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Back at Castle Black, Jon and some of his friends are going to be graduated to full Night's Watch status, which has the benefit of, well, okay, so there's no real benefit.
But Sam is going to be held back, which means (Jon knows) that the new trainees will kill him without Jon's protection. So Jon goes to Maester Aemon to convince him that Sam would make an excellent assistant for him. Aemon says he'll think about it.