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According to the family tree in A World of Ice and Fire Ned Stark's children are in fact the only surviving Starks. And as of S06E09;

Bran is the only legitimate, male Stark.

In the Season Six Finale it is revealed that;

Jon is in fact the Son of Lyanna Stark and most likely, Rhaegar Targaryen.

This means that if Jon was legitimised and there was record of his birth in the Citadel;

He would become a Targaryen.

So I guess my big question is: Can Bran father children? I find it to be quite an important issue considering House Stark's long term survival depends on it.

In season 4 (I can't remember which episode) Locke Bolton gives Bran a cut on the leg to confirm his identity. Bran reacts only with fear and not pain, indicating that he has no feeling below his waist.

Does this mean that he wouldn't be able to...get it up? And if so, why hasn't the show addressed House Stark's impending doom?

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    Related/Possible Duplicate: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/37575/… – Attack Helicopter Jul 9 '16 at 13:16
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    I don't really understand the end of your question. Why would the show address whether Bran can 'get it up'? And how? Bran certainly has more pressing matters than to muse on his potential fertility. A random attempted-masturbation scene or a furtive age-inappropriate liason with Meera would be a bit gratuitous, even in GoT! And why would any other other character muse on Bran's fertility when most think he was killed by Theon, and the few who know he wasn't don't know if he survived in the wilderness or where he is? – user568458 Jul 9 '16 at 18:00
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    There's no reason to assume Jon's parentage will be anything more than an interesting tidbit for the viewers/readers, at this stage. Another possibility (which you've not mentioned) is that the lineage is never revealed, and that Jon Snow gets legitimised as a Stark and the Stark family line continues through Jon. – The Giant of Lannister Jul 9 '16 at 18:42
  • @user568458 What I meant was, why haven't Jon or Sansa talked about the future of House Stark? They know Rickon is dead and that Bran is a cripple. – Matthew Stevenson Jul 9 '16 at 22:12
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    @MatthewStevenson They have! Sansa told Jon that he's a Stark now whether he likes it or not. Jon told reminded Sansa she's the "Lady of Winterfell" now. They're not talking about the functionality or otherwise of their younger brother's penis because a) eww, and more importantly b) they don't even know if he's dead or alive. In the books (can't remember if they did this in the show) Robb (who thought Bran and Rickon were dead) talked about the future of the house and sent a message that as king in the north he was legitimising Jon so he wouldn't be the last male Stark – user568458 Jul 10 '16 at 10:22
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Can Bran sire children?

House Stark is not doomed. Bran is the only surviving legitimate male Stark but he is probably unlikely to father children due to his disability. But he is not the only Stark alive.

Since some of our members seem to believe that Bran can have intercourse and that medical science in Planetos and our world are same, I'd like to quote Eddard Stark:

“I dreamed of Bran,” Sansa had whispered to him. “I saw him smiling.”

“He was going to be a knight,” Arya was saying now. “A knight of the Kingsguard. Can he still be a knight?”

“No,” Ned said. He saw no use in lying to her. “Yet someday he may be the lord of a great holdfast and sit on the king’s council. He might raise castles like Brandon the Builder, or sail a ship across the Sunset Sea, or enter your mother’s Faith and become the High Septon.” But he will never run beside his wolf again, he thought with a sadness too deep for words, or lie with a woman, or hold his own son in his arms.

That is the only mention of Bran's ability to procreate as far as I can recall. And his own father seems to believe that Bran can never lie with a woman aka have sex and he would never sire a child.

But I also have to add that I am not a medical expert to provide a definite ruling on the matter. I am only building on what the author has provided us with in the books.

In any case, Can Bran have children? Maybe, Maybe not. Do other characters in universe seem to think he will have children? No they don't.

Other surviving Starks

But despite all that, Bran has two legitimate sisters; Sansa Stark and Arya Stark. Arya is still too young but Sansa is of age to bear children. Any children Arya and Sansa may bear can carry the Stark name and inherit the North from their uncle Brandon Stark. Any man they might marry can also take Stark name and the children born out of such union will be just as much Stark as children of a male Stark.

Also in the books, Rickon is still alive and is therefore heir to Bran.

Precedence for female line

There is precedence for female line furthering a great House.

This is not the first time for House Stark to look to female line for survival if Wildlings can be believed. Lord Brandon Stark fathered no children except a daughter. The daughter was supposedly abducted by King Beyond the Wall, Bael the Bard. Brandon was distraught because this meant extinction of House Stark. But later the girl was found with a child fathered by Bael. That child was brought up as a Stark and succeeded his grandfather upon his death.

House Lannister was once in a similar dilemma. King Gerold III Lannister died without a male issue. He had only one daughter and she was married to a Knight named Joffrey Lydden. Upon King Gerold's death, Ser Joffrey was crowned as King of the Rock by council of Westerlander nobility and he took the name Lannister due to his marriage to the Princess of the Rock. He ascended to the throne as King Joffrey I Lannister. Current Lannisters are descended from King Joffrey and daughter of King Gerold, no one considers them to be "not real Lannisters".

Another example is given in succession crisis of House Hornwood*. Lord Halys Hornwood died in battle against Tywin Lannister. His only legitimate child Daryn Hornwood died in battle against Jaime Lannister. The considered candidates to carry on Hornwood names were:

  1. Larence Snow - A bastard son of Lord Halys Hornwood. He could be legitimized by King in the North to be the next Lord Hornwood.
  2. Beren Tallhart - Younger son of Lord Halys' sister, Berena Hornwood. His father offered that Beren would take Hornwood name if he was to be named heir of Halys Hornwood.

Another example is kindly reminded by Broklynite. Lady Maege Mormont's children carry the Mormont name. It is unclear who is the father of those kids. When Maege's brother Jeor Mormont abdicated his seat and took the black, Jeor's son Jorah Mormont became Lord of Bear Island. Jorah then went into exile without siring any kids so Maege Mormont became lady of Bear Island. Her children are considered Mormonts. (But this would be a weak example because we do not know who is her husband. If he is/was a Mormont as well, this example won't hold).

So even if Lords of the North refuse to have Sansa as their Queen like Lords of Westerlands refused to have King Gerold's daughter as their Queen, Sansa's husband can instead be crowned as King in the North (Now you know why Petyr Baelish was so eager to marry Sansa) if he takes the Stark name just like Joffrey Lydden.

* The Succession crisis of House Hornwood never occurred in the show.

Who can take Stark name?

By law, a man can only take Stark name:

  1. By right of marriage to a Stark woman
  2. By right of descent from a Stark woman
  3. By grant of legitimization decree for removal of bastardy taint from the King provided he is a bastard of a Stark man or woman.
  4. By right of birth to a Stark man in wedlock (The normal way)

There is no other way or precedent to be a Stark. So Arya, Jon and Sansa all have equal potential to further the Stark line even if Bran cannot.

Why show hasn't showed that potential succession crisis?

Because there is no succession crisis. if Bran comes back to take his place as King in the North as eldest surviving son of Eddard Stark and reveals that Jon is not a Stark, House Stark is still not doomed. Even if Bran fathers no children, Sansa stands as his heir. Whoever marries Sansa can take the Stark name for himself and the children of that man and Sansa will be named Starks. Even Jon can take Stark name if he wishes due to his descent from sister of Lord Eddard Stark if Bran legitimizes him (Ironically, Jon would then also be able to take Targaryen name, not just Stark name).

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    I have little doubt that you will be our first game-of-thrones gold badge holder. – Adamant Jul 11 '16 at 6:16
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    UV for another great answer! – KyloRen Jul 11 '16 at 7:38
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    I especially like how you included the hyperlinks for all the lesser known characters and houses, this shows real thought and work and I really appreciate that. – Matthew Stevenson Jul 11 '16 at 8:27
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    And in the series there's also...what is it, Mormont? The one with the little girl as head? Nobody disputes her legitimacy. Unless I missed that in your answer. – Broklynite Jul 11 '16 at 11:07
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    Probably, Wouldn't presume to be a medical expert on this matter. Eddard Stark seemed to think Bran will never have any children due to his injury which is the reason behind this implication. See the added quote – Aegon Jul 12 '16 at 5:12
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Breaking it down:

Physically: While it's not been covered in the books or TV show, people suffering from paralysis due to spinal issues (most likely from a fall, rather than toxins) still have automatic functions. Bran might not be able to feel someone tickling his feet, but physical stimulation will achieve ejaculation - in the same way that defecation and urination are automatic reactions, rather than ones relating to the nervous system.

Therefore, with an understanding partner Bran would be able to impregnate someone.

Legally: Westeros carries name and rank down the male line*, but as always, power, politics and practicality trump tradition. The person in charge can dictate the situation. Therefore:

Sansa (as head Stark) could legitimise Jon Snow as a Stark (like Roose did to Ramsay.) Hell, she could technically legitimise anyone - Theon, Hodor, Littlefinger as a Stark. Her word is law as the fief lord, only counteracted by a higher authority (e.g. The King or the Church/Faith/Red God etc) or someone forcefully denying it e.g The Freys going to war to prevent Fat Walder being 'adopted' as a Stark. A bad choice might have problems - angry relatives, someone not wanting to be Stark, very tenuous logic causing other people to have issues, but if they're loyal to their lord they should obey. (It sets a dangerous precedent in a Feudal world for people to start questioning the chain of command. What if your underlings start?)

Sansa, being a powerful person from a strong legitimate family could marry someone and make them take her name. Their children would be Starks and the family would continue.

Genetically: Genetically the Stark genes will continue through the female line, though not through adoption - or lapses in parentage - handsome stable hands or comely maids injecting new genetics into the family line. Although it's obviously easier to verify the mother than the father - not to say switches couldn't happen. There's a tradition that Royal births in the British royal family were witnessed by the Home secretary.

Mythically: If there is magic inheritance (The blood of kings etc) it's in the blood rather than the name e.g. Gendry has Baratheon King power blood, despite not having the name. If the Stark gene/bloodline is dominant, then it won't matter if the child's surname is Frey, Bolton or Lannister. That's something for Maesters and Septons to puzzle over.

The Stark line is far from extinct as they have living members with wealth, military might, power and the recognition of their underlings.

Conversely, the Boltons do not - even though there may be Bolton bastards and distant relations - they do not have enough to back up their claims and too many enemies to re-establish themselves as a major House - barring something extraordinary (Powerful support or Sansa/Cersei/Dany returning to them their family holdings and status)

*Might be different in Dorne. So many things are.

Edit: Thanks for the spelling corrections - though I purposefully picked priests over Septons because of the many faiths of Westeros.

It's also been pointed out in the comments that I've misunderstood legitimising bastards. Apologies.

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    I really like this answer, the only thing is that Roose didn't legitimise Ramsay, Joffrey did, Roose only presented him with the decree. Only Kings have the power to legitimise Bastards. – Matthew Stevenson Jul 9 '16 at 23:49
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    You have grossly misunderstood the principle of legitimization. Legitimization means removing bastard taint from someone, nothing else. That does not mean Sansa can create "Starks" out of pig herders. Also, Being head of a dynasty does not give you legal right to legitimize someone. Only a King can do that legally. Ramsay is legitimized by Tommen Baratheon, not Roose Bolton. – Aegon Jul 11 '16 at 6:04
  • Oh and p.s. Sorry about the DV. But I always leave a note as to why I DV'd if it is not obvious. The reason is your misunderstanding of legitimization. If you were to edit it out, I would happily withdraw the DV. Cheers. – Aegon Jul 11 '16 at 6:24
  • I just want to point out that depending of where his spinal cord was severed, even with an accident there is a very strong possibility that he will not be able to achieve ejaculation. – KyloRen Jul 11 '16 at 6:30
  • You got the legitimization very wrong! However, if it is anything like the medieval europe, Sansa can adopt others and make them Stark. But I upvoted because of your insight with the paraplegic sex. Bran may not use his erogenous zones below the waist, but he can achieve enough erection for penetration by visual, audio, olfactory stimulation or use his other erogenous zones like his neck, earlobes or hands. As long as he has an experienced and caring partner, he can, as GRRM would say, "spill his seed" and sire many children. – C.Koca Jul 11 '16 at 18:24
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Jon would be a Targaryen AND a Stark. His succession would be after a more direct descendant of Ned, but he'd still be in there because his mother was part of the direct line.

As far as Brandon goes, the further you go down from the head/brain, the further down the spinal column you go to where those nerves connect to the spinal cord. The parts that need to operate in order to sire children reside at about waist level. Legs are below that. Not feeling pain in the thigh doesn't necessarily rule out working nerve function above that.

The show doesn't have Brandon wearing a furry northern adult diaper, nor does it deal with issues of him having lack of bladder or bowel control, or people carrying him around and caring for him would have to deal with that. If we're going to try and infer anything, I think that would tell us he has functional control of that part of his body.

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Jojen Reed, who has greensight, had a green dream that the wolves will come again. We learn of this in A Storm of Swords when Bran, Jojen, Meera and Hodor meet a Liddle who has sheltered in a cave for the night. Here is the relevant section(emphasis mine):

“It was different when there was a Stark in Winterfell. But the old wolf’s dead and young one’s gone south to play the game of thrones, and all that’s left us is the ghosts.”

The wolves will come again,” said Jojen solemnly.

“And how would you be knowing, boy?”

“I dreamed it.”

“Some nights I dream of me mother that I buried nine years past,” the man said, “but when I wake, she’s not come back to us.”

“There are dreams and dreams, my lord.”

He doesn't explicitly say that the dream was a green dream, but he wouldn't have have said There are dreams and dreams if it was a normal dream. His green dreams do not tell the future in a clear and concise manner however, so it's interpretation is open to discussion. However, at first glance it appears to prophesy the return of the Starks to Winterfell.

So if Jojen's green dreams are correct, House Stark will not go extinct.

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    Worth pointing out. The wolves (Starks) could return to Winterfell (as indeed they have) but still die out in time. Prophecys are funny like that. – ench Jan 17 '17 at 22:40
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Arya is not interested in marriage.So she is cancelled out of the equation. Legitimization of Jon will probably not occur as there will be no King in the iron throne anymore.Hell you cant even legitimize him, he is a legitimate Targeryen.He is out too. Bran will not have sex even if he can.He likes to stray out of time and space more.He is out also. Then ; The ideal solution to this problem is to have SANSA STARK married to a a member of the HOUSE KARSTARK who are only Starks based in another hold.This way the Stark name and line is preserved.

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    Do you have any sources to back up these claims? Preferably quotes from the books. Though the show will do. – amflare Jan 20 '18 at 2:41

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