The region appears to be bounded by the wolfswood to the north, the White Knife and the Bite to the east, the Neck to the south, and the Rills to the west. The town of Barrowton, seat of House Dustin, lies within the area north of the Saltspear; a river runs from the town to the inlet. It takes about eight days to reach the barrowlands from Winterfell.
The largest hill of the region, the Great Barrow in Barrowton, is said to contain the grave of the First King of the First Men or a King of the Giants. House Dustin of Barrowton has ruled the barrowlands on behalf of House Stark of Winterfell since the defeat of the Barrow Kings.
In the story of the seventy-nine sentinels, deserters of the Night's Watch fled to the barrowlands and sought refuge in the castle of Lord Ryswell, but the Lord of the Rills returned them to the Wall.
A Game of Thrones
After accepting the position of Hand of the King, Lord Eddard Stark travels with King Robert I Baratheon south from Winterfell to King's Landing. While traveling through the barrowlands, the longtime friends temporarily depart from the kingsroad to ride amongst the plains.
A Clash of Kings
A Dance with Dragons
Using Barrowton as a base, Ramsay Bolton and the Bastard's Boys unsuccessfully search the barrowlands for the Frey envoys, Rhaegar, Symond, and Jared, who have gone missing after leaving White Harbor.
—thoughts of Eddard Stark
Robert: Have we ridden onto a graveyard?Robert: And cold.
Eddard: There are barrows everywhere in the north, Your Grace, this land is old.
Chapters that take place in the barrowlands
- A Dance with Dragons, Map of the North
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Barrowlands.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros.
- The A Game of Thrones RPG and Resource Book by Guardians of Order states the barrowlands stretch from the Stony Shore to the Bite, which therefore suggests the landscape includes the Rills. The more recent The Lands of Ice and Fire and the Map of the North in A Dance with Dragons depict them as separate regions.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 24, Bran II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.