“Brandon. Yes. Brandon would know what to do. He always did. It was all meant for Brandon. You, Winterfell, everything. He was born to be a King’s Hand and a father to queens.” (“Catelyn II”, A Game of Thrones)
By the time A Song of Ice and Fire begins, Brandon is nearly 20 years dead; the only physical memory remaining of the onetime heir to Winterfell is the solemn statue of him in the ancient seat’s crypts. Brandon is remembered for his hot-headedness and quick temper – that particularly Stark “wolf’s blood” which led him and his sister Lyanna to early graves. What is often overlooked with Brandon, however, is how southron the heir to Winterfell had become by the time of his fateful meeting with King Aerys. From a young age, Brandon – under his father’s watchful eye – had been steeped in southron-looking and overtly southron customs: a competent jouster, friend to riverlords and Valemen, with a young squire and a Tully fiancée, Brandon was almost indistinguishable from the heir to any great southron seat. What would distinguish him was the inborn Northern vengeance that – combined with southron modes of chivalry – drove him to challenge a grievous crime against his sister, with fatal results.