The North is the largest region in Westeros. it is a harsh and cold land covered in rivers and plains, with forests and mountains in the northwest; temperate to sub-arctic with swamps in the Neck along southern border. It is the only realm where the dominant culture of that of the Northmen, though a small Andal minority lives in White harbor. The dominant religion in the North is the Old Gods of the Forest, though a small minority worship the Seven. Northern bastards are given the name "Snow".
The Kingdom of the North is an feudal absolute monarchy The monarch is referred to as the King in the North, or Queen in the North who rules the kingdom from the castle of Winterfell, the capital. The title of King is heriditary, and passes to the eldest heir upon the death of the previous monarch. Unlike the Seven Kingdoms, where the heir is always a prince, or the husband of the eldest princess, the Kingdom allows a princess to become Queen in the North, should she be the eldest heir. The Royal Family of the Kingdom of the North, is House Stark, and they one of the oldest houses in all of Westeros, having ruled by 8000 years.
Like the Seven Kingdoms south of the Kingdom, the Kingdom of the North utilizes feudalism to keep control and order. Lands are ruled by noble houses, who in turn, have lesser vassals of their own, ruling over their own sections of land. Unlike in the south, chivalry is not deeply ingrained in the culture of the North, so knightly houses are a rare find in the kingdom. At the bottom of the social ladder are the smallfolk, or the commoners, who make up the majority of the population of the kingdom. The primary industry of the Kingdom of the North is farming and lumber.
The King in the North bears no formal titles on their advisors, though the king can indeed host a council and heed the advice of any appointed advisors.
Culture and Religion
Most of the Kingdom's people are Northmen who continue to practice much of the culture of the First Men and uphold their values, as the Kingdom of the North was the only kingdom not to fall to the Andal invaders. As such, their culture, is very different than the rest of Westeros.
Chivalry is practiced little in the North, with few warriors anointed as knights. Northern warriors hold onto their own ideas of honor and virtue separate from the knighthood brought over by the Andals. A common belief expressed by Eddard Stark is that "the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword," referring to how Northern lords execute prisoners on their own, and do not rely on a headsman to deliver their justice. The reason execution falls upon Lords and Kings, is to not make them too eager to deal out judgement, and think hard before making a decision. While under the rule of the Seven Kingdoms, Executions were more common, as Seven Kingdom law applied to the North.
In the Kingdom, the dominant faith is The Old Gods of the Forest.
The religion believes in innumerable and unnamed nature gods, the spirits of each tree, each rock, and each stream.
Worshipers of the Old Gods do not have ceremonies, holy texts, hierarchies of priests, or large structures of worship. Instead they practice quiet contemplation in godswoods, small areas of forest which have been enclosed within a castle's walls. Worship in a godswood is centered on heart trees, which are great weirwood trees with a face carved into the bark. Weirwoods are considered sacred in the religion, and heart trees are the closest thing to a "shrine" that it possesses. Oaths and promises sworn in front of a heart tree are considered binding. The only ceremony of their religion is marriage, during which the bride is brought before the weirwood tree in the Godswood to beg the blessing of the Gods for her marriage.
The faithful believe that the Gods can be heard in the sounds of nature, such as the wind, and that they can see through the eyes of the weirwood trees. So long as the trees remain in the land, the Gods have power. They also believe that the Gods hear their prayers and that they answer by sending the wind or through other means.
The faith of the Old Gods is personal and less structured than other religions, though some basic social violations are proscribed by it, such as kinslaying, incest, and bastardy. It also upholds the laws of hospitality, far more so than any other religion.
The Old Gods demand very little from their followers. Homosexuality is allowed, but incest, bastardry, and violation of guest rights is not smiled upon.
However, in the city of White Harbor, live an Andal minority who have been allowed to keep their culture and religion. Knighthood is more integrated into Andal culture, thus most of the Kingdoms knights are sworn to House Manderly, the only Andal noble house of the Kingdom.
The Andals also practice the worship of the Faith of the Seven. The Faith says that there is one god who has seven facesor aspects: the Father, the Mother, the Maiden, the Crone, the Warrior, the Smith, and the Stranger. Each aspect represents one part of life or existence. The Faith is also highly organized, with priests referred to as Septons or Septans. Other priests include the Silent Sisters. Knighthood is a sacred part of the Faith. However, homosexuality is considered sinful in the Faith.
The North was first inhabited by the Children of the Forest who worshipped the Old Gods and safeguarded the Wild. Eventually the First Men arrived with iron technology and castles were soon built. This lead to a war between the First Men and Children that ended with a peace treaty between the two. In time the First Men adopted the Old Gods as their own. Many Houses and Kingdoms rose and fell during those years, the two most successful ones was House Stark of the Kingdom of Winter and House Bolton of the Red Kingdom.
House Stark was founded by Brandon Stark who built the castle Winterfell with the help of giants. He reigned as the first King of Winter and his successors gained numerous vassals including House Mormont of Bear Island, given to them after winning an "Arm-wrestle" against the Ironborn. House Umber for being reliable allies in a Wildling invasion, and House Karstark, a cadet branch of House Stark that was founded when Prince Karlon Stark was granted lordship over his own territories. After finally defeating House Bolton and gaining lordship over them, House Stark became the ruling House in The North and became the Kings in the North, thus was founded the Kingdom of the North.
House Bolton, the other most successful Northern House was almost the polar opposite of House Stark. They ruled as the Red Kings from their castle, the Dreadfort. Their lands were plagued by seemingly never ending rebellions from unsatisfied subjects and invasions from rival houses and Ironborn invaders. This world of violence forged House Bolton into a ruthless House that used fear to keep their subjects in line and terrify their enemies. They primarily did this by skinning their enemies and displaying their corpses. They were even rumored to wear their enemies skins as cloaks. House Bolton waged countless wars against House Stark and both houses claimed victories. But eventually House Stark won over and the final Red King bent the knee and became the second most powerful Northern House.
The Kingdom of the North became threatened when the Andals invaded from Andalos. The Andals saw the magic of the Children of the Forest and Old Gods as blasphemous to their god, the Seven. The Andals conquored every Kingdom of the First Men and slaughtered the Children of the Forest. Only the Kingdom of the North was able to hold the line, but the northern Children fled.
Aegon the Conqueror
The Kingdom of the North ended when Aegon Targaryean of Dragonstone invaded Westeros with his army and dragons. King Torrhen Stark knew he could not defeat Aegons dragons, and to save his people, bent the knee to Aegon and swore fealty to him. He was forever known after that as The King who knelt. The Starks became Wardens of the North.
For 300 years the North remained an administrative region of the Seven Kingdoms, founded by Aegon. The Starks remained loyal vassals of House Targaryean of Kings Landing, but when Prince Rhaegar Targaryean kidnapped Lady Lyanna Stark,(Though recent evidence suggest they actually eloped) the North joined Lord Robert Baratheon in the rebellion against the Targaryeans. Robert ultimately won the war and killed Rhaegar. He then became the new King and House Stark swore fealty to him.
War of the Five Kings
After King Robert's death, his supposed son Joffrey assumed the throne, but Lord Eddard Stark discovered that Joffrey was not Robert's real son. For denying that Joffrey was the rightful king, he was executed. When Eddard's son Robb discovered this, he began a war for independence for the North. He was proclaimed King in the North by his bannermen. The North also gained an administrative region in the Riverlands when it's ruling House, House Tully swore fealty to Robb. Robb lead his army to victory after victory against The North's enemies, but Winterfell was taken by the Ironborn and the North was pillaged. As more and more of Robb's bannermen deserted him and ran back home to fight the Ironborn, Robb turned to House Frey of the Twins for reinforcements to reclaim the North. But the Frey's along with the Boltons betrayed Robb and his army and killed them all in the Red Wedding.
House Bolton then returned to The North and reclaimed Winterfell from the Ironborn, and swore loyalty to Joffrey. But House Stark was not extinct. Princess Sansa Stark had been a prisoner of Joffrey, but escaped shorty after Joffrey's assassination in the Purple Wedding. Princess Arya Stark escaped Kings Landing shortly after Eddard's death. Prince Bran Stark and Prince Rickon escaped Winterfell when the Ironborn seized it. While Jon Snow, Eddard's supposed bastard son(But really Lady Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Taragaryean's son) was at Castle Black with the Night's Watch.
In additon, a new threat in the form of King Stannis Baratheon, the TRUE heir to the throne challenged the Boltons. Stannis gained the loyalties of several Northern Houses hoping to take revenge on the Boltons for betraying House Stark. Stannis is currently about to face the Boltons in battle in the books, but the TV show has a different story.
In the TV Show, Stannis is defeated by the Boltons via a sabotaging strategy that drains his supply and men. Stannis is also killed in the ensuing battle. But Sansa(Who had been married of to Roose Bolton's cruel bastard Son Ramsay) escaped and arrives at Castle Black. She and Jon plan to retake the North with the help of Jon's new allies, Free Folk tribesmen. They gain the loyalties of Houses Mormont, Hornwood and Maizin, but Ramsay's army still outnumbers them. Ramsay even kills a captured Rickon. Jon's army is nearly wiped out, but House Arryn of the Vale who had defected from the Throne arrived and reinforced Jon. Ramsay's army was defeated and Ramsay was executed by Sansa after the battle. With House Bolton defeated and rendered extinct, the North has been liberated and Jon declared the new King in the North, with the Vale becoming a new administrative region of the Kingdom of the North. Jon is currently preparing for war against the White Walkers who are returning to Westeros, while Bran is returning to Winterfell after his training from the Three Eyed Raven. Arya is in the Riverlands having just assassinated Walder Frey who had orchestrated the Red Wedding.
Daenarys Targaryean and White Walker invasion(TV Show only)
Knowing the Night King and his White Walker armies are marching on Westeros, King Jon ordered as many soldiers to be mobilized. To increase the manpower, he even ordered that children at least 10 years of age be conscripted and trained. But even so he was still undermanned and under supplied. Upon receiving word that Queen Daenarys Targaryean, and an army of Dothraki, Unsullied, Dornishmen, and Reachmen were launching their invasion of Westeros to seize the throne away from Cersei Lannister, who has recently usurped the Iron Throne via the destruction of the Sept of Baelor, Jon believed that if he successfully negotiated an alliance with the Dragon Queen, he would have the armies needed to defeat the White Walkers.
However, the Lords of the North and Vale were reluctant to side with a Targaryean after fighting against them in Robert's Rebellion years ago. Despite this, Jon and Davos Seaworth traveled to Dragonstone and despite tensions between the two houses. and Daenarys ordering Jon to bend the knee, managed to at least enter a friendly relationship. Eventually Jon decided that the other Westerosi armies were also needed. Hoping to convince Cersei to aid them, Jon, along with the Brotherhood without Banners and various other characters went beyond the wall to capture a Wight to reveal to Cersei. Despite nearly dying, and even losing one of Daenary's dragon while being rescued, the Wight Hunt was successful.
The Wight was revealed to Cersei and her allies in King's Landing. The Lannisters were naturally shocked by seeing a creature they had long believed was just a work of fiction. Cersei however still believed that Houses Stark and Targaryean were still more of a threat to her, and lied about sending soldiers to aid them, intending for the White Walkers, Starks and Targaryeans to wipe themselves out, or for the winning side to be weakned enough for Cersei to finish them off. However, Cersei's brother Jaimie believed the White Walkers were the most dire threat, and after realizing his sister was now utterly mad with power, left to help The North. As Jon and Daenary's headed north to prepare the defense, Jon bend the knee and swore House Stark to Daenary's.
At the same time, the White Walkers breached a portion of the wall and entered Westeros. Also at the same time, Sansa had been left in command of the North along with Arya. However, Lord Petyr Baelish who had aided in the Battle of the Bastards desired to seize the Iron Throne with Sansa as his queen and tried manipulating the two sisters against eachother. Arya however, with her skills in assassination and espionage, and Sansa's gained experience of politics from her time as a political pawn and prisoner, managed to turn the tables on Baelish and tried him of treason(Especially since he betrayed their father in the first place), and executed him.
With Jon's oath of lenience to House Targaryean, The Kingdom of the North once again lost it's independence. Soon the White Walkers besieged Winterfell and though the heroes put up a valiant defense, the Night King broke through and prepared to kill Bran in the weirwood forest. But just as it seemed that all hope was lost, Arya lunged at the Night King from behind only to be grabbed by the throat. But before the Night King could finish her off, Arya droped her Valyrian steel dagger and used her free hand to catch it in midair before driving it into the Night King's chest, destroying the Night King, the White Walkers, and Wights once and for all.
With the White Walkers extinct, Daenarys continued her invasion of Westeros, and House Stark's army marched to King's Landing with her. But one of her dragons was killed in an ambush, and Daenary's learned of Jon's heritage, and that he had a greater claim to the Iron Throne. Years of emotional and physical trauma and abuse finally caught up with Daenarys, and she succumbed to Targaryean Madness.
Daenarys proceeded to destroy much of King's Landing and massacred thousands of innocents. Some of the Northern soldiers, wanting revenge for the Iron Throne's crimes against their people joined the massacre. King's Landing was taken and House Lannister was defeated, but Jon knew Daenary's had gone too far and assassinated her, much to the sadness of her final dragon who proceeded to destroy the Iron Throne.
Jon was exiled back to the Night's Watch for this crime, while the Lords of Westeros bagan to argue about who would be the next king. Due to his immense knowledge of the past and present due to being the 3 eyed raven, Bran was chosen to be the next King of the Andals and the First men, albeit in a more elective position as he cannot father children. Sansa however, decided that the North had too many painful memories of being part of the Seven Kingdoms, and once again, declared the North an indpendent realm. Bran acknowledged the North's freedom, and Sansa was crowned Queen in the North. The Kingdom of the North, was finally free.