Bear Island is a remote island in the north that is home to House Mormont. It lies within the Bay of Ice, north of Deepwood Motte and south of the Frozen Shore. The Mormonts live at Mormont Keep.
The beautiful but remote island contains old gnarled oaks, tall pines, flowering thornbushes, moss-covered grey stones, and steep hills with streams.
Aside from a few crofters, the inhabitants of Bear Island live along the coasts and fish the seas. In days past, ironborn and free folk from the Frozen Shore raided Bear Island while the men were fishing, leaving the defense of the island to its women. This created a warrior culture among the women.
Ironmen and Northmen
Bear Island has long been disputed by the north and the Iron Islands. Thousands of years ago, Bear Island was ruled by House Woodfoot prior to its conquest by the ironborn. The ironmen of antiquity controlled the Sunset Sea from Bear Island and the Frozen Shore as far south as the Arbor.
The island was used as a reaving base by Ravos Hoare, the son of Harrag Hoare, King of the Iron Islands. Theon Stark, a King in the North, drove the ironborn from Bear Island during his reign, slaying Ravos himself.
The driftwood king Loron Greyjoy retook Bear Island, but it was again lost to the ironborn after the Old Kraken's death. King Rodrik Stark is said to have won the island in a wrestling match and granted it to House Mormont, although some scholars are skeptical of the story. This presumably occurred in the century after Gerold Lannister, King of the Rock, raided the Iron Islands, when weaker driftwood kings lost most ironborn possessions along western Westeros.
Lord Jeor Mormont joined the Night's Watch to allow his son, Jorah Mormont, to rule Bear Island. Jorah ruled the island with his wife, Lynesse Hightower, but she decided that the remote isle was no place for a Hightower of Oldtown. After Jorah was caught selling poachers to a slaver to support Lynesse's lifestyle, Eddard Stark, the liege lord of the north, traveled to Bear Island to execute Jorah or force him to take the black. However, the disgraced Jorah had already taken ship into exile with his wife by the time Ned arrived. Bear Island thus passed to Jeor's sister, Lady Maege Mormont.
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
Robb, King in the North, sends Maege into the Neck to find Lord Howland Reed. In case of capture, Maege is to claim to be returning to Bear Island. Dacey, the heir to Bear Island, is killed alongside Robb in the Red Wedding.
A Dance with Dragons
When King Stannis Baratheon demands allegiance from the northmen, ten-year-old Lyanna Mormont, Maege's youngest daughter, reaffirms Bear Island's support for House Stark. However, Alysane Mormont, the new heir to Bear Island, joins Stannis's army after the fight by Deepwood Motte and the defeat of Asha Greyjoy's longships.
- thoughts of Eddard Stark
Bear Island is rich in bears and trees, and poor in aught else.
- thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen
Dany pictured Jorah moving amongst old gnarled oaks and tall pines, past flowering thornbushes, grey stones bearded with moss, and little creeks running icy down steep hillsides. She saw him entering a hall built of huge logs, where dogs slept by the hearth and the smell of meat and mead hung thick in the smoky air.
- thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen
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- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
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- Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragons - The Wars of King Aegon I.
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- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
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- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 35, Jon VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.