Tower of the Hand

Book 1, Chapter 20.
Jon begins his training at Castle Black. Benjen Stark has gone missing on a ranging beyond the Wall.
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Jon fights a training match with Grenn, whom he defeats easily. Jeren and Todder drag Grenn off while Ser Alliser Thorne berates Jon for showing fatigue. Ser Alliser has nothing but scorn and hatred for all of the trainees. Ser Alliser ends the training session, and the trainees all go to the armory. Jon also has scorn for all the trainees for their weaknesses and has made no friends. He feels particularly alone as Benjen is gone too. Three days after arriving, he learned that Ben was leading a ranging of six rangers.1 Jon begged him to go along, but Ben refused. The next morning he watched the group leave. Grenn confronts Jon along with Todder and two other recruits2 over the beating in the yard. Jon gets smart with them and a fight breaks out, which is stopped by the blacksmith, Donal Noye. Donal berates Jon for fighting with his brothers. He reminds Jon he is not the only bastard on the wall; Jeren is the bastard of a septon, while Cotter Pyke, commander of Eastwatch by the Sea, is the son of a tavern wench. Jon refuses to acknowledge the trainees as brothers, and Donal reminds him that the Watch is his new life. Jon reflects bitterly that Donal has no place to talk about giving up life. He had smithed for Stannis Baratheon and only came to the wall as an old cripple after losing his arm at the siege of Storm's End. Jon says the other trainees all hate him because he is better than them, and Donal says it is actually because he is a bully, thrashing the others all over the yard and leaving them no dignity. Jon feels ashamed and guilty of his actions.

Jon leaves and stares at the Wall until Tyrion comes by. Jon has not seen him much since arriving, as he is an honored guest of the Lord Commander and spends his time with the officers. Tyrion is surprised that Ghost is not with Jon, and Jon explains that he must keep the wolf chained during training. They discuss Ben, who is long overdue to return from his ranging. He had set out not long after arriving at Castle Black with six rangers to look for Waymar Royce. Many rangers have failed to return from the Far North of late.3 They go to the mess to eat, but Jon is soon summoned by Ser Alliser to see Lord Commander Jeor Mormont. Lord Commander Mormont gives Jon a letter from Robb stating that Bran has woken up and will live, though crippled. Jon is overjoyed and runs back down to the mess to celebrate with Tyrion. He sees Grenn and apologizes to him and offers to help him improve. Ser Alliser scolds Jon for trying to do his job, and Jon mocks him, causing Ser Alliser to leave in a fury.


Active Characters

  1. Alliser Thorne - He was a compact man of fifty years, spare and hard, with grey in his black hair and eyes like chips of onyx.
  2. Grenn - Ser Alliser has nicknamed him the Aurochs. He is sixteen.
  3. Jeor Mormont - He is old and gruff with a large bald head and a shaggy grey beard. He keeps a pet raven.
  4. Jeren - Jeren is weak as a girl.
  5. Jon Snow - He is now fifteen. Ser Alliser calls him Lord Snow.
  6. Todder - He is short and ugly and has an unpleasant voice, so the trainees call him Toad.


  1. The Night's Watch - The Watch is much smaller than it once was. It has built nineteen castles along the Wall over the years, but now only three are occupied: Castle Black, the Shadow Tower, and Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.


  1. Castle Black - The main Night's Watch fortress. It is near the center of the Wall at the end of the kingsroad, and where the Lord Commander and most of the other high officers reside. It is not really a true castle at all, possessing no walls save the Wall guarding the north. One of its towers is called the King's Tower, and another is called Hardin's Tower. The Lord Commander of the Night's Watch has his quarters in the Commander's Keep. Once, Castle Black had housed five thousand men; now it only houses five hundred and much of it, including Hardin's Tower, has fallen into ruin.
  2. Eastwatch-by-the-Sea - One of the three fortresses of the Night's Watch still in use. It is hard against the sea at the eastern end of the Wall. Its commander is Cotter Pyke.
  3. The Shadow Tower - One of the three fortresses of the Night's Watch still in use. It is hard by the mountains at the western end of the Wall.
  4. The Wall - It is seven hundred feet high and wide enough for a dozen armored men to ride abreast.


Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.
  • 1 - This footnote contains details from a later chapter (AGOT 53). Click to show.
  • 2 - This is Rast and the other rapist (AGOT 14).
  • 3 - Thanks to the Others.


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