Benjen Stark was a First Ranger of the Night’s Watch. He embarks on a ranging north of the Wall, and did not return. He was finally encountered again when he rescued Bran Stark and Meera Reed from wights after they escaped from the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven. Afterwards he led Bran and Meera close to the Wall but stayed behind because he could not pass through it due to his undead status. He eventually sacrificed himself to save his nephew, Jon Snow, by luring the army of the dead towards him.
Benjen Stark is the youngest child and third son of Lord Rickard Stark. Rickard was the head of House Stark and Lord Paramount of the North. The North is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Stark is one of the Great Houses of the realm. House Stark rule the region from their seat of Winterfell and Rickard also held the title Lord of Winterfell. He attended the The Great Tourney at Harrenhal.
Benjen is the younger brother of Brandon, Eddard and Lyanna. Rickard, Brandon and Lyanna were all killed in the civil war known as Robert’s Rebellion. Eddard inherited his father’s titles and responsibilities.
Benjen joined the Night’s Watch, the military force which patrols the Wall and guards the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms. He earned the rank of First Ranger. Benjen is viewed as a hero by his nephew Jon Snow.
Benjen travels south from the Wall to attend the feast welcoming King Robert Baratheon to Winterfell. He brings news about strange events beyond the Wall. Benjen tells Eddard that the young Night’s Watch deserter he executed was a good and loyal man who would not desert his post lightly. His nephew Jon Snow asks to join the Night’s Watch despite Benjen’s warning that it is a hard life. Eddard agrees to become the Hand of the King. A few days later, the royal party heads south. Benjen accompanies them to the Kings road and then escorts Jon and Tyrion Lannister north to Castle Black. Along the way they are joined by fresh recruits, including a rapist named Rast.
Jon begins to realise that the Watch may not be the noble institution he thought it was, and upon arriving at Castle Black Jon begins his training. Benjen tells Jon that he is going north of the Wall on a ranging. Jon asks to go with him, but Benjen tells him that he is not ready and cautions that on the Wall a man only gets what he earns, not what his birth entitles him to. Benjen says farewell to his friend Yoren, a recruiter for the Watch. He also exchanges words with Tyrion, who is about to head south with Yoren. Benjen feels that Tyrion holds the Watch in disregard despite Tyrion’s protests to the contrary.
Days later Benjen’s horse returns to Castle Black, but there is no sign of Benjen himself. Shortly afterwards, two of the rangers who accompanied Benjen, Othor and Jafer Flowers, are found dead in the forest beyond the Wall. They are brought back to Castle Black for Maester Aemon to study, but in the middle of the night they reanimate as wights. Both are killed again and their bodies are burned. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont vows to take the Watch beyond the Wall in force to investigate what’s going on and promises Jon that they will find Benjen alive or dead.
During the Great Ranging beyond the Wall, Mormont and his men stop at Craster’s Keep where Mormont tells the wildling Craster that Benjen has said he planned to stop there on his way to the Frost fangs. Craster gruffly replies that he hasn’t seen Benjen for three years and hasn’t missed him, saying that Benjen “always treated me like scum.”
Jon, who has now been elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, ends up alienating many of his fellow black brothers when he brings back several thousand wildling’s that were driven away from Hardhome and allows them safe passage through Castle Black. His personal steward, Olly, lures him into a trap by claiming one of the wildlings that he brought back says he knows Benjen. As Jon walks outside to see if this is true, Alliser Thorne (who Jon has since named First Ranger in place of the missing Benjen) adds that this wildling claims he saw Benjen at Hardhome on the last full moon. However, this is revealed to be nothing but a ruse as Alliser, Olly, and four other black brothers proceed to fatally stab Jon.
Benjen appears in a vision experienced by Bran Stark. Benjen is shown training with Ned under a young Rodrik Cassel in the courtyard of Winterfell, though his skills are far inferior to Ned’s. Lyanna appears and playfully teases Benjen about not having a sparring partner after Ned goes to the Eyrie, and suggests that Wylis take up swordplay. Benjen almost has a match with him, but he is led away by Old Nan. Benjen is seen later in another of Bran’s visions saying goodbye to Ned shortly before the latter heads off to the Vale.
Beyond the Wall, when Bran and Meera Reed are being chased by an army of wights, a hooded figure with a concealed face arrives atop a horse, wielding a flaming chain, to burn the wights and rescue the pair. When the wights become too numerous to fight off, he pulls Bran and Meera onto his horse and rides away. The next day, the hooded man feeds Bran the blood of a dead rabbit, and says he arrived to help because the Three-Eyed Raven requested it.
When questioned on his identity, he pulls down his scarf and hood, revealing himself as Benjen Stark. Benjen explains that, during his fateful ranging beyond the wall, he was attacked by White Walkers, one of whom shoved an ice sword into his gut and left him for dead. He was discovered by the Children of the Forest, who stopped him from falling to the control of the White Walkers by shoving a piece of dragon glass into his chest.
Benjen eventually escorts Bran and Meera to the weirwood tree nearby the Wall. When asked by Meera why he cannot travel any further south, Benjen explains that ancient spells carved into the foundation of the Wall prevent the dead from passing through it. Benjen says he will continue to fight for the living as long as he can, before departing.
When Jon, who has been left beyond the Wall by his group, is about to be swarmed by the army of the undead, Benjen suddenly comes riding in in the last moments, slaying wights from his horse. When he stops in front of Jon, he jumps off his horse and removes the scarf from his head, revealing his survival to the stunned Jon. To save Jon, Benjen heaves him onto his horse and orders him to ride back to the Wall. Jon asks Benjen to come with him but Benjen refuses, instead sending off the horse and drawing his flaming morning star to make his final stand. As the wights swarm him, Benjen fights back but is eventually overwhelmed and killed by the army of the dead.