From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
Art by InfernalFinn
|Died||In 297 AC, at Haunted Forest|
|Book(s)|| A Game of Thrones (POV)|
A Clash of Kings (Mentioned)
|Played by||Bronson Webb|
|TV series||Game of Thrones|
Will had been a poacher before joining the Night's Watch, hunting in House Mallister's woods. Lord Mallister's freeriders caught him skinning a buck and gave him the choice of taking the black or losing a hand. He chose the former. During his first ranging, he was very scared, remembering old stories he had heard about the lands beyond the Wall. However, when A Game of Thrones begins, he has already been in the Night's Watch for four years and is a veteran of 100 rangings. Will's stealth and hunting experience proved useful for scouting as a ranger.
Shortly before the series starts, Will was sent ranging into the Haunted Forest after a band of wildling raiders by Lord Commander Mormont, together with Ser Waymar Royce and Gared. Mormont gave the command to Ser Waymar, although he was by far the least experienced of the three, whereas Mormont counted Gared and Will among his best men. However, Ser Waymar felt it was his due to have a command because he was a knight, and Mormont accepted because he didn't want to offend Waymar's father.
For nine days, the three followed the wildlings, first going north, then northwest, then north again. The weather kept getting colder. On the ninth day, Will felt increasingly apprehensive, as if something cold and implacable was watching him and he wanted nothing more than hurry back to the Wall. Gared felt pretty much the same. They finally caught up with the wildlings on the ninth day. Will sneaked near their camp to gather information and saw eight people, men and women. However, he wasn't able to see any movements over an extended period of time. He returned to Ser Waymar and Gared, reporting that the wildlings were dead, probably killed by the cold.
A Game of Thrones
Will, Gared and Ser Waymar Royce are near the camp of the wildling raiders they have been following, talking about how to proceed. Gared tries to persuade Ser Waymar to head back to the Wall, but without luck. Ser Waymar points out that it's unlikely that a group of eight adult wildlings would freeze to death at a time when the Wall is weeping. Thus the three men go to search the corpses to discover what killed them. While they are approaching the wildling camp, it turns night and a half-moon rises. Gared says he can feel that something is wrong, but Ser Waymar dismisses the suggestion, mocking the experienced ranger repeatedly.
Ser Waymar orders Gared to remain with the horses while he and Will walk the last part. Gared intends to make a fire, arguing that fire can keep some enemies away. This earns him a sharp rebuke by Ser Waymar who calls him a fool. While moving ahead with Will, Ser Waymar's clothes and his longsword turn out to be a hindrance in the undergrowth. When they are at the wildling camp, they cannot find the bodies. Will climbs a tree to look for them. Both men feel that it's getting markedly colder. Suddenly, Ser Waymar is attacked and killed by the Others. Will stays in the trees until he is sure that the Others have left. When Will goes down, he is attacked and killed by Ser Waymar, who has been turned into a wight.
While Lord Commander Mormont is telling Tyrion Lannister about the conditions on the wall to gain his support, he mentions the ranging on which Will and Ser Waymar went missing. He laments giving the command to someone as inexperienced as Ser Waymar, calling himself a fool about it. He mentions that Gared had been longer at the wall than himself and that he would never have believed the man would turn. However, Lord Eddard Stark has sent him Gared's head. There has been no word on the other two men. Mormont has sent Benjen Stark to search for the men, and now Benjen has also disappeared. There is no one for the commander to send to search for Benjen.
In the TV series adaptation the roles of Gared and Will are swapped. Gared is beheaded by an Other and Will flees south until he is captured and executed as a deserter. Will is played by Bronson Webb.
References and notes