House Karstark

House Karstark of Karhold, formerly known as House Stark of Karl’s Hold, is an extinct vassal house that held fealty to House Stark of Winterfell, and briefly did so for House Bolton of the Dread fort after the Red Wedding due to Robb Stark executing their lord, Rickard Karstark, for treason during the War of the Five Kings. Their lands are northeast of Winterfell, located in heavy forested lands overlooking the Shivering Sea. Their stronghold is a castle called Karhold and the head of the house is the Lord of Karhold.

The Karstark sigil is a white sunburst on black. Their house words are “The Sun of Winter.”

History

Background

House Karstark is a cadet branch of House Stark and trace their descent from Karlon Stark, and through him, to the Starks and the First Men. Karlon Stark was a younger son of the King in the North who was awarded lands on the eastern region of the North after putting down a rebellion of House Bolton of the Dread fort, about a thousand years ago. Over time, Karlon’s seat, originally known as Karl’s Hold, became known as Karhold, while the Karl’s Hold Starks became known as Karstark’s.

Season 1

When Robb Stark calls his banners to march south to rescue Eddard Stark, House Karstark is among them. Harrion Karstark dies in a battle.

Season 2

During Robb’s campaign in the Wester lands, he takes with him an army of 6,000 cavalry. Half of this army is made up by Karstark cavalry. Later, Ser Jaime Lannister briefly escapes after killing his guard Torrhen Karstark, Harrion’s brother. When Jaime is recaptured, he is accosted and nearly lynched by several Karstark soldiers, incensed by Torrhen’s death. After arguing with Torrhen’s father Rickard Karstark, Catelyn Stark releases Jaime and tasks Brienne of Tarth with delivering him safely to King’s Landing, hoping to secure the release of her daughters, Sansa and Arya. When Catelyn explains this to Rickard, he angrily reminds her of the loss of his sons and accuses her of treason because her own children are prisoners, adding he would gladly offer his life to the gods if they would let his son live again even if that meant living as prisoners.

Season 3

As an act of revenge against House Lannister, Lord Rickard Karstark, the Lord of Karhold, breaks into the dungeons of Riverrun and murders Martyn and Willem Lannister, without the permission of Robb Stark, the King in the North. Robb executes Lord Karstark and the members of his household who assisted him under charges of treason. When Robb asks Karstark if he has any last words, he replies with “You are no king of mine” and is beheaded. Afterward, Lord Rickard’s retainers, 3,000 men abandon Robb’s cause, greatly reducing the size of the Northern army. Because of this the Karstark’s, along with the Boltons, have their armies intact following the Red Wedding.

Season 6

Harald Karstark, the new Lord of Karhold, reports the deaths of the hunters sent by Ramsay Bolton to trap the fugitive Sansa Stark. He nods in agreement when Ramsay suggests to his father Roose Bolton that they attack Castle Black and kill Lord Commander Jon Snow, a plan which Roose outright rejects out of fear that it would unite all northern houses against House Bolton. When Ramsay points out that they only need the support of Houses Umber, Manderly and Karstark, Lord Harald assures the Boltons that House Stark lost the Karstark’s when King Robb executed his father Rickard, adding that it’s time for new blood in the North. Harald keeps quiet as Roose warns his son about the dangers of having the reputation of being “a mad dog” and then congratulates Lord Bolton after Maester Wolkan announces the birth of Roose’s son by Lady Walda. Harald watches impassively as Ramsay approaches his father, murders him and orders Wolkan to send ravens to the other northern houses announcing Roose has been poisoned by the enemies of House Bolton. After Wolkan acquiesces, Lord Harald chides the Maester to be respectful to his new Lord.

Harald is present when Smalljon Umber, the new Lord of Last Hearth, forges an alliance with Ramsay by presenting the captives Osha and Rickon Stark. Smalljon quibs that Harald has an interest in young boys, which visibly angers him.

During a war council at Castle Black, Davos Seaworth confirms what Ramsay said earlier about the Umbers, Karstark’s, and Manderlys, and reminds Jon and Sansa that the Umbers and Karstark’s have already declared for Ramsay. Sansa replies that the Umbers can hang for giving her brother Rickon to Ramsay, but adds the Karstark’s declared without knowing they had another choice. She does not specify what she meant by this other “choice” as Davos reminds her of Robb’s folly when he executed Rickard.

Harald is present at the Battle of the Bastards as a banner man to Ramsay with at least 500 men, who is ultimately defeated due to the intervention of House Arryn and its banner men.

Season 7

Harald is reported to have died in the battle against the Boltons, leaving his daughter, Alys Karstark, as the new head of House Karstark. Alys swears fealty to Jon Snow, who pardons House Karstark and allows them to keep Karhold.

Season 8

801 Karstarks at Winterfell

Karstark forces arriving at Winterfell.

Alys Karstark returns to Winterfell with the Karstark forces from Karhold. She is greeted by Lord Yohn Royce, who welcomes and escorts her. Their arrival is witnessed by Tyrion Lannister, Ser Davos Seaworth, and Varys; Tyrion states that the Karstark sigil is “one of the better sigils,” and that it “beats an onion, anyway”, referring to the banner of House Seaworth. House Karstark became extinct when Lady Alys Karstark was killed during the Battle of Winterfell.

Members

  • Lord {Rickard Karstark}, Lord of Karhold. Executed by King Robb Stark under charges of treason for the murder of Martyn and Willem Lannister.
    • {Harrion Karstark}, his eldest son and heir. Killed in battle fighting by the side of King Robb Stark during the War of the Five Kings.
    • {Torrhen Karstark}, his second son. Murdered by Ser Jaime Lannister during an escape attempt.
    • Lord {Harald Karstark}, his youngest son. Becomes the Lord of Karhold following the execution of his father by Robb Stark. Participated and subsequently killed during the Battle of the Bastards on the side of House Bolton.
      • Lady {Alys Karstark}, his daughter and heir. Becomes the Lady of Karhold after her father’s death. Killed by wights during the Battle of Winterfell.

richard-karstark

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