King in the North and King of Winter are ancient titles held for thousands of years by House Stark of Winterfell. They were the last kingdom of the First Men and continued to rule the North after the Andals invaded and took over the southern kingdoms of Westeros. While the running direwolf is the sigil of House Stark, some Kings in the North had personal variants.
The current King in the North is Edderion Stark.
House Stark traces their descent from Bran the Builder who is said to have lived in the Age of Heroes and built the Wall at the end of the Long Night. Ballads claim the ancient kings drove giants from the North and slew skinchangers in the War of the Wolves. Over thousands of years, the Kings of Winter conquered and reduced to vassalage a number of rival kings, including Barrow Kings, Red Kings, Flints, Slates, Umbers, Lockes, Glovers, Fishers, and Ryders. They defeated the Warg King and Marsh King, forced the Blackwoods to flee, and vanquished the Greenwoods, Towers, Ambers, and Frosts. Many of their defeated enemies were forced to yield their women as prizes or brides.
Originally, "King of Winter" was the title used by the Starks who ruled the proto-kingdom centered around Winterfell itself. Centuries later, as they united most of the North under their rule, they increasingly called themselves "King in the North", a title claiming authority over the entire region. The shift in titles became solidified around 6,000 years ago, after the Starks finally subdued the Boltons - just as the first ships of the Andal invasion were beginning to land on the eastern coasts of Westeros. In subsequent generations the Starks rallied the entire North to resist encroachments by the Andals.
The Stark kings often warred with the ironborn from the Iron Islands and wildlings from beyond the Wall. After the Rape of the Three Sisters, the Starks battled with the Arryns for a thousand years over the Bite in the War Across the Water.
The last King in the North prior to the end of the third century was Torrhen Stark, who bent the knee to Aegon the Conqueror during the War of Conquest, thus making the North part of the Seven Kingdoms controlled by the Iron Throne. Since then Lord Stark has traditionally held the title Warden of the North for the Iron Throne.
The Kingdom of the North
Robb Stark was named King in the North by his bannermen on the onset of the War of the Five Kings, returning the once ancient title to House Stark. Robb would be victorious in his conflicts, succeeding in both the War of the Five Kings and the Ironborn Invasion of the North.
Robb would later add the Vale of Arryn and the Iron Islands to the Kingdom of the North, thanks to negotiations of his sister, Sansa Stark and his childhood friend, Theon Greyjoy. With a peace agreed upon between Robb Stark and Renly Baratheon at the Pact of Kings, the North formally secedes from the Iron Throne.
The royal seat of the Kingdom of the North is Winterfell, and the crown of Winter is the same once worn by Robb Stark: An open circlet of hammered bronze incised with the runes of the First Men, surmounted by nine black iron spikes wrought in the shape of longswords. It is said to look much the same as the one worn by the former Stark Kings in The North.
The titles held by the King of the North include:
- King in the North
- King of the Trident
- King of Mountains and Vale
- King of the Isles
Positions of the North
The North is traditionally governed by a group of nine advisors, called the Council of Nine, with two seats open to members of each region. These men (and sometimes women) advise the King on issues in their realm and abroad, though the final decision always lies with the Throne. Of these Nine, one may be chosen who sits as the King's chief advisor, the traditional title of Hand of the King, to the south. The presence of the Nine is only mandatory during dire times, and when matters of great import are discussed - during all other periods, their presence is not required in Winterfell, though of course all are welcome.
Current Council of Nine
- Edderion Stark, King in the North
- Rogar Bolton, of the North
- Melwyn Manderly, of the North
- Harren Blackfish, of the Riverlands
- Roger Blackwood, of the Riverlands
- Osric Arryn, of the Vale
- Osric Hunter, of the Vale
- Harras Greyjoy, of the Isles
- Victarion Drumm, of the Isles
The North possess a lack of official positions, though any man that proves himself can find a task that must be done. The Kings of Winter have long forwent the structure and rigidity of southern court, focusing instead on efficiency, rather than titles.
Other titles and Organizations in the North:
- Warden of the Southern Marches
- Defender of the Eastern Coasts - Traditionally held by House Manderly, the title denotes the impromptu commander of the Eastern Fleet, in case of attack.
- Defender of the Western Coasts - Traditionally held by House Greyjoy, the title denotes the impromptu commander of the Western Fleet, in case of attack.
- Marshal of the Blackwater - There are three Marshals of the Blackwater, who patrol the border of the Kingdom of the North and keep it safe. The three separate units are based in Stoney Sept, Maidenpool, and one just south of the God's Eye, and are filled out by fighters from across the Kingdom of the North. Each traditionally boasts a strength of about five hundred men, and swear directly to Winterfell. It is common for young lords to do service with the Marshals, to gain valuable experience.
- Captain of the Stoney Sept - Ser Lucias Rivers
- Captain of the God's Eye - Ser Tristifer Brightshield
- Captain of the Bay of Crabs - Harrion Ash
Line of Succession
364AC - Present: King Edderion II Stark