Northern mountains

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The north and the location of the Northern mountains
The north and the location of the Northern mountains
Northern mountains
The north and the location of the Northern mountains

The Northern mountains[1] are a range of mountains inhabited by clans in the northwestern part of the north.


Jon Snow describes the mountains as located west of the kingsroad and south of the Gift.[2] The Lands of Ice and Fire depicts the spine of the mountains as extending north from Winterfell in the south through the Gift as far as the Shadow Tower and the Gorge.[3] Beyond the Wall, the mountains transition into the Frostfangs.[4] A large forest separates the northernmost mountains from Castle Black to the east along the Wall. In the west, the foothills of the mountains reach the Bay of Ice. Farther south, the flint foothills of the eastern mountains roll past the kingsroad to the forest of the Last Hearth.[3] The wolfswood extends west and east of the southern mountains. The sources of the Last River and Long Lake are found in the mountains.[3]

The mountains have deep, blue lakes, and numerous piney woods. The foothills have russet and gold autumn leaves, but the mountains themselves have grey-green sentinels, spruce, fir, and soldier pines. The hills contain fish in streams and small game, but wildlife is scarcer in the mountains. Other animals include owls, eagles, and pale goats,[5] as well as the herds[2] and shaggy garrons[6] of the clans. There are no roads in the twisted mountain valleys and high glens,[5] with the only paths little more than goat tracks.[2]


Greatjon Umber, by Jason Engle © Fantasy Flight Games

The Northern mountains are inhabited by clans who have lands and holdfasts and fastnesses[7] throughout the region, in the high valleys and mountain meadows.[2] Some clans have fastnesses big enough to be called castles, though they would be considered small and crudely constructed in comparison to the great castles of the south.[8] There are forty mountain clans, large and small, and they are proud followers of the old gods.[2] During winter, many clansmen leave the mountains for the safety of the winter town or to take up service at larger castles.[9]

The most powerful of the clans are the Wulls,[1] who live to the west along the Bay of Ice.[5] The Harclays reside in the hills near the wolfswood and Winterfell.[5] The First Flints, the Knotts, the Liddles, and the Norreys dwell in the high places,[5] with the Norreys living closest to the Gift.[2] The Burleys are also a prominent clan.[5]

Separate from the clans, the Umbers graze their sheep in the high meadows in summertime.[5] Highpoint, the seat of House Whitehill in Game of Thrones - A Telltale Games Series, is located in the south of the mountains where they meet the northern wolfswood, north of Winterfell and west of Long Lake.[10]

The mountains are sometimes raided by wildlings from beyond the Wall,[11] while the shores of the Bay of Ice have historically been raided by ironborn.[1]

Songs about the mountains and their people include "Black Pines" and "Wolves in the Hills".[1]


The Starks of Winterfell have sometimes sent men into the mountains to settle disputes between the clansmen.[1]

Arya Flint, a noblewoman of House Flint of the mountains, married Rodrik Stark, the fifth son of Lord Beron Stark.[12][5]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Warden of the North, by Sergey Glushakov © Fantasy Flight Games

Lord Eddard Stark executes Gared at a holdfast in the hills near Winterfell.[13]

The party of Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister travels on the kingsroad from Winterfell to Castle Black. West of the road they see grey and rugged flint hills guarded with tall watchtowers. Five days north of Winterfell, they see jagged, snow-covered mountains, blue and grey in color, forming a wall to the west.[14]

A Storm of Swords

Rather than take the kingsroad to the Wall, Bran Stark and his companions travel through the northern mountains, which have no roads among their twisted valleys. They pass a granite upthrust as large as Winterfell. Bran recalls that his great-grandmother was a Flint of the mountains, and that Old Nan used to claim that it was her blood that gave Bran his interest in climbing. Bran explains to his companions that the clansmen know of their presence, but will not bother them unless they try to take their goats or horses. The only person they meet is a Liddle taking shelter from freezing rain in a shallow cave. The Liddle warns them about ironborn in the wolfswood and Boltons on the kingsroad, and he leaves them with sausage and oatcakes.[5]

Maester Aemon sends ravens to the mountain fastnesses of the clans to request aid against Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, and his wildlings.[7]

A Dance with Dragons

Following the advice of Jon Snow, who provides sure-footed garrons,[2] Stannis Baratheon travels to the mountains, gains the northern mountain clans for his cause, and frees Deepwood Motte in the wolfswood from the ironborn of Asha Greyjoy.[15]

Old Flint and the Norrey tell Jon they do not want wildlings to settle on their lands.[11]


Asha Greyjoy, by Anders Finer © Fantasy Flight Games

The flint hills rose higher and wilder with each passing mile, until by the fifth day they had turned into mountains, cold blue-grey giants with jagged promontories and snow on their shoulders. When the wind blew from the north, long plumes of ice crystals flew from the high peaks like banners.[14]

—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

Meera: Up and down, then down and up. Then up and down again. I hate these stupid mountains of yours, Prince Bran.

Bran: Yesterday you said you loved them.

Meera: Oh, I do. My lord father told me about mountains, but I never saw one till now. I love them more than I can say.[5]

The old gods are strong in those mountains. The clansmen will not suffer insults to their heart trees.[2]

The moon was almost full, the night so clear she could see the mountains, their peaks crowned with snow. Cold and bleak and inhospitable, but beautiful in the moonlight. Their summits glimmered pale and jagged as a row of sharpened teeth. The foothills and the smaller peaks were lost in shadow.[15]

—thoughts of Asha Greyjoy

It has always been a harsh life up there. When the snows fall and food grows scarce, their young must travel to the winter town or take service at one castle or the other. The old men gather up what strength that remains in them and announce that they are going hunting. Some are found come spring. Most are never seen again.[9]