- "The North cannot be held... not by an outsider. It is too big and too wild."
- ―Queen Cersei Lannister
The North is ruled from the Dreadfort by House Bolton following the fall of House Stark of Winterfell during the War of the Five Kings. It is the largest of the nine major regions of the continent, almost equal in size to the other eight combined.
According to legend, the Kingdom of the North was established eight thousand years ago by Bran the Builder, the founder of House Stark, who constructed the Wall as a shield against the possible return of the White Walkers. The North is the only region where the First Men were able to resist the Andal Invasion, six thousand years before the War of the Five Kings. As a result the North is the only region of Westeros in which the ethnic makeup is predominantly First Men, and the only region where the culture, customs, and traditions of the First Men still predominate. Among these is the belief that the man who passes the sentence of death must swing the sword himself. In particular, the religion of the First Men, the worship of the Old Gods of the Forest, is still the dominant faith in the North. The Faith of the Seven introduced into southern Westeros by the Andals has found little foothold in the North. As a result, warriors from the North are not "knights", because "knighthood" is a code of values associated with the Faith of the Seven. However, mounted warriors are still an honored and esteemed military asset in the North, so that while northmen like Ned Stark may not carry the title "Ser", Northern cavalry are functionally equivalent to mounted knights.
The borders of the North are held to be the sea to the west and east, the Wall to the north and the hills and bogs of the Neck to the south. Greywater Watch and its ruling house, House Reed, are the southern-most noble family owing fealty to Winterfell.
The climate of the North, though harsh overall, varies from cool (maritime) temperate around the Neck, to cold temperate around Winterfell, and to subarctic at the Wall. The lands south of Winterfell leading to the Neck are almost as fertile as the Riverlands to the south, and are the most agriculturally productive region of the North. The Neck itself is filled with swamps. Snowfall generally increases as one moves north along the Kingsroad.
- Winterfell, the seat of House Stark, the former ruling house of the North.
- Bear Island, the seat of House Mormont.
- Castle Cerwyn, the seat of House Cerwyn.
- Deepwood Motte, the seat of House Glover.
- The Dreadfort, the seat of House Bolton.
- Greywater Watch, the seat of House Reed, the southernmost house sworn to Winterfell.
- Hornwood, the seat of House Hornwood.
- Karhold, the seat of House Karstark.
- Last Hearth, the seat of House Umber.
- Torrhen's Square, the seat of House Tallhart.
- White Harbor, the seat of House Manderly, the principal city and port of the North.
- Flint's Finger
- Moat Cailin, a ruined castle at the northern edge of the Neck.
- Barrowton, a holdfast in the Barrowlands, seat of House Dustin.
- Ramsgate, a holdfast at the mouth of Broken Branch.
- Widow's Watch
- The Neck
- The Rills
- Cape Kraken
- The Barrowlands
- Stony Shore
- Sea Dragon Point
- The Grey Cliffs
Rivers and lakesEdit
In the booksEdit
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the North is an area vast in size but relatively light in population. The North, due to its location, is particularly badly affected during the long winters, with thousands of people killed and famine not an uncommon occurrence due to the inability to raise crops for years on end, outside of special greenhouses and castles built on or near hot springs, like Winterfell, or volcanic vents, like the Dreadfort of House Bolton.
The people of the North, popularly called "northmen" or "notherners", are known as a hardy, tough breed who hold the comforts of the warm, "soft" south in disdain. They worship the old gods of the forest, and the "new gods" of the Andals have made little headway in the North. With a few exceptions, the warriors of the North refuse to take holy orders and thus cannot become knights.
Some of the northmen live in remote, distant areas where they act little more as clans and tribes of savage warriors. Even these remote folk are vassals of the Starks, however, and are allowed to maintain their own ways and traditions as long as they remain loyal to Winterfell - which most of them usually do, as the Starks have a history of being just and honorable rulers. The Starks treated the mountain clans with respect by referring to them as if they were small-scale noble Houses, i.e. calling them "House Wull" and "House Norrey", instead of dismissively thinking of them as lowly "clans".
Regions of the Known World
|Westeros:||Dorne · The Iron Islands · The North · The Reach · The Stormlands · The Vale of Arryn · The Westerlands · The Riverlands · The Crownlands · The Wall & The Gift · Beyond the Wall|
|Essos:||Dothraki Sea · Free Cities · Stepstones · Ibben · Lhazar · Qarth · Slaver's Bay · Red Waste · Valyrian Peninsula · Asshai & the Shadow Lands|
|Sothoryos:||Basilisk Isles · Naath · Summer Islands|
|Lord:||Lord Roose Bolton||Heir:||Ramsay Snow|
|Seat:||The Dreadfort||Lands:||The North|
|Title(s):||Lord of the Dreadfort · Warden of the North · Lord Paramount of the North|
|Current members:||Walda Bolton|
|Household:||Locke · Reek · Steelshanks · Myranda · Violet|
|Overlord:||House Baratheon of King's Landing|
|Regional Capital:||The Dreadfort|
|Settlements:||Bear Island · Queenscrown · Last Hearth · Karhold · Winterfell · Deepwood Motte · Torrhen's Square · Castle Cerwyn · Hornwood · Ramsgate · Widow's Watch · Barrowton · White Harbor · Oldcastle · Moat Cailin · Flint's Finger · Greywater Watch|
|Regions:||The Grey Cliffs · Sea Dragon Point · The Wolfswood · Stony Shore · The Rills · The Barrowlands · Cape Kraken · The Neck|
|Coastal Areas:||Bay of Ice · Bay of Seals · Blazewater Bay · Saltspear · Ironman's Bay · The Bite|
|Islands:||Bear Island · Skagos · Skane|
|Rivers and Lakes:||Last River · Long Lake · Weeping Water · Broken Branch · White Knife|