The harvest feast is a celebration of the harvest held in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Because of the distances involved, the feasts are often used as pretext for meetings between lords and their vassals.
When the maesters of the Citadel declare that autumn has arrived, wise men began storing a portion of their grain, although the recommended percentage is disputed.
A Game of Thrones
When Lord Eddard Stark tells his daughter Sansa that he is sending her back to Winterfell, she regrets that she will not see the harvest feasts, masked balls, and mummer shows of King's Landing.
A Clash of Kings
As the Stark in Winterfell, Bran Stark hosts the harvest feast of the North. Lord Wyman Manderly brings a large retinue from White Harbor, including knights, squires, lesser nobility, heralds, musicians, and a juggler; Big Walder and Little Walder Frey break lances with the Manderly squires. In contrast to the Manderlys, the widowed Lady Donella Hornwood arrives with only six men-at-arms and Cley Cerwyn brings two dozen lances. Other nobles who arrive include Mors and Hother Umber, Tallharts, and the steward of Deepwood Motte to represent House Glover. Lord Ondrew Locke is too old to make the journey, while Lady Lyessa Flint is pregnant and preoccupied with sickness at Widow's Watch. The Mormonts and Karstarks are fighting in the south with Robb Stark, King in the North. There is no representative from House Bolton.
Bran, Maester Luwin, and Ser Rodrik Cassel meet privately with some of the lords. Lord Manderly offers to mint silver and build a fleet for King Robb. Lady Hornwood warns that Ramsay Snow, the bastard son of Lord Roose Bolton, is gathering men to the Dreadfort. Rodrik orders the Umbers to work with the Manderlys to protect against wildling incursions.
At the start of the feast, Bran rides Dancer into the Great Hall of Winterfell amidst cheers of "Stark!" and "Winterfell!", and the northmen, both noble and lowborn, celebrate Robb's victories and the harvest. There are numerous courses, with each dish offered first to Bran. The food is from throughout the North and includes boar, goose-in-berries, salmon, and lobster. Songs performed include "Iron Lances", "The Burning of the Ships", and "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". During the feast, Alebelly announces the arrival of Meera and Jojen Reed, who have come in place of their father, Howland Reed. Prior to joining the feast, the Reeds reaffirm the crannogmen's oath of loyalty to House Stark.
After the meal is done, the Great Hall's tables are cleared to make space for dancing. Hother Umber blows a large warhorn during "The Night That Ended", while Glover men use bladder and woodharp. Mors Umber begins the dancing by grabbing a serving girl, but he is quickly joined by others. Hodor dances by himself, while Beth Cassel dances first with Wyman Manderly and then with Cley Cerwyn. The crippled Bran is unable to dance, however, and retires to his bedchamber. He then dreams of his direwolf, Summer, in the Winterfell godswood.
While returning to Hornwood after the harvest feast, Lady Hornwood is abducted by Ramsay Snow, leading to conflict between Houses Bolton and Manderly.
A Storm of Swords
When Arstan Whitebeard tells Daenerys Targaryen that he had the privilege of hearing her brother Rhaegar play his harp, Ser Jorah Mormont scoffs, as many would have heard Rhaegar perform at some harvest feast.
The feast makes a pleasant pretext, but a man does not cross a hundred leagues for a sliver of duck and a sip of wine. Only those who have matters of import to set before us are like to make the journey.—Luwin to Bran Stark
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 44, Sansa III.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 21, Bran III.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 28, Bran IV.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.