The Great Ranging
From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
The Great Ranging is an expedition organised by the 997th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Jeor Mormont, which took place in the year 299AL. Lord Commander Mormont led three hundred sworn brothers of the Night's Watch north Beyond the Wall. Two hundred men from Castle Black and another hundred from the Shadow Tower. It was the biggest ranging in living memory, near a third of the Night's Watch's strength.
- To discover why the wildlings who lived close to the Wall were leaving their villages
- Learn more about the so called King-Beyond-The-Wall, Mance Rayder
- Find First Ranger Benjen Stark, Ser Waymar Royce and the other rangers who'd recently disappeared
- To discover further information on what caused the corpses of Jafer Flowers and Othor to rise from the dead.
Expedition North and New Discoveries
The expedition passed seven deserted wildling villages, the fourth of which was Whitetree, before arriving at Craster's Keep. The expedition camps for the night at Craster's Keep. There they learn that the villages are empty because Mance is gathering all the Free Folk in the Frostfangs with the intent to strike at the Wall as the wildlings chieftains have done in the past. It is the stated that the most recent invasion was led by Raymun Redbeard.
Lord Commander Mormont decides they will camp at the Fist of the First Men and await Qhorin and the men from the Shadow Tower. Qhorin's party were late after they ran into a wildling scouting party led by Alfyn Crowkiller. They were successful in stopping the wildlings reporting back to Mance, at the cost of four men and a dozen wounded. A prisoner taken in the battle revealed that Mance Rayder was searching for some magic to bring down the Wall.
After Qhorin finally made it to the rendezvous point, it is decided to send three scouting parties into the Frostfangs mountains to discover the size of the host and what Mance is looking for, led by Jarmen Buckwell, Thoren Smallwood, and Qhorin Halfhand himself.
Disaster at the Fist and Retreat
- Main article: Battle of the Fist of the First Men
Shortly after the return of Thoren Smallwood's team, the expedition is attacked at the Fist of the First Men by the White Walkers. After an unsuccessful counterattack, due to being caught unaware and ill-prepared to fight an unfamiliar foe, Lord Commander Mormont rallies about fifty Brothers onto horseback to break out of the Fist in a tactical retreat. It is assumed that the Brothers who were unable to form up with Mormont's retreat were all slaughtered by the wights.
As the horses got more tired and the weather got worse, the Lord Commander organized the injured to be put on the horses and set the able men walking with torches to guard the flanks and rear. Luckily the Wights did not give an effective pursuit, only nibbling at the stragglers. It is during this march south that the Watch rediscovers the effect of Dragonglass on the Others; Samwell Tarly, Small Paul and Grenn are among the stragglers and in self defence, Samwell stabs an Other by mistake causing the entire creature to dissolve.
- Main article: Mutiny at Craster's Keep
Forty four Brothers, twelve of them seriously injured, survived the Others attack and were able to reach Craster's Keep. However, morale was low, food was scarce and although Craster offers them some food but many of the disgruntled members of the group claim Craster is holding out on them, eventually drawing their weapons. Craster tried to fight them but was killed by Dirk. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, who tries to intervene, is killed as well by Ollo Lophand, which leads to a brawl between the mutineers and the loyalists. About a dozen loyalists decide to retreat and manage to return to Castle Black; Samwell Tarly and Gilly also manage to escape.
Nearly a third of the Night's Watch's strength, most of its command and experienced fighting force were lost. With less than thirty Brothers to return to the Wall after the disaster at the Fist of the First Men, the mission was considered a failure. With tens of thousands of wildlings still marching on the Wall, the depleted force must rely on ingenuity and new leadership to survive any further engagements with hostiles beyond the Wall.
- Lord Commander Jeor Mormont.
- Thoren Smallwood, Head of the Rangers.
- Jarmen Buckwell, Head of the Scouts.
- Ser Mallador Locke, Head of the Baggage.
- Ser Ottyn Wythers, Head of the Rearguard.
- Qhorin Halfhand, Head of the Brothers from Shadow Tower.
- Blane, Qhorin's Second-in-Command.
- Squire Dalbridge
- Byam Flint
- Bedwyck known as Giant
- Ollo Lophand
- Brown Bernarr
- Black Bernarr
- Tim Stone
- Ulmer of the Kingswood
- Garth Greyfeather
- Garth of Greenaway
- Garth of Oldtown
- Alan of Rosby
- Ronnel Harclay
- Kedge Whiteye
- Eddison Tollett, Lark, Rolley of Sisterton, Clubfoot Karl, Maslyn, Small Paul, Sawwood, Left Hand Lew, Orphan Oss, Muttering Bill.
References and Notes
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Prologue.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 52, Jon.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Prologue.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 18, Samwell.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 48, Jon.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 46, Samwell.