Game Of Thrones: “The Watchers On The Wall” [s4e9]

Castle Black doesn’t have the greatest defences on the South side because it’s the law. A long time ago, an ex-commander tried to carve the Wall and the Gift into his own little kingdom. Since then, it’s been decreed that the castles at the wall will have no significant Southern fortifications.

Like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and any number of other movie/TV adaptations, stuff generally makes more sense in the original books. If you’re looking for more depth, pick up the source material.


Thanks for this - I had totally forgotten about that part (it’s been a long time since I read this book), though I knew there was some reason for it.

Also, I liked the book’s way of defeating the southern attackers, as opposed to the show’s way of “Hey, we just managed to defeat all these hardened warriors despite the fact that most of us are completely untrained, way to go us!”.

How dare you neglect Dolorous Edd. Although, I suppose he’s used to it. Nobody ever paid him much mind, which is for the best, I suppose. -_-


Dolorous Edd will be the last living human in Westeros Bet on it.

Oh, in the book I cared about Dolorous Edd. And Maester Aemon. And Pyp. The television show isn’t doing as great of a job with that.

All of which would have to be cut and moved by hand. That not only takes time and effort, but money, and as the show made very clear more than once, the crown is deeply in debt. And, if they had gone to the trouble to fortify that particular spot, Stannis would have simply found the next weakest spot to target, as he knew King’s Landing very well.

And you’re looking at the tunnel in the wall thing the wrong way. If there were no tunnel, then Mance would have to cut his own, and they wouldn’t know which direction he was coming from; since there’s only one way through, they can defend that spot. (Mance could have chosen to cut his own tunnel anyway, but there could be traps hidden in the ice, like the scythe-on-a-chain in this episode; plus, that would have taken additional time, and not only is the top of the Wall patrolled, but he’d have to keep his people together for that much longer, and discipline is a problem for a group that barely sticks together on the best of days. That’s also probably why they simply didn’t go around either end of the Wall.)

The secret tunnel under the Wall goes into the Night Fort; it’s a secret (Sam had read about it in one of the books in Castle Black), plus the Night Fort has the reputation of being haunted.

Old myth, doesn’t take terminal velocity into account.

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The terminal velocity of a rock is going to be pretty high. What I gather from various sources is that an 800 foot drop probably isn’t tall enough for a rock to hit terminal velocity (which surprises me). But some quick calculations suggests a 1 lb rock is going to hit with roughly the energy of a 44 magnum and it would actually hit harder than a bullet because the blunt impact would generate a massive concussive effect.

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No. The impact of the bullet vs. the rock is going to be determined, in part, by the cross-section of the missile at the point of impact; a magnum bullet, being pointed, is going to be concentrating the kinetic force on a very small area. The area of the rock will also create more drag than that of the bullet.

No a bullet would deliver its energy more gradually as it penetrates and loses energy. Hence a larger caliber hollow point delivers its energy more suddenly than a pointed full metal jacket. A rock with only shallow penetration is going to deliver its energy all at once and it is not going to waste any energy by exiting the other side.

A rock falling 800 feet might be traveling at a third the speed of the 44 magnum. Progressively larger rocks would have larger kinetic energy and, in longer falls, they would have a higher terminal velocity because they have a smaller surface area by weight. At the other extreme, a coin that is denser than stone would fall more slowly because it has an extremely high surface area and would probably “flutter” as it fell.

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