Ancient Stark Secrets May Define The End of 'Game of Thrones' Saga
The beginning of ‘Game of Thrones’ introduced the noble House Stark, and they became fan-favorites almost immediately. Many have been lost along the way, but Arya, Sansa, Bran, and Jon are still alive. However, while they have been painted as the good guys on the show, they are no saints either. Their traditions are rooted in ancient rituals that could be darker than most people know. Let’s find out more!
Legend states that House Stark began 8,000 years ago after the Long Night when the White Walkers surfaced for the first time. Some tales said that the Last Hero, along with the Children of the Forest, defeated the White Walkers. Other stories have said that it was Azor Ahai, that Prince That Was Promised, with a flaming sword called Lightbringer.
Either way, the White Walkers disappeared North, and Brandon the Builder made the Wall, and he was also responsible for making the castle of Winterfell. He started House Stark, who ruled over the North for many years. The Andals invaded Westeros at some point, and they brought with them a new religion and new customs.
The only ones who braved them were the Kings of Winter, and that is why the North has continued the beliefs of the First Men, praying to the Old Gods. They also remember things that many have forgotten. The battle against the White Walkers is intricately tied with the foundation of House Stark, and the answer to their defeat should be in House Stark history.
The motto of their family is “Winter is coming”, a warning for the people. Even their castle in Winterfell was allegedly built where the walkers were first conquered. There are hot springs around the area that help keep them warm in the coldest months. Additionally, the crown worn by their many Kings was made with iron, which is “the metals of winter, dark and strong to fight against the cold”.
The statues of all the North rulers in the Winterfell crypt have iron swords because White Walkers allegedly hate the material. It has been said that Winterfell has magical protections against the army of the dead because the Wall was supposed to have them as well. Since Bran the Builder made both places, he probably added some extra layers of security to the home of his family.
Another common saying of House Start is, “There must always be a Stark in Winterfell.” It might seem like some random claim to the area, but some people think that the Starks have to be in the North due to an ancient promise. They are the only ones who can protect the North from winter.
Along with the massive structure, there are 19 castles, which are mostly abandoned now. The oldest building is Nightfort, a very gloomy and sad place. There are many connections of Nightfort to the White Walkers. They have stories of a “thing” that came while it was dark, killing boys and bringing them back as half of themselves.
That would be the wights. Another story talked about a Knight with sapphires in his eyes like the White Walkers. However, the oldest and most important legend of Nightfort is about the Night’s King. Not to be confused with ‘Game of Thrones’s the Night King. They have made it pretty clear that they are two different beings.
The Night’s King was Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, and he met a woman with eyes like “blue stars” and “cold as ice”. Therefore, most people believe that she was a White Walker. He decided she would be his Queen, giving her his seed and his soul. They ruled over the Nightfort with sacrifices to the Others (White Walkers). This implies that they gave their children up just like Craster did on the show.
Their rule ended after 13 years when Brandon the Breaker, the King of Winterfell at the time, attacked. All parchments about the Night’s King were burnt, and no one was allowed to say his name to wipe it “from the memory of man”. However, why was his name so important that Brandon the Breaker wanted it out of history?
According to Old Nan, it was because the Night’s King was Brandon the Breaker’s brother. So, he was a Stark of Winterfell. Of course, it is hard to assess any truth from these old legends because they all happened years ago. However, they do give clues about the past. Clearly, the presence of the White Walkers was speculated about for a long time.
Furthermore, it seemed like that was their plan all along. In the third book of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, there are stories about the Black Gate, a secret passageway at the Nightfort made out of the face of a weirwood tree. It was dark and creepy, and just the kind of gate people would use to smuggle babies and sacrifice them to the Others.
Could it have been designed specifically for that purpose? It is possible. The Nightfort was the main castle for the Night’s Watch for thousands of years as it was the first one ever made. Some think that Brandon the Builder made it. However, the legends of the place are all connected to the White Walkers. One theory states that the White Walkers were never defeated during the Long Night.
Instead, a truce was brokered between them and the Starks. This would make sense because many Stark wars ended with one of their men marrying the daughter of the enemy. So, the Long Night could have ended with the Night’s King marrying a White Walker woman. Craster is protected from the Walkers because he sacrifices his sons, which could be a tradition designed centuries ago.
Additionally, humans made a deal with the Children of the Forest in front of weirwood trees. Perhaps, the weirdwood tree at the Black Gate was part of the ancient pact that ended the Long Night. Marriage could have been the reason for the Starks rule over the North, and the phrase “there must always be a Stark in Winterfell” is part of the promise.
THE COLD BLOOD
There is another theory which states that the Starks are descendants of the Night’s King and the Ice Queen. ‘Game of Thrones’ and the novels of George R.R. Martin are full of symbolic repetition, in part because Martin loves circular narratives. There are several tales of a baby boy with a special bloodline being raised as a Stark.
Jon Snow is really the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, but he was told he was Ned Stark’s bastard. There is also the story of Bael the Bard, a wildling whose son was raised as Stark, and he went on to become the Lord of Winterfell. Another surprising example is Gilly, one of Craster’s daughters. Gilly ran away with Sam so that her son wouldn’t be sacrificed to the White Walkers.
They went through the Black Gate at the Nightfort. They decided to raise the baby as Sam’s bastard, and Jon thought he should be raised at Winterfell. Therefore, there is always a boy from a secret past that grows up at Winterfell. That could have happened with the child of the Night’s King and the Night's Queen. When Brandon the Breaker took down his brother, he could have found a baby at the Nightfort.
He might have felt pity for the child and taken him to Winterfell as his own just like Ned did with his nephew, Jon. Bael the Bard’s story actually revealed that the Starks have a bit of wildling blood in them too; so, it is not that far-fetched to think that they could also have White Walker ancestry thanks to the Night’s Queen. There might be some clues about this in the books as well.
The Starks are apparently unlike other men. Catelyn once said, “You were made for the cold.” Petyr Baelish said, “You are all made of ice.” Even an old King called Brandon was called Ice Eyes. King Edrick was called Snowbeard. Their famous Valyrian steel sword was named Ice just like the weapons used by the White Walkers are made of it.
Maybe the motto “Winter is coming” is not a warning but their battle cry. The Starks were not given the North to rule. They had to conquer it. They also did awful things during those battles. Their ancestors might have been more in tune with their White Walker blood than anyone originally realized. They embraced themselves just like the Targaryens with their dragon blood.
However, at some point, they could have become ashamed of their past, and that is why they do not know themselves very well. Also, it would explain why Brandon the Breaker wanted to destroy his brother’s name from historical records. Additionally, the iron swords in the crypts are used to keep the spirits of the deadlocked in the tombs.
Why would they trap the spirits of the ancestors? Perhaps, they showed too much of their White Walker selves. Iron might have been able to suppress that side of their blood. Additionally, Winterfell might not just be a fort to keep these undead beings out but also hidden inside. The fear of something in your bloodline is very much like the stories of American author H.P. Lovecraft.
George R.R. Martin took a lot of inspiration from this author to design the eastern part of Essos. In one of Lovecraft’s stories, ‘Shadows Over Innsmouth’, the main character discovers that he comes from evil fish gods, the Deep Ones. He tries his best to stay away from his bloodline but eventually goes with them.
The Starks could end up discovering the truth of their ancestry and will have to join them. Remember that when Sam and Gilly were trying to escape with the baby, a Walker came after them. If the Starks are descendants of the baby of the Night’s King and his Ice Queen, then the White Walkers’ real plan could be to make the Starks join their ranks. They want the baby that was promised back as that was part of the oath.
Jon Snow is said to be the key to defeating the White Walkers. He might be Azor Ahai or something else. However, this story is not about good vs. evil but the conflict of human emotions, according to the author. Therefore, Jon is not going to end this war with a sword fight against the Night King. That would be anticlimactic at best.
It is more likely that Jon will have to sacrifice himself to the White Walkers. If Jon was able to make peace with the wildlings, he could make another deal with the Walkers by giving himself up and becoming one of them. It could also be a marriage deal, though, and he will be the new Night’s King. Some passages in the novels talk about “his skin growing pale” and “armored in black ice”.
Unfortunately, Jon has recently fallen in love with Daenerys. So just like he did a few seasons ago with Ygritte, he will have to choose between his heart and his duty. After all, George R.R. Martin said in 2015,
"People ask me how Game of Thrones is gonna end, and I'm not gonna tell them. But I always say to expect something bittersweet in the end. You can't just fulfill a quest and then pretend life is perfect."
This story is fantasy, drama, comedy, and everything rolled into one. That is what makes it so fantastic! Let us know how you think it will end. If you liked this article, share it with your friends who love ‘GOT’ theories. See you next time!