A Game of Thrones-Chapter 26
From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
|A Game of Thrones chapter|
|Page||218 (US bantam HC) US HC (Other versions)|
|Chapter chronology (All)|
Samwell Tarly appears in the yard while Jon is training the other recruits. When Ser Alliser orders Sam beaten after he yields, Jon and his friends aid the new recruit. Later Jon talks with Sam and, afterwards, convinces the other recruits to go easy on Sam, despite Thorne’s commands.
Jon is helping the other recruits with their swordsmanship when Samwell Tarly, the fattest boy he has ever seen, enters the yard. Sam nervously says he has been told to come there for training and is immediately ridiculed by Ser Alliser, who says they are now sending pigs to man the wall. Although Sam has brought his own armor, none of it is black so he has to be reequipped, which requires some ingenuity by the armourer.
When Sam returns, Ser Alliser sends Halder, a very strong boy, against him. It takes only a minute before Sam is on the ground with a broken helm, screaming that he yields. Thorne tells Halder to hit Sam with the side of the blade until he gets up. The initial hit is not hard enough, and Thorne insists that Halder can hit harder, and the next blow splits leather. Jon’s objections are initially stopped by Pyp, but Jon shakes him off, and states there is no honor in beating a beaten foe.
Jon helps Sam up, which Ser Alliser mocks as “defending his lady love.” Thorne sends Halder and two other boys to get past Jon to beat Sam. Jon braces himself for a hard fight; Ser Alliser has sent two boys against him before, but never three. To Jon’s surprise Grenn and Pyp come to his aid. The boys going against Jon delay, and Jon attacks. Jon soon takes out Halder, but not before taking a damaging blow to his shoulder, and then goes to Pyp’s aid to take out his foe, and the last boy yields. Ser Alliser leaves in a fury.
Halder wrenches off his helmet and throws it across the yard and tells Jon he thought he had him. Jon admits that he almost did, and when Jon attempts to remove his helmet, his shoulder is painful. Sam, his head bloody where his helmet had been split, comes over and helps Jon remove the helmet gently. Sam introduces himself and Jon introduces himself and Grenn and Pyp; Sam thanks them. When asked why he did not fight back, Sam states that couldn’t because he is a coward. Jon and his friends are speechless—who would admit that he was coward? Seeing the response of Jon and his friends, Sam apologizes to them, stating he does not like being a coward. As Sam leaves for the armory, Jon tells him tomorrow he will do better, but Sam insists that he will not.
After Sam leaves, Grenn states nobody likes cowards, and is worried what others would think if they are associated with a coward. Pyp’s response is that if Grenn met a bear in the woods, he would be too stupid to run away. Grenn insists he would run faster than Pyp, then attacks Pyp when he realizes the trick.
For the recruits, mornings are for swordplay and afternoons for other work, which is varied so that the Watch can measure a recruit’s skills. That afternoon Jon is to spread gravel on top of the wall by himself. This gives him a chance to contemplate Sam. He thinks about Tyrion’s statement about men denying a hard truth and Sam’s admission that he is a coward.
When he enters the common hall where dinner is almost done, Jon passes his friends and joins Sam, who is sitting by himself. After some conversation, Jon asks Sam to join him outside to talk. Sam admits that he did not think the Night’s Watch would be like this; all the buildings are falling down, and it is so cold, and he hates being cold.
Jon leads Sam to the Wall, and when Sam sees the wall, he asks if they need to climb that. Jon replies that there is a wench. Sam states he does not like heights and starts to cry. Ghost licks Sam’s face, which makes him laugh. They start talking and eventually Jon starts talking about Winterfell. Jon reveals a dream he’s been having, of returning to Winterfell to find it completely empty. As he is telling about the dream, he thinks about how several rangings have been made to find Benjen Stark, but his trail just ended. He continues about dream, telling how he has descended the stairs to the crypt, and it is then that he wakes up. Jon asks if Sam dreams of Horn Hill. Sam states that he does not, and that he hated it there. After a long while Sam tells of his father, Lord Randyll Tarly, who sent Sam to the Wall. Lord Tarly was disgusted that his eldest son was so plump, soft, and awkward, interested in music, books and dancing, wearing soft velvets. He became ill at the sight of blood. Many masters-of-arms came to Horn Hill to make him into the type of man his father wanted. Finally a second son, Dickon, was born and the Lord Tarly spent his time on his second son. On his 15th nameday, Sam says, he was escorted to his father in a wood. His father told him that he would not let Sam become the lord of Horn Hill and that Sam was to join the Night’s Watch or his father would arrange an accident. Jon tells Sam about some of the other recruits, and Sam eventually states he should get some sleep, and plods off.
Jon returns to the common room. His friends explain that they did not shun Sam; there were places on the bench but Sam was such a craven that he just passed them by. Jon persuades them all to not beat Sam, whatever Ser Alliser says. Rast, however, says that if Thorne sends him against “Lady Piggy”, he will cut him off a ration of bacon, laughing. In the night, Jon—with Ghost and two others—visits Rast in his cell. With Ghost’s mouth around Rast's throat, Jon tells Rast that they know where he sleeps. After that, no matter what Ser Alliser does, he cannot get any of the recruits to do anything but tap Sam when they are put up against him. Sam later thanks Jon and calls him his first friend, Jon responding that they are not friends but brothers.
Jon now realizes that Robb, Bran and Rickon are his father’s sons, but that he has never been one of them and that his true brothers are the outcasts of the Night’s Watch. He realizes his uncle was right, and wonders if he will ever see Benjen again to tell him.
References and Notes
- The synopsis was copied from AOL member vbkorik27 previously at .