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If Mance Rayder had to attack Castle Black to use the tunnel to get through the Wall and get out of the north, how did Stannis get his army across the Wall into the north without anyone knowing? If there was another way over the Wall wouldn't the wildings go that way too?

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He didn't go over the wall. He sailed. Stannis has a fleet of ships. He boarded them all and disembarked North of the wall with his army. Shown with red is the shortest route Stannis could have taken. (n.b. the image gets the point across, but is missing the stop Stannis made in Braavos, just off this map to the East of the Vale of Arryn)

His Hand is a former pirate and a very good friend with Salladhor Saan who gives more ships to Stannis in exchange for riches. Stannis also gets lot of money from the Iron Bank and with that money is able to buy more ships to replace the ones he lost prior to going North of the wall.

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    Some do. That's how Osha got into Winterfell, for example. But they don't have the ships to do it en-masse, and are less likely to sneak an army past than a few at a time. Plus, Mance is as interested in making a point as he is actually getting past The Wall. – KutuluMike Apr 14 '15 at 11:45
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    Because they'd need to build ships, and they'd be probably noticed in this long process. + do they know sailing? + do they know building boats? + are they organized enough to manage such a big team project (that's the point: wildlings do not knee, but it also means they're less organized, as shown by the very structured attack of Stannis, led by a master of leadership). – Evariste Apr 14 '15 at 11:45
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    @Daft because they didn't have the proper tools to build so many ships that could also transport giants an animals. They would first have to build a shipyard and docks. They probably even lacked the knowledge and proficiency to build a ship to sail the rough sea in the north. – Thomas Apr 14 '15 at 12:04
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    Don't forget that Stannis did stop at Eastwatch by the sea and got the help of the Night's Watch there for his attack. He used them to scout and to find the ranger's trails that allowed his army to "sneak up" on the wildling camp. – Telestia Apr 14 '15 at 13:18
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    Small nitpick. His hand, Lord Davos, is a former smuggler not a pirate, – System Down Apr 14 '15 at 16:52
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Stannis landed his ships at Eastwatch-by-the-sea, and took a significant portion of the garrison north of the wall from there to hit Mance's army in the flank.

The reason that Mance didn't go to Eastwatch is the logistical difficulty of moving that many men an extra couple hundred miles. They felt they could go through the wall, with fewer casualties than another few days of White Walker raids, and so they tried to.

After the peace agreement, the Mammoths and Giants are sent to go around the wall at Eastwatch because they can't go through the wall at Castle Black easily.

  • Giants can, we saw one inside the tunnels in the show. I also vaguely remember the onearmed smith fighting to the death with a giant in the books. Sadly the smith didnt make it to the tv show. – Cherubel Apr 21 '15 at 8:53

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