Why did only Stannis come to defend against the Castle Black attack? Didn't Aemon Targaryen tell Sam to make sure that all the crows are fed and to send the word to all the kingdoms?

2 Answers 2


It was Stannis' Hand Davos that had persauded Stannis to go to Castle Black and save it. As Stannis himself comments

If not for my Hand I might not have come at all....he reminded me of my duty when all I could think of was my rights. I had the cart before the horse, Davos said. I was trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, when I should have been trying to save the kingdom to win the throne
p483 A Storm of Swords, 2:Blood and Gold

As also stated by Stannis, he knew he had to go to Castle Black

Stannis pointed North "There is where I'll find the foe I was born to fight"
p483 A Storm of Swords, 2:Blood and Gold

Stannis also had other reasons for going to defend Castle Black

  1. He wanted Jon to take Winterfell so that he would have a foothold in the North, the largest region in the kingdom. This enabled him to continue his fight beyond the wall while having someone he trusted as Lord of Winterfell.
  2. By claiming the North it gave Stannis more legitimacy as he seen it. It also gave him access to valuable resources which he badly needed, especially more men.
  3. Melisandre who also directed Stannis' thoughts and actions so she would've also persuaded him that he needed to go to Castle Black to defend it against the God of Night and Terror.

As to why the other professed "Kings" or Wardens didn't send anyone to help Castle Black can be explained as Broklynite states, that they were still fighting and if they weren't fighting then we were trying to rebuild. Everykingdom apart from Dorne had been involved in someway or another in the War of the Five Kings. So they needed to recoup their losses, rebuild their towns, castles and tend to their people and lands. Their armies would also have been short of men, therefore instead of sending men to Castle Black to help them, they needed to retain whatever men they had left for their own protection. Also there's a history of some regions, especially in King's landing, of looking down upon the Night's Watch and not really giving it much consideration. As we learn from Yoren (long, long ago) he is sent to retrieve prisoners from the many dungeons in Westeros who have the offer to take the Black, and who are the very lowest and worst of society.

  • +1, but the vale was not involved in the war, as far as I can recall.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 23:04

Several reasons that boil down to:

  1. He was retreating, licking his wounds, and looking to raise more men for his army.
  2. He was the only one of the various kings that took his duty as king seriously and saw that HIS lands and HIS people needed protection and it was part of his duties.

Stannis is a little bit different in the show, but in the books he is portrayed as a rather harsh man who fundamentally believes in duties and responsibilities. That is why he cut off the fingers of a man he trusted at his side, who saved his life. Not out of cruelty, but out of justice.

He decided to try to make it work for him by trying to raise more of an army. Ultimately, however, it was his duty as King, and he took his duties seriously.

Which is why some of the things he did at the end of the last season were rather...shocking, to say the least.

As for why the rest of them didn't come, the rest are people who were too busy fighting to become king or stay as King than to really worry about the lands they supposedly ruled. Which isn't a judgement- that's how civil wars work. They are nasty, vicious things that only end when one person stands triumphant and can get down to ruling. And classically, it sometimes happens that in ignoring those external dangers for the internal ones, they will find the State has been taken out from under them, and all the fighting was for nothing.

  • 1. Why would someone licking his wounds and retreating get into another fight? 2. What made him think he'd get more fighting men? (I'm not saying that's unreasonable, but it needs explanation) 3. It's debatable whether protecting against the Others is the duty of kings; after all, the war for the dawn predates modern monarchy - and perhaps all monarchy.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 23:08
  • @einpoklum I haven't reads the books in a while. As I recall, 1. Stannis was stiff-necked enough to do what he thought was Right and damn the consequences, and this was was Right. 2. He directly talks about getting other men. Something like getting Jon Snow to retake the mantle for Winterfell, being made legitimate and released from his vows by the king, adding soldiers from the North to Stannis' army. 3. Stannis directly addresses this in the books, saying that HIS realm was under threat and therefore it was his responsibility to defend it. If you disagree philosophically, contact GRRM.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 9:11

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