Chapter 73 Summary
Jon is descending from the wall in a cage. Maester Aemon has outmaneuvered Janos Slynt and Ser Alliser Thorne; they are not allowed to hang Jon. Instead, they announce that they want Jon to go to Mance Rayder, but not to treat with him. Instead, Jon is to assassinate him. When Jon reaches the ground, Tormund Giantsbane meets him. Together, they drink from a horn of potent mead as they toast the dead. When Jon reaches Mance, he sees that the wildling leader is accompanied by some of his most infamous captains, including Harma Dogshead. Varamyr Sixskins is there as well, and he explains that he has joined with Orell's eagle, which means that he feels Orell's hate for Jon. Mance dismisses them and takes him into his tent, where Dalla is about to give birth. Mance delivers his terms: the Night's Watch must let the wildlings pass or else he will blow Joramun's Horn of Winter and bring down the Wall. Mance is reluctant to bring down the Wall since his attack on the Wall is primarily designed to take his men away from the Others, who even now are attacking the wildlings at night. Only the Wall can protect against them. Their conversation is interrupted by an attack, which they at first take for the men of Eastwatch. However, it is Stannis's knights that charge through the wildlings. Seeing that the wildlings are defeated, Jon goes into the tent to help Dalla give birth.