In chapter 8 of Storm of Swords, through his warg bond with Summer, Bran Stark senses that Shaggydog is near, but grows more distant every day [ref]. In A Dance with Dragons chapter 3 Jon Snow, in Ghost, mentions that

of the four remaining wargs

there is one that he can no longer sense. I assume it is Shaggydog he's refering to, but what is the significance of this?

  • 1
    Did the book really say "wargs"? That is a human word for "a man that mentally bonds with animals", and I would be surprised to see Ghost using it.
    – TLP
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 18:52
  • 3
    Clearly George R. R. Martin doesn't want a Shaggydog story. :P
    – RobertF
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 19:59

4 Answers 4


While I don't believe there has yet to be an explanation for this, I believe there are three possibilities :

  1. As Corwin stated, Rickon may be losing himself in Shaggydog
  2. Rickon and Shaggydog's physical distance from the others may be causing it to become harder and harder for the others to sense him
  3. Rickon and Shaggydog's physical distance from Westeros may be causing the fading

My personal opinion is that Shaggydog leaving Westeros and its magic (Children of the Forest, Weirwood network, etc.) is what is causing him to fade from the other direwolves' perception. This may be somewhat backed up by the fact that Ghost can no longer sense Summer (who is beyond the Wall).

I don't believe option 2 is viable because we have seen that Ghost can still sense Nymeria, and based on the maps, Skagos appears to be closer to him than the South.

I think option 1 has merit, but with no canonical proof on how the link exists, it's hard to support. It would seem to reason that the link exists between the direwolves since Lady is no longer sensed even though Sansa is still alive.

  • Where was it said that Shaggydog had left Westeros? I thought it was said (or heavily implied) to Davos that Rickon was near Whiterun?
    – Corwin01
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 16:48
  • Shaggydog as of Dance With Dragons
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 16:58
  • Ah, yea. Its been awhile. But, Skagos is just as much a part of Westeros as Bear Island is.
    – Corwin01
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 18:03
  • @Corwin01 In the geographical and political sense, yes. I was thinking in the more spiritual and supernatural sense. More specifically, the possibility that Weirwoods don't grow there, and that may have some significance. Skagos, is more of a rocky island much like the Iron Islands. Its name means "stone" and it is known to be a very mountainous terrain. Of course, this is just a theory :)
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 18:20
  • True. Who knows, although I doubt that will be something that GRRM ever addresses except very indirectly.
    – Corwin01
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 20:19

It's a shame you did not include the entire quote, since I do not remember the details, and I do not have my books at hand at the moment, but I believe this is a reference to Summer, not Shaggydog. Which is also supported by the wikipedia at Westeros.org

These passages are written from the wolves' perspective, and so are easy to misinterpret.

For the first passage, Shaggydog grows more distant because he is traveling another direction with Rickon and Osha. The second passage merely uses the "sense" in a similar fashion, not as an implicit continuation of the former, and it is most likely referring to Bran and Summer being blocked by the Wall (and possibly the wards in place in their cave, not sure about the timeline here).

The wall is built with magic, as is referenced many times, when Coldhands cannot pass the wall, or Melisandre stating that her magic has never been stronger, and that the wall is one of the "great hinges of the world".


I don't think there is any canon that directly goes into this, but my general impression is that it's not by any action on Shaggydog's part, but rather Rickon's. Ever since Ned died, we have seen Rickon become more wild and I think it's a pretty safe bet that he is escaping into Shaggydog in much the same way that Bran was with Summer.

After he split up with Bran, he's basically all alone except for Osha (it's been awhile, but I think it was Osha who went with him) and Shaggydog, travelling in the wilderness. I can see it being much easier to escape into Shaggydog and spend less and less time in his body, putting his intelligence on the backburner for Shaggydog's instinct.

Basically, they can sense each other because of the Starks they are paired with and their warging ability, rather than some brother/sister direwolf bond.


This is pretty easy. At the end of A Clash of Kings Bran observes that Shaggydog's tail going around a building is the last he saw of the wolf, Osha, and Rickon. Bran's first chapter in A Storm of Swords is what you referenced. So they are going in opposite directions, thus becoming more distant from each other. The Direwolf that cannot be sensed is Lady. There are several references to there being one missing after Ned kills her and I believe a similar reference is made to two Direwolves missing after the Red Wedding. No mystery.

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