Chapter 51 Summary
Jon and the others in Quorin's party spot a watchfire half a mile ahead and two thousand feet up. They know that the wildlings have posted a guard in the mountain. If the wildlings waiting by the fire blow their horn, Quorin's party will not long survive the warriors that come into the Skirling Pass to find them. Stonesnake, the best climber, first volunteers to climb to the watchers, and Jon joins him. They climb the mountain, carefully, until they are above the watchers. There are three of them, but Jon and Stonesnake defeat the first two wildlings. Jon has his knife at the throat of the third wildling when he discovers that the watcher is a woman. He asks her to yield to him and learns her name: Ygritte. As they return to Quorin, Ygritte tells Jon the story of Bael the Bard, a King Beyond the Wall that once journeyed south to Winterfell and slept with the Lord Stark's daughter. She bore his son and grew up to become the next Stark in Winterfell. When Bael led the free folk south, he could not fight his son and was slain. The Stark was cursed as a kinslayer, and his mother threw herself out of a tower for grief. Later, one of his lords even skinned him and wore the Stark's skin as a cloak. Jon refuses to believe the story. When they return to Quorin, he orders Jon to do what needs to be done to Ygritte, and he leaves Jon to do it alone. Instead of killing her, Jon sends Ygritte away.