Where Are The Direwolves On 'Game Of Thrones'? The Stark Pets Have Been MIA For Too Long

HBO

Game Of Thrones is full of mythical beings: dragons, White Walkers, smoke monsters, stone men, skin-changing assassins, elf-like children of the forest… But one of the most fearsome beasts of Westeros hasn't been seen onscreen in quite some time. Thee direwolves on Game Of Thrones deserve some final screentime this season.

These good doggos were introduced in the series premiere, when the Stark children found a litter of direwolf pups in the woods, one for each of them, including the albino runt of the litter for bastard Jon Snow. Given the the way they were introduced so early and so momentously, fans should be forgiven for assuming the direwolves would be a significant part of the story. But aside from Bran learning he's a warg by inhabiting the mind of his direwolf, or Jon's companion helping him out of a few scrapes of the years, the animals haven't quite lived up to their potential onscreen — whether because of the money it costs to create them or the narrative shortcuts the writers had to take to streamline George R.R. Martin's sprawling story.

Thrones started with the discovery of six direwolves. How many of them are left, and where are they? Let's recap their whereabouts before the Season 8 premiere, in order of the last time each wolf appeared onscreen.

1. Lady

Last seen? Season 1, Episode 2: "The Kingsroad"

Dead or alive? Dead

Sansa's mild-mannered wolf was the first to go, only lasting until the end of the show's second episode. After Arya's wolf, Nymeria, bit Joffrey (who was attacking Arya's friend Micah) and went missing, Cersei cruelly demanded that another wolf pay the price for her son's wound. So Ned grudgingly put his daughter's pet down. Lady, with the pink ribbons on her collar, was just too pure for this cruel world.

2. Grey Wind

Last seen? Season 3, Episode 10: "Mhysa"

Dead or alive? Dead

Robb's wolf earned the King in the North a fearsome reputation among the Lannister soldiers for the way he would tear through a battlefield. It's likely Robb wouldn't have gotten as far as he did in his rebellion without Grey Wind by his side. Unfortunately, when Robb decided to leave his wolf penned up outside while he went to his uncle Edmure's wedding, it was both of their undoing. Robb — along with his mother and his pregnant wife — was slaughtered in the Red Wedding, and Grey Wind was shot full of crossbow bolts in his pen. To add insult to injury, the Frey soldiers later paraded around Robb's corpse with Grey Wind's head sewn onto his torso. The Young Wolf is dead; long live the Young Wolf.

3. Ghost

Last seen? Season 6, Episode 3: "Oathbreaker"

Dead or alive? Alive

Can you believe it's been 14 episodes in-universe — and nearly three years in our real-world time — since Ghost has made an appearance on the show? The last time Jon's wolf was seen was early in Season 6, shortly after the former Lord Commander rose from the dead. Since then, he's remained conspicuously off-screen through such momentous events as the Battle of the Bastards and Jon's excursion beyond the Wall. (Ghost wasn't seen at all during Season 7, even though you would think Jon would want to bring along his own mystical beast when going to meet a queen and her dragons.)

Director Miguel Sapochnik told Business Insider that he originally intended for Ghost to be in "Battle Of The Bastards," but ultimately had to choose between the wolf and Wun-Wun for budgetary reasons. (He chose the giant.) Then writer Bryan Cogman revealed that Ghost was supposed to make an appearance in Season 7, when Jon bid farewell to his companion as he left Winterfell for Dragonstone; the scene was even filmed, but was cut from the episode before it aired. Here's hoping they find time for the white wolf in Season 8. Thrones can't possibly end without some resolution for Ghost.

4. Summer

Last seen? Season 6, Episode 5: "The Door"

Dead or alive? Dead

In the books, all the Stark kids have a supernatural connection to their wolves, although that only really manifested onscreen in the relationship between Bran and Summer. But that special relationship didn't keep Summer safe — in fact, it led the wolf to leap to his master's defense multiple times… eventually to his own doom. When the Night King and his zombies attacked the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, Summer sacrificed his life so that Bran could escape.

5. Shaggydog

Last seen? Season 6, Episode 9: "Battle Of The Bastards"

Dead or alive? Dead

Rickon's wolf, the most feral of the bunch, was last seen alive back in Season 3, when the youngest Stark and his brother Bran parted ways. The next time viewers saw him, early in Season 6, Shaggydog's decapitated head was presented to Ramsay. The wolf's head was seen once more, unceremoniously thrown at Jon's feet to prove that Ramsay was holding Rickon captive. An ignominious end to an underrated wolf.

6. Nymeria

Last seen? Season 7, Episode 2: "Stormborn"

Dead or alive? Alive

Until Season 7, the last time Arya's wolf had been seen was in the second episode of the series, when the Stark girl chased Nymeria away lest she be punished for attacking Joffrey. While venturing north towards Winterfell, Arya was briefly reunited with her erstwhile companion — now huge and fierce and leading a pack of wild wolves. Although girl and direwolf looked at each other with respect, they ultimately parted ways, their lives having evolved in different directions of the years. But, heading into the final season, Nymeria remains the only direwolf other than Ghost to still be alive.

Will Nymeria reemerge to help her human companion in the Great War against the Night King? Or was Nymeria's reunion with Arya also her farewell? Will Ghost get to live happily ever after? Or is he going to return to the show only to die? Find out when the final season of Thrones premieres on Sunday, April 14.