The White Knife has its headwaters in two streams which join just south of Long Lake and the Lonely Hills. It then flows south, with Winterfell to the west and the Dreadfort and Hornwood to the east. Just south of Winterfell, a tributary of the White Knife begins in the southeastern stretch of the wolfswood and flows southeast to meet the White Knife west of the Sheepshead Hills; Castle Cerwyn is located along this tributary. The White Knife continues south to meet the Bite at a firth at White Harbor.
River runners are long and lean boats used to traverse the swift currents and rocky shoots of the White Knife. Sailing ships can navigate the White Knife up to its rapids, after which travelers headed to Winterfell must proceed overland.
Hides and timber from the north are brought down the river for trade in White Harbor. There is ice fishing on the northern rivers. People fish salmon from the White Knife. Lord Wyman Manderly counts Warden of the White Knife among his titles.
King Jon Stark had the Wolf's Den built to defend the mouth of the White Knife against raiders and slavers. House Arryn sailed up the river when they captured the Wolf's Den during the War Across the Water. King Brandon Stark reclaimed the Wolf's Den from slavers from the Stepstones when the White Knife froze during a particularly harsh winter.
Approximately one thousand years before Aegon's Conquest, House Manderly received the Wolf's Den and land at the mouth of the White Knife from House Stark of Winterfell, which they developed into the city of White Harbor.
A Game of Thrones
Lady Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik Cassel travel down the White Knife to then sail from White Harbor to King's Landing. Lord Halys Hornwood gives gifts to Robb Stark in hopes that Robb will allow House Hornwood to dam part of the White Knife.
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
Bran and his companions consider stealing a boat and sailing down the White Knife to seek refuge in White Harbor, but Bran decides they should find the three-eyed crow beyond the Wall instead. Lord Roose Bolton includes spearmen from the White Knife in his defense of the Trident.
A Dance with Dragons
Lord Davos Seaworth learns that smallfolk from along the White Knife and Hornwood have been seeking protection at White Harbor with House Manderly. Lord Wyman reveals to Davos that he has warships hidden up the White Knife.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, White Knife.
- A Dance with Dragons, Map of the North
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Hornwood pin on Westeros map.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Castle Cerwyn pin on Westeros map.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
- A FIRE & BLOOD Excerpt just for YOU! (27 September, 2018)
- So Spake Martin: The Effects of Winter, June 21, 2001
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 14, Catelyn III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 35, Bran V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 9, Bran I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.