Who Every Stark Is Named After In Game Of Thrones & What It Really Means

In Game of Thrones, Lord Eddard Stark named his children, including one the viewer initially believed was his bastard son, after people who were important to him or the history of House Stark. When writing his epic fantasy novels, George R.R. Martin drew names from mythological and historical transitions, largely from Celtic and Greek mythology. However, some names were drawn from Hebrew and Sanskrit. With the Starks, he directly borrowed from Old English and the word “strearc,” which became the Middle English word “stark,” meaning firm, strong, and unyielding, an appropriate description of the Wardens of the North and all of Ned Stark’s children.


House Stark in Game of Thrones tended to reuse names or variants of names. There were over six Brandons, five Benjens and three Rickons. Variations on Eddard Stark’s name, including Elric, Edric and Edwyle, were in almost every generation. The Starks were fiercely traditional when honoring oaths and naming their heirs. The children of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully, except Robb and Jon Snow, had names taken from within the family, while Robb and Jon were named for significant people in their parents’ lives, especially Ned.

Related: Game of Thrones: The Direwolves Foreshadowed Every Stark’s Fate – Theory Explained

Who Robb Is Named After (& What It Means)

Robb Stark in Game of Thrones

The morning after Ned Stark and Catelyn Tully were married, Ned left her at Riverrun, her family’s ancestral seat, to join Robert Baratheon’s rebellion against the Targaryens and Mad King Aerys II. Catelyn had become pregnant on her wedding night and gave birth to her son Robb in Ned’s absence. Naming the child Robb after Robert Baratheon was a reasonable choice as he was the emerging leader in the conflict and Ned’s closest friend.

As the eldest son, Robb Stark was declared King of the North after his father’s beheading. He assembled his bannermen and marched south to King’s Landing to seek vengeance against the Lannisters. Though he won several battles, he was ultimately killed in what became known as The Red Wedding.

Who Arya Is Named After (& What It Means)

Split image of Arya Stark with a sword or looking up in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones‘ Arya Stark was named after Ned’s maternal grandmother Arya Flint. She was a noblewoman of House Flint of the mountains north of Winterfell and the Wolfswood. Old Nan, a servant woman at Winterfell and great-grandmother to Hodor, once told Bran that it was Arya Flint’s blood in him that made him climb.

Arya Stark had one of the most interesting character arcs in Game of Thrones. She was tomboyish when young and was often mistaken for a boy. Upon the death of her parents, she escaped to Braavos and trained as a Faceless Man. Before going to sleep every night, she would recite a list of names of the people she wanted to kill. When she returned to Westeros, she chose to reunite with her family instead of pursuing vengeance, at least for the time being.

Related: Arya’s Kill List On Game of Thrones: Who Died & Who She Let Live

Who Bran Is Named After (& What It Means)

Bran Stark from Game of Thrones

In Game of Thrones, Brandon Stark is the second son of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully, and his name was the most common male in House Stark. He was named after Ned’s older brother Brandon, who Mad King Aerys II killed. Brandon rode to King’s Landing, enraged and demanded the release of his sister Lyanna, who had been kidnaped by Rhaegar Targaryen, the Mad King’s son.

Early in Game of Thrones, Bran is pushed from a tower window by Jaime Lannister, ultimately leaving him paralyzed. As a warg and a greenseer, he became the new Three-Eyed Raven, an all-seeing, all-knowing figure whose purpose was never made clear in the show or the books. Bran was eventually crowned as the first elected ruler of the Six Kingdoms, styled as Bran the Broken, the First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Six Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.

Who Rickon Is Named After (& What It Means)

GOT Rickon Stark

The youngest son of Ned and Catelyn in Game of Thrones was Rickon Stark, named after Ned’s father. Rickard Stark had been summoned to King’s Landing to ransom his firstborn son Brandon. Both Brandon and Rickard were imprisoned for plotting to kill Prince Rhaegar. When Rickard demanded a trial by combat, as was his right, the Mad King declared that “fire” was the champion of House Targaryen. He had Rickard roasted alive in his armor while forcing Brandon, who was attached to a strangulation device that tightened a noose as he tried to reach for his sword to watch his father die.

Rickon Stark’s young life was marked by loss and violence. With his parents dead, he was on the run with Osha, a wildling woman who swore to protect him and Bran. Instead, they were betrayed and ended up in Ramsey Bolton’s custody. Rickon met a tragic end when, in The Battle of the Bastards, he was used as a ploy to lure out Jon Snow’s army. As he ran to reach his brother, he took an arrow to the chest and died.

Related: Every Way House Of The Dragon Episode 3 Copies Battle Of The Bastards

Who Jon Snow Is Named After (& What It Means)

Jon Snow freaking out on Game of Thrones

Jon Snow, who was subsequently revealed in Game of Thrones to be the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, was raised at Winterfell with the Stark children. For much of his life, he believed himself to be the bastard son of Eddard Stark, who named him Jon to honor his mentor Jon Arryn. Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark had fostered at the Eryie with Jon Arryn, who treated them as his own sons. After the Mad King executed Rickard and Brandon Stark, he ordered Jon Arryn to send him the heads of his wards, Robert and Ned. Jon Arryn refused, and the rebellion began. Later, the poisoning of Jon by his wife Lysa, with the aid of Petyr Baelish, was the precipitating event that led to the War of the Five Kings.

Jon Snow was stoic and honorable throughout Game of Thrones. He joined the Night’s Watch with pure intentions and tried to broker peace with the wildlings. He was elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He played a pivotal role in the struggle against the White Walkers. When he learned his true parentage, he wanted no part in being the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. One of his great tests was killing his lover Daenerys Targaryen, his aunt, to save Westeros from further destruction.

Who Sansa Is Named After (& What It Means)

Sansa Stark

While a simple answer to who is Sansa Stark’s namesake would be her mother, Catelyn Tully’s grandmother Sansa Leeford, there was another Sansa in the family tree. Sansa Stark was a great-great-great aunt of Ned Stark. After the death of her father, Rickon Stark, she was set to inherit Winterfell when her grandfather Cregan died. But, instead, the lordship passed to her uncle Jonnel, whom she later married.

When Game of Thrones began, Sansa was hopelessly naive, but as the show progressed, her innocence was taken from her, often brutally. She suffered greatly at the hands of Joffrey Lannister and Ramsey Bolton but acquired an intense inner strength and wisdom. Sansa Stark’s transformation from child to woman was, at times, painful to watch, yet she attained a quiet, smoldering identity.

Related: Game of Thrones: How Sansa Becomes [SPOILER]

How Sansa Stark Connects Game Of Thrones To House Of The Dragon

House of the dragon Game of thrones

Sansa Stark’s namesake from many generations back was the daughter of Rickon Stark, son of Cregan Stark. In episode 1, “The Heirs to the Dragon” of the House of the Dragon, Cregan’s father, another Rickon, made a brief appearance pledging the loyalty of House Stark to Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. In episode 10, “The Black Queen,” Rhaenyra, now Queen, sent her son Jacaerys Velaryon on a diplomatic mission to Winterfell to treat with Cregan Stark (grandfather to the older Sansa Stark). Cregan played an important role in bringing about the end of the Dance of the Dragons by helping to seat Rhaenyra’s son Aegon III on the Iron Throne. As in the Game of Thrones, the House of the Dragon has Starks and Targaryens cooperating to achieve a specific end.

One of the many compelling aspects of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon was George R.R. Martin’s worldbuilding. He created a vast landscape inhabited by characters who felt real. Each of the Houses had a rich history full of beauty, integrity, ugliness and treachery. The naming conventions used in all the Houses, but specifically the Starks, reflected tradition and honor. For the Stark children, their names signified ancestry and loyalty.

Next: Game of Thrones: Why House Stark Won’t Go Extinct (Despite No Male Heir)

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