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

Culture Free folk
Born In 299 AC[5]Craster's Keep[5]

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]


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.[7][8] Temporary "milk names" can be assigned prior to the official naming. Val chooses the name monster for the boy.[1][9]

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.[10]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[11][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 has left the Wall, considering her child to be an abomination born of incest.[14] 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.[14]

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 boy 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 milkmaids, 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]

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


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 39, Jon VIII.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell II.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
  7. 7.0 7.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 46, Samwell III.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 75, Samwell IV.
  9. The custom of assigning temporary milk names does exist in Chinese culture. These names are typically either abandoned following the official naming, or survive as familial nicknames. These pet names are known and used only among closely related family members.
  10. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
  11. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
  12. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
  13. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
  15. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.