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In the very first episode of Game of Thrones we see all of the Stark children get a pet wolf.

During the TV series, these wolves have played a semi-important part in certain situations and have every time indicated that the wolves protect their master.

  • Arya's wolf bit Joffrey to protect her
  • Robb's wolf attacked Lord Umber and bit off 2 of his fingers
  • Jon's wolf has come to his aid in battle a few times

Sadly, we also see Stark children lose their wolf without the character being killed.

Is there a meaning to/behind these these losess or is it just to make us feel bad?

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    One safe guess would be that it signals something bad is going to happen to the master of the wolf. Robb got murdered when he chained Greywind in the Kennels. Sansa's torture started soon after Lady's demise. Arya's ordeal began soon after losing Nymeria. Jon got murdered when Ghost was not in attendance. – Aegon May 16 '16 at 9:27
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    @NSNoob I find that a big vague, Arya and Sansa's suffering only started after Ned lost his head. Robb put his wolf in a kennel, yes. But being at a wedding, its understandable that you don't bring your pet dog to the table, let alone a huge dire wolf. Ghost was not with Jon, but its not like he was put in chains or lost in the wild – Vahx May 16 '16 at 11:12
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    Note that Jon has been separated from Ghost in other occasions : in the show Ghost stayed with the Night's watch until the mutiny, and was then kept at Craster's home until Jon and others attacked the deserters in season 4. In the books Ghost stays with Jon when he joins the Wildlings but cannot climb the wall, so he stays beyond the wall and only arrives at Castle Black when Jon is made Lord Commander. During all this time Jon has a more or less normal life (not worse than he has with Ghost). – Arnaud D. May 16 '16 at 16:38
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    Could be showing us who is a warg... those whose wolf has been killed have shown no warg attributes.... (Bran, Jon, and Ayra have shown warg, Summer, Ghost, Nymeria alive) (Robb, Sansa, Rickon have not, Grey Wind, Lady, Shaggy Dog dead) – Skooba May 18 '16 at 12:38
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    Spoiler Alert: there goes Summer. Olaf will be devastated. – Reece May 23 '16 at 23:04
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Simply put - yes

  • Arya's direwolf runs away -> Arya leaves Westeros (in this case the direwolf represents Arya herself)
  • Sansa's direwolf is killed under the command of the Lannisters -> Most of her family is executed under the command of a Lannister (in this case the direwolf represents her Stark heritage rather than herself)
  • Rickon's direwolf is killed in order to prove that the child is really Rickon -> Rickon is killed by the person that was looking for him.
  • Rob's direwolf's meaning is not explained or seen in the TV series, but in the books it says that before Robb died you could hear the howling of a direwolf, and later on it is said that they have sewn the direwolf's head to Robbs shoulders.

The last two would be Bran and Jon. Jon's direwolf is currently still alive, so there is no death to explain. But Bran's direwolf was killed by the White Walkers. Sadly, I think that it is too soon after his death to pinpoint its meaning.

  • Both the things you mention for Robb's wolf are in the TV show too - you see the wolf going crazy in a kennel like it somehow knows what's happening (then is shot with a crossbow), and then in the next episode, Arya and Sandor overhear a Frey soldier explaining/boasting about how he helped sew the wolf's head to Robb's shoulders – user568458 Nov 7 '16 at 9:14
  • I think Bran losing his direwolf is meant to symbolise him letting go of his past life and becoming the 3ER. – TheLethalCarrot Feb 12 '18 at 14:19

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