- This article is about the motto for the episode see "Winter is Coming".
"Winter is Coming" is the motto of House Stark. The meaning behind these words is one of warning and constant vigilance. The Starks, being the lords of the North, strive to always be prepared for the coming of winter, which hits their lands the hardest.
A deeper, metaphorical sense can also be found in the motto. According to George R.R. Martin, it more generally expresses the sentiment that there are always dark periods in each of our lives, and even if things are good now ("summer"), we must always be ready for a dark period when events turn against us ("winter"). In this sense "winter" parallels Richard of the House of York's opening line in Shakespeare's Richard III, "Now is the Winter of our Discontent / Made glorious Summer by this sun of York..."
In this sense it is loosely matched by the Latin phrase "memento mori" ("remember you have to die"), which was whispered into the ear of victorious Roman generals during their parade of triumph, to remind them that all earthly success is fleeting. Although, many of the Roman felt that by gaining favor with certain deities, they would have unlocked greater potentials in the afterlife, should one exist.