Several of the main point of view characters of the series are members of House Stark. House Stark is the principal noble house in the North. Their seat is Winterfell. Their sigil is a grey direwolf on a field of ice-white, their colours are grey trimmed with white, and their house motto, referred to in-universe as their words, is "Winter Is Coming." At the beginning of the story, Eddard Stark finds a dead direwolf with six pups and gives them to his children.
The Starks are descended from Brandon the Builder, a legendary figure from the Age of Heroes thousands of years in the past, who built Winterfell and the Wall. They were Kings of Winter in the North until Torrhen Stark submitted to Aegon the Conqueror at the end of the War of Conquest. Since that time the Starks have held the North for the kings of Westeros as Lords of Winterfell and Wardens of the North.