Rickard Stark was the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North during much of the reign of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen. He was the only son of Lord Edwyle Stark and his wife Marna Locke. He married his cousin Lyarra Stark, the daughter of Rodrik Stark (the Wandering Wolf) and his wife Arya Flint.
When Lyanna was kidnapped by Crown Prince Rhaegar, Brandon, who was on his way to Riverrun to marry Catelyn Tully, went to King's Landing to declare that Rhaegar must be captured and tried. King Aerys interpreted this as treason, and Lord Rickard was summoned to court to re-swear his oaths of loyalty. Once there, he and his son were taken into custody, and Brandon was forced to watch as Aerys ordered Rickard to be roasted alive inside his own armor.