Now one of nine regions of Westeros, the North was one of the original Seven Kingdoms of Westeros that existed prior to Aegon’s Conquest. Perhaps the most significant region of Westeros, the North is also by far the largest, equal in land to all the other regions combined. More importantly, the North is home to the Wall and the Night’s Watch, and for thousands of years has had the most interaction with all that lies beyond the Wall, such as White Walkers and Wildlings.
Life in the the North was, and still is, very different from most other Kingdoms of Westeros, which were overtaken by the Andals during the Andal Invasion. The North was the only kingdom able to fight off the Andals, and to this day, the Northerners still remain descendants of the First Men, who landed on Westeros nearly 12,000 years ago. Carrying on the traditions of the First Men, in the North, they pray to the Old Gods, worship the weirwood forests and remain a tough breed of people, having to endure long and cold winters, and not being afforded any of the comforts of the more southern kingdoms. At the start of the GoT series, the North is home to overlord House Stark, ruling from the seat of Winterfell.
Brandon Stark is regarded as the founder of House Stark and the first King in the North, ruling from Winterfell. 8,000 years ago, during the Long Night, it was the Kingdom of the North, led by Brandon Stark, otherwise known as Brandon the Builder, that built the Wall, founded the Night’s Watch and fought back the White Walkers. This was, and still is a defining element of the North.
During their reign as Kings in the North, the Starks were opposed by House Bolton, the next strongest house of the North, which often challenged House Stark for control of the North. Though their efforts were always suppressed by the Starks, to this day, House Bolton remains bitter to the Starks.
300 years ago, during Aegon’s Conquest, King Torrhen Stark wisely bent the knee to Aegon, after having seen the death and destruction caused to some of the southern kingdoms which tried to oppose Aegon and his dragons. Torrhen Stark would be the last of the Stark kings in the North, though the Starks would be appointed by Aegon as wardens of the North and overlords of Winterfell.
Winterfell is an ancient castle, considered to be the capital of the North, and seat of House Stark. Winterfell is regarded as one of the strongest castles in all of Westeros. It was built over 8,000 years ago by Brandon Stark, founder of House Stark, with the supposed help of giants and the Children of the Forest. House Stark has presided from Winterfell for thousands of years, and throughout many wars, Winterfell has never been breached. More than just a castle, Winterfell is a giant complex, with a small village within its walls.