The haunted forest is a vast forest beyond the Wall in northern Westeros. Located beyond the Seven Kingdoms, it is inhabited by the free folk and is bounded to the west by the Frostfangs and to the east by the Shivering Sea and the Bay of Seals. North of the haunted forest is the unmapped Land of Always Winter.
- See also: Images of the haunted forest
Types of trees in the haunted forest include ash, broadleaf, chestnut, ironwood, oak, sentinel, soldier pine, and weirwood. It is the only known location where one can find more than two or three weirwoods in a single place. The Fist of the First Men is an isolated hill found near the Milkwater in the western part of the forest.
The wood is named the haunted forest by the brothers of the Night's Watch, who traditionally have cut all trees within half a mile of the Wall. As the number of brothers has diminished over the centuries, however, the treeline has crept closer to the Wall, aside from the inhabited forts of Castle Black, the Shadow Tower, and Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
Blocks of ice from the haunted forest's lakes are said to have been used in the construction of the Wall centuries ago. Six hundred years ago, ashes from Hardhome rained down on the haunted forest for near six months.
A Game of Thrones
While ranging in the haunted forest, Ser Waymar Royce, Will, and Gared are attacked by Others, who had been believed extinct. Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly swear the vow of the Night's Watch in a weirwood grove just north of the Wall and Castle Black.
A Clash of Kings
Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, leads a great ranging northwest from Castle Black into the haunted forest in search of Mance Rayder's wildling host and the missing Benjen Stark. They stop at Craster's Keep on their way to the Fist of the First Men.
A Storm of Swords
The Night's Watch encamped at the solitary hill amidst the forest are suddenly attacked by wights and overwhelmed in the fight at the Fist. The scattered survivors make their way back to Craster's Keep, but many die from wounds or attacks by Others and wights along the way. The brothers of the Night's Watch disperse further after the mutiny at Craster's Keep, with only a few making it back to Castle Black.
Meanwhile, Mance Rayder has gathered the free folk and moves his host through the forest toward Castle Black. They besiege the Wall, but are defeated in the battle beneath the Wall when the army of Stannis Baratheon unexpectedly attacks from the east through the forest.
A Dance with Dragons
Mance's wilding host collapses after being defeated by Stannis and the Night's Watch, with the survivors captured at Castle Black or fleeing throughout the regions beyond the Wall. Queen's men imprison "Mance", actually Rattleshirt, in a cage made from the forest's trees.
Jon Snow, now Lord Commander, sends three groups of rangers led by Ser Alliser Thorne, Black Jack Bulwer, and Kedge Whiteye to scout north of the Wall; Black Jack's group is killed by the Weeper, while nothing is known of the other two groups. Jon leads recruits to swear their vows at the same godswood where he swore his. Val successfully brings Tormund's wildlings from the haunted forest back to Castle Black.
The first time he had been sent beyond, all the old stories had come rushing back, and his bowels had turned to water. He had laughed about it afterward. He was a veteran of a hundred rangings by now, and the endless dark wilderness that the southron called the haunted forest had no more terrors for him.—Will's thoughts
Few axes had ever swung in that black wood, where even the moonlight could not penetrate the ancient tangle of root and thorn and grasping limb. Out there the trees grew huge, and the rangers said they seemed to brood and knew not men. It was small wonder the Night's Watch named it the haunted forest.—Tyrion Lannister's thoughts
Good men have gone into those woods before, and never come out.
No one would admit to being afraid—they were men of the Night's Watch, after all—but Jon could feel the unease. Four empty villages, no wildlings anywhere, even the game seemingly fled. The haunted forest had never seemed more haunted.—Jon Snow's thoughts
—Jon Snow's thoughts
Chapters that takes place in the haunted forest
- A Game of Thrones: 0. Prologue (Will)
- A Game of Thrones: 48. Jon VI
- A Clash of Kings: 13. Jon II
- A Storm of Swords: 18. Samwell II
- A Storm of Swords: 46. Samwell III
- A Dance with Dragons: 0. Prologue (Varamyr)
- A Dance with Dragons: 4. Bran I
- A Dance with Dragons: 35. Jon VII
- The Lands of Ice and Fire.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 21, Tyrion III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 34, Jon IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 30, Jon IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 4, Bran I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 39, Jon VIII.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- A Game of Thrones, Prologue.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
- A Storm of Swords, Prologue.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 46, Samwell III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 64, Jon VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
- A Dance with Dragons, Prologue.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 28, Jon VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 31, Melisandre I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 35, Jon VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 13, Jon II.