Game of Thrones
Winterfell was founded and built over 8,000 years ago, by Bran the builder. Legend holds that Bran used giants to help him construct the walls and towers of the great keep. Winterfell is considered the capital of the North, and the Kings of the North, and later the Wardens of the North claimed it as their home. There has always been a Stark at Winterfell, ever since Bran the Builder erected those walls, and House Stark, tracing their line back to the blood of the First Men, claim Bran as their founder.
During Aegon Targaryen’s conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, Torrhen Stark, the King in the North, gathered an army of 30,000 men and marched to meet the Targaryen forces. Upon seeing Aegon’s army, which counted 45,000 men, and upon seeing Aegon’s dragons, Torrhen realized that his army would be decimated, and he bent the knee, swearing fealty to Aegon. For his sworn loyalty, Aegon appointed Torrhen as the first Warden of the North, and Lord of Winterfell. History would unfairly refer to Torrhen as the King who Knelt, alluding to the fact that he was a coward who refused to stand up to Aegon. However, because of Torrhen’s actions, 30,000 men were spared the gruesome fate of House Gardner, which was obliterated from the face of the earth, by Aegon’s dragons on the Field of Fire.
Winterfell was built around an ancient godswood that has stood untouched for over 10,000 years, and on top of a system of natural hot-springs. The hot water from those springs are piped throughout the castle complex, ironically making Winterfell one of the most comfortable castles to live in, during the time of winter. The godswood is home to a very large, and ancient weirwood tree, which sits by a pool of black water.
Because of its ancient age, Winterfell has grown in size over the years, and many of its older buildings still stand, even though they are uninhabited. One such building is the Broken Tower that was burned when lightning struck it, and instead of rebuilding the tower, the Starks built another and moved into it. The Broken Tower is the tower that Bran was overly fond of climbing, and during the first season of Game of Thrones, he happened upon Jaime and Cersei Lannister having sex, to which Jamie’s response was to push Bran from the window, paralyzing him.
In the HBO series, and as of the 4th season, Winterfell is an abandoned and ruined shell of its former self. Theon ‘Turncloak’ Greyjoy sacked the seat of House Stark, and afterwards, the Bastard of the North, Ramsey Snow, takes up residence there as a false lord of the keep.
What do you think will happen to Winterfell in the upcoming season 4? Do you think the Starks will ever regain their ancestral home? Let me know in the comments below, and while you’re there, tell me who you would like to see as the next countdown character.
Want more Game of Throne? Check these out: