- "We need to teach 'em a lesson about they way we deal with their kind! Three dozen bodies with slit throats tossed off the top of the Wall! Seems like that'd be a good lesson!"
- ―Othell Yarwyck
Othell Yarwyck is First Builder of the Night's Watch and a member of House Yarwyck, a noble house of the Westerlands sworn to Casterly Rock. He is based at Castle Black and is tasked with organizing the builders in maintaining the Wall and the castles belonging to the Watch.
Othell Yarwyck is present for the induction of the new recruits at Castle Black. He accompanies Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly into the Haunted Forest to witness them saying their oaths of loyalty to the Watch in front of a heart tree. He is among the first to congratulate them on entering the Watch, and is also present when Ghost returns with a corpse's hand in his mouth. The party discover the corpses of Othor and Jafer Flowers and return them to Castle Black. He confirms Sam's discovery that the corpses do not smell, which is odd since they appear to have been dead for weeks. He, similarly to Jon, is in favor of burning the bodies immediately, but is overruled by Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, who desires them to be examined first.
Yarwyck remains at Castle Black while Lord Commander Mormont leads an expedition beyond the Wall.
Yarwyck is one of the five black brothers to "judge" Jon for his actions during his time with the wildlings. After Maester Aemon dismisses Jon, Yarwyck helps Aemon to his feet and to leave the hall.
A young boy, Olly, arrives at Castle Black and tells the Night's Watch how a wildling raiding party massacred his village. Othell angrily proposes that they should send a message to the wildlings by killing the raiders and throwing their bodies off the top of the Wall. Many black brothers agree with him, but Ser Alliser Thorne argues that striking back is exactly what the wildlings want.
Othell is present when Jon proposes to seal Castle Black's tunnel due to the imminent attack by Mance Rayder's army. Alliser Thorne reminds Jon that the builders are responsible for maintaining the tunnel, and not the stewards. Alliser asks for Othell's opinion on Jon's proposal to seal the tunnel. Othell reluctantly sides with Alliser.
Othell participates in the choosing of the 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. He counts the votes and informs Aemon that there is a tie between Jon and Thorne, which the Maester breaks by voting for Jon, much to the adulation of many black brothers. Later, when the newly chosen Lord Commander Jon gives Janos Slynt the command of Greyguard and he refuses it, as it is in ruins, Jon tells Janos that Yarwyck can spare ten of his builders to help him rebuild the fort, and Yarwyck himself agrees.
Othell is later present in the common hall when Jon informs them of his plan to rescue the wildlings at Hardhome. Othell is vehemently against the idea of bringing the wildlings through the gates, even when Jon informs him that thousands of women and children will die if they do nothing. Othell is unmoved and says it would be better for them to die as it would mean less enemies for the Night's Watch. Stannis Baratheon quietly mutters the word "fewer" to himself, correcting Othell's grammar.
When Jon returns from Hardhome with thousands of wildlings and lets them in through the Wall, Yarwyck is among the many black brothers who look at the wildlings and even their Lord Commander with disgust.
Othell later takes part in and helps organize the Mutiny at Castle Black against Jon, as many black brothers feel that he has forsaken the Night's Watch for the wildlings. After Jon is tricked into being trapped in a corner, Othell is the second, among Alliser, Bowen Marsh, Olly, and two other black brothers, who stab Jon uttering "For the Watch". He and the other mutineers then leave their Lord Commander to bleed out in the snow.
Thorne openly admits that he orchestrated Jon's murder, and cites that Yarwyck was one of the conspirators. Yarwyck says nothing and looks down, apparently regretting what he has done. He is later present when Thorne issues his ultimatum to Davos Seaworth and the black brothers still loyal to Jon. When the mutineers try to break their way into the room where Davos and the others are guarding Jon's body, Eddison Tollett returns with the wildling army and orders the mutineers arrested for their betrayal. Yarwyck is among those dragged off to the ice cells.
Later when Jon acts out his final order, hanging the conspirators, Yarwyck's final words are a plea to write his mother in White Harbor, asking she be told he was not hanged a traitor, but died honorably fighting the wildlings. Jon gives no indication that he will honor Yarwyck's request and hangs him along with Thorne, Olly, and Marsh.
|Game of Thrones Season 1 appearances|
|Winter Is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Game of Thrones Season 4 appearances|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
|Game of Thrones Season 5 appearances|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother's Mercy|
|Game of Thrones Season 6 appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
- Othell Yarwyck: "You'd bring the wildlings here, through our gates?"
- Jon Snow: "Men, women, and children will die by the thousands if we do nothing!"
- Othell Yarwyck: "Let them die, we got our own to worry about. Less enemies for us."
- — Othell Yarwyck and Jon Snow discuss the plan to let the wildlings through the Wall.[src]
- "For the Watch."
- ―Othell Yarwyck after stabbing Jon Snow during the mutiny at Castle Black.
- "My mother is still living in White Harbor. Could you write her? Tell her I died fighting the wildlings."
- ―Othell Yarwyck's last words to Jon Snow.
Behind the scenes
During Season 1 it was believed that Fortune was playing Bowen Marsh, and Dennis McKeever was playing Yarwyck, based on comments by Fortune and McKeever's character delivering a line said by Yarwyck in the books. Neither of them were absolutely confirmed to be playing these characters, however, as their names were never stated in on-screen dialogue or in the credits. McKeever reappeared in Seasons 2 and 3 in a background role in the Great Ranging, in which Yarwyck didn't partake. In Season 4, Fortune's character was directly identified in on-screen dialogue as Yarwyck, and Michael Condron was subsequently cast as Marsh for Season 5. This establishes that Fortune's character should always be considered to have been Yarwyck, while McKeever was simply playing an unnamed Night's Watch officer. While this might technically be a retcon, Season 1 never absolutely confirmed which characters these actors were playing, so it introduced no internal continuity errors.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Othell Yarwyck is described as lantern-jawed. It is not explained how he, a highborn westerman, ended up at the Wall.
He is not present when Jon is taken before Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt. Yarwyck, like Bowen Marsh, is initially helpful and supports Jon ever since he is elected to be the Lord Commander. To Jon's opinion, Marsh and Yarwyck are no lickspittles, and that was to the good, but they are seldom any help either. More and more, he finds he knows what they are going to say before he asks them.
Jon sends Yarwyck with his Builders to restore the Nightfort. Later he returns to Castle Black.
Both Yarwyck and Marsh gradually grow angry and disapproving of Jon's conduct, especially his decision to bring the wildlings south of the Wall and to accept them to the Night's Watch. Yarwyck claims the wildlings are more trouble than they're worth, sloppy, careless and lazy, and while there are some good woodworkers among them, they won't do as they are told. Marsh and Yarwyck also object to Jon's decision to man the abandoned forts with the wildlings: Marsh states that "We should be fitting them for nooses, not giving them our castles", and Yarwyck says "My lord had as well present us with a pack of wolves and ask which we'd like to tear our throats out."
When Jon consults with his subordinates what to do about the wildlings in Hardhome, they all object; Yarwyck claims it is a cursed place, even Benjen Stark used to say that. After receiving the distress message from Cotter Pyke, Yarwyck advises Jon to send Tormund there.
Yarwyck is in league with Marsh and the other who oppose Jon in his alliance with the Free Folk. He is present when Jon announces that he intends to ride to Winterfell and kill Ramsay Bolton. Jon notices him and Marsh slipping out with all their men behind them, but unwisely disregards that. It is not mentioned whether Yarwyck is one of those who stab Jon, following Wick Whittlestick and Marsh.
In the books, Yarwyck is currently alive and well.
The Night's Watch
|Former Lords Commander:|
|Castles of the Watch:|