Game of Thrones: Winterfell's Crypt Plays a Huge Role in the Epic Upcoming Battle
There are few places in HBO's Game of Thrones that hold as much significance as Winterfell, the ancestral home of House Stark and the seat of the ruler of the North.
According to Northern legend, Winterfell was built by Bran the Builder more than 8,000 years ago, just as the Wall was, and considering Bran's relationship with the Giants and Children of the Forest, it's safe to say that there's more than meets the eye regarding the "capital" of the North. While the walls of the castle have certainly seen a lot go down over the years, it's never been as prominently focused as it is in the final season and fans can't help but wonder about about the secrets housed in the crypts below.
Here's what you need to know about House Stark's mysterious underground labyrinth and why it's so important in season eight.
Where Is the Winterfell Crypt?
The crypt is located beneath Winterfell and expands further and wider than the castle does. Because Winterfell is built around an ancient three-acre godswood, it's thought that the walls of the crypt are weirwood roots that have turned to stone, adding to the mystical element of the underground tombs. In the book, there are rumors that the crypt is haunted by the ghosts of dead Starks, and there are hints that there's something magical housed within it (which some believe could be a dragon).
What Is in the Winterfell Crypt?
The crypt houses tombs for all deceased members of House Stark, though traditionally statues were only made for Kings in the North and Lords of Winterfell. Lord Eddard "Ned" Stark is the one who broke said tradition, creating statues of his deceased siblings after Robert's Rebellion. Though we've only seen one level on the show — the "freshest" level that houses the tombs of Lord Rickard Stark, Brandon, and Lyanna — we have no doubt that it's just as vast as in the novels.
While there are tombs for the Starks that have fallen during the series — Ned, Catelyn, Robb, and Rickon — Rickon is the only one whose remains are present, as Catelyn and Robb's bodies were desecrated after the Red Wedding.
Why Is the Winterfell Crypt Important?
Aside from being historically significant for the Starks specifically, the crypt is the site for many interactions that have been important to Game of Thrones' story. It's where we learn the popular version of Lyanna's death, told to us when Robert Baratheon and Ned visit her tomb. In the books, Jon, Bran, and Rickon all have dreams in which the crypt features prominently — it's a source of dread for Jon in particular. Before his death, Ned dreams of Lyanna's statue whispering to him, "Promise me, Ned," which we hear again in the season eight teaser. It's where Peytr recites the story of The Tourney at Harrenhal to Sansa after her return to Winterfell in season six and she finds the feather left by Robert. It's where Sansa and Arya have their private reunion in season seven, where Jon finally learns who his real parents are in season eight, and subsequently where he reveals the truth to his aunt, Daenerys, right before the Battle of Winterfell.
The crypt also serves a more practical importance in season eight. Not only is it huge and consists of multiple layers, but it also has various tunnels running through it to aid Northerners escaping from trouble. As soldiers prepare for the epic Battle of Winterfell, women, children, and elders are ushered into the crypt to hide in during the battle. In the second episode of season eight, Gilly instructs several people on how to enter the crypt, including a little girl who swears she'll protect everyone inside (poor, sweet summer child).
Is the Crypt of Winterfell Safe?
The show has stated over and over that the crypt is the safest place to be during the Battle of Winterfell. That pretty much spells trouble to anyone who's been watching Game of Thrones long enough. While there is safety in keeping folks away from the battle, there is also a huge element of danger since the crypt houses hordes of dead people and the Night King is known for raising beings up from the dead. It's not too wild to believe he can use his dark magic on the long-gone Starks housed in the crypt. We're hoping it doesn't come to a twisted Lord of the Rings army of the dead situation, but you never know what could happen!