With fans rooting for the Stark family since season 1, their deaths have easily been some of the most heartbreaking ones throughout the course of Game of Thrones. This is especially true because with this show, a death isn’t just a death. It’s a long-term political domino effect that impacts the series for seasons to come. Now, with Game of Thrones season 8 so close, it’s time for a quick recap of all Stark deaths and the implications that they’ve had on the realm.
Lady the Direwolf
Yes, we’re counting
Implications of Lady’s death:
Sentenced to death after Nymeria (Arya’s direwolf) bit Joffrey by Cersei Lannister, Lady’s fate foreshadows Sansa domination by the Lannisters, and how she can no longer rely on her House and stature for security.
Ned Stark, Season 1
Ned Stark, the personification of honour, dies at the end of Season 1 when King Joffrey Baratheon sentences him to death for treason.
Implications of Lord Stark’s death:
It is this single event that spurns forward the rest of the series, and the breakdown of the realm into multiple warring factions. Though the War of the 5 Kings starts with Robert Baratheon’s death, it is actually fuelled forward when Ned Stark dies.
Talisa, Robb Stark, Grey Wind, Season 3
Though promised to Walder Frey’s daughter, Robb Stark marries Talisa on impregnating her. Like his father, Robb tries his best to uphold Northern values of honour and tradition, and like his father, this is his downfall. Talissa Stark is killed moments before Robb, who is later beheaded by a member of the Frey house. His direwolf, Grey Wind, is also killed, with his head finally sewn onto Robb’s body.
Implications of Robb Stark’s Death:
With the King in the North no longer alive, Northerners rally behind different houses. The Boltons, who initially seized Winterfell on Robb’s orders, now rally behind the Lannisters, an act that helps Ramsay Bolton receive legitimacy from his father. This ultimately leads to many future events like Ramsay’s marriage to Sansa Stark with the help of Petyr Baelish, and also the Battle of the Bastards.
Catelyn Stark, Season 3
Catelyn Stark dies moments after Robb, at the hand of a member of House Frey. Her death marks the disintegration of all current Northern allies, which leads to multiple power struggles.
Implications of Catelyn Stark’s death:
With this death, Arya Stark has no where to turn to. The young Stark flees the scene along with the Hound, and is now on her own. Ultimately, Arya learns to fend for herself and goes to Braavos to become a Faceless Man. Her skills as an assassin come to her aid when Sansa and Arya kill Petyr Baelish in season 7.
Shaggydog and Rickon Stark, Season 6
Rickon Stark, the youngest Stark child, dies at the hand of Ramsay Bolton, during the Battle of the Bastards.
Implications of Rickon’s death:
Watching Rickon die ultimately spurs Jon on to defeat Ramsay Bolton. However, the battle is only won with the help of Lord Baelish’s army.
Summer, Season 6
Implications of Summer’s death:
With the death of summer comes the end of Bran Stark as we know him. He is now the Three Eyed Raven and has lost most of his identity to his new one. Bran becomes robotic and barely registers his sisters on being reunited with them in Season 7. With his new role as the three eyed raven, he now has the potential to influence Westeros and, well, make sure that history happens the way it did (confused? Read our Bran theories to know what we mean).
Arya Stark, Season 6 (theory)
Now, this one isn’t confirmed but many believe that Arya Stark died at the hand of the Waif in season 6. The Arya that we see moving forwards is actually the Waif wearing the young Stark’s face.
Implications of Arya’s death:
If this theory is true, it means that Braavos and the Faceless Men have a much deeper involvement when it comes to the way the realm functions. Otherwise, why would they have someone pretend to be Arya and send her home to Winterfell? There is a much greater play at hand, and it could possibly be related to Cersei Lannister’s deal with the Iron Bank. This is, after all, Game of Thrones, and nothing in this series is ever as obvious as it seems.