A Storm of Swords-Chapter 56
|A Storm of Swords chapter|
|Page||624 UK HC (Other versions)|
|Chapter chronology (All)|
Reaching the Nightfort, Bran recalls all the horror tales he’s heard about this castle, such as the stories of the Rat Cook, Mad Axe, and the Night's King. Before it was abandoned by the Watch some two hundred years before, the Nightfort had once been the greatest castle along the Wall. However, Meera and Jojen Reed are unafraid of the ancient castle. They sleep that night in the kitchens, near a seemingly bottomless well. Deep in the night, Bran is woken by footsteps coming from the well. He awakens Meera, and then takes control of Hodor’s body as he does when he enters Summer.
But it is only Sam and Gilly who emerge from the well, carrying Gilly’s infant son. Gilly asks them if they are the ones Coldhands was sent to find, but Bran has no idea what she is speaking of. Meera asks them how they got past the Wall, and Sam reveals that Coldhands had led them to the Black Gate, which only a brother of the Night’s Watch can open. Sam describes Coldhands as dressed all in black like a sworn brother, but his skin and the cold from his body reminded Sam of a wight. But Coldhands could speak, his eyes did not burn blue, and he and his ravens had saved them from the wights. When the Reeds inquire why Coldhands wasn’t with them, Sam tells them that the Wall was more than just ice and stone, there were ancient spells woven into it, and the Wall would not let Coldhands pass. Jojen tells Sam that Bran is the one Coldhands seeks. Tarly realizes who Bran is, but promises not to tell anyone of Bran’s whereabouts on his honor and his friendship with Jon.
Jojen has Sam bring them to the Black Gate, which is an ancient white weirwood growing beneath the Wall and the Nightfort. The face in the weirwood speaks, and Sam answers by reciting his oath; the weirwood permits them to pass by opening its mouth, and as Bran and the others leave Sam behind, the boy feels a drop of water fall on him, a drop as salty as a tear…
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