Cotter Pyke

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Night's Watch.svg Commander
Cotter Pyke
Night's Watch.svg
Cotter Pyke.jpg
Cotter by Paco Rico Torres © Fantasy Flight Games

Title Commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea
Allegiance Night's Watch
Culture ironborn
Born Iron Islands[1]

Cotter Pyke is a member of the Night's Watch and the commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Cotter Pyke

Cotter has small, close-set eyes and a broken nose. He has a widow's peak and a sparse, rough beard to cover his pox-scarred face. Cotter is not handsome, but he is lean, hard, and wiry.[2]

Cotter wears a studded brigantine and roughspun breeches. He is more comfortable fighting at sea than on land.[2]

Cotter is illiterate, and Maester Harmune must read and write his letters.[2] He is considered rough of speech and bold.[3] Cotter enjoys dicing.[2]

The baseborn Cotter is not impressed by nobles. He thinks of Ser Denys Mallister, commander of the Shadow Tower, as pompous and does not consider him to be a warrior. Denys, meanwhile, considers Cotter to be uncouth and uneducated.[2][2] Samwell Tarly finds Cotter to be more intimidating than Denys.[2]


Cotter is the bastard son of a tavern wench from the Iron Islands.[4] According to Ser Denys Mallister, Cotter has been violent since his childhood.[2] He is a veteran of many battles.[2]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Cotter Pyke, by TheMico ©

Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, assigns Dareon to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea to help Cotter with visiting merchants.[5]

Cotter writes to Jeor that elk herds have been streaming toward the Shivering Sea and Bay of Seals, and that mammoths and large footprints have also been spotted near Eastwatch.[6]

A Storm of Swords

Cotter captures Rattleshirt at the Long Barrow.[7] When Janos Slynt and Ser Alliser Thorne have Jon Snow arrested, Maester Aemon sends a letter to inform Cotter.[7]

When Stannis Baratheon lands his men at Eastwatch, Cotter leads him and his men along hidden paths[8] which allow Stannis to take the wildlings unaware during the battle beneath the Wall.[7]

Cotter attends the choosing for the next Lord Commander to replace Jeor, who was slain in the mutiny at Craster's Keep. He is vocally opposed to King Stannis naming the next lord commander, asking if he is to wipe their arses as well. Cotter is a leading candidate, along with Ser Denys Mallister of the Shadow Tower, collecting one hundred and eighty-seven votes by the time only seven candidates remain in the race.[8]

Because the support between Cotter and Denys is divided, Janos Slynt appears as a potential alternative. Samwell Tarly meets with Cotter in the Shieldhall and with Denys in the Lance. Each commander expresses hatred for their rival, with Cotter claiming he is only a candidate to prevent Denys from winning, but both agree that Janos would be a worse choice. Cotter also disapproves of the candidacies of Othell Yarwyck, First Builder, and Bowen Marsh, Lord Steward. Sam then lies to Cotter and Denys that Stannis plans to name the other as Lord Commander, and he successfully persuades each to support Jon Snow instead.[2]

A Dance with Dragons

Cotter hosts Queen Selyse Florent at Eastwatch,[9] and he informs Jon that Lord Davos Seaworth and Salladhor Saan have sailed for White Harbor.[10] Cotter is aware that Lord Wyman Manderly is building war galleys.[9] Cotter requests reinforcements from Jon, but he dislikes the wildlings sent by Jon to help. Eastwatch galleys spot increasing numbers of wildlings near the shore.[11]

Captaining Talon, Cotter sails from Eastwatch towards Hardhome with eleven ships by the command of Lord Commander Snow.[12] He is to rescue the wildlings brought there by the vision of the woods witch Mother Mole, who saw in her vision that ships would come to take the wildlings south.[13] Eastwatch is commanded by Ser Glendon Hewett in Cotter's absence.[12]

By the time Cotter arrives at Hardhome, he has lost five ships and the wildlings are eating their own dead. The undead are lurking in the woods and in the waters. Cotter sends a raven to Jon Snow, pleading him to send help by land, since the weather was harsh on the seas.[14]

Quotes by Cotter

Understand this, boy. I don't want the bloody job, and never did. I fight best with a deck beneath me, not a horse, and Castle Black is too far from the sea. But I'll be buggered with a red-hot sword before I turn the Night's Watch over to that preening eagle from the Shadow Tower.[2]

—Cotter to Samwell Tarly

Lord Snow, if you muck this up, I'm going to rip your liver out and eat it raw with onions.[15]

—Cotter to Jon Snow

Quotes about Cotter

The commanders at the Shadow Tower and Eastwatch were good men, but very different; Ser Denys courtly and cautious, as chivalrous as he was elderly, Pyke younger, bastard-born, rough-tongued, and bold to a fault. Worse, the two men despised each other. The Old Bear had always kept them far apart, at opposite ends of the Wall.[3]

—thoughts of Jon Snow

Those look like Eastwatch men. Sailors on horses. Cotter Pyke always had more guts than sense.[7]

Samwell, it is not my habit to speak unkindly of my brothers, but let us be frank ... the ironborn are a race of pirates and thieves, and Cotter Pyke was raping and murdering when he was still half a boy.[2]

We are done with Eastwatch. We did not like it there. A queen should be mistress beneath her own roof. We found your Cotter Pyke to be an uncouth and unpleasant man, quarrelsome and niggardly.[16]