Aemon Steelsong

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Aemon Steelsong
Aemon Steelsong Gilly 01.png
Aemon with Gilly at sea

  • Aemon Battleborn
  • the wildling prince
  • born-in-battle
  • the little prince
Culture Free folk
Born 300 AC
near Castle Black
Father Mance Rayder
Mother Dalla

Aemon Steelsong is the name to be given to the free folk son of Mance Rayder and his wife Dalla when he is two years of age.[1][2][3]

Appearance and Character

The baby has soft brown hair.[4] He is younger than Gilly's son, but is more robust. They are close enough in age and size that no one can easily distinguish which is which, unless they know them well.[5] He cries loudly when he wants to be fed,[6] and sucks harder and more greedily than Gilly's baby.[7]

Recent Events

A Storm of Swords

Dalla, the wife of Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-the-Wall, dies in childbirth during the battle beneath the Wall. Stannis Baratheon's men and the Night's Watchmen call the baby "wildling prince" and "the little prince" on account of his parentage, or "born-in-battle" for the moment of his birth. The infant is fed goats' milk and potions from Maester Aemon, until Gilly arrives at Castle Black and is given him to nurse, alongside her own infant son.[7]

A Feast for Crows

By the design of Lord Commander Jon Snow, to protect the wilding prince from Melisandre (who might be interested in sacrificing him for his king's blood), he is secretly switched with Gilly's babe. The baby is sent with Gilly, Samwell Tarly, and Maester Aemon to Oldtown, while Gilly's babe remains at Castle Black. For much of the journey, Gilly is overcome with grief at being separated from her child,[8][9] but eventually comes to love Dalla's child as much as she loves her own.[4]

Maester Aemon dies during their journey, aboard the Cinnamon Wind. The night before his death, he asks Gilly if he can hold the baby, and though she is afraid the old man will drop the child, she complies. Maester Aemon rocks the babe and hums a song for him, and Dalla's baby touches Aemon's face and pulls on his lip, making him laugh. At Maester Aemon's funeral aboard ship, Gilly suggests that when the baby turns two years old, he should be named Aemon Battleborn or Aemon Steelsong, in honor of the late maester.[1]

The wildling prince has become the darling of all the women in the crew of the Cinnamon Wind, and Gilly trusts them to take care of him. Kojja Mo loves bouncing the baby on her knee and singing to him in the Summer Tongue.[1]

When the Cinnamon Wind arrives at Oldtown, Sam leaves Gilly and the boy aboard the ship while he goes to present the news of his arrival to the Citadel. Before leaving, he tells Gilly that he will arrange for horses and a wagon to take her and the baby to his mother, Melessa Florent, at Horn Hill. Gilly is supposed to tell the Tarlys that the boy is her bastard son with Samwell.[4]

A Dance with Dragons

Jon Snow recalls how he convinced Gilly to secretly take Dalla's baby and leave her own child behind. He has a nightmare that he ripped the babies from her arms and cut their heads off, then swapped the heads and told her to sew them back on.[5]


Man of the
Night's Watch
Free folk


Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the son, so both die kings.[10]

The king can be harsh and unforgiving, aye, but a babe still on the breast? Only a monster would give a living child to the flames.[10]

—thoughts of Jon Snow

Gilly: He never broke no oath, m'lord. He sleeps and cries and sucks, is all; he's never done no harm to no one. Don't let her burn him. Save him, please.
Jon: Only you can do that, Gilly.[5]

Fire is a cruel way to die. Dalla died to give this child life, but you have nourished him, cherished him. You saved your own boy from the ice. Now save hers from the fire.[5]