Chapter 26 Summary
Jon is teaching the other recruits about swordplay when a new recruit, Samwell Tarly (Sam), arrives. He is the fattest boy that Jon has ever seen, but by his attire the others can tell that Sam is nobly born. Stumbling, Sam explains that he has come to train and to join the Night's Watch. Thorne sets to work training the new recruit, and he matches Sam with Haldor, a former quarryman. Sam yields within a minute, and Thorne sets Haldor on him again. And again. Jon finally has enough and commands Haldor to stop. Thorne sets three boys against Jon, but his new friends Grenn and Pyp step to Jon's aid. Jon attacks first and wins. Sam explains that his father is Randyll, a bannerman to the Tyrells of Highgarden in the south. He is also a coward. Later, Jon decides to talk to Sam rather than leaving him alone. Sam explains that he is afraid of nearly everything. His father, seeing weakness in his eldest son, ordered Sam to join the Night's Watch or he would die in a "hunting accident" to clear the line of succession for his younger brother, Dickon. Jon returns to the common room and tells the other recruits not to hurt Sam during practice. Only Rast refuses, until Jon, Grenn, Pyp, and Ghost sneak into Rast's room later that night and threaten him. After the next practice, Sam thanks Jon, explaining that he has never had a friend before. Jon responds that the men of the Night's Watch are brothers.