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rs1n

[Spoilers] Night's watch plot doesn't make sense

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They know that the others are coming. They also know that they are outnumbered. Despite knowing that they cannot handle the others by themselves, they (some) refuse to consider an alliance with the wildlings. For some reason, this just makes no sense to me. I tried to consider the fact that some of the men (perhaps more recently, most of them) are cowardly and/or have a borne hatred toward the wildlings. But what does all that matter if they face getting wiped out by the others? To get to the point, why yet another mutiny (this time against Jon) when it's pretty obvious that they possibly still have no chance even with the help of wildlings?

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Well, your arguments make a lot of sense. They're pretty much what Jon keeps telling people like Bowen Marsh all the time. The problem is, that the Night's Watch, as well as the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, does not behave rationally. If you look at real-world-examples, like the fight against Climate Change, where there are people who still feel like it's not a big deal despite the overwhelming evidence. Or the european immigration crisis, where instead of working together, every country just feels like they have to make sure that all the refugees go to the other countries. People don't make rational choices all the time, so it does make sense that someone as clueless as Bowen Marsh would disaprove of the wildlings helping them, especially after fighting them at the Bridge of Skulls. The rest of the assassins are just following his lead. He of course makes a terrible decision, but he doesn't realize that, because he doesn't think rationally and is incompetent.

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22 hours ago, rs1n said:

They know that the others are coming. They also know that they are outnumbered. Despite knowing that they cannot handle the others by themselves, they (some) refuse to consider an alliance with the wildlings. For some reason, this just makes no sense to me. I tried to consider the fact that some of the men (perhaps more recently, most of them) are cowardly and/or have a borne hatred toward the wildlings. But what does all that matter if they face getting wiped out by the others? To get to the point, why yet another mutiny (this time against Jon) when it's pretty obvious that they possibly still have no chance even with the help of wildlings?

Men are fools. And aside from Sam and Grenn, no one else has encountered a Walker and lived to tell about it. The NW knows there have wights in the Haunted Forest  and "dead things in water" at Hardhome, but it's harder to focus on a mythical enemy from the distant past when there are real enemies right in front of you. The wildlings are front and center and they've been committing atrocities on the north for thousands of years.

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14 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Men are fools. And aside from Sam and Grenn, no one else has encountered a Walker and lived to tell about it. The NW knows there have wights in the Haunted Forest  and "dead things in water" at Hardhome, but it's harder to focus on a mythical enemy from the distant past when there are real enemies right in front of you. The wildlings are front and center and they've been committing atrocities on the north for thousands of years.

This is right, the NW and Wildlings have been in conflict for a very long time and old grudges die hard. Imagine at the height of WW2, a rumor comes down that aliens are invading but not a lot of proof, would the allies and the axis made peace to fight a theoretic enemy? i don't think so.

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Perhaps the NW feels secure behind the wall.  After all, with the exception of the wights the watch itself brought to CB, no wight or other has managed to cross the wall (to the best of anyone's knowledge). 

If the NW believes that the magic in the wall will prevent the others from crossing, why allow a known antagonistic force (the free folk) cross in overwhelming numbers? 

What I really don't understand is the free folk's plan.  If I understand Mance's original plan correctly, he was going to send infiltrators over the wall to attack CB from behind.  With the gate at CB open, free folk could pour in and overwhelm both other NW strongpoints; Eastwatch and the Shadow Tower.  With the NW wiped out, the free folk, and their giant allies, would be free to settle south of the wall. 

The problem is, wouldn't the free folk then need to become the NW?  If the wall can't stop the others on its own, would the free folk be willing to become the very force they dispised...the NW...and defend against the others?

 

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People are shortsighted and focused on their own short-term needs. Bowen Marsh and Co. never encounted a "live" wight or the Other. The dead brothers brought in that risen as wights had been taken care of by Jon Snow and Jeor Mormont. So all wights/the Others talk came to them as matter of second hand information. At the same time, they were actually confronted with live wildlings and had to fight for their lives in Battle of Castle Black. So they don't care about threat of the Others or the original purpose of Night's Watch, they have Wall to protect them. Let Wildlings die out and keep Wall between them and all's well.

At the same time, Mance is so desperate to get away from the Others, he is willing to use possibly magic horn to take down the Wall and thus doom the whole Westeros as well as take away any potential hope of escape for his own people, the basic - if we die we take the rest of the world with us, scenario.

 

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On 23/03/2016 at 9:59 PM, rs1n said:

They know that the others are coming. They also know that they are outnumbered. Despite knowing that they cannot handle the others by themselves, they (some) refuse to consider an alliance with the wildlings. For some reason, this just makes no sense to me. I tried to consider the fact that some of the men (perhaps more recently, most of them) are cowardly and/or have a borne hatred toward the wildlings. But what does all that matter if they face getting wiped out by the others? To get to the point, why yet another mutiny (this time against Jon) when it's pretty obvious that they possibly still have no chance even with the help of wildlings?

Makes has much sense has Stannis and Renly fighting each other instead of uniting against Joffrey. Or Lisa not backing her sister in the war. 

The Nights Watch and the Wildlings are natural enemies. Its only natural both sides dont want join forces and find it hard to live together. Different cultures dont mix well together look at the Northeners vs Kinglanders not much love there either.

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On 3/25/2016 at 11:50 AM, Criston of House Shapper said:

Well, your arguments make a lot of sense. They're pretty much what Jon keeps telling people like Bowen Marsh all the time. The problem is, that the Night's Watch, as well as the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, does not behave rationally. If you look at real-world-examples, like the fight against Climate Change, where there are people who still feel like it's not a big deal despite the overwhelming evidence. Or the european immigration crisis, where instead of working together, every country just feels like they have to make sure that all the refugees go to the other countries. People don't make rational choices all the time, so it does make sense that someone as clueless as Bowen Marsh would disaprove of the wildlings helping them, especially after fighting them at the Bridge of Skulls. The rest of the assassins are just following his lead. He of course makes a terrible decision, but he doesn't realize that, because he doesn't think rationally and is incompetent.

Lol. Climate Change...

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*YES SPOILERS SEASON 4*BOOK 5

 

The books have a very important plot point that intersects with your question, but that the show never mentions. Nor does the book for that matter.  And by the time you get to Jon's murder in book 5 you still wonder what part this plot element played. The important thing that occurs is, Cersei has sent 100 of her killers to the Wall, with the mission of murdering Jon.  Cersei is told that Jon Snow is Lord Commander of the Night's Watch - and that he is helping King Stannis.  This vexes her to no end since he is Jon Stark's bastard as well and you know how they feel about "traitors blood" - so she sends a contingent of 100 men to the Wall including Kettleblack, as "new recruits for the Watch" - to make sure Jon is killed.  HOW do we know that Cersei's killers are not at the root of it all?  

Why they left that part out of the show is puzzling,  Why have this passage in the book to establish it, then never mention any of the 100 hired killers again?  So because of that,  let's assume Cersei's killers did make it to the Wall and most or all of them are at Castle Black in time to murder Jon.   In the show they could have established it in a 15 second scene.  With Pycelle or Qyburn telling Cersei about Jon, then her reaction and so on.  Then Cersei tells one of the Kingsguard, as in the book.  Then the guy shows up at the Wall along with the fake NW recruits, and he's the first knife that gets Jon.  Instead, we have a completely different story twist, Roose sends Locke the Footman to the Wall to kidnap Bran.  I thought that the original Footman from the books, Vargo Hoat ("KINGTHLAYER!  YOU ARE MY CAPTITH!") would have been a lot more amusing.  Alas, we get this Locke guy instead. Then Hodor twisting Locke's head off, the end. And Jon just gets killed later on, because the NW is mad about the Wildlings coming through.  If they were that mad about the Wildlings, WHY not kill him BEFORE he opens the gate?  And WHY the plot twist with Locke instead of the Cersei/Jon conspiracy?  

Not to mention, in the books they do NOT kill Jon because he let the Wildlings through, they kill him because he is calling for volunteers to go and recapture Winterfell, (thus violating one of their fundamental vows - "The Nights Watch takes no part in the wars of the realm") and fight Ramsey Bolton (after Jon reads Ramsey's "pink letter).  This is an important distinction that the show producers chose to skip over completely.  

 

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On 21/04/2016 at 8:12 AM, Not_A_Quokka said:

*YES SPOILERS SEASON 4*BOOK 5

 

The books have a very important plot point that intersects with your question, but that the show never mentions. Nor does the book for that matter.  And by the time you get to Jon's murder in book 5 you still wonder what part this plot element played. The important thing that occurs is, Cersei has sent 100 of her killers to the Wall, with the mission of murdering Jon.  Cersei is told that Jon Snow is Lord Commander of the Night's Watch - and that he is helping King Stannis.  This vexes her to no end since he is Jon Stark's bastard as well and you know how they feel about "traitors blood" - so she sends a contingent of 100 men to the Wall including Kettleblack, as "new recruits for the Watch" - to make sure Jon is killed.  HOW do we know that Cersei's killers are not at the root of it all?  

Why they left that part out of the show is puzzling,  Why have this passage in the book to establish it, then never mention any of the 100 hired killers again?  So because of that,  let's assume Cersei's killers did make it to the Wall and most or all of them are at Castle Black in time to murder Jon.   In the show they could have established it in a 15 second scene.  With Pycelle or Qyburn telling Cersei about Jon, then her reaction and so on.  Then Cersei tells one of the Kingsguard, as in the book.  Then the guy shows up at the Wall along with the fake NW recruits, and he's the first knife that gets Jon.  Instead, we have a completely different story twist, Roose sends Locke the Footman to the Wall to kidnap Bran.  I thought that the original Footman from the books, Vargo Hoat ("KINGTHLAYER!  YOU ARE MY CAPTITH!") would have been a lot more amusing.  Alas, we get this Locke guy instead. Then Hodor twisting Locke's head off, the end. And Jon just gets killed later on, because the NW is mad about the Wildlings coming through.  If they were that mad about the Wildlings, WHY not kill him BEFORE he opens the gate?  And WHY the plot twist with Locke instead of the Cersei/Jon conspiracy?  

Not to mention, in the books they do NOT kill Jon because he let the Wildlings through, they kill him because he is calling for volunteers to go and recapture Winterfell, (thus violating one of their fundamental vows - "The Nights Watch takes no part in the wars of the realm") and fight Ramsey Bolton (after Jon reads Ramsey's "pink letter).  This is an important distinction that the show producers chose to skip over completely.  

 

Though this is very interesting it still remains that the murder of Jon Snow is likely orchestrated by Bowen Marsh and not Cersei's hired killers, and I totally agree that they kill him because he is riding south (though letting the wildlings trough sure didn't help his case).

in relation to the OP, NW and Wildlings have been killing each other for generations, every single one of the NW probably knows a friend who was killed by the Wildlings, and 10 minutes before letting them through the wildlings were attacking them and promising to kill them all and bring down the wall if they must.

People don't react rationally for the most part, at least not with a greater good mindset, sure living wildlings south of the wall mean less dead wights up north, but from a NW perspective they are letting the wolves in with the chicken. They let an ancestral enemy that vastly outnumbers them and that can wipe them out at any time through, and hope this will be better than ask help from the south and looking at both enemies (wildlings and Others) from atop a Wall, that as far as they know has stood and will continue to stand between them and all their enemies.

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On 4/21/2016 at 10:12 AM, Not_A_Quokka said:

*YES SPOILERS SEASON 4*BOOK 5  

Not to mention, in the books they do NOT kill Jon because he let the Wildlings through, they kill him because he is calling for volunteers to go and recapture Winterfell, (thus violating one of their fundamental vows - "The Nights Watch takes no part in the wars of the realm") and fight Ramsey Bolton (after Jon reads Ramsey's "pink letter).  This is an important distinction that the show producers chose to skip over completely.  

 

Well, actually, that's exactly why they killed him... The letter and marching to Winterfell - was  a "last drop", and an occasion/opportunity...because I really do not think they were acting on the spur of the moment... so to speak. It was definitely a plan or a plot and they were discussing this act. 

And if I am not mistaken, Ramsey Bolton openly THREATENED the Lord Commander of the Watch. "The NIghts Watch takes no part in the wars of the realm" goes both ways, if I am not mistaken. The realm does not command the Watch. I bet Joer Mormont won't obey the kings command if he thought it was agains the Watch. After all, the Night's Watch/brothers has/have a special status. This was actually said few times in the books.

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15 hours ago, Gala said:

Well, actually, that's exactly why they killed him... The letter and marching to Winterfell - was  a "last drop", and an occasion/opportunity...because I really do not think they were acting on the spur of the moment... so to speak. It was definitely a plan or a plot and they were discussing this act. 

And if I am not mistaken, Ramsey Bolton openly THREATENED the Lord Commander of the Watch. "The NIghts Watch takes no part in the wars of the realm" goes both ways, if I am not mistaken. The realm does not command the Watch. I bet Joer Mormont won't obey the kings command if he thought it was agains the Watch. After all, the Night's Watch/brothers has/have a special status. This was actually said few times in the books.

Okay, so maybe I am confusing events in the book with the TV show, but wasn't it Stannis who let the Willings through? In the book I mean...definitely time for a reread.

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7 hours ago, Aryya Stark said:

Okay, so maybe I am confusing events in the book with the TV show, but wasn't it Stannis who let the Willings through? In the book I mean...definitely time for a reread.

Technically, it was in the show. But in the books that was entirely Lord Commander's idea and order. He even sent Val to find the wildlings. Val, as well as everything connected to her character, is absent in the show. I think that's why they needed Allister Thorne in the show in Castle Black and not out in the woods- so he could orchestrate the assassination. 

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1 hour ago, Gala said:

Technically, it was in the show. But in the books that was entirely Lord Commander's idea and order. He even send Val to find the wildlings. Val, as well as everything connected to her character, is absent in the show. I think that's why they needed Allister Thorne in the show in Castle Black and not out in the woods- so he could orchestrate the assassination. 

Thanks Gala. I knew I was confusing stuff. :)

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Yes spoilers book 5

A very interesting discussion.  I think people just tend to cling to the familiar.  The NW has acted a certain way for hundreds of years (according to Sam's records).  Everyone assumes its been 8k years though.

The books do a really good job of presenting the average NW member as pretty close minded and prejudiced when it comes to the wildlings.  They frequently describe them as just a bunch of savages with no culture or sophisticated lifestyle.  There’s only a few people who have respect/compassion/understanding for wildlings and see them as equals or members of the realms of men.

Also we have to keep in mind that the people at the wall aren’t the best people in the kingdom.  It’s like a prison, and along with prison comes all those alpha male dominance struggles. There are commanders who can’t read for example.  

So we are talking about a group of mostly (historically) former criminals, who aren’t well educated, who are prejudiced against wildlings.  

The watch has also been steadily dwindling so you can imagine people are getting desperate.

Winter arrives early at the wall, scary things happen up north, then this new very young commander shows up and lets all the wildlings in. 

Then this young commander decides to forsake his vows and partake in the affairs of the realm, along with his new army, screams erupt and a giant (from up north) starts attacking someone (from the south) creating a perfect catalyzing event.

What do you think would happen?

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On ‎2016‎-‎03‎-‎26 at 7:50 AM, MGraham said:

This is right, the NW and Wildlings have been in conflict for a very long time and old grudges die hard. Imagine at the height of WW2, a rumor comes down that aliens are invading but not a lot of proof, would the allies and the axis made peace to fight a theoretic enemy? i don't think so.

That should totally be a movie.

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On 23/03/2016 at 9:59 PM, rs1n said:

They know that the others are coming. They also know that they are outnumbered. Despite knowing that they cannot handle the others by themselves, they (some) refuse to consider an alliance with the wildlings. For some reason, this just makes no sense to me. I tried to consider the fact that some of the men (perhaps more recently, most of them) are cowardly and/or have a borne hatred toward the wildlings. But what does all that matter if they face getting wiped out by the others? To get to the point, why yet another mutiny (this time against Jon) when it's pretty obvious that they possibly still have no chance even with the help of wildlings?

The wildlings have just attacked CB with the intent of wiping out he NW completely to cross. It's not entirely unreasonable to assume that the wildlings, of let through the Wall, would still decide to do that as some point. If you only have a handful of men, losing even some of them to a conflixt like this could have terrible consequences. They also don't seem to take the Others all that seriously - after all, nvery few of the people left in the NW witnessed the Others first hand. Jon is taking a very calculated risk with the wildlings. After all, the question he asked Mance still stands - can the wildlings ultimately be controlled? So far it's working out and they seem to have taken to Jon at least.

 

On 25/03/2016 at 9:19 PM, daccu65 said:

Perhaps the NW feels secure behind the wall.  After all, with the exception of the wights the watch itself brought to CB, no wight or other has managed to cross the wall (to the best of anyone's knowledge). 

If the NW believes that the magic in the wall will prevent the others from crossing, why allow a known antagonistic force (the free folk) cross in overwhelming numbers? 

What I really don't understand is the free folk's plan.  If I understand Mance's original plan correctly, he was going to send infiltrators over the wall to attack CB from behind.  With the gate at CB open, free folk could pour in and overwhelm both other NW strongpoints; Eastwatch and the Shadow Tower.  With the NW wiped out, the free folk, and their giant allies, would be free to settle south of the wall. 

The problem is, wouldn't the free folk then need to become the NW?  If the wall can't stop the others on its own, would the free folk be willing to become the very force they dispised...the NW...and defend against the others?

 

The wildlings have been fighting the Others for longer than anybody else. Jon might have killed a Wight but Mance killed a hundred. They would defend themselves if need be. But from the way I understand it Mance wasn't going to stop just short of the Wall, but fight his way down south.

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16 hours ago, Maid So Fair said:

The wildlings have been fighting the Others for longer than anybody else. Jon might have killed a Wight but Mance killed a hundred. They would defend themselves if need be. But from the way I understand it Mance wasn't going to stop just short of the Wall, but fight his way down south.

And this is what I don't understand.  If the plan was to cross the wall and keep heading south, anyone they encounter is going to consider them an invader.  If TWo5K had never happened (I'm assuming than Mance didn't know it was going to take place when he started to gather the tribes) the northerners would have never accepted the Wildlings moving into the northlands in those numbers...and Mance had to know this.

On the other hand, even if the Free Folk were able to overwhelm the Northerners and settle in the north, they'd be in the same predicament that they were when north of the wall!  If the wall is breached, the others are going to come south and the first people they're going to encounter?  The relocated Wildlings!  If the Free Folk fight their way further south, they're eventually going to run into a force they can't handle (While the North, the Riverlands and to an extent, the Westerlands have been militarily exhausted, the Reach, Dorne and the Stormlands are still ready to rumble.)

I understand that the Free Folk were desperate, but what was going to keep the Others from following them south and catching them?

 

 

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8 hours ago, daccu65 said:

And this is what I don't understand.  If the plan was to cross the wall and keep heading south, anyone they encounter is going to consider them an invader.  If TWo5K had never happened (I'm assuming than Mance didn't know it was going to take place when he started to gather the tribes) the northerners would have never accepted the Wildlings moving into the northlands in those numbers...and Mance had to know this.

On the other hand, even if the Free Folk were able to overwhelm the Northerners and settle in the north, they'd be in the same predicament that they were when north of the wall!  If the wall is breached, the others are going to come south and the first people they're going to encounter?  The relocated Wildlings!  If the Free Folk fight their way further south, they're eventually going to run into a force they can't handle (While the North, the Riverlands and to an extent, the Westerlands have been militarily exhausted, the Reach, Dorne and the Stormlands are still ready to rumble.)

I understand that the Free Folk were desperate, but what was going to keep the Others from following them south and catching them?

 

 

1, I think Mance might know more about the current political situation than you think. Sure, he hasn't been down South since everyone left WF  but then again this shows that he's a guy that likes to keep in the loop. He specifically went to WF to get to know his enemy better. It's not inconceivable that he has some way of getting intelligence, through raiders,  NW  itself , or traders that sail north of the Wall.

2, The Wildlings seem to believe, not entirely unreasonably that the Wall has magical properties that could stop the Others or ward them off for a while. In any case, putting a giant wall of ice between yourself and your enemy is strategically sound.

3, There are plenty of examples of the Kings Behind the Wall waging war against at the North. Mance has the biggest Wildlings army anyone remembers. He does have enough men to challenge the North at full strength. Of course he knew they wouldn't be welcomed by the Northeners - he came ready for war. With 100k men.

4, As you say, they're desperate - what other option do they have?

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On ‎21‎/‎05‎/‎2016 at 6:11 PM, Gala said:

Well, actually, that's exactly why they killed him... The letter and marching to Winterfell - was  a "last drop", and an occasion/opportunity...because I really do not think they were acting on the spur of the moment... so to speak. It was definitely a plan or a plot and they were discussing this act. 

And if I am not mistaken, Ramsey Bolton openly THREATENED the Lord Commander of the Watch. "The NIghts Watch takes no part in the wars of the realm" goes both ways, if I am not mistaken. The realm does not command the Watch. I bet Joer Mormont won't obey the kings command if he thought it was agains the Watch. After all, the Night's Watch/brothers has/have a special status. This was actually said few times in the books.

What doesn't make sense was their timing.  Out in the open, in front of everyone like that.  I do think there is a possibility that Bowen Marsh et al were given a choice.  Kill Jon Snow or else.  Otherwise the whole plot is ridiculous as they'd kill him in a far more subtle way.

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