Lord Commander of the Night's Watch

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Lord Commander of the Night's Watch
Office Leader of the Night's Watch
Region The Wall and the Gift
Current Holder Lord Jon Snow
Created During the Long Night

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 plural form includes "Lords Commander",[1][2] "lords commander",[3] and "lord commanders".[4]


Jeor Mormont, by Antonio José Manzanedo © Fantasy Flight Games

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. 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.[5]

To win the election the candidates are required to receive two-thirds of the votes of the Sworn Brothers of the Night's Watch.[5] If no candidate achieves that amount, the choosing is repeated on the next day, with no time limit set. Elections can last several days, and there was once a choosing that lasted near two years and seven hundred votes.[6]


The Lord Commander is the final authority of the Night's Watch and oversees the entire organization. He is assisted by the maester of Castle Black, the First Ranger, the Lord Steward, the First Builder, and other high officers under him.[7] The Lord Commander serves until his death.

The officer's chambers are in the top two floors of the Lord Commander's Tower.[8] The Lord Commander's squires are traditionally promising youths of good birth who are being trained in command.[9][10] The Lord Commander's steward is also his squire by custom.[11]


The Night's King, by Sardag ©

During summertime, historical Lords Commander had builders raise the Wall higher.[7]

The Night's King, the legendary thirteenth leader of the Night's Watch, had his name stricken from history.[12]

During Aegon's Conquest, Lord Commander Hoare did not leave the Wall to oppose House Targaryen, even though his brother, King Harren the Black, was burned alongside his kin by Aegon the Conqueror.[13]

Brynden Rivers was elected as Lord Commander in 239 AC but he disappeared while ranging beyond the Wall in 252 AC.[14]

An election for a new Lord Commander occurred circa 269 AC,[N 1] where Ser Wynton Stout was a dozen votes short of being elected Lord Commander.[15]

In 288 AC, following the death of Lord Commander Qorgyle, Jeor Mormont was elected Lord Commander.[16]

According to Samwell Tarly, Maester Aemon has known a dozen lords commander during his years of service at the Wall.[3][N 2]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Jon Snow becomes the steward of Lord Commander Jeor Mormont.[9] After the Lord Commander's Tower burns, Jeor moves his chambers to the King's Tower.[13]

A Clash of Kings

Jeor leads the great ranging of the Night's Watch beyond the Wall.[17]

When Maester Luwin advises Theon Greyjoy to surrender Winterfell and take the black, Theon imagines himself rising high among the Night's Watch and possibly becoming Lord Commander. Theon ends up defeated by Ramsay Snow, however, with the sack of Winterfell.[18]

A Storm of Swords

Jon Snow, by Josu Hernaiz ©

Jeor is slain during the mutiny at Craster's Keep.[19]

Through the efforts of Samwell Tarly, Jon is elected as Jeor's successor as Lord Commander.[2][20]

A Feast for Crows

There have been 998 Lords Commander of the Night's Watch, as of Lord Commander Snow. The oldest list in Castle Black's vaults, as found by Samwell, mentions 674 Lords Commander.[21]

A Dance with Dragons

Jon beheads Janos Slynt for insubordination.[22] After receiving a letter from Ramsay and announcing his intention to march on Winterfell, the Lord Commander is attacked during the mutiny at Castle Black.[23]

Lords Commander during A Song of Ice and Fire

Historical Lords Commander

Brynden Rivers, by Mike Hallstein ©

A chronological list of Lords Commander has not yet been published.

Uncertain era

  • House Hightower.svg Runcel Hightower, who tried to make the position of Lord Commander hereditary and pass it to his bastard son.[1]
  • None.svg Rodrik Flint, who thought to make himself King-Beyond-the-Wall.[1]
  • None.svg 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.[1]
  • Night's Watch.svg 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.[1]
  • House Mudd.svg 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.[1]
  • House Caswell.svg Orbert Caswell, who was called the Black Centaur and held the position for nine years.[21]

Before the Conquest

After the Conquest


The Night's Watch is pledged to take no part in the quarrels of the realm. Yet over the centuries certain Lords Commander, more proud than wise, forgot their vows and near destroyed us all with their ambitions.[1]

The Lord Commander of the Night's Watch is a lord, first and foremost. He must be able to treat with other lords ... and with kings as well. He must be a man worthy of respect.[2]

Stannis: You are only lord commander by my sufferance. You would do well to remember that.
Jon: I am lord commander because my brothers chose me.[26]

Eddison: I had a frightening dream last night, m'lord. You were my steward, fetching my food and cleaning up my leavings. I was lord commander, with never a moment's peace.
Jon: Your nightmare, my life.[27]


  1. In late 299 AC, Maester Aemon tells Jon Snow that "thirty years ago" Ser Wynton Stout was almost elected as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch (A Storm of Swords, Jon VIII). This election thus occurred circa 269 AC.
  2. As Aemon served from 233 AC to 300 AC, four out of these dozen lords commander are known: Brynden Rivers, Lord Commander Qorgyle, Jeor Mormont, and Jon Snow.


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Night's Watch. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Night's Watch. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.