Prologue Summary

A Game of Thrones begins north of the Wall, a colossal structure in the far north of Westeros. The Wall, and the men of the Night’s Watch who defend it, has separated the Seven Kingdoms from the wildlings that live in the far north there for centuries. Three men of the Night’s Watch are on a “ranging” beyond the Wall; they have been tasked with tracking wildlings. Will has just returned from scouting ahead. He has seen the wildling camp, and they are clearly dead. Gared, another lowborn veteran, suggests that they now turn back. Their leader, the young but nobly born Ser Waymar Royce, insists that the men continue investigating the wildlings’ death. When the men reach the camp, they discover it empty. Royce assumes that Will has lied and he orders the latter to climb a tree in order to find a fire and evidence of the wildlings’ whereabouts. Instead, Will spots an “Other,” a monster that has for centuries been considered a myth. Its eyes are blue and it engages Royce in combat. Other Others emerge from the woods, and Royce is slain. Will waits until the Others have left before he drops down from the tree. When he reaches the ground, he inspects Royce’s body. Royce rises, his eyes blue, and chokes Will with his cold hands.