Yoren

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Yoren
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Yoren.jpg
Yoren by Amok©

Allegiance Night's Watch
Culture Westeros
Died In 299AC, at Gods Eye
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (Appears)
A Clash of Kings (Appears)
A Storm of Swords (Mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)

Played by Francis Magee
TV series Season 1 | Season 2

Yoren is a sworn brother of the Night's Watch. A recruiter, or "wandering crow," he travels the Seven Kingdoms, and is responsible for collecting recruits and prisoners who would take the black. He then escorts them to Castle Black for training.[1] In the television adaptation Game of Thrones he is portrayed by Francis Magee.

Contents

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Yoren

Yoren is stooped and sinister with a twisted shoulder. His coarse and ugly features are hidden behind a thick and matted black beard. He is lice-ridden and smells foul, wearing garments that are tattered and have long since faded to grey.[1][2]

Yoren is hard and grim, and he has little patience for fools.[2] He is not the most refined person but is loyal and trustworthy.[3] Yoren's manners are brusque and he does not mince his words. However, he believes in the rules of the Night's Watch and laments the fact that the order is not treated with the same respect it used to be. He frequently chews sourleaf and has the habit of spitting the juice out if he wants to express contempt about something.

History

Yoren suffered a shoulder injury that made it impossible for him to fight well any longer. Thus he spent the past thirty years traveling the Seven Kingdoms and recruiting for the Night's watch. In all that time, he only lost three recruits. His travels frequently bring him to Winterfell, thus he knows the members of House Stark and has a certain loyalty to them.[3]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

At a wooden holdfast at the edge of the wolfswood, Yoren joins the party led by Benjen Stark that is heading north to the Wall, with Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow also coming along. He is bringing two young rapists from the Fingers as recruits for the Night's Watch. Yoren's ragged appearance as well as his charges serve as a rude awakening to Jon, who might have thought that the Watch just consisted of noble men like his uncle Benjen.[1]

Yoren is heading south again just as Tyrion is also leaving the Wall. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont insists that Tyrion takes along other black brothers as escorts down to Winterfell, as Yoren is only one man and the kingsroad can be dangerous far north.[1] Yoren arrives at Winterfell in the company of four black brothers and Tyrion, the latter receiving a cold welcome from Robb Stark. Yoren is present when Tyrion hands over his plans for building a saddle that can carry the crippled Bran Stark. As Yoren is senior among the Night's Watch men, he is seated with Robb and Maester Luwin for dinner that night. Asked about Jon Snow, he just shrugs, calling him "Ser Alliser's bane". When the name of Benjen is raised, Yoren delivers the dire news of his disappearance, pointing out that he is likely dead, angering Bran. However, he is not impressed when Bran, raising his voice, insists that Benjen isn't dead: "Whatever you say, m'lord." He points out that even good man have gone into the woods beyond the Wall and never came back.[4]

After Catelyn Stark arrests Tyrion at the crossroads, Yoren continues on to King's Landing to inform Lord Eddard Stark about what happened.[5]

Yoren remains in the city to gather more recruits. At some point, Yoren is approached by a man who gives him some gold to take a boy (later revealed as Gendry) with him to the Wall, and after Eddard's imprisonment Yoren is told to be ready to take Eddard to the Wall.[6] Yoren is present at the Great Sept of Baelor where Eddard confesses and is executed instead of being banished to the Wall. Yoren recognizes Arya Stark amidst the crowd and seizes her after her father’s execution, calling her "boy" and dragging her away.[7]

Yoren gives the command to leave for the Wall.

A Clash of Kings

After seizing Arya, Yoren drags her into an alley near the Great Sept of Baelor and draws a dagger, causing Arya to believe he wants to kill her. However, he only uses the dagger to cut her hair to a stubble. He tells her that he will take her along with his band of recruits headed for the Wall and is going to drop her off at Winterfell. She will pass as an orphan boy called Arry along the way. He instructs her to keep to herself, avoiding contact with the others in the group, most of whom are dangerous. He continues addressing her as "boy", always putting a bite in the word's pronunciation to remind her how important it is to keep up the disguise.[6]

Yoren's band consists of approximately thirty people. Many of them are orphan boys (including Gendry, Hot Pie, Lommy Greenhands and Tarber), the youngest of them just two years older than Arry. He picked some of them up on the streets of King’s Landing, promising them food and shoes; the rest he selected in the dungeons of the Red Keep, as allowed by Eddard Stark when he was Hand of the King. He also chose some adult criminals (including Koss, Kurz, Gerren and Dobber), the most dangerous of them being Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge and Biter. He found those three in the black cells and intends to keep them chained in a wagon up to the Wall, probably being scared of them himself. There are also a couple of adult recruits (including Praed, Cutjack, Woth, Reysen and Qyle). In addition, he takes along five wagons laden with supplies as well as two coursers and a couple of donkeys for the boys. The band can leave the city unmolested when Yoren calls one of the Lannister guardsmen by name.[6]

While heading north on the kingsroad, Yoren interrupts Arry from mercilessly beating up Hot Pie with a wooden sword, after he made fun of her for some time and tried to grab Needle. Yoren announces that a repeat of such an incidence will have severe consequences for any recruit, and he takes Arya away from the group for punishment, hitting her bare behind hard with a stick three times, but also giving her sourleaves afterwards to ease the sting. He tells her that hurting others will not bring her father back. He shares how Lord Eddard was supposed to join the Night's Watch and that something must have gone wrong, arousing Arya's suspicion that King Joffrey Baratheon is personally responsible for her father's death.[6]

The band is increasingly confronted with the repercussions of war: refugees, many of them armed, fleeing south; freshly dug graves along the roadside; warnings that they are going in the wrong direction, that their provisions will be plundered, that bands are terrorizing the Riverlands. One of the recruits, Praed, dies, making him only the fourth recruit Yoren has lost in thirty years. Yet Yoren remains undisturbed at first, insisting that the Night's Watch takes no part in the wars of the realm and that his band will be safe.[8][3]

At an inn on the kingsroad where Yoren protects Arry from revealing her northern identity in a discussion about wolves, a group of gold cloaks catches up with them. They have a warrant for Gendry, signed by Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, and demand that he be handed over to them. Yoren refuses, pointing out that laws protect members of the Night's Watch. The gold cloaks remain unimpressed and are about to use force, but, with a combination of threats and deceit, Yoren makes them retreat, although they announce they will be back. Yoren gives Arry and Gendry the two coursers, advising them to flee as fast as they can if the gold cloaks reappear.[8]

Avoiding the kingsroad afterwards, the band marches west- and northwards in the direction of the Gods Eye, which Yoren wants to pass along its western shore. Their progress is slowed on the smaller roads because of the wagons and their provisions run out, forcing Yoren to assign tasks of searching food, in particular to Koss and Kurz. The hostility of the fieldhands at Briarwhite, who take them for possible looters, make him increasingly bitter about how disrespectful members of the Night's Watch are treated now. They come across a village that has been burned down and where some people have been killed. Yoren searches the holdfast and takes in two survivors, a woman whose arm has been cut off at the elbow and a girl less than two years old, but the woman dies within a few hours. Talking to Arry afterwards, Yoren admits that he might have made a mistake taking orphans away from the safety of the city or, at least, not going by ship to the Wall this time.[3]

The band arrives at the eastern side of the river running south from the Gods Eye. Having no means to cross the river with their wagons so that they can move along the western side of the God's Eye as intended, Yoren figures that the best way to proceed is to rent a boat in an unnamed town on the southern shore of the lake and to cross it towards Harrentown, going on from there or finding shelter with Lady Shella Whent at Harrenhal (which, unbeknownst to Yoren, is already under Lannister control). However, when they arrive at the town, it is deserted and no boats can be found. Yoren, even more apprehensive about the increasing signs of war, decides to spend the night at the abandoned holdfast of the town while reflecting on how to cross the lake.[9]

During the night, a party led by Ser Amory Lorch, part of the Lannister campaign in the Riverlands, arrives and torches the town. They advance to the holdfast and Lorch commands Yoren, in the name of King Joffrey, to open the gate. After some discussion, in the course of which he again points out that the Night's Watch takes no part in the war, Yoren refuses, prompting Lorch to order his men to storm the holdfast and kill all inside. They open the attack by thrusting a spear in Yoren's direction but kill Woth instead. Yoren organizes the defense of the walls. During the ensuing assault, he kills the man with whom he had the first exchange that night. When he realizes that the attackers have won, he grabs Arry and yells at her, still calling her "boy", that she and Gendry should rescue as many boys as possible, directing her towards a flight tunnel they found earlier. Then he runs off to engage more enemies. This is the last Arry sees of Yoren before she and some others escape through the tunnel.[9]

Arry and Gendry return to the holdfast the next evening, after the departure of Lorch's men, with Arry hoping they'll find Yoren alive. However, everyone has been killed. They find Yoren's body with the skull split by an axe and surrounded by the bodies of four enemies. They bury him on Arry's insistence, leaving the bodies of the others as they have no time to bury them all.[10]

Back in King's Landing, Tyrion Lannister is told by Bronn that a black brother has arrived from the Wall. Tyrion hopes it might be Yoren and is disappointed when he finds out that it is Ser Alliser Thorne instead.[11]

Yoren's killer, Ser Amory, is eventually captured by Roose Bolton when Bolton persuades Vargo Hoat to betray House Lannister and to seize control of the castle. After Harrenhal's fall, Lorch is fed to a bear as entertainment to Bolton, Hoat, and the Brave Companions. Arya Stark is also present to witness Lorch's death and notes with satisfaction that the bear that kills Lorch "is a big black bear, just like Yoren."[12]

Yoren's Recruits

The last recruits that Yoren tried to bring to the Wall with their status and individual fate:

Quotes by Yoren

That's no law, just a sword. Happens I got one, too.[8]
– Yoren, to a gold cloak


I got thirty this time, men and boys all bound for the Wall, and don’t be thinking they’re like that bastard brother o’ yours. Lord Eddard gave me pick o’ the dungeons, and I didn’t find no little lordlings down there. This lot, half o’ them would turn you over to the queen quick as spit for a pardon and maybe a few silvers. The other half’d do the same, only they’d rape you first.[8]
– Yoren, to Arya Stark

References and Notes

External Links

Yoren on the Game of Thrones wiki.
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