'Game of Thrones' Direwolves: Where Are the Stark Pets and Which Are Still Alive?

The Fates of Lady, Grey Wind, Shaggy Dog, Summer, Ghost and Nymeria

Featured on the Stark coat of arms, the massive direwolves have long been associated with the people of the North in Westeros, even if the creatures were not known to roam south of the Wall when Game of Thrones begins. But rarely does fate align quite like it did on the day Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) sentenced and execute a Night's Watch deserter, who warned him of the coming White Walker threat. Returning to Winterfell, the Starks find the mangled body of a stag. Nearby, Lord Stark finds a dead direwolf, her cubs squirming at her side. He calls for a quick death and his ward, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), pulls out a dagger.

Only Jon Snow (Kit Harington) sees the portent. "Lord Stark, there are five pups. One for each of the Stark children. The direwolf is the sigil of your House. They were meant to have them."

From the first episode of Game of Thrones, the six direwolves—Snow finds a sixth for himself, the snow-white runt of the litter—are tied to the fates of the Stark children and possibly the future of Westeros. So what has happened to the Stark direwolves in the seven seasons and 66 episodes since they were introduced? When Season 8 premieres on April 14, the living Stark direwolves may prove pivotal to whether Westeros can repel the Night King and his army of the dead.

Game of Thrones Season 8: Where Are the Living Stark Direwolves?

Lady

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Queen Cersei forces Lord Stark to kill Lady. HBO
  • Adopted by: Sansa Stark
  • Dead or Alive: Dead

Sansa's direwolf Lady was the first to die (in the second episode of Game of Thrones), executed by her father Ned Stark at the behest of Queen Cersei (Lena Headey). While travelling to King's Landing, so that Eddard could serve as Hand to King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), Arya's direwolf Nymeria bites Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson). Certain of her direwolf's fate at Cersei's hand, Arya (Maisie Williams) drives Nymeria away with a rock. So Cersei demands Lady's death instead. Lady's death presages Sansa's ordeal under Lannister captivity and her separation from the rest of the Starks, including divisions between her and Arya that take all the way until Season 7 to heal.

Grey Wind

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The Boltons and Freys mock the King in the North. They'll come to regret this day. HBO
  • Adopted by: Robb Stark
  • Dead or Alive: Dead

Grey Wind, the direwolf adopted by Lord Stark's oldest son, Robb (Richard Madden), proves invaluable early in the War of the Five Kings, enforcing Robb's authority over the Stark bannermen after the execution of his father and killing dozens of men and horses in battle.

But when Robb brings his direwolf to the Twins for the wedding of Edmure Tully to Roslin Frey, he makes the mistake of kenneling Grey Wind. His direwolf sensed the trap, but Robb didn't. By the time Arya arrived and spotted Grey Wind, it was too late: the direwolf was mortally wounded by Frey crossbows. In the aftermath of the Red Wedding, Frey and Bolton men decapitate Grey Wind and his master, then sew the direwolf's head on to Robb's lifeless body.

Shaggy Dog

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It doesn't end well for Rickon Stark, or his direwolf Shaggy Dog. HBO
  • Adopted by: Rickon Stark
  • Dead or Alive: Dead

The youngest Stark son flees Winterfell with Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and the wildling Osha (Natalia Tena) after its capture by Theon and his Greyjoy men. When Bran resolves to seek the Three-Eyed Raven north of the Wall, he sends Osha and Rickon (Art Parkinson) on to Last Hearth, the seat of Stark bannermen, House Umber. While fiercely loyal during the War for the Five Kings, the Umbers turn against the Starks after Jon Snow lets the wildlings south of the Wall. To demonstrate their loyalty to Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), the Umbers turn Rickon over, along with Shaggy Dog's head. Rickon doesn't survive much longer into Game of Thrones Season 6, dying from one of Ramsay's arrows at the Battle of the Bastards.

Summer

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Summer stays by Bran's side after Jaime pushes the Stark boy from the tower of Winterfell. HBO
  • Adopted by: Bran Stark
  • Dead or Alive: Dead

After saving Bran from an assassin in the first season of Game of Thrones, Summer followed his master far north of the Wall. They develop a close relationship, especially as Bran's warg powers develop and he begins experiencing life through the eyes of his direwolf. Summer watches over Bran as he trains to become a Greenseer with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow). After making contact with the Night King in a vision, wights invade the Raven's weirwood tree. Both Summer and Hodor sacrifice themselves so that Bran might escape and return to Winterfell.

Ghost

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Ghost keeping vigil by Jon Snow's dead body. HBO
  • Adopted by: Jon Snow / Aegon Targaryen
  • Dead or Alive: Alive

Ghost travels with Jon Snow to join the Night's Watch in the first season of Game of Thrones. After that, the direwolf is often by his side. When Jon is killed by Night's Watch mutineers in Season 5, it's Ghost's howling that draws Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) and Eddison Tollett (Ben Crompton) to the body. Ghost is the only one in the room when Jon Snow returns to life. Ghost follows Snow to Winterfell, where together they prepare for the White Walker onslaught.

Nymeria

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Nymeria better end up sitting on the Iron Throne. HBO
  • Adopted by: Arya Stark
  • Dead or Alive: Alive

After Arya drives her direwolf away to protect her from Queen Cersei, Nymeria goes unseen until Game of Thrones Season 7. But she's been very busy. In George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, rumors spread all over Westeros about a terrifying army of wolves, lead by "a bitch from the seventh hell." Men loyal to Jaime Lannister report back a super-pack, made of hundreds of man-eating wolves. In the books, Arya is second only to Bran in her telepathic, warg connection with her direwolf. It is through Nymeria that she learns of Catelyn Stark's death.

In Game of Thrones Season 7, Arya reunites with Nymeria while heading north to Winterfell, but Nymeria refuses to accompany her to Winterfell.

If there's one Game of Thrones Season 8 fan theory likely to prove true the apperance of Nymeria's wolf army is high on the list. We already know the final season of Game of Thrones will heavily feature Ghost. "You'll see him again. He has a fair amount of screen time in Season 8," VFX Supervisor Jon Bauer told the Huffington Post. Martin has also alluded to the importance of the direwolves to Game of Thrones' conclusion.

"I don't like to give things away," Martin told Mashable about Nymeria's role in the final two novels of A Song of Ice and Fire. "But you don't hang a giant wolf pack on the wall unless you intend to use it."

Game of Thrones returns for Season 8 on April 14.

'Game of Thrones' Direwolves: Where Are the Stark Pets and Which Are Still Alive? | Culture