Horn of Winter

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For theories about the Horn, see Horn of Winter/Theories

The Horn of Winter, also known as the Horn of Joramun, is a legendary horn with magical properties. It was supposedly blown by Joramun, a wildling King-Beyond-the-Wall. When he blew the horn, he "woke the giants from the earth." [1] It is currently claimed that blowing the Horn will destroy the Wall. [2] Mance Rayder claims to have found the Horn of Joramun in a grave beneath a glacier, high up in the Frostfangs. [3]


The horn which Mance Rayder names the Horn of Joramun is eight feet long. It is so wide at the mouth that Jon Snow could put his arm inside up to the elbow. [4] It is black in colour [3] with gold bands that are graven with runes of the First Men. At first Jon thinks the bands are bronze but when he moves closer he realises that the bands are made of gold, old gold, more brown than yellow. [4] It is said to be a thousand years old. [3]

It is not known what the horn is made of. Jon Snow thinks that if it came from an aurochs, it was the biggest aurochs that ever lived. [4]

Recent Events

A Storm of Swords

Mance Rayder initially claimed to have opened fifty graves in search of the Horn but failed to find it. However, when Jon Snow returned to the wildling camp, this time as a brother of the Night's Watch, Mance presented what he said was the Horn, telling Jon of his plans to blow the horn should the wildlings fail to take the Wall. [4]

When Jon asked why they haven’t used the horn, why not just sound it and be done? It is Dalla that answers,

“We free folk know things you kneelers have forgotten. Sometimes the short road is not the safest, Jon Snow. The Horned Lord once said that sorcery is a sword without a hilt. There is no safe way to grasp it.”

Talk in the tent turns to the threat of the Others and Mance remarks that if he sounds the Horn of Winter, the Wall will fall, or so the songs say. Dalla then speaks,

“But once the Wall is fallen, what will stop the Others?” [4]

Mance planned to offer the Horn in exchange for letting his people pass through the Wall. If the Night's Watch refused Tormund Giantsbane was to sound the Horn at dawn three days hence but the arrival of Stannis Baratheon put an end to that plan.

A Dance with Dragons

The supposed Horn is burned by Melisandre when she has "Mance Rayder" (actually a glamoured Rattleshirt) put to death by fire.

When Melisandre sets the Horn of Joramun alight it bursts into flame and goes up with a whoosh as swirling tongues of green and yellow fire leap and crackle all along it length. The men of the Night’s Watch have to fight to still their mounts. A moan comes from the stockade as the free folk see their hope afire. For half a heartbeat the runes graven on the gold bands seem to shimmer in the air. The Queen's Men then heave the Horn into the fire pit where it crashes amongst the logs and leaves and kindling. Within three heartbeats the whole pit is aflame and "Mance Rayder" is dying in agony. [3]

Later, as the free folk are passing through the Wall Tormund mentions to Jon Snow that the destroyed horn was a fake; Mance never found the true Horn. The horn he had shown Jon, had been found in a giant's grave, and had been a thousand years old. Due to the large size of the horn, Tormund guesses, Mance had gotten the idea to claim to Jon it was Joramun's horn instead.[5]}}


We never found the Horn of Winter. We opened half a hundred graves and let all those shades loose in the world, and never fond the Horn of Joramun to bring this cold thing down![2]
- Ygritte

The Horn of Joramun? No. Call it the Horn of Darkness. If the Wall falls, night falls as well, the long night that never ends. It must not happen, will not happen![3]

Would that I had the Horn of Joramun. I'd give it a nice toot and we’d climb through the rubble.[5]
Tormund, to Jon Snow

Had Mance Rayder lied to him, or was Tormund lying now? If Mance’s horn was just a feint, where is the true horn?[5]
- Jon Snow’s thoughts

References and Notes

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