|Castle, Regional Capital|
Artwork by lykhaon ©
|Government||House Stark , Feudal Lord.|
|Founded||Age of Heroes|
|Notable places||The Great Keep, Glass Garden, Winter Town|
Winterfell is the ancestral castle and seat of power of House Stark and is considered to be the capital of the North. It is located in the center of the northern province of the Seven Kingdoms, on the Kingsroad that runs from King's Landing to the Wall.
It was supposedly built by Brandon the Builder over eight thousand years ago, with the help of giants. For most of recorded history Winterfell was the seat of House Stark, the Kings in the North and later as Wardens of The North, after King Torrhen Stark bent the knee to Aegon the Conqueror and his dragons. As the regional capital of the North, harvest festivities have been hosted in Winterfell for centuries.
During the War of the Five Kings, Winterfell, was captured in a surprise attack by the ironmen led by Theon Greyjoy. Theon ruled the castle for several weeks, but he lacked the manpower to hold it indefinitely against the Stark bannermen. The castle was sacked and burned by Ramsay Snow, after his force of Dreadfort men turned on his fellow northmen and double-crossing Theon, taking him prisoner. It was later partially restored by the Boltons in preparation for the wedding of "Arya Stark".
Winterfell is a huge castle complex spanning several acres, consisting of two massive walls and a village located just outside called the "winter town". Winterfell itself has been built around an ancient godswood and over natural hot springs. The water is piped through walls and chambers to heat them, making Winterfell more comfortable than other castles during the harsh northern winter.
Inside the walls, the complex is composed of dozens of courtyards and small open spaces. Weapons training and practice take place in those yards. The inner ward is a second, much older open space in the castle where archery practice takes place. It is located next to the broken tower. Inside Winterfell stands the Inner Castle, which contains the Great Keep and the Great Hall.
- The Great Keep, is the innermost castle and stronghold of the castle complex. It was built over natural hot springs to keep it warm. Its walls are made of granite. It is connected to the armory by a covered bridge. From a window on the covered bridge, one can see the entire yard.
- The Great Hall, used for receiving guests and the place where the household would dine together, including the lord of the house. The Great Hall is very large, on the outside it's enclosed with grey stone and covered with banners, with wide doors made of oak and iron, which opens to the castle yard, whilst a rear exit leads to a dimly-lit gallery. Inside it can hold eight long rows of trestle tables, four to each side of the central aisle, that can seat 500 people. There is a raised platform for noble guests. The ceiling of the Great Hall collapsed during the Sack of Winterfell.
Courtyard and Misc.
- The First Keep, the oldest part of the castle, a squat round fortress. It is no longer in use. Around it lies a lichyard where the Kings of Winter would lay their loyal servants. Lady is buried there. The keep has gargoyles atop it. During the Sack of Winterfell, one whole side of the building collapsed.
- Broken Tower, also known as the Burned Tower, it was once the tallest watchtower in Winterfell, but over 140 years ago a lightning strike set it afire and the top third collapsed inward, and no one bothered to rebuild it It stands behind the old inner ward.
- Godswood, the ancient godswood that has stood untouched for 10,000 years, with three acres of old packed earth and close together trees creating a dense canopy, which the castle was raised around. At the center of the grove stands an ancient weirwood with a face carved into it, standing over a pool of black water. Across the godswood from the heart tree, beneath the windows of the Guest House, an underground hot spring feeds three small pools, with a moss covered wall looming above them. The godswood is enclosed by walls, and is accessed by a main iron gate, or smaller wooden ones.
- Glass Garden, the Glass Garden is a greenhouse heated by the hot springs, turning the Glass Garden into a place of moist warmth. It is used to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers.
- Crypts, The underground crypts of Winterfell are where the bones of all of the Kings in the North and ruling lords of Winterfell are buried. It's long and narrow, with pillars moving two by two along its length. Between pillars stand the sepulchers of the Starks of Winterfell, the likenesses of the dead seated on thrones, with iron swords set before them to keep the restless spirits from wandering, and snarling direwolves at their feet. The crypts are located deep under the earth, cavernous and bigger than the complex above ground. They are accessed by a twisting stone stair and a huge ironwood door that lies at a slant to the floor. The stair continues below to older levels where the most ancient Kings in the North are entombed.
- Bell Tower, there was a bridge connecting the Bell Tower to the rookery, but it was destroyed during the Sack of Winterfell. The bridge was covered and ran from the fourth floor of the tower to the second floor of the rookery.
- Maester's Turret, the maester's turret is located below the rookery. During the Sack of Winterfell, the Maester's turret was destroyed.
- Library Tower, the Library Tower houses the library at Winterfell. A stonework staircase winds about its exterior. A fire was started there in order to distract the guards during an attempt on Bran Stark's life. A steaming lake formed at the bottom of the tower after the Sack of Winterfell.
- Guards Hall, The Guards Hall is in line with the Bell Tower, and further back, the First Keep.
Winterfell is a huge castle complex spanning several acres, defended by two massive granite walls with a wide moat between them. The outer wall is 80 feet high, the inner is 100 feet high, with a wide moat between them. There are guard turrets on the outer wall and more than thirty watch turrets on the crenelated inner walls.
The main gatehouse is made of two huge crenelated bulwarks, flanking the arched gate and drawbridge that opens into the market square. There are three additional gates, the Hunter's Gate directly on the opposite side of the castle and south/northern gates. There is a narrow tunnel inside of the inner wall stretching halfway around the castle, allowing travel from the south gate all the way to the northern gate without interruption.
- Hunter's Gate, the Hunter's Gate is a gate that is located close to the kennels and the kitchens. It opens directly onto the open fields and the Wolfswood, so people can come and go without having to cross through the winter town. It is favored by hunting parties.
- East Gate, is part of the main gatehouse, located on the eastern inner walls, it opens onto the King's Gate located in the outer walls and leads to the Kingsroad.
The winter town, so called because it lies mostly deserted during summer years, is where smallfolk gather in winters. It's located outside the walls of Winterfell. Its market square is filled with wooden stalls for merchants, its streets are muddy and lined with rows of houses made from log and undressed stone. Less than one in five were occupied during the summer, but they would fill up once winter arrived. The Kingsroad sits beyond the winter town, which would put it to the east of Winterfell. There is an inn in the winter town.
Chapters that take place in Winterfell
- A Game of Thrones: 2. Catelyn I
- A Game of Thrones: 4. Eddard I
- A Game of Thrones: 5. Jon I
- A Game of Thrones: 6. Catelyn II
- A Game of Thrones: 7. Arya I
- A Game of Thrones: 8. Bran II
- A Game of Thrones: 9. Tyrion I
- A Game of Thrones: 10. Jon II
- A Game of Thrones: 14. Catelyn III
- A Game of Thrones: 17. Bran III
- A Game of Thrones: 24. Bran IV
- A Game of Thrones: 53. Bran VI
- A Game of Thrones: 66. Bran VII
References and Notes
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 5, Jon I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69, Bran VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 35, Bran V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 14, Catelyn III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 4, Bran I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37, Bran V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.