Chapter 23 Summary
Jon and the men of the Night's Watch have journeyed in the rain for six days when they arrive at Craster's keep. Though Jon had not expected a grand castle, he is still surprised by it: a long hovel with a sod roof. The Old Bear and his officers go inside to ask Craster where the wildlings have gone. He tells them that Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, is gathering the wildlings to him. Jon is sent to find Sam, who will draw a map for them. There, he meets Gilly, one of Craster's "daughters," though his daughters grow up to become his wives. The next morning, she comes to Jon and asks to come with him. She is pregnant and is convinced that she will have a son. Craster gives his sons to the gods, she explains. Jon knows that she means the Others. When he finds Lord Commander Mormont, he tells the commander what Gilly has said. The Old Bear explains that it is not their job to save Craster's wives, though perhaps they would find the strength to end his life themselves. Now, the Night's Watch will journey to the Frostfangs, where Mance Rayder is building his host. Mormont and Jon agree that Rayder means to strike south, attacking the Wall. Mormont points out that there is no army in Winterfell to stop him should they fail.