A Dance with Dragons-Prologue

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A Dance with Dragons chapter
POV Varamyr Sixskins
Place Beyond the Wall, in the haunted forest
Page 3 UK HC (Other versions)
Chapter chronology (All)
Appendix  ← Prologue →  Tyrion I

The skinchanger Varamyr, who has been injured during his flight from the battle beneath the Wall, is plotting to take over another body as he is dying.


The chapter begins from the perspective of a skinchanger in the body of a wolf. The warg leads a small pack on a hunt. They hunt free folk fugitives and kill them.

After the kill the warg returns to his human body. He is Varamyr Sixskins and is seriously wounded. Like other free folk, he had fled after their defeat at Castle Black. Varamyr burned when his eagle was killed and he lost his cloaks and rings. After he robbed a dead woman of her cloak, her son stabbed him. His companion, Thistle, has sewn the wound together but it is too serious and Varamyr knows he is dying.

He thinks back over his youth when he was still called Lump. As a youth he had slipped into one of his father's dogs. The dogs killed Bump, his little brother, and Varamyr remembers his brother looking at him and knowing. Because his father did not know which dog had killed Bump, he killed them all. When the last dog was killed, Lump - who was in him - screamed, which made his father understand his son's ability. His parents then brought Lump to Haggon, another skinchanger. Haggon raised Lump and taught him about skinchangers, although Lump did not adopt his morals, particularly regarding what Haggon describes as abominations: eating the flesh of man while inside an animal, mating with a beast while inside one, and seizing the body of a human. When Haggon died, Varamyr drove him out of his wolf Greyskin to claim the wolf for himself.

Later Varamyr adopted more animals and became Varamyr Sixskins. He established himself as a kind of lord, taking tribute in food and using his animals to bring him women from nearby villages.

Varamyr wakes up from his memories when Thistle returns. As he knows that his body is dying, he turns on his companion to take over her body. She struggles and eventually manages to escape his control. As he dies, he half regrets trying to take over Thistle's body, but also half regrets failing at that. He awakens in the body of one of his wolves. Later his pack discovers Thistle. Frozen blood clings to her - she has become a wight. As her blue eyes stare into his wolf eyes he knows she sees him ...

Character List Appearing

Character List Mentioned

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References and Notes