Tower of the Hand

Book 2, Chapter 52.
Qhorin's scouting party encounters a group of wildling sentries. Jon captures one of them, a woman named Ygritte, but lets her go.
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Qhorin's scouting party, consisting of Jon, Squire Dalbridge, Ebben, Qhorin, and Stonesnake, are navigating the Skirling Pass. Above they see the fire of wildling sentries. Stonesnake and Jon prepare to climb up to take care of them. Jon leaves Ghost behind with the others. After a long and difficult climb, they end up above the wildlings. There are three of them. One is feeding the fire, another is watching the pass, and a third is asleep. Stonesnake and Jon each mark their man and leap into action. They kill their targets as the third wildling stirs.1 Jon loses Longclaw in the fight, so he lunges quickly at the other wildling and realizes she is a woman. Instead of killing her, he forces her to yield and takes her prisoner over Stonesnake's objections. She gives her name as Ygritte. Stonesnake interrogates her some, and when she learns that Jon is a Stark bastard, she tells him Bael the Bard's song of the winter rose. Before becoming King-beyond-the-Wall, Bael was a feared raider. The Stark in Winterfell at the time wanted his head, but could never find him and so called him a craven. In response, Bael brought his harp to Winterfell and he played and sang so beautifully that he was allowed to name his own reward. Bael wanted only the most beautiful winter rose in Winterfell's gardens, which he received. The next morning, the singer and the lord's maiden daughter had vanished, with only the pale blue rose on the maiden's bed. No sign of them was found for almost a year, until one night the maid was back in her room with a babe at her breast. She had fallen in love with Bael and had borne him a son while they hid in the castle's crypts. The song ends there, but the story does not end until thirty years later when Bael as King-beyond-the-Wall led his people south to breach the Wall, but was slain by the young Lord Stark that was his son. The young Stark's mother threw herself from a tower in grief when she saw Bael's head mounted on a spear, and the young lord was soon after flayed by one of his own lords who wore his skin as a cloak.2 The next day the rest of the group meets up with Stonesnake and Jon. When they see Ygritte, they say she must die. Since she yielded to Jon, Qhorin tells him to do what must be done, and he leaves with the others since it will be easier for Jon if they do not watch. Jon lets Ygritte go.


Active Characters

  1. Dalbridge - He gained his nickname, Squire, because he squired for a king in his youth.
  2. Ebben - He is squat, bald, and muscular.
  3. Stonesnake - He is short and wiry with a grey beard. He is near fifty.
  4. Ygritte - She is short and bandy-legged with a round face, small hands, a pug nose, and shaggy bright red hair. Her teeth are crooked. She is nearly twenty.


  1. Wildlings - Wildling women sometimes fight alongside wildling men. Those who choose this occupation are called spearwives.


  1. Skirling Pass - The Skirling Pass is really a series of long, winding passes that go around several peaks and through several valleys.


Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.
  • 1 - This footnote contains details from a later chapter (ACOK 69). Click to show.
  • 2 - This would have been a Bolton since they are fond of doing such things.


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