What happened to all of the direwolves in Game of Thrones? The fate of each direwolf connects to their Stark owner's past and future in the world of Westeros following Game of Thrones ending.
The direwolf was the animal featured on the House Stark sigil and thus incredibly important to the Northern rulers. Direwolves are portrayed as a species of the wolf but much larger and highly more intelligent. Back in Game of Thrones' premiere, a litter of direwolves was discovered by the Stark children, who patriarch Ned allowed them to take care of. At first, only five pups were present, but Jon Snow found the albino runt of the litter and claimed that one for himself. The direwolves quickly bonded with their corresponding owners.
To some, the animals might have just been viewed as pets to the main characters, but they were much more than that. The direwolves were beautiful creatures but they served a much greater purpose. They had a major impact on Game of Thrones, to the point viewers began demanding the direwolves' appearances within the show on a regular basis (even as budgetary concerns kept their role minimal). A direwolf's death was sometimes harder to handle than the death of a popular human character.
At times, the animals became prominent figures to the plot but not all of them made it to the end of Game of Thrones. Here's the detailed fate of each direwolf in Game of Thrones.
Grey Wind (Robb Stark)
Grey Wind was very protective of his owner Robb. The direwolf accompanied Robb and his army and played a role in the Battle of Oxcross by sneaking onto the enemy camp, killing guards, and scaring horses. Unfortunately, Grey Wind was present for the Red Wedding in season 3. Arya tried to set Grey Wind free but it was too late; he was decapitated and had his head planted on Robb's body.
Lady (Sansa Stark)
Lady was the first of the direwolves to die. After Arya's direwolf, Nymeria, bit Joffrey in Game of Thrones season 1, Cersei ordered the animal to be executed. When they couldn't find that exact direwolf, Lady was killed it her place. Ned executed Lady at the request of Robert Baratheon, horrifying Sansa.
Nymeria (Arya Stark)
When Cersei's men were searching for Nymeria to punish the direwolf for biting Joffrey, Arya secretly sent her away. Nymeria wasn't seen again until Game of Thrones season 7 when Arya ran into her while traveling back to Winterfell. The direwolf was revealed to be the leader of her own pack. Arya tried to get her old companion to follow her home, but she understood why the direwolf wanted to stay behind in the Riverlands.
Summer (Bran Stark)
Summer constantly stayed by Bran's side after Winterfell was taken over. When Bran's group made it north of the Wall, they traveled to the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven. While there, a horde of White Walkers and wights invade the cave. Summer tried to protect Bran by fighting off the Night King's forces. The direwolf was killed in the season 6 attack, but she gave Bran enough time to escape.
Shaggydog (Rickon Stark)
Shaggydog also accompanied Rickon, Bran, and Summer when the group left Winterfell. Rickon, Osha, and the direwolf eventually split to seek refuge through House Umber. The Umbers later betrayed Rickon and killed Shaggydog to give to Ramsay Bolton as a gift. Ramsay disgustingly turned the direwolf into a fur rug. Shaggydog marked the second direwolf to be killed in season 6, much to the dismay of viewers.
Ghost (Jon Snow)
Besides Nymeria, Ghost was the only other direwolf to survive the events of Game of Thrones. Despite being the runt, Ghost grew to be the biggest direwolf of the pack. He was with Jon during his time with the Night's Watch and followed his owner Beyond the Wall. Ghost also participated in many fights, including the Battle of Winterfell. At the end of Game of Thrones, Jon reunited with Ghost and they traveled north of the Wall.
How The Direwolves' Fates Connect To Their Stark Owners
Many of the Starks shared similarities with their direwolf counterparts, to the point that Game of Thrones fans began to theorize that the fate of the direwolves would connect to the outcome of their owners. The theory may not have played out as many had predicted, but there are some correlations.
Arya is a leader and very protective of her family. She had a lot to give but has decided to leave her family behind and go off on her own. Nymeria did something similar as she was forced to leave her home at a young age and learned to fend for herself as she found another role. Ghost was the odd one out as the albino of the litter, something that Jon struggled with as the bastard child of the Starks. The Direwolf needed a role in the world, just as it seemed Jon was destined to work for the Night's Watch.
Robb and Rickon were killed in a despicable fashion just like their direwolves. Summer sacrificed herself just as Bran gave up his mind and body to become the Three-Eyed Raven. Then there's Sansa, who often suffered the consequences of other people's actions, just like Lady. The Stark never had a chance in her early life but she grew into an admirable woman. The death of her direwolf was another motivator for Sansa to overcome her oppressors.
Direwolf Differences in A Song of Ice and Fire
The fate of the Stark direwolves didn't exactly play out on-screen in the same fashion as it did in George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. In the novels, only Grey Wind and Lady have been killed thus far. Nymeria was chased away by Arya just as she did in the HBO show but Summer, Shaggydog, and Ghost are continuing to serve as companions to their respective owners.
It's not surprising that the Game of Thrones TV series would diverge from the books as they have done it on multiple occasions. That's not to say that some of the direwolves won't meet their deaths in the future. Readers will have to wait until George R.R. Martin finally releases his forthcoming novel The Winds of Winter to see if the beloved direwolves make it to the end of another installment within the epic tale.