The book begins as three men of the Night’s Watch, Waymar, Will, and Gared, search for a small group of wildlings, uncivilized people who live north of the giant wall that protects the Seven Kingdoms. Scouting ahead, Will finds the wildlings dead. He returns to Waymar and Gared with the news and tells them the wildlings appear to have frozen to death. The recent weather, however, has not been nearly cold enough to kill a person. Will and Gared sense that something is wrong, and Gared suggests they build a fire. Waymar arrogantly demands that they press on. The three head to the location where Will found the bodies, but they are gone. A group of ghostly white figures, known as the Others, surround Waymar. He duels with one of the figures while Will silently watches from a tree. Waymar is killed, but when Will climbs down, Waymar’s reanimated body rises up and strangles him.