Battle of Castle Black

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Battle of Castle Black
Battle of Castle Black by Giliberti.jpg
Conflict Conflict Beyond the Wall
Date 300AL
Place Castle Black
Result Night's Watch / Stannis Baratheon victory
Night's Watch
King Stannis's host
King Mance Rayder
Tormund Giantsbane
Harma Dogshead+
Magnar Styr+
King Stannis Baratheon
Jon Snow
Donal Noye+
Main Host
  • ~20,000 fighters.
  • 100+ Mammoths.

Strike Party south of the Wall

  • 100 Thenns and 20 experienced raiders.
Night's Watch
  • ~40 Night's Watch at Castle Black.
  • Reinforcements from Eastwatch under command of Janos Slynt and Alliser Thorne.
  • Second reinforcements from Eastwatch under the command of Cotter Pyke with Stannis.


  • 1,300-1,500 Knights, Mounted Soldiers, Heavy Horses, Mounted Bowmen, Men-at-Arms.
200 Wildlings and a dozen giants died during the siege. [1] 1,000 wildlings killed and another 1,000 captured during the battle beneath the Wall against Stannis [2]
Mance Rayder (captured)
not significant
Donal Noye+

The Battle of Castle Black is a battle that took place during the War of the Five Kings along the Wall in the North between the wildling masses under the command of King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder and the Night's Watch under the command of blacksmith, Donal Noye.



Mance Rayder, now knowing that the bulk of The Watch's fighting force had been wiped out on the Fist by their mutual enemy, made his way out of the Frostfangs and started his march toward the Wall. Mance formed a plan to divert the remaining fighting men from both Castle Black and the Shadow Tower to the far west so he could send a team to scale the Wall and take the unwalled Castle Black from behind by surprise. With his diversionary force striking hard in the west, Lord Steward Bowen Marsh marshaled his forces and took the bait leaving only the old, the green, and the sickly behind to defend Castle Black.

Strike from the South

As part of Mance Rayder's plan, the Magnar of Thenn Styr, along with his co-commander Jarl, and more than 200 of his Thenn warriors, is sent ahead to scale the Wall and take Castle Black by surprise from the rear. After scaling the wall and circling south-east through the gift, Jon Snow who was assigned to Styr's raiding party, managed to escape and return to the Castle and warn the watch of the on-coming attack from the south. Jon Snow and Donal Noye, Castle Black's blacksmith and now defacto commander, organized the defense around archers in the towers and a line of fighting men on the massive wooden staircase that zigzagged up the south face of the Wall.

The Battle began in the early morning hours as wildling raiders and Thenn warriors stormed Castle Black. After the archers took a heavy toll on the wildling force, the battle was culminated on the stair. Once the majority of the wildling forces had mounted the stair and were pushing back the crumbling defense the Watch sprung a desperate trap. The stair, soaked in oil between the last Night's Watch line of defense and the base of the structure, was set ablaze, destroying the stair and killing Styr and most of his men.[3] While the raiding party had been defeated Mance's main force had yet to be dealt with and the Watch's primary means of transporting men and materials to the top of the Wall had been destroyed.

The Siege

With the news that his advance party had been defeated, and he would have to assault the Wall, Mance assembled his host beyond the tree line. After a small probing attack at night, the first morning's attacks were spearheaded by Giants mounted on mammoths. Only one giant, Mag the Mighty, King of the Giants, managed to breach the massive doors that lead to the tunnel underneath the Wall. Donal Noye and several brothers defended the tunnel system with spears and arrow fire from behind the internal gate and murder-hole system built into the tunnel. While they managed to kill all of the attackers, including Mag, and held the interior portcullis under the Wall, all the defenders were slain, including Noye, whose body was found crushed by Mag, and his sword thrust though the Giant's neck.[4]

With the death of Donal Noye, Jon Snow assumed command of the defense of the Wall at the request of Maester Aemon. Over the next several days, Snow managed to throw back repeated attacks on the Wall by using catapults, archers, flaming arrows, boiling oils and finally frozen barrels of rock and ice used to destroy Mance's armored battering rams.

Ser Alliser Thorne and Lord Janos Slynt, a known sympathizer of House Lannister, enemies of Jon Snow's father, arrived along with reinforcements from Eastwatch. They took Jon Snow into custody with the knowledge, from a captured Rattleshirt who lead a diversion on the eastern side of the Wall, that he had deserted and joined forces with the wildlings. Either not believing him or not caring about his orders from Qhorin Halfhand to do just that, they imprisoned him in the ice cells under the Wall.[5]

Jon was eventually sent out to the Wildling Camp to treat with Mance Rayder, although Thorne and Slynt wanted Jon to assassinate him.

Stannis and Battle Beneath the Wall

© Fantasy Flight Games

Meanwhile, King Stannis Baratheon who landed in Eastwatch-by-the-sea with a host of over 1000 mounted soldiers, accompanied by Cotter Pyke and his rangers, had been traveling along ranger roads beyond the Wall, and arrived taking Mance Rayder's host in the flank as it besieged Castle Black.

Mance's scouts warned him of the approaching rangers and as they emerged from the fringes of the wood, his Wildlings flew to meet them. But the rangers were only scouts, a screen intended to draw in the wildlings, and they scattered back into the trees before wildlings and Harma Dogshead's raiders could slaughter them. At this crucial point, the trumpets blew all around and three columns of heavy horse emerged. One smashed into Harma's raiders, who had no time to regroup and meet them, while the he second drove into the flanks of Tormund's spearmen. The third was shattered by the giants on their mammoths, but the other two were able to close in around them like pincers. On the eastern edge of the camps, archers loosed fire arrows at the tents and camps of the wildlings. [6]

The wildling host broke and ran as more men emerged from the trees. In the ensuing battle, Harma Dogshead was slain and the entire Wildling force was either captured or routed with over a thousand Wildlings killed. Mance was captured and most of his lieutenants were killed or captured, with the exception of Tormund Giantsbane and Varamyr Sixskins.[6]


With King Stannis on the Wall, Mance in irons and the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, along with most of the senior Brothers killed at the Fist or the Gap, the Watch was left in a precarious position of having to not only elect a new Lord Commander but also preserve their political neutrality. After a contested election between Lord Denys Mallister, commander of the Shadow Tower, Cotter Pyke, commander of Eastwatch-by-the-sea and Lord Janos Slynt, Jon Snow's name was placed as a compromise that both Mallister and Pyke could agree upon. The political maneuvers of Samwell Tarly securing Mallister's and Pyke's support (to prevent Janos Slynt, who both agreed would make a bad Lord Commander, from being voted in) and some fortunate election night events resulted in Jon Snow becoming the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.[7]

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at War of the Five Kings. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of War of the Five Kings. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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