Tower of the Hand

Book 3, Chapter 65.
The garrison of Castle Black repulses the first wildling attack. Donal is killed and Jon takes command.
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Jon wakes from a disturbing dream, lonely because Ygritte and Ghost are gone. He hears two loud horn blasts signaling wildlings approaching. With the stairs a charred ruin, the winch is the only way up to the Wall now. Jon waits his turn with Satin, Mully, Spare Boot, Kegs, and Hareth, a stablehand who wants to take the black and one of the few citizens of Mole's Town still aiding the Watch in the defense. Zei, a whore who proved adept with a crossbow during the attack by Styr's raiders, and three orphan boys whose father died on the steps during the raid also stayed; everyone else fled back to their hovels or fields. Clydas and Hobb provide refreshment as they wait. When the cage finally arrives, Jon joins Donal at the top of the Wall. They hear a strange noise, which Jon identifies as mammoths. Donal orders their two trebuchets to launch burning pitch at the oncoming attackers to provide illumination. When this is done, they see giants approaching on over a hundred of mammoths. Alyn sounds his horn again and the wildlings answer as the battle is joined.

Pyp shouts that they are at the gate, and Donal tells him and Owen to drop lamp oil through the murder holes while Grenn chucks other debris down on their heads as well. As the battle continues, a slightly drunk Septon Cellador begins singing prayers, but Donal shuts him up. Donal orders the archers to begin firing and chooses four men to go with him to hold the gate below. He leaves Jon in command. The battle rages on and Cellador begins praying again. After awhile Hobb, Clydas, and Owen bring food to keep the men refreshed. One of the trebuchets breaks from the strain of constantly firing. Dawn finally comes, and the men on the Wall behold a gigantic host of wildlings. The night attack was only a probe; the real battle is just beginning. The line is centered by giants on mammoths, and the giants have a huge ram as well. Chariots of bone manned by men from the Frozen Shore anchor the flanks. The men are scared, but Jon gives a rallying speech and they prepare to meet the host. Jon orders the archers to target the ram but wait for his command. As the wildling advance, their formation comes apart. When the ram is in range, Jon gives the order, and he, Satin, Grenn, Owen, Spare Boot, Black Jack Bulwer, Arron, Emrick, and Zei let loose their arrows and quarrels. The ram goes down and the wildlings are thrown into disorder. A mammoth reaches the gate, and Grenn, Pyp, and Kegs toss down burning pots of oil. At that, the wildlings break and withdraw.

Jon's leg is in agony now, and he has Pyp help him off the Wall, leaving a horrified Grenn in charge. Jon decides to inspect the gate, and Pyp brings back Maester Aemon and Clydas with the spare key. They pass through the iron gates and find everyone dead, including Pate and Donal. The giants busted through the outer door, and a single giant, Mag, wrenched the bars off the first iron gate, though Donal killed him. Jon says they must block the gate and that Ser Wynton must take command. Maester Aemon states Wynton will merely smile, nod, and forget any conversation they have. Thirty years ago he came within a dozen votes of being named Lord Commander, and even ten years ago he would have been up for the task, but now he is too feeble. Jon says Aemon himself should lead then, but he says his order gives counsel not commands. He says Jon is the only one who can lead them until the garrison returns.



  1. Castle Black - The gate through the Wall is long, twisting, and narrow. Three iron gates close the inner passage, each locked, chained, and protected by a murder hole. The outer door is made of oak and is nine inches thick.


1.  Prologue 29.  Sansa III 57.  Bran IV
2.  Jaime I 30.  Arya V 58.  Daenerys V
3.  Catelyn I 31.  Jon IV 59.  Tyrion VII
4.  Arya I 32.  Jaime IV 60.  Sansa IV
5.  Tyrion I 33.  Tyrion IV 61.  Tyrion VIII
6.  Davos I 34.  Samwell II 62.  Sansa V
7.  Sansa I 35.  Arya VI 63.  Jaime VII
8.  Jon I 36.  Catelyn IV 64.  Davos VI
9.  Daenerys I 37.  Davos IV 65.  Jon VIII
10.  Bran I 38.  Jaime V 66.  Arya XII
11.  Davos II 39.  Tyrion V 67.  Tyrion IX
12.  Jaime II 40.  Arya VII 68.  Jaime VIII
13.  Tyrion II 41.  Bran III 69.  Sansa VI
14.  Arya II 42.  Jon V 70.  Jon IX
15.  Catelyn II 43.  Daenerys IV 71.  Tyrion X
16.  Jon II 44.  Arya VIII 72.  Daenerys VI
17.  Sansa II 45.  Jaime VI 73.  Jaime IX
18.  Arya III 46.  Catelyn V 74.  Jon X
19.  Samwell I 47.  Samwell III 75.  Arya XIII
20.  Tyrion III 48.  Arya IX 76.  Samwell IV
21.  Catelyn III 49.  Jon VI 77.  Jon XI
22.  Jaime III 50.  Catelyn VI 78.  Tyrion XI
23.  Arya IV 51.  Arya X 79.  Samwell V
24.  Daenerys II 52.  Catelyn VII 80.  Jon XII
25.  Bran II 53.  Arya XI 81.  Sansa VII
26.  Davos III 54.  Tyrion VI 82.  Epilogue
27.  Jon III 55.  Davos V
28.  Daenerys III 56.  Jon VII