Game of Thrones: Why Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon Rebelled


In Game of Thrones, Robert’s Rebellion occurs a long time before episode 1, but nonetheless has major ramifications later. Here’s why he and Ned went rogue.

  • by Craig Elvy


Robert Aramayo as Young Ned Stark and Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones

What caused and what transpired during Robert’s Rebellion in Game of Thrones? The primary story of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire is a bloody fight for the Iron Throne between some of the most powerful figures in Westeros. Robert Baratheon is king when Game of Thrones begins, but he’s soon removed and an electrical vacuum is established, triggering The pugilative war of the Five Kings. Robert’s brothers and allies clash along with his incestuous, scheming former allies, House Lannister, while people that have a less legitimate claim to power operate in the shadows. From over the sea comes Daenerys Targaryen – a descendant of the extremely house Robert rebelled against on his way to becoming king.

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It’s generally accepted that the death of Jon Arryn may be the spark that signals the start of the overall game of Thrones. The murder of the Hand of the King brings Ned Stark to King’s Landing as Robert’s new right-hand man. Both men are soon killed themselves because of the machinations of the Lannisters, provoking war both contrary to the North, and contrary to the likes of Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s brother and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Truthfully, however, the overall game of Thrones began a long time before Arryn’s murder, and will be traced back again to Robert’s Rebellion – the war that saw House Baratheon and House Stark band together to usurp Targaryen rule.

In lots of ways, a big change at the very top was quite a while coming. King Aerys Targaryen II had not been called “The Mad King” for nothing, in the end. Tensions were already high as Aerys committed violent acts against their own people and became increasingly paranoid, however the real motivation behind Robert’s Rebellion was, typically, romantic in nature. At this true point, Robert Baratheon was Lord of the Stormlands, and had been prearranged to marry a female from another noble house, Lyanna Stark. However, Lyanna was seemingly kidnapped by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (Aerys’ eldest son) and whisked away to the faraway locale of Dorne, despite having a wife of their own in Elia Martell.

Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones

Angry that his wife-to-be had be stolen, Robert demanded justice, and he was joined in his uprising by House Stark. Lyanna was the daughter of then-Warden of the North, Rickard Stark, who sought answers also. Living around his increasingly violent reputation, King Aerys brought Rickard and Lyanna’s eldest brother, Brandon Stark, to King’s Landing and rather than hearing their concerns, the pair was ordered by him executed for treason. With House Baratheon angered by Lyanna’s abduction and House Stark now down three members, a robust alliance was formed that sought to wrestle control of the Seven Kingdoms from the Targaryens.

Aided by other rebel houses, Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark led a war lasting approximately per year. The conflict culminated with the Battle of the Trident, of which both Robert and Rhaegar were present, and the Stag could slay the Dragon. This turned the tide of Robert’s Rebellion in its namesake’s favor, and sensing they would have to be on the winning side, House Lannister betrayed the Targaryens. King Aerys was killed by Jaime Lannister controversially, and Robert himself claimed the throne, since he was the person to rebel first and he previously bested Rhaegar in battle.

Needless to say, there is an untold, vital yet, chapter in these events. Blinded by pride, misogyny or both, Robert didn’t note that Lyanna and Rhaegar’s disappearance was entirely consensual. The pair were in love and ran to flee their respective political nuptials away. They wed, bore a kid (the famous Jon Snow) and the reality was only discovered when Ned and his good friend, Howland Reed, finally found Lyanna at the Tower of Joy. Though she died from childbirth actually, Ned covered for his sister and claimed the kid was their own illegitimate offspring, otherwise Robert would’ve certainly had young Jon killed because of his Targaryen lineage.

Components of Robert’s Rebellion are alluded to or shown via flashback in Game of Thrones, however the intricacies of the war are largely glossed over. The conflict was even suggested just as one spin-off, since this time around period could easily comprise a number of its own. While future projects elsewhere look set to target, Robert’s Rebellion remains a remarkable section of George R.R. Martin’s mythology.

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Craig first began adding to Screen Rant in 2016, many years after graduating college, and contains been ranting since ever, to himself in a darkened room mostly. Having written for various sports and music outlets previously, Craig’s interest soon considered TV and film, in which a steady upbringing of science fiction and comic books finally arrived to its own.
Craig has been published on sites such as for example Den of Geek previously, and after many coffee-drenched hours hunched over a laptop, part-time evening work eventually converted into a full-time career covering from the zombie apocalypse to the Starship Enterprise via the TARDIS.

Since joining the Screen Rant fold, Craig has been involved with breaking news stories and mildly controversial ranking lists, however now works predominantly as a features writer.
Jim Carrey is Craig’s top acting pick and favorite topics include superheroes, anime and the unrecognized genius of the SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL Musical trilogy.

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