Introduced in 1996's A Game of Thrones, Bran is the second son and fourth child of Eddard Stark, the honorable lord of Winterfell, an ancient fortress in the North of the fictional kingdom of Westeros. He subsequently appeared in Martin's A Clash of Kings (1998) and A Storm of Swords (2000). Bran was one of a few prominent characters that were not included in 2005's A Feast for Crows, but returned in the next novel A Dance with Dragons (2011). Martin told Rolling Stone in 2014 that Bran's chapter with Jaime and Cersei Lannister is what "hooked" many readers early in the first novel.
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