Lord Commander of the Night's Watch
Lord Commander of the Night's Watch is the title held by the most senior officer of the Night's Watch; his seat is at Castle Black. The Lord Commander of the Night's Watch is the final authority and oversees the entire organization. He is assisted by the maester of Castle Black, First Ranger, Lord Steward, First Builder, and other high officers under him. The Lord Commander serves in office until the day he dies. It is claimed that there have been 998 Lord Commanders of the Night's Watch, although the most complete list in the vaults comprises only 667. The plural form includes "Lords Commander" and "lord commanders".
It is strongly suggested[Citation Needed] by George R. R. Martin that the Lord Commander is usually a ranger. This may be gainsaid by a passage in A Game of Thrones in which Jon Snow is appointed a steward and not, to his disappointment, a ranger, and assigned as the personal steward of the current Lord Commander, Jeor Mormont. His peers take it for granted that this means Snow is being groomed for leadership. A combination of these two theories may indicate a "fast track", on which suitable candidates for the Lord Commandership may be placed, giving them experience in each of three disciplines, regardless of which they are initially placed.
When a Lord Commander dies, any sworn man of the Night's Watch can nominate himself or be nominated by his brothers for the position. To win the election the candidates are required to receive two-thirds of the votes of the Sworn Brothers of the Night's Watch.
If no candidate receives two-thirds of the votes, the choosing is repeated on the next day, with no time limit set, in fact there was once a choosing that lasted near two years and seven hundred votes. All sworn brothers of the Night's Watch have a vote, but since it is impossible for everyone to attend, the garrison commanders of those not at Castle Black cast the vote for them.
Lord Commanders during A Song of Ice and Fire
- Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander, elected in 300 AC by an overwhelming margin. Previously he served as Lord Commander Mormont's personal steward and took command of the defense of the Wall during the Battle of Castle Black.
- Jeor Mormont, 997th Lord Commander, elected in 288 AC, shortly after he joined the Night's Watch, called 'the Old Bear'. Led the great ranging in 299 AC; killed by his own men in the mutiny at Craster's Keep.
Historical Lord Commanders
- Lord Commander Qorgyle, 996th Lord Commander. He was of House Qorgyle, although his first name is never given. He died in 288 AC.
- Brynden Rivers, called 'Bloodraven', a Great Bastard of Aegon IV Targaryen and Hand of the King of Aerys I Targaryen. Brynden was arrested by Aegon V after the Great Council of 233, for the murder of Aenys Blackfyre. He was sentenced to death but was allowed to go to the Wall in 233 AC with his great nephew Aemon and several of the Raven's Teeth. He was elected to the post of Lord Commander in 239 AC, but disappeared on a ranging in 252 AC.
- Jack Musgood, know as 'Sleepy Jack' after 226 AC, when he was caught off guard allowing the King-beyond-the-Wall, Raymun Redbeard, to pass the Wall and was thus late for the Battle of Long Lake.
- Orbert Caswell, the "Black Centaur." Held the position for nine years.
- Lord Commander Hoare. He was of House Hoare, although his first name is never given. He refused to involve the Night's Watch in a war against the invading Targaryens, even to save his House. His brother, King Harren the Black, was slain by dragons.
- Robin Hill, one of the three Lords Commander who nearly destroyed the Watch when they forgot their vows in favor of their pride and ambition.
- Tristan Mudd, one of the three Lords Commander who nearly destroyed the Watch when they forgot their vows in favor of their pride and ambition.
- Marq Rankenfell, one of the three Lords Commander who nearly destroyed the Watch when they forgot their vows in favor of their pride and ambition.
- Osric Stark, a brother or son of a King in the North. He was chosen Lord Commander when he was 10, making him the youngest Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. He served for 60 years.
- Rodrik Flint, thought to make himself King-beyond-the-Wall.
- Runcel Hightower, tried to make the position of Lord Commander hereditary and pass the position to his son.
- The Night's King, 13th Lord Commander who converted the Night's Watch into his own personal army and led it in battle against the King of the North and Joramun, the King-Beyond-the-Wall.
References and Notes
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