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Great Ranging

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"The Night's Watch will ride in force against the wildlings, the White Walkers and whatever else is out there. And we will find Benjen Stark, alive or dead. I will command them myself."
―Lord Commander Jeor Mormont[src]

The Great Ranging is a massive expedition of the Night's Watch to the lands beyond the Wall organized by Lord Commander Jeor Mormont. It was a reaction to the reports of numerous Free Folk villages found empty and wildlings amassing, the discovery of wights in the Haunted Forest and the disappearance of Benjen Stark as well as other rangers.

The expedition force consisted of three hundred brothers, one hundred from the Shadow Tower and two hundred from Castle Black - almost one third of the whole manpower of the Watch.

Known Participants

  • {Lord Commander Jeor Mormont}, killed by Rast in a mutiny at Craster's Keep.
    • Jon Snow, called "Lord Snow", Lord Commander Mormont's personal steward, prisoner of the Lord of Bones and infiltrated among the Free Folk. Returned to Castle Black.
  • Othell Yarwyck, First Builder of the Night's Watch, amongst the officers of the Night's Watch participating in the expedition.
  • {Qhorin}, called "the Halfhand", slain by Jon Snow to ease his infiltration among the Free Folk.
  • Grenn and Rast, rangers from Castle Black, currently at Craster's Keep.
  • Samwell Tarly, called "Sam" and "Ser Piggy", a steward in charge of the messenger ravens, separated from his sworn brothers during the attack of the White Walkers against the Fist of the First Men. Returned to Castle Black with Gilly and her son .
  • Eddison Tollett, called "Edd" and "Dolorous Edd", a steward, currently at Craster's Keep.

Aftermath

The losses of the Night's Watch as a result of the Great Ranging were extremely heavy: most of the ranging force was destroyed at the Battle of the Fist of the First Men, and many of the survivors rebelled against Mormont and deserted. Of three hundred men, only Jon and Sam made it back to Castle Black. The manpower of the Watch, which has been barely adequate, has dangerously dwindled.

To make things worse, among the casualties were Mormont, Qhorin and more of the most experienced and capable senior officers of the Watch. That left the defenders of Castle Black heavily outnumbered and without proper leadership against the imminent attack of the Wildlings.

On the other hand, there have been several important achievements:

  • While Jon was travelling with the Wildlings, he learned a lot about their habits, weaponry, ordnance, manpower, etc.
  • The discovery of the secret bundle that contained Dragonglass weapons.
  • Sam discovered that the White Walkers can be killed by dragonglass weapons.

See also

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