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In the book A Song of Ice and Fire I came across this sentence, the meaning of which isn't clear to me:

"Have you drawn any watches this past week, Will? Yes,m'lord."

What does this sentence mean and what is a watch?

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What is the nature of the character? Is he a thief? –  Third News Apr 23 at 0:05

3 Answers 3

"To draw (something)" is to be chosen by lottery to perform a certain task, in this case night watch of the camp. See this for an example of what "drawing (something)" entails. Whether the marker for the lottery is a stone, stick, straw or some other token is irrelevant, what matters is that it is a "random" selection of a choice.

The typical process is:

  1. All prospective choices for a task or decision are grouped. All choices in that group have an equal chance of being chosen.
  2. Group members make a selection (a stick from the basket, a number from 1-10, etc).
  3. According to some predetermined criteria, a choice is chosen based on their selection.

Of course, the "lots" system was occasionally used loosely in history and it's equally as feasible that "drawing watch" was nothing more than being told, "Hey, you're on watch tonight."

According to Greek mythology, Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon used an extended form of this principle, sortition, to choose who would rule what sphere.

To your second question, a "watch" is close observation and vigilance, and those that engage in such activity.

Enjoy the books!

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thanks 4 response :-) helped me enought... –  Petr Kováč Apr 23 at 21:26
2  
Consider accepting this answer, if it was sufficient, as you say. –  Drew Aug 5 at 3:55

In this context to "draw a watch" is be be assigned guard duty.

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ty for answer :-) helpful –  Petr Kováč Apr 23 at 21:24

It means being assigned to guard duty.

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protected by tchrist Aug 5 at 3:35

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