- "He doesn't like chains."
- ―Rickon Stark
Shaggydog was one of six direwolf pups found by the children of House Stark. Shaggydog is adopted and raised by Rickon Stark, the youngest of the five Stark children. Shaggydog is distinguished from the rest of his siblings by his black fur.
Shaggydog was adopted as a pup with the rest of the Stark direwolves when Eddard Stark and his entourage came upon the pups and their deceased mother. At the request of Jon Snow, the pups were spared a quick death and each Stark child adopted one as their own. Rickon names his direwolf Shaggydog.
When Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell, Shaggydog and Summer flee with Osha, Bran, Rickon, and Hodor before they fall back to the castle and hide out in the crypt. Shaggydog and Summer reunite with the boys and their companions after the castle is sacked and put to the torch, and accompany them as they travel north to find sanctuary with their bastard half-brother Jon Snow at the Wall.
Shaggydog continues north with Rickon, Osha, Bran, Hodor, and Summer. The group is later joined by Jojen Reed and his sister, Meera. They stop to rest at a small farm, not realizing there is a group of wildlings nearby. When a thunderstorm startles Hodor and nearly causes him to give up the group's location to the wildlings, Bran wargs into Summer who is joined by Shaggydog in killing some of the wildlings. Realizing the dangers they face as they continue north, Bran decides to send Rickon away with Osha and Shaggydog to the protection of House Umber in order to keep Rickon safe. The three leave in the middle of the night towards Last Hearth. It is around this time, however, that the Red Wedding takes place and Shaggydog's brother Grey Wind is killed along with Robb, Catelyn, Talisa, and the bulk of the Stark army.
Shaggydog is slain by the Umbers, and his head is presented to Ramsay Bolton, along with the live prisoners Osha and Rickon. This is part of Smalljon Umber's gift to display his willingness to work with House Bolton, and as proof of Rickon's identity. Ramsay later claims in a letter to Jon Snow that he is using Shaggydog's fur as a rug. Before the Battle of the Bastards, Smalljon throws Shaggydog's head to Sansa and Jon, confirming that he does indeed have Rickon prisoner.
|Game of Thrones Season 1 appearances|
|Winter Is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Game of Thrones Season 2 appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What Is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Game of Thrones Season 3 appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch Is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Game of Thrones Season 6 appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker *||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards *||The Winds of Winter|
* Decapitated head.
Behind the scenes
In an interview with the Huffington Post entertainment editor Bill Bradley, Rickon's actor Art Parkinson mentioned that a giant husky was used to portray Shaggydog in the television series. Parkinson recounted that the dogs were also brought to his home so that they could bond with him and the other actors. Unlike fellow star Sophie Turner, Parkinson's mother Movania Parkinson did not allow him to adopt his husky co-star because she was concerned that it would unnerve their two other dogs. In response to initial rumors that Smalljon Umber had presented another dog's head in order to fake loyalty to the Boltons, Parkinson confirmed in that interview that Shaggydog did indeed die a true death in the TV series.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Shaggydog is the fiercest and least-disciplined of the six wolves, reflecting Rickon's willful nature. Bran thinks the wolf's name is stupid, but this might be expected as Rickon was only three years old when he named him, and only six in the TV series. "Shaggy" soon becomes a preferred name. He is described as black, with bright green eyes.
Once Rickon discovers that Robb may be going off to war, he becomes wild and angry; Shaggydog begins to take after his master, biting Gage on the arm and tearing a chunk of flesh from Mikken's thigh. Farlen chains Shaggydog up on the kennels, so he can bite no one else, and that makes Rickon even more upset.
Just before news of Ned's death arrive, Rickon and Shaggydog hide in the crypts of Winterfell. When Maester Luwin, Bran and Osha descend there, Shaggydog suddenly attacks Luwin, savagely biting his arm. Shaggydog is stopped from doing more damage by the intervention of Summer. Rickon says that he freed Shaggydog because he did not like chains. Luwin warns Bran that Shaggydog must be chained, because he has already savaged three people, and it is only a matter of time before he kills someone.
Shaggydog is partially responsible for the fall of Winterfell: he and Summer were chained and confined to the godswood by Ser Rodrik, because he bit one of Walder Frey's grandsons. Had the direwolves been free, perhaps they could have alerted the guards in time. At the end of A Clash of Kings, Shaggydog accompanies Rickon and Osha after they part company with Bran, Hodor, Jojen and Meera Reed. Maester Luwin advises Osha to travel to either the White Harbor or Last Hearth, both inhabited by loyal bannermen of the Starks.
It is revealed in A Dance of Dragons that Shaggydog, Rickon, and Osha have traveled to the Isle of Skagos in the north. Wex, the only survivor of the ironborn who occupied Winterfell, followed them and then went to the White Harbor and told Lord Wyman Manderly. Lord Manderly, one of the Starks' loyal bannermen, seeking to avenge his son Wendel, offers to pledge his allegiance to King Stannis Baratheon if Davos Seaworth smuggles Rickon to him. Wyman plans to sever his alliance with the Boltons and to install Rickon as the new Lord of Winterfell. Shaggydog is crucial to Wyman's plan since the direwolf would provide irrevocable proof of Rickon's identity should the Boltons and their Frey allies contest his claim. It is unknown if they are still alive.
In a vision of Ghost, Jon sees a black direwolf fighting a goat with one long horn (namely a unicorn). Since unicorns are believed to live on Skagos, the vision confirms that Rickon and Osha indeed went there.
The Stark Direwolves