Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - House Stark - Direwolves

Go To

This is a listing of the direwolves kept by Ned Stark's children in A Song of Ice and Fire.

For the main character index, see here

For the main Northern entry, see here

The Direwolves

"Summer’s howls were long and sad, full of grief and longing. Shaggydog’s were more savage. Their voices echoed through the yards and halls until the castle rang and it seemed as though some very pack of direwolves haunted Winterfell, instead of only two… two where they had once been six. Do they miss their brothers and sisters too? Bran wondered. Are they calling to Grey Wind and Ghost, to Nymeria and Lady’s Shade? Do they want them to come home and be a pack together?"
Bran Stark
Advertisement:

During the very first chapter of the series, the Starks find a dead direwolf (impaled through the throat by a stag's antler) and her six pups; three males (Grey Wind, Summer, Shaggydog), two females (Lady and Nymeria) and an mute albino male (Ghost), who is found a little way off from his litter. "Does This Remind You of Anything?," the characters ask each other. Each trueborn Stark child takes a pup, with the Ned Stark's illegitimate son Jon Snow taking the albino pup, who is part of the litter but also somewhat of an outsider, just like him. The personalities of the wolves mirror their owners'. They are the first direwolves seen south of the Wall in two hundred years.

    open/close all folders 
Advertisement:
     Tropes relating to the Direwolves 
  • Action Pet: Arya's wolf is named "Nymeria," after a warrior queen. True to her namesake, she's currently leading an enormous pack of wolves on a rampage around the Trident, that not only has had devastating effects on domestic beasts, but humans, too. Grey Wind, Summer and Shaggydog are also pretty hands-on when it comes to fighting rather than just hunting: they also have large human kill-counts. Grey Wind even manages to coordinate kills in battle-line formation even with Robb exerting only light control. Shaggy... not so much: it's more aim-and-let-loose for him.
  • Bond Creature: Even after learning the nature of wargs/skinchangers and their animal thralls, Jon recognises that the connection between him and his direwolf goes deeper than that. Ghost is a part of him. This seems to be true of all the other Stark children and their wolves as well. Worryingly so, with Rickon-and-Shaggydog.
  • Canis Major: Making them the ultimate Cool Pet.
  • The Dreaded: Most of them quickly gain a wider rep, particularly among those outsiders they interact with who are actively fighting the Starks. A major inversion is Lady—mainly because she was too obedient and didn't last long enough to earn Lady of War or any other graciously badass stripes. Summer, too, doesn't have much of wider reputation... except he did kill the assassin sent after Bran while he was in a coma.
  • Dying Race: According to Leaf, the direwolves are also dying out despite their resilience. It's unknown whether this is Rule of Symbolism to House Stark as well.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Unfortunately the Starks misinterpret this behaviour on several occasions, which the wolves get agitated because of impending treachery.
  • Foreshadowing: The death of the mother and the separation of the pups symbolize the scattering of the Stark children and the death of their father Lord Eddard. The fact that the mother direwolf was killed by a stag further reinforces this as the stag is the sigil of House Baratheon, and accepting King Robert's offer led to Ned's death.
  • Noble Wolf: Although some of them (like Shaggydog) can be of the savage variety most of them are noble. They detect evil and are undeniably loyal to the Stark children.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Despite their connection, the Stark children have a tendency (at the worst possible moment) to view them as just being restless animals.
  • Orc Raised by Elves: A direwolf is a close relative of the wolf, but larger and stronger. Direwolves are extinct south of the Wall, as they are a very large and dangerous predator, and people have probably hunted them out. Robb Stark found a dead female direwolf with a litter of six pups on the path between Winterfell and the holdfast where Gared was executed, these direwolves were raised by the members of House Stark and become mascots and companions of every member of the family. Also, a grey direwolf in a white field is the sigil of House Stark.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Acknowledged in-universe. Jon convinces his father Eddard to keep the pups by pointing out how there is one for each Stark child. The Stark party also shuts up quick when they see the mother direwolf was killed by a stag. Catelyn ruminates on the symbolism when Robert approaches Winterfell, and notes that Ned is pointedly ignoring it.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Behavioral as opposed to physical, though.
  • Undying Loyalty: In contrast to many of the human characters, the direwolves never betray the Stark children.

     Grey Wind 

Grey Wind

"He's a direwolf, not a dog, and dangerous to men he does not trust."
Robb Stark

Robb's direwolf. Grey Wind is a fast and grey direwolf who fights alongside his master in the War of the Five Kings.


  • Canis Major: Grey Wind is stated several times to have had his own fearsome kill tally of Lannister bannermen and horses.
  • Character Death: Grey Wind dies at the Red Wedding, riddled with crossbow bolts, fighting until his last breath. He'd been chained up outside when the massacre began.
  • Defiant to the End: Grey Wind during the Red Wedding. After Raynald Westerling managed to free him from his chains, and despite being already pierced with several crossbolts, Grey Wind goes down fighting. Edwyn Frey tells of him killing four Frey wolfhounds and tearing an arm off one of their men before succumbing to his wounds.
  • The Dreaded: Grey Wind has quite the reputation on the Lannister side, particularly when it comes to fighting on the battlefield. It's why he was taken out with extreme prejudice and from range.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Grey Wind behaves aggressively towards the Spicers, who are Fake Defectors and all but attacks the Frey welcoming party before The Red Wedding.
  • Failed a Spot Check: He may be an Evil-Detecting Dog, but he spent the whole trip from Riverrun to the Twins blissfully unaware of the fact that one of his travelling companions, Lame Lothar Frey, was worse than any of the people he did detect.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Robb laments Grey Wind's new found aggressive nature toward people, blaming it on him growing too fond of violence from their battles together. In reality it's the treacherous Spicers and Freys that are setting him off.

     Lady 

Lady

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lady_ffg.jpg
"She is of the North. She deserves better than a butcher."
Ned Stark

Sansa's direwolf. Lady is the best behaved and most obedient of the direwolves.


  • Character Death: Lady is killed in Nymeria's place due to Joffrey getting a well deserved mauling from the latter. Ned carries out her execution to rob Cersei of the satisfaction and to make sure Lady's body is sent north so she can't get her hands on her skin.
  • Meaningful Name: Lady is fittingly the most refined and well behaved of all the wolves.
  • Princess Classic: Sansa's direwolf is named "Lady", and is regarded as the most obedient pup.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Lady dies in the first book due to Joffrey's lies and Cersei's pettiness, leaving Sansa as the only Stark child without a direwolf and their associated abilities.

     Nymeria 

Nymeria

"We had to throw rocks. I told her to run, to go be free, that I didn't want her anymore. There were other wolves for her to play with, we heard them howling, and Jory said the woods were full of game, so she'd have deer to hunt. Only she kept following and finally we had to throw rocks. I hit her twice. She whined and looked at me and I felt so 'shamed, but it was right, wasn't it? The queen would have killed her."
Arya Stark

Arya's direwolf. She is a wild and unkempt creature, much like her master. She is forced to leave Arya's side early in the series and now roams the Riverlands, building up a pack of hundreds of common wolves that have become the terror of the countryside.


  • Best Her to Bed Her: Kills any male wolf who tries to mount her. Considering none of these males are direwolves like herself, this seems to be a case of Too Dumb to Live.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone in the Riverlands (and a fair few beyond) has heard tales of the huge, ravening, worryingly intelligent she-wolf who leads a large pack of wolves that fears neither man nor beast: even if they don't realize that this super-Alpha is Nymeria of the Starks.
  • Lady of War: What she has become, leading her pack of wolves to harrow the Riverlands.
  • Large and in Charge: Due to her species she's larger than the rest of the wolves of her pack, so has no problem taking the Alpha role.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Nymeria was named after the Rhoynish princess who lead her people from Essos, fleeing the dragonlords of Valyria, to and settled on Dorne, aiding the Martells in their conquest of the region. As of A Dance With Dragons she leads a pack of wolves numbering in the hundreds around central Westeros.
  • Soul Jar: Or something a lot like it. Even when she is in Braavos and miles away, not to mention not having seen Nymeria in months, Arya still wolf-dreams herself into Nymeria at night to run and fight, especially during times of acute frustration and stress. And, she gets a lot of stress. This argues that their bond is still so much in effect that, should either one peg it, the survivor will walk away with part of the deceased in situ.

    Summer 

Summer

Prince of the green, prince of the wolfswood, prince of the woods

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/summer_ffg.jpg
"...But the grey is strong... stronger than he knows... can you feel him, sister?"
Jojen Reed

Bran's direwolf and closest companion. He often wargs into Summer and lives as his wolf.


  • Big Damn Heroes: His first major act in the series is saving Bran and Catelyn from an assassin.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Summer distrusts Big and Little Walder who later become squires to the man who burns Winterfell. Later, Bran only trusts Samwell Tarly after hearing that he's befriended Ghost, and after Summer licks his hand.
Advertisement:

     Shaggydog 

Shaggydog

"The black one is full of fear and rage..."
Jojen Reed

Rickon's direwolf. He is the most wild and potentially the most dangerous of all the direwolves, thanks to becoming bonded with a temperamental three year old.


  • The Brute: In an OSHA-compliant world, Shaggydog would come with a health warning emblazoned on his fur.
  • The Dreaded: Anybody who isn't a warg or seer themselves and gets to spend quality time around Shaggydog quickly learns that his name isn't indicative and, commonly, starts to think rather fondly of chains and euthanasia (neither being easy tasks). Theon and many of his cleverer Ironborn raiders got a little more anxious at the thought of that brute getting loose rather more than at fear of Summer being free. Heck, most of anybody who lived in and around Winterfell while he was going steadily bonkers knows about him and has cause to fear him.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: He wears a cutesy name and takes his personality after the baby brother of the Starks... nicely illustrating the fact that being wild, unbalanced and frightened might not be so scary as characteristics of a toddler, but they sure are when transferred to his huge-ass pet wolf. Rickon starts to get more and more upset and angry as his family leaves to go south or to the wall and Shaggy starts to become more and more feral, trying to savage several people including Maester Luwin.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Shaggydog attacks Big and Little Walder, clearly sensing that they are not to be trusted. This gets him and Summer locked up in the godswood, helpless to act when they sense Theon's Ironborn raiders sneaking over the walls.
  • Papa Wolf: When Rickon is hit by Little Walder in the "Lord of the Crossing" game, Shaggydog immediately attacks.
  • Pet Monstrosity: Eddard warns his kids about making sure this doesn't happen, since these wolves will grow a lot. While the rest of the wolves grow to be fairly tame, Shaggydog seems only just civilized enough not to tear apart anyone he meets and is known to his siblings as "the angry one".
  • Tragic Monster: Shaggydog's behavior stems from fear and rage, reflecting how Rickon grows resentful and fearful due to losing most of his family and not having the maturity to deal with his emotions or understand the political situation.

     Ghost 

Ghost

Jon Snow's direwolf.
See the The Night's Watch page.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report