Winter town

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The north and the location of the winter town
The north and the location of the winter town
Winter town
The north and the location of the winter town

The winter town is a town located outside of Winterfell, the seat of House Stark in the north. During autumn and winter it is one of the largest northern settlements, along with White Harbor and Barrowton.[1]


Winter town beneath the walls of Winterfell by Ted Nasmith ©

The winter town has rows of small and neat houses built of log and undressed stone. Its streets are muddy.[2] Located at Winterfell's main gatehouse, the market square has wooden stalls for produce and goods[2] and a well at its center.[3] The local inn[4] and alehouse is the Smoking Log.[2]

The kingsroad lies past the sprawl of castle and town,[5] with the wolfswood two miles away.[2] Hunting parties from Winterfell can avoid the winter town by taking the Hunter's Gate instead of the main gate.[6]

During spring and summer, four-fifths of the winter town's homes are empty.[2] During autumn and winter, however, the town becomes "full to bursting" with northmen from throughout the region, including farmers,[2] villagers,[7] and clansmen from the northern mountains.[8] When full, the winter town might have a population of around fifteen thousand.[N 1]

Some townfolk claim that the hot springs of Winterfell are warmed by a dragon that sleeps below the castle.[9]


During the winter of 134 AC, northmen in the winter town ate dogs and horses to avoid starvation.[10]

When Bran Stark was little, he went to the market square with his mother, Catelyn Stark, and Septa Mordane. Hodor accompanied them to carry their purchases, but the stableboy wandered off during the excursion. The simple Hodor was eventually found in an alley with boys poking him with sticks.[11]

Theon Greyjoy once had an amorous encounter with Bessa and Kyra of the winter town.[2]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

After receiving a frosty greeting from Robb Stark in Winterfell, Tyrion Lannister decides to stay in an inn in the winter town, rather than in the castle.[4]

Robb, Bran Stark, and Theon Greyjoy ride through the winter town on their way to the wolfswood. Most townspeople have become accustomed to their direwolves, Grey Wind and Summer.[2]

The winter town becomes full when Robb calls the northern banners in response to the Iron Throne's imprisonment of his father, Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell. The townspeople cheer Robb when he leads the soldiers south along the kingsroad.[12]

A Clash of Kings

Some smallfolk from the town attend the harvest feast in Winterfell.[13]

After the capture of Winterfell by Theon's ironborn during the War of the Five Kings,[14] Kyra, a tavern wench who has lived her entire life in the winter town, becomes Theon's bedmate in the castle.[6]

Theon unsuccessfully parleys with Ser Rodrik Cassel in the market square after Rodrik gathers an army of Stark loyalists to retake Winterfell. The square is defended by Rodrik's men, including spearmen, archers atop the houses, and knights from White Harbor.[3] Later that day, however, Rodrik's men are betrayed by the Dreadfort garrison brought by Ramsay Snow. The Stark men are unable to form up between the houses, which Boltons put to the torch.[15][16] Following the scattering of Rodrik's men in this battle at Winterfell, Theon admits the Boltons into Winterfell, which they quickly sack.[3] Summer and Shaggydog find no survivors when they pass through the ruins.[17]

A Dance with Dragons

The remnants of the winter town are buried by the blizzard striking the north,[16] so the army of Lord Roose Bolton, the new Warden of the North, instead quarters in Winterfell.[18]


When the snow fell and the ice winds howled down out of the north, Old Nan said, farmers left their frozen fields and distant holdfasts, loaded up their wagons, and then the winter town came alive.[2]

—thoughts of Bran Stark

His brother ran with him, drawn to the smell of blood and death. They padded silent through the dens the men had built of wood and grass and mud. Many and more were burned and many and more were collapsed; others stood as they had before. Yet nowhere did they see or scent a living man.[17]

—thoughts of Summer and Bran Stark

Chapters that take place in the winter town


  1. Less than one in five homes are occupied in A Game of Thrones, Bran V, when Bran Stark rides to the wolfswood. Luwin later states in Bran VI that Robb Stark's initial army (which is around 12,000 men), when quartered in the settlement, are numerous enough that "the winter town is full to bursting". This occurs during late summer (with autumn arriving in A Clash of Kings, Bran I). Given that four fifths of the winter town's housing would be available for the army with the last fifth being occupied by the civilians who normally live there,[2] the town might therefore house 15,000 people at maximum capacity.