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I'm playing catch up with Game of Thrones and relying on YouTube to help fill in blanks, but have noticed there are a lot of Brandon Starks who all have important roles in shaping the story.

I know the theory they are all Bran jumping through time, but is there a reason why the name keeps reappearing? Does every generation of ruling Stark name a son Brandon? The Starks go back 8,000 years so plenty of time to think of new names.

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    Aristocrats tend to name newborns after illustrious ancestors. For targs, it'd be Aegon, for Starks Brandon, for Lannisters it used to be Lancel/Tyrion/Tommen, now It would probably be Tywin, For Arryns it was Osric etc – Aegon Apr 25 at 11:33
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We only have to back two generations from the current Brandon Stark to find a generation without one.

The name is so popular because of Brandon the Builder who was the founder of House Stark.

  • Eddard Stark (son of Rickard and Lyarra) and had three sons; Robb, Brandon (aka Bran), and Rickon.
  • Rickard Stark (son of Edwyle and Marna) and had three sons; Eddard, Benjen, and Brandon.
  • Rickard was an only child. No Brandon.
  • There is another Brandon one more generation back who Old Nan gets confused with other Brandons. He was the son of Willam Stark and Lyanne Glover and died at three.

    Nan had come to the castle as a wet nurse for a Brandon Stark whose mother had died birthing him. He had been an older brother of Lord Rickard, Bran's grandfather, or perhaps a younger brother, or a brother to Lord Rickard's father. Sometimes Old Nan told it one way and sometimes another. In all the stories the little boy died at three of a summer chill, but Old Nan stayed on at Winterfell with her own children.

    A Game of Thrones - Bran IV

  • Prior to that Brandon, we have another generation without one. Beron Stark had five sons; Donnor, Willam, Artos, Errold, and Rodrik. No Brandon.

  • Beron Stark's father was a Brandon, however the generation prior to that had no Brandons.

  • The next generation back had a Brandon (the son of Bennard and Margaret).

  • The next Brandon we find is just second known Lord of Winterfell and died in 49 AC.

  • Prior to that, history get murky because prior to Aegon's conquest the records are not that great. We know Torrhen Stark, The King Who Knelt, had a half brother Brandon Snow, but that is as far as we directly trace the name.

  • The obvious oldest Brandon Stark we know is Brandon the Builder from thousands of years ago. One would have to assume there were other Brandons in a couple generations between the Age of Heroes and Aegon's Conquest.

  • Old Nan gets all the Brandons confused and thats probably why we do as well.

    She had lived so long, Mother had told him once, that all the Brandon Starks had become one person in her head.

    A Game of Thrones - Bran IV

  • There are a couple other Brandons that we know about but not exactly when they lived.

    That's a Brandon, the tall one with the dreamy face, he was Brandon the Shipwright, because he loved the sea. His tomb is empty. He tried to sail west across the Sunset Sea and was never seen again. His son was Brandon the Burner, because he put the torch to all his father's ships in grief.

    A Game of Thrones - Bran VII

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    "Rickard was an only child. No Brandon." True but there were others in Rickard's generation we just don't know who they were. I think we know too little of the branches off of the line of succession to confidently state if any generation had no Brandon's. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 26 at 14:52
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We don't have anywhere near a full family tree but the Stark's trace their routes back to the First Men 8000 years ago so it stands to reason that somewhere along the line a generation didn't have someone named Brandon.

"He does," his father admitted. "As did the Targaryen kings before him. Yet our way is the older way. The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.

A Game of Thrones, Bran I

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Beron Stark

While he is the son of a Brandon Stark, he doesn't have any children nor brother named Brandon

As you can see, there are other generations without any Brandon.

Edwyle Stark has a cousin named Brandon, but no brother and no sons named Brandon

Descendents

If we check Beron's ancestor, we can also see several generations without Bran, like Benjen Stark_, maybe his son Rickon.

Ancestors

This is only the last generations (post-conquest era) of main STark family. Keep in mind that not only there are cadet branches of Stark, but also that Stark House is several thousand years old, so even if we don't know the full family tree, we can assume that there are many more generations without any Brandon siblings

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