The Winter Fever was an epidemic disease which struck Westeros from 132 AC to 133 AC, in the long winter following the Dance of the Dragons.
The first sign of the Winter Fever was a red flush of the face, followed by a fever which would grow progressively worse as time passed. Although cooling the diseased person down with snow and icy water appeared to slow the course of the fever, it was unable to halt it entirely. By the second day, those afflicted would start to shiver violently and complain of being cold, in spite of their fever. By the third day, they became delirious, and would begin to sweat. On the fourth day, either the fever would break and the victim would recover, or the victim would die. Only one in every four people afflicted survived the Winter Fever.
The Winter Fever is known to have killed a man within two days instead of the usual four.
The Winter Fever, the worst epidemic Westeros had suffered since the Shivers, first appeared on the Three Sisters in late 132 AC, The disease killed half the population of the town Sisterton, located on Sweetsister. The survivors believed that the disease had been brought to their shores by whaling ships from the Port of Ibben, and slaughtered every Ibbenese they could find.
Regardless of this, the disease crossed the Bite to White Harbor, where it killed Lord Desmond Manderly and his son, Ser Medrick Manderly. As a result, the lordship of White Harbor passed to Desmond's younger son, Torrhen Manderly, who gave up his seat on King Aegon III Targaryen's council of regents in King's Landing and returned north to claim his lordship. From Sisterton and White Harbor, the Winter Fever spread southward through the major ports of the east coast, striking first Gulltown, then Maidenpool, and then Duskendale. Around the same time, it Winter Fever was reported to have reached Braavos as well.
The Winter Fever was reported for the first time in King's Landing on the third day of 133 AC. First afflicted were the sailors, ferrymen, fishermongers, dockers, stevedores, and wharfside whores who worked on the riverside of the Blackwater Rush. From there, the disease spread through the city. The Winter Fever was confirmed by Grand Maester Munkun, who alerted Ser Tyland Lannister, the Hand of the King. Ser Tyland ordered the City Watch to close the city, so as to prevent anyone from leaving or entering until the disease had run its course. The gates of the Red Keep were barred as well, but this could not stop the disease from afflicting those at court.
As the disease raged through King's Landing, King Aegon III personally visited the sick. When there were almost no new cases being reported anymore, Ser Tyland Lannister fell ill, and became one of the last to die from Winter Fever. By mid-133 AC, Winter Fever had most receded. The disease had grown somewhat less potent as it traveled south, but resurfaced back in the North in Barrowton during the second half of the year, marking the first time the disease had managed to travel inland this far. Taking advantage of the sickness and famine in the North, a wildling chieftain called Sylas the Grim led 3.000 wildling raiders south of the Wall and plundered the Gift, until he was stopped by a northern force led by Lord Cregan Stark.
In total, the Winter Fever was deathly to three out of every four people stricken by the disease, and is known to have killed almost one fifth of the population of King's Landing.
On the Feast Day of Our Father Above in 133 AC, a suspected Poor Fellow had his tongue removed as punishment for preaching that the Seven has sent the Winter Fever to Westeros as a punishment for House Targaryen's incest. One of the last three prisoners condemned that day was a Pentoshi merchantman, who had been found guilty of bringing the Winter Fever from Sisterton to King's Landing. The merchantman's head was removed by Ser Victor Risley, the King's Justice.
The following people are known to have died of Winter Fever:
The Vale of Arryn:
- Many in White Harbor and Barrowton.
- Lord Desmond Manderly, in 132 AC.
- Lord Medrick Manderly, Desmond's son, four days after his father.
Ports on the Narrow Sea:
- Many in Gulltown, Maidenpool, and Duskendale, as well as Braavos.
King's Landing and the Crownlands:
- Almost a fifth of the population of King's Landing.
- Ser Tyland Lannister, in 133 AC.
- Queen Alicent Hightower, in 133 AC
- Two of Queen Jaehaera Targaryen's maids.
- The Commander of the City Watch.
- His successor, nine days later.
- Ser Willis Fell, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, in 133 AC.[N 1]
- Lord Leowyn Corbray, in 133 AC.
- His mistress and several of his servants.
- Lord Roland Westerling, in 133 AC.
- Lady Hazel Harte, the wife of Ser Daeron Velaryon.
Grand Maester Munkun fell ill in King's Landing, but eventually recovered from the Winter Fever. Lord Manfryd Mooton recovered as well, although the sickness had badly damaged the elderly man's health. Mooton's health never truly recovered afterwards, and he ultimately died the following year.
- ↑ Earlier editions of Fire & Blood mentioned that two Kingsguard knights have succumbed to the disease alongside Ser Willis Fell. In later editions of Fire & Blood Ser Willis is the only kingsguard to succumb to the disease.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
- ↑ Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.