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Sam escaping with Gilly and newborn baby through the haunted forest. Art by Isabel aka Guad©

Culture Free folk
Born 299 AC[5]
Craster's Keep[5]
Father Craster
Mother Gilly

The wildling infant son of Gilly and her father-husband Craster has not received a given name yet. Some members of the Night's Watch have called him the abomination,[6][4] as he is a product of incest. Val thinks of him as a sweet little monster and the monster, using it as a milk name.[1] Jon Snow then thinks of the infant as Monster.[2]

Appearance and Character

Gilly's baby is older than Dalla's son, but the other is more robust. They are close enough in age and size that no one can easily distinguish which is which, unless they know them well.[7] At first, unlike Dalla's baby, Gilly's hardly ever cries when he wants to be fed, but sometimes gurgles.[8] He does not suck hard, and only takes a little milk.[9] Some months later, the baby is twice as big and three times as loud, screaming whenever he wants to be fed.[3]


The free folk consider that naming a child too early brings bad luck, since infant mortality is widespread. The children receive proper names when they reach the age of two. Gilly follows the same rule.[10][9] Temporary "milk names" can be assigned prior to the official naming. Val chooses the name "monster" for the boy.[1]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

When the Night's Watch stops at Craster's Keep during the great ranging, Gilly encounters and befriends Samwell Tarly. She is pregnant with Craster's child, and fears that if she gives birth to a son, Craster will sacrifice him to the wood as is done to Craster's sons. She beseeches Samwell to help her, and Samwell agrees, sending her to Jon Snow, to the annoyance of the latter. Gilly appeals to Jon, but he refuses to help her.[11]

A Storm of Swords

After the fight at the Fist, as the Night's Watch pauses to regroup at Craster's Keep, Gilly gives birth to a son. Craster is killed before he can sacrifice the child, however, and in the confusion Gilly and two of Craster's other wives approach Sam to convince him to take Gilly and the babe. Shortly thereafter Sam, Gilly, and her newborn son flee south.[5] Sam sings "The Song of the Seven" to sooth the tiny baby at Whitetree.[10] After arriving at Castle Black, Gilly serves as a wet nurse to the newborn son of Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, after his wife, Dalla, dies in childbirth.[9]

A Feast For Crows

Gilly is sent south aboard a ship to Oldtown (via Braavos) with Samwell, Dareon, and Maester Aemon, ostensibly with her child. However, Jon Snow, the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, has swapped Gilly's son with Dalla's. This is done to spare the innocent child from Melisandre's flames on account of his king's blood, leaving Gilly’s son at the Wall.[8][6]

For much of the journey Gilly is overcome with grief at being separated from her child, but after Aemon's death aboard the Cinnamon Wind and becoming a lover to Samwell, she recovers.[12] Upon their arrival at Oldtown, Gilly is to be sent to Samwell's old home at Horn Hill with the story that the baby with her—actually Mance and Dalla's child—is the bastard son of Gilly and Sam.[13]

A Dance with Dragons

Stannis is glad that Gilly is leaving the Wall, considering her child to be an abomination born of incest. Since Stannis believes that the infant remaining at Castle Black—actually Gilly's child—is the son of Mance and Dalla, Jon protects the boy by explaining that the free folk do not have hereditary Kings-Beyond-the-Wall. Melisandre says it is cruel to separate the milk brothers, and Jon lies that Gilly's son is larger and more robust than Dalla's, kicking and pinching the prince and making it difficult for him to nurse.[14]

Jon Snow recalls how he convinced Gilly to secretly take Dalla's baby and leave her own child behind. He has a nightmare that he ripped the babies from her arms and cut their heads off, then swapped the heads and told her to sew them back on.[7] Before she leaves, Gilly makes Jon promise to find her son a good wet nurse so that he grows up big and strong. She insists that Jon not name him until he is two years old, to prevent bad luck.[7][8]

Val sings to Gilly's baby and refers to him as a "little monster". Val thinks Melisandre is aware of Jon having switched the boys, and she advises Jon to keep Monster away from the red priestess.[1] Lords Torghen Flint and Brandon Norrey each bring a wet nurse when they travel to Castle Black for the wedding of Alys Karstark and Sigorn. Monster thrives under their nursing.[2] Val objects to the baby being in the same tower as Princess Shireen Baratheon, a survivor of greyscale.[3] Leathers thinks Toregg has taken a liking to one of Monster's wet nurses, although Jon thinks Tall Toregg prefers Val.[15]


My son. My blood. You think I'd give him to you crows?[5]

Even if Craster gave us the child, he'd be dead before we reached the Wall. We need a newborn babe to care for near as much as we need more snow. Do you have milk to feed him in those big teats of yours? Or did you mean to take the mother too?[5]

Jon: Craster married all his daughters. Gilly's boy was the fruit of their union.
Stannis: Her own father got this child on her? We are well rid of her, then. I will not suffer such abominations here. This is not King's Landing.[14]

A mother can't leave her son, or else she's cursed forever. Not a son. We saved him, Sam and me. Please. Please, m'lord. We saved him from the cold.[7]

Val: How fares the little monster?
Jon: Twice as big as when you left us, and thrice as loud. When he wants the teat, you can hear him wail in Eastwatch.[3]

Val and Jon Snow


Man of the
Night's Watch
Free folk
14 other
6 sons