White Harbor

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White Harbor
Port City
Juan Carlos Barquet White Habor.jpg
White Harbor by Juan Carlos Barquet © Fantasy Flight Games
Location north, Westeros
Government House Manderly, feudal lord
Religion Faith of the Seven, old gods
Notable places New Castle, Wolf's Den, Sept of the Snows, Old Mint
White Harbor is located in The North
White Harbor
The north and the location of White Harbor

White Harbor is a harbor city in the north which contains the New Castle, the seat of House Manderly. Located southeast of Winterfell, it is the largest settlement north of the Neck, but the smallest among the five major cities of Westeros. White Harbor is the north's primary trade port. Its location on the mouth of the White Knife provides opportunities for trade further north.[1][2]

Due to its location, White Harbor has more contact with southern Westeros and has a mixed population, and there are more knights and followers of the Faith of the Seven in the city than anywhere else in the north.[3] There are some followers of the old gods in White Harbor, but most follow the Seven.[4]


White Harbor is located on the eastern shore of the White Knife, where the river empties into a firth of the Bite.[4] The city is clean and well-ordered, with wide straight cobbled streets that make it easy to walk around. Its houses are built of whitewashed stone, with steeply-pitched roofs of dark grey slate. According to a semi-canon source, there may be a cadet branch of the Starks in the city.[5] White Harbor is defended by city guardsmen.[4]

The city has access to a variety of seafood,[6][4] and it is also the home of many shipwrights and silversmiths.[7] White Harbor is well regarded for its beer.[8][4] Ships frequently travel the Bite between White Harbor and the Three Sisters. White Harbor sells wood, wool, and hides, and in return the Sistermen sell crab, fish, and goat cheese.[2]


White Harbor and Seal Rock, by cabepfir ©
  • Seal Rock is a massive stone dominating the approaches to the Outer Harbor. It is crowned with a ringfort of weathered stones of the First Men that stood desolate and abandoned for centuries. However, the Manderlys fortify it with crossbowmen, scorpions, and spitfires. The stone looms fifty feet above the waters, grey-green in color. Seals often rest on it.[4]
  • The harbor is divided into the inner and outer harbors. The outer harbor is larger, but the inner harbor offers better anchorage and shelter by the city wall on one side and the looming mass of the Wolf's Den on another. A mile-long, thirty foot wall, with towers every hundred yards, is located on the jetty that separates the two harbors.[4]
  • The Wolf's Den is an ancient fortress that now serves as a prison. It is located by the water and adjoins the city walls. Houses cling like barnacles to the walls of the Wolf's Den; one is a brewhouse which makes well-regarded black beer. The godswood of White Harbor is found within the prison's walls.[4]
  • A fish market is located between the outer harbor and the Seal Gate. Seafood available at White Harbor include clams,[6] cod,[6][4] crabs,[6] eels,[9] herring,[6][4] lampreys,[6] lobster,[6] mussels,[6] salmon,[6] whitefish,[6] and winkles.[6]

Inside the walls

Old Fishfoot by Marc Fishman ©

The city is protected by thick walls. The Seal Gate opens into the harbor.

  • Fishfoot Yard, a cobbled square with a fountain at its center, located just outside the Seal Gate. There is an alley leading to a brothel.[4]
  • The Old Mint, located in Fishfoot Yard.[4]
  • The Lazy Eel, a winesink renowned for offering the oldest whores and vilest wine in White Harbor, along with meat pies full of lard and gristle that are inedible on their best days and poisonous on their worst.[4]
  • Castle Stair is a stone street with steps which connects the Wolf's Den and the New Castle. It is lined with marble mermaids that light the way with bowls of burning whale oil cradled in their arms.[4]
  • The Sept of the Snows is a large sept with a domed roof surmounted by tall statues of the Seven.[4]
  • A mummer's hall where bawdy entertainments can be had for a few pennies.[4]
  • An inn famous for its lamprey pies.[4]
  • An alehouse where the wool factors and the customs men of White Harbor are known to come to drink.[4]

New Castle

  • The New Castle is the seat of House Manderly. It is located on a hill inside the city wall, and the Castle Stair leads to its gates from the Wolf's Den below.[4] There is a secret passage beneath the Castle Stair connecting the New Castle with the cellars of the Wolf's Den.[10]
  • The Merman's Court is the great hall of the New Castle where Lord Manderly holds court and feasts. Its walls, floor, and ceiling are made of wooden planks notched cunningly together and decorated with all the creatures of the sea.[11]



White Harbor dromon by Dimitri Bielak © Fantasy Flight Games

The First Men constructed an ancient ringfort atop Seal Rock at the entrance to the harbor.[4]

King Jon Stark founded the Wolf's Den,[10] a castle at the mouth of the White Knife, after he drove out sea raiders who were using the harbor as a base for raids inland.[12] For centuries the castle was held by various Starks and offshoot branches, such as the Greystarks. Other families who were lords of the Wolf's Den in the past included the Flints, Lockes, Slates, Longs, Holts, and Ashwoods, all tasked by Winterfell to defend the White Knife.[10]


Between 1,000 BC and 600 BC,[N 1] House Manderly was driven into exile from the Mander in southern Westeros by Lord Lorimar Peake during the reign of Perceon III Gardener, King of the Reach.[13] The Starks welcomed the Manderlys to the north and accepted oaths of fealty from them in the Wolf's Den, giving them the ancient castle and the surrounding lands. This led to the creation of White Harbor around the Wolf's Den.[11][14]

The Manderlys used their wealth from the Reach to build the new city, the architecture of which more closely resembles that of the Reach than other northern settlements.[13] The Manderlys eventually built the New Castle, said to be inspired by their lost southern seat of Dunstonbury,[13] and they receive visitors in its Merman's Court.[11] The older, crumbling Wolf's Den is now used as a prison.[11]

Aegon the Conqueror

Ser Warrick Manderly led a fleet of hired Braavosi galleys from White Harbor to suppress the Sistermen's Rebellion.[15] King Aegon I Targaryen held court in White Harbor three times during his reign.[16] Queen Rhaenys Targaryen arranged a marriage between a White Harbor knight and a girl from House Rowan who had been impregnated by a scullion.[16]

Good Queen Alysanne

White Harbor prospered during the reign of Jaehaerys I Targaryen and under the rule of Lord Theomore Manderly.[8][17] The king and his queen, Alysanne Targaryen, planned to make a great royal progress to the north in 58 AC. The royal retinue traveled in three ships to White Harbor before proceeding to Winterfell. As Jaehaerys was delayed in King's Landing, Alysanne and the retinue went ahead without him. Tens of thousands of smallfolk came to see Alysanne and her dragon, Silverwing. Lord Theomore Manderly was surprised by the amount of smallfolk residing in his city.[8]

Alysanne's social and courtly skills were welcome in White Harbor, as the Manderlys enjoyed similar courtesies and pageantry on account of their southron origins. Theomore held a small tourney to honor the queen and to display the prowess of his knights. A wildling woman, having been fostered as a girl with one of Theomore's household knights, dueled the queen's sworn shield, Jonquil Darke. A few days after the tournament, Queen Alysanne convened a southron-style "women's court" in Lord Manderly's hall, at which more than two hundred women and girls gathered to share their thoughts, concerns, and grievances with the queen.[8]

The Dance and Its Aftermath

During the Dance of the Dragons, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon traveled to White Harbor and Winterfell on Vermax and convinced the north to join the blacks. Lord Desmond Manderly sent his sons, Medrick and Torrhen, to support Rhaenyra Targaryen.[18] After the fall of King's Landing, the two knights urged Rhaenyra to accompany them on the Violande back to White Harbor, but the queen refused.[19] Medrick and Torrhen returned to King's Landing with a hundred White Harbor knights for the wedding of Aegon III Targaryen to Jaehaera Targaryen.[20]

Thousands died of the Winter Fever in White Harbor in 132 AC, including Lord Desmond and Ser Medrick.[20] The city suffered during the harsh winter of 134 AC, with some men selling themselves or family members into slavery in return for food. Lord Thaddeus Rowan, the Hand of the King, sent food to aid the northmen, but more was always needed. White Harbor prospered during the brief rise of the Rogare Bank. Mushroom chose to accompany Lord Torrhen back to White Harbor after the regent was dismissed by King Aegon III.[21]

Recent History

White Harbor has not seen wildlings in centuries and has never been attacked by the ironborn.[11] Ser Davos Seaworth last visited White Harbor in 294 AC.[4]

Arya Stark accompanied her father, Lord Eddard Stark, on two of his visits of the city.[22]

The city's history is described in Maester Yorrick's Wed to the Sea, Being an Account of the History of White Harbor from Its Earliest Days.[23] Maester Heriston also served in the city.[24]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

White Harbor Captain by Jon Bosco © Fantasy Flight Games

Lady Catelyn Stark hires Storm Dancer to take her and Ser Rodrik Cassel to King's Landing from White Harbor. Lord Eddard Stark instructs Catelyn to have Lord Wyman Manderly repair and strengthen the defenses of White Harbor and insure they are well-manned.[25]

Catelyn returns to the north from the Vale of Arryn with Rodrik and her uncle, Ser Brynden Tully, arriving at White Harbor. She and her uncle leave with Ser Wylis Manderly and his levies of nearly 1,500 men to meet her son, Robb Stark, at Moat Cailin. Lord Wyman stays behind to see to White Harbor's defenses.[9] Robb is later proclaimed King in the North at Riverrun.[26]

A Clash of Kings

Ser Davos Seaworth is sent by Stannis Baratheon with a chest of letters to spread word of Joffrey Baratheon's illegitimacy. His route is to sail to White Harbor and other harbors along the narrow sea.[27] Davos does not visit White Harbor, however.[4]

While at Winterfell for the harvest feast, Lord Wyman meets with Bran Stark, Ser Rodrik Cassel, and Maester Luwin. He has appointed new customs officers at White Harbor, as the previous officials had held back silver for the Iron Throne instead of Robb, the new King in the North. Wyman offers to mint coins for Robb, informs of White Harbor's defenses, and proposes to build the king a new warfleet of galleys, with Rodrik saying he will inform Robb of the proposal. Later during the feast, Rodrik commands Hother and Mors Umber to work with Wyman in building longships to combat wildlings.[28]

After hearing of the ironborn threat to Torrhen's Square, Maester Luwin sends ravens to White Harbor, the barrowlands, and the wolfswood with instructions to summon their levies. While Theon Greyjoy is capturing Winterfell, Luwin is able to send another raven to alert White Harbor.[29] Lord Wyman then sends a dozen barges up the White Knife packed with knights, warhorses, and siege engines.[30] The Manderly contingent is betrayed and defeated by House Bolton in the battle at Winterfell, however.[31]

A Storm of Swords

Maester Aemon of the Night's Watch sends a raven to White Harbor in a plea for help to defend Castle Black from wildlings.[32]

A Feast for Crows

It is reported to Queen Regent Cersei Lannister that Davos Seaworth has been executed in White Harbor and that his head and hand grace the walls of White Harbor.[33]

A Dance with Dragons

White Harbor by Folko Streese © Fantasy Flight Games

Sent by Stannis Baratheon to negotiate with House Manderly, Lord Davos Seaworth returns to White Harbor for the first time in six years.[4] The Onion Lord notes the large navy when he arrives in White Harbor, with the inner harbor filled with twenty-three war galleys.[4] Davos is preceded, however, by envoys of House Frey. Rhaegar, Jared and Symond Frey have come with the remains of Ser Wendel Manderly, who died at the Red Wedding. Davos notices that the Old Mint is now being used to shelter refugees, and he visits the Lazy Eel to gather information.[4]

Davos appears before the Merman's Court in the New Castle to present the case for the Manderlys to support Stannis. To save his living son and heir, Ser Wylis Manderly, who is a captive at Harrenhal, Lord Manderly has Davos dragged to prison as a traitor, in the presence of the Freys.[11]

Manderly has Davos imprisoned in the Wolf's Den, but has a different prisoner in the cell executed. The prisoner is beheaded, his head dipped in tar. The fingers of one of his hands are also cut off to resemble Davos. The head and hands are then put up on spikes on the walls of White Harbor to give the Lannisters and Freys reason to believe in House Manderly's loyalty to the Iron Throne.

Once Wyman has sent a false report to the Iron Throne and has Wylis returned, the Lord of White Harbor has Robett Glover free Davos and bring him through a secret passage to the New Castle. He tells the Onion Knight that he will swear his allegiance to Stannis Baratheon if Davos retrieves Rickon Stark. Via Wex Pyke, Wyman has discovered the boy is alive, but needs a smuggler to retrieve him from Skagos.[10]


White Harbor is to King's Landing as my brother Tyrion is to Ser Gregor Clegane.[34]

If Winterfell was the heart of the north, White Harbor was its mouth.[2]

—thoughts of Davos Seaworth

Roro Uhoris, the Cobblecat's cranky old master, used to claim that he could tell one port from another just by the way they smelled. Cities were like women, he insisted; each one had its own unique scent. Oldtown was as flowery as a perfumed dowager. Lannisport was a milkmaid, fresh and earthy, with woodsmoke in her hair. King's Landing reeked like some unwashed whore. But White Harbor's scent was sharp and salty, and a little fishy too. "She smells the way a mermaid ought to smell," Roro said. "She smells of the sea."[4]

—recollection of Davos Seaworth

We are good people in White Harbor, lawful, loyal people.[11]

Chapters that take place at White Harbor


  1. When exactly House Manderly came north is unknown. In 211 AC, Lady Rohanne Webber dated the flight of the Manderlys as having occurred "a thousand years" ago (The Sworn Sword). Lord Godric Borrell defines the time period to "no more than nine hundred years" before 300 AC (A Dance with Dragons, Davos I). However, Wylla Manderly and Maester Yandel date the arrival of the Manderlys in the north back a bit further, "a thousand years before the Conquest" (A Dance with Dragons, Davos III) and "some thousand years before the Conquest", (The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter) respectively. A semi-canon source lists "a thousand years before the Conquest" as well (A World of Ice and Fire, White Harbor) These accounts thus place the arrival of the Manderlys in the north between 1000 BC and 600 BC.


  1. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 14, Catelyn III.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
  3. So Spake Martin: The Drowned God and More, July 14, 1999
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  5. So Spake Martin: The Stark Family, June 10, 2003
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 21, Bran III.
  7. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 55, Catelyn VIII.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  14. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Wolf's Den.
  15. Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragon - The Wars of King Aegon I.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Fire & Blood, Three Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
  17. Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  18. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  19. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
  21. Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring - The End of Regency.
  22. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  23. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Dawn Age.
  24. The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Shivering Sea.
  25. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
  27. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
  28. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
  29. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
  30. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  31. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
  32. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
  33. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  34. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.