Godswood

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Godswood. Art By Kim Pope, for Game of Thrones

A godswood is usually a small wooded area within the walls of castles throughout the Seven Kingdoms. It is primarily used as a place of worship by those who carry on the traditions of the First Men and pray to the old gods. To followers of the Faith of the Seven they are treated as a private wooded area of solitude.[1]

History

Godswood attendant - by artist Rafal Hrynkiewicz . © Fantasy Flight Games.

When the First Men took up the Old Faith, they created godswoods, groves within their castles and villages where a single weirwood, known as a "heart tree" and carved with a face, was planted so the gods could be worshipped. In the North every castle has a weirwood heart tree with a face. South of the Neck, however, most weirwoods were cut down or burnt years ago.[1] There is a significant number on the Isle of Faces, however, and many southron castles still have weirwoods within their godswoods.[2]

Locations

Casterly Rock

Casterly Rock in the westerlands contains the Stone Garden with a twisted weirwood.[3][4]

Darry

Shortly before winter is declared, the godswood at Darry in the riverlands contains bare trees with black branches reaching the sky.[5]

Eyrie

The Eyrie in the Vale of Arryn contains a godswood but no heart tree.[6] It is more garden than godswood, as the ground is too thin and stony for a weirwood to grow. Instead, there is a statue of a weeping woman at its center.[7]

Harrenhal

The godswood at Harrenhal in the riverlands covers twenty acres.[8] Besides a weirwood heart tree with a terrible face, it contains pines, sentinels, and a little stream. Bats hunt at night.[9]

Highgarden

Although Garth IX Gardener, King of the Reach, built the first sept of Highgarden, he continued to pray within the castle's godswood.[10] The lush godswoods contains three weirwoods, said by some to have been planted by Garth Greenhand.[11]

Raventree Hall

The godswood of Raventree Hall in the riverlands contains trees said to be as old as the castle's towers. Its weirwood heart tree, although dead, is colossal and can be seen from leagues away. Hundreds of ravens have roosted on the tree at night for thousands of years. The godswood also contains a statue of Melissa Blackwood.[3]

Red Keep

The godswood at the Red Keep, the castle of King's Landing in the crownlands, overlooks the Blackwater Rush. It is an acre of elm, alder, and black cottonwood. Unlike the weirwoods of northern godswoods, the Red Keep's heart tree is a great oak covered in smokeberry vines. Red dragon's breath grows below the oak.[12]

Riverrun

The godswood at Riverrun in the riverlands is a bright and airy garden. Full of birds and flowers, it consists of tall redwoods and old elms overlooking streams.[1] Its heart tree is a weirwood with a sad face.[13]

Storm's End

The godswood at Storm's End in the stormlands, including its solemn-faced weirwood heart tree, is burned by Stannis Baratheon as an offering to the Lord of Light.[14]

White Harbor

The city of White Harbor in the North contains a godswood within the Wolf's Den. The godswood is a brooding tangle of root, branch, and stone,[15] made up of oaks, elms, and birch. Its weirwood heart tree is massive, with branches breaching walls and windows and an angry carved face.[16]

Whispers

The ruins of the Whispers in the crownlands are overgrown with soldier pines, amidst which is a slender young weirwood.[17]

Winterfell

Eddard Stark in the godswood at Winterfell - by Amok ©

The godswood at Winterfell in the North is a dark, primal place of three acres of old forest untouched for ten thousand years. It primarily consists of sentinels, oaks, and ironwoods,[1] but also has hawthorn, ash, and soldier pines.[18] In the center is a small, dark, and cold pool with an ancient weirwood heart tree. The weirwood has bark white as bone, dark red leaves, and a long and melancholy face carved in the bark, its deep-cut eyes red with dried sap. A thousand years of humus covers the earth.[1] Across the godswood, below the windows of Winterfell's Guest House, three small ponds are fed by an underground hot spring.[19]

Quotes about godswoods

There was something wild about a godswood; even here, in the heart of the castle at the heart of the city, you could feel the old gods watching with a thousand unseen eyes.[20]
Sansa Stark


There is a power in living wood ... a power strong as fire.[21]
Jojen Reed

References and Notes

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