The winter town is a town located outside of Winterfell, the seat of House Stark in the North. During autumn and winter it is one of the largest northern settlements, along with White Harbor and Barrowton.
The winter town has rows of small and neat houses built of log and undressed stone. Its streets are muddy. Located at Winterfell's main gatehouse, the market square has wooden stalls for produce and goods and a well at its center. The local inn and alehouse is the Smoking Log. The kingsroad lies past the sprawl of castle and town, while the wolfswood is two miles away. Hunting parties from Winterfell can avoid the winter town by taking the Hunter's Gate instead of the main gate.
When full, the winter town has a population of around 15,000,[N 1] rivaling that of Barrowton. However, during the spring and summer, four-fifths of the homes are empty. But during autumn and winter, the winter town becomes filled with northmen from throughout the region, including farmers, villagers, and clansmen from the northern mountains.
A Game of Thrones
The winter town becomes full when Robb calls the northern banners in response to the Iron Throne's imprisonment of Lord Eddard Stark. The townspeople cheer Robb when he leads the soldiers south along the kingsroad.
A Clash of Kings
The town is occupied by Theon's ironborn when they capture Winterfell during the War of the Five Kings. Kyra, a tavern wench who has lived her entire life in the winter town, becomes Theon's bedmate in Winterfell.
Theon unsuccessfully parleys with Ser Rodrik Cassel in the market square after Rodrik gathers an army of Stark loyalists to retake Winterfell. The square is defended by Rodrik's men, including spearmen, archers atop the houses, and knights from White Harbor.
Later that day, Rodrik's men are betrayed by the Dreadfort garrison brought by Ramsay Snow. The Stark men are unable to form up between the houses, which Boltons put to the torch. Following the scattering of Rodrik's men in this battle at Winterfell, Theon admits the Boltons into Winterfell, which they quickly sack.
A Dance with Dragons
The remnants of the winter town are buried by the blizzard striking the North.
- Luwin states that Robb's initial army (which he claims numbers 12,000 men), when quartered in the settlement, were numerous enough that "the winter town is full to bursting." Given that four-fifths of Winter Town's housing would be available for the army with the last fifth being occupied by the civilians who normally live there, that would mean the town can house 15,000 people at maximum capacity.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37, Bran V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: Winterfell.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 21, Bran III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.