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Alliser Thorne

Last edited on April 23, 2014
by Niuchacz47
Alliser Thorne
Alliser Thorne
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First seen
Last seen
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6 episodes (see below)
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"Soon we'll have new recruits, and you lot will be passed along to the Lord Commander for assignment. They will call you "men of the Night's Watch," but you'd be fools to believe it. You're boys, still. And come the winter, you will die...like flies."
Alliser Thorne to Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly[src]

Alliser Thorne is a recurring character in the first and fourth seasons. He is played by guest star Owen Teale and debuts in "Lord Snow." He was originally announced as being played by Derek Halligan, but Halligan withdrew from the role before production began. Ser Alliser Thorne is the Master-at-Arms at Castle Black and is responsible for training new recruits to the Night's Watch.

Thorne was a recurring character in Season 1 but did not appear in Season 2 or 3. He will be returning in the fourth season.[1]



Ser Alliser Thorne is a member of the Night's Watch. He is from House Thorne, a noble house of the Crownlands sworn to the Iron Throne. Thorne serves as the master-of-arms at Castle Black and is responsible for training the new recruits; he has the habit of giving them demeaning nicknames.

Season 1

Ser Alliser sets Jon Snow against his fellow recruits Rast, Pypar and Grenn, and mockingly refers to Jon as 'Lord Snow'. Jon beats the other recruits easily, due to his previous training at Winterfell, but is unaware that Alliser is making him unpopular by emphasizing his superiority. Tyrion Lannister advises Jon to take into account the less privileged upbringing of the other recruits and suggests that Jon could befriend them by sharing his skills.[2]

Alliser is disgusted by the obesity and softness of new recruit Samwell Tarly, nicknaming him 'Lord Piggy'. Alliser has Rast beat Sam when he will not fight back. Jon convinces the others to refuse to hurt Sam. Alliser angrily confronts Jon and Sam, revealing that he once had to cannibalize the frozen remains of his comrades to avoid starvation during a ranging. He tells them they are soft and that Jon's 'protection' of Sam from the hard training he needs will get him killed.[3]

Alliser is pleased when Jon is made a steward after he takes the oath of loyalty; Jon had hoped to become a ranger. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont takes Jon as his personal steward. Samwell convinces Jon that this means that Jon will be privy to the inner workings of the Night's Watch command structure, and that the Lord Commander may actually want to groom Jon for a high position within the Watch.[4]

Alliser taunts Jon when news arrives that Jon's father Eddard Stark has been arrested as a traitor. Jon draws a knife and is punished by being restricted to his quarters. Jon redeems himself by saving Jeor Mormont's life when two dead rangers, who have been found beyond the Wall, are revived as wights.[5] Later, the Lord Commander sends Alliser to King's Landing with the frozen hand of one of the wights to warn the court of the return of the White Walkers. He notes that part of his decision was to keep Jon and Alliser separated for a time.[6]

Season 4

Upon his return to the wall, Thorne was declared the Acting Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. He is one of the five black brothers to "judge" Jon Snow for his actions during his time with the wildlings. Jon hides nothing of his actions, neither his murder of Qhorin Halfhand nor his affair with Ygritte. Ser Alliser disbelieves Jon's claim that the Halfhand wanted to die, but Jon counters that if Alliser was as close to Qhorin as he claims, he would know the fallen brother would have done anything to protect the Wall. Maester Aemon defends Jon on the other charge, pointing out that he isn't the first to have broken his vow of celibacy. Ser Alliser points out that Jon hasn't simply visited the whorehouse in Mole's Town: he has quite literally slept with the enemy. Jon counters with all the information that he had learned while among the wildlings, such as Mance Rayder's strategy of attacking the Wall from the North and the South, and demands that they either kill him or let him go. Aemon tells him that they have no intention of executing him and Jon leaves. Alliser reprimands Aemon for having overruled him but Aemon wryly replies that he can tell who is lying to him, since he grew up in King's Landing.[7]


Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children


"Well, Lord Snow, it appears you're the least useless person here."
Alliser Thorne to Jon Snow[src]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Alliser Thorne is respected for his service to House Targaryen. During the Sack of King's Landing he fought on the walls of the city against the Lannister forces. After being defeated, he took the black and joined the Night's Watch, being given the choice of this or death; this is most likely the cause of Ser Alliser's animosity towards Jon Snow, as Jon's father Lord Eddard was a prominent leader in Robert's Rebellion which forced Thorne into exile at the Wall. In a notable change, in the TV series Thorne is an experienced ranger who has been beyond the Wall on several occasions while in the books he rarely leaves Castle Black. He's described as having eyes as black as onyx and black hair ridged with white. It is Donal Noye the Blacksmith that tells Jon not to use his superior fighting skills to embarrass his fellow recruits. Jeor Mormont sends Ser Alliser to King's Landing with the severed hand of the animated corpse (it was still jumping and twitching), and he was ordered to lay it at Joffrey's feet. He thought that as a knight with old political allies in King's Landing Ser Alliser Thorne would be more respected and listened to, and they would see the danger the Night Watch was in and send aid. However, when he arrived and asked for an audience it was Tyrion Lannister who was in charge. Tyrion asked if the one waiting was Yoren, who had become his friend. Remembering Ser Alliser, he told them to give him a room where the rushes hadn't been changed in a while. It was weeks before he got an audience and by then the hand had rotted away. After his fruitless return, he is sent to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea rather than back to Castle Black.

Thorne, with Janos Slynt, returns to Castle Black much later than in the show.

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See also