Benjen Stark buried the Dragonglass weapons and the Horn of Winter near the Fist of First Men. Where did Benjen get the Horn of Winter? From the crypts of Winterfell of course.
I believe Benjen Stark went digging in the crypts when he came to Winterfell for the celebrations during King Robert’s trip up North.
It would have been very easy for Benjen to go unnoticed and slip away down to the crypts with all the excitement of the King & Queen’s visit. Benjen used this opportunity to retrieve the horn, and then left a few days later with Jon, Tyrion and a couple others, returning to the Wall.
Almost immediately after their arrival at the Wall, Benjen went out on a ranging from which he never returned. Jon wanted to go with him but Benjen told him not a chance.
I believe Benjen either definitely knew he was not coming back, or at least knew there was a very good chance he was not returning.
I further believe it was on this particular ranging that Benjen buried the Horn of Joramun, wrapped in his Nights Watch cloak, along with the cache of Dragonglass weapons.
Later in the story, Quorin Halfhand returns from a ranging and tells Old Bear Mormont that Mance and the Free Folk had been digging holes in the snow all over the mountains, searching for something, but what that something was, the Halfhand did not know what. The Halfhand requested (demanded) Jon join him and his crew as they went searchng for Mance to see if they could figure out what The King Beyond The Wall was searching for.
This is when Jon was later captured by the Free Folk (Ygritte).
I believe Mance had heard, or suspected, the Horn was buried somewhere near the Frostfangs, or the mountains North of the Wall. This is why the Free Folk were digging holes all over the place up in the mountains North of the Wall earlier in the A Song of Ice and Fire story. Whether Mance thought the horn had been buried only recently, or for years or decades, we do not know.
Mance later tells Jon he has found the Horn of Joramun, although Tormund appears not to believe this when Jon mentions this further on in the story. I believe Tormund laughs and says something along the lines of ‘oh did he now?” when Jon brings it up.
In the books it was Ghost who actually found the cache of dragonglass and horn wrapped in the NW cloack, when he and Jon were North of the Wall, I beieve when they were at or very close to the Fist of the First men.
Also In the books, the bundle had only been buried for a couple weeks or so as Jon noted the cloak had not yet begun to decompose. He brings the bundle to Castle Black, cleans it all up, hands out arrowheads to a few friends, gives the horn to Sam, and makes a knife for Old Bear Mormont with a dragonglass blade.
At some point Jon gives the broken horn a lil toot but later says no sound came out.
I believe the Horn of Joramun is the old cracked horn which Jon gave Sam from the Dragonglass cache, the one with the bronze on it, which was the metal they used back at the time the Long Night ended.
Mance did not find the Horn, and something led him to check the crypts of Winterfell. But by then, the Horn was long gone and was in the possession of Jon, and then Sam.
This is why in A Dance With Dragons, Mance disguied himself as ‘Abel’ and went digging in the crypts of Winterfell ……. searching for the Horn of Joramun. Mance did not know that Benjen Stark had already found it in the crypts of Winterfell and moved it.
A few points to ponder here:
- We do not know whether Benjen met with a most unfortunate fate or if he intentionally disappeared. I am going with the latter since there is so little information about him. As they say ‘loose lips sink ships’ … well I believe the S.S. Benjen lives and prospers somewhere, and we will see him again
- Since Benjen relocated the horn, he must have had some awareness around the possibility of Mance eventually continuing is his search for the horn in the crypts … which we find in A Dance With Dragons is exactly what Mance plans on doing
Which brings me back to wondering what the heck the Horn of Winter actually does 🙂 … a post for another day
As a side note: In the books, there is NOT A CHANCE Benjen is Coldhands. That is a show deviation. ‘Show Benjen’ is filling in some of ‘book Coldhands’ roles but the two, on page at least, are entirely separate entities. The fact the show went there and portrayed Benjen as Coldhands is further proof they are feeding the Benjen is Coldhands red herring in an effort to make us stop questioning anything to do with Benjen
Never stop questioning lol