Toad made a face. I hope not. I'm sick of looking at those ears of yours.
Ho, said Pyp. Listen to the crow call the raven black.
You're certain to be a ranger, Toad.
They'll want you as far from the castle as they can.
If Mance Rayder attacks, lift your visor and show your face, and he'll run off screaming.
Everyone laughed but Grenn. I hope I'm a ranger.
You and everyone else, said Matthar. Every man who wore the black walked the Wall, and every man was expected to take up steel in its defense, but the rangers were the true fighting heart of the Night's Watch.
It was they who dared ride beyond the Wall, sweeping through the haunted forest and the icy mountain heights west of the Shadow Tower, fighting wildlings and giants and monstrous snow bears.
Not everyone, said Halder. It's the builders for me.
What use would rangers be if the Wall fell down?
The order of builders provided the masons and carpenters to repair keeps and towers, the miners to dig tunnels and crush stone for roads and footpaths, the woodsmen to clear away new growth wherever the forest pressed too close to the Wall.
Once, it was said, they had quarried immense blocks of ice from frozen lakes deep in the haunted forest, dragging them south on sledges so the Wall might be raised ever higher.
Those days were centuries gone, however; now, it was all they could do to ride the Wall from Eastwatch to the Shadow Tower, watching for cracks or signs of melt and making what repairs they could.