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alienarea

The Stark in Winterfell and the rise of the White Walkers

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"There must always be a Stark in Winterfell."

I guess we all know this. When Rickard leaves Winterfell to save Brandon, Benjen becomes the Stark in Winterfell and holds the title until Ned returns after the rebellion.

My speculation: the title "Stark in Winterfell" is not only a title, but a duty and a curse. You are not supposed to leave Winterfell, in case you do, you die.

Rickard leaves Winterfell, passes the title to Benjen, Rickard dies.

Ned returns from the rebrellion, Benjen passes the title, takes the black and disappears.

Ned passes the duty to Rob, leaves for KL, gets executed there.

Rob passes the title to Bran, leaves and dies in the red wedding.

When Benjen goes ranging beyond the wall, this triggers the White Walkers. To them he's still the Stark in Winterfell.

Bran is the last Stark in Winterfell (another Brandon Stark was the first), when he leaves for beyond the wall I guess the snow storm from ADwD starts rising to carry the White Walkers home.

@LynnS @Melifeather @redriver @Tucu @Black Crow @Frey family reunion 

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Posted (edited)

I used to say: There must always be a Stark in Winterfell (because) Winter is coming.  Maybe that should be amended to: There must always be a Stark in Winterfell (or else) Winter is coming. :D

Are these watch words and what does the Stark in Winterfell prevent?

Edited by LynnS

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11 minutes ago, alienarea said:

this triggers the White Walkers. To them he's still the Stark in Winterfell.

Why would that be? If it's a curse that is connected somehow and the WW knew it was Benjen at one time, then they would know it was Ned then Rob then Bran as well, right?

I do hope that a Stark always being in WF does have some connection back to the WW origin. 

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6 minutes ago, the Other Wolf said:

Why would that be? If it's a curse that is connected somehow and the WW knew it was Benjen at one time, then they would know it was Ned then Rob then Bran as well, right?

I do hope that a Stark always being in WF does have some connection back to the WW origin. 

The other (no pun) Starks in Winterfell we meet on the Story go South, Benjen crosses the wall and its magic. This is connected to the Last Hero and the sacrifice Bran visions. Not sure how.

 

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1 hour ago, alienarea said:

"There must always be a Stark in Winterfell."

I guess we all know this. When Rickard leaves Winterfell to save Brandon, Benjen becomes the Stark in Winterfell and holds the title until Ned returns after the rebellion.

My speculation: the title "Stark in Winterfell" is not only a title, but a duty and a curse. You are not supposed to leave Winterfell, in case you do, you die.

Rickard leaves Winterfell, passes the title to Benjen, Rickard dies.

Ned returns from the rebrellion, Benjen passes the title, takes the black and disappears.

Ned passes the duty to Rob, leaves for KL, gets executed there.

Rob passes the title to Bran, leaves and dies in the red wedding.

When Benjen goes ranging beyond the wall, this triggers the White Walkers. To them he's still the Stark in Winterfell.

Bran is the last Stark in Winterfell (another Brandon Stark was the first), when he leaves for beyond the wall I guess the snow storm from ADwD starts rising to carry the White Walkers home.

@LynnS @Melifeather @redriver @Tucu @Black Crow @Frey family reunion 

I have speculated before that the Starks are descendants of the Last Hero and that he was an exile escaping the doom his family triggered in the Land of Always Winter (mirroring the Targs exile from the Lands of the Long Summer). The CoTF/Old Gods helped him and now the Starks have the duty of controlling the effects of the white cold that marches south from time to time. Notice that the Reeds are tasked by the 3EC to escort the Stark in Winterfell to his tree wedding.

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Posted (edited)

This sort of reminds me about the Spear of Destiny.

Did you ever see or hear of the movie Monument Men? They were real life American soldiers that searched for royal jewels, holy relics, painting, and other works of valuable art that Hitler had accumulated. There was one relic in particular that General Patton was interested in: the Spear of Destiny.

The Spear of Destiny is believed to be the same spear that was used by a Roman soldier to pierce Jesus in the side to make sure he was dead. Hitler had it in his possession and Patton wanted it.

The relic – also known as the Holy Spear – has long been surrounded by mystery and intrigue, attracting some of history's most fearsome rulers. It was thought in the past to be able to shape the world to the owner's will but then curse the owner with death if the spear fell out of their possession. 

Hitler shot himself on the very same day that the Monument Men found and took possession of the Holy Spear.

General Eisenhower knew Patton had the spear, and he was concerned that Patton intended to keep it since he was so fascinated by its lore. Eisenhower ordered that the spear be returned to Austria. Patton died soon after the spear left his possession in a freak car accident.

Other notable leaders that had previously taken the spear of destiny and then died after it left their possession were: Constantine the Great, Attila the Hun, Charlemagne the Great, the Saxon King of Germany Heinrich I, Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, Napoleon Bonaparte, Baron von Hugel of house Habsburg, Kaiser Wilhelm II, then Hitler and Patton.

Winterfell might be a type of Spear of Destiny.

Edited by Melifeather

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17 hours ago, alienarea said:

"There must always be a Stark in Winterfell."

I guess we all know this. When Rickard leaves Winterfell to save Brandon, Benjen becomes the Stark in Winterfell and holds the title until Ned returns after the rebellion.

My speculation: the title "Stark in Winterfell" is not only a title, but a duty and a curse. You are not supposed to leave Winterfell, in case you do, you die.

Rickard leaves Winterfell, passes the title to Benjen, Rickard dies.

Ned returns from the rebrellion, Benjen passes the title, takes the black and disappears.

Ned passes the duty to Rob, leaves for KL, gets executed there.

Rob passes the title to Bran, leaves and dies in the red wedding.

When Benjen goes ranging beyond the wall, this triggers the White Walkers. To them he's still the Stark in Winterfell.

Bran is the last Stark in Winterfell (another Brandon Stark was the first), when he leaves for beyond the wall I guess the snow storm from ADwD starts rising to carry the White Walkers home.

@LynnS @Melifeather @redriver @Tucu @Black Crow @Frey family reunion 

In all fairness, Benjen handed Winterfell back to Ned, then he joined the NW and disappeared 15 years later. Valar Morgulis, as they say. The walkers were already triggered before Benjen disappeared, as the GoT prologue shows.

Always a Stark in Winterfell, it's a nice catchphrase, but the only person who ever uses it is Cat IIRC, and only once. So it's questionable how important it is in a grand metaphysical sense. More than likely, it's just an admonishment for the Starks not to treat their crowns and later lordships lightly. I find it hard to believe that there has never been a Stark in Winterfell for even a brief period of time in the thousands of years since the Long Night.

And the snow here is because winter has come. The northmen in Stannis' army don't even think this is much of a snow.  

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16 hours ago, Tucu said:

I have speculated before that the Starks are descendants of the Last Hero and that he was an exile escaping the doom his family triggered in the Land of Always Winter (mirroring the Targs exile from the Lands of the Long Summer). The CoTF/Old Gods helped him and now the Starks have the duty of controlling the effects of the white cold that marches south from time to time. Notice that the Reeds are tasked by the 3EC to escort the Stark in Winterfell to his tree wedding.

I'm a believer the Stark Line started with the conception of Brandon of the Bloody blade and Rose of Red lake. Their union resulted in Brandon the Builder, founder of House Stark

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23 hours ago, alienarea said:

"There must always be a Stark in Winterfell."

I guess we all know this. When Rickard leaves Winterfell to save Brandon, Benjen becomes the Stark in Winterfell and holds the title until Ned returns after the rebellion.

My speculation: the title "Stark in Winterfell" is not only a title, but a duty and a curse. You are not supposed to leave Winterfell, in case you do, you die.

Rickard leaves Winterfell, passes the title to Benjen, Rickard dies.

Ned returns from the rebrellion, Benjen passes the title, takes the black and disappears.

Ned passes the duty to Rob, leaves for KL, gets executed there.

Rob passes the title to Bran, leaves and dies in the red wedding.

When Benjen goes ranging beyond the wall, this triggers the White Walkers. To them he's still the Stark in Winterfell.

Bran is the last Stark in Winterfell (another Brandon Stark was the first), when he leaves for beyond the wall I guess the snow storm from ADwD starts rising to carry the White Walkers home.

@LynnS @Melifeather @redriver @Tucu @Black Crow @Frey family reunion 

The ancient saying may mean the Starks must stay in Winterfell. The direwolf died when she went south. That was a warning which they failed to understand.  They have a duty to the White walkers as the stewards of the north.  The Starks will help usher in an age of darkness and evil.  

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35 minutes ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The ancient saying may mean the Starks must stay in Winterfell. The direwolf died when she went south. That was a warning which they failed to understand.  They have a duty to the White walkers as the stewards of the north.  The Starks will help usher in an age of darkness and evil. 

I'm not so sure that it's that ancient of a saying. Ned says it to Cat and Cat repeats it to Robb. We ascribe all sorts of supernatural import to the statement, but it could just be Ned acknowledging the responsibilities of lordship and his duty to his bannermen and smallfolk to not be an absentee landlord. Its not like Ned wouldn't be a stickler for stuff like his own or his family's responsibilites. 

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Posted (edited)

Would it help to examine other hereditary obligations or titles in ASOIAF and seek parallels? 

I'm thinking of the Shrouded Lord, who chooses a successor by bestowing "the grey kiss" on someone. This individual is always associated with the Rhoyne River. Maybe this one doesn't count, since it's not hereditary. 

Maybe the Black Pearl of Braavos, all descended from Bellegere Otherys and (subsequently) Aegon IV. I don't think it's spelled out that the Black Pearl must reside in Braavos, but each successor seems to reside there. 

Of course each noble house tries to produce an heir from their own bloodline. Some are more successful than others. 

Is it possible that there are ritual items associated with being "the" Stark in Winterfell? It seemed really significant to me that Bran sat in his father's chair at the harvest festival and he described in detail his father's cup with the wolf's head from which Bran drank before feeling sad about the dancing and asking to be taken to bed. I believe that one POV is the only time the special Stark chair and cup are mentioned.

At Joffrey's wedding, he is given a cup with the sigils of the leading houses in each of the seven kingdoms. He jokes about chipping the wolf's head off the cup and replacing it with a kraken. But then he drinks from that cup and expires. (I know, I know. I'm not trying to restart the debate over the source of the poison, just saying that Joffrey's cup is at the center of the scene where he dies and his own remarks called attention to the Stark emblem on the cup.)

The sword Ice could be a central ritual item for the mandatory Stark in Winterfell but Robb and Bran never had it. Now they never can have it. Lady Stoneheart may have Oathkeeper. Will it be reunited with Widow's Wail when (if) the Starks are restored to Winterfell?

Edit: Maybe Aegon the Conqueror leaving Torrhen Stark in place as the Warden of the North also sustained some magic about the Stark presence in Winterfell.

Edited by Seams

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, Seams said:

Would it help to examine other hereditary obligations or titles in ASOIAF and seek parallels?

We can compare the tale of the Last Hero with some other "Stark men": the friendless Manderlys hounded and saved by the wolves:

Quote

A thousand years before the Conquest, a promise was made, and oaths were sworn in the Wolf's Den before the old gods and the new. When we were sore beset and friendless, hounded from our homes and in peril of our lives, the wolves took us in and nourished us and protected us against our enemies. The city is built upon the land they gave us. In return we swore that we should always be their men. Stark men!

Quote

she reminded me of the debt White Harbor owes to the Starks of Winterfell, a debt that can never be repaid

The Manderlys are "Stark men" and have a debt that can never be repaid. And this is the Last Hero, friendless and hounded and then saved by the CoTF:

Quote

He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it. And the Others smelled the hot blood in him, and came silent on his trail, stalking him with packs of pale white spiders big as hounds—"

Quote

All Bran could think of was Old Nan's story of the Others and the last hero, hounded through the white woods by dead men and spiders big as hounds. He was afraid for a moment, until he remembered how that story ended. "The children will help him," he blurted, "the children of the forest!"

 

Edited by Tucu

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We don't know for certain that Ben Stark is dead. We don't know exactly what he did, or is still doing, North of the Wall.

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The Others will raise the dead kings of winter from death to serve them.  The Others think of themselves as gods.  They ask for sacrifice.  The kings of winter were murdering people right and left to feed the trees.  The Others and the tree are connected through the Starks.  Put another way, the Starks and the Others are connected through the ritual of sacrifice.  Many a Stark boy in the past are now White walkers.  

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So why didn't Theon Stark, the Hungry Wolf, die when he left Winterfell and sailed across the sea to wage war in Andalos? Why didn't Cregan Stark, the Old Man of the North, die when he went south to King's Landing? Why didn't Rickard Stark, the Laughing Wolf, die when he went to the Neck to defeat the Marsh King? The list goes on. Starks don't just drop dead because they leave Winterfell.

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