Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Game of Thrones Gossip #7 The Stark Children

Welcome to my Game of Thrones Gossip, where all of us fanatics get the chance to discuss everything we love about this amazing TV series. I did a few spoiler free posts about the series last year but I found that there were other bloggers out there who were also itching to talk more freely about favourite characters and events without spoiling things for those visiting the blog. So I decided to do a whole series of these discussion posts that let us say everything we want and enjoy every second of it! The topics may talk about a death, an event, a character or be season reviews and so on. Please feel free to comment fully and without restriction!

I have to warn you that it is important that you have seen all six seasons before reading any of these posts because these posts and blogger comments will be oozing and exploding spoilers all over the place. If you haven't watched the series and plan to, be warned that it's a bad idea to be here right now! I take no responsibility if you read on and things are spoiled for you nor do I take responsibility for any mistakes on the pages I link you to.

This week I continue with my season one topics and look at The Stark Children.

Robb Stark is the oldest of the Stark children and is already shaping up to be like his father. He looks after his siblings, trying to teach Bran weapons skills and shows just as much love for Jon Snow as the legitimate brothers and sisters he has. I liked the touching moment when he says goodbye as Jon leaves for Castle Black. It becomes more poignant when you watch it again, knowing that this is the last time they will ever see each other. Robb is taking care of the badly injured Bran and running Winterfell while Ned is at King's Landing. He starts to come into his own as a leader towards the end of the season when Ned is arrested, taking the initiative and raising an army to demand his father's release. Had he been dealing with Tywin Lannister directly, who knows what agreement might have been reached. Probably a prisoner exchange of Ned for Jaime when Robb captured him in battle, but of course Joffrey put paid to that. We finish the season with Robb being declared King in the North as his army seeks revenge for Ned's death. 

When we first meet Sansa in season one, she is frankly a spoiled and stuck up little bitch! I would imagine that she is the favoured girl in the family because she is beautiful, obediant and wants nothing more than to marry well, which would please her mother. She has little in common with her tomboy sister Arya and all she really wants is to marry the handsome prince Joffrey. I admit I did not like her much especially when she did not back Arya's truth about Joffrey in the riverside fight, scared she might lose her chance to marry him if she did. It cost the life of her beloved wolf. I wanted to slap her so many times! Everyone was beneath her-her servants, her is only when her dire wolf is killed that we see the start of the changes in her character. She becomes a more sober girl now that she is seeing beyond the glitter of King's Landing. She starts to see what Joffrey really is. She risks everything to beg for her father's life when he is arrested and is devastated that the man she is to marry could murder her father like that. By the end of the season as Joffrey is beginning his campaign of cruelty against her, I had nothing but sympathy for her plight and feared what was coming next for Sansa. 

Our first look at Arya shows that she has more in common with her brothers than her sister. She is skilled with a bow and wishes to learn how to fight with a sword, which Jon gives her as a gift. Arya has no interest in being a lady like Sansa or marrying a spoiled Prince like Joffrey, instead dreaming of a different destiny to the frustration of her parents. Ned seems somewhat baffled by Arya's attitude but does agree to let her be trained by expert Syrio Forel, a character that I loved. He is the one who saves Arya from capture, fighting the guards to allow her to flee King's Landing in the aftermath of  Ned's arrest and murder, with help from Yoren, the Night's Watch recruiter. She is resourceful enough to adapt and survive, and is already planning her revenge on all those who have wronged her family. I related to Arya as I was the tomboy who climbed trees and loved football, and had no interests in dresses or boyfriends! I love her character because she is is smart and determined, and will survive at all costs. By the end of season one, she is moving north disguised as a boy under Yoren's protection. It is the start of a very difficult road for her.

Bran wants nothing more than to be in the Kingsguard when he is older and when he is not climbing walls, he is being taught about leadership and weapons by his father and brothers. Life changes forever for Bran when his climbing expedition leads to him finding Jaime and Cersei having sex, and Jaime pushes him off the Tower. He survives the fall but is left paralysed and in a coma, then barely survives an assassin's attack. When he wakes, his Kingsguard dream is over and he falls into depression. It is the intervention of Tyrion who designs a saddle for him allowing him to ride again that sparks new life into Bran. However he is being bothered by dreams about a three eyed raven and fears for his father's life after a disturbing vision of him in the crypts where the dead are buried-and is then told of Ned's execution. The fall seems to have given him a new gift or curse of visions but he is unsure how to deal with it. I felt so sorry for Bran and it was his fate initially that turned me to Team Stark against the evil Lannisters! With Robb gone to war, Bran is now the acting leader at Winterfell which will be a difficult task for him.

We don't see a great deal of Rickon in season one except seeing him as the annoying little brother who bugs everyone. Rickon may seem like a child most of the time but is just as smart as Bran in identifying that things are not going to go well for his family. He is in the crypt like Bran after seeing his father there in a dream, and he is also certain that their parents and Robb are not coming back from the war. I think there is a bit of the seer in Rickon too. I like that there is still that childish side to him though. His dire wolf is damn scary though...

I know the truth about Jon Snow's parentage is out now but in season one he was regarded as a child of Ned Stark so I'm including him here. I felt a lot of sympathy for the way Jon was treated. His 'stepmother' Catelyn was cold to him, believing him to be the proof of her husband's infidelity and Sansa also despised him probably because her mother did. There seemed to be a sort of love-hate vibe between Jon and Theon Greyjoy, Ned's ward but their goodbyes as Jon went north seemed warm. Jon was much loved by Robb, Bran, Arya and Rickon, and by Ned himself. I sensed there was something going on by the way Ned never wanted to talk about Jon's mother especially to Jon and King Robert Baratheon. Ned promised to tell Jon the truth next time he saw him as he watched him leave for Castle Black, but sadly Jon never saw Ned again. Getting the news of Ned's death made Jon want to break his vows and join Robb's army. It looked as if Jon was closest to Arya who also didn't quite fit in the family and gave her her sword Needle, which brings fans much joy in later seasons! Jon is the outsider who wants to prove himself worthy of being a Stark and sticks with his destiny at Castle Black.

I liked the evolution of the Starks from the start of the season to the end of the season. We see them as a mostly happy family unit until the arrival of King Robert at Winterfell, which is to ruin all of their lives. The circumstances of Ned's death changed them all and forced each one to grow up, but in different ways. Robb seeks victory, Sansa seeks inner strength, Arya seeks vengeance, Bran seeks wisdom, Jon seeks purpose and Rickon, well who knows? We see the way each dealt with the execution, and the coming war and the changes to their family. I found the characters fascinating.

Are you Team Stark or do you favour another House? What are your thoughts on the Stark Children in season one? Who were your favourites? Who did you not like? What moments did you enjoy with them? What did you think of their development through the series? 


  1. I have always been team Stark. Although I love Dany as well. I pretty much agree with your take on them all. Sansa was a real bitch in the beginning and when she got her wolf killed, I figured I would pretty much hate her forever, but not the case. She has had her share of bad "boyfriend/husbands" and I'm so glad that she has once again joined Jon and I

    love how their family relationship has developed. Anya is one of my favorites. I've always liked her and LOVE her list. I was a tad upset with her whole "Girl without a name" thing last season but glad she is now moving on.

    Even though Jon isn't really a Stark - he's Jon and I love him no matter whose family he is.

    1. I think my love of winter and snow is part of my Stark devotion along with big furry dire wolves to cuddle! Watching the development of all the Stark children through the seasons is facinating! Sansa has certainly come a long way. In later posts I'll be talking about the development of the Starks amongst other things. Arya is one of my dad's favourites and he's still only watched season one! I keep trying to get him to hurry up and watch the rest so I can talk to him about it!

  2. AS always my perspective is more from the books although I think the show has by and large done a good job with these characters. Robb I liked although I was occasionally frustrated with some of his decisions- including waltzing right into the Twins after insulting the freys (not intentionally but still). Once his wolf starts growling at them , take the hint. :) Sansa I got SUPER frustared with but she does grow and I do feel bad for her.

    Arya goes through SO MUCH it's amazing her young mind didn't break. If anything it's worse in the books! But I love her- she's one of my three favorite characters. Bran is awesome although I like him a little less as time goes on but not much- and I can't WAIT to see what in store for him when he comes into his own.

    Jon is one of my other favorites. Moreso in the book. The scenes where he goes north of the Wall and learns about wildlings are awesome. Mance rayder is much more impressive in the book. I love the relationship between him and Arya and those are the two I hope survive.

    I'm Team Stark all the way. I enjoyed Arya's and Jon's growth the most, and by the time of the current book both of them plus Sansa are in VERY interesting places. And I thought Robb did a mostly good job handling his bannermen, with two caveats. His mistake at the Twins and he should have never trusted Roose Bolton. But Greatjon Umber is still alive and I feel like that will play a role...

    1. Seeing the development of these characters as the plot progresses is exciting and part of why the series is so addictive. It feels weird to look at them in season one when things were so different. How young does Bran look! I noted with interest that the actress who plays Sansa wants to see her die in the series so she can have a big death scene so we could be in for interesting times regardless of what George writes in the next books, if they ever come out...I think I need to watch the series again to pick up on everything I missed first time round and try to remember who everyone was, especially things like bannermen and those serving the main characters.