Puneet Varma (Editor)

Rickon Stark

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Created by
George R. R. Martin

House Stark


First appearance
Novel: A Game of Thrones (1996) Television: "Winter Is Coming" (2011)

Last appearance
Television: "Battle of the Bastards" (2016)

Portrayed by
Art Parkinson (Game of Thrones)

Rickon Stark is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones.


Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Rickon is the son of Eddard Stark, the honorable lord of Winterfell, an ancient fortress in the North of the fictional kingdom of Westeros. He subsequently appeared in Martin's A Clash of Kings (1998). The Publishers Weekly review of A Game of Thrones noted, "It is fascinating to watch Martin's characters mature and grow, particularly Stark's children, who stand at the center of the book."

Rickon is played by Art Parkinson in the HBO television adaptation.

Character description

Rickon is the third son of Eddard "Ned" Stark and his wife Catelyn, and has five siblings—Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and his father's illegitimate son Jon Snow. Like his brothers and sisters, Rickon is constantly accompanied by his direwolf, Shaggydog, with whom he shares a strong connection. Martin describes Rickon as favoring his mother in appearance. He is naturally aggressive, strong-willed, and violent: traits reflected in his direwolf companion 'Shaggydog'.


Rickon Stark is not a point of view character in the novels, so his actions are witnessed and interpreted through the eyes of other people, such as his older brother, Brandon Stark. Rickon is mostly a background character in the novels.

A Game of Thrones

In A Game of Thrones (1996), Ned Stark departs Winterfell with his daughters to serve King Robert Baratheon in King's Landing, while his wife Catelyn remains behind with their sons, grief-stricken over their comatose son Bran. An overwhelmed young Rickon can only follow around his oldest brother Robb, crying. Upset when Robb prepares to leave himself, Rickon hides in the crypts of Winterfell. Shortly after Ned's death in King's Landing, both Bran and Rickon share a vision of their father's spirit in the crypts.

A Clash of Kings

Following Ned's death, Rickon is largely unsupervised as Robb and Catelyn leave for war and his sisters are held captive at King's Landing in 1998's A Clash of Kings. Alone with his crippled brother Bran, Rickon develops an unruly, often violent temper. His fear and rage are reflected in Shaggydog, who turns largely feral and attacks several people before being restrained. Several times, Bran's direwolf Summer is forced to fight Shaggydog into submission. Bran and Rickon become Theon Greyjoy's hostages when Theon takes Winterfell by force. He later manages to escape and hide in the crypts below the castle with Bran, Hodor, the Reed siblings Meera and Jojen and the wildling woman Osha. After Winterfell is sacked and burned by Ramsay Snow, the group emerges to find Winterfell in ruins, and a mortally wounded Maester Luwin tells them that Bran and Rickon need to be separated and taken into hiding. Osha flees with Rickon in her care, and the others accompany Bran.

A Dance with Dragons

In A Dance with Dragons (2011), most of Westeros believes Rickon dead, but Lord Wyman Manderly hears from a survivor of the sack of Winterfell that Rickon is allegedly alive and has fled with a woman to the island of Skagos. In return for pledging his loyalty to Stannis Baratheon instead of the Lannisters, Manderly tasks Ser Davos Seaworth with retrieving Rickon from Skagos so that they may reveal him to the Northern lords and inspire them to rally against Roose Bolton, Ramsay Snow and Walder Frey for betraying the Starks.

Family tree of House Stark

  • See: Extended family tree of House Stark
  • TV adaptation

    Rickon Stark is played by Art Parkinson in the television adaption of the series of books. During an interview with Flicks and the City in 2014, Parkinson mentioned that he was not allowed by his parents to watch Game of Thrones due to its R18 content, apart from a few scenes that were related to him. In a later interview published in the New Zealand Herald on 7 April 2015, Parkinson admitted that he was put-off watching Game of Thrones after seeing a three-year old child getting his throat slit in one episode. In a later interview with IGN, he addmited that he is now watching the series.

    In an interview, Parkinson spoke about his return and death. Parkinson stated, "Whenever I was told that I was coming back for Season 6, before they sent me through the scripts and stuff, they sent me through a ring just to say, "Listen, so that you don't get a shock whenever you read the scripts, just know that you die this season." He continued, "Whenever I came back, I was excited to come back, and the scenes all seemed pretty amazing. I was so happy to re-embrace the character."

    In another interview, Parkinson spoke about his fellow castmember Natalia Tena, who plays the wilding Osha, saying "She's always been very lovely and helped me in many ways to get into the mind-set of the character. She's a very intense actress. Whenever she's in character, it's hard to look at her out of character. It's very easy to work off of her. She really helps you. He also noted about what he believes Rickon went through after the death of his father Ned Stark, saying "After the death of his father, I think he became very independent and very angry, I think Rickon is a little bit more mature now. He's been away for quite a long time at this point. I think he's a bit more independent and stronger-willed.

    Remarking on the character's exit:

    It was a cool death, and it was always going to be a good death, so at the same time, I was pretty happy.

    Remarking on his reaction to the characters death:

    It was sad at first, but once I realized how I was going to die in it, then it was cool. It was a cool death, and it was always going to be a good death, so at the same time, I was pretty happy.


    Rickon Stark is Lord Eddard and Lady Catelyn's youngest child, naturally aggressive and strong-willed. His black dire wolf Shaggydog shares these qualities also. When Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell in Season 2, Rickon hides in the crypts. After Theon can't seem to find where Rickon and Bran are, he then kills two farm boys to pass their bodies off as the Stark boys. After Winterfell is sacked and burned, he, Bran, Hodor, the Wildling woman Osha and the direwolves travel through the North. In Season 3 before they reach the Wall, Rickon, his direwolf and Osha split up from the rest of the group heading to Last Hearth, the seathouse of the Umbers.

    Sixth season

    Following Lord Greatjon Umber's death, Rickon and Osha are betrayed by his heir Smalljon and handed over to the new Warden of the North, Ramsay Bolton, in order to secure an alliance with the Boltons against the wildlings Jon Snow has let through the Wall. To prove Rickon's identity, Smalljon kills Shaggydog and presents his head to Ramsay. Ramsay kills Osha and locks Rickon in the dungeons, sending a letter to Jon at Castle Black demanding the return of Sansa Stark (his wife) and threatening to kill Rickon if Jon does not comply. In retaliation Jon gathers an army of Stark loyalists and marches on Winterfell, now occupied by House Bolton.

    As the armies prepare for battle outside Winterfell, Ramsay brings out Rickon and orders him to run to Jon as one of his sadistic "games", shooting arrows at Rickon in order to lure Jon into the open. Jon charges out to save Rickon, but Rickon is shot through the heart and dies almost instantly. In the aftermath of the ensuing battle, Rickon's body is recovered and Jon buries him in the crypt, alongside Ned's remains.

    Because many Northern noble houses were plotting against the Boltons in the books, the show's decision to have them betray Rickon led to fan theories that the direwolf head Smalljon Umber showed to Ramsay was fake and that the Umbers would turn on the Boltons. Parkinson dispelled the rumours, saying that the direwolf head was intended to be real. Rickon's death scene referenced his first appearance in the series pilot, where he laughs at a poor archery shot before handing off arrows to the archer and running to stand by the target.


    Rickon Stark Wikipedia

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