The Frostfangs lie north of the Wall, just northwest of the Shadow Tower, separating the Lands of Always Winter to their west and the haunted forest to their east. Its southern peaks and foothills transition into the northern mountains, which are part of the north within the Seven Kingdoms. One of the largest mountains in the Frostfangs is called Forktop by the Night's Watch.
The Frostfangs are a cruel and inhospitable wilderness of stone and ice, blue-grey in color with snow-capped peaks. However, the mountains conceal a diverse series of wonders. Icy waterfalls plunge over sheer stone cliffs, great lakes reflect snowy peaks, there are ravines so deep and black they seem to go all the way to hell, and bridges of natural stone span distances with only the sky to either side.
The foothills of the Frostfangs have numerous winding valleys. The easiest way into the mountains is to follow the Milkwater to its source, but this path is visible from the Fist of the First Men. Other paths into the Frostfangs include the Giant's Stair and the Skirling Pass, if it is clear.
Hidden valleys sustaining small numbers of people exist in the Frostfangs. The Thenns live in one such valley in the northern Frostfangs. Wildflowers, coldsnaps, frostfires, and piper's grass grow in the mountain meadows.
A Clash of Kings
Craster informs Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, that Mance Rayder, King-Beyond-the-Wall, is gathering the bulk of the free folk into the Frostfangs. Jeor does not expect the wildlings to remain in the inhospitable mountains for long. Qhorin Halfhand's rangers defeat Alfyn Crowkiller's wildlings, although a few flee toward the Frostfangs. A captured wildling informs Qhorin that Mance is searching for something to help bring down the Wall.
The Night's Watch send three scouting missions to search for Mance: one up the Giant's Stair under Jarman Buckwell, one to probe the Milkwater under Thoren Smallwood, and one into the Skirling Pass under Qhorin Halfhand.
In the Skirling Pass, Jon Snow and Stonesnake are sent ahead to dispatch with lookouts; they kill two and Jon captures Ygritte, later releasing her rather than execute her. After discovering the free folk's location, the party turn back leaving Dalbridge to cover their retreat.
Orell's eagle follows the black brothers. Qhorin sends Ebben ahead on horseback, and Stonesnake afoot up the mountainside. The Halfhand commands Jon to yield to the wildlings and do whatever is asked of him in order to gain their trust and learn what they are searching for. When the free folk finally overtake them, Jon yields as he was instructed and kills Qhorin.
A Storm of Swords
A Dance with Dragons
The Frostfangs are cruel, inhospitable, a wilderness of stone and ice. They will not long sustain any great number of people.
On the horizon stood the mountains like a great shadow, range on range of them receding into the blue-grey distance, their jagged peaks sheathed eternally in snow. Even from afar they looked vast and cold and inhospitable.—thoughts of Jon Snow
The Frostfangs were as cruel as any place the gods had made, and as inimical to men. The wind cut like a knife up here, and shrilled in the night like a mother mourning her slain children. What few trees they saw were stunted, grotesque things growing sideways out of cracks and fissures. Tumbled shelves of rock often overhung the trail, fringed with hanging icicles that looked like long white teeth from a distance.—thoughts of Jon Snow
The mountain is your mother. Cling to her, press your face up against her teats, and she won't drop you.
Behind the Scenes
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 53, Jon VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 34, Jon IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Prologue.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 26, Jon III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 43, Jon V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 68, Jon VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 7, Jon I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 58, Jon XII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 51, Jon VI.
- George R.R. Martin Talks Season Two, 'The Winds of Winter,' and Real-World Influences for 'A Song of Ice and Fire' (March 26, 2012)