Originally this was going to be for my Game of Thrones S2-5 overview, but I decided to have the Starks as my October appreciation post topic : ) That being said...I have finally caught up with Game of Thrones (if you follow me on Pinterest and//or Tumblr, then you would already be aware of this fact) and I am so glad I continued on with the series now! There are many characters on the show that I love and admire and most of them just so happen to make up the whole Stark//Snow family.
The Starks are just a great family who have done nothing to deserve the horrific treatment they are faced to endure on the show. Every member of the Stark family suffers due to this war (some more than othes) and each member (with the exception of the youngest) play a vital role in the story. The Stark family is what ties in a good amount of the story. They're all spread out all over the country and almost every person on the show has come into contact with one Stark family member at least once.
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Eddard "Ned" & Catelyn Stark
|Ned and Catelyn ~ Lord and Lady of Winterfell.|
Ned and Cat are introduced in the story as a very much in love couple with five rambunctious children (aging between 20 to 6), a lively manor house and an extraordinary northern realm to rule. Also, they have a foster son, Theon Greyjoy (who was actually kidnapped) and Ned's bastard child, Jon Snow, who is the bane of Catelyn's existence and she does not hide how she feels about her husband's illegitimate son. Jon Snow set aside, Cat and Ned are a very a happy couple who have provided a good life for the people who depend on them and have raised their children in the highest and most moral codes of living (and may have spoiled them a little bit). Not bad for an arranged marriage that neither one wanted in the beginning. So, life for the Starks in Winterfell is an absolute fairy tale. Until the king comes and the fairy tale dies, a very slow and painful death.
I loved Ned and Cat!! They were both wonderful parents who loved their children dearly and wanted to give them the best life possible. Like all parents, they're flawed and imperfect and must come to terms with their imperfections.
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Robb Stark & Jon Snow
|Top: Robb and Talisa|
Bottom: Jon Snow and Ygritte
Two men who followed their hearts that led them to their untimely graves (Spoilers. Not sorry). Robb Stark is the oldest son of Ned and Catelyn, the pride and joy of Winterfell and the crowned King of the North. After his father is murdered and his little sisters held hostage, Robb sets off to avenge his father, bring his sisters back home and hope that he can bring peace as the new ruler of Winterfell, but not necessarily as the king on the Iron Throne. Robb does not desire power or position, he simply wants his family back and he'll do whatever it takes to bring them all home. Even if it means consenting to an arranged marriage for an ally treaty.
Then in the midst of battles and blood, Robb meets a beautiful young doctor, Lady Talisa Maegyr, who brings a small amount of happiness to his dreary and gray days on the battlefield. Overtime Robb and Talisa fall in love and secretly marry which mares Robbs identity as an honorable man and noble king. As wonderful as Talisa was, Robb knew full well the damage that would be done if he broke his promise and he, his wife and their unborn baby all paid that price of that damage in their own blood.
Jon Snow, the unwanted bastard son of Ned Stark, is a dark and complex character who is gifted with incredible courage, intelligence, kindness and humanity. Jon longs to be excepted, but is also honor bound to do what is right, just as his father raised him. Jon becomes a Nights Watchman, an order of men who are bound by honor and duty to guard the 700+ wall the separates the civilized North from the Wildlings, a (supposedly) wild and vicious tribal people that are made up of many groups of peoples.
Eventually, Jon finds himself at the the mercy of these people, understanding who they are, how they live and unexpectedly falls in love with one beautiful, red-haired, Wildling, Ygritte. Jon is actually happy and feels accepted among these people he was raised to fear and trained to kill, but he himself, understands what it's liked to be known only by what you are not who you are. However, Jon (like his father and half-brother) must come to the crossroads of choosing personal happiness or public honor and either way he will suffer for his decision.
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Sansa & Arya Stark
|Top: Sansa Stark and the Lannisters who she hated|
Bottom: Arya Stark and Gendry, her friend, protector, and possibly more
There was a lot of drama that could have been avoided if Sansa Stark didn't have her head in the clouds and her mind set on romantic illusions. Although, that's not Sansa's fault; that's just how she was raised, to become a lady, marry well (preferably to a prince or king) and have children. She is totally 100% a product of her environment. Sansa is introduced as a lovestruck 13 year old who is set on marrying the young crown prince and live a happily ever after; what she got instead was hell on earth with one of the most dysfunctional families in Westeros.
Sansa becomes a pawn in the dangerous world of politics, thrones and divided loyalties. The boy she thought would be her prince charming becomes her nightmare who terrorizes her to no end with his cruelty and abuse. Things only go from bad to worse with Sansa as the show progresses, but with each fall she picks herself back up, wipes off the blood and continues walking forward. Happiness of a long lost dream and Sansa slowly begins to lose herself in a never-ending cycle of lies and manipulation, but the unexpected always happens and Sansa still finds herself alive another day.
And then there's the other sister...Arya. To say the Arya is a free spirit is seriously understating the truth. A full-fledged tomboy who would rather fight battles than sew dresses, Arya gets her chance to fight, but this is the real deal and there is no family for her to run to. She is completely on her own with only her small amount of swordplay training, her quick thinking and her genuinely charming nature to get her through. Sassy, but sensible, Arya is easy to remember and hard to forget, but she is a Stark and she will survive, she will live and she will get justice for the ones that were taken away from her.
The closest thing Arya could possibly get to a romantic relationship (she's only 11 in S1) is found in her friendship with Gendry Waters a quiet 18-19 year old blacksmith from King's Landing who rescues her from a group of bullies. Afterwards, Arya and Gendry are pretty much inseparable as they are herded and sold off to the men who wish to control Westeros. Gendry becomes Arya's protector and her friend and both have an easygoing relationship that's a breath of fresh air for the show. When Arya and Gendry come to possibility of separating, Arya desperately wants him to stay with her, whether out of friendship or even love, but he is made to leave and once again, Arya is alone.
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Bran & Rickon Stark
|Top: Bran Stark with his older brothers in happier times|
Bottom: Rickon Stark on the run with his brother and guardians
I've noticed a theme with the Stark family, the younger you are, the worse you're going to suffer. Robb and Jon lived pretty comfortably and didn't have many worries. Sansa was with the the abusive Lannisters, but she had a few allies to help her, Arya is almost entirely on her own and must rely on her wits. Then the two youngest boys, Bran and Rickon are betrayed by Theon Greyjoy and have to run away with only two servants to help them. While one may think that Arya has the worse of it, Bran and Rickon's happy lives ended the moment the king stepped foot in Winterfell. Bran is crippled after he witnesses a horrifying scene involving the Lannisters and afterwards, Rickon lost his mother who spent day and night at Bran's bedside. Then one by one, each family member leaves, not knowing if they will ever see one another again.
Bran is pretty much the younger version of Robb. He has the same honest and kind nature, with a wisdom beyond his years. He cares deeply for other people and has potential to become a good leader only his story gets stranger as the show progresses and he wasn't even in S5. So we're kind of at a standstill with Bran. Rickon doesn't get much screentime, but what he does have is worthwhile. He's a sweet and sensitive 6 year old that deserves all the hugs a person can give him!!! Rickon left at the end of S4 and like Bran has not been seen since.
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I know this was more characters profiles, but it's the characters and who they are that makes me so appreciative of this very well written family. I found Ned and Cat to be exceptional representations of loving but flawed parents who want their children to have the best lives possible. Robb and Jon are both good men who set out to build and not destroy, they were led by love and not power. Sansa and Arya remind me so much of my two younger sisters! It's so crazy watching the show and thinking, "What Sansa is doing, Molly would totally do!" or Arya will send off one of her pithy remarks and I'll think, "That sounds a lot like Emmy!" All that aside, I love both of the girls and their stories are my favorites on the show. And the youngest boys...I just want to hug and kiss them and give them cookies and tell them that everything is going to be all right!! Of course, this being Game of Thrones, everything is never all right.
All I can say is that more families like the Starks should be written for both book and screen. While the Starks may not be the Weasleys' (another awesome big family!), the same truths of loyalty, honor and courage ring true in every single member of the family both living and dying.
I just wanted to mention that I am shipping these two so hard!
Like FedEx and UPS meet Amazon Prime shipping (and I haven't even read the books yet!).