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Who are the Winter Wolves and what role do they play in the Targaryen Civil war?




The Dance of the Dragons comprised many different battles and skirmishes in which various factions were involved. The kingdoms of the North, which made up a large part of Westeros, were also heavily involved in the war.

The Winter Wolves were a band of northerners that played a huge part in the war under the banner of Lord Cregan Stark of Winterfell.  This article covers everything we know about the Winter Wolves.

Who were the Winter Wolves?

The Winter Wolves were a group of veteran fighters from the Northern kingdoms of Westeros. They supported the claim of Rhaenyra Targaryen and were allied to Cregan Stark, the Lord of Winterfell. They were led by Lord Roderick Dustin, the Lord of Barrowton, also known as Roddy the Ruin.

They numbered around two thousand and were all old, veteran fighters, known in the North as ‘greybeards’. They wore old mail and ragged skins and rode shaggy northern horses.

They wielded axes, mauls, spiked maces, and ancient iron swords. In the North, there was a long-standing custom of older men leaving their homes in winter, preserving the limited supplies that each household had for their younger kin.

The Winter Wolves were made up of these older men, who were completely aware that they would most likely meet their deaths while marching for glory, adventure, and plunder.

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What happened to the Winter Wolves during the Dance of the Dragons?


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The Winter Wolves marched forth under the leadership of Roddy the Ruin. They fought in three major battles where they displayed immense strength and valor. Their first battle was the Battle of the Lakeshore.

They fought alongside the forces of the Freys, led by Lord Forrest Frey and Red Robb Rivers. The Winter Wolves requested to be the ones leading the attack and charged five times at the opposing Lannister spearmen. This resulted in two-thirds of the Northmen dying but secured a victory for the Black forces.

The second battle they participated in was the Butcher’s Ball. This battle took place after the death of Ser Criston Cole at the hands of the longbowmen of Red Robb Rivers.

The Winter Wolves and their river knight allies charged against Criston’s army in the ensuing battle, in which they once again slaughtered the Greens.

The third and final battle that the Winter Wolves participated in was known as the First Battle of Tumbleton.

Read more: Everything we need to know about Cregan Stark from House of the Dragon

The death and legacy of the Winter Wolves


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The remaining members of the Winter Wolves were outnumbered ten to one during the First Battle of Tumbleton. Despite this, they charged forth, screaming northern war cries. Roddy the Ruin led them to strike at Ormund Hightower, Lord of the Hightower.

During the battle, Roddy the Ruin killed Ormund as well as his cousin Ser Bryndon Hightower before dying himself as a result of his fatal wounds.

The Black forces were betrayed during this battle by Ser Hugh Hammer and Ser Ulf White. As a result of this, the last of the Winter Wolves were killed in battle.

After their deaths, the Dance of the Dragons raged on. Cregan Stark wrote to Rhaenyra that he would gather a host of ten thousand Northmen younger and fiercer than the fallen Winter Wolves. However, Rhaenyra was captured and killed at Dragonstone by King Aegon II Targaryen.

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As a result of this, Cregan Stark, along with his new army, marched south in support of Rhaenyra’s son, Prince Aegon the Younger.

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