It all started with six Stark children and six direwolf cubs. At the time we thought Jon Snow was Ned’s bastard but now we know he was the son of Ned’s sister Lyanna and legitimised in a wedding with Rhaegar Targaryen before their deaths. So, six Stark children, six direwolves and it’s not just the fates of the wolves and the children that are totally entwined. The clever creator of the whole sag planted huge clues in the actual names of each wolf. Which means very bad news for two of the remaining Starks.
Back at the very beginning, Catelyn Stark set it out plainly to her eldest: “These wolves are more than wolves, Robb. You must know that. I think perhaps the gods sent them to us. Your father’s gods, the old gods of the north.”
Since then, the fates and tragic storylines of Robb and Grey Wind, Sansa and Lady, Arya and Nymeria, Bran and Summer, Rickon and Shaggydog, and Jon and Ghost have marched on inexorably.
Robb Stark Named his cub Grey Wind. Grey is the colour of House Stark and associated with truth. The phrase “words are wind” bleakly corresponds with Robb’s attempts at always taking the honourable path. Grey Wind and Robb both met their fate at the infamous Red Wedding. Both killed by Freys.
Rickon Stark never had a chance. His cub was called Shaggydog, which sums up the importance of the youngest Stark to the main plot. He amounted to a mainly off-screen “shaggy dog story” which lead nowhere and ended in a truly awful death. Both killed by Ramsay Bolton.
So far, two Starks dead, killed by the same people as their wolves and with their fates woven into the names of those wolves.
Sansa was actually the first to lose her direwolf, Lady. The animal symbolised her dreams of being a fine princess. The wolf’s death initially killed Sansa’s faith in her own family, with the young girl blaming Arya. Ominously, though, it was Ned who dispatched the wolf, replacing “butcher” Ser Illyn Payne.
Will Sansa die at the hands of a Stark? Viewers of the show know she is becoming estranged from Jon and Arya. Or will Martin find a more tragic reason for it?
Similarly, Bran’s Summer was killed by wights as he defended his master. This bodes very badly for the fate of Bran and hopes of restoring summer to Westeros. Bran has already admitted he is no longer the same person, Brandon Stark is gone but it also looks like that the long winter will still happen, even if the Night King is somehow defeated.
Which leaves two…
Arya’s Nymeria represents the younger sister’s drive to be a fierce warrior. She drove her direwolf away to save her and the animal’s distant roaming and solitary existence is mirrored in Arya’s own dark path. Nymeria was named for the warrior-queen who led the Rhoynar refugees to Dorne a thousand years ago and is still revered as the founder of Dorne as a unified realm under Martell rule.
Martin himself said: “Arya’s wolf, Nymeria, in particular, will play an important role. You know, I don’t like to give things away. But you don’t hang a giant wolf pack on the wall unless you intend to use it.”
GAME OF THRONES: EVERYONE IS WRONG ABOUT THIS DAENERYS FACT
Wil Arya become a warrior queen leading the wolves and wildmen, rather as their chieftans and wargs once did?
As for Jon Snow, aka Aegon Targaryen, fans now know why his wolf was named Ghost. Jon has already technically died.
Is he now on borrowed time, effectively a ghost? His direwolf was absent for much of Season 7. All eyes will be on them both in the final season.
GAME OF THRONES RETURNS IN APRIL
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