Gods be good, I’ve made so many errors in judgment in my life. I could have gone to the Wall, you know. Well, obviously I am partaking of such an adventure now, but I mean on my own. They would have accepted me as a Black Brother. To be sure I would suffer mockery, but no worse than anywhere else. And on the upside I wouldn’t be wearing a glorified potato sack as I trudge through a freezing forest.
I once fancied that I could become a Maester, you know. Obviously I wouldn’t master languages, but surely I could learn the histories, I could heal and send ravens and learn the secrets of the First Men and bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit. When all you can say is Hodor, you cannot really make your intentions known to anyone. Nor can you particularly turn anything down because everyone just assumes your excitable utterances mean whatever they want them to mean, as though my impediment were some perverse verbal Rorschach meant to bolster their own silly ideas. What silly ideas? Silly ideas like walking to the Wall with a pair of toddlers, two wild animals, a crazy woman and two hitchhikers. With just short of no supplies. In the middle of a war. With Winter coming.
I’m not trying to be cynical, the world has far too many pessimists for my tastes and a dash of positivity wouldn’t do any harm at all, but everything beyond the Wall is the worst thing ever. I’d rather Hodor my own nuts than continue this journey, but it seems unlikely my opinion will be factoring into our decisions in any meaningful way. Beyond the threat of Wildlings, people so disenfranchised with the notion of any form of government that they opted to live in a lawless land of eternal Winter, there’s also at least anecdotal evidence of giants, wargs, mammoths and the Others. Snow monsters that want to eat your face off. Do you know where your face is supposed to be? On your face. Not in the stomach of mythical snow demons.
I’ve studied Maester Luwin’s maps and to the best of my recollection no place else in the world is home to face-eating snow monsters. And yet that’s the place we’re going on the recommendation of a pre-teen boy who dreams of crows that have three eyes. I could fathom stupider plans but I’d need time to sit down and devise them. Although once, when I was a boy, I had it in my head that I might be able to correct my speech issues by suffering some manner of head trauma so I ran face first into the wall around Winterfell. It did not work.
If even a fraction of Old Nan’s stories are true, not to mention what I’ve heard from Black Brothers who’ve journeyed to Winterfell, we have as much chance of surviving beyond the Wall as we do of suddenly discovering the combustion engine and revolutionizing the entire world in which we live. And don’t think I don’t know about the combustion engine, I know plenty. Hodor.