“There’s great honor in serving the Night’s Watch. The Starks have manned the Wall for thousands of years, and you are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood.”
Direwolves are held to be near-mythical in most of the south of Westeros. Inhabitants of the North acknowledge that they are a real animal, but they are very rarely encountered there. There are some rumors of them living in theWolfswood near Winterfell, but these are unconfirmed. There may have been larger direwolf populations in the North in past millennia, but centuries of human encroachment on their territory have pushed their range back to the furthest north.
There have been confirmed sightings north of the Wallby the Night’s Watch who guard it. The wildlings who live beyond the Wall claim that direwolves can be found in greater numbers in the Haunted Forest to the north of the Wall. By the reign of King Robert Baratheon no direwolf had been sighted south of the Wall, even in the Stark lands of the North, in over 200 years.
An adult direwolf is as large as a small horse, and can rip a man’s arm from its socket. Even a juvenile direwolf is quite capable of killing a man by ripping out his throat. Physically they are not simply larger versions of wolves, but have slightly different proportions than their smaller cousins; their heads are larger with a leaner, more pronounced muzzle, their legs are longer in proportion to their body, and they have proportionately larger teeth that are often used to crush bones.
Direwolves can give birth to litters of at least six puppies.