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YOVMO

Stark: Name or Title

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Stark is obviously a surname but there are several occasions when it is used as a title as in "The Stark of Winterfell" which, unlike "a stark of winterfell" which seems to mean a stark family member in the line of the lord, seems like a title.

The reason I ask is because I am wondering where "Stark" came from. Was Bran the Builder Brandon Stark? What about Brandon of the Bloody Blade? By rights he should have been Brandon Greenhand. At some point in the age of Heros between Brandon of the Bloody Blade coming to maturity and going out into the world and making his mark on it and Bran the Builder building winterfell the name (or title) Stark was taken and I was curious as to when, why, how etc.

Most other names make sense. Garth Greenhand founding house Gardener, Lann the Clever with Lannisters, Durran and House Durrandon.

That we really have no common sense reason for why Brandon would take the name stark short of the horribly unsatisfying "hey, sure is stark up here maybe i'll use that as a name" seems to be important to me.

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8 minutes ago, YOVMO said:

Stark is obviously a surname but there are several occasions when it is used as a title as in "The Stark of Winterfell" which, unlike "a stark of winterfell" which seems to mean a stark family member in the line of the lord, seems like a title.

The reason I ask is because I am wondering where "Stark" came from. Was Bran the Builder Brandon Stark? What about Brandon of the Bloody Blade? By rights he should have been Brandon Greenhand. At some point in the age of Heros between Brandon of the Bloody Blade coming to maturity and going out into the world and making his mark on it and Bran the Builder building winterfell the name (or title) Stark was taken and I was curious as to when, why, how etc.

Most other names make sense. Garth Greenhand founding house Gardener, Lann the Clever with Lannisters, Durran and House Durrandon.

That we really have no common sense reason for why Brandon would take the name stark short of the horribly unsatisfying "hey, sure is stark up here maybe i'll use that as a name" seems to be important to me.

They are a harsh, plain folk.  Primitive and direct.  It's more George setting the expectations of what the reader can expect from members of the house.

The North was barren at the time of Brandon.  It's hard to imagine surnames would be needed.  Maybe it started out as another name that morphed into the present name.  Like Karstark coming from the root Stark.  Maybe Stark came from Craster.  There is a good post on this theory - Craster is a Stark - the Starks are Crasters - Craster was a Stark.

Edited by The Transporter

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1 hour ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Is The Mance a title?

I have often wondered this as well. Maybe it is just a northern way of speaking, but who knows. It would explain some problems and create others so I don't know. I think the way they use The Stark of Winterfell makes me feel that it is possible in the age of Heros that Brandon found The Stark of the north or The Stark of something and was somehow given that title and became, after building it, The Stark of Winterfell.

So again, possible, but I just don't know. I do not like that there is really no satisfying answer.

 

Of course @The Transporter is right that the name does describe the members of the family and is a way for George to let the reader know what to expect, but I just want more. Further, while Stark does accurately describe Ned, Jon and too a slightly lesser degree Robb, Bran and Arya it doesn't describe Sansa. Moreover, it doesn't really describe Brandon (Ned's Brother) and I have my doubts that Rickard was much like Ned. Other famous Starks like Theon the Hungry Wolf. This is an 8000 year lineage, the idea that Ned's personality is the norm is nowhere to be found really.

 

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*Spanner*

Do you think this could be related to the Ned's girl moniker?

  • But the wolves insisted; Roose Bolton could not be suffered to hold Winterfell, and the Ned's girl must be rescued from the clutches of his bastard. So said Morgan Liddle, Brandon Norrey, Big Bucket Wull, the Flints, even the She-Bear.
  • "Winter is almost upon us, boy. And winter is death. I would sooner my men die fighting for the Ned's little girl than alone and hungry in the snow, weeping tears that freeze upon their cheeks. No one sings songs of men who die like that. As for me, I am old. This will be my last winter. Let me bathe in Bolton blood before I die. I want to feel it spatter across my face when my axe bites deep into a Bolton skull. I want to lick it off my lips and die with the taste of it on my tongue."

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1 hour ago, YOVMO said:

Stark is obviously a surname but there are several occasions when it is used as a title as in "The Stark of Winterfell" which, unlike "a stark of winterfell" which seems to mean a stark family member in the line of the lord, seems like a title.

The Stark in Winterfell is a person of the family in the castle. Not a title. They need to be there for some probably magical or prophetic reason 

1 hour ago, YOVMO said:

The reason I ask is because I am wondering where "Stark" came from. 

GRRM kept the family names of the northern first men short. One or two syllables. Stark, Bolton, Locke, Wull, harstark etc. It just a cool sounding name. 

2 hours ago, YOVMO said:

Was Bran the Builder Brandon Stark?

  No, he was Bran Stark also known as Bran the Builder. 

2 hours ago, YOVMO said:

What about Brandon of the Bloody Blade? By rights he should have been Brandon Greenhand.

He was Brandon Stark, also known as Brandon the Bloody Blade. 

2 hours ago, YOVMO said:

By rights he should have been Brandon Greenhand.

 How so? I do not remember reading any legit connection to the greenhands. Only speculation.

2 hours ago, YOVMO said:

At some point in the age of Heros between Brandon of the Bloody Blade coming to maturity and going out into the world and making his mark on it and Bran the Builder building winterfell the name (or title) Stark was taken and I was curious as to when, why, how etc.

It was probably a family name in story. Nothing more. 

2 hours ago, YOVMO said:

Most other names make sense. Garth Greenhand founding house Gardener, Lann the Clever with Lannisters, Durran and House Durrandon.

Greenhand and gardner do not make sense. Shouldn't the house be House Greenhand? Where did gardener come from? 

2 hours ago, YOVMO said:

That we really have no common sense reason for why Brandon would take the name stark short of the horribly unsatisfying "hey, sure is stark up here maybe i'll use that as a name" seems to be important to me.

It was probably something that sounded really cool to the author. And why is Stark less satisfying than say Royce? 

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27 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

*Spanner*

Do you think this could be related to the Ned's girl moniker?

  • But the wolves insisted; Roose Bolton could not be suffered to hold Winterfell, and the Ned's girl must be rescued from the clutches of his bastard. So said Morgan Liddle, Brandon Norrey, Big Bucket Wull, the Flints, even the She-Bear.
  • "Winter is almost upon us, boy. And winter is death. I would sooner my men die fighting for the Ned's little girl than alone and hungry in the snow, weeping tears that freeze upon their cheeks. No one sings songs of men who die like that. As for me, I am old. This will be my last winter. Let me bathe in Bolton blood before I die. I want to feel it spatter across my face when my axe bites deep into a Bolton skull. I want to lick it off my lips and die with the taste of it on my tongue."

I believe it is the Ned's girl and not "The Ned"s girl

 

Quote

"Your Grace?" The king smiled. "That's not a style one often hears from the lips of free folk. I'm Mance to most, The Mance to some. Will you take a horn of mead?"

 

Edit: forgot about this but still, it is curious Mance is "The Mance" while the rest are "the Rest".

Quote

So Ned is not The Ned, it's just that  the little girl is Ned's."That's their sigil," said Bran. "Three brown buckets on a blue field, with a border of white and grey checks. Lord Wull came to Winterfell once, to do his fealty and talk with Father, and he had the buckets on his shield. He's no true lord, though. Well, he is, but they call him just the Wull, and there's the Knott and the Norrey and the Liddle too. At Winterfell we called them lords, but their own folk don't."

 

 

Edited by Corvo the Crow

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9 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

And why is Stark less satisfying than say Royce? 

Because the founder of that house, the Bronze king, was named Royce so it makes sense.

 

9 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

 How so? I do not remember reading any legit connection to the greenhands. Only speculation.

I am a believer that Garth was BotBB's father and BotBB was, in turn, Bran the Builders father. You are right, it is speculation, but I think the internal logic is coherent and pans out. That argument aside, the hypothetical still stands

If Garth is Brandon of the Bloody Blade's father and if BotBB is Bran the Builder's father then at some point Bran the Builder (or one of his children) intentionally took the name Stark as a surname and if so they must have did it for a reason.

I grant that if Garth is not an ancestor then the question loses some interest though.

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9 minutes ago, Corvo the Crow said:

I believe it is the Ned's girl and not "The Ned"s girl

 

 

Edit: forgot about this but still, it is curious Mance is "The Mance" while the rest are "the Rest".

 

 

But why not just say "Arya", or, Lord Eddard's daughter, etc? I agree it is a curious way to refer to someone, I am just more curiouser still. I wonder if it is just a regional thing.

However, it does remind me of the discussions regarding the difference between King of the North and King of Winter.

Edited by The Fattest Leech

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14 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

I agree it is a curious way to refer to someone, I am just more curiouser still. I wonder if it is just a regional thing.

It really is something that bugs me. Regional thing is possible and would account for a few issues, but not all of them

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14 minutes ago, YOVMO said:

It really is something that bugs me. Regional thing is possible and would account for a few issues, but not all of them

I think it is a regional thing specific to the northern clans.  I think they use it as a reference to the leader of a family or group.  There is a scene in ASOS where Bran comments to Meera and Jojen that there is the Wull, the Norrey, the Knott, and the Liddle.  

Maybe the clans don't recognize or use royal titles like lord or king.  Instead they use "the fill in the blank". Hence, the Mance, instead of Mance Rayder, King Beyond the Wall.

Edited by The Hidden Dragon
typo

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1 minute ago, The Hidden Dragon said:

I think it is a regional thing specific to the northern clans.  I think they use it as a reference to the leader of a family or group.  There is a scene in ASOS where Bran comments to Meera and Jojen that there is the Wull, the Norrey, the Knott, and the Liddle.  

Maybe the clans don't recognize or use royal titles like lord or king.  Instead they use "the fill in the blank". Hence, the Mance, instead of Mance Ryder, King Beyond the Wall.

I think this is the most reasonable explanation for the use. So there is "a stark of winterfell" which is a stark family member and "The Stark" which is the lord probably kind of out of fashion First Men way of saying it with the Clans and the Free Folk. But then this brings up my other question: If it is the case that house Stark comes from Bran the Builder who was the grandson of Garth Greenhand (and I know it is a big IF but I buy it) then when Bran got to the north was there A Stark? How did Bran become The Stark

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2 hours ago, YOVMO said:

The reason I ask is because I am wondering where "Stark" came from. Was Bran the Builder Brandon Stark? What about Brandon of the Bloody Blade? By rights he should have been Brandon Greenhand. At some point in the age of Heros between Brandon of the Bloody Blade coming to maturity and going out into the world and making his mark on it and Bran the Builder building winterfell the name (or title) Stark was taken and I was curious as to when, why, how etc.

Isn't this like how any new last name would come about, though? Brandon moved from a land that was lush and green and warm to a land that the opposite of that. The Reach is in stark contrast to the north. 

Yeah, I don't know.

 

 

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40 minutes ago, YOVMO said:

Because the founder of that house, the Bronze king, was named Royce so it makes sense.

Yes, but by the logic of this post, Royce os boring and the house should be referred to as the "House of the Bronze Kings" 

 

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6 hours ago, Corvo the Crow said:

Is The Mance a title?

This might end up being a search as it relates to customs.  I’m thinking the “the” is a manner of showing respect.

Someone who knows the history of Scotland, Ireland or Wales might know the answer.

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6 hours ago, Clegane'sPup said:

Someone who knows the history of Scotland, Ireland or Wales might know the answer.

Wikipedia seems to know.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_of_the_Name

Quote

In the Tudor period the Kingdom of Ireland was established in 1542, and many of the former autonomous clan chiefs were assimilated under the English legal system via the policy of surrender and regrant. At the same time numerous mentions were made in official records of locally-powerful landlords described as "chief of his nation", i.e. head of a family, whether assimilated or not. Attempts were made by the English to make each "chief" responsible for the good behaviour of the rest of his family and followers. The Gaelic practice was for such a man to sign himself by the family surname only. A new practice arose where the English version of the surname was in many instances prefixed by "The", and so for example the head of the Mac Aonghusa clan in County Down would sign as "Mac Aonghusa" in Irish, and as "The Magennis" in English.

So, it was not so much a title as an indication of the head of the clan; the person who would speak for the clan, negotiate on its behalf, be held responsible for its collective behaviour, etc.

 

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Yes, I think Stark might have been the title of an office before it became the name of a House.

From an old post.

Quote

I have the idea that Stark might have been the name for an office before it became the family name, like Magnar.

 

Each of the "Hundred Kingdoms" had a Stark that was supposed to negotiate between the Others and men when winters became dire, maybe they were the King's of Winter or they were another important factor - a brother to the King of Winter - that could controll the dead created by the fighting amongst men for the scarce ressources when the King of Winter failed - The White Walkers! As a safety precaution each of the kingdoms was given an obsidian dagger - the gift of a hundred dragonglass daggers.

 

Edited by Lykos

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11 hours ago, The Hidden Dragon said:

I think it is a regional thing specific to the northern clans.  I think they use it as a reference to the leader of a family or group.  There is a scene in ASOS where Bran comments to Meera and Jojen that there is the Wull, the Norrey, the Knott, and the Liddle.  

Maybe the clans don't recognize or use royal titles like lord or king.  Instead they use "the fill in the blank". Hence, the Mance, instead of Mance Rayder, King Beyond the Wall.

I think it is related to this. Bran's explanation on how the mountain clans in the North point out who's the chief of their clan suggests this strongly. And in aDwD, these clans do not just award Starks with loyalty and such respect, they do it to the name Ned, making it "The Ned"

11 hours ago, YOVMO said:

If it is the case that house Stark comes from Bran the Builder who was the grandson of Garth Greenhand (and I know it is a big IF but I buy it) then when Bran got to the north was there A Stark? How did Bran become The Stark

I'd say: by marrying one ;) Brandon the Builder wasn't an Orys Baratheon. The latter is the type who takes everything: castle, only heir but female, sigil, words, but the name. There's circumstantial evidence that such a "paste my name on it, because I'm male" on important houses or clans is a rare event in the history before conquest (it is a tactic in full fashion at the moment in the series with the most greedy of houses: Lannisters, Freys, Boltons... not the best of company). And yet with all the warring and Long Night and such we can be certain that the continuing of clans and houses must have depended on the last heir quite a few times and that chances are high that such an heir was female.

In fact, there are tricks and tales in the North that help Northern women in continuing their house without losing their house name to the father of their children: think of the Mormont women (Maege and Alysanne) for example. Or what about the Stark daughter and her son with Bael.

What if the Last Hero was a Stark, but died, while Brandon the Builder wed the Last Hero's sister or cousin or daughter, and the continuance of the Stark name depended on her. In such circumstances, Brandon could offer to take on the Stark name, to honor his wife's clan and beloved heroic kin who sacrificed everything for humanity.

So, I can go with a scenario where the Last Hero was "The Stark" according to remaining Northern Mountain Clan custom. He saved everyone, but died. The Stark clan was down to a female heir and Brandon wed her, building a castle (and a wall), and he took her name.

More, let's say we accept that Brandon the Builder and his father are son and grandson of Garth: what's to say they even had a last name, or had Garth's. One of these Brandons could have been a "bastard" no? Brandon of the Bloody Blade does have a "double entendre" no? Ned's brother Brandon also liked his blade bloody. ;)Brandon of the Bloody Blade may have been more like King Robert, and Brandon the Builder could have been one of his bastard sons who wasn't trained in war, but apprenticed by a stonemason or something.

 

Edited by sweetsunray

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13 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

But why not just say "Arya", or, Lord Eddard's daughter, etc? I agree it is a curious way to refer to someone, I am just more curiouser still. I wonder if it is just a regional thing.

However, it does remind me of the discussions regarding the difference between King of the North and King of Winter.

I'd also say that the use of a definite article is about placing emphasis on position and precedence.. the king, the lord etc. except the name is given instead of the title. 

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13 hours ago, YOVMO said:

I am a believer that Garth was BotBB's father and BotBB was, in turn, Bran the Builders father. You are right, it is speculation, but I think the internal logic is coherent and pans out. That argument aside, the hypothetical still stands

If Garth is Brandon of the Bloody Blade's father and if BotBB is Bran the Builder's father then at some point Bran the Builder (or one of his children) intentionally took the name Stark as a surname and if so they must have did it for a reason.

I grant that if Garth is not an ancestor then the question loses some interest though.

That Brandon of the Bloody Blade is a son of Garth Greenhand is not in question he is listed as such without any reservations made. Weather Brandon of the Bloody Blade is a ancestor of Brandon the Builder is questioned.

The World of Ice and Fire - The Reach: Garth Greenhand

The list is long, and many are the legends, for there is scarce a noble house in all the Reach that does not boast of descent from one of Garth Greenhand's countless children. Even the heroes of other lands and kingdoms are sometimes numbered amongst the offspring of the Greenhand. Brandon the Builder was descended from Garth by way of Brandon of the Bloody Blade, these tales would have us believe,

And from the list of the children of Garth Greenhand

Brandon of the Bloody Blade, who drove the giants from the Reach and warred against the children of the forest, slaying so many at Blue Lake that it has been known as Red Lake ever since.

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