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Allegiance Night's Watch
Culture Westeros
Died In 299 AC, at Riverlands
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (Appears)
A Clash of Kings (Appears)
A Storm of Swords (Mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)

Played by Francis Magee
TV series Season 1 | Season 2

Yoren is a sworn brother of the Night's Watch. He is a recruiter, or "wandering crow," he travels the Seven Kingdoms, responsible for collecting recruits and prisoners, who would take the black, and escorting them to Castle Black for training.

Character and Appearance

Yoren is hard and grim, and has little patience for fools.[1] Due to his shoulder injury he cannot fight well anymore and for the past thirty years he has been traveling the Seven Kingdoms recruiting for the Night's watch. In all that time, he only lost three. Yoren is not the most refined member but loyal and trustworthy. His travels frequently bring him to Winterfell, and he knows the members of House Stark and has a certain loyalty to them.[2]

Yoren is stooped and sinister with a twisted shoulder. His coarse and ugly features are hidden behind a thick and matted black beard. He is lice-ridden and smells foul, wearing garments that are tattered and long since faded to grey.[3][1] He chews sourleaf.


A Game of Thrones

Yoren joined Benjen Stark's party as it headed north to the Wall[3] and later accompanied Tyrion Lannister back south on the road to King's Landing.[4] After Catelyn Stark arrest Tyrion, Yoren continues on to King's Landing to inform Eddard Stark about what happened.[5]

Yoren remains in the city to gather more recruits. At some point, Yoren was approached by a man who gave him some gold to take a boy with him to the wall (later revealed as Gendry) and after Eddard's imprisonment Yoren was told to be ready to take Eddard to the Wall.[6] Yoren was present at the Great Sept of Baelor where Eddard confessed and was executed instead of being banished to the Wall. Yoren recognizes Arya Stark amidst the crowd and seizes her after her father’s execution, calling her "boy" dragging her away.[7]

Yoren gives the command to leave for the Wall.

A Clash of Kings

After seizing Arya, Yoren drags her into an alley near the Great Sept of Baelor and draws a dagger, causing Arya to believe he wants to kill her. However, he only uses the dagger to cut her hair to a stubble. He tells her that he will take her along with his band of recruits headed for the Wall and is going to drop her off at Winterfell. She will pass as an orphan boy called Arry along the way. He instructs her to keep to herself, avoiding contact with the real recruits, most of whom are dangerous. He continues addressing her as "boy", always putting a bite in the word's pronounciation.[6]

Yoren's band consists of approximately thirty recruits, most of them boys and orphans, the youngest two years older than Arry. He picked some of them up on the streets of King’s Landing, promising them food and shoes; the rest he selected in the dungeons of the Red Keep, as allowed by Eddard Stark when he was Hand of the King. He also chose some adult criminals, the most dangerous of them Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge and Biter. He found those three in the black cells and intends to keep them chained in a wagon up to the Wall, probably being scared of them himself. In addition, he takes along five wagons laden with supplies as well as two coursers and a couple of donkeys for the boys. The band can leave the city unmolested when Yoren calls one of the Lannister guardsman by name.[6]

While heading north on the Kingsroad, Yoren interrupts Arry from mercilessly beating up Hot Pie with a wooden sword, after he made fun of her for some time and tried to grab Needle. Yoren announces that a repeat of such an incidence will have severe consequences for any recruit, and he takes Arya away from the group for punishment, hitting her bare behind hard with a stick three times, but also giving her sourleaves afterwards to ease the sting. He tells her that hurting others won't bring her father back. He shares how Lord Eddard was supposed to join the Night’s Watch and that something must have gone wrong, arousing Arya's suspicion that King Joffrey is personally responsible for her father's death.[6]

The band is increasingly confronted with the repercussions of war: refugees, many of them armed, fleeing south; freshly dug graves along the roadside; warnings that they are going in the wrong direction, that their provisions will be plundered, that bands are terrorizing the Riverlands. One of the recruits, Praed, dies, making him only the fourth recruit Yoren has lost in thirty years. Yet Yoren remains undisturbed at first, insisting that the Night’s Watch takes no part in the wars of the realm and that his band will be safe.[8][2]

At a roadhouse inn where Yoren protects Arry from revealing her northern identity in a discussion about wolves, they are overtaken by a group of Gold Cloaks who have been following them. They have a warrant for Gendry, signed by Queen Regent Cersei, and demand that he be handed over to them. Yoren refuses, pointing out that laws protect members of the Night's Watch. The Gold Cloaks are unimpressed, but, with a combination of threats and deceit, Yoren makes them retreat, although they announce they'd be back. Yoren gives Arry and Gendry the two coursers, advising them to flee as fast as they can if the Gold Cloaks reappear.[8]

Avoiding the Kingsroad afterwards, the band marches west- and northwards in the direction of the Gods Eye, which Yoren wants to pass along its western shore. Their progress is slowed on the smaller streets because of the wagons and their provisions run out, forcing Yoren to assign tasks of searching food, in particular to Koss and Kurz. The hostility of the common folk, who take them for possible looters, make him increasingly bitter about how disrespectful members of the Night's Watch are treated now. They come across a village that has been burned down and where a lot of people have been killed. Yoren searches the holdfast and takes in two survivors, a woman whose arm has been cut off at the elbow and a girl less than two years old, but the woman dies within a few hours. Talking to Arry afterwards, Yoren admits that he might have made a mistake to take orphans away from the safety of the city or, at least, to not go by ship to the Wall this time.[2]

The band moves north along the eastern side of the river running south from the Gods Eye. Having no means to cross the river with their wagons to get to the western side of the God's Eye, Yoren figures that the best way to proceed is to rent boats in a (nameless) town on the southern shore of the lake and to cross it towards Harrentown, going on from there or finding shelter with Lady Whent at Harrenhal (which, unbeknownst to Yoren, is already under Lannister control). However, when they arrive at the town, it is deserted and no boats can be found. Yoren, even more apprehensive about the increasing signs of war, decides to spend the night at the abandoned holdfast of the town while reflecting on how to cross the lake.[9]

During the night, a party led by Ser Amory Lorch, part of the Lannister campaign in the Riverlands, arrives and torches the town. They advance to the holdfast and Lorch commands Yoren, in the name of King Joffrey, to open the gate. After some discussion, in the course of which he again points out that the Night's Watch takes no part in the war, Yoren refuses, prompting Lorch to order his men to storm the holdfast and kill all inside. They open the attack by thrusting a spear in Yoren's direction but kill Woth instead. Yoren gives orders for defending the walls. During the ensuing assault, he kills the man with whom he had the first exchange that night. When he realizes that the attackers have won, he grabs Arry and yells at her, still calling her "boy", that she and Gendry should rescue as many boys as possible, directing her towards a flight tunnel they found earlier. Then he runs off to engage more enemies. This is the last Arry sees of Yoren before she and some others escape through the tunnel.[9]

Arry and Gendry return to the holdfast the next evening, after the departure of Lorch's men, with Arry hoping they'll find Yoren alive. However, everyone has been killed. They find Yoren's body with the skull split by an axe and surrounded by the bodies of four enemies. They bury him on Arry's insistence, leaving the bodies of the others as they have no time to bury them all.[10]

Back in King's Landing, Tyrion is told by Bronn that a black brother has arrived from the Wall. Tyrion hopes it might be Yoren and is disappointed when he finds out that it is Ser Alliser Thorne instead.[11]

Yoren's Last Crows

These are the last recruits that Yoren tried to bring to the Wall before his demise.

References and Notes