Brandon Stark (the Daughterless)
Bael the Bard and Brandon's grandson face off, art by Roman Papsuev.
|Brandon the Daughterless
|Lord of Winterfell
|A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
Legend of Bael the Bard
According to the stories as told by the free folk, Lord Brandon once called Bael the Bard a coward. To take revenge for this affront and prove his courage, Bael climbed the Wall and traveled to Winterfell by the kingsroad. Calling himself Sygerrik of Skagos ("Sygerrik" means deceiver in the Old Tongue), he presented himself as a singer, and was allowed into Winterfell. There, he sang for Brandon, who was so impressed by Bael's skills that he allowed him a reward. When Bael asked only for the most beautiful flower blooming in Winterfell's gardens, Lord Brandon sent for the most beautiful blue winter rose from his glass gardens as payment. The following morning, Lord Brandon's maiden daughter, his only child, was gone, and the blue winter rose was found in her bed.
Lord Brandon sent the members of the Night's Watch to search for his daughter and her kidnapper. After almost a year, neither Bael nor Brandon's daughter had been found. Brandon fell ill, his line on the verge of extinction. One day, he suddenly heard a child crying, and when he followed the sound, found his daughter nursing her child by Bael in her room. According to the story, Bael had never left Winterfell, but hidden with Brandon's only child in the crypts of the castle. The bastard Brandon's daughter had birthed eventually became the new Lord of Winterfell.
There are questions as to whether Bael truly existed. While the wildlings say he did, crediting many songs to his name, the old chronicles of Winterfell do not mention him. Additionally, the timeframe of Lord Brandon's existence is unclear as well. Ygritte claims Brandon lived "a long time back." As both Brandon and his grandson are given the title "Lord" instead of "King" this seems to indicate that the disappearance of Brandon's daughter took place after the Starks had given up their kingship during Aegon's Conquest. Furthermore, the kingsroad is mentioned, implying it took place during or after the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, during whose reign the kingsroad was built. On the other hand, the story states that Bael's son was killed by one of his own lords who wore his skin afterwards. The habit of flaying an enemy and wearing his skin was practiced by the Boltons, but they are said to have given up the practice "a thousand years ago." Because of these discrepancies and the fact that despite learning stories from Maester Luwin and Old Nan and having heard of Bael before, Jon Snow had never heard of this legend before Ygritte's telling of it and he is certain that the story is a lie.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.