The third episode of Game of Thrones eighth and final season, The Long Night, saw the Stark's ancestral home at the brink of devastation. Winterfell is, in fact, the largest castle in the seven kingdoms, but it's far from the easiest to defend out of the many castles that stand in Westeros.
Perhaps if the combined forces of Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow were holed up in a different castle, it wouldn't have taken quite the loss of life as we saw in the Battle of Winterfell to defeat the Night King and his army of undead. In fact, here are 10 castles that would have been easier to defend against the Night King than Winterfell.
The largest castle in the Iron Islands, it's easy to see why Pyke would make for an ideal castle to defend against raids. Pyke is built upon various towering stone pillars and surrounded on all sides by the unforgiving seas.
That leaves would-be attackers with only two options for transporting their forces: by sea and by air. Essentially, unless you're in command of a sizeable fleet of ships or enough dragons to carry your army, you're chances of even reaching Pyke in the first place are nil. On top of that, traveling between towers by bridge in treacherous weather is a recipe for disaster waiting to dismantle potential raiders.
As we learned all the way back in season 2 during the Battle of Blackwater, King's Landing's the Red Keep isn't impregnable. That being said, the Lannister hold-out is smartly-designed to provide ample defense for the current ruling family.
The Red Keep is comprised of several towers, dungeons, and secret passages built by Aegon the Conqueror to defend against attacks and comfortably host plenty of supplies and inhabitants to last extended ambushes and sieges, not to mention its advantageous position along Blackwater Bay.
The Hightower is immediately recognizable by its single tower of staggering height. Recognized as the single tallest structure in the Seven Kingdoms, the Hightower is also readily accessible by sea, allowing for the expedient transportation of supplies.
For comparison sake, the books describe the Hightower as being even larger in height than the ancient 700-foot wall defending the North from Wildlings and the Army of the Dead. This castle's immense height would make for an ideal vantage point to detect incoming enemy forces and simultaneously impede an army's ability to penetrate its walls.
As the great Tyrion Lannister remarks all the way back in season 1, "The Eyrie. They say it's impregnable." Of course, we all remember then sellsword Bronn's defiant response: "Give me ten good men and some climbing spikes. I'll impregnate the b****."
Yet regardless of Bronn's self-confidence, The Eyrie may be the best-protected castle in Westeros. Despite being an ancient and rather small great castle, its positioning within the Mountains of the Moon thousands of feet above the valley makes attackers vulnerable along the high road and narrow trails leading up to it.
There's a good reason political mastermind Tywin Lannister preferred to reside at Casterly Rock. On top of being the ancestral stronghold of House Lannister, Casterly Rock is one of the most defensible castles in Westeros.
In fact, advising Daenerys in season 7, Tyrion recalls his conversation with Bronn and remarks that, "Casterly Rock is an impregnable fortress. But as a good friend of mine once said, give me ten good men, and I'll impregnate the b****." Casterly Rock is built into a massive stone formation next to the Sunset Sea, giving its defenders a significant natural advantage against attackers.
As seen in season 6, a siege can be a frustrating endeavor even for Jaime Lannister when the castle you're attacking is as well-protected as Riverrun. this rugged, three-sided castle is well-equipped to defend against attack, with thick sandstone walls, crenelated battlements, and a man-made ditch on one side.
Further, the castle is designed with sluice gates that can be opened when necessary to fill a large moat that completely surrounds the castle. The books describe Riverrun as being able to withstand a siege with supplies to last two full years when appropriately garrisoned.
From what we've seen of Harrenhal in Game of Thrones, which is little more than black rubbles, one might not expect it to be particularly defensible. However, with the exception of dragons, Harrenhall is built to withstand attacks from the most formidable armies in Westeros.
As Tywin Lannister himself says in season 2, "A million men could have marched on these walls, and a million men would have been repelled." And if it weren't for Aegon the Conqueror, his sisters, and their dragons, Harrenhal would likely still stand in its original form.
House Baratheon's ancestral seat isn't the prettiest or most ornate castle in the Seven Kingdoms, but it's certainly one of the strongest. Protected by walls as thick as 80 feet and over 100 feet tall, Storm's End is a simple, yet exceedingly sturdy, castle comprised of one single tower.
Storm's End is also one of the oldest castles in Westeros, built by the famed Bran the Builder centuries before the events of Game of Thrones, its endurance a testament to its strength. This ancient castle is also home to a small, yet invulnerable harbor to allow for the transport of supplies, adding a distinct advantage to defenders within Storm's End.
As the seat of the Seven Kingdom's second wealthiest family, Highgarden is a formidable castle if only for its surplus of available supplies and the sheer scale of Tyrell's army. The large, triple-walled castle also appears to be well-positioned to defend against raids and sieges, and we don't have a lot of reason to believe otherwise.
Given, the dismantling of house Tyrell in season 7 of Game of Thrones leaves Highgarden vulnerable to attack, however, if Tyrion and Jaime make good on their promise to Bronn, this beautifully ornate castle would once again be in good hands.
The birthplace of Daenerys Targaryen, Dragonstone is an intimidating castle simply to behold, much less to lay siege. Dragonstone's formidable structure can be attributed to the Valyrians who built it, using stonemasonry, fire, and ancient sorcery.
Its primary function is as a stronghold and military base, rather than a political seat, and as thus was built with the intention of being garrisoned to withstand sieges and defending against raids. Its isolated position also makes Dragonstone a difficult location to reach, leaving any attacking forces depleted by the time they arrive.