Prologue Summary

Chett is sick of the cold. It is nearly winter and the men of the Night's Watch are encamped north of the Wall on the Fist of the First Men. Chett is tracking a bear but he should be near a fire tending to Maester Aemon. He would still be there if not for Jon Snow and Sam Tarly. Though Chett, Lark the Sisterman, and Small Paul are trying to track the bear, their dogs struggle to find a scent. Chett and Lark plan to kill the officers Lord Mormont and Blane from Shadow Tower, the guards Grubb and Aethan, the trackers Dywen and Bannen, and Sam, who tends to the ravens. Small Paul may be strong but he is not very smart. Chett and Lark convince him to mutiny by telling him he will be hunted if they desert. They must desert, Chett thinks, or they will be killed. Thoren Smallwood has returned from his scouting expedition, and he has reported that Mance Rayder and his wildling army are marching down the Milkwater, a path that will carry them right past the Fist of the First Men. Chett and the others return to camp determined to carry out their plan that night. That evening, the officers call on the men to assemble at the central fire. They announce their intention to ride north to attack the wildlings. Chett wakes up that night and discovers that it is snowing. The plan is already foiled: fresh snowfall will make escape all but impossible since they will now leave tracks. Chett's angry musings are interrupted by three blasts from the watchmen. The Others are attacking.