the Hornwood inheritance. Halys had a maternal nephew, but he didn't automatically inherit. Instead, Halys's widow Donella took over, and then brought the succession to her liege. Bran and his advisors considered having her adopt the nephew, or letting the sister inherit to hand it off to her nephew when he comes of age. But they also considered legitimizing Halys's bastard son who was being fostered by the Glovers. And they agreed that the best solution was probably to marry Donella to someone with grown sons so one of her sons-in-law could inherit, but they couldn't find a suitable candidate. And then, of course, Ramsay kidnapped her and forced her to marry him, and Luwin and Rodrik reluctantly conceded that as long as the marriage was legal, he was now the heir.

As for the Karstark claim: They're a cadet branch from 1000 years back. Surely there's some random Joe Branch in the forests who's only 4 generations out instead of 50, and if he can't prove his pedigree or doesn't care to, there's probably a Joe Stark in White Harbor who's a clear patrilineal descendant and only 6 generations out. But if the main Stark line dies out in a crisis that nobody's prepared for in advance, if the Karstarks are strong and popular at the time, it might well be acceptable to most of the North if the eldest Karstark son takes Winterfell and renames himself Stark. Not because he has the best legal claim—he's probably not even in the top 20 even among those with provable pedigrees—but for pragmatic reasons.

Also, keep in mind that, unlike France, Westeros seems to strongly discourage a single man or family from having multiple holdings. The 5th man in line to a French duchy is probably a marquis with a few counties and baronies to boot and a couple more from his wife; the 5th man in line to a Westerosi lordship paramount is probably just some guy, maybe a landed knight if they're lucky.

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1 hour ago, Belgarad said:

They definitely have some claim.  Whomever has the most recent Lord as their ancestor would have the best claim.  Once the French monarchy had to go back 10 generations to find the next man of patrilineal descent so there would be real life precedent too.

That's the problem with using agnatic primogeniture like France instead of cognatic like most other countries. If you just place daughters below sons instead of eliminating them entirely, you only have to go back 2 or 3 generations instead of 10.

On the other hand, cognatic is more complicated, making it easier to argue about, so you also may get the War of the Roses.

 

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If all the family members die off, are there are surviving descendants of other family members who can fill the vacant seat? Is there another example besides the Arryns??

 

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It's really quite ridiculous. The Arryns have ruled a country with similar land and population to the entirety of medieval Britain for over a thousand years, yet when the series begins there's literally just one Arryn: Jon. Similarly, in the North, a legacy of Bolton kings going back thousands of years has somehow managed to scrape by with only one current Bolton surviving: Roose. How is that even possible?

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4 hours ago, FylkirKarl said:

Thank you, but I have a question. Do any of those cadet branches have a claim to Winterfell or do the Karstarks have a claim in the case that the current Starks of Winterfell were to die similar to House Caron all dying to sickness besides the heir and his bastard brother.

Based on Catelyn's arguments against Robb legitimizing Jon and naming Jon as his heir, I would say not. 

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2 hours ago, Nihlus said:

It's really quite ridiculous. The Arryns have ruled a country with similar land and population to the entirety of medieval Britain for over a thousand years, yet when the series begins there's literally just one Arryn: Jon. Similarly, in the North, a legacy of Bolton kings going back thousands of years has somehow managed to scrape by with only one current Bolton surviving: Roose. How is that even possible?

for the book story of course

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Cadet Branches of the Crownlands:
Baratheon of King's Landing
Baratheon of Dragonstone
Blackfyre (if any still exist)
Brune of Brown Hollow (presumed)

 

Cadet Branches of Dorne:
Dayne of High Hermitage

 

Cadet Branches of the Iron Islands:
Farwynd of the Lonely Light
Goodbrother of Corpse Lake
Goodbrother of Crow Spike Keep
Goodbrother of Downdelving
Goodbrother of Shatterstone
Goodbrother of Orkmont
Harlaw of Grey Garden
Harlaw of Harlaw Hall
Harlaw of Harridan Hill
Harlaw of the Tower of Glimmering

 

Cadet Branches of the North:
Bolton of Winterfell (new, and doomed I hope)
Flint of Flint's Fingers
Flint of Widow's Watch
Greystark (extinct)
Karstark
Stark of Barrowtown (possible, rumored, not canon yet)
Stark of White Harbor (possible, rumored, not canon yet)

 

Cadet Branches of the Reach:
Fossaway of New Barrel
Osgrey of Leafy Lake (extinct)
Tyrell of Brightwater Keep (new)
Lazy Leo Tyrell is from a cadet branch


Cadet Branches of the Riverlands:
Baelish of Harrenhal (new, and I don't understand this as LF is the only member of both so far as we know)
Frey of Riverrun (new)

 

Cadet Branches of the Stormlands:
Foote of Nightsong (new)
 

Cadet Branches of the Vale:
Arryn of Gulltown
Royce of the Gates of the Moon

 

Cadet branches of the Westerlands:
Lannet (possible)
Lannister of Darry (new, and probably going to go extinct)
Lannister of Lannisport
Lanny (possible)
Lantell (possible)
Podrick is supposed to be from a cadet branch of House Payne
 

9 hours ago, FylkirKarl said:

Thank you, but I have a question. Do any of those cadet branches have a claim to Winterfell or do the Karstarks have a claim in the case that the current Starks of Winterfell were to die similar to House Caron all dying to sickness besides the heir and his bastard brother.

The Karstarks would be way down the line. Karlon Stark split off from the family hundreds of years ago. There are much closer relatives. The Templetons, the Cerwyns, even the Umbers have more Recent Stark blood than House Karstark does.

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5 hours ago, Nihlus said:

It's really quite ridiculous. The Arryns have ruled a country with similar land and population to the entirety of medieval Britain for over a thousand years, yet when the series begins there's literally just one Arryn: Jon. Similarly, in the North, a legacy of Bolton kings going back thousands of years has somehow managed to scrape by with only one current Bolton surviving: Roose. How is that even possible?

Plague/sickness. War. Infertility. Murder. Famine. Winters that last for years on end. High infant mortality. 

Houses go extinct. It happens. If they're lucky some fringe relative will move in, take the name, and continue the line. It's entirely possible that all of these families who have ruled for thousands of years have had that happen. Look at the story of Bael the Bard Jr. His grandpa Stark had no male heir so he just made the kid a Stark (if the story is true) and they got another hundred/thousand years. Another option is for the name to pass down through the maternal line as it can apparently in House Mormont and House Martell.

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It seems to me that rather than creating actual cadet branches with separate holdings of their own, such as the Karstarks or Daynes of High Hermitage or others mentioned above, Westerosi tradition seems to keep younger sons as a part of the lord's household or head to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Kevan Lannister has no holdings of his own, but works for Tywin. The myriad of Frey sons and grandsons all seem to have remained at the Twins. None of the Karstark uncles, Umber uncles, Mace Tyrell's siblings, Blackfish, Oberyn and Llewyn Martell, etc. have been granted lands or titles beyond "Ser" (Martells are born as "Prince"). 

A few cadet branches have sprouted recently, but those were mostly born out of the necessities of war (Nestor Royce, Lancel, Emmon, etc.) rather than being "true" cadets, a la Karstarks. 

Since we know nothing about the origins Lannisters of Lannisports, Starks of White Harbor, or Arryns of Gulltown, we really have no idea how these offshoots were created. I think it could be that these families were created by younger sons who said "forget it" and went to learn a trade of some sort, rather than live as an underling in their brother's/uncle's/cousin's household. They're all located in their region's city, and medieval cities were places where tradesmen and merchants lived, while lords and ladies just visited when summoned by their superior.   After all, Cat did not mention the Starks of White Harbor or Barrowton when listing possible heirs, she mentioned non-Starks (in name) from the Vale as Robb's next closest heirs. 

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1 hour ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Plague/sickness. War. Infertility. Murder. Famine. Winters that last for years on end. High infant mortality. .

Its more surprising there are so many long lived houses, with all that.

Edited by DominusNovus

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Baratheons also have cadet branches House Bolling is definetly a bastard offshoot as they bear the bastard sigil in a quarter of their sigil and House Wensignton also has the Baratheon sigil within its own.

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