Difference between revisions of "Alliser Thorne"

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==Quotes==
 
==Quotes==
{{Quote|They will call you men of Night's Watch now, but you are bigger fools than the [[Pypar|Mummer's Monkey]] here if you believe that. You are boys still, green and stinking of summer, and when the winter comes you will die like flies.  {{Ref|aGoT|41}} }} Parting words to recruits who completed their training.
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{{Quote|''"They will call you men of Night's Watch now, but you are bigger fools than the [[Pypar|Mummer's Monkey]] here if you believe that. You are boys still, green and stinking of summer, and when the winter comes you will die like flies".'' {{Ref|aGoT|41}} }} Parting words to recruits who completed their training.
  
{{Quote|This is no jape. I saw it with my own eyes. I tell you, the dead walk. ... The cold winds are rising. The [[Wall]] must be held. {{Ref|aCoK|25}} }} Trying to convince [[Tyrion Lannister]] that [[wights]] exist and are a legitimate threat.
 
  
{{Quote|[[Maester Aemon|Aemon]]'s lived too long, my lord. His wits have gone dark as his eyes. {{Ref|aSoS|73}} }} Attempting to convince [[Janos Slynt]] to pay no attention to Aemon defending Jon Snow.
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{{Quote|''"This is no jape. I saw it with my own eyes. I tell you, the dead walk. ... The cold winds are rising. The [[Wall]] must be held"''. {{Ref|aCoK|25}} }} Trying to convince [[Tyrion Lannister]] that [[wights]] exist and are a legitimate threat.
  
{{Quote|The realm will curse us all for this. Every honest man in Westeros will turn his head and spit at the mention of the Night's Watch. {{Ref|aDwD|10}} }} His reaction in seeing the wildlings cross the gates of [[Castle Black]].
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{{Quote|''"[[Maester Aemon|Aemon]]'s lived too long, my lord. His wits have gone dark as his eyes".'' {{Ref|aSoS|73}} }} Attempting to convince [[Janos Slynt]] to pay no attention to Aemon defending Jon Snow.
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 +
 
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{{Quote|''"The realm will curse us all for this. Every honest man in Westeros will turn his head and spit at the mention of the Night's Watch".'' {{Ref|aDwD|10}} }} His reaction in seeing the wildlings cross the gates of [[Castle Black]].
  
 
==References and Notes==
 
==References and Notes==

Revision as of 22:45, 25 March 2013

Thorne.png
Alliser Thorne
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Alliser Thorne.jpg

Title Ser
Allegiance Night's Watch
Born In c. 248 AL [1] [2] [3] [4], at Crownlands
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (Appears)
A Clash of Kings (Appears)
A Storm of Swords (Appears)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Appears)

Played by Owen Teale
TV series Season 1

Ser Alliser Thorne is a master-at-arms of the Night's Watch at Castle Black.

The tone of his voice and his contempt makes him hated by the Night's Watch's recruits. In the TV series he is played by Owen Teale.

Appearance and character

He is a fifty year old man, heft, dry and hard, with eyes as black as onyx and black hairs ridged with white.[1] Alliser is a slender man. His face is sharp-featured. [2] His build is compact and sinewy. [5] His voice has an edge, sharp as Valyrian steel. [1]

According to Tyrion Lannister, Alliser is a bitter, mean-spirited man. Alliser also overestimates his own worth. [6] Tyrion finds Alliser aptly-named, prickly as a thorn. A hard-eyed and hard-handed man. [2]

History

Alliser was a knight of House Thorne in the Crownlands. He fought on the side of the Targaryens during Robert's Rebellion. During the Sack of King's Landing, he fought bravely to defend the city. With Jaremy Rykker at the battlements beside him. Once the city fell, Tywin Lannister gave its surviving defenders a "splendid choice". They could choose execution or take the black. Tywin stated that those who chose death would have their heads displayed on spikes before evenfall. Alliser and Jaremy took the second option and joined the Night's Watch. [7]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Owen Teale as Alliser Thorne(TV series)

As master-at-arms, Alliser is responsible for training the new recruits of the Night's Watch. He gives mocking nicknames to his recruits, which the boys tend to pick up and use. The first day Jon Snow comes for practice, Alliser finds a nickname for him: Lord Snow. Jon hates the nickname, though everyone soon starts calling him by it. [1] Alliser's latest class of recruits counts almost twenty boys. [1] Alliser has the recruits duel each other in the yard. Jon consistently beats everyone that Alliser sends against him. This gets him no praise or respect from the master-at-arms, Alliser serves nothing but derision. Jon concludes both that Alliser hates him, and that Alliser hates the rest of the recruits even worse. [1]

Alliser spends his nights dicing and drinking with Bowen Marsh and other high officers of the Watch. During his stay in Castle Black, Tyrion Lannister joins the officers in playing dice and drinking. [1]

Jon resents the fact that his uncle Benjen Stark abandoned him to the "less than tender" charge of Alliser. Jon had asked his uncle permission to follow him in a ranging mission into the Haunted Forest. Benjen pointed out that the Stark blood of his nephew would not win him easy favors. In his view, Jon is still a green boy. He will remain a green boy until Alliser proclaims him fit to be a man of the Night's Watch. [1]

One "frosty" morning, Alliser supervises a training duel between Jon Snow and Grenn (nicknamed "Aurochs"). Both boys use swords but Jon seems to have the edge. When Jon disarms his opponent, Alliser proclaims an ending to the duel. Grenn complains that "the bastard" broke his wrist. Alliser replies that Grenn owes his life to the fact that they are using blades with no edge to them. Else "the bastard"'s moves would translate to Grenn being hamstrung, having his empty skull opened, and his sword-hand severed from the wrist. He mocks that Grenn has no future as a ranger, but the Watch can still use him as a stableboy. [1]

Alliser instructs Jeren and Todder (nicknamed "Toad") to help Grenn on his feet. Joking that the "Aurochs" has to make funeral arrangements. He then notices than Jon leans on his sword and takes deep breaths. He reprimands Jon, reminding him that his sword is not to be used as an old man's cane. He asks Jon whether his legs are hurting. When Jon replies negatively, Alliser is not convinced. He approaches Jon and commands Jon to tell him the truth. Jon admits to feeling tired. In response, Alliser calls him weak. The master-at-arms insists there is a difference between "Aurochs" losing the duel, and Jon actually winning it. One of the other boys sniggers at this comment, though Jon stays silent. [1]

Alliser announces an end to their training for the day. Commenting that he can only stomach their ineptitude for so long. He jokes that should the Others come for the Watch, he would like them to have archers. So that this group of recruits can find its purpose as arrow fodder. [1] Following a brief fight with other recruits, Jon has a conversation with Donal Noye. Donal points out that Jon is not the only bastard on the Watch. And some of the bastards here are the sons of whores, not sons of a high lord like Eddard Stark. He offers Cotter Pyke, Commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, as a prominent example. An irate Jon replies that he does not really care about these other bastards, about Donal Noye, about Alliser Thorne, or even about Benjen Stark. [1]

Donal assesses the behavior of Jon to be that of a bully. The others may be older, bigger, and stronger than him. But he feels quite confident that Jon had a previous master-at-arms, an old knight of Winterfell who taught him how to fight against bigger men. Jon admits that he did received such training by Rodrik Cassel. Donal then points out that Jon is the only one of these recruits who actually had a master-at-arms other than Alliser Thorne. They are the sons of farmers, wagonmen, poachers, smiths, miners, and oarsmen. What little they know of fighting they learned in the alleys of Oldtown amd Lannisport. They never even owned a sword at any point in their lives, they could not afford it. Lord Snow's "victories" are the result of facing largely untrained opponents. Jon finally gets why the others resent him. [1]

Jon prepares to have a meal at the Common Hall, when Alliser calls his name. Jon recognizes the voice of Alliser, though he finds a "curious note" in it. Something unfamiliar. Alliser commands Jon to report to Lord Commander Jeor Mormont. Jon asks the master-at-arms whether the long-missing Benjen has safely returned. Alliser is annoyed, and responds that the Lord Commander is not accustomed to waiting. Adding that he himself is not accustomed to having his orders questioned by bastards. [1] Tyrion calls on Alliser to stop intimidating the boy. Increasingly annoyed, Alliser tells Tyrion to keep out of matters that do not actually concern him. He also points that the Lannister has no place among them. Tyrion reminds him that he has a place at court. He threatens to use his connections to arrange the death of a "sour old man" (Alliser). [1]

Tyrion then asks Alliser to explain in public why would Jeor ask to see Jon. He asks whether there are news concerning Benjen. Alliser backs down and explains that there is a message for Jon, a raven message from Winterfell. He clarifies that it concerns a half-brother of Jon Snow. Jon concludes that the message concerns Bran Stark and strides out to see Jeor. Leaving Alliser and Tyrion behind him. [1] The message reports that Bran has recovered from a coma. Though the boy is crippled, Jon is happy that his brother is going to live. He runs to the Common Hall to share the news. While in a good mood, he offers to teach defense moves to Grenn. Alliser overhears his offer and mocks that Lord Snow is after his position as master-at-arms. He sneers that Jon would have an easier time teaching a wolf how to juggle, rather than train Aurochs in using a sword. Jon replies to him in kind, jesting that he will take the wager and would love to see Ghost as a juggler. First Tyrion and then everyone around them starts laughing at his joke. [1]

Alliser resents the implication that Jon is a superior teacher to himself, and resents the laughter around him. His eyes never leave Jon and his face darkens. His sword-hand curls into a fist and he proceeds to threaten Jon. Warning that this confrontation was a grievous error for Lord Snow. In his voice, Jon recognizes the acid tones of an enemy. His disdain for Jon turns into hatred. [1]

While eating at the table of the Lord Commander, Tyrion announces his intentions to leave Castle Black and head south. Jeor finds it a pity that Tyrion is unwilling to join the Watch, since they could use men like him on the Wall. While Jeor speaks of the need for cunning men in their ranks, Tyrion jokingly offers to scour the Seven Kingdoms for dwarfs and ship them to Mormont. The joke causes laughter to every man present, except the humorless Alliser. Tyrion notices that the knight does does not even smiler. Alliser next accuses him of mocking the Watch. Tyrion counters that he is only mocking Alliser himself. The men around them react with nervous laughter, but Alliser stares at Tyrion with loathing in his eyes. [7]

Alliser comments on the bold tongue of Tyrion. Which he finds too bold "for someone who is less than half a man". He then suggests visiting the yard together, an obvious invitation to a duel. Tyrion replies that there is no need as there are crabs right there (on the table). Ser Alliser stands up with his mouth forming a tight line. He challenges Tyrion to make his japes with steel in his hand. He is obviously challenging Tyrion to choose a sword. Instead Tyrion points that he already has steel in his hand, a tiny crab fork made of steel. He mock duels with Alliser, poking the chest of the knight with the fork. Everyone laughs at the scene. Alliser leaves the room in disgust. Tyrion notices him walking stiffly, as if he had something up his butt. He thinks humorously about a knife up said butt. [7]

Proclaiming himself the victor of the duel, Tyrion claims the spoils of his victory: Alliser's share of their meal. While Jeor found the scene amusing, he still scolds Tyrion for provoking Alliser. Tyrion points that if a man paints a target on his chest, he should expect someone to loose an arrow at him. In his view the prickly demeanor of Alliser is such a target. He adds that there are corpses with more of a sense of humor than Alliser. Bowen Marsh objects, citing Alliser's droll nick-names for recruits as evidence of a sense of humor. Tyrion wagers that the recruits have a few names for Alliser as well. He insists that the officers should not blind themselves as to the actual worth of Allliser. A man more fit for mucking out stables than drilling young warriors. [7]

Jeor protests that the Watch has no shortage of stableboys. But knights are relatively rare on the Wall and Alliser is one of them. He cites the defense of King's Landing as evidence of Alliser's courage. Jaremy Rykker takes the opportunity to explain that Alliser was sent to the Wall by Tywin Lannister. Tyrion listens to the story and responds with a morbid joke. Jeor states that Alliser was right about Tyrion mocking them and their purpose. Tyrion replies that mocking is necessary to keep people from taking themselves too seriously. [7]

Later, Jeor and Tyrion have a private conversation. Jeor is worried about his advanced age and the lack of suitable candidates to succeed him. He mentions both Bowen Marsh and Alliser Thorne as inadequate for the position, claiming he is not blind to what they are. He fails, however, to explain to Tyrion their perceived flaws. [7] Following their conversation, Tyrion decides to stand on the top of the Wall for one last time. He has a chance encounter with Jon Snow, who has drawn night watch duty. Jon mentions that the watch commander seems to have taken a special interest in him, as he keeps finding himself serving as a night watchman. Kept awake for half the night. He feels certain that Alliser Thorne "kindly" arranged for said special interest in his person. He presumes that the motive behind this arrangement is to deprive him of sleep and cause him to fall asleep during the morning drills. So far, Jon has managed to keep himself awake for the drills. Trying to frustrate Alliser with his endurance. [7]

Tyrion is curious whether Jon has also managed to frustrate Alliser by teaching his fellow recruits. He makes a joking reference to the wager between Jon and Alliser, asking if Ghost learned to juggle. Jon replies concerning the result of his efforts. Grenn is now able to hold his own when dueling Halder, and Pypar has started improving his grip on his sword. Jon blames Alliser for failing to teach Pypar the proper way to grip a sword. Which explains why Pypar kept dropping his sword in previous drills. [7]

Tyrion Lannister arrives at Winterfell, escorted by members of the Night's Watch. The senior among the latter is Yoren. Robb Stark and Bran Stark want information on the current status of Jon Snow. Yoren identifies Jon as "Ser Alliser's bane", without offering further details. Two other men of the Watch share a laugh at this reference to the adversarial relationshipbetween Alliser and Jon. Bran does not understand what Yoren is talking about, nor why the others are laughing. [8]

Jon Snow continues to teach sword moves to his fellow recruits. He is preoccupied with teaching the delivery of a sidestroke to Dareon, when a new recruit joins them in the practice yard: Samwell Tarly. Alliser takes one look at his new charge and then starts ridiculing him. He mockingly wonders whether the South has run out of poachers and thieves, for now the Southrons resort to sending pigs to man the Wall. He asks Samwell, who he nick-names "Lord of Ham", whether his notion of armor involves fur and velvet. [9] Alliser and the others soon find out that Samwell has brought his own armor from the Reach. But none of his equipment bears the black of the Night's Watch. Alliser refuses to let Samwell practice while wearing the colors and sigil of House Tarly, insisting that the new recruit will have to get new equipment from the armory of Castle Black. It takes Donal Noye hours to prepare armor for the boy. [9]

Samwell looks ridiculous in his new armor. Alliser states his hope, that Samwell may not be as inept as he looks. He sends Halder to duel with Samwell, stating that they will see what "Ser Piggy" can do with a sword. Jon and Pypar realize that Halder was chosen because of the strength of his blows. It takes Halder less than a minute to disarm his opponent, shatter his helm, and draw first blood. Samwell lays on the ground, ready to surrender. But Alliser does not allow him to do so. He instructs Samwell to stand on his feet and pick up his sword. When Samwell refuses to obey, Alliser instructs Halder to hit the unarmed boy with the flat of his blade. Instructing him to keep doing so until Samwell finds his feet. Halder is reluctant to follow this order, and his first "blow" is actually a tentative smack. Alliser mocks him for his reluctance and calls for stronger blows from him. [9]

Jon attempts to intervene, but Pypar grasps his arm and holds him back. Pypar anxiously glances at Alliser, checking whether the master-at-arms noted the stance of his fellow recruit. Alliser is still focused on Halder and Samwell. He again orders Samwell to get back on his feet. Samwell attempts to do so but slips, falling back on the ground. Alliser comments that "Sir Piggy" is starting to grasp the notion of his orders. Yet, instructs Halder to keep hitting his unarmed opponent. Jon instead calls for Halder to stop. A confused Halder stops and turns to Alliser, waiting for further instructions. In a sharp, cold voice Alliser notes that when the Bastard (Jon) speaks, the peasants tremble. He then reminds "Lord Snow" that Alliser is the master-at-arms, not Jon. Jon ignores him and calls to Halder, pointing that Samwell has already yielded. Halder lowers his sword. [9]

Alliser stares at Jon. When Jon helps Samwell to rise from the ground, Alliser mocks Jon. Loudly claiming that the Bastard is in love with the new recruit. He then challenges "Lord Snow" to show his steel. In reply, Jon draws his longsword. In his thoughts, Jon comments about typically defying Alliser only to a certain point. He is aware of currently being well beyond that point. Alliser smiles and keeps taunting him, stating the Bastard wishes to defend "his lady love" (Samwell). He next commands Rast (nicknamed "Rat") and Albett (nicknamed "Pimple") to join Halder in facing the Bastard and making "Lady Piggy" squeal. [9] Jon mentally notes that Alliser often sends multiple opponents against him. But it was always two against one (himself), this is his first three against one fight. [9]

Alliser's plan fails to materialize as Pypar and Grenn volunteer to join Lord Snow, preparing for a three against three fight. Alliser keeps staring at Jon. He realizes that Halder, Rast, and Albett hesitate to go on the offensive. In a deceptively soft voice, he asks the trio what are they waiting for. Hearing him, Jon takes the initiative to attack. All three of the recruits Alliser chose to represent him fail to overcome their opponents. Alliser surveys the scene with disgust. He calls this entire confrontation a "mummers farce" and walks away in a fury. His departure ends the practice training for the day. [9]

At supper, Pypar narrates stories at the common hall. A trained mummer, Pypar uses many different voices for the characters in his stories. Whenever the stories involve eunuchs, their voices are always rendered in an eerily accurate caricature of a familiar voice. That of Alliser Thorne. [9] Following supper and a conversation with Samwell, Jon decides to convince his fellow recruits to stop picking on the fat boy. Some are easily persuaded, others have to be cajoled, shamed or threatened into complying. By the end of the discussion all but one have agreed. The exception is Rast, who says that if Alliser sends him against "Lady Piggy", then he will get himself a rasher of bacon. He openly mocks Jon and his initiative. At night Jon, Grenn, Pypar, and Ghost visit Rast in his cell. The boys immobilize Rast, while the direwolf uses his teeth to draw some blood from Rast's throat. Rast finds the threat sufficiently persuasive to comply with Jon's demands. [9]

The training continues with Alliser increasingly frustrated with the way his recruits ignore his orders concerning Samwell. Whenever he instructs someone to duel against the fat boy, the recruits stand their ground and merely defend themselves from his clumsy strokes. Whenever he screams for them to attack, they simply dance around the boy and lightly tap on his breastplate, helm, or leg. Alliser rages, threatens them, calls them cravens, women, and other names. But he fails to convince any of them to hurt Samwell or even attempt to do so. [9]

Gueren marches up the Kingsroad with five new recruits. At night, Alliser is informed of their imminent arrival. He has to decide whether any of his current charges are ready to become sworn brothers of the Watch, to make room for the new arrivals. [10] The following morning, Alliser waits for all his charges to assemble at the yard. He has an announcement to make to them. He starts by assessing their skills, proclaiming them to be as hopeless as any boys among those who ever trained under him. He claims that their hands were made to handle manure shovels, not swords. If it was up to him to choose their fates, they would be tasked with herding swine. He next informs them of the imminent arrivals, which he hopes will include one or two boys "worth the price of piss". Alliser finally announces his decision to pass eight of the current recruits out of training. He will report their names to Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, who has the right to decide on their further fates. [10]

He calls out the nick-names of the chosen eight: "Toad" (Todder), "Stone Head" (Halder), "Aurochs" (Grenn), "Lover" (Dareon), "Pimple" (Albett), "Monkey" (Pypar), "Ser Loon" (Matthar), and "the Bastard" (Jon Snow). [10] Pypar celebrates his promotion by whooping and thrusting his sword in the air. Alliser fixes him with a "reptile stare". He next warns the chosen eight that people will call them men of the Night's Watch, but they would be fools to believe them. In his view they are not men, but green boys "stinking of summer". When the winter comes, they will die like flies. [10] With these parting words, Alliser leaves the training yard. [10]

While several of the boys and men of the Night's Watch rejoice with the prospect of new sworn brothers, Samwell Tarly seems scared. By nightfall, Jon Snow realizes why Samwell feels this way. He shares his thoughts on the matter with Pypar. Not only has Samwell failed to be promoted out of training, his closest friends and protectors are leaving. He will have to continue to train with the likes of Rast and Cuger. Alliser will also have the chance to send the new recruits against Samwell. Jon is willing to bet that Alliser will do so at the first opportunity. [10] Near midnight, Jon visits Maester Aemon in his apartments. He asks the old man to intervene and have Samwell sworn as a brother of the Night's Watch. Aemon protests that the training of recruits and the time of their promotion are the responsibility of Alliser, not his own. [10]

Jon claims that Samwell is inept at using a sword, and that he himself has a ten-year-old half-sister (Arya Stark) who could tear the fat boy apart in a duel. If Alliser continues to force Samwell to fight, it would be only a matter of time before the boy gets hurt or dies. [10] Chett, who participates in the conversation, suggests letting Samwell train until deemed fit for duty. In his view, it may take Alliser years to make a man out of Samwell. Or Alliser may have Samwell killed. But either result is more acceptable than having a weakling sworn in as a brother. [10] Jon argues that the Watch needs all sorts of people. If Randyll Tarly could not make a warrior out of Samwell, Alliser can't accomplish the task either. He suggests that Samwell could be useful as a steward, though Chett protests that his order has hard tasks to accomplish. [10] Aemon seems unconvinced, until Jon mentions that Samwell can read, write, do sums, research library volumes, and seems to have no problem befriending animals. Aemon agrees to seriously contemplate his arguments. [10]

Samwell Tarly is indeed named as the ninth recruit to have completed his training, taking him out of Alliser's hands. A ceremony for the new brothers takes place in the sept of Castle Black. The high officers of the Watch jointly arrive in the sept. Among them is Alliser, who appears cold-eyed and grim. [11] [12] The Lord Commander announces the assignments of the new brothers to the three orders of the Watch. Jon Snow is assigned to the stewards. He was after a position in the rangers and is shocked to hear the news. He quickly notices Alliser studying his reactions with shining eyes. Jon concludes that Alliser engineered this assignment. When the brief ceremony ends, Jeor is the first officer to step out of the sept. Alliser leaves with him, wearing a thin smile on his face. Jon assesses that the master-at-arms looks quite happy, in fact he can not recall Alliser looking happier in any previous occasion. Jon is further convinced that Alliser kept him out of his chosen order, and that the master-at-arms is delighted with the situation. [11]

Bowen announces that Jon will serve as the personal steward of the Lord Commander. Jon assesses his new duties as those of a servant, offending both Bowen and Aemon. Samwell asks Jon if he fails to see the significance of the appointment. Jon replies that he only sees the "bloody hand" of Alliser, who wanted to shame him. This appointment means that Alliser succeeded in doing so. Dareon, also assigned to the stewards, takes offense with Jon considering their order as inferior to the rangers. Samwell has to explain another rational behind the decision, as the personal steward to the Lord Commander is effectively his shadow. Being able to observe the decision making process first-hand. The appointment was not supposed to shame him, instead Jon is being groomed for a command position. Jeor apparently considers him officer material. [11]

The corpses of Jafer Flowers and Othor are discovered in the Haunted Forest, a half-day's ride from Castle Black. Jeor personally leads a detachment of rangers in examining the bodies. With them are two stewards, Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly. When the group returns to Castle Black, they find Bowen Marsh waiting for them at the gate. Bowen reports that a raven message arrived and requires urgent attention by the Lord Commander. While speaking, the agitated Lord Steward glances at Jon. While leading their horses to the stables, Jon is observed by the eyes of several people. Alliser is preoccupied with drilling his charges at the training yard. But the master-at-arms turns his attention to Jon, staring at his former student with a faint half-smile on his lips. [13] Judging by the reactions of Alliser and the others to his approach, Jon Snow gets the impression that something is very wrong. He soon learns that the message reported news from King's Landing. Notably the death of Robert Baratheon, and the arrest of Eddard Stark who was charged with treason. [13]

At supper several brothers steal glances at Jon Snow, while his friends attempt to comfort him. Then Jon hears laughter, sharp and cruel as a whip. His attention turns to Alliser, who never misses an occasion to provoke the young bastard. The master-at-arms tells the men around him that Jon is not only a bastard, but a traitor's bastard. [13] Jon immediately attacks Alliser, wielding a dagger. He kicks a bowl from Alliser's hand, spattering the people around them with stew. Alliser recoils from his assailant, but fails to place sufficient distance between them. Jon lunges at Alliser's face, aiming his dagger at the cold eyes of the master-at-arms. [13] At this point, Samwell intervenes by throwing himself between Jon and Alliser. Pypar, Grenn, and Todder co-operate to immobilize and disarm Jon, saving the life of Alliser in the process. [13]

Jeor Mormont decides to relieve Alliser of his duties as master-at-arms of Castle Black. He summons Endrew Tarth from the Shadow Tower to serve as a replacement. [14] Alliser leaves Castle Black, heading for Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. He is supposed to board a ship heading for King's Landing. Jeor has tasked him with transporting the severed hand of a wight (Jafer Flowers) to the court of the new king, Joffrey I. Jeor hopes that the hand will be enough to convince Joffrey that the Watch needs reinforcements. [14] Jeor explains that he chose Alliser for the task in part because of his status. Alliser is a highborn man and an anointed knight. He also still has old friends at court. Both details making him harder to ignore than the average member of the Night's Watch, who would be seen as a glorified crow. [14]

Jeor also explains his second reason for sending Alliser away. It would place a distance of 1000 leagues (5556 kilometers/3452,34 miles) between Alliser and Jon Snow. Their mutual hostility and the recent scene at the Common Hall required taking measures to keep these two apart. He was reluctant, however, to allow the re-assignment of Alliser to be seen as a rebuke for the senior officer. [14] Jon feels freed from the malignance of Alliser, feeling grateful for this noble gift from Jeor. [14]

A Clash of Kings

Outside the armory of Castle Black, Endrew Tarth trains a group of raw recruits. He personally duels with a recruit who fancies himself a warrior, while Jon Snow observes them from a distance. Job mentally notes that the lessons of Endrew raise bruises in his charges. But the new master-at-arms is still gentler than Alliser. [15] Jon Snow leads Samwell Tarly to the King's Tower, the current residence of Jeor Mormont. When the two enter, acting First Ranger Thoren Smallwood takes a cool look at them. Jon mentally notes that Thoren used to be a henchman of Alliser, and consequently has no love for either of them. [15]

Jeor Mormont estimates that Alliser should reach King's Landing "by the turn of the moon", though only if the ship transporting him sails on favorable winds. He is uncertain, however, whether Joffrey Baratheon will pay any heed to Alliser and to the message from the Watch. He considers the young king to be a de facto member of House Lannister, and this particular House has never been a friend to the Watch. [15] Jon Snow notes that Alliser transports evidence to an ongoing threat, the severed hand of a wight. A hand twitching and stirring in its jar, as if still alive. Jeor wishes they had a second hand like this. He is sending Arnell to rival king Renly Baratheon, but with no evidence for the urgency of their message. [15]

After a long travel, Ser Alliser Thorne arrives in King's Landing. He asks for an audience in the Red Keep. A steward reports his request to Bronn, taking note that this black brother transports a rotted hand in a jar. Bronn reports the arrival to the current Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister. King's Landing is facing food shortages at the time, and Tyrion jests that he is surprised that nobody has eaten the severed hand. [6] Tyrion initially intends to meet the representative of the Night's Watch right away, suspecting that the man is Yoren. Bronn informs him that the man is actually a knight, called "Thorne". Tyrion asks whether the petitioner is Alliser Thorne, making sure this is not another member of House Thorne or someone with a similar name. Bronn's silence is all the response he receives. Confirming Tyrion's correct identification of the petitioner. [6] Tyrion mentally notes that he had met several black brothers on the Wall, and Alliser was the least likeable among them. He decides to postpone his meeting with the man. He instructs Bronn to find a snug cell for Alliser, preferably one where the rushes haven't been changed for a year. He adds that they can let the severed hand rot for a while longer. Bronn laughs and leaves to carry out the instructions. [6] [16]

Tyrion holds court at the Throne Room of the Red Keep, seated on the Iron Throne. He first handles negotiations with House Stark, using Cleos Frey as an intermediary. A herald then calls for petitioners to present themselves. In response, Alliser pushes his way between the Redwyne twins (Hobber and Horas) and demands to be heard. [2] Tyrion feigns surprise at the presence of Alliser at court, claiming that he was not informed of the matter. Alliser is not convinced, pointing out that he had already send word to the Hand. He vocally complains about being shunned, ignored, and left waiting for quite some time. As if he was a baseborn servant, not a knight. Tyrion again feigns surprise, and (mockingly) chastises Bronn for treating Alliser in this way. Tyrion publicly claims that he and Alliser are old friends, who used to walk the Wall together. [2]

Varys personally addresses "sweet Ser Alliser", asking the knight to not think too harshly of the Small council. He claims that the court is crowded with petitioners seeking the grace of Joffrey, a consequence of their troubled and tumultuous times. Alliser responds that the times are still more troubled than they know, certain that there are troubles which escaped the attention of the Master of Whisperers. While speaking to Varys, Alliser fails to call him by name, simply calling him "eunuch". Petyr Baelish jokingly points that they use the term "Lord Eunuch" for Varys, at least to his face. Alliser does not respond to the joke. Pycelle then gets to the point, asking the "good brother" to name how they could help him. Pycelle seems to have noticed the irritable manner of Alliser, since he uses soothing tones when speaking to him. [2]

Alliser states that Lord Commander Jeor Mormont tasked him with personally petitioning Joffrey, for a matter too grave to be left to "servants". An answer which collectively insults all members of the Small Council. Tyrion replies that the young king is preoccupied, playing with his new crossbow. He does not meet petiotioners. Consequently, Alliser has a choice between speaking to servants and staying silent. Alliser narrates the recent encounter of the Watch with two wights, his voice colored with displeasure. Tyrion can not believe his own ears while listening to this "folly" (nonsense, madness). He first wonders whether Alliser is mocking him. Then suspects that a member of the Council (Varys, Petyr, or Pycelle) arranged the scene to undermine his own dignity at court. He remembers shivering while gazing at the Haunted Forest, feeling a sense of dread coming from Beyond the Wall. He still doubts, however, that there is truth in Alliser's story. [2]

Tyrion asks whether Jeor survived the attack on his person, and Alliser confirms the survival of the "Old Bear". Tyrion asked whether Alliser's brothers manage to kill the "dead men", and Alliser confirms that they did. Tyrion then asks if they are certain that this time the dead men will stay dead. Bronn laughs at this comment, and Alliser snaps. He vocally insists that they were dead the first time, pale and cold. He also mentions bringing proof, the severed hand of Jafer Flowers, torn away by the "bastard's wolf" (Ghost). Petyr asks for the whereabouts of this charming token. Alliser frowns in discomfort, having to explain that during his long wait for an audience the hand kept rotting. There is no flesh left in it, just bones. Bystanders at court giggle because there is nothing left of his so-called evidence. [2]

Tyrion decides to go with the general mood and treat the matter in a snidely manner. He instructs Petyr to provide supplies for "brave Ser Alliser", a hundred spades to take back to the Wall. Alliser narrows his eyes in suspicion and questioningly repeats: "Spades?". Tyrion responds that the spades will solve their problems with the walking dead. If the Watch buries its dead, they would not return to walking. A remark that has the court openly laughing at Alliser and the Watch. Tyrion softens the blow somewhat, promising that there should be strong backs to wield the spates. He instructs Jacelyn Bywater to allow Alliser free pick of the city dungeons. Effectively a permission to claim any available prisoner for the Watch. [2] Jacelyn informs Tyrion that the dungeons are nearly empty. All the prisoners deemed fit for service had left the city with Yoren. Unconcerned, Tyrion instructs him to arrest more men. And to also spread the word around the starving city that the Watch needs volunteers. Tyrion hopes that some of the hungry population might be tempted by the offer of bread and turnips on the Wall, simultaneously helping reduce the number of mouths to feed in King's Landing and addressing the need of the Watch for reinforcements. [2]

When the herald calls for an end to the day's court session, Alliser refuses to leave the Throne Room. Instead he waits at the foot of the Iron Throne and confronts a descending Tyrion. He blocks the path of the Hand, and asks him whether he sailed all the way from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea just to be mocked by the likes of Tyrion. He is fuming with anger yet still attempts to convince Tyrion that wights are no laughing matter. He claims to have seen dead men walking with his own eyes. [2] Tyrion pushes past the knight, simply responding that the Watch should try to kill them more thoroughly. Alliser attempts to grab Tyrion by the sleeve, and Preston Greenfield intervenes to stop him. He thrusts back Alliser and warns against approaching Tyrion. Alliser backs away, unwilling to challenge a member of the Kingsguard. [2]

Tyrion turns his back at Alliser and starts walking away. Alliser shouts that the "Imp" (Tyrion) is a fool. Tyrion turns to confront him, pointing that the people were laughing at Alliser. Making him wonder which of them is the fool. He then manages a wane smile and asks Alliser to confirm the purpose of his mission. Which is that the Watch needs men. Alliser insists that there is more to it than that. The cold winds are rising, and the Wall must be held. Tyrion points that to hold the Wall, the Watch needs men. He has already offered men to Alliser. If the knight had managed to register the offer, and not just the insults, he would have realized that Tyrion has already helped him fulfill his task. The correct response would be to take whatever available men there are, thank Tyrion and begone. Tyrion warns Alliser to do so before forcing him once again to take a crab fork against the knight.[2] As a parting gesture, Tyrion asks Alliser to give his warm regards to Jeor Mormont and Jon Snow. Bronn then takes the initiative to end the confrontation. The sellsword seizes Alliser by the elbow and marches him forcefully out of the throne room. [2]

Varys and Petyr witness the private confrontation between Tyrion and Alliser, while Pycelle had already left the room. Varys expresses admiration for the decision making of Tyrion. Mentioning among other decisions that Tyrion offered Alliser the needed men, rid the city of some hungry mouths, and still convinced the court that everything was done in mockery. Nobody could now claim that the dwarf fears snarks and grumkins. Petyr makes no mention of the Watch, more interested in other recent decisions of Tyrion. [2]

In the Fist of the First Men, Jeor Mormont converses with Qhorin Halfhand. The ranger has information that Mance Rayder is preparing a large-scale invasion of the North. Jeor is determined to seek reinforcements from all kings in the Seven Kingdoms, though Qhorin states that their best hope is Winterfell and convincing House Stark to rally the North against the wildlings. Jeor voices his hope that Alliser will bring fresh levies from King's Landing. Only three castles of the Wall are currently garrisoned, leaving 14 castles abandoned and large sections unguarded. They would need more recruits to re-occupy some of them. [17] In case Alliser succeeds in his mission, Jeor hopes to move troops from the Shadow Tower to Greyguard and from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea to Long Barrow. Qhorin argues against using the "largely collapsed" Greyguard. He suggests Stonedoor instead. His secondary choices being Icemark and Deep Lake. [17]

A Storm of Swords

Following the Battle of the Fist of the First Men, the remnants of the Night's Watch retreat. Among the marching soldiers is Samwell Tarly. Exhausted from the forced march, Samwell eventually falls in the snow. Grenn stops to help him. Samwell recalls that Grenn was nicknamed "Aurochs" by Alliser. A nickname reflecting his stocky build, thick neck, and strength. [18] Samwell next remembers two other nicknames coined by Alliser: "Ser Piggy" for Samwell himself and "Lord Snow" for Jon Snow. Thinking of Jon saddens him. He recalls that Jon was lost in the Skirling Pass, most likely dead. [18]

Samwell witnesses an Other dueling with Small Paul and easily killing its opponent. Samwell has already drawn his own dagger, yet initially hesitates to attack the Other. He then hears voices in his head, calling "Fight, craven". They are the voices of Randyll Tarly, Alliser Thorne, Dickon Tarly, and Rast. He next hears a fifth voice in his head, that of Jon Snow. This one calls "Do it, Sam. You can do it...". The voices convince him to go on the offensive. He rushes forward and stabs the Other with the dragonglass dagger. [18]

The survivors of the Battle of the Fist of the First Men conclude their long march. A total of 44 survivors manage to reach Craster's Keep. Among them are Samwell Tarly and Grenn. [19] Samwell claims to have slain an Other and is nicknamed "Slayer" by his fellow survivors. He asks Grenn to stop calling him that, a request which puzzles his friend. Samwell explains that it is simply a new way of mocking him. He then reminds Grenn how he disliked being called "Aurochs" by Alliser. Grenn points that it was not the nickname itself which bothered him, but the intent behind it. Alliser was using it to describe him as big and stupid. But an actual aurochs is a fierce strong beast. Grenn has no problem with his friends using the nickname to describe his size and strength. [19]

During the Siege of Castle Black, Jon Snow notices changes in Grenn. Since they last saw each other, the young man has grown 0,5 feet (15 centimeters) in height, while his chest and shoulders are thicker. His hair and beard are longer, untrimmed since leaving the Fist of the First Men. Jon recalls the mocking nickname "Aurochs", coined by Alliser, and finds it rather apt. His friend now seems as huge and shaggy as a real aurochs. [5]

Alliser returns from his mission to King's Landing, and reports for duty at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Jeor Mormont had apparently transferred him there prior to the Great Ranging. [5] Cotter Pyke sends several men from Eastwatch to reinforce Castle Black, while the Siege continues. Among them are Alliser and Janos Slynt. [5] Jon Snow is soon pulled from his bed, transferred to the solar of the King's Tower. There several brothers wait him. Most are strangers, though he recognizes Maester Aemon, Cellador, Wynton Stout, and Alliser Thorne. He notices that the former master-at-arms looks immaculate in his fur-trimmed cloak and polished boots. [5]

Alliser addresses Janos as "my lord", probably indicating that Janos has claimed command of their unit. He introduces his former charge as "the turncloak", Ned Stark's bastard, and Bastard of Winterfell. Jon Snow addresses Alliser by his family name, coldly stating that he is no turncloak. Alliser explains to Janos that the bastard styles himself "Lord Snow". Jon notices amusement in Alliser's typically stern eyes. Jon protests that it was Alliser who named him "Lord Snow", he did not claim the name for himself. [5]

Janos accuses Jon of having abandoned his brothers at the Fist of the First Men, defecting to Mance Rayder, King-Beyond-the-Wall. Jon claims to have simply joined a scouting mission, and to have been ordered to infiltrate the ranks of the Wildlings, He further claims that Qhorin Halfhand tasked him with finding out if Mance had obtained the Horn of Winter. Alliser chuckles in reaction, doubting this particular claim. He asks Jon whether his fact-finding mission also involved counting snarks. [5] Jon counters that he found how many giants were in the enemy ranks. In addressing Alliser, Jon uses no honorific. Janos demands that Jon address Alliser as "ser" and Janos himself as "m'lord". A title which is due to him because of his status as Lord of Harrenhal and acting commander of Castle Black. Janos emphasizes that he will not tolerate witnessing an anointed knight like "good Ser Alliser" being mocked by a traitor's bastard. [5]

Janos also accuses Jon of taking a wildling woman, Ygritte, to his bed. Jon does not deny this charge. Alliser smirks in response, and asks whether it was Qhorin who commanded Jon to fuck an "unwashed whore". Jon addresses him as "Ser" and clarifies that Ygritte was not a whore. He claims that Qhorin did ask to do whatever the wildlings asked of him, but he himself had went beyond what was strictly necessary. He explains to Alliser that he genuinely cared for her. [5] Alliser and Janos seem to know of people and events from Beyond the Wall. The source of their information is soon revealed to be the captive Lord of Bones. The Lord also accuses Jon of personally killing Qhorin. Again Jon claims that Qhorin himself tasked with doing whatever the wildlings asked of him, whatever would allow him to infiltrate their ranks. Alliser warns Jon that his lies will not save him, and that "we" (Alliser and Janos) will have the truth from him. Again he uses the terms "Lord Snow" and "bastard" when speaking to Jon. [5]

Jon describes his final moments with Qhorin, when the Lord of Bones was about to capture them. Janos does not believe his claims, and states that Alliser seems to have had a true measure of Jon. Since Jon is obviously lying through his teeth. [5] Jon answers a rhetorical question of Janos by mocking him. Alliser then points out how arrogant "Lord Snow" is. He points that this turncloak murdered Qhorin, while his fellow turncloaks murdered Jeor Mormont during the Mutiny at Craster's Keep. He voices suspicion that the two murders were not a coincidence, but rather two parts of the same plot. He further accuses the long-missing Benjen Stark of also having a hand in this conspiracy. He states that, for all they know, Benjen could have earned himself a seat at the tent of Mance Rayder. He addresses Janos, concluding his argument with the phrase: "You know these Starks, my lord.". Janos replies that he is already familiar with the Starks, implying that he is aware of their tendencies towards treason. [5]

Jon argues that Benjen was a man of honor who would never have betrayed his vows. Alliser mocks this claim, asking whether Benjen was no more likely to betray the vows than Jon himself. [5] Jon tires of constantly hearing the supposed treason of Eddard Stark uses as an argument against him. He argues that his father was a murder victim, not a traitor. Janos is enraged and threatens to hang this "insolent pup". He next instructs Alliser to transport the turncloak to an ice sell. Alliser praises the wisdom of Lord Janos and seizes Jon by the arm. [5] Jon is furious and reacts violently. He yanks his arm out of the hands of Alliser, then he grabs the knight by the throat. He lifts Alliser off the floor and starts throttling him. The Eastwatch men intervene to rescue Alliser, separating the two men. Alliser staggers back and starts rubbing his neck. The fingers of Jon have left marks on said throat. [5] Alliser manages to speak, declaring to his brothers that the boy is a wildling. [5]

Alliser leads Jon to a small cell. He promises the prisoner: "You will die in here, Lord Snow". Then closes the heavy wooden door of the cell, leaving Jon isolated. The words of Alliser ring true to Jon. Both ice cells and icy storerooms have been carved from the base of the Wall. It is commonly known among the stewards that food lasts longer when stored there, but prisoners do not last long. [20] Maester Aemon prevents Janos from hanging Jon. He even contacts Cotter Pyke and informs him of the situation, since Cotter still outranks Janos. Alliser assures Janos that Aemon has lived too long, for his wits have gone as dark as his (blind) eyes. [20]

Following four days of incarceration, Jon Snow is released from his cell. Mance Rayder has requested negotiations with the Watch. Janos and Alliser ("we") have decided to send Jon as an envoy. Alliser announces this decision to the prisoner, with a smile on his lips. Jon asks them why they picked him for this task, and Alliser explains the reasoning: Jon has joined the wildlings before, Mance Rayder is personally familiar with Jon, and will be more inclined to trust him. [20] Jon finds it more likely that Mance will treat him as a traitor, but Janos threatens him to accept the task. Alliser assures Lord Janos that there is no need for threats here. "Lord Snow" will have to accept the mission, if he hopes to prove his loyalty to the Watch. [20] Jon realizes he is trapped, either risking the wrath of Mance or that of Janos. With death likely either way. He figures that between Janos and Alliser, the latter is the more clever one and this plan is his work. [20] Jon tries to explain Janos would have a better chance of reaching terms with Mance if he picked another envoy. Alliser chuckles at this and asks: "Terms?". Alliser explains that despite his status as an envoy, they are not really sending him to talk to Mance. His actual mission is to kill the King-Beyond-the-Wall. [20]

In negotiations with Jon, Mance Rayder explains his position. He has sufficient forces to storm the Wall and take down the entire Watch. But such a victory would result in high casualties for his own people. He is not a would-be conqueror like several of his predecessors. He is fleeing south with his people to escape the Others. He would like the Wall to stand between the Free Folk and their most deadly foes. So he asks the Watch to open the gates for them, letting them pass and settle in the North. [20] Jon is already certain that these terms will be rejected. Jeor Mormont would at least have considered the plan, though hesitant to set loose 30,000-40,000 wildlings on the Seven Kingdoms. But, in his view, Alliser and Janos would dismiss the notion out of hand. [20] Jon considers his options. He could return to Castle Black and deliver the message from Mance. But having failed to kill the King-Beyond-the-Wall, Janos and Alliser would accuse him of disloyalty to the Watch. Using his failure as evidence that "Lord Snow" is a turncloak. He never has a chance to decide on a course of action, the negotiations are interrupted as the Free Folk face a surprise attack by Stannis Baratheon and his army. [20]

According to Janos Slynt, he and Alliser were on the wall when the Battle of Castle Black begun. He recognized the banners of Stannis, and explained to "good Ser Alliser" that: there comes a man who never forgets his duty, a strong man, and a good king. [21] He narrates this account ten days after the battle, and Stannis doubts if Janos praised him in this way. Instead the king seems certain that Janos is flattering him in a transparent attempt to gain his favor. [21]

Jon Snow contacts himself well in the Battle of Castle Black, securing control of the Horn of Winter and the newborn Wildling prince for the Watch. These acts are not enough to convince Alliser and "his friends" of Lord Snow's loyalty, since they still call him turncloak. [22] Bowen Marsh relieves Jon of his duties, since his loyalties are in question. Samwell Tarly assures his friend that only Alliser and "his friends" still believe in his guilt. Most of the other brothers are not convinced. [22] Alliser openly questions the success of Jon during the battle. Jon spend the battle maintaining watch over the Prince and Val, protecting them from looters. He did not attack nor kill the wildlings fleeing the battlefield. Consequently, Alliser points that Jon only bared his sword to defend the foes of the Watch. He also draws attention to the fact that Jon failed to kill Mance , going against his orders. He uses both points to argue that Jon was in league with Mance. [22] Samwell claims that this argument is only supported by Alliser himself, and everyone is aware what sort of man Alliser is. Jon counters that everyone knows that Alliser is a trueborn nobleman and a knight, while they know Jon himself as the bastard who killed Qhorin Halfhand and bedded a spearwife (Ygritte). He has even heard them calling him a warg. Consequently, Jon is certain that between Alliser and himself, most people will believe the former. [22]

Elections are held for the vacant position of Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Alliser is one of the candidates nominated for the position. Theoretically, he should have been a strong challenger for the job due to his noble birth, knighthood, and long service for the Watch. His former position as master-at-arms had also made him familiar with many brothers, at least those who he personally trained. Unfortunately for Alliser, most of his former charges despise him and would rather vote for anyone else. The first vote count ends with Alliser in 6th place among the candidates. The second vote count reveals that he is actually losing support among voters, instead of gaining support. He gets the message that they are never going to elect him and withdraws his candidacy. He goes on to support fellow candidate Janos Slynt. [22]

The position of master-at-arms is also vacant at the time. Endrew Tarth is dead and Alliser disinterested in claiming his old position. Jon Snow, who is recovering from wounds and trying to retrain himself, fills the vacuum. He offers further training in arms to some of the rawer recruits (Satin, Hareth, Hop-Robin, Arron, and Emrick). [22] A new vote for the position of Lord Commander is held daily. But no candidate has managed to gain the 2/3 of all available votes needed to secure election. Pypar notices Alliser whispering with Othell Yarwyck. He and Samwell Tarly suspect that the knight is trying to convince Othell to withdraw his own candidacy. [22]

Stannis Baratheon offers to legitimize Jon Snow and to make him the next Lord of Winterfell. He hopes that the North will rally behind a son of Eddard Stark, and that Jon himself will be willing to fight under Stannis' banner. Melisandre helps sell the plan to Jon, while calling him "Lord Snow". Jon contemplates that Alliser coined this nickname to mock his bastard birth. Since then it is commonly used by brothers of the Watch in reference to Jon, though some use it as an affectionate term and others as an insult. Jon now wonders whether the nickname could become a real title for him. Suddenly sounding real. [23]

Following a training duel against Iron Emmett, Jon Snow heads for the bathhouse. He overhears both Alliser and Bowen Marsh attempt to convince Othell Yarwyck to support Janos in the ongoing election. Othell has doubts about the matter. He is not particularly familiar with Janos himself, but has noticed that Stannis disdains the man. And, in his view, Stannis is more familiar with Janos than any of them. In a hard voice, Alliser refutes his argument. First, Stannis is not known for praising other people. Second, if the Watch allows Stannis to choose the new Lord Commander, the brothers will become his bannermen in everything but name. Tywin Lannister will never forget their allegiance to Stannis, and Tywin will be the final victor of the War of the Five Kings. Alliser concludes his own argument by pointing that Tywin has defeated Stannis before, in the Battle of the Blackwater. [24] Bowen, in an anxious voice, reveals that Tywin has send the Watch a letter, where he favors Janos and calls him a "faithful friend and servant". At this point Jon makes his presence known to the three men. Alliser immediatelly asks the "bastard" what he is doing in the bathhouse. Jon answers that he was bathing, but he will now leave them to their plotting. He dresses and exits. Alliser and the other two stay behind, presumably conspiring. [24]

Ghost returns to Castle Black, reuniting with Jon Snow. Jon decides to have a late supper and leads the direwolf to the Common Hall. He finds various candidates for the position of Lord Commander speaking to an audience. He had forgotten that the elections are held there. [24] Jon was the only brother who abstained from voting. [22] His presence draws the attention of several brothers of the Watch. Alliser is the first of them to speak, noting that the turncloak finally graces them with his presence. [24] Jon learns that Eddison Tollett nominated him for the position of Lord Commander. Janos Slynt, Cotter Pyke, and Denys Mallister briefly argue over the eligibility of Jon. Others shout their support for and against the right of Jon to stand for election. Alliser leaps up on a table and raises his hands to call for silence. He considers the arguments to be futile and suggests they start voting immediately. He reminds them that Stannis has posted men at the doors, preventing any of them from leaving until a final choice is made. He also reminds them that Stannis has given instructions to the guards to prevent the brothers from eating until this choice is reached. Alliser suggests the brothers have the whole night to vote and vote again. Until they get it right and the Watch gains a new Lord Commander.[24]

Before the voting can take place, Alliser mentions that Othell Yarwyck has an announcement to make. Othell retires his candidacy, and starts saying that he intended to support Janos. Alliser interrupts him to say that "Lord Slynt" is the best possible candidate. Othell calls Alliser by first name and informs him that he was not done with his announcement. The First Builder lists the qualifications of Janos and then mentions that electing Janos would be an insult to Stannis. He then lists the qualification of Jon, making him sound like a better candidate. He stops short of actively supporting anyone, but the meaning of his words is quite clear. In response, Alliser turns pale. [24]

A large kettle is used as ballot box. When Clydas takes off the lidd of the kettle, a raven burst out from inside. It takes a short flight and then lands next to Jon Snow. It starts repeating the name: Snow, then spreads its wings and flies to Jon, perching on his shoulder. Samwell Tarly claims to recognize this bird, proclaiming it to be (the long-missing) Mormont's raven. Alliser laughs, mocking this claim. He counter-claims that "Ser Piggy" is trying to fool them. He is certain that this is one of several ravens which the younger man has trained to say Snow. He invites the brothers to go up to the rookery and hear for themselves, as all the ravens now say Snow. While Mormont's raven had a richer vocabulary.[24] As if responding to Alliser, the raven asks for corn and then starts repeating Kettle?. Proving it knows more than one word. This act helps convince the present men that this is indeed the familiar raven. And helps decide the election in favor of Jon. [24]

A Feast for Crows

In Castle Black, Samwell Tarly studies for days in the library. He is searching for any available information on the Others. His study is interrupted by Eddison Tollett, who has been been told to have Samwell report to Lord Commander Jon Snow. On their way, Samwell and Eddison have a chance meeting with Grenn and Pypar. Samwell recalls how Grenn used to be called "Aurochs" by Alliser. He finds the nickname apt, as Grenn continues to grow more similar to an actual aurochs. Hours of training with sword and shield have flattened the young man's belly, hardened his arms, and broadened his chest. He is currently as strong and shaggy as his namesake animal. [25]

Aboard the ship Blackbird, Dareon sings to entertain the oarsmen. Samwell recalls his familiarity with this brother, dating to their training under Alliser. He recalls that Dareon was not much a swordsman. [26]

A Dance with Dragons

Stannis Baratheon and Jon Snow negotiate plans of placing garrisons in formerly abandoned areas of the Wall. Both men find it necessary but disagree on the details. In a threatening manner, Stannis reminds Jon that his position as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch relies on the king's tolerance. Having already stated that he can still have Jon decapitated and replaced by a more compliant man. Jon counters that he is the Lord Commander because the brothers of the Night's Watch elected him, not because of a royal appointment. Stannis reminds him that Alliser complains about the manner of Jon's election, and has raised valid arguments concerning the vote count. [27] Alliser has called attention to the facts, that the count was performed by a blind man (Maester Aemon) who was assisted by a close friend of Jon (Samwell Tarly). Stannis sees how this "assistance" could have affected the outcome. [27] Stannis also mentions that Janos Slynt continues to name Jon a turncloak, though he fails to mention whether this belief is shared by Alliser or anyone else. [27]

Jon has decided to garrison Icemark and Greyguard. He offers the command of Icemark to Bedwyck, and that of Greyguard to Janos Slynt. His stated reasons for the latter appointment have to do with the previous military record of Janos. Pointing that Janos was born a butcher's son, rose to become captain of the Iron Gate, and then won appointment to the command of the City Watch of King's Landing. He argues that Janos would not have managed to rise through the ranks if actually devoid of ability. Jon keeps another reason for this decision to himself: he wants to position Janos well away from Alliser. [28]

Janos Slynt refuses to accept his appointment, even when Jon makes it clear that this is not an offer; it is an order to his subordinate. The following morning, Jon enters the Common Hall in search of Janos. Alliser has breakfast with Janos, and the two men are laughing "about something". Jon notices that Alliser and Janos are surrounded by several "cronies". The laughter stops when Alliser and the others notice that the Lord Commander has arrived, escorted by several guards. Jon offers Janos "one last chance" to obey and serve. Janos tells him where to shove his order. Witnessing the confrontation, Alliser smiles a thin smile. His eyes are fixed on Jon. [28]

Sick of Slynt's insubordination, Jon orders Janos taken to the Wall and hanged. Iron Emmett and Eddison Tollett move to arrest Janos, while Alliser reaches for his sword hilt. Jon fixes his attention on the knight, waiting for Alliser to show his steel and give him an excuse to unsheath Longclaw. [28] Alliser hesitates and then takes his hand away from his sword. He steps aside to allow Eddison to pass and reach Janos. He does not interfere with the arrest and quick execution of Janos, who is personally decapitated by Jon. [28] Following the execution of Janos, Alliser grows more circumspect in his interactions with others. Though Jon notes that the knight's malice is still there. Jon toys with the idea of offering the vacant command of Greyguard to Alliser. He decides against it, wanting to keep the man close to himself. Between Janos and Alliser, the latter was always the most dangerous of the two, and Jon dares not loose sight of the knight and his actions. [29] [30]

Following the apparent execution of Mance Rayder, Stannis and Melisandre offer a choice to captive wildlings. They can cross the open gates of Castle Black and switch allegiance to Stannis, or return to the areas Beyond the Wall and face certain death. Kneel or die as Stannis puts it. Most of the captives choose to become "kneelers" and cross the gates. In a venomous tone, Alliser declares that the realm (the Seven Kingdoms) will curse them all. Every honest man in Westeros will turn his head and spit at the mere mention of the Night's Watch. A Watch which actually opened the gates to the wildlings. [29] Jon internally wonders what would Alliser know of honest men. [29]

Jon Snow re-assigns Alliser to the rangers. When the knight hears this order, his mouth twists into a semblance of a smile. This smile never reaches his eyes, which remain cold and hard. He concludes that the "bastard boy" is sending him out to die. Hearing his conclusion, Mormont's raven starts repeating one of its favorite words: Die. Jon does not appreciate the intervention of the bird in this confrontation. [31] Jon argues that he is sending Alliser out to range, to find the foes of the Watch, to kill them if this is necessary. Not to die himself. He points to the main qualification of Alliser for the job, the skill of the knight with a blade. He remarks that Alliser has served as master-at-arms both at Castle Black and at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. [31] [32] Alliser touches the hilt of his longsword. He admits to having squandered a third of his life trying to teach the rudiments of swordplay to "churls, muttonheads, and knaves". He fails to see, however, how could this experience serve him out there in the Haunted Forest. [31]

Jon points that Alliser would not be alone in his first ranging mission. He will be one of three men of a ranging unit, alongside Dywen and another seasoned ranger. Dywen intervenes in the conversation and personally addresses Alliser. Assuring the officer that they will teach him what he needs to know. Including how to wipe his "highborn arse" with leaves, like a proper ranger. He cackles, obviously amused with the prospect of treating Alliser as a new recruit. [31] Alliser does not bother to reply to Dywen, focusing instead on Jon. He states that Jon would like him to refuse, if only for giving the Lord Commander an opportunity to decapitate him, like he previously did with Slynt. He tells the "bastard" that he will not give him that pleasure. He is ready to risk death Beyond the Wall. He states that Jon should pray for Alliser to die by a wildling blade. For the ones killed by the Others don't stay dead, but rise again and "they remember". He fully intents to return from the ranging. He leaves it intentionally vague whether he intents to return alive or as a vengeful wight. [31]

Jon says that he will pray for Alliser to return. He privately contemplates that Alliser was never one of his friends, and probably never will be. But he is still a brother, and you don't have to like your brothers. He does not wish for Alliser or any other brother to die. He is actually bothered by sending men into the wild, knowing that they might never return. But he finds it necessary, and is at least confident that Alliser and the others are seasoned men. Though he is painfully aware that the Haunted Forest has swallowed seasoned men before, without leaving a trace as to their fate. Like Benjen Stark. [31] Jon later contemplates that Dywen is the best ranger currently available at Castle Black, and so "Thorne" was in better hands than he deserved. [31]

Three mounted units of rangers leave Castle Black, each composed of three men and carrying a pair of ravens. One of them is led by Dywen and includes Alliser. Jon observes them from atop the Wall. He recalls the names of all nine rangers, which he supposedly has engraved in his heart. He thinks that they include eight good men, and one who has yet to prove his worth. Probably Alliser. [31] At a later point, Cotter Pyke leaves Eastwatch with 11 ships, heading for Hardhome. Ser Glendon Hewett is named as the acting commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Jon Snow is informed of the appointment in a message from commander Pyke and Harmune. Snow is troubled by the news. Glendon is a seasoned man, a strong man, and a seemingly sensible choice. But he is also a friend of Alliser and a former crony of Janos Slynt. Jon can still remember Glendon dragging him from bed and kicking him in the ribs. He thinks to himself that Ser Glendon is "not the man I would have chosen".[33]

Quotes

"They will call you men of Night's Watch now, but you are bigger fools than the Mummer's Monkey here if you believe that. You are boys still, green and stinking of summer, and when the winter comes you will die like flies". [10]

Parting words to recruits who completed their training.


"This is no jape. I saw it with my own eyes. I tell you, the dead walk. ... The cold winds are rising. The Wall must be held". [2]

Trying to convince Tyrion Lannister that wights exist and are a legitimate threat.


"Aemon's lived too long, my lord. His wits have gone dark as his eyes". [20]

Attempting to convince Janos Slynt to pay no attention to Aemon defending Jon Snow.


"The realm will curse us all for this. Every honest man in Westeros will turn his head and spit at the mention of the Night's Watch". [29]

His reaction in seeing the wildlings cross the gates of Castle Black.

References and Notes

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
  3. Age estimated by Jon Snow.
  4. Age estimated by Tyrion Lannister.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 69, Jon IX.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 21, Tyrion III.
  8. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon IV.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
  12. The other "high officers" who arrive with Alliser include (1) Maester Aemon, (2) Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, (3) Lord Steward Bowen Marsh, (4) First Builder Othell Yarwyck, (5) acting First Ranger Jaremy Rykker.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 52, Jon VII.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
  16. In Medieval England and Wales, earthen floors were wide-spread. From palaces and churches to peasant dwellings. Rushes were used to keep down the dust and provide thermal insulation. It was traditional until the 19th century to collect new rushes in the autumn, a part of the typical winter preparations. Wealthier residences could afford more frequent changes in their rushes, and certain palatial estates had their rushes changed on a daily basis. Year-old rushes would certainly have underwent a rotting process. Making them both useless and smelly.
  17. 17.0 17.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 43, Jon V.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 18, Samwell I.
  19. 19.0 19.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell II.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8 20.9 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 22.7 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 75, Samwell IV.
  23. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 76, Jon XI.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 24.7 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 79, Jon XII.
  25. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
  26. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 7, Jon II.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
  30. The thinking process of Jon seems to follow the phrase "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer". This advice relies on the certainty that one's enemies are always out there, plotting to hurt him/her. So the individual should try to keep a close eye on them and their activities, to avoid being ambushed by their plots.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 31.6 31.7 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 28, Jon VI.
  32. The activities of Alliser between leaving King's Landing (in aCoK, Chapter 25) and his return to Castle Black (in aSoS, Chapter 69) are poorly recorded. He was previously known to have served for part of this time at Eastwatch-by-the Sea. But this is the first reference to Alliser serving as its master-at-arms.
  33. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.

See Also

See also the article on Alliser Thorne on the Game of Thrones wiki.

Alliser Thorne's Story "You Don't Know Cold"