Qhorin Halfhand is a member of the Night's Watch, a senior and experienced ranger who is regarded as an elite scout and soldier. He is known as Qhorin Halfhand or simply The Halfhand.
Qhorin is considered to be one of the best and most experienced rangers within the Night's Watch. He is called half-hand because he lost most of his fingers on his right hand in a fight with a wildling. This has forced him to train with his left hand, resulting in becoming just as proficient with his left as he ever was with his right. He was once a good friend to Mance Rayder before Mance turned traitor against the Night's Watch.
Qhorin is based at The Shadow Tower along the Wall but spends a significant portion of his time ranging beyond the Wall. He was stranded beyond the Skirling Pass during the last winter before the series begins. He survived alone in the wild for an entire winter, returning to the Wall once the snow thawed.
Qhorin leads a force of men north from the Shadow Tower to meet Lord Commander Jeor Mormont on his great ranging to search for First Ranger Benjen Stark and investigate the origin of the Wights that attacked Castle Black. They rendezvous at the Fist of the First Men and discuss the wildlings organizing under King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder. Qhorin sights wildling lookouts in the Skirling Pass and suggests using scouting parties to displace them. He offers to lead one personally. Jeor's steward Jon Snow asks to join Qhorin, but Jeor argues against it stating he is not a ranger. Jon defends himself saying no one else present has killed a wight. Sam offers to take on Jon's duties, and Jeor agrees to let Jon go.
Qhorin's party finds a group of lookouts and ambushes them. Jon hesitates in killing one, realizing the wildling, Ygritte, is a woman. Qhorin questions her and then leaves Jon alone to execute her. Jon does not return and Qhorin goes looking for him. He finds his tracks but is ambushed by wildlings while following them. His men are killed and he is taken prisoner. He is soon joined in captivity by Jon. He urges Jon to ensure that the deaths of his men were not meaningless and says that he could be a valuable spy in the wildling ranks. He then feigns anger with Jon to make him seem more sympathetic to Ygritte, and to make him look like a traitor to the Watch.
Later on, Qhorin realizes that he will have to sacrifice himself in order to facilitate the ruse of Jon deserting to the wildlings, so he stuns one of his captors and acquires a sword, attacking Jon with the seeming intention of killing him for treachery. The Lord of Bones lets them fight, and Ygritte gives Jon back his sword. Qhorin enrages Jon by insulting his parentage. After a fierce duel, Jon mortally wounds Qhorin per Qhorin's own instructions, who whispers to Jon "We are the watchers on the Wall" before he breathed his last, signalling to him that he has done the right thing. By killing Qhorin, the wildlings believe Jon has betrayed his oath and release him.
When Jon is put on trial before a panel of black brothers for his time with the wildlings, Ser Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt accuse Jon of murdering Qhorin and initially refuse to believe that Qhorin would sacrifice himself so easily, despite Thorne having considered Qhorin like his own brother. Maester Aemon, however, believes Jon's claims and he is spared
A ranger in the Night's Watch, Qhorin earned his nickname after losing most of his right hand in a fight with a wildling. Based in the Shadow Tower, he encountered the Lord Commander's scouting party at the First of th First Men and took Jon Snow under his wing. At Qhorin's urging, Jon Snow killed him to infiltrate the wildlings.