In Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9 titled "The Dance of Dragons" Jon and company arrive at Castle Black after a disastrous battle against the White Walkers at Hardhome. They leave the battle at Hardhome on boats. So they most likely stopped off at Eastwatch by the Sea and marched towards Castle Black. Here is a map of Westeros for reference:

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Theoretically when they arrived at Eastwatch it would make more sense for them to travel to Castle Black on the southern side of the Wall. But in the show we see Jon and company arrive back at Castle Black but they are on the northern side of the Wall. Why did they do this? It doesn't make a lick of sense. The White Walkers and the wights are all north of the Wall. They faced potentially more attacks by traveling on the north side of the Wall. Eastwatch and Castle Black are around a 100 miles apart so it would've taken several days to make that journey. That would've left them in danger by being on the north side of the Wall and they could've gotten attacked again by the White Walkers and the wights.

It just doesn't make logical sense to me. It feels like the writers only did this to falsely create dramatic tension when Ser Allister Thorne hesitates on whether or not to let Jon and company through the main gate back into Castle Black.

Is this just bad writing by the TV show writers? Or am I missing something? Cause for Jon to lead his people along the north side of the wall just makes him seem dumb.

  • Speculation - the North side of the wall is [supposed to be] kept clear of trees for some 50-100 yards - easier passage?
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 18:40
  • That doesn’t make sense to me. South of the Wall would still be safer and easier passage. Even if there are trees near the south of the wall it is still much safer than traveling along the north side of the wall.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 22:34
  • Good question, I thought it had been asked before but it looks like it hasn't. Might have the same answer as the (also not entirely resolved) question of why Stannis travelled west on the north side of the wall, not the south - presumably both parties landed fleets at the same spot by Eastwatch, and travelled the same route Commented Jan 20, 2019 at 15:37
  • Like that still doesn't justify traveling on the north side of the Wall though. The Night's Watch has been on the Wall for hundreds of years. They more than likely have clear roads/paths on the south side of the Wall from Castle Black to Eastwatch. That reasoning doesn't hold up that Jon decided to lead his people back to Castle Black on the north side of the Wall. It is much safer to travel on the south side.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 5:54
  • 2
    @Gabriel Safer from what? The White Walkers who they had a head start on that more than likely couldn't catch them versus the people of Westeros who would hate the decision? Marching them down from Eastwatch there will likely be wildlings who leave off into Westeros. It's easier to keep some nearby if you make them all enter where you're going to stay because your presence will keep some there. Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 9:30

1 Answer 1


Well, my answer is not verified by any official source yet according to me it makes much logical sense so as justify their choice to travel from the North side of the wall to reach Castle Black. All above comments assume the premise that they reached Eastwatch first and then started marching towards Castle Black but it nowhere confirmed that they landed in Eastwatch. They might have landed as soon as they were far enough from white walkers because Stannis's ships could support a limited number of wildlings also some of them were on small boats( like Jon himself) so they couldn't travel that long distance on the water. And also WUN WUN wouldn't have walked the whole way to Eastwatch on water. So since they landed at North they arrived at the North gate of Castle Black.

Alternatively, let's assume they did reach Eastwatch after that if they chose South path they would have to face people of The Gift and Mole Town where wildlings already have a bad reputation owing to the fact that they ransacked many villages around the wall so these people can be potential threats, on the other hand, Jon knows that white walkers are far and the North path is clear of any obstacle or potential enemies so they chose that way.

And Lastly I agree with you that irrespective of their choice of the path the writers wanted to show Alliser's disagreement with Jon's decision so they just staged that Castle Black scene.

  • That makes sense and would be the only logical reason. I don't think if they did land at Eastwatch that word would've reached The Gift or Mole Town that wildlings were traveling south of the Wall. They already were south of the Wall at that point and living in Castle Black. I may be conflating the books and the show but I am pretty sure in the show Wildlings were living at Castle Black before they went to Hardhome.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 16:04
  • 1
    @Gabriel, I believe you are correct. The remained of Mance Rayder's army was at Castle Black. Tormund was able to join Jon Snow on his journey to Hardhome at that point. It's not clear how many lived at Castle Blank nor how many people Jon Snow brought back
    – m1gp0z
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 20:58

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