A Clash of Kings-Chapter 34
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
|Place||Fist of the First Men|
|Page||371 UK HC (Other versions)|
|Chapter chronology (All)|
Lord Commander Mormont's men reach the Fist of the First Men. The Lord Commander plans to reinforce the stone ring built by the First Men during the Dawn Age to wait for men from the Shadow Tower here, and then to wait for Mance Rayder to return from the Frostfangs. Ghost finally joins Jon Snow in the ring, surprising Jon since Ghost has previously refused to come into the ring. Ghost leads him to some buried Dragonglass weapons wrapped in a cloak of the Night's Watch.
Lord Commander Mormont's men arrive at the Fist of the First Men. Jon Snow thinks that it actually looks like a fist plunging up from the ground. The commander tells Thoren Smallwood it is good ground, and he replies it is an old place that is strong and will be easy to defend. The commander agrees they are not likely to find a better place to defend. Its disadvantage, pointed out by Jon, is that they will have to climb down to get water. Their camp is made behind a stone ring built by the First Men during the Dawn Age.
As they climbed, Ghost ran off, and Jon had to keep calling him back, but the commander finally grew impatient and told Jon to let him go. Jon Snow can tell the travelling is wearing on the Lord Commander, but he tries not to let it show.
After putting up the Lord Commander’s tent and seeing to the horses, he descends to find Ghost, who suddenly appears next to him. He feels a growing sense of foreboding. He climbs some rocks from where he can see the Milkwater river and the rugged landscape giving way to high stony hills to the north. When darkness starts to arrive, Jon is interrupted by Samwell Tarly. Jon tells Sam that the commander plans to stay here and wait for Qhorin Halfhand and the men from the Shadow Tower, and he should get a raven ready since the commander will want to send a message. Sam states the ravens hate being caged, and if he could fly he would be back at Castle Black and be eating pork pie.
They return to camp. Overhead, the red tail of Mormont’s Torch is as bright as the moon. When they arrive, Jon leaves to attend to the Lord Commander. Mormont, who is talking to some of his officers, tells Jon to bring some hot spiced wine. As he prepares the wine, he hears Jarman Buckwell state that following the Milkwater would be the easiest road to the Frostfangs, but Mance Rayder will know of their approach. Ser Mallador Locke recommends Giant's Stair or Skirling Pass. Mormont states he does not want to risk the Frostfangs unless he must. He plans to remain at the Fist since the Wildlings outnumber them, and the Wildlings will have to come from the Frostfangs eventually for food; they will strengthen their defenses. The rangers will limit their ranging to this side of the river since Mormont is sure that Craster did not lie to them about Mance gathering his force in the Frostfangs. The officers finish their wine and leave.
Jon offers the commander supper, and he asks if Ghost found any game since they could use meat, and then asks if Jon agrees with keeping the rangers close. Jon replies that if they stay close, they are unlikely to find his uncle Benjen Stark. The commander responds that it would be easier for one man to find 200 than for 200 to find one, and the land is too vast to search with their limited manpower. They have left a very visible trail, and the fires on the Fist should be visible to the foothills of the Frostfangs. Jon then brings up the case that his uncle is dead, and the commander replies that he still may return anyway as a Wight. The commander then tells Jon he will forsake supper and to wake him at first light.
However, Jon is hungry, and joins Dywen, Grenn, Dolorous Edd, and Hake for the stew. Dywen states there is a smell he does not like, a smell of cold. Jon hears a howling and then Ghost appears, surprising Jon since he has previously refused to come inside the ring. Ghost seems preoccupied, sniffing the air. Suddenly Jon is alarmed since Ghost knew when the dead came walking, and Dywen has said he smelled cold. Ghost starts to go, and then looks back, so Jon follows, leaving the protection of the ring. Ghost stops at the stream, and then goes on, so Jon follows, angry. He loses Ghost a quarter of the way around the Fist. When he catches up with Ghost again, he is digging at a mound that has been dug only recently. He expects to find a body, but finds a bundle two feet across. Inside the bundle made from a cloak of the Night's Watch, he finds Dragonglass weapons.
References and Notes
- Summary and analyses of the chapter in the course of a 10th reread.
- Review and summary by Leigh Butler.