The Geography of Game of Thrones: Part 1 – The North


Based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the long-running HBO series Game of Thrones is filmed in many exotic locations, mostly in Europe and the Middle East. Since the continents of Westeros and Essos are home to various kinds of people with their own customs on lands of various terrain. While Essos seems to have more variety, Westeros is home to the Seven Kingdoms. So here I give you a guide on all the places in the characters’ known world. This information is taken from the hit HBO show as of Season 7 so there will be plenty of differences from A Song of Ice and Fire books which I never read. Then again, George R. R. Martin still has a couple of books to write so I don’t think I’m missing much. The first several posts will concern the 7 Kingdoms of Westeros while the others will focus on the places in Essos.


First, we go to the North, home to our favorite Great House in Westeros, the Starks at Winterfell. Of course, during the series, this family goes through hell with Ned’s beheading, the Red Wedding, and the Bolton takeover. But after the Battle of the Bastards, the Starks have re-taken the North with Jon Snow as its king. Bordered by a swamp called the Neck, it’s a rather hostile place of forest, ice, and snow. As the only region to resist the Andal invaders, the Northmen the Old Golds of the Forest of the First Men. But they still remember the Long Night and the White Walkers. And they know when winter comes, the White Walkers may pass the wall and wreak havoc onto humanity.


Location: Stretches from the Sunset Sea to the Shivering Sea as wells from the Wall to the bogs of the Neck.

Size: The North is the largest region in Westeros by area, big enough to house the other six kingdoms in Westeros.

Capital: Winterfell, which is situated atop hot springs and has existed for millennia. While winding tombs below the castle contain Stark king and lord remains as well as record the ancient family’s history.


Climate: It’s the coldest region in Westeros since some areas experience snow during the summer, especially close to the Wall. While snowfall increases as your move further along the Kingsroad. And this is in any a fantasy world where the seasons can last for years. When it’s winter, it’s especially harsh. Yet, the southern areas enjoy comparatively mild temperatures.

Environment: The nothernmost areas in the region could consist of subarctic tundra as well as the Wolfswood forest (the largest in Westeros) along with rivers and plains. The Neck is a swamp which serves as a natural barrier to the North proper. Only House Reed and the area’s crannogmen can properly navigate through its treacherous landscape and fierce creatures. While many have died trying to find their way through it unaided.

Resources: Aside from agriculture in the Neck, there’s not many resources here.


Population: Due to the forbidding climate and environment, the North isn’t known for having a dense population. In fact, it’s one of the most sparse. People usually have dark hair and white skin akin to the First Men. Neck inhabitants are called crannogmen while Wildlings inhabit the northernmost areas.

Key Cities: The port town of White Harbor is the North’s primary source of trade and the only place that can be considered a city there. Barrowton is another notable town.


Culture: Place a high value on honor while believing in White Walkers and the Long Night as undeniable truth. Noble bastard children have the name Snow. Are particularly zealous about cultivating and preserving their resources since surviving winter is often a life-or-death struggle. Have fewer wars amongst themselves since cooperation is essential for survival. Practice strict observance of guest right and the laws of hospitality. Don’t hold tournaments (though participate in those in the southern areas) and have little regard for southern political intrigues.

Religion: Worship the Old Gods that the First Men adopted from the Children of the Forest and pray underneath the weirwood trees dotting the land. Because the Andals found little foothold in the North, its warriors aren’t regularly designated as “knights” since “knighthood” is a code of values associated with the Faith of the Seven.

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Great House: House Stark (though there was a stint when the Boltons ruled between the Red Wedding and the Battle of the Bastards) Ruled by Warden of the North Jon Snow and Lady Sansa Stark. The Starks have also been the dominant family in the North for thousands of years. Believe that he who passes sentence should swing the sword.

Vassal Houses: House Bolton (extinct), House Karstark, House Reed, House Mormont, House Umber, House Glover, House Cerwyn, House Hornwood, House Tallhart, House Manderly, House Dustin, House Flint, House Forester, House Dormund, House Whitehill, House Ryswell, and House Glenmore.

History: According to legend, the Kingdom of the North was established by House Stark’s founder Bran the Builder who built the Wall as a shield against the possible return of the White Walkers. Stark rulers were known as Kings of the North before King Torren submitted to Aegon the Conqueror who made him Lord Paramount of the region. Though Torren got criticized for this, bending the knee is the main reason why House Stark managed to survive for this long. Since nobody stood a chance against dragons.


Current Status: Has recognized Daenerys as its sovereign while still ruled by House Stark. Still, though Jon Snow may no longer be King of the North, he has a strong claim to the Iron Throne as a Targaryen. In addition, he and Daenerys will most definitely get married and have a child in Season 8.

Best Known for: Hardened warriors and honorable leaders. Also, for being the only region of the Seven Kingdoms that holds the traditions of the First Men.

Home of: Jon Snow, Meera Reed, Jorah Mormont, Ramsay Bolton, Ned Stark, Osha, Bran Stark, Robb Stark, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Rickon Stark, Jojen Reed, Benjen Stark, Lyanna Mormont, Jeor Mormont, Old Nan, Osha, and Hodor.


Landmarks: Well, there are weirwood trees. Then there’s the ruined castle of Moat Cailin in the Neck, which was built by the First Men but has been unoccupied for centuries.

What to Avoid: Stay away from the Boltons since they have an infamous reputation for torture on all occasions (though they’re extinct so you need not worry even at the Dreadfort). Also, watch out for White Walkers.

For Those Who Want to Visit: Take warnings of winter and White Walkers very seriously. Make sure take a fur coat along. Also, be nice to the Wildlings. Further you stay away from the wall, the better.


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