Game of Thrones Refresher Course: The Lannisters and The Starks


The politics between the two major families of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” can get a little confusing. You can see a breakdown of the major characters from both families below:

:::Note: There might be spoilers ahead if you haven’t finished season 1, or read the novel series by George R.R. Martin.:::

The Lannisters:

  • Tyrion Lannister: A dwarf nicknamed “The Imp”. He is the younger brother of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. He was blamed for the death of his mother during childbirth. He described as being the “cunning” brother and often uses his wits and quick thinking to his advantage when in tight situations.  Unlike the rest of his family, he initially does not hold any ill feelings towards the Stark family. That does change when he is wrongly captures and imprisoned by Lady Catelyn. He is later sent to rule as Hand of the King.
    • He is portrayed by Peter Dinklage.
  • Cercei Lannister: Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the wife of King Robert Baratheon. Despite being married to the king, she has carried on a lengthy incestuous affair with her brother Jaime since childhood. She does claim to have loved King Robert once, but due to his never-ending love of Lyanna, she grew to hate him. Her current three children are actually she and Jaime’s.  She wants nothing but her family to be all-powerful.
    • She is portrayed by Lena Headey.
  • Jaime Lannister: A member of the Kingsguard and the Queen’s twin brother. Spent his life having an incestuous relationship with her and fathered all three of her children. He is nicknamed the “Kingslayer” because he killed the previous king, Aerys II, even though he had sworn to protect him. He truly hates the fact that no one feels he deserves his rank and position. Despite the constant animosity between Ned and Jaime, Jaime does respect him. He considered Ned to be a great warrior and his equal. Unlike his father and his sister, Jaime cares a great deal for Tyrion. Going so far as to attack Ned when Tyrion is imprisoned. Jaime later joins his father’s campaign at the Riverlands but is later made a prisoner of the Starks.
    • He is portrayed by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
  • King Joffrey: Eldest son of Cersei and her brother Jaime. Even as a child he is vicious and cruel and will lie and cheat to get what he wants or get out of trouble.  But when someone actually confronts him he is a coward. He does not know that Jaime is his real father. He is made king, against his father’s will. He is a puppet king, taking orders from his mother. His downfall begins when he refuses to honor the promise of sparing Ned’s life and instead has his executed. His kinghood is threatened when Jaime is captures by the Starks and his uncles Renley and Stannis challenge his claim to the Iron Throne.
    • He is portrayed by Jack Gleeson.


The Starks:

  • Catelyn Stark: The Lady of Winterfell and wife of Lord Eddard. She had figured out that the Lannisters were to blame for the attempts on her son, Bran’s life. During a chance encounter with Tyrion, she arrests and imprisons him. After Ned is arrested and her eldest son Robb goes to war, she joins her son’s war council. After learning Ned was executed, she vows that the Lannister family will pay for the act with their lives.
    • She is portrayed by Michelle Fairley.
  • Eddard “Ned” Stark: The Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. Serves as The Hand of the King after Jon Arryn’s death. His sister Lyanna was kidnapped during Robert’s Rebellion. Ned cares little for politics and prefers to rule with honor and law. While investigating the death of Jon Arryn, he uncovers that all of the Queen’s children were fathered by her brother. When he confronts her about it, he gives her a chance to flee before telling the King. Instead she imprisons him and accuses him of trying to steal the throne from Joffrey. After being promised e would serve on the Night’s Watch, Joffrey has him executed.
    • He was portrayed by Sean Bean.
  • Bran Stark: The second son and fourth child of Ned and Catelyn. He called his direwolf Summer. He accidently catches the Queen and Jaime during a romp, and Jaime then shoves him out the window almost killing him, and ultimately crippling his legs.
    • He is portrayed by Isaac Hempstead-Wright.
  • Robb Stark: The eldest son of Ned and Catelyn and the heir to Winterfell. He named his direwolf Grey Wind. Robb becomes involved in the war against the Lannisters after he father is arrested for treason. He called upon his father’s bannerman and his mother’s allies to lead a war effort against the Lannisters and they successfully capture Jaime. After Ned is executed, the North and the Riverlands declare independence from the Seven Kingdoms and proclaim Robb as their new King.
    • He is portrayed by Richard Madden.
  • Sansa Stark: The first daughter and second child of Ned and Catelyn.  She is set to become the future bride of Joffrey. She named her direwolf Lady. Sansa lives in a world of naiveté and fairytales. She is unwilling to see the harsh realties of the world around her especially in regards to the politics and rivalries forming. Her world first begins to shatter when Lady is killed and her father is arrested. She becomes a hostage to the Lannisters in order for them to have a claim to the North. She finally sees the world and Joffrey for what it is after he executes her father despite promising her he would spare him. Sansa plans to kill Joffrey to avenge her father.
    • She is portrayed by Sophie Turner.
  • Arya Stark: The youngest daughter and third child of Ned and Catelyn. A tomboy through and through. She would rather train with weapons than sew or worry about who she will marry. She named her direwolf Nymeria. She takes sword-fighting lessons from her “dance” teacher Syrio who later manages to help her escape the Lannisters. She disguises herself as an orphan boy by a Night’s Watch recruiter, Yoren, in hopes of getting back to Winterfell.
    • She is portrayed by Maisie Williams.
  • Jon Snow: The bastard son of Ned. He joins the Night’s Watch. Ned claimed that his mother was a wet nurse named Wylla. He named his direwolf Ghost because of its albinism and quite nature. He also has the best hair ever seen.
    • He is portrayed by Kit Harington.

2 thoughts on “Game of Thrones Refresher Course: The Lannisters and The Starks

    1. Sarah Sommer Post author

      I did mentioned several times that Jaime had fathered the children. I had a hard time finding a correct family tree, and since most of the children think they were fathered by Robert, I used this family tree.


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