The Gift is the area in the North stretching fifty leagues south from the Wall that was given to the Night's Watch in perpetuity to support and aid the Watch. It is under the protection of both the Watch and Winterfell. The eastern lands of the Gift consist of large rolling plans that reach the Shivering Sea, while the western regions, which end at the Bay of Ice, are increasingly forested and mountainous.
A Brandon Stark, usually mentioned as Bran the Builder but sometimes another Brandon, gave the land up to twenty-five leagues south of the Wall to the Night's Watch for their sustenance and support. Brandon's Gift was farmed for thousands of years, but nature reclaimed many buildings and orchards as the Night's Watch decreased in number.
Thousands of years later Queen Alysanne visited the Wall with her dragon, Silverwing. She held the Night's Watch in great esteem and convinced her husband, King Jaehaerys I, to double the land, extending it out a further twenty-five leagues. The new territory was named the New Gift. The villages that existed in the New Gift payed their taxes in goods and labor to the Night's Watch, helping feed and provide food for the brothers. The New Gift contains many holdfasts, such as Queenscrown. Of the northern mountain clans, the Norreys live closest to the New Gift.
The wildlings or free folk often enter the Gift to raid, steal, and carry off women of the North. Because of the frequency of raids, many people have fled south into the mountains or the lands of House Umber east of the kingsroad, leaving the villages and holdfasts abandoned.
Lord Eddard Stark considered having new lords settled in the Gift to protect against the raids. Eddard believed the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch would approve of the idea if the new lords paid taxes to Castle Black instead of Winterfell, but the plan would have to wait until after winter.
A Game of Thrones
A Storm of Swords
During their journey to find the three-eyed crow, Bran Stark and his companions seek refuge at Queenscrown in the New Gift. While they are hiding in the tower, they witness a fight between Jon Snow and Styr's Thenns.
After the Battle of Castle Black, Stannis Baratheon informs Jon Snow that he intends to settle wildlings in the Gift, if they swear fealty. The officers of the Watch react negatively when Stannis makes his request.
A Dance with Dragons
References and Notes
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 40, Bran III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 76, Jon XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.