Wolf's Den

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Wolf's Den
Prison, former Castle
Location White Harbor
Government House Manderly (re-purposed to prison)
House Greystark (extinct), Feudal lord
Religion Faith of the Seven
Named for direwolf of House Stark

The Wolf's Den, also called the Den,[1] is an ancient castle[2] along the White Knife in White Harbor that now serves as a prison.[3] It is held by its chief gaoler, Ser Bartimus.[1]


The Wolf's Den looms over the inner harbor of White Harbor, and houses cling to its crumbling black walls like barnacles.[3] The Castle Stair is a stepped street which runs from the ancient castle to the New Castle on a nearby hill.[3]

The ground floor of the Wolf's Den contains a barracks. One of the castle's cells, large and unexpectedly comfortable, may once have been a lordling's bedchamber. It contains a hearth large enough to hold a kettle and a privy in a corner nook. This cell's floor consists of warped planks. The walls are solid stone and the door is made of oak and iron. In the castle's cellars, however are true dungeons, including oubliettes, torture chambers, and rat-filled pits.[1]

Located within the Den, the godswood of White Harbor contains oaks, elms, and birches. Its heart tree is a weirwood so large that its limbs pass through walls and windows.[1]

A door in the godswood leads to a barrel-vaulted cellar with walls covered with salt and a floor sloshing with seawater. Past other cellars are rows of smaller, foul-smelling cells. Pushing on a certain blank wall leads to a long tunnel that runs below the Castle Stair, secretly connecting the Wolf's Den with the New Castle.[1]


Jon Stark, King in the North, raised the Wolf's Den to defend the mouth of the White Knife from raiders from the sea. It became the seat of younger sons, brothers, uncles and cousins to the Kings in the North. Some passed the castle to their sons and grandsons, and cadet branches of House Stark would arise. The Greystarks lasted the longest, holding the Wolf's Den for five centuries, until they joined House Bolton of the Dreadfort in rebellion against the Starks of Winterfell.[1]

After the Greystarks, the castle switched many hands. House Flint held it for a century, and House Locke for almost two. Slates, Longs, Holts and Ashwoods then held the Wolf's Den and kept the White Knife safe. Reavers from the Three Sisters took the castle once, and made it their toehold in the north. During the War Across the Water between the Starks and the Arryns, it was besieged by King Osgood Arryn, the Old Falcon, and burned by his son, Oswin the Talon.[1][4]

The Wolf's Den was captured by slavers from the Stepstones when King Edrick Stark had grown too feeble to defend his realm. During a long and cruel winter which froze the White Knife, when the slavers were huddled around their fires, Edrick's great-grandson, the new king called "Ice Eyes", took back the Wolf's Den. He stripped the slavers naked and gave them to the slaves chained up in the dungeon. The freed slaves hung the slavers' entrails in the branches of the heart tree as an offering to the old gods.[1]

A thousand years before Aegon's Conquest, the Manderlys received the Wolf's Den from the Starks. Inside the ancient castle, they took oaths before the old gods and the new to be the Starks' men forever in return for protection from their enemies and the land that became the city of White Harbor.[5] The Manderlys eventually built the New Castle as a replacement for the aging Wolf's Den and converted the latter to a prison.[3]

Ser Bartimus received the Wolf's Den from Lord Wyman Manderly as a reward for saving his life at the Battle of the Trident.[1]

Recent Events

A Dance with Dragons

In the New Castle, Lord Wyman Manderly publicly rejects Lord Davos Seaworth's attempt to gain House Manderly for the cause of King Stannis Baratheon. Wyman orders Ser Marlon Manderly to take Davos to the Wolf's Den and have his head and hands cut off.[5]

To deceive the Iron Throne, Wyman has Davos confined to a cell in the Wolf's Den, and the body of a criminal is instead publicly claimed to be that of Stannis's envoy. Unaware of this, Davos finds his imprisonment in the Wolf's Den is more comfortable than expected. According to Ser Bartimus, Davos is the only prisoner in the castle. While Garth tries to intimidate Davos, Bartimus treats the Onion Lord courteously and tells him the history of the prison. Davos writes letters to send to his family.[1]

After Ser Wylis Manderly is safely returned to White Harbor, Robett Glover releases Davos from his cell and brings him to Wyman in the New Castle through the secret passage connecting the two castles. After apologizing to Davos for his poor treatment, Wyman tasks him with finding Rickon Stark.[1]


  • Ser Bartimus, castellan of the Wolf’s Den,
  • Garth, a gaoler and headsman,
  • Therry, a young turnkey,
  • Six guardsmen,
  • A pair of washerwomen (one is Therry's mother),
  • A cook.[1]


All the days were much the same inside the Wolf's Den, and any change was usually for the worse.[1]

—thoughts of Davos Seaworth