Denys Mallister, by Romain Leguay © Fantasy Flight Games
|Born||In or before 245 AC, Seagard|
Denys Mallister is a knight of House Mallister and a member of the Night's Watch. He has served as commander of the Shadow Tower since 267 AC. Denys is an uncle of Jason Mallister, Lord of Seagard.
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Denys Mallister
Denys is an old man with blue-grey eyes and a long white beard. He has lost almost all his hair and his face is deeply lined. Denys still has his teeth and is graceful in his movement.
Denys is courteous and well-spoken due to his highborn roots. He is also considered cautious and chivalrous. Denys is proud of his upbringing and experience, and he writes in a flowing hand. He enjoys sweet wine.
The knight distrusts the ironborn, and he considers Cotter Pyke, commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, to be uncouth and uneducated. Cotter, meanwhile, thinks of Denys as a preening eagle and does not consider him to be a warrior.
Denys was born at Seagard to a lord of House Mallister. He was a squire at twelve, a knight at eighteen, and a champion at twenty-two years old. He once unhorsed both of Samwell Tarly's grandfathers (Alester Florent and the father of Randyll Tarly) at the same tourney.
When Denys joined the Night's Watch, he was assigned to the order of rangers. He has been the commander of the Shadow Tower since 267 AC. The knight has considered becoming Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but in the last two elections he yielded to first Lord Commander Qorgyle and then Jeor Mormont.
Mance Rayder, one of the rangers at the Shadow Tower, was once wounded by a shadowcat during an expedition north of the Wall. A wildling woman nursed him back to health and repaired tears in his cloak with scarlet silk. When Mance returned to the Shadow Tower, Denys ordered him to burn the cloak and wear only the black cloaks of the Night's Watch. Denys's stern order influenced Mance's decision to desert the Shadow Tower and the Night's Watch the next day, joining the free folk living beyond the Wall.
A Game of Thrones
Ser Denys writes to Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, reporting that wildlings from the Frostfangs are moving south, slipping past the Shadow Tower in numbers greater than ever before.
Denys sends another raven to Jeor, informing him rangers from the Shadow Tower have found whole wildling villages abandoned, and at night huge fires have been sighted, blazing in the mountains from dusk till dawn. In the depths of the Gorge, Qhorin Halfhand, one of Denys's senior rangers, captures a wildling who says that Mance Rayder is secretly massing wildlings.
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
When discussing the Night's Watch, Tyrion Lannister advises his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, to deal with Denys, commander of the Shadow Tower, or Cotter Pyke, commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, rather than Janos Slynt; Tywin dismisses Denys as a Mallister of Seagard, one that would not serve his purposes.
Denys leaves the Shadow Tower to attend the choosing for the next Lord Commander to replace Jeor, who was slain in the mutiny at Craster's Keep. Traveling with Bowen Marsh and other survivors of the Bridge of Skulls, this party happens across Samwell Tarly and Gilly on the road, escorting them to Castle Black.
Denys is a leading candidate to become the next Lord Commander, along with Cotter, collecting two hundred and thirteen votes by the time only seven candidates remain in the race. Because the support between them is divided, Janos Slynt appears as a potential alternative. Sam Tarly meets with Cotter in the Shieldhall and with Denys in the Lance. Although each commander expresses hatred for their rival, both agree that Janos would be a worse choice. Denys also objects to the candidacies of Othell Yarwyck, First Builder, and Bowen Marsh, Lord Steward. Sam then lies to Cotter and Denys that King Stannis Baratheon plans to name the other as Lord Commander, and he successfully persuades each to support Jon Snow instead.
A Dance with Dragons
Denys reports sightings of fires in the night north of the Gorge, and he believes wildings are amassing to force the Bridge of Skulls once more. Denys later writes of seeing great camps of wildlings in the mountains beyond the Shadow Tower.
Quotes by Denys
We are the sons of great lords, you and I. We know the importance of birth, blood, and that early training that can ne'er be replaced. I was a squire at twelve, a knight at eighteen, a champion at two-and-twenty. I have been the commander at the Shadow Tower for thirty-three years. Blood, birth, and training have fitted me to deal with kings.—Denys to Samwell Tarly
It was a hard thing young Samwell asked of me. When Lord Qorgyle was chosen, I told myself, 'No matter, he has been longer on the Wall than you have, your time will come.' When it was Lord Mormont, I thought, 'He is strong and fierce, but he is old, your time may yet come.' But you are half a boy, Lord Snow, and now I must return to the Shadow Tower knowing that my time will never come. Do not make me die regretful. Your uncle was a great man. Your lord father and his father as well. I shall expect full as much of you.—Denys to Jon Snow
Quotes about Denys
The commanders at the Shadow Tower and Eastwatch were good men, but very different; Ser Denys courtly and cautious, as chivalrous as he was elderly, Pyke younger, bastard-born, rough-tongued, and bold to a fault. Worse, the two men despised each other. The Old Bear had always kept them far apart, at opposite ends of the Wall.—thoughts of Jon Snow
Cotter: The man's too bloody old for the job, maybe you ought to go tell him that. We choose him, and we're like to be back here in a year, choosing someone else.
Samwell: He's old, but he's well ex-experienced.Cotter: At sitting in his tower and fussing over maps, maybe. What does he plan to do, write letters to the wights? He's a knight, well and good, but he's not a fighter, and I don't give a kettle of piss who he unhorsed in some fool tourney fifty years ago. The Halfhand fought all his battles, even an old blind man should see that.
—thoughts of Samwell Tarly
- See the Denys Mallister calculation.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Denys Mallister.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 79, Jon XII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 7, Jon I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 21, Tyrion III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 70, Jon IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 69, Jon IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 75, Samwell IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 28, Jon VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 31, Melisandre I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.