Qhorin Halfhand: The Valiant Soldier

Qhorin Halfhand is a brother of the Night’s Watch and a crucial character in the events on the Wall in A Song of Ice and Fire.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Being one of the best rangers and the second in command to the lord commander of the Night’s Watch, Joer Mormont, Qhorin Halfhand was respected and feared by his men. Having lost all fingers on his right hand except his thumb while battling a wildling, he trained and became an expert with the sword with his left hand. Qhorin spent a significant portion of his time ranging beyond the walls and even got lost the last winter before Jon’s birth. As the second in command at the Shadow Tower, he got respected for his bravery and sense of duty. He took an arduous journey with Jon Snow to learn more about the threat from the wildlings.

Qhorin Halfhand Details

Personal Profile

  • Date of Birth: There is no specified date of birth for Qhorin Halfhand.
  • Date of Death: 299AC at the Skirling Pass.
  • Manner of Death: Died at the hands of Jon Snow, who killed him with Long Claw.
  • Loyalties: Castle Black, The Night’s Watch.
  • Positions Held: Second in Command at the Shadow Tower.
  • Aliases: The Half-hand.
  • Hair Color: Grey.
  • Eye Color: Grey.
  • Elusive Fact: Qhorin was once stranded alone at the Skirling Pass for an entire winter.

Physical Appearance

Qhorin is a soft-spoken man with a fierce fighting nature. Even with most of his right hand gone, he is excellent with the sword and strikes fear in the hearts of both his enemies and the brothers of the Night’s Watch. He is tall and wears a faded cloak, and as an elite scout, he is one of the best watchers to have come to the Night’s Watch.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Clash of Kings

After Joer Mormont decides to go on a search for Benjen Stark, he puts Qhorin in charge of 100 men and asks him to rendevous with the rest of the Watch at the Fist of the First men. On the way, Qhorin’s men get into a confrontation with a wilding scouting party. After defeating the wildlings, Qhorin learns that Mance Rayder is residing in the frostfangs and searching for something magical to take the Wall down.

Qhorin meets Lord Mormont and advises him to send out three scouting parties to learn about Mance Rayder’s true purpose. He decides to be in charge of the party and personally chooses four men to join him as a group of lookouts. His men include Dalbridge, Ebben, Stonesnake, and Jon. 

Qhorin’s party travels to the Skirling Pass to reach the frostfangs undetected. He ambushes a small party of wildlings and kills everyone except Ygritte, a wildling girl. Jon decides to take her as a captive. Qhorin tells Jon to decide Ygritte’s fate, and he chooses to let her go.

Qhorin and his party get spotted by the eagle of Orell, and he tries to retreat but realizes it is futile. He then asks Jon to recite the oath of the Watch and tells him he will become a traitor when they get captured so that he can infiltrate Rayder’s ranks to discover his secrets. Dalbridge and Ebben get killed, and Qhorin and Jon get captured. Jon bends the knee, and after being asked to face off against Qhorin in a fierce duel, he kills him. The wildling party burns Qhorin’s body and their leader, Rattleshirt, takes some of his bones.

A Storm of Swords

After Qhorin’s death, Jon becomes one of the wildlings and starts gathering information on Mance Rayder’s actions. He meets Mance, who tells him that Qhorin was once a good friend. Jon also learns that Mance was a member of the Night’s Watch before he left to become the wildling king.

Jon escapes after a confrontation with the wildlings. He travels back to Castle Black and tells them of the wildlings’ plan to take over the castle. With Jon’s help, Rattleshirt and the wildlings get captured, but while in captivity, Rattleshirt reveals the details of Jon’s treachery to the Brothers of the Watch. Ser Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt accuse Jon of killing Qhorin and have him arrested.

Appearance in Adaptations

In the HBO series adaptation of A Song of Ice and FireGame of Thrones, Qhorin’s character got played by Simon Armstrong. Appearing in four episodes, Simon played the role excellently. Like the character in the novel, the HBO adaptation used a similar plot for Qhorin, making him die at the hands of Jon Snow, played by Kit Harrington.

Qhorin Halfhand: A Soldier to the Core

Honor, duty, and sacrifice are the characteristics that make Qhorin a very likable character in A Song of Ice and Fire. From his calm demeanor to his strong sense of duty, he is a character that expresses the nature of loyalty in humanity. His character seeks to inspire and show that though doing the right thing may not have the desired outcome, one should still do it because even though Qhorin knew that he would die at the hands of his captors, he decided to make his death valuable.


What happens to Qhorin after getting captured by the wildlings?

After getting captured, Qhorin maintains his allegiance to the Night’s Watch while Jon yields. He and Jon fight against each other. Qhorin almost overpowers him, but Ghost comes to Jon’s rescue. His throat gets slit, and he dies. Qhorin’s body gets burned by the wildlings, and Rattleshirt takes some of his bones.

Did Qhorin know Mance Rayder?

Yes, Qhorin was a friend of Mance Rayder. After he died and Jon went to the wildlings’ camp, he met Mance, who told him that he was once a brother of the Night’s Watch and was a friend to Qhorin.

Why was Qhorin called a half-hand?

Qhorin got called a half-hand because he lost four fingers of his right hand after battling a wildling. While fighting, the wildling attacked Qhorin with an axe, and he stopped the weapon from reaching his head with his right hand. He then shoved his almost impaled fingers into the wildling’s hands and killed him.

Why did Qhorin let Jon kill him?

After they got captured by the wildlings, Qhorin knew that Jon could only infiltrate the wildling’s camp if he killed him; this made him attack Jon.

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