House sigil: A direwolf, which is basically a very large, very fierce wolf.
House motto: Winter is coming
If you were dividing the cast of this show into good guys and bad guys (which would be unwise, as time and a few seasons will show), the Starks would be in the former camp. As you'd expect, being Northerners, they're gruff, plain spoken and awfully, awfully honourable. In the twisty, tricksy world of Seven Kingdoms politics, these are not necessarily useful virtues...
Lord Eddard Stark
Played by: Sean Bean
Honourable to a fault and a formidable soldier, “Ned” Stark retired home to Winterfell in apparent relief after fighting alongside (now) King Robert Baratheon, his close friend, during the War of the Usurper. Married to Catelyn Tully, he has had five legitimate children and an acknowledged bastard in Jon Snow.
Lady Catelyn Stark
Played by: Michelle Fairley
A Southern woman born but a Northerner by marriage, Catelyn is at least as strong-minded as her husband but perhaps a bit more impetuous (well, she’s a redhead and we all know the stereotypes there). A fiercely protective mother, she is what Sarah Palin would call a “Mama Grizzly” – but don’t worry: she’d call Sarah Palin something unprintable.
Played by: Richard Madden
The eldest son of the Stark family and heir to the House seat. Robb’s only 15 at the beginning of the books (he appears a little older onscreen) but he’s already a fairly level-headed guy and a dab hand with a sword. Could come in handy, that. Often accompanied by his direwolf, Grey Wind.
Played by: Sophie Turner
The oldest daughter of the Stark family, Sansa’s very pretty and romantically inclined to a degree that might be termed psychosis. The family honour and loyalty runs, perhaps, a little thinner in her character than in her siblings, but by the standards of the Seven Kingdoms that still makes her a paragon of virtue. She too has a direwolf, who’s called Lady.
Played by: Maisie Williams
Arya’s a tomboy in the same way that the Royal Wedding is quite popular with fans of the monarchy; she’s determined to be taken seriously as something other than a dynastic pawn. Outspoken, feisty and a crack shot with a boy and arrow, Arya’s one of the most likeable characters on the show. Her direwolf is called Nymeria.
Played by: Isaac Hempstead-Wright
Brandon Stark, always called Bran, is something of a loner but more of an adventurer: he’s fond of climbing all over the roofs of Winterfell and appears to have no fear whatsoever. As the second son in the Stark family, we see him just beginning to be trained as a warrior and leader as the series begins. His direwolf is called Summer.
Played by: Art Parkinson
The baby of the Stark family, Rickon’s barely to be glimpsed in the first few episodes of the series. Still, he’s there somewhere, probably playing with his direwolf Shaggy Dog and pestering his siblings.
Played by: Kit Harington
Acknowledge by Eddard Stark as his son, Jon Snow is illegitimate and as such is extraordinarily unpopular with Catelyn Stark. Anxious to make his own way in the world and to avoid causing further familial strife, Snow is considering joining the Night Watch, which mans The Wall that cuts off the far north.
Played by: Joseph Mawle
Eddard’s brother pledged himself to the Night’s Watch years ago, whereof he is now First Ranger (essentially, Top Fighter). The Night’s Watch, in addition to spending all their time in the freezing north, take vows of celibacy, so they’re a pretty fun bunch. Additionally, the Rangers of the Watch patrol north of the Wall, which ranks somewhere between bear boxing and tiger taunting on most scales of safe, fun ways to pass your time.