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In the Game of Thrones episode Eastwatch, Jon, heads to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, with Davos and Gendry to meet Tormund. While looking for members for his expedition, Tormund shows him prisoners, Beric, Thoros and Sandor.

I wonder what was the Brotherhood doing around Eastwatch and why did they let the Wildling Night's Watch capture them.

The Wildlings probably don't have any idea of Southern Westeros politics so they likely don't know who these guys are. And I don't remember being the job of the Night's Watch to arrest random travellers...

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    East Watch garrison has been augmented by Wildling reinforcements but it doesn't mean the Castle is manned solely by Wildlings. And Night's Watch does arrest smugglers and other criminals. With everyone going south, it would be suspicious that three men were going North. No Random travelers would do that. I'd have detained them too. They could be in league with the enemy – Aegon Aug 17 '17 at 8:50
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    NW are the "Lords" of Brandon's Gift and New Gift and the coastal areas of those lands. They have the responsibility to maintain law and order in those lands just like any Lord does on his lands. – Aegon Aug 17 '17 at 8:52
  • They do arrest smugglers and criminals to recruit them, not to jail them... And they don't have opinions on Westeros business and politics, so they don't care who's rebel, usurper, king etc... – Bebs V Aug 17 '17 at 8:59
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    no I mean actual arrest and execution of justice. Davos Seaworth was detained for smuggling at East Watch when he was a boy. His Captain was executed for Smuggling but Davos was set free as he was an Employee manning a ship and because of his youth. – Aegon Aug 17 '17 at 9:02
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    The recruits you are talking about aren't arrested by them, but by Lords of the realm. Since those prisoners are given a chance to join, I don't see why they wouldn't give the same chance to criminals they arrest themselves in their lands – Aegon Aug 17 '17 at 9:03
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"I wonder what was the Brotherhood doing around Eastwatch and why did they let the Wildling Night's Watch capture them."

Beric tells us the answer to this one, they were going beyond the Wall because the Great War is coming. Presumably they were going to scout the undead, attack some or for some other purpose. Or their Lord told them to go and help Jon.

Beric Dondarrion: We don't want to go beyond the Wall, we have to. Our lord told us the great war is coming.

Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 6, "Eastwatch"

"Why are these members of the Brotherhood detained at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea?"

Presumably because they were headed to Eastwatch to go beyond the Wall and they don't want to fight an extra few members of an undead army, they need all the help they can get.

Tormund Giantsbane: My scouts found them a mile south of the Wall. Said they were on their way here.

[...]

Tormund Gitantsbane: They want to go beyond the Wall too.

Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 6, "Eastwatch"

Lastly, even though the following comment is from Gendry I'm sure Tormund and co probably have the same attitude, they don't trust them. Why would three random people want to go North of the Wall? They're also talking about some weird flame god who commands them, yeah don't trust them at all.

Gendry: Don't trust them. Don't trust any of them.

Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 6, "Eastwatch"

As @Skooba points out in a comment below too Tormund saw that same fire god burn Mance so it's likely he doesn't trust them just because of this.

And Tormund had some experience with that fire god... When Stannis burned Mance, anyone operating under commands from the same god would be treated with suspicion.

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Three warm blooded men are trying to go north towards the army of the dead. Detaining them would almost certainly prevent them from becoming three cold blooded undead men and coming back to stab the Wildlings. Since they don't know who they are, they can't trust them, so the safest thing to do would be to cage them up.

Three less zombies to deal with, sounds like a good plan.

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