Chapter 17 Summary
Jon and Dolorous Edd go into the wormways, tunnels beneath Castle Black. They meet Lord Steward, Bowen Marsh, who shows Jon their frozen stores. Normally, they would have enough for three to four years of winter. However, it will not be enough. Between the wildlings and the king's men, they will run out of food by the end of the first year. They agree to start rationing the food, which Jon knows will displease the men. The meeting ends when Jon is summoned to King Stannis, whose wrong-way rangers, Ser Richard and Ser Justin, have returned with news from south of the Wall. They present Rattleshirt, who wears a red gem round his wrist like the one Melisandre wears around her throat. She declares that he will not betray the Night's Watch. Stannis announces that he means to strike at the Dreadfort while Ramsay Bolton and his army ride south to meet Roose Bolton. Jon proposes to give Stannis another target if he should leave the wildlings behind at the Wall. When Stannis agrees, Jon suggests that Stannis recruit from the clans in the western mountains and then strike at Deepwood Motte, a wooden fort still held by the ironmen. Stannis decides to take Jon's advice in order to show his strength to the northmen. Jon is satisfied that he will have a thousand wildlings to defend the Wall, though he still has no way to feed them.