House of the Dragon season 2 reintroduces a key family: Cregan Stark explained

House of the Dragon
(Image credit: HBO)

House of the Dragon season 2, episode 1 reintroduces us to the Starks – that pivotal Northern family we first met in Game of Thrones

But it's been some time since we last saw a Stark, so you might be curious about who this particular family member is or what his significance is to the story. 

We delve into the answers below, which means that, naturally, we'll be dealing with spoilers for House of the Dragon season 2, episode 1. Turn back now if you're not up to date! 

We're also going to take a look at some details from the book, too, so make sure to only read the first section of our explainer if you don't want spoilers for George R.R. Martin's Fire and Blood. Now, wrap up warm – after all, winter is coming…

Who is Cregan Stark in House of the Dragon season 2? 

House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO)

In the House of the Dragon season 1 finale, Jacaerys Velaryon was sent by his mother Rhaenyra Targaryen to the North in hopes of securing an alliance with the Starks. We finally see him arrive in the first episode of season 2, heading to the Wall with Cregan, who is head of House Stark. 

The duo have a fairly loaded chat about Aegon the Conqueror and even the threat of the White Walkers, as Cregan points out to a sceptical Jace that, years ago, dragons belonging to Jace's own ancestors refused to cross the Wall because of the threat beyond. 

But, Jace's visit is cut short when a raven brings word that his brother Lucerys Velaryon has been killed. Still, though, Jace manages to secure the support of House Stark. 

What is Cregan Stark's story in the book? *Spoilers* 

House of the Dragon

(Image credit: HBO)

Things are a little different in George R.R. Martin's Fire and Blood. In the book, Jace stays with Cregan for longer, and the duo get along very well since the Velaryon prince reminds Cregan of his deceased younger brother, and they end up sworn brothers themselves. However, Fire and Blood is written like a series of conflicting histories, and in one version of the tale, Jace slept with Cregan's bastard sister Sara Snow and wed her in secret. That doesn't happen in the show. 

In the book, Cregan and Jace make what's known as the Pact of Ice and Fire, which agrees that Jace's (not yet born) first daughter will be eventually be wed to Cregan's son Rickon. In exchange, House Stark will support the blacks. 

Now, we're going to get into major book spoilers here, so this is your last chance to turn back. 

Eventually, after much bloodshed on both sides, the Targaryen civil war results in the death of both Aegon II and Rhaenyra. For a full breakdown of what happens, head to our Dance of the Dragons explainer through the link. 

Rhaenyra's son Aegon III becomes king at just 11 years old. Cregan oversees the end of the war and becomes Aegon III's Hand. He sentences many of those involved in the murder of Aegon II to death, though most choose to go to the Night's Watch and be spared. Cregan carries out the only two executions himself with his Valyrian steel blade Ice (Ned Stark wields this same sword in Game of Thrones). 

Cregan gives up his place as Hand the next day and soon departs for Winterfell once more. This brief period of time becomes known as The Hour of the Wolf. 

House of the Dragon continues weekly on HBO in the US, and Sky and NOW in the UK. For more on the show, check out our pieces on:

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.