The direwolves were found by the Stark family. The finding was highly symbolic as the direwolf was the Stark family sigil. Additionally, the orphaned direwolf cubs matched the Stark children, both in number and in sex. Each Stark child adopted a cub matching their own sex. And even Jon Snow, the bastard of the children, adopted the runt of the litter. A runt found after the other five, almost as an afterthought.
(Warning: This article contains a spoiler for S. 6 Ep. 5)
What Has Come To Pass
Nymeria (whereabouts unknown)
Nymeria was adopted by Arya. Nymeria attacked Prince Joffrey Baratheon to protect Arya. Fearing for Nymeria’s life, Arya chased her away. Nymeria hasn’t been seen since.
Summer was adopted by Bran Stark. When Bran fled Winterfell north of the wall to the Cave of the Three-Eyed Raven Summer escorted him. The direwolf fought off wights as his ownder fled into the safety of the cave. Later, while fleeing the cave, Summer again faced off against the wights as Bran and their group fled through the tunnels. Summer was quickly overwhelmed but Bran was able to escape. Personally, I cant help but wonder if a direwolf corpse is not burned, will it become a wightwolf?
Shaggydog was adopted by Rickon Stark. Rickon and Shaggydog fled Winterfell with Bran and Summer, but ended up at Last Hearth. The Umbers of Last Hearth later turned Rickon over to Ramsay Bolton and, as proof of his identity, presented the severed head of Shaggydog.
Grey Wind (deceased)
Grey Wind was adopted by Robb Stark. Grey Wind accompanied Robb’s army on their march south, and was feared as much in battle as Robb Stark was. Grey Wind was murdered in his cage at the Twins during the Red Wedding.
Lady was adopted by Sansa Stark. When Eddard Stark was named Hand of the King, Lady and Sansa, along with Nymeria and Arya, travelled to Kings Landing. After Nymeria attacked Prince Joffrey, Queen Cersai Baratheon urged King Robert Baratheon to kill Nymeria, but with Nymeria gone, she persuaded him to have Lady killed in her stead. Eddard Stark, bound by loyalty, carried out the execution of Lady himself.
Ghost – Jon Snow
Ghost was adopted by Jon Snow. Ghost followed Jon to the Nights Watch. When Jon was killed Ghost stayed by his owner’s corpse until Jon was brought back from the dead.
Game of Thrones is filled with symbolism, foreshadowing, and resonance. The direwolves are no different. This is why, to the regret of many fans, the direwolves have suffered the same dire fates of their owners. And, that is why they are predictors for the show's bigger plot lines.
Jon Snow Will Rule Westeros - Ghost is an albino direwolf with fur as white as the snow his owner is named for, and eyes as red as the fire magic from which his owner was resurrected. Even the name Ghost implies coming back from the dead, as Jon did. Which feeds into many fan theories about the reborn Jon Snow. Is he fully back or a ghost of himself? Was he able to be resurrected because his warged into Ghost until the Red Witch was able to heal his mortal wounds? And with a name like Snow, is he destined to be, not only King of the North, but King of all Westeros now that winter has arrived? After all Ghost was once the runt of the litter and grew to be the most powerful of the direwolves, why not the same fate for Jon Snow?
Winter Is Here - Summer was killed by wights while Bran escaped the Cave of the Three-Eyed Raven. This was highly symbolic of the threat from the wight walkers: Winter is no longer coming. With the death of Summer, winter arrived. Is this the last we have seen of Summer though? Bran now has untold powers, and was able to warg with Summer telepathically in the past. I, for one, wouldn’t be surprised to see Bran warg into Summer physically, or any of the Starks for that matter.
Before any winter, come the grey windy days of fall. Likewise, before the long winter of Westeros arrived, Grey Wind ruled the day. Before entering the Twins, Robb was warned. He ignored those warnings and his arrogance got him killed. When Robb died, you knew he was weaponless and helpless, and you couldn’t help but think that, even if surrounded, had he had weapons, there would have been a different outcome. The same fate for Grey Wind, helpless and caged, you knew that if he had gotten out of the cage there would have been a different outcome, but in the end direwolf and master met the same fate.
Arya Will Lead An Army...Of Direwolves - Nymeria has not been seen since run off, but in the books Nymeria learns to fear no man, and becomes leader of a pack. Not a far different tale from Arya who has disappeared from the rest of the Starks, and is quickly learning to fear no man. Will she too become leader of a pack? We may see Nymeria's return sooner than most expect.
Sansa's Days Are Numbered - Lady was the first direwolf to go. But, may be the most significant foreshadowing of them all. Sansa, always raised to be a lady, often scoffed at Arya and her unladylike behavior. In the end, Lady was sacrificed in lieu of Nymeria. In the coming seasons as Sansa and Arya’s story unfolds will we see Sansa sacrifice herself for Arya?
Rickon Loses His Head...Or Worse - Shaggydog is the most puzzling death so far. Largely, because we did not see it, or any of the events that led up to it. This has fueled fan speculation that Shaggydog isn’t really dead. It would be easy to speculate that Rickon will be beheaded, but the foreshadowing has always been deeper than something so simple. Considering the complexity of the relationships between the other Starks and their direwolves, you cannot help but think that storyline is not yet finished.
Having gone through all their storylines, I can understand why each direwolf has suffered their fates. Understanding that, I still wish Summer could have ripped a dozen wights limb from limb before being overwhelmed.