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Jackanapes at the Wall: A Retrospective

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The Old Pomegranate will have his vengeance. In this life or the next.

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It's kind of hilarious some of the shenanigans going on with these characters.

Jon tells Selyse and Patreck repeatedly the Wildling succession customs; Val is not a princess, you cannot inherit shit from her. This is ignored. He mentions once the custom that men steal women in Wildling culture. Apparently this lights some sort of fire in Selyse and Ser Patrek, motivating them to hatch the Machiavellian masterpiece of sneaking past a giant. I like to imagine Ser Patrek tries to crab walk past for extra effect.

Bowen Marsh is another good one. He has the great idea that they should just seal all the tunnels to make themselves feel better. This is in spite of the fact that even at full strength the Wildlings failed to break through the tunnels, that they have dozens of rangers still beyond the Wall scouting and that all that plan does is deny the Night's Watch ease of access from the South. Hard to believe he wasn't able to get more people interested in his conspiracy.

Axell Florent's a laugh. His pitch to Jon basically revolves around the notion they become eskimo brothers. I had to put the book down after that one, because I was laughing at the idea someone could so badly misjudge what would make Jon open up.

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The Old Pomegranate will have his vengeance. In this life or the next.

Wait Wait. Didn't Bowen "get his vengeance" when he stabbed Jon in the stomach? If I add Lyle Crakehall to the list of reprehensibles, would that suit you better?

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I meant on you, insulting him like this. I mean, with Bowen's charm, winning personality and strategic prowess, he's exactly the man the Watch needs leading it during the apocalypse*

*Assuming you want the Others to win and/or are a Lyle Crakehall fan.

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Wait Wait. Didn't Bowen "get his vengeance" when he stabbed Jon in the stomach? If I add Lyle Crakehall to the list of reprehensibles, would that suit you better?

people like to hate on Lyle Crakehall? What? Strongboar is a solid guy.

Anyway, the OP is spot on. The Old Bear put it best when he described most of the men of the Night's Watch as useless. Of the men the NW has at the start of the series, the only worthwhile seem to be the Old Bear, Ben Stark, Qhorin, Jeremy Rykker, Dolorous Edd, Thoren Smallwood, Jarmun Buckwell, and Denys Mallister. The other men are either total idiots or illiterate. The other leaders under Jon seem to be the last few educated men there. They all happen to be idiots.

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Excuse me, but when listing the worthwhile men of the NW, I think you left out my boyfriend Cotter Pyke. Well, he's not my boyfriend, I just really like him for no particular reason.

I think the main issue is that all the competent NW men died, on various useless-seeming missions. I know that they are supposedly "gathering intelligence," but honestly, I never really saw what any of the rangings actually accomplished, especially the disastrous Fist of the First Men ranging. Blasphemy, I know.

I think GRRM is setting things up for Robin Ryger and Desmond Grell to play an important role at the Wall in TWOW. Maybe.

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When you think about it you should expect both groups (the Night Watch and the "Southron Fools") to be full of morons. The Night's Watch is barely competent at the beginning of the series (I'd argue it was already pretty useless and had been for a while) with apparently only a few dozen actual semi-capable individuals. Add in a few battles that decimated everyone important and the fact that Jon had to thin out Castle Black by sending the remaining useful people to re-garrison other castles, it's no surprise he's surrounded by idiots. As for the Queen's Men, they're the guys that Stannis, while being heavily outnumbered and desperate for any more men, wants as far away from him as possible. Jon probably listened to them more than they actually deserved, since their very presence is proof they're not important people.

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Excuse me, but when listing the worthwhile men of the NW, I think you left out my boyfriend Cotter Pyke. Well, he's not my boyfriend, I just really like him for no particular reason.

I think the main issue is that all the competent NW men died, on various useless-seeming missions. I know that they are supposedly "gathering intelligence," but honestly, I never really saw what any of the rangings actually accomplished, especially the disastrous Fist of the First Men ranging. Blasphemy, I know.

I think GRRM is setting things up for Robin Ryger and Desmond Grell to play an important role at the Wall in TWOW. Maybe.

he's illiterate and entirely uncouth. its amazing he rose that high. The idea of the watch getting those two men is kind of intriguing. Especially if they know where Brynden Tully is going. It would also seem that Jon would have a ready made First Steward and Master at Arms.

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OMG!!!!! Cotter Pyke is awesome, take that back. I love his pithy raven telegrams to Jon. They're like poetry.

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OMG!!!!! Cotter Pyke is awesome, take that back. I love his pithy raven telegrams to Jon. They're like poetry.

I'm not questioning Cotter Pyke's entertainment value or even his awesome factor, merely his leadership quotient.

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Excuse me, but when listing the worthwhile men of the NW, I think you left out my boyfriend Cotter Pyke. Well, he's not my boyfriend, I just really like him for no particular reason.

I left out Cotter Pyke because I think he's actually competent, respects Jon's authority, and not an idiot (I was really only trying to highlight the morons who make Jon's life impossible). Also in his favor, Pyke wrote some very strongly worded letters to Jon detailing precisely what he thought of Selyse and her retinue. The only crime here is the fact that Martin chose not to show us what was actually said, as I get the sense they were absolutely hilarious.

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Then why did Jon pick him for the important mission to Hardhome?

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I left out Cotter Pyke because I think he's actually competent, respects Jon's authority, and not an idiot (I was really only trying to highlight the morons who make Jon's life impossible). Also in his favor, Pyke wrote some very strongly worded letters to Jon detailing precisely what he thought of Selyse and her retinue. The only crime here is the fact that Martin chose not to show us what was actually said, as I get the sense they were absolutely hilarious.

I wasn't talking about your post, I was talking about Naathi Prince's, where he left out Cotter from the men of the NW who were actually worthwhile.

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I wasn't talking about your post, I was talking about Naathi Prince's, where he left out Cotter from the men of the NW who were actually worthwhile.

Oh, lol. I thought you were being sarcastic, sorry. I was all prepared to write a really spirited defense of the guy.

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Then why did Jon pick him for the important mission to Hardhome?

because he is Ironborn. They live on ships.

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The Watch lost too many good men: Thoren Smallwood, Jarman Buckwell, Benjen Stark, Qhorin Half-Hand and it seems the "followers" are left leading the Wall through the greatest threat it faced since the Age of Heroes. All those guys that you listed are either newcomers or stewards/builders who have gone once or twice beyond the Wall.

What I blame Jon for is not putting them aside and picking up men with perspective. Bowen has been whining all through ADWD and when he whines, Yarwyck follows. These guys were ready to elect Janos just to please Tywin Lannister, it says a lot about them. So my take is Jon should have picked men like Ulmer of the Kingswood to advise him and share with them his plans. The Watch is depleted but I'm sure he could have found more useful men than those guys.

ETA: Let's not even talk about Selyse and her ducklings. Attacking a giant, naming a nobody as king beyond the wall (and the funniest part is marrying Gerrick's daughters to Axelle and alii), they haven't been useful to the NW and I doubt they will ever be. Jon listens to Selyse just because he's Stannis's wife. You need a Cotter Pyke to sort out those people.

Edited by LordBloodraven

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he's illiterate and entirely uncouth. its amazing he rose that high. The idea of the watch getting those two men is kind of intriguing. Especially if they know where Brynden Tully is going. It would also seem that Jon would have a ready made First Steward and Master at Arms.

Pyke is competent. Rough, blunt but competent

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Pyke is competent. Rough, blunt but competent

he's useful, for some things. Unlike the others I listed, he could never be Lord Commander.

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The Watch lost too many good men: Thoren Smallwood, Jarman Buckwell, Benjen Stark, Qhorin Half-Hand and it seems the "followers" are left leading the Wall through the greatest threat it faced since the Age of Heroes. All those guys that you listed are either newcomers or stewards/builders who have gone once or twice beyond the Wall.

What I blame Jon for is not putting them aside and picking up men with perspective. Bowen has been whining all through ADWD and when he whines, Yarwyck follows. These guys were ready to elect Janos just to please Tywin Lannister, it says a lot about them. So my take is Jon should have picked men like Ulmer of the Kingswood to advise him and share with them his plans. The Watch is depleted but I'm sure he could have found more useful men than those guys

Could he? Ulmer never shows any impressive intelligent or insight (though that still makes him better than Marsh), and Marsh is the chief steward, in charge of things like the food supply. At the very least you're going to need someone literate, a quality in short supply.

Edited by Foxhound

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