The Fist of the First Men

The Fist of the First Men is a hill in the Haunted Forest beyond the Wall. It was crucial to the Night’s Watch during the Great Ranging.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

After Samwell Tarly joined maester Aemon as a steward, he helped compile the maps for the Great Ranging to the Fist of the First Men organized by Lord Commander Mormont. The Great Range served two purposes; to find the remains of First Ranger Benjen Stark and learn about the threat of Mance Rayder, the King-beyond-the-Wall. However, the expedition turned bloody.

The Fist of the First Men Details

  • Region: Beyond the Wall of Westeros.
  • Year Built: The Dawn Age.
  • Creators: First Men.


The Fist got built by the First Men before the Andals and Targaryens during the Dawn Age. As the Children of the Forest and the Giants were the primitive inhabitants, the First Men crossed the Arm of Dorne and gained entry into Westeros. On entering the continent, they began cutting down weirwood trees; this led to conflict between the Children and men. During the Dawn Age, the First Men created the Fist and built ringwalls around it. After the pact between the Children and men, the Fist got constructed in the wilderness beyond the Wall.

Location and Topography

The Fist of the First Men is situated next to the Milkwater river in the Haunted Forest. It is a landmark for the brothers of the Night’s Watch and even the Free Folk. On the northern and western points of the hill are dangerous slopes that are unnavigable. However, the slopes on the East are calmer. A ringwall of grey stones is on top of the fort, and there is a brook at the base.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire Novels

A Game of Thrones

When Jon saves Lord Commander Mormont from wights, the commander gives him Longclaw, his family’s ancestral Valyrian steel blade. Upon learning of the threat from wights and Others, Lord Commander Mormont decides to go on a Great Range to learn more about Mance Rayder, the Others, and the whereabouts of Benjen Stark. Sam prepares the maps for the journey.

A Clash of Kings

Before traveling to the Fist of the First Men, Lord Mormont and his men gather at Castle Black and travel to Craster’s Keep. When the black brothers reach the Fist, they set up camp and begin searching for wildlings in the region. To better learn about Mance Rayder, Lord Mormont allows Qhorin to form a party of four with Jon included. Qhorin’s party heads to the frostfangs while the rest of the Watch remains at the Fist. To protect their territory in case of combat, the black brothers add bobby traps to the slopes of the Fist.

A Storm of Swords

Though the brothers of the Night’s Watch prepare the Fist of the First Men against invaders, they get attacked by wights and are overwhelmed. During the fights at the Fist, many black brothers lose their lives, and the survivors flee to Craster’s Keep to regroup.

After Jon Snow joins the wildling host, Mance Rayder learns of the fight at the Fist. On getting to the hill, he and Jon discover the remains of horses but see no human at the site.

Relevance in Adaptation

In HBO’s tv series Game of Thrones, the Fist of the First Men is a lone hill ancient ring fort located on the western edge of the Haunted Forest where the foothills of the frostfang mountains start. It got constructed during the time of the first Men. The ring fort has a simple circle of large megalithic stones. The simplicity of the construction is because the hill got built by the First Men, who had primitive technology. On top, one can get an excellent view of the surrounding countryside. Being a great place to see the wonders of nature and a possible fallback position for fighters, the Fist is a multi-faceted landmark. 

Though the Fist existed in HBO’s Game of Thrones, it had minute differences from the novels. In the books, the trees of the Haunted Forest came close to the base of the Fist. However, in the tv series, there is no forest because the scenes got filmed on a glacier in Iceland.

The Fist got used as a natural defensive position since the era of the First Men. As it was at the crown of a defensible round hill, the Fist was one of the more defensible positions used by the rangers of the Night’s Watch during a mission. The stones on the hill’s top look like the knuckles of a fist, and the entire structure looks like a fist getting trusted from the flat landscape around it; this gave the Fist its name. To reach the top of the hill, a steep climb on the stony ground needs to get made.

When Lord Mormont took the brothers of the Watch to the Fist, Grenn and Sam discovered a hidden cache of dragonglass weapons. However, the black brothers get attacked by white walkers. After the defeat of the Watch, Mance Rayder takes Jon to the Fist. They see the remains of horses arranged in a spiral pattern. With most of the ranging force dead in the battle with the White Walkers, a mutiny occurs at Craster’s Keep. Sam escapes with Gilly and heads to Castle Black. Later, he heads to Winterfell, where the final battle with the Night King occurs.

The Fist of the First Men: A Place of Death

Though the Fist protected the First Men from danger, it became a slaughter ground as the men of the Night’s Watch got defeated by wights. After their defeat, the remaining black brothers abandoned their vows as they were unprepared to fight the undead.


Why is it called the Fist of the First Men?

When the First Men arrived in Westeros, they fought with the Children of the Forest, and a pact got signed. Later, the Others came from the North. To save humanity, the Last Hero sought out the help of the Children. After the Wall got constructed, the First Men built the Fist as a rendevous point for the men of the night’s Watch.

Why did the Night’s Watch lose to the Others and wights at the Fist of the First Men?

The Night’s Watch lost to the wights because they got outnumbered by a large host of White Walkers. As Lord Mormont took only three hundred men to the Fist, they were no match for the wights that flocked to the Fist. 

How many men got killed at the Fist?

Out of the three hundred men of the Night’s Watch that reached the Fist, only about fifty returned to Craster’s Keep. The rest got killed in battle; this led to a mutiny and the death of Lord Mormont and Craster.

Did the Last Hero get killed during the Long Night?

It is unknown if the Last Hero survived the Long Night, but one thing is sure, he reached the Children of the Forest and got them to fight for Westeros during the Long Night.

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