Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall (Sam Tarly, The Night’s Watch)

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Key players: Jon Snow, Wildlings, The White Walkers, Night’s Watch, Sam Tarly

SAM TARLY

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Samwell Tarly of Horn Hill is the eldest son of Lord Randyll Tarly and his wife Melessa Floret. Samwell weights 127 kg. He is fond of music, prefers books to weapons and soft fabrics over armor. He is also a craven, afraid of blood and violence. Regardless, he ended up in the Night’s Watch. However, not by his choice.

Lord Randyll, Samwell’s father, who was regarded as one of the finest military commanders in the Seven Kingdoms, did everything in his power to raise his son into what he deemed a proper heir, but Samwell frustrated him at every opportunity, resisting every effort made to change his nature. He was sent to the Arbor as a page, but the Redwyne twins bullied him and Lord Paxter sent him back to Horn Hill. A dozen masters-at-arms failed to toughen him. But it was all in vain because he wept even at the sight of a chicken slaughter. After Lady Tarly brought three girls to life, Samwell’s brother Dickon was born. Dickon showed all of the physical vigor that Samwell lacked, so Randyll’s attention turned to raising his more promising son. When Sam reached maturity, his father bluntly told him that Sam is not worthy of their house, and therefor must join the Night’s Watch and renounce his family name so that he would not stand in the way of his younger brother’s inheritance. If Sam was not to comply, he would be killed in an unfortunate hunting accident on the morrow. Sam chose to take the black.

He joined the Night’s Watch shortly after Jon Snow and was instantly mocked for his size and timid behavior. Ser Alliser Torne, who gave him the nickname “Ser Piggy” joined the mocking further inciting the bullying. Miserable, Sam finds a friend in Jon Snow, with whom he shares his story. Jon being Jon, takes it upon himself to persuade and threaten, if necessary, his fellow recruits to stop their abuse. Upon taking the vows, Jon persuades Maester Aemon to allow Sam to join the Stewards, convincing him that despite his timid nature and uselessness as a soldier, Sam possesses great intelligence and his literacy may end up being of great value to Night’s Watch, something that proves true later on when, for example, they discover the bodies of Othor and Jafer Flowers. Aemon agrees and gives Sam a position at the Castle Black, assisting him.

Sam is one of the Night’s Watch members who participate in the Great Ranging beyond the Wall. He is placed in charge of the ravens as Lord Commander Mormont’s aide. At Craster’s, he befriends Gilly, one of many Craster’s daughter/wives. Gilly is pregnant and fears that if she has a boy, he would be sacrificed to the Others. Samwell, unsure of what to do, turns to Jon for help, but there is nothing that Jon can do. When the Others attack the Watch camp at the Fist of the First Men, Sam manages to send word of the attack to Castle Black and is able to escape with a group of about fifty survivors led by Mormont. However, this is where the story from the series diverged from the book. In the book Sam is carried by Small Paul for much of the journey, which was hard on Sam. During the journey, Small Paul is attacked and killed by the Others. Sma, who was carrying the dragonglass found by Ghost, uses the opportunity to stab the Other, who dies almost instantaneously melting into a puddle. This earned him a nickname “Sam the Slayer”. In the series however, Sam is saved by Ghost in the nick of time.

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After the attack, Sam and Grenn along with the remaining survivors found themselves back at Craster’s Keep, where Gilly gives birth to a son. Shortly thereafter, violence erupts in the keep, with some Night’s Watch men believing that Craster was holding out on the food he provided for the Watch. In the mutiny both Craster and Mormont are killed. Sam flees with Gilly and her newborn son.

They make it as far as the Whitetree village but are then attacked by wights, including a reanimated Small Paul, who attacks Sam first. Sam fights him off and stabs him with the dragonglass dagger, but it proves ineffective. Desperately, Sam strikes him with a piece of charred wood, which catches him on fire, killing him instantly. They run, but are beset by additional wights, and are saved at the last moment by Coldhands. This is how the story goes in the book. As for the series, they also make to the Whitetree village but instead of wights they are attacked by the leader of the Others. Sam stabs him with the dragonglass and he melts into a puddle.

Current location:  the north side of the Wall, somewhere near the Nightfort castle.

THE NIGHT’S WATCH

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The Night’s Watch is one of the oldest orders in the Seven Kingdoms, as it survived the fall of the kingdoms of the First Men, following the Andal Invasion, and the War of the Conquest. It was founded over 8,000 years ago, after the period known as the Long Night. Under cover of an endless night that lasted for a generation, the Others invaded from the Lands of Always Winter, laying waste to much of Westeros, until the Others were finally defeated by the Night’s Watch at the Battle for the Dawn. After having pushed back the threat, the Wall was built by Brandon the Builder in order to protect the Seven Kingdoms, should the Others ever return. During the Age of Heroes it was also recorded by the Night’s Watch that the children of the forest gave the Night’s Watch a hundred obsidian daggers every year. But the attack from Others never came. Instead, the most frequent attacks came from the wildlings. Little by little, the Night’s Watch began to forget that its main mission was not the fight against the wildlings, but against the Others. As the years came and went, the purpose of the Watch became less and less obvious, and its manpower decreased more and more, with most of the Seven Kingdoms neglecting the Wall. Only the North, particularly the Starks, have the memory of the old days, but even they believe the Others are no more than vague figures in stories told by the Old Nan.

Structure

Lord Commander – Lord Commander is the highest rank among the Night’s Watch. Any man can become the Lord Commander. Upon becoming a Lord Commander, the chosen man serves until the day he dies, when a new Lord Commander is elected by the men of the Night’s Watch.  Lord Commander is usually a ranger. But this is not the rule as we have seen on Jon’s example. When he was appointed a steward, his fellow watchmen believed Lord Mormont is grooming him for command. Ultimately though, the position of Lord Commander is filled by an election, so no one, can be guaranteed of becoming one.

Rangers – The rangers are the main fighting force of the Night’s Watch. They are adept to surviving the wilderness and are tasked with scouting and patrolling the Haunted Forest beyond the Wall.

Builders – The builders are responsible for maintaining the Wall, the castles, and the equipment. They provide masons, carpenters, miners, and woodsmen

Stewards – The stewards are responsible for an assortment of critical functions such as hunting, farming, gathering firewood, cooking, making clothing, maintaining weapons as well as trading with the south bringing back the supplies needed for the Night’s Watch.

The Vows

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Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all nights to come.

The Castles

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The Castle Black – The largest castle located at the northern end of Kingsroad held by nearly 600 brothers at the beginning of the series

The Shadow Tower – most western outpost of the Watch

Eastwatch – port town of the Night’s Watch

The Nightfort – The oldest castle of the Night’s Watch. Houses The Black Gate, a secret way through the Wall sealed by a magical ancient door carved from the weirwood tree that opens only for the sworn brothers of the Night’s Watch. Current location of Sam Tarly (on the north side of the Wall), Jon Snow and the wildlings who climbed the Wall (south side of the Wall) and Bran Stark (south side of the Wall)

The Gift

The Gift is a tract of land southward from the Wall that the Night’s Watch received from King Brandon Stark of the North. For years the Watch farmed the Gift, but as their numbers dwindled there were fewer hands to plow the fields, tend the bees and plant the orchards, so the wild reclaimed much of the area. Wishing to restore the Night’s Watch and reward its loyal service in defense of the realm, Queen Alysanne, wife of King Jaehaerys, doubled the extent of the Gift. Towns and villages that were located within the “New Gift” supported the Night’s Watch with their taxes, rendered by goods and labor. In time, the New Gift lost population as people moved south, into the mountains or into the Umber lands east of the Kingsroad to avoid wildling raids, further reducing the support structure for the Night’s Watch and the Wall.

Notable members

Jeor Mormont, Jorah Mormont’s father. He was the 997. Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Deceased.

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Benjen Stark, younger brother of Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell. Missing on the ranger scouting. Presumed dead.

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Bowen Marsh, First Seward of the Night’s Watch. Alive

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Donal Noye, a blacksmith who worked for the House Baratheon. He was also a soldier who fought next to King Robert. He lost his left arm at the Pyke and then joined the Night’s Watch. Alive

– Will probably show up in fourth season

Alliser Thorne, master-at-arms at the Castle Black. After the Sack of King’s Landing he was given the choice by Tywin Lannister: death or The Night’s Watch. Alive

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Maester Aemon. Third son of King Maekar I Targaryen. Aemon Targaryen was the brother of Jaehaerys II, the Mad King’s father, which makes him some kind of a great gradfather to Daenerys Taragryen. He is also the last Targaryen in Westeros. Alive

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Qhorin Halfhand, second-in-command at the Shadow Tower and a respectable ranger. He allowed Jon Snow to kill him so that Jon Snow would be accepted among the wildlings as one of them. Deceased

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Jon Snow, steward and the bastard of Winterfell, Currently living with the wildlings as infiltrator after he had killed Qhorin Halfhand. Alive

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Grenn, recruit with Jon. Assigned to the rangers. Alive

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Pypar, known as Pyp. Recruited with Jon. Assigned to stewards. Alive

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Current location:  scattered, on their way to the Castle Black

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