Tower of the Hand

Book 1, Chapter 27.
Samwell Tarly, a coward forced to join the Night's Watch by his father, arrives at the Wall. Jon convinces the trainees to help Sam avoid mistreatment at the hands of Ser Alliser Thorne.
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Jon is instructing Dareon and Pyp when a new recruit, Samwell Tarly, enters the practice yard. He is immensely fat and very nervous. Ser Alliser immediately mocks him as Ser Piggy. After he is outfitted, Ser Alliser orders Halder to test him. He is felled quickly, but Ser Alliser orders Halder to press the attack again. Jon tells Halder to stop, which infuriates Ser Alliser. He tells two other recruits, Rast and Albett, nicknamed Rat and Pimple respectively, to join Halder in attacking Jon and Sam. Pyp and Grenn immediately come to Jon's aid. After the battle, Sam thanks them. When they ask why he did not fight back, he tells them he is a coward, which shocks the boys. Sam walks away forlorn, and Jon goes to put up his armor.

Life for the trainees at Castle Black revolves around training in the morning and work in the afternoon. The trainees are set to a variety of tasks to discover their strengths. These activities include hunting for game, working at the forge with Donal Noye, running messages, standing guard, mucking out stables, fletching arrows, assisting Maester Aemon with the ravens, and aiding Bowen Marsh with his accounting. That day, Jon is tasked with spreading crushed gravel over the top of the Wall to make it less slippery, and he thinks of Sam as he works and how it takes a certain kind of courage to admit cowardice. At dinner, Jon and the others listen to Pyp, who had been an actor, tell a story, but Jon takes his leave to join Sam, who is sitting alone. They go outside and talk. Ghost joins them, and Sam is frightened initially, but the wolf seems to like him. Jon tells Sam the story of how he found the direwolves in the snow and soon begins talking about Winterfell, revealing he is having a recurring dream in which he wanders the halls of the castle looking for Eddard or Robb or Arya or Benjen. Ben is still missing. Lord Commander Mormont is still searching for him, with Ser Jaremy leading two sweeps and Qhorin Halfhand searching from the Shadow Tower, but they have found no trace of Ben, only the blazes in the trees he left to mark his way, which suddenly vanish in the highlands of the northwest.

Jon wonders why a self-proclaimed coward would join the Watch, and Sam explains how his father, Lord Randyll, was always disappointed in him as an heir, because he is fond of dancing and reading and not fond of martial pursuits, and that after another son, Dickon, was finally born after Sam was followed by three girls, Randyll gave Sam the choice of joining the Night's Watch or dying in an accident. Jon tells Sam they should return to the hall and listen to Dareon sing. He was an apprentice singer until he was discovered in bed with the daughter of Lord Mathis Rowan of Goldengrove, who Dareon claims consented but named it rape when her father found out. Sam declines and goes to get some sleep, so Jon returns alone and joins Pyp, Toad, Halder, Grenn, Jeren, Dareon, Rast, and Albett and tells them not to hurt Sam during practice. All agree except Rast, so Jon goes to his room that night with Grenn, Pyp, and Ghost and frightens him into agreeing. After several days, Sam works up the courage to join them and interact with them. When he comes to thank Jon and call him friend, Jon says they are not friends, but brothers.


Active Characters

  1. Halder - He was sixteen. Tall and muscular.
  2. Samwell Tarly - He is fifteen.


  1. Heartsbane - Heartsbane is made of Valyrian steel and has been in the Tarly family for nearly five hundred years.


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