Tower of the Hand

Icon AGOT Prologue

Book 1, Chapter 1.
Three rangers in the Night's Watch track a group of wildling raiders beyond the Wall.
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Gared attempts to convince his commander, Ser Waymar Royce, to turn back, as the wildlings are all dead according to Will. Ser Waymar mocks him for his unease, but Will notices that Gared is afraid despite having been in the Night's Watch for forty years. Will is uneasy also. He has spent four years in the Watch and been on at least a hundred rangings, but this is the first time the haunted forest has ever terrified him. They have been traveling north for nine days pursuing wildling raiders, and every day has been colder and worse than the day before. Ser Waymar refuses to turn back, however. The youngest son of an ancient house with too many heirs, he is young and has only been in the Watch for half a year. Gared insists that they have done all that Mormont ordered and that they could already have a two week ride ahead of them if it snows. Waymar asks Will to repeat what he saw again. Will had been a poacher before joining the Watch, until Mallister freeriders had caught him and given him the choice of losing a hand or going to the Wall. He is the best in the Watch at moving through the woods unseen. He reports that the wildling camp is two miles away and that he spied eight men and women there. None of them moved an inch the entire time he surveyed the camp, including a spotter up in the trees. Gared says they must have been killed by the cold and that he had seen a man freeze during the last winter and also during the one before that when he was a boy.1 Ser Waymar points out that it has not been cold enough for a man to freeze and orders Will to take him to the camp.

They ride into the night, before dismounting at Will's suggestion to go the rest of the way. Gared becomes uneasy once again, but Waymar only mocks him and tells him to watch the horses while he and Will continue on foot. Gared wants a fire, but Waymar refuses so as not to draw enemies. Gared claims it will keep away some enemies such as bears, direwolves, and "other things,"2 but Waymar is firm. As they reach the campsite, Will is shocked to see that the bodies are gone. Waymar refuses to go back to Castle Black from his first ranging a failure, and so he orders Will to climb a tree and look for any sign of the wildlings. As he climbs, Will hears Ser Waymar issue an uncertain challenge. The Others, however, make no sound as they glide through the forest towards Ser Waymar. Will sees them briefly, but assumes it was a mirage. Waymar calls out to Will and asks why it is so cold, and Will realizes that it is now freezing. An Other comes out of the shadows to challenge Waymar. As Will watches, five more emerge silently to surround Waymar, but the knight does not see them. The newcomers watch as Waymar and the first Other fight. After a series of blows, the Other wounds Waymar in the side. Finding a last ounce of strength, Waymar shouts "For Robert!" and lunges forward, but when his sword meets the Other's blade, it shatters. Waymar falls to his knees screaming and holding his face, and the Others all move in and butcher him. Will stays in the tree a long while after the Others depart before gathering the courage to come down. He decides to take the twisted, broken sword as proof of what happened and hopes that if Gared does not know what to make of things, then Mormont or Maester Aemon will. As Will stands, he sees Ser Waymar standing over him, his one good eye now sporting a burning blue pupil.3 Waymar grabs Will's throat and chokes him to death. His grip is icy cold.


  • POV: Will,   1st in AGOT, 1st overall
  1. Appearing: Gared, Waymar Royce, Will

Active Characters

  1. Gared - Gared has lost both ears, three toes, and the little finger of his left hand to frostbite. He is over fifty years old.
  2. Waymar Royce - Ser Waymar is grey-eyed, graceful, and slender. He is eighteen.
  3. Will - Will is originally from the area near Seagard as he was caught poaching by Mallister freeriders.


  1. Others - The Others are tall and gaunt with pale flesh and deep blue eyes. Their armor appears to change color as they move, and their weapons seem to be made of shimmering crystal, but can shatter steel.


Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.
  • 1 - In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, the seasons last for years at a time. The cause of this phenomenon is not known, but is assumed not to be natural.
  • 2 - A reference to wights, presumably, which can be killed through immolation.
  • 3 - Ser Waymar has become a wight.


1.  Prologue 26.  Eddard V 51.  Arya IV
2.  Bran I 27.  Jon IV 52.  Sansa IV
3.  Catelyn I 28.  Eddard VI 53.  Jon VII
4.  Daenerys I 29.  Catelyn V 54.  Bran VI
5.  Eddard I 30.  Sansa II 55.  Daenerys VI
6.  Jon I 31.  Eddard VII 56.  Catelyn VIII
7.  Catelyn II 32.  Tyrion IV 57.  Tyrion VII
8.  Arya I 33.  Arya III 58.  Sansa V
9.  Bran II 34.  Eddard VIII 59.  Eddard XV
10.  Tyrion I 35.  Catelyn VI 60.  Catelyn IX
11.  Jon II 36.  Eddard IX 61.  Jon VIII
12.  Daenerys II 37.  Daenerys IV 62.  Daenerys VII
13.  Eddard II 38.  Bran V 63.  Tyrion VIII
14.  Tyrion II 39.  Tyrion V 64.  Catelyn X
15.  Catelyn III 40.  Eddard X 65.  Daenerys VIII
16.  Sansa I 41.  Catelyn VII 66.  Arya V
17.  Eddard III 42.  Jon V 67.  Bran VII
18.  Bran III 43.  Tyrion VI 68.  Sansa VI
19.  Catelyn IV 44.  Eddard XI 69.  Daenerys IX
20.  Jon III 45.  Sansa III 70.  Tyrion IX
21.  Eddard IV 46.  Eddard XII 71.  Jon IX
22.  Tyrion III 47.  Daenerys V 72.  Catelyn XI
23.  Arya II 48.  Eddard XIII 73.  Daenerys X
24.  Daenerys III 49.  Jon VI
25.  Bran IV 50.  Eddard XIV