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[[File:The wall by MarcSimonetti.jpg|350px|thumb]]
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{{Organization
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| Name = Night's Watch
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| image = [[File:Night's Watch.svg|250px|center]]
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| image_caption = The chargeless black shield of the Night's Watch
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| Symbol = Black
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| Type = [[Sworn Brother]]hood<br>Military order
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| Seat = [[Castle Black]]<br>[[Nightfort]] (historical)
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| Region = [[Gift]]
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| Allegiance =
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| Current_Leader = [[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch|Lord Commander]] [[Jon Snow]]
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| Founder =
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| Founded = [[Age of Heroes]]
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| Disbanded =
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| Reorganized =
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}}
  
The '''Night's Watch''' is the military order, which is dedicated to holding the [[Wall]], the immense fortification which on the northern border of the [[Seven Kingdoms]]; and defending the realms of man from what lies North of the wall.  
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[[File:The wall by MarcSimonetti.jpg|350px|thumb|The Wall by Marc Simonetti ©]]
The order foundation dates back to the [[Age of Heroes]], at the time when the [[Others]] were pushed back. The men of Night's Watch wear only black.
 
  
==History==
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The '''Night's Watch''' is a military order dedicated to holding the [[Wall]], the immense fortification on the northern border of the [[Seven Kingdoms]], defending the realms of men from what lies [[beyond the Wall]]. The order's foundation dates back to the [[Age of Heroes]], at the time when the [[Others]] were pushed back. The men of Night's Watch wear only black, and they are known as '''black brothers'''.{{ref|AGOT|Prologue}} Recruits who join the Watch are said to '''take the black'''.{{ref|AGOT|6}}
The Night Watch is probably the oldest order in [[Seven Kingdoms]], as it survived the fall of the kingdoms of the [[First Men]] following the [[Andal Invasion]] and the War of Conquest. It was founded over 8,000 years ago, after the period known as the [[The Long Night|Long Night]], when under cover of the endless night that lasted for a generation, the [[Others]] invaded from the [[Lands of Always Winter]], laying waste to much of Westeros, until the Others were finally defeated by the Night's Watch at the [[Battle for the Dawn]]. After having pushed back this threat, the Wall was built by [[Bran the Builder|Brandon the Builder]] in order to protect the Seven Kingdoms, should the Others ever return.
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==Organization==
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[[File:Nights Watch Stewards.jpg|thumb|350px|[[Stewards]] are responsible for an assortment of critical functions]]
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[[File:Nights Watch Builders.jpg‎|thumb|350px|[[Builders]] maintaining the [[Wall]] ]]
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[[File:Nights Watch Rangers.jpg‎|thumb|350px|[[Rangers]] defend against [[wildlings]] and [[Others]]]]
  
But other than the corrupting of the thirteenth [[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch|Lord Commander]] named the "[[Night's King]]", attacks by the Others never came. Instead, the most frequent attacks came from the [[Wildlings]] led by their [[King-Beyond-the-Wall|kings]] or on their constant raids and little by little, the Night Watch came to forget that its main mission was not the fight against the Wildlings, but against the Others. The Wall seeming quite sufficient for that, the purpose of the Guard was less and less obvious, and its manpower decreased more and more, with most of the [[Seven Kingdoms]] neglecting this border. Only the North, particularly the [[House Stark|Starks]] have the memory of the old days, but, even here, the Others are mostly no more than vague figures in stories told to frighten children.
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===Structure===
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:{{Main|Stewards|Builders|Rangers}}
  
Before the time of [[Aegon I Targaryen|Aegon I]] conquered Westeros, the Night's Watch boasted nineteen castles along the hundred leagues of the Wall, accounting over ten thousand men at arms with Castle Black quartered five thousand fighting men with all their horses, servants, and equipment. The highborn of the North have traditionally considered it an honor to serve on the Wall; many younger sons of northern families, who were not in line of succession, would have take the vow. Today, only three castles remain in use and the Night's Watch number in fewer than 1,000 men. Not only that, but the Night's Watch is now largely made up of the misfits of the kingdoms: peasants, debtors, poachers, rapers, thieves, and bastards. Only a few of the noble and knightly houses have members at Night's Watch most high-born that serve were sent because they fought on the wrong side of a war or fell afoul of political machinations.
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The Night's Watch consists of three orders: [[rangers]], [[builders]], and [[stewards]]. All are subject to the [[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch]], and each of the three orders is led by its own officer, the [[First Ranger]], the [[First Builder]], and the [[Lord Steward]], respectively. These officers are appointed by the lord commander.{{Ref|aCoK|6}}
  
<!-- missing more uptodate info including, info from Jeor Mormont entry about the force decline. here or in another section-->
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* [[Stewards]] are responsible for an assortment of critical functions, providing vital day-to-day services. They hunt and farm, tend horses, gather firewood, cook meals, make clothing, maintain weapons, and bring supplies needed by the Night's Watch from the South.{{Ref|aGoT|41}} Like other members of the Watch, the stewards must be ready to fight at a moment's notice, and all have received at least basic combat training. [[Bowen Marsh]] serves as the [[Lord Steward]] or First Steward.
  
==Organization==
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* [[Builders]] are responsible for tending to and maintaining the Wall and its castles. The order provides masons, carpenters, miners, and woodsmen to this end.{{Ref|aGoT|41}} [[Othell Yarwyck]] leads them as the [[First Builder]].
===Structure===
 
The Night's Watch consists of three orders: Rangers, Builders and Stewards.  All of them are subject to the [[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch|Lord Commander]] and Each of the three orders is led by its own officer, called First Ranger, First Builder, and First Steward. These officers are appointed by the Lord Commander.{{Ref|aCoK|6}}
 
  
* '''Rangers''', The rangers are the main fightin force, they are adept at surviving in the wilderness and are tasked with scouting and patrolling the [[Haunted Forest]] beyond the Wall. they are actively defending the wall and riding out to face the Watch's enemies, including the lawless [[wildlings]] as well as the mysterious inhuman [[Others]].{{Ref|aGoT|41}}
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* [[Rangers]] are the main fighting force, adept at surviving in the wilderness and tasked with scouting and patrolling the [[haunted forest]] beyond the Wall. They actively defend the Wall and ride out to face the Watch's enemies, including [[wildlings]] and legendary [[Others]].{{Ref|aGoT|41}} The [[First Ranger]] is [[Benjen Stark]].
  
* '''Builders''', The builders are responsible for maintaining the Wall, the castles and the equipment.They provide masons, carpenters, miners, and woodsmen. {{Ref|aGoT|41}}  
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Recruiters for the Night's Watch are called [[wandering crow]]s.{{Ref|acok|6}} The organization also includes [[septon]]s, [[maesters]], and, at [[Eastwatch-by-the-Sea]], sailors. Because brothers come from throughout the [[Seven Kingdoms]] or even [[Essos]], there is an unspoken pact to not discuss politics or former loyalties.{{Ref|ACOK|6}}
  
* '''Stewards''', is the largest of the three orders, The Stewards are responsible for an assortment of critical functions, providing vital day-to-day services. They hunt and farm, tend horses, gather firewood, cook meals, make clothing, maintain weapons and lastly they conduct trade with the south, bringing back to the Wall all of the supplies needed by the Night’s Watch.{{Ref|aGoT|41}} like other members of the Watch, the stewards must be ready to fight at a moment’s notice, and all have received at least basic combat training.<br> Among the Stewards, those with skill in sums or reading or writing might be given specialised tasks as well. Few enough are literate, and the Watch has a purpose for every man. Stewards also serve as attendants and squires for the high officers of the Watch, such as the Lord Commander. In short, the entire administration of the Night’s Watch is in the hands of the Stewards.
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One blast of a sentry's horn represents returning rangers,{{Ref|AGOT|52}}{{ref|ASOS|Prologue}} while two are used for wildlings{{ref|ADWD|49}} and three for [[Others]].{{ref|ASOS|18}} Two long blasts followed by a short one are used as a call to mount horses.{{ref|ASOS|18}}
  
 
===Leadership===
 
===Leadership===
The '''[[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch|Lord Commander]]''' of the Night's Watch is the final authority and oversees the entire order. Any man of the Night's Watch can be nominated to be the Lord Commander; a Lord Commander serves in office until the day he dies, when a new Lord Commander is elected by the men of the Watch. It is strongly suggested by the author 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. 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 Lordship Commander may be placed, giving them experience in each of three disciplines, regardless of in which they are initially placed. Ultimately, though, as detailed elsewhere, the position of Lord Commander is filled by an election, so no-one, even fast-tracked, can be guaranteed it.
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The [[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch]] is the final authority and oversees the entire order. Any man of the Night's Watch can be nominated to be the lord commander. A lord commander serves in office until the day he dies, when a replacement is elected by the men of the Watch.
  
The majority of the '''officers and leadership''' of the Watch pulls its men from the upper crust of Westerosi society. A aristocratic or knighted man is almost guaranteed a position as an officer in the Watch but there are several powerful and influential brothers that are of common blood such as the senior rangers [[Qhorin Halfhand|Qhorin the Half-Hand]], [[Blane]] and [[Cotter Pyke]], commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and a bastard-born pirate. The watch, as a meritocracy, is one of the few places in [[feudalism|feudal]] Westeros where a common man can rise high and even gain command over knights and Lords, rising as far as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.  
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At [[Castle Black]], Lord Commander [[Jeor Mormont]] is advised by First Ranger [[Benjen Stark]], First Builder [[Othell Yarwyck]], and Lord Steward [[Bowen Marsh]]. He also entrusts leadership to Ser [[Jarman Buckwell]], Ser [[Mallador Locke]], Ser [[Jaremy Rykker]], [[Thoren Smallwood]], and Ser [[Ottyn Wythers]].{{ref|AGOT|21}}{{ref|ASOS|Appendix}} Ser [[Denys Mallister]] is the commander at the [[Shadow Tower]], while [[Cotter Pyke]] has command at [[Eastwatch-by-the-Sea]]. [[Maesters]] advising the senior leadership are [[Aemon Targaryen (son of Maekar I)|Aemon]] at Castle Black, [[Mullin]] at the Shadow Tower, and [[Harmune]] at Eastwatch.{{ref|ASOS|Appendix}}
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An honorable opportunity to command, rise in rank, and enjoy hunting north of the Wall are reasons why men join the Night's Watch voluntarily.{{ref|acok|66}} The majority of the officers and leadership of the Watch are pulled from the upper crust of Westerosi society. A noble or [[knight]]ed man is almost guaranteed a position as an officer in the Watch, but there are several powerful and influential brothers that are of common blood as well, such as the senior rangers [[Qhorin Halfhand]], [[Blane]], and Cotter Pyke, a [[bastard]]-born pirate. The Watch, as a meritocracy, is one of the few places in [[feudalism|feudal]] Westeros where a [[smallfolk|common man]] can rise high and even gain command over knights and lords, rising as far as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
  
 
===Recruitment===
 
===Recruitment===
Once, serving on the Wall was honor a sign of selfless devotion to duty, with many [[Knight]]s, honourable men and nobles who took the black voluntarily. Today, the Night’s Watch is beginning to be seen as only a way to avoid punishment suitable less for Knights now than for the dregs of Westeros, salvaged from dungeons by traveling recruiters. Disgraced nobles, bastards, and even the unwanted legitimate offspring of nobles are also “encouraged” to take the black, making many of today’s Watch a surly and dissatisfied lot.
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[[File:Tim Truman Marched to the Wall.jpg|350px|thumb|New recruits being marched to the Wall - by Tim Truman. © FFG]]
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Once, serving on the Wall was honor and a sign of selfless devotion to duty, with many [[knight]]s, honorable men, and nobles taking the black voluntarily. The Night's Watch is now often seen only as a way to avoid punishment, suitable less for knights than for the dregs of Westeros. These men are salvaged from dungeons by traveling recruiters known as [[wandering crow]]s. Disgraced nobles, bastards, and even the unwanted legitimate offspring of nobles are “encouraged” to take the black, making many of today’s Watch a surly and dissatisfied lot.
  
Those who come voluntarily are free to leave during any time of their training but no men may leave after he said the wovs "taken the black", desertion are punished by death. after taking the wovs, they cannot own any land, marry, or father children and the life is hard , they start a new life, with their previous crimes forgiven, their old ties are broken.
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Those who come voluntarily are free to leave during any time of their training, but no man may leave after he has said vows. Any deserters are sentenced to death. After taking the vows, the men of the Watch cannot own any land, marry, or father children. Men are also encouraged to sever any ties left with their families, if they are lucky enough to have one.
  
Men of the Night's Watch are garbed all in black, a tradition that earned them the nickname "crows". While some use this name derogatorily, many in the Night's Watch have adopted the term for their own use. They are also called "the black brothers".
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Men of the Night's Watch are garbed all in black, a tradition that earned them the nickname "crows",{{ref|ACOK|14}} particularly among the [[free folk]], who often call them "black crows."{{ref|AGOT|37}}{{ref|ACOK|23}} While some use this name derogatorily, many in the Night's Watch have adopted the term for their own use.{{ref|ASOS|56}} They are also called the "black brothers",{{ref|AGOT|Prologue}} and in song they have been called the "black knights of the Wall."{{ref|AGOT|44}}
  
 
===Vows===
 
===Vows===
When the recruits are considered ready to "take the black", they have to take the vows, either in a sept if they are of the [[Faith of the Seven]], or before a heart tree if they follow the [[Old Gods]] of the Forest. This is the vow that binds a man to the Nights Watch:
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[[File:The Sword in the Darkness Erich Schreiner.png|''I am the sword in the darkness''. © FFG|thumb|350px|right]]
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When recruits are considered ready to take the black, they say their vows either in a [[Faith of the Seven|sept]] or before a [[heart tree]]. The vows are as follows:
  
{{Quote| Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all nights to come}}
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{{Quote|Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.{{Ref|aGoT|48}}}}
  
It's customary to finish a black brother eulogy with the words, "And now his watch is ended". <!--III: 375-->
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Brothers of the Night's Watch serve for life.{{ref|ASOS|45}} It is customary to finish a black brother's eulogy with the words, "And now his watch is ended."{{ref|ASOS|33}} [[Castle Black]] contains a [[lichyard]],{{ref|AFFC|5}} and [[knight]]s can be laid to rest in ancient tombs near the lichyard or burned on a pyre.{{Ref|ADWD|69}}
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===Military Strength===
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The [[Military strength|numbers]] of the Night's Watch have long been dwindling.{{Ref|TWOIAF| The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch}} During [[Aegon's Conquest]], the Night's Watch numbered ten thousand strong.{{ref|AGOT|60}} However, by {{Date|298}}, their strength has dwindled to less than a thousand.{{ref|AGOT|21}} Of these thousand, six hundred are stationed at [[Castle Black]], two hundred at the [[Shadow Tower]], and fewer at [[Eastwatch-by-the-Sea]].{{ref|AGOT|21}}
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In late {{Date|233}}, when Ser [[Brynden Rivers]] was sent to the Wall, two hundred men went with him. Many of them were archers from Rivers's personal guard, the [[Raven's Teeth]].{{Ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V}}
  
 
==Possessions==
 
==Possessions==
 
===Castles of the Night's Watch===
 
===Castles of the Night's Watch===
[[File:The wall Stronghold on by MarcSimonetti.jpg|350px|thumb|Abandoned Stronghold of the Night's Watch by MarcSimonetti ©]]
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[[File:The wall Stronghold on by MarcSimonetti.jpg|350px|thumb|Abandoned Stronghold of the Night's Watch by Marc Simonetti ©]]
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The Night's Watch raised nineteen castles to guard the hundred leagues of the [[Wall]], although they have never manned more than seventeen at one time.{{ref|asos|40}} Today only three of them are maintained by an ever dwindling force. The castles themselves are closer to garrisons, composed mostly of barracks, stables, storehouses, towers and out-buildings, as they have no walls of their own (other than the Wall itself). They were purposefully built this way so the Watch could man only the Wall itself and focus on threats from the north. The Night's Watch feared no attack from the south because of their vow not to take part in the wars of the [[Seven Kingdoms]].{{Ref|AGOT|19}}{{Ref|ASOS|55}}
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Due to manpower shortages, the Watch only mans the [[Shadow Tower]], [[Castle Black]], and [[Eastwatch-by-the-Sea|Eastwatch]].{{ref|AGOT|21}} Patrols between the castles used to be more regular, but as the manpower of the Night's Watch diminished, so did the number of patrols.{{ref|ASOS|26}} Now the Watch uses mules to ride atop the Wall, as the paths have not been graveled between the older castles in many years. The mules are bred at Eastwatch and are specially trained for their duties.{{Ref|aSoS|26}}
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[[File:The_Wall Castles.jpg|350px|thumb|Castles along the Wall and the surrounding area]]
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The castles are listed from west to east:
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*[[Westwatch-by-the-Bridge]]
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*[[Shadow Tower]], the most western castle still currently in use. By {{Date|298}}, it is garrisoned by two hundred men.{{ref|agot|21}}
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*[[Sentinel Stand]]
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*[[Greyguard]]
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*[[Stonedoor]]
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*[[Hoarfrost Hill]]
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*[[Icemark]]
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*[[Nightfort]], the oldest and largest castle of the Night's Watch, which was abandoned during the reign of King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]] due to the high costs needed to maintain it.{{ref|ASOS|56}} It houses the [[Black Gate]], a secret way through the Wall sealed by a magical ancient door fashioned from [[weirwood]], which only opens to a sworn brother of the Night's Watch.
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*[[Deep Lake]], located seven miles east of the Nightfort. Originally meant as a replacement to the Nightfort. It was paid for by Queen [[Alysanne Targaryen]], and built by men sent to the Wall by King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]].{{ref|asos|56}}
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*[[Queensgate]], originally called ''Snowgate''. The castle was renamed after Queen Alysanne Targaryen visited.{{ref|asos|41}}
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*[[Castle Black]], one of the three castles currently still in use. Castle Black is located at the northern end of the [[kingsroad]],{{Ref|AGOT|19}}<ref>''[[A Storm of Swords]]'', [[A Storm of Swords-Map of Beyond the Wall|Map of Beyond the Wall]]</ref> and an eastern road leads toward Eastwatch.{{ref|AFFC|5}} By {{Date|298}}, it is held by six hundred brothers.{{ref|agot|21}}
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*[[Oakenshield (Wall)|Oakenshield]]
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*[[Woodswatch-by-the-Pool]]
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*[[Sable Hall]]
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*[[Rimegate]]
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*[[Long Barrow]]
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*[[Torches]]
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*[[Greenguard]]
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*[[Eastwatch-by-the-Sea]], also called ''Eastwatch'' for short, is the third of the three castles currently in use by the Night's Watch. Eastwatch is a port, and has the smallest standing garrison, being garrisoned by less than two hundred men.{{ref|agot|21}}
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=== The Gift and the New Gift ===
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The [[Gift]] is a tract of land measuring twenty-five leagues southward from the Wall that the Night's Watch received from King Brandon [[House Stark|Stark]] of the north. For years the Watch farmed the Gift, but as their numbers dwindled there were fewer hands to plow the fields, tend the bees and plant the orchards, so the wild reclaimed much of the area. Wishing to restore the Night's Watch and reward its loyal service in defense of the realm, Queen [[Alysanne Targaryen]], wife of King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen|Jaehaerys the Conciliator]], doubled the extent of the Gift. Towns and villages that were located within the "New Gift" supported the Night's Watch with their taxes, rendered by goods and labor. In time, the New Gift lost population as people moved south, into the mountains or into the Umber lands east of the kingsroad to avoid wildling raids, further reducing the support structure for the Night's Watch and the Wall.{{Ref|aSoS|40}}
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The nearest point of civilization to Castle Black is [[Mole's Town]], a subterranean settlement whose brothel is frequently patronized by brothers of the Night's Watch.
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===Ships===
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The Night's Watch employs a small fleet at Eastwatch. Known ships include ''[[Blackbird]]'', ''[[Storm Crow]]'', and ''[[Talon]]''.{{ref|ADWD|Appendix}}
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==History==
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===The Long Night===
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The Night's Watch is one of the oldest orders in the [[Seven Kingdoms]], as it survived the fall of the kingdoms of the [[First Men]], the [[Andal invasion]], and [[Aegon's Conquest]]. It was founded over eight thousand years ago, at the end of the [[Long Night]]. Under cover of an endless night that lasted for a generation, the [[Others]] invaded from the [[Lands of Always Winter]], laying waste to much of Westeros. The Others were finally defeated by the Night's Watch at the [[Battle for the Dawn]], which is recalled in "[[The Night That Ended]]".{{ref|ACOK|21}} The Wall was allegedly built by [[Bran the Builder]] in order to protect the Seven Kingdoms,{{ref|AGOT|24}} with the brothers of the Night's Watch choosing their own [[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch|Lord Commander]] since that time.{{ref|ASOS|78}} During the [[Age of Heroes]] it was also recorded that the [[children of the forest]] gave the Night's Watch a hundred [[obsidian]] daggers every year.{{Ref|aFfC|5}}
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Other than the corrupting of the thirteenth Lord Commander, the so-called [[Night's King]], further attacks by the Others never came, however. Instead, the most frequent attacks came from the [[wildlings]], sometimes led by their [[Kings-Beyond-the-Wall]], and their constant attempts at raiding in the [[north]].{{ref|TWOIAF| The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch}} Little by little, the Night's Watch forgot that its main mission was not the fight against the wildlings, but against the Others.{{ref|ASOS|33}}
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===Hundred Kingdoms===
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The Night's Watch built nineteen castles along the hundred leagues of the Wall. At the zenith of its power, the Watch had seventeen of the castles manned,{{ref|ACOK|43}} with at least ten thousand men between them. Castle Black alone once quartered five thousand fighting men with all their horses, servants, and equipment.{{ref|AGOT|19}} The highborn of the north have traditionally considered it an honor to serve on the Wall. Many younger sons of northern houses, low in the line of succession, gladly took the black. Shields of nobles from the [[Hundred Kingdoms]] of Westeros were proudly displayed in the [[Shieldhall]] at [[Castle Black]].{{ref|ADWD|69}}
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Six kings were sent to the Wall after [[Nymeria's War]] and the unification of [[Dorne]] by [[House Martell]].{{ref|TWOIAF| Dorne: The Coming of the Rhoynar}}
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===House Targaryen===
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The [[Seven Kingdoms]] of [[Westeros]] were invaded by the [[House Targaryen|Targaryens]] during [[Aegon's Conquest]]. Although [[Lord Commander Hoare]] was the brother of King [[Harren Hoare|Harren the Black]], the lord commander maintained the neutrality of the ten thousand black brothers under his command, even when Harren died during the [[burning of Harrenhal]].{{ref|AGOT|60}} King [[Aegon I Targaryen]] became [[Lord of the Seven Kingdoms]] and ruled from the [[Iron Throne]] in [[King's Landing]]. Queen [[Visenya Targaryen]] modeled the vows of the newly-created [[Kingsguard]] on those of the Night's Watch.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I}}
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In the aftermath of the [[Dance of the Dragons]], twenty-two men were arrested by Lord [[Cregan Stark]] for the death for King [[Aegon II Targaryen]]. During this [[Hour of the Wolf]], nineteen of them, led by Ser [[Perkin the Flea]], were sent to the Wall by Cregan, with only Lord [[Corlys Velaryon]] being spared and Ser [[Gyles Belgrave]] and Lord [[Larys Strong]] instead choosing death.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III}}
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Guilty of treason after the [[Third Blackfyre Rebellion]], Ser [[Aegor Rivers]] was commanded by King [[Aerys I Targaryen]] to take the black. Bittersteel was freed en route to the Wall, however, and he fled to the [[Free Cities]].{{ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Aerys I}} Bittersteel's rival, Lord [[Brynden Rivers]], was sent to the Wall by King [[Aegon V Targaryen]] after the murder of [[Aenys Blackfyre]].{{ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V}} Bloodraven, many of his [[Raven's Teeth]], and prisoners from the dungeons formed the two hundred men who accompanied Maester [[Aemon Targaryen (son of Maekar I)|Aemon]], Aegon's elder brother, to the Wall.{{ref|AFFC|15}}{{ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V}}
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The manpower of the Night's Watch has decreased more and more, a process begun before the Conquest.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch}} Most of Westeros neglects the Wall. Only the north, particularly the [[House Stark|Starks]], have the memory of the old days, but even they believe the Others are no more than vague figures in stories told to frighten children.{{ref|AGOT|24}} The Starks resented King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]] granting the [[Gift|New Gift]] to the Watch.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Lords of Winterfell}} The black brothers arrived late at [[battle at Long Lake|Long Lake]], where the [[King-Beyond-the-Wall]] [[Raymun Redbeard]] was defeated by the Starks and [[House Umber|Umbers]].{{ref|TWOIAF| The Wildlings}}
  
The Night's Watch raised nineteen castles to guarded the hundred leagues of the [[Wall]], however they had never manned more than seventeen at one time. Today only few of them are maintained by an ever dwindling force. These castles, of course, are more garrisons, composed of mostly barracks, stables, storehouses, towers and out-buildings as they have no walls of their own(other then THE wall) and cannot be considered "true" castles. They were purposefully built in this fashion so the Watch could man the Wall itself and defend against threats from the north but be unable to repel attacks from the south should the Watch ever raise in rebellion. Presently, due to manpower shortages, the Watch only mans the [[Shadow Tower]],[[Castle Black]] and [[Eastwatch-by-the-sea|Eastwatch]] although there are plans to regarrison the [[Nightfort]]. The question of who will be responsible for this is a point of tension between the [[Jon Snow]] Lord Commander of the Watch and King [[Stannis Baratheon]]. Patrols between the castles used to be more regular, but as the manpower of the Night's Watch diminished, so did the number of patrols. Now the Watch uses mules to ride atop the wall, since the Wall has not been graveled between the older castles in a long time. The mules are bred at Eastwatch and are specially trained for their duties.{{Ref|aSoS|26}}
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[[House Targaryen]] fell during [[Robert's Rebellion]]. Following the [[Sack of King's Landing]], Lord [[Tywin Lannister]] gave loyalists such as Ser [[Alliser Thorne]] and Ser [[Jaremy Rykker]] the options of execution or taking the black.{{ref|AGOT|21}}
  
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===House Baratheon===
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By the reign of King [[Robert I Baratheon]], only three castles remain in use—Castle Black, [[Eastwatch-by-the-Sea]], and the [[Shadow Tower]]—and the Night's Watch's numbers have dwindled to fewer than a thousand men.{{ref|AGOT|21}} The Night's Watch is now largely made up of the misfits of the Seven Kingdoms: [[bastard]]s, debtors, killers, outlaws, [[smallfolk|peasants]], poachers, rapers, thieves, etc.{{ref|AGOT|13}}{{ref|AGOT|48}} Only a few of the noble and knightly houses south of the [[Neck]] have members in the Night's Watch, and most serve because they fell afoul of political machinations or fought on the wrong side of a war. However, there have been fewer wars since [[Aegon's Conquest]].<ref>[[A Game of Thrones (game)|A Game of Thrones RPG and Resource Book]], Guardians of Order</ref>
  
; Night's Watch castles listed from west to east:
+
The [[Warden of the North]], Lord [[Eddard Stark]], and the [[First Ranger]], Eddard's brother [[Benjen Stark|Benjen]], have discussed settling new [[lord]]s in abandoned holdfasts of the [[Gift]] if the lord commander, [[Jeor Mormont]], approves.{{ref|ASOS|41}}{{ref|ASOS|76}} Skeptical of the Night's Watch, some wise men have suggested that the lords of the north should be granted the lands beyond the Wall and tasked with defending against wildlings.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch}}
{| style="padding:5px; background:#F3F3F3; border:1px solid #AAA;"
 
|[[Westwatch-by-the-Bridge]] · [[Shadow Tower]] · [[Sentinel Stand]] · [[Greyguard]] · [[Stonedoor]] · [[Hoarfrost Hill]] · [[Icemark]] · [[Nightfort]] · [[Deep Lake]] · [[Queensgate]]· [[Castle Black]] · [[Oakenshield (Wall)|Oakensheild]] · [[Woodswatch-by-the-Pool]] · [[Sable Hall]] · [[Rimegate]] · [[Long Barrow]] · [[Torches]] · [[Greenguard]] · [[Eastwatch-by-the-sea]]
 
|}
 
  
 +
According to Grand Maester [[Pycelle]] the Wall is a world apart, and news oft reaches them late.{{Ref|asos|32}} Stories of the Night's Watch are collected in Archmaester [[Harmune (archmaester)|Harmune's]] ''[[Watchers on the Wall]]''.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Night's Watch}}
  
; Most notable are:
+
==Recent Events==
* [[Castle Black]], The largest maintained castle, located at the northern end of [[Kingsroad]] and is held by nearly six hundred Brothers.
+
===''A Game of Thrones''===
* [[Shadow Tower]], Most western outpost of the watch,  it's garrisoned by two hundred men of the Night's Watch
+
While ranging in the [[haunted forest]], Ser [[Waymar Royce]] is slain by [[Others]]. After rising as a [[wight]], Waymar's body slays [[Will]].{{ref|AGOT|Prologue}} [[Gared]] flees south of the [[Wall]] but is executed for desertion by Lord [[Eddard Stark]], the [[Warden of the North]].{{ref|AGOT|1}}
* [[Eastwatch-by-the-sea|Eastwatch]], Port town of the Night's Watch and has the smallest standing garrison of the Night's Watch.
 
  
 +
[[Jon Snow]]{{ref|AGOT|19}} and [[Samwell Tarly]]{{ref|AGOT|26}} join the Night's Watch as stewards,{{ref|AGOT|48}} while [[First Ranger]] [[Benjen Stark]], Jon's uncle and Eddard's younger brother, disappears [[beyond the Wall]].{{ref|AGOT|26}} The [[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch|lord commander]], [[Jeor Mormont]], asks [[Tyrion Lannister]] for aid from the [[Iron Throne]].{{ref|AGOT|21}} Two slain brothers, [[Othor]] and [[Jafer Flowers]], rise as wights at [[Castle Black]], but Jon saves Jeor during the night.{{ref|AGOT|52}} Jeor rewards Jon with a [[Valyrian steel]] sword, [[Longclaw]].{{ref|AGOT|60}}
  
* [[Nightfort]], the oldest and largest castle of the Night's Watch, houses the ''The Black Gate'' (an ancient door fashioned from [[weirwood]] which only opens to a Sworn Brother of the Night's Watch) through the Wall
+
Jon's father, Eddard, is imprisoned in the dungeons of the [[Red Keep]] after the death of King [[Robert I Baratheon]].{{ref|AGOT|58}} If Eddard admits to treason, Lord [[Varys]] and Queen Regent [[Cersei Lannister]] agree that Eddard can join the Night's Watch.{{ref|AGOT|65}} King [[Joffrey Baratheon|Joffrey I Baratheon]] surprises the [[small council]], however, by instead ordering Eddard's execution at the [[Great Sept of Baelor]].{{ref|AGOT|65}} Eddard's bannermen respond by proclaiming his heir, [[Robb Stark]], as [[King in the North]].{{ref|AGOT|71}}
* [[Deep Lake]], built 7 miles east of The Nightfort, and paid for by Good Queen Alysanne
 
* [[Queensgate]], originally called Snowgate, renamed to 'Queensgate' after Good Queen [[Alysanne Targaryen|Alysanne]] slept there for one night
 
  
=== The 'Gift' and the 'New Gift' ===
+
Jon attempts to desert so he can aid his brother Robb in the south, but his friends in the Watch convince him to return to Castle Black.{{ref|AGOT|70}} A [[great ranging]] is planned north of the Wall to search for Benjen, deal with the [[King-Beyond-the-Wall]], [[Mance Rayder]], and learn about the Others.{{ref|AGOT|70}}
"The [[Gift]]" is a tract of land measuring twenty-five leagues southward from the Wall that the Night's Watch received from long-dead King Brandon [[House Stark|Stark]] of the North. For years, the Watch farmed the Gift but as the organization dwindled there were fewer hands to plow the fields, tend the bees, and plant the orchards, so the wild reclaimed much of the area.  Wishing to restore the Night's Watch and reward its loyal service in defence of the realm, Queen [[Alysanne]], wife of King [[Jaehaerys I|Jaehaerys the Conciliator]], doubled the extent of the Gift.  Towns and villages that were located within the "New Gift" supported the Night's Watch by their taxes, rendered by goods and labor. In time, the New Gift lost population as people moved south, into the mountains or into the Umber lands east of the Kingsroad to avoid Wildling raids, further reducing the support structure for the Night's Watch and the Wall.{{Ref|aSoS|40}}
 
  
The nearest point of civilization to the Wall is [[Mole's Town]], a subterranean settlement whose brothel is frequently patronized by brothers of the Night's Watch.
+
===''A Clash of Kings''===
 +
[[Jeor Mormont]], [[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch]], personally leads the great ranging of two hundred men from [[Castle Black]], which is joined by a hundred men from the [[Shadow Tower]].{{ref|ACOK|6}} After visiting [[Whitetree]]{{ref|ACOK|13}} and [[Craster's Keep]],{{ref|ACOK|23}} they fortify the [[Fist of the First Men]] within the [[haunted forest]] as their base.{{ref|ACOK|34}} Jon Snow is part of a ranging party attacked by [[wildlings]], and [[Qhorin Halfhand]] convinces Jon to kill him and thereby infiltrate the wildlings.{{ref|ACOK|53}}{{ref|ACOK|68}}
  
===Ships===
+
The [[wandering crow]] [[Yoren]] leads a party of recruits, including a disguised [[Arya Stark]], from [[King's Landing]]. Most are slain [[Gods Eye town|near the Gods Eye]], however.{{ref|ACOK|14}}
The Night's Watch employs a few ships and occasionally combats with them.  Known Night's Watch ships include the [[Blackbird]]; the [[Storm Crow]]; and the [[Talon]].
+
 
 +
Ser [[Alliser Thorne]] is sent to King's Landing with the hand of a wight,{{ref|ASOS|6}}{{ref|ACOK|17}} but the hand rots and Tyrion, the acting [[Hand of the King]], ridicules Alliser's story.{{ref|AGOT|25}}
 +
 
 +
===''A Storm of Swords''===
 +
Jon Snow is spared by [[Mance Rayder]], the [[King-Beyond-the-Wall]],{{ref|ASOS|7}} and the youth begins sleeping with a wildling, [[Ygritte]].{{ref|ASOS|15}}
 +
 
 +
[[Chett]] conspires against Lord Commander Mormont at the Fist.{{ref|ASOS|Prologue}} An army of [[wights]] overwhelm the Watch in the [[fight at the Fist]], and the survivors retreat to [[Craster's Keep]].{{ref|ASOS|Prologue}}{{ref|ASOS|18}} Jeor and [[Craster]] are slain during the [[mutiny at Craster's Keep]], however.{{ref|ASOS|33}} Of three hundred men sent on the great ranging, only fourteen survive and return to the Wall.{{Ref|ASOS|48}}
 +
 
 +
Jon escapes the wildling raiding party and informs the small number of brothers at Castle Black of Mance's plan to attack the Wall.{{ref|ASOS|48}} Jon and [[Donal Noye]] defend against the [[attack on Castle Black]] by [[Styr]]'s [[Thenns]],{{ref|ASOS|55}} while [[Bowen Marsh]] commands in a [[fight at the Bridge of Skulls]].{{ref|ASOS|75}} The Watch and [[Stannis Baratheon]] join forces to defeat the wildlings in the [[battle beneath the Wall]].{{ref|ASOS|73}}
 +
 
 +
When the Watch chooses a new lord commander to replace the late Jeor Mormont, a total of 588 votes are cast, indicating that after the losses during the great ranging and the defense of the Wall, the Watch numbers less than six hundred men.{{Ref|aSoS|75}} Jon Snow is chosen after several rounds of voting.{{ref|ASOS|79}}
 +
 
 +
===''A Feast for Crows''===
 +
Jon sends Maester [[Aemon Targaryen (son of Maekar I)|Aemon]] to [[Oldtown]] to protect him from [[Melisandre]], and the lord commander instructs Sam to learn at the [[Citadel]].{{ref|AFFC|5}} Jon names [[Dareon]] a [[wandering crow]] to replace the missing [[Yoren]].{{ref|AFFC|15}} Dareon deserts in [[Braavos]], however, and is murdered by [[Arya Stark]].{{ref|AFFC|34}}
 +
 
 +
===''A Dance with Dragons''===
 +
There are plans to re-garrison the [[Nightfort]] and many of the other castles. The question of who will be responsible for the remanned castles is a point of tension between Jon and King Stannis Baratheon.{{ref|ADWD|3}} Jon beheads [[Janos Slynt]] for insubordination.{{ref|ADWD|7}}
 +
 
 +
Many of the brothers are disconcerted by Jon allowing wildlings to pass through the Wall and garrison the empty castles.{{ref|ADWD|21}}{{ref|ADWD|35}}{{ref|ADWD|39}}{{ref|ADWD|53}} Jon arranges the marriage of [[Alys Karstark]] to [[Sigorn]] of the [[Thenns]].{{ref|ADWD|49}} The lord commander sends [[Cotter Pyke]] on a dangerous mission to rescue wildlings at [[Hardhome]].{{ref|ADWD|44}} Jon asks for volunteers to march on [[Winterfell]] after receiving a [[Bastard Letter|threatening letter]] from [[Ramsay Snow|Ramsay Bolton]], but the lord commander is then stabbed by brothers in the [[mutiny at Castle Black]].{{ref|ADWD|69}}
  
 
==Notable Members==
 
==Notable Members==
 +
[[File:Marc_Fishman_JonSnowonwallI.jpg‎|[[Jon Snow]], 998th Lord Commander - by Marc Fishman © |thumb|250px|right]]
 
===Recent Lords Commander===
 
===Recent Lords Commander===
*Lord [[Jeor Mormont]], 997th Lord Commander of the Watch, known as "The Old Bear". During the later part of his tenure, he became increasingly worried as more rangers were lost beyond the Wall, including First Ranger Benjen Stark. Also, there were more reports coming in of wildlings either fleeing south or gathering in large numbers to escape or meet some threat. After an attempt to investigate in force, most of the brothers who went with him were killed at the [[Battle of the Fist of the First Men]]. Following this staggering loss, he was murdered by his own rangers during a mutiny.
+
:''See also: [[:Lord Commander of the Night's Watch]]
*Lord [[Jon Snow]], 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.  
+
 
 +
* Lord [[Jeor Mormont]], 997th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, known as "the Old Bear." Towards the end of his tenure, he becomes increasingly worried as more rangers are lost beyond the Wall, including First Ranger Benjen Stark. Also, there are more reports coming in of wildlings either fleeing south or gathering in large numbers to escape or meet some threat. After an attempt to investigate in force, most of the brothers who go with him are killed at the [[fight at the Fist]]. Following this staggering loss, Jeor is murdered by his own rangers during the [[mutiny at Craster's Keep]].
 +
* Lord [[Jon Snow]], 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
  
 
===Past Lords Commander===
 
===Past Lords Commander===
*'[[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.
+
* The [[Night's King]], the thirteenth Lord Commander, who converted the Night's Watch into his own personal army and led it in battle against [[Brandon Stark (Breaker)|Brandon the Breaker]], the [[King in the North]], and [[Joramun]], the [[King-Beyond-the-Wall]].{{Ref|ASOS|56}}{{Ref|TWOIAF| The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch}}
*Lord Qorgyle.  Lord Commander of the Night's Watch before Lord Jeor Mormont and a member of [[House Qorgyle]]. His first name is never given.
+
* [[Lord Commander Crowl]], served as Lord Commander over a thousand years ago.{{Ref|TWOIAF| The North: The Stoneborn of Skagos}}
*[[Runcel Hightower]]. Tried to make the position of Lord Commander hereditary and pass the position to his son.
+
* [[Osric Stark]], a brother or son of a King in the North. He was chosen Lord Commander when he was ten, making him the youngest Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. He served for sixty years.{{Ref|AFFC|5}}
*[[Rodrik Flint]]. Thought to make himself King-beyond-the-Wall.
+
* [[Rodrik Flint]], thought to make himself King-beyond-the-Wall.{{Ref|ASOS|55}}
*[[Tristan Mudd]], Mad [[Marq Rankenfell]] and [[Robin Hill]]. Three Lords Commander who nearly destroyed the Watch when they forgot their vows in favor of their pride and ambition.
+
* [[Tristan Mudd]], [[Marq Rankenfell|Mad Marq Rankenfell]], and [[Robin Hill]]; Three Lords Commander who nearly destroyed the Watch when they forgot their vows in favor of their pride and ambition.{{Ref|ASOS|55}}
*[[Osric Stark]]. He was a brother or son of a [[King In The North|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 <ref> [[A Feast for Crows]], first [[Samwell Tarly|Samwell]] chapter</ref>.
+
* [[Runcel Hightower]], tried to make the position of Lord Commander hereditary and pass the position to his son.{{Ref|ASOS|55}}
*[[Brynden Rivers]], aka "Bloodraven", Sent to the Wall ca. 233 AL by King [[Aegon V]], he eventually became Lord Commander.
+
* [[Lord Commander Hoare]], a brother of [[Harren Hoare|Harren the Black]], stayed on the Wall while his brother [[Burning of Harrenhal|burned at Harrenhal]].{{Ref|AGOT|60}}
*Unknown brother of [[Harren Hoare|Harren the Black]]. Stayed on the Wall while his brother burned at Harrenhal. <ref>[[A Game of Thrones]], [[A Game of Thrones-Chapter 60|Chapter 60]], Jon</ref>
+
* [[Lothor Burley]], Lord Commander during the reign of King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]], he welcomed and hosted Queen [[Alysanne Targaryen]] when she visited the [[north]] and the Wall in {{Date|58}}.{{Ref|FAB|Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies}}
*[[Sleepy Jack]]. He was Lord Commander of the Night's Watch when [[Raymun Redbeard]] crossed the Wall and was late for the [[Battle of Long Lake]].
+
* [[Jack Musgood|Sleepy Jack]], Lord Commander when [[Raymun Redbeard]] crossed the Wall and was late for the [[Battle at Long Lake]].{{Ref|ADWD|7}}{{Ref|TWOIAF| The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings}}
 +
* [[Brynden Rivers]], also called "Bloodraven", sent to the Wall in {{Date|233}} by King [[Aegon V Targaryen]].{{Ref|AFFC|15}} He rose to become lord commander in {{Date|239}}, serving until his disappearance during a ranging beyond the Wall in {{Date|252}}.{{Ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V}}
 +
* [[Lord Commander Qorgyle]], the 996th Lord Commander before Jeor Mormont.{{Ref|AWOIAF| Jeor Mormont}}
  
 
===Brothers===
 
===Brothers===
* [[Beardless Dick]]. A ranger.
+
:''See also: [[:Category:Members of the Night's Watch|Members of the Night's Watch]], for a complete list''
* [[Benjen Stark]]First Ranger and younger brother to Lord Eddard Stark. Missing beyond the Wall and thought dead.
+
* [[Benjen Stark]], First Ranger and younger brother to Lord Eddard Stark. Missing beyond the Wall and thought dead.
* [[Blane]]. A senior ranger of common blood, scout and second to the Half-Hand. Killed while in command of the Shadow Tower Men during the Battle at the Fist of the First Men.
+
* [[Blane]], a senior ranger of common blood, scout and second to Qhorin Halfhand. Killed while in command of the Shadow Tower Men during the [[fight at the Fist]].
* [[Bowen Marsh]]. Lord Steward of the Night's Watch. Led a successful but costly battle against wildling raiders in the [[Gap]], west of the Shadow Tower.
+
* [[Bowen Marsh]], Lord Steward of the Night's Watch. Leads a successful but costly defense in the [[fight at the Bridge of Skulls]].
* [[Chett]]. Former steward to [[Maester Aemon]] until Samwell Tarly was raised to the post. Sent to the pens to take care of the dogs. Later, he conspired to kill Jeor Mormont, but was slain and turned into a wight..
+
* [[Chett]], former steward to Maester [[Aemon Targaryen (son of Maekar I)|Aemon]] until Samwell Tarly is raised to the post. Sent to the pens to take care of the dogs. He conspires to kill Jeor Mormont at the [[Fist of the First Men]], but is slain and turned into a wight.
* [[Cotter Pyke]]. Commanding at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
+
* [[Cotter Pyke]], commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
* [[Donal Noye]]. One-armed blacksmith at Castle Black. He was personal blacksmith to [[House Baratheon]] and made Robert's warhammer before losing an arm during Greyjoy's Rebellion. He died fighting Mag the Mighty, King of the Giants, underneath the Wall during the [[Battle of Castle Black]].  
+
* [[Donal Noye]], one-armed blacksmith at Castle Black. He was personal blacksmith to [[House Baratheon]] and made Robert's warhammer before losing an arm during the [[siege of Storm's End]]. He dies killing [[Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg]] in the tunnel underneath the Wall during the [[attack on Castle Black]].  
* [[Eddison Tollett]]. A steward, called "Dolorous Edd" for his sarcastic and black humor.
+
* [[Eddison Tollett]], a steward, called "Dolorous Edd" for his sarcastic and black humor.
* [[Jarmen Buckwell]]. A senior ranger. Survived the [[Battle of the Fist of the First Men]] and retreated back to Castle Black.<ref>[[A Storm of Swords]], [[A Storm of Swords-Chapter 48|Chapter 48]], Jon</ref>
+
* [[Jarmen Buckwell]], a senior ranger. Survives the [[fight at the Fist]] and retreats back to Castle Black.{{Ref|aSoS|48}}
* Lord [[Denys Mallister]]. Commander at The Shadow Tower.
+
* Ser [[Denys Mallister]], commander at the Shadow Tower.
* Lord [[Janos Slynt]]. Former commander of the City Watch in [[King's Landing]], later Lord of [[Harrenhal]], and finally a Brother of the Watch. A political lackey of [[House Lannister]], he was exiled to the Wall by [[Tyrion Lannister]], who wanted to rid King's Landing of corruption and himself of Lord Slynt. Tyrion's father [[Tywin Lannister]] later tried to make Slynt a tool of House Lannister in the Watch, and nearly turned the election for a new Lord Commander in Slynt's favor.
+
* [[Janos Slynt]], former commander of the [[City Watch of King's Landing]], later [[Lord of Harrenhal]], and finally a brother of the Night's Watch. A political lackey of [[House Lannister]], he is exiled to the Wall by [[Tyrion Lannister]], who wants to rid King's Landing of corruption and himself of Lord Slynt. Tyrion's father, Lord [[Tywin Lannister]], later tries to make Janos a tool of House Lannister in the Watch, and nearly turns the election for a new lord commander in Janos's favor. After Jon Snow's election to the post, Janos's continued insubordination leads Jon to behead him.
* [[Maester Aemon]]. Maester of Castle Black and one of the last Targaryens. Died of old age at sea with Samwell Tarly.
+
* Maester [[Aemon Targaryen (son of Maekar I)|Aemon]], maester of Castle Black and one of the last Targaryens. Dies of old age at sea with Samwell Tarly.
* [[Mallador Locke]]. Knight and ranger. Killed during the [[Battle of the Fist of the First Men]].
+
* Ser [[Mallador Locke]], knight and ranger. Killed during the [[fight at the Fist]].
* [[Othell Yarwyck]]. First Builder of the Night's Watch.
+
* [[Othell Yarwyck]], [[First Builder]] of the Night's Watch.
* [[Qhorin Halfhand]]. Second in command at The Shadow Tower and a ranger of much repute. He allowed [[Jon Snow]] to kill him so that Snow would be accepted among the wildlings.
+
* [[Qhorin Halfhand]], second-in-command at the Shadow Tower and a ranger of much repute. He allows [[Jon Snow]] to kill him so that Jon will be accepted among the wildlings.
* [[Thoren Smallwood]]. Acting First Ranger after Benjen Stark's disappearance and Jarmen Buckwell's death. Killed by a [[Others#Wights|wight]] bear during the Battle of the Fist of First Men.
+
* [[Thoren Smallwood]], acting First Ranger after Benjen Stark's disappearance. Killed by a [[wight]] bear during the fight at the Fist.
* [[Samwell Tarly]]. Son of renowned battle commander [[Randyll Tarly]]. An obese and admitted coward. Sent by Lord Snow to the [[Citadel]] for study after the Battle on the Fist of the First Men.
+
* [[Samwell Tarly]], son of renowned battle commander [[Randyll Tarly]]. Obese and an admitted coward. Sent by Lord Commander Jon Snow to the [[Citadel]] for study.
* Ser [[Jaremy Rykker]]. A senior ranger and knight. Killed by a wight at Castle Black.
+
* [[Grenn]], a recruit with Jon who is assigned to the rangers.
* Ser [[Waymar Royce]]. Novice ranger and knight, slain by an [[Others|Other]].
+
* [[Pypar]], more commonly known as Pyp, recruit with Jon, originally with a mummers' troupe.
* Ser [[Wynton Stout]]. An elderly ranger.
+
* [[Dareon]], a recruit in the same group as Jon and is named a steward sent to [[Eastwatch-by-the-Sea]]. He was an apprentice singer in the Reach. While in [[Braavos]] he deserts but is killed by [[Arya Stark]].
* Small [[Paul]]. A simple-minded brother. He was part of a conspiracy to kill Jeor Mormont until the Brothers were attacked at the Fist of the First Men. He saves Samwell Tarly, but was slain by an Other and returned as a Wight.
+
* [[Todder]], more commonly known as Toad, is a recruit in the same group as Jon, named a ranger.
* [[Stonesnake]]. Ranger from the Shadow Tower. Companion to Qhorin Half-Hand and the most accomplished mountain climber in the Watch. Missing and presumed dead after trying to cross the Frostfangs alone and on foot.
+
* [[Jeren]] is a recruit in the same group as Jon Snow and is named a steward. He was the bastard son of a septon.
* [[Yoren]]. Senior "wandering crow" or recruiter for the Watch. He attempted to smuggle [[House Stark|Arya Stark]] to the North, but was killed fighting [[House Lannister|Lannister]] men who were searching for the outlaw [[Beric Dondarrion]].
+
* [[Halder]], also known as Stoney, is a recruit in the same group as Jon Snow and is named a builder. Incredibly strong.
 +
* [[Albett]], also known as Pimple, is a recruit in the same group as Jon Snow and is named a builder.
 +
* [[Satin]] is a recruit of the Night's Watch after Jon. He becomes Jon's steward and squire.
 +
* Ser [[Jaremy Rykker]], a senior ranger and knight. Killed by a wight at Castle Black.
 +
* Ser [[Waymar Royce]], novice ranger and knight, slain by an [[Others|Other]].
 +
* Ser [[Wynton Stout]], an elderly ranger.
 +
* [[Small Paul]], a simple-minded brother. He is part of a conspiracy to kill Jeor Mormont until the brothers are attacked at the Fist of the First Men. He saves Samwell Tarly, but is slain and returns as a wight.
 +
* [[Stonesnake]], ranger from the Shadow Tower. Companion to Qhorin Half-Hand and the most accomplished mountain climber in the Watch. Missing and presumed dead after trying to cross the Frostfangs alone and on foot.
 +
* [[Ulmer]], a grey-bearded outlaw, once part of the [[Kingswood Brotherhood]]. Skilled with a bow.
 +
* [[Yoren]], senior "[[wandering crow]]" or recruiter for the Watch. He attempts to smuggle [[Arya Stark]] to the north, but is killed at the [[Gods Eye town|Gods Eye]] fighting [[House Lannister|Lannister]] men under [[Amory Lorch]] who are searching for the outlaw [[Beric Dondarrion]].
 +
 
 +
==Quotes==
 +
{{Quote|The Night's Watch is a shadow of what it once was.{{Ref|agot|4}}|[[Eddard Stark]] to [[Robert I Baratheon]]}}
 +
 
 +
{{quote|On the [[Wall]], a man gets only what he earns.{{ref|AGOT|19}}|[[Benjen Stark]] to [[Jon Snow]]}}
 +
 
 +
{{Quote|Any man of the Night’s Watch is welcome here at [[Winterfell]] for as long as he wishes to stay.{{Ref|agot|24}}|[[Robb Stark]] to [[Yoren]] and his Sworn Brothers}}
  
 +
{{Quote|The men who formed the Night’s Watch knew that only their courage shielded the realm from the darkness to the north ... We all do our duty, when there is no cost to it. How easy it seems then, to walk the path of honor. Yet soon or late in every man’s life comes a day when it is not easy, a day when he must choose ... It hurts, boy.Oh, yes. Choosing ... it has always hurt. And always will. I know.{{Ref|AGOT|60}}|[[Aemon Targaryen (son of Maekar I)|Aemon]] to [[Jon Snow]]}}
  
See also List of all known [[:Category:Members of the Night's Watch|members of the Night's Watch]]
+
{{Quote|I could rise high in the Watch—[[First Ranger|chief of rangers]], likely even [[Lord Commander of the Night's Watch|Lord Commander]] ... If I served at [[Eastwatch-by-the-Sea|Eastwatch]], I could command my own ship, and there's fine hunting [[beyond the Wall]]. As for women, what [[wildling]] woman wouldn't want [[Prince of Winterfell|a prince]] in her bed? A black cloak can't be turned. I'd be as good as any man ...{{ref|ACOK|66}}|thoughts of [[Theon Greyjoy]]}}
  
 +
{{Quote|The Night's Watch is a pack of thieves, killers, and baseborn churls.{{Ref|asos|32}}|[[Tywin Lannister]] to [[Pycelle]]}}
 +
 +
{{Quote|[[Riverrun|This castle's]] been my home for forty years. You say I'm free to go, but where? I'm too old and too stout to make a [[hedge knight]]. But men are always welcome at the [[Wall]].{{ref|AFFC|24}}|[[Desmond Grell]] to [[Jaime Lannister]]}}
 +
 +
{{quote|The Night's Watch needed leaders with the wisdom of Maester [[Aemon Targaryen (son of Maekar I)|Aemon]], the learning of [[Samwell Tarly]], the courage of [[Qhorin Halfhand]], the stubborn strength of the [[Jeor Mormont|Old Bear]], the compassion of [[Donal Noye]].{{ref|ADWD|69}}|thoughts of [[Jon Snow]]}}
 +
 +
==References==
 +
{{References|2}}
  
==References and Notes==
 
{{References|3}}
 
 
{{EnWP|Night's Watch|small=yes}}
 
{{EnWP|Night's Watch|small=yes}}
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{{Members of the Night's Watch}}
  
[[Category:Night's Watch|*]]
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[[Category:Night's Watch]]
 
[[Category:Organizations]]
 
[[Category:Organizations]]
[[fr:Garde de Nuit]][[ru:Ночной Дозор]]
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[[es:Guardia de la Noche]]
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[[fa: نگهبانان شب]]
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[[fr:Garde de Nuit]]
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[[pt:Patrulha da Noite]]
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[[ru:Ночной Дозор]]
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[[tr:Gece Gözcüleri]]
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[[zh:&#23432;&#22812;&#20154;]]

Latest revision as of 04:09, 19 October 2019

Night's Watch
Night's Watch.svg
The chargeless black shield of the Night's Watch
Symbol Black
Type Sworn Brotherhood
Military order
Seat Castle Black
Nightfort (historical)
Region Gift
Current Leader Lord Commander Jon Snow
Founded Age of Heroes
The Wall by Marc Simonetti ©

The Night's Watch is a military order dedicated to holding the Wall, the immense fortification on the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms, defending the realms of men from what lies beyond the Wall. The order's foundation dates back to the Age of Heroes, at the time when the Others were pushed back. The men of Night's Watch wear only black, and they are known as black brothers.[1] Recruits who join the Watch are said to take the black.[2]

Organization

Stewards are responsible for an assortment of critical functions
Builders maintaining the Wall
Rangers defend against wildlings and Others

Structure

The Night's Watch consists of three orders: rangers, builders, and stewards. All are subject to the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and each of the three orders is led by its own officer, the First Ranger, the First Builder, and the Lord Steward, respectively. These officers are appointed by the lord commander.[3]

  • Stewards are responsible for an assortment of critical functions, providing vital day-to-day services. They hunt and farm, tend horses, gather firewood, cook meals, make clothing, maintain weapons, and bring supplies needed by the Night's Watch from the South.[4] Like other members of the Watch, the stewards must be ready to fight at a moment's notice, and all have received at least basic combat training. Bowen Marsh serves as the Lord Steward or First Steward.
  • Builders are responsible for tending to and maintaining the Wall and its castles. The order provides masons, carpenters, miners, and woodsmen to this end.[4] Othell Yarwyck leads them as the First Builder.

Recruiters for the Night's Watch are called wandering crows.[3] The organization also includes septons, maesters, and, at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, sailors. Because brothers come from throughout the Seven Kingdoms or even Essos, there is an unspoken pact to not discuss politics or former loyalties.[3]

One blast of a sentry's horn represents returning rangers,[5][6] while two are used for wildlings[7] and three for Others.[8] Two long blasts followed by a short one are used as a call to mount horses.[8]

Leadership

The Lord Commander of the Night's Watch is the final authority and oversees the entire order. Any man of the Night's Watch can be nominated to be the lord commander. A lord commander serves in office until the day he dies, when a replacement is elected by the men of the Watch.

At Castle Black, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont is advised by First Ranger Benjen Stark, First Builder Othell Yarwyck, and Lord Steward Bowen Marsh. He also entrusts leadership to Ser Jarman Buckwell, Ser Mallador Locke, Ser Jaremy Rykker, Thoren Smallwood, and Ser Ottyn Wythers.[9][10] Ser Denys Mallister is the commander at the Shadow Tower, while Cotter Pyke has command at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Maesters advising the senior leadership are Aemon at Castle Black, Mullin at the Shadow Tower, and Harmune at Eastwatch.[10]

An honorable opportunity to command, rise in rank, and enjoy hunting north of the Wall are reasons why men join the Night's Watch voluntarily.[11] The majority of the officers and leadership of the Watch are pulled from the upper crust of Westerosi society. A noble or knighted man is almost guaranteed a position as an officer in the Watch, but there are several powerful and influential brothers that are of common blood as well, such as the senior rangers Qhorin Halfhand, Blane, and Cotter Pyke, a bastard-born pirate. The Watch, as a meritocracy, is one of the few places in feudal Westeros where a common man can rise high and even gain command over knights and lords, rising as far as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.

Recruitment

New recruits being marched to the Wall - by Tim Truman. © FFG

Once, serving on the Wall was honor and a sign of selfless devotion to duty, with many knights, honorable men, and nobles taking the black voluntarily. The Night's Watch is now often seen only as a way to avoid punishment, suitable less for knights than for the dregs of Westeros. These men are salvaged from dungeons by traveling recruiters known as wandering crows. Disgraced nobles, bastards, and even the unwanted legitimate offspring of nobles are “encouraged” to take the black, making many of today’s Watch a surly and dissatisfied lot.

Those who come voluntarily are free to leave during any time of their training, but no man may leave after he has said vows. Any deserters are sentenced to death. After taking the vows, the men of the Watch cannot own any land, marry, or father children. Men are also encouraged to sever any ties left with their families, if they are lucky enough to have one.

Men of the Night's Watch are garbed all in black, a tradition that earned them the nickname "crows",[12] particularly among the free folk, who often call them "black crows."[13][14] While some use this name derogatorily, many in the Night's Watch have adopted the term for their own use.[15] They are also called the "black brothers",[1] and in song they have been called the "black knights of the Wall."[16]

Vows

I am the sword in the darkness. © FFG

When recruits are considered ready to take the black, they say their vows either in a sept or before a heart tree. The vows are as follows:

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.[17]

Brothers of the Night's Watch serve for life.[18] It is customary to finish a black brother's eulogy with the words, "And now his watch is ended."[19] Castle Black contains a lichyard,[20] and knights can be laid to rest in ancient tombs near the lichyard or burned on a pyre.[21]

Military Strength

The numbers of the Night's Watch have long been dwindling.[22] During Aegon's Conquest, the Night's Watch numbered ten thousand strong.[23] However, by 298 AC, their strength has dwindled to less than a thousand.[9] Of these thousand, six hundred are stationed at Castle Black, two hundred at the Shadow Tower, and fewer at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.[9]

In late 233 AC, when Ser Brynden Rivers was sent to the Wall, two hundred men went with him. Many of them were archers from Rivers's personal guard, the Raven's Teeth.[24]

Possessions

Castles of the Night's Watch

Abandoned Stronghold of the Night's Watch by Marc Simonetti ©

The Night's Watch raised nineteen castles to guard the hundred leagues of the Wall, although they have never manned more than seventeen at one time.[25] Today only three of them are maintained by an ever dwindling force. The castles themselves are closer to garrisons, composed mostly of barracks, stables, storehouses, towers and out-buildings, as they have no walls of their own (other than the Wall itself). They were purposefully built this way so the Watch could man only the Wall itself and focus on threats from the north. The Night's Watch feared no attack from the south because of their vow not to take part in the wars of the Seven Kingdoms.[26][27]

Due to manpower shortages, the Watch only mans the Shadow Tower, Castle Black, and Eastwatch.[9] Patrols between the castles used to be more regular, but as the manpower of the Night's Watch diminished, so did the number of patrols.[28] Now the Watch uses mules to ride atop the Wall, as the paths have not been graveled between the older castles in many years. The mules are bred at Eastwatch and are specially trained for their duties.[28]

Castles along the Wall and the surrounding area

The castles are listed from west to east:

The Gift and the New Gift

The Gift is a tract of land measuring twenty-five leagues southward from the Wall that the Night's Watch received from King Brandon Stark of the north. For years the Watch farmed the Gift, but as their numbers dwindled there were fewer hands to plow the fields, tend the bees and plant the orchards, so the wild reclaimed much of the area. Wishing to restore the Night's Watch and reward its loyal service in defense of the realm, Queen Alysanne Targaryen, wife of King Jaehaerys the Conciliator, doubled the extent of the Gift. Towns and villages that were located within the "New Gift" supported the Night's Watch with their taxes, rendered by goods and labor. In time, the New Gift lost population as people moved south, into the mountains or into the Umber lands east of the kingsroad to avoid wildling raids, further reducing the support structure for the Night's Watch and the Wall.[25]

The nearest point of civilization to Castle Black is Mole's Town, a subterranean settlement whose brothel is frequently patronized by brothers of the Night's Watch.

Ships

The Night's Watch employs a small fleet at Eastwatch. Known ships include Blackbird, Storm Crow, and Talon.[31]

History

The Long Night

The Night's Watch is one of the oldest orders in the Seven Kingdoms, as it survived the fall of the kingdoms of the First Men, the Andal invasion, and Aegon's Conquest. It was founded over eight thousand years ago, at the end of the Long Night. Under cover of an endless night that lasted for a generation, the Others invaded from the Lands of Always Winter, laying waste to much of Westeros. The Others were finally defeated by the Night's Watch at the Battle for the Dawn, which is recalled in "The Night That Ended".[32] The Wall was allegedly built by Bran the Builder in order to protect the Seven Kingdoms,[33] with the brothers of the Night's Watch choosing their own Lord Commander since that time.[34] During the Age of Heroes it was also recorded that the children of the forest gave the Night's Watch a hundred obsidian daggers every year.[20]

Other than the corrupting of the thirteenth Lord Commander, the so-called Night's King, further attacks by the Others never came, however. Instead, the most frequent attacks came from the wildlings, sometimes led by their Kings-Beyond-the-Wall, and their constant attempts at raiding in the north.[22] Little by little, the Night's Watch forgot that its main mission was not the fight against the wildlings, but against the Others.[19]

Hundred Kingdoms

The Night's Watch built nineteen castles along the hundred leagues of the Wall. At the zenith of its power, the Watch had seventeen of the castles manned,[35] with at least ten thousand men between them. Castle Black alone once quartered five thousand fighting men with all their horses, servants, and equipment.[26] The highborn of the north have traditionally considered it an honor to serve on the Wall. Many younger sons of northern houses, low in the line of succession, gladly took the black. Shields of nobles from the Hundred Kingdoms of Westeros were proudly displayed in the Shieldhall at Castle Black.[21]

Six kings were sent to the Wall after Nymeria's War and the unification of Dorne by House Martell.[36]

House Targaryen

The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros were invaded by the Targaryens during Aegon's Conquest. Although Lord Commander Hoare was the brother of King Harren the Black, the lord commander maintained the neutrality of the ten thousand black brothers under his command, even when Harren died during the burning of Harrenhal.[23] King Aegon I Targaryen became Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and ruled from the Iron Throne in King's Landing. Queen Visenya Targaryen modeled the vows of the newly-created Kingsguard on those of the Night's Watch.[37]

In the aftermath of the Dance of the Dragons, twenty-two men were arrested by Lord Cregan Stark for the death for King Aegon II Targaryen. During this Hour of the Wolf, nineteen of them, led by Ser Perkin the Flea, were sent to the Wall by Cregan, with only Lord Corlys Velaryon being spared and Ser Gyles Belgrave and Lord Larys Strong instead choosing death.[38]

Guilty of treason after the Third Blackfyre Rebellion, Ser Aegor Rivers was commanded by King Aerys I Targaryen to take the black. Bittersteel was freed en route to the Wall, however, and he fled to the Free Cities.[39] Bittersteel's rival, Lord Brynden Rivers, was sent to the Wall by King Aegon V Targaryen after the murder of Aenys Blackfyre.[24] Bloodraven, many of his Raven's Teeth, and prisoners from the dungeons formed the two hundred men who accompanied Maester Aemon, Aegon's elder brother, to the Wall.[40][24]

The manpower of the Night's Watch has decreased more and more, a process begun before the Conquest.[22] Most of Westeros neglects the Wall. Only the north, particularly the Starks, have the memory of the old days, but even they believe the Others are no more than vague figures in stories told to frighten children.[33] The Starks resented King Jaehaerys I Targaryen granting the New Gift to the Watch.[41] The black brothers arrived late at Long Lake, where the King-Beyond-the-Wall Raymun Redbeard was defeated by the Starks and Umbers.[42]

House Targaryen fell during Robert's Rebellion. Following the Sack of King's Landing, Lord Tywin Lannister gave loyalists such as Ser Alliser Thorne and Ser Jaremy Rykker the options of execution or taking the black.[9]

House Baratheon

By the reign of King Robert I Baratheon, only three castles remain in use—Castle Black, Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, and the Shadow Tower—and the Night's Watch's numbers have dwindled to fewer than a thousand men.[9] The Night's Watch is now largely made up of the misfits of the Seven Kingdoms: bastards, debtors, killers, outlaws, peasants, poachers, rapers, thieves, etc.[43][17] Only a few of the noble and knightly houses south of the Neck have members in the Night's Watch, and most serve because they fell afoul of political machinations or fought on the wrong side of a war. However, there have been fewer wars since Aegon's Conquest.[44]

The Warden of the North, Lord Eddard Stark, and the First Ranger, Eddard's brother Benjen, have discussed settling new lords in abandoned holdfasts of the Gift if the lord commander, Jeor Mormont, approves.[29][45] Skeptical of the Night's Watch, some wise men have suggested that the lords of the north should be granted the lands beyond the Wall and tasked with defending against wildlings.[22]

According to Grand Maester Pycelle the Wall is a world apart, and news oft reaches them late.[46] Stories of the Night's Watch are collected in Archmaester Harmune's Watchers on the Wall.[47]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

While ranging in the haunted forest, Ser Waymar Royce is slain by Others. After rising as a wight, Waymar's body slays Will.[1] Gared flees south of the Wall but is executed for desertion by Lord Eddard Stark, the Warden of the North.[48]

Jon Snow[26] and Samwell Tarly[49] join the Night's Watch as stewards,[17] while First Ranger Benjen Stark, Jon's uncle and Eddard's younger brother, disappears beyond the Wall.[49] The lord commander, Jeor Mormont, asks Tyrion Lannister for aid from the Iron Throne.[9] Two slain brothers, Othor and Jafer Flowers, rise as wights at Castle Black, but Jon saves Jeor during the night.[5] Jeor rewards Jon with a Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw.[23]

Jon's father, Eddard, is imprisoned in the dungeons of the Red Keep after the death of King Robert I Baratheon.[50] If Eddard admits to treason, Lord Varys and Queen Regent Cersei Lannister agree that Eddard can join the Night's Watch.[51] King Joffrey I Baratheon surprises the small council, however, by instead ordering Eddard's execution at the Great Sept of Baelor.[51] Eddard's bannermen respond by proclaiming his heir, Robb Stark, as King in the North.[52]

Jon attempts to desert so he can aid his brother Robb in the south, but his friends in the Watch convince him to return to Castle Black.[53] A great ranging is planned north of the Wall to search for Benjen, deal with the King-Beyond-the-Wall, Mance Rayder, and learn about the Others.[53]

A Clash of Kings

Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, personally leads the great ranging of two hundred men from Castle Black, which is joined by a hundred men from the Shadow Tower.[3] After visiting Whitetree[54] and Craster's Keep,[14] they fortify the Fist of the First Men within the haunted forest as their base.[55] Jon Snow is part of a ranging party attacked by wildlings, and Qhorin Halfhand convinces Jon to kill him and thereby infiltrate the wildlings.[56][57]

The wandering crow Yoren leads a party of recruits, including a disguised Arya Stark, from King's Landing. Most are slain near the Gods Eye, however.[12]

Ser Alliser Thorne is sent to King's Landing with the hand of a wight,[58][59] but the hand rots and Tyrion, the acting Hand of the King, ridicules Alliser's story.[60]

A Storm of Swords

Jon Snow is spared by Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall,[61] and the youth begins sleeping with a wildling, Ygritte.[62]

Chett conspires against Lord Commander Mormont at the Fist.[6] An army of wights overwhelm the Watch in the fight at the Fist, and the survivors retreat to Craster's Keep.[6][8] Jeor and Craster are slain during the mutiny at Craster's Keep, however.[19] Of three hundred men sent on the great ranging, only fourteen survive and return to the Wall.[63]

Jon escapes the wildling raiding party and informs the small number of brothers at Castle Black of Mance's plan to attack the Wall.[63] Jon and Donal Noye defend against the attack on Castle Black by Styr's Thenns,[27] while Bowen Marsh commands in a fight at the Bridge of Skulls.[64] The Watch and Stannis Baratheon join forces to defeat the wildlings in the battle beneath the Wall.[65]

When the Watch chooses a new lord commander to replace the late Jeor Mormont, a total of 588 votes are cast, indicating that after the losses during the great ranging and the defense of the Wall, the Watch numbers less than six hundred men.[64] Jon Snow is chosen after several rounds of voting.[66]

A Feast for Crows

Jon sends Maester Aemon to Oldtown to protect him from Melisandre, and the lord commander instructs Sam to learn at the Citadel.[20] Jon names Dareon a wandering crow to replace the missing Yoren.[40] Dareon deserts in Braavos, however, and is murdered by Arya Stark.[67]

A Dance with Dragons

There are plans to re-garrison the Nightfort and many of the other castles. The question of who will be responsible for the remanned castles is a point of tension between Jon and King Stannis Baratheon.[68] Jon beheads Janos Slynt for insubordination.[69]

Many of the brothers are disconcerted by Jon allowing wildlings to pass through the Wall and garrison the empty castles.[70][71][72][73] Jon arranges the marriage of Alys Karstark to Sigorn of the Thenns.[7] The lord commander sends Cotter Pyke on a dangerous mission to rescue wildlings at Hardhome.[74] Jon asks for volunteers to march on Winterfell after receiving a threatening letter from Ramsay Bolton, but the lord commander is then stabbed by brothers in the mutiny at Castle Black.[21]

Notable Members

Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander - by Marc Fishman ©

Recent Lords Commander

See also: Lord Commander of the Night's Watch
  • Lord Jeor Mormont, 997th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, known as "the Old Bear." Towards the end of his tenure, he becomes increasingly worried as more rangers are lost beyond the Wall, including First Ranger Benjen Stark. Also, there are more reports coming in of wildlings either fleeing south or gathering in large numbers to escape or meet some threat. After an attempt to investigate in force, most of the brothers who go with him are killed at the fight at the Fist. Following this staggering loss, Jeor is murdered by his own rangers during the mutiny at Craster's Keep.
  • Lord Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.

Past Lords Commander

Brothers

See also: Members of the Night's Watch, for a complete list
  • Benjen Stark, First Ranger and younger brother to Lord Eddard Stark. Missing beyond the Wall and thought dead.
  • Blane, a senior ranger of common blood, scout and second to Qhorin Halfhand. Killed while in command of the Shadow Tower Men during the fight at the Fist.
  • Bowen Marsh, Lord Steward of the Night's Watch. Leads a successful but costly defense in the fight at the Bridge of Skulls.
  • Chett, former steward to Maester Aemon until Samwell Tarly is raised to the post. Sent to the pens to take care of the dogs. He conspires to kill Jeor Mormont at the Fist of the First Men, but is slain and turned into a wight.
  • Cotter Pyke, commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
  • Donal Noye, one-armed blacksmith at Castle Black. He was personal blacksmith to House Baratheon and made Robert's warhammer before losing an arm during the siege of Storm's End. He dies killing Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg in the tunnel underneath the Wall during the attack on Castle Black.
  • Eddison Tollett, a steward, called "Dolorous Edd" for his sarcastic and black humor.
  • Jarmen Buckwell, a senior ranger. Survives the fight at the Fist and retreats back to Castle Black.[63]
  • Ser Denys Mallister, commander at the Shadow Tower.
  • Janos Slynt, former commander of the City Watch of King's Landing, later Lord of Harrenhal, and finally a brother of the Night's Watch. A political lackey of House Lannister, he is exiled to the Wall by Tyrion Lannister, who wants to rid King's Landing of corruption and himself of Lord Slynt. Tyrion's father, Lord Tywin Lannister, later tries to make Janos a tool of House Lannister in the Watch, and nearly turns the election for a new lord commander in Janos's favor. After Jon Snow's election to the post, Janos's continued insubordination leads Jon to behead him.
  • Maester Aemon, maester of Castle Black and one of the last Targaryens. Dies of old age at sea with Samwell Tarly.
  • Ser Mallador Locke, knight and ranger. Killed during the fight at the Fist.
  • Othell Yarwyck, First Builder of the Night's Watch.
  • Qhorin Halfhand, second-in-command at the Shadow Tower and a ranger of much repute. He allows Jon Snow to kill him so that Jon will be accepted among the wildlings.
  • Thoren Smallwood, acting First Ranger after Benjen Stark's disappearance. Killed by a wight bear during the fight at the Fist.
  • Samwell Tarly, son of renowned battle commander Randyll Tarly. Obese and an admitted coward. Sent by Lord Commander Jon Snow to the Citadel for study.
  • Grenn, a recruit with Jon who is assigned to the rangers.
  • Pypar, more commonly known as Pyp, recruit with Jon, originally with a mummers' troupe.
  • Dareon, a recruit in the same group as Jon and is named a steward sent to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. He was an apprentice singer in the Reach. While in Braavos he deserts but is killed by Arya Stark.
  • Todder, more commonly known as Toad, is a recruit in the same group as Jon, named a ranger.
  • Jeren is a recruit in the same group as Jon Snow and is named a steward. He was the bastard son of a septon.
  • Halder, also known as Stoney, is a recruit in the same group as Jon Snow and is named a builder. Incredibly strong.
  • Albett, also known as Pimple, is a recruit in the same group as Jon Snow and is named a builder.
  • Satin is a recruit of the Night's Watch after Jon. He becomes Jon's steward and squire.
  • Ser Jaremy Rykker, a senior ranger and knight. Killed by a wight at Castle Black.
  • Ser Waymar Royce, novice ranger and knight, slain by an Other.
  • Ser Wynton Stout, an elderly ranger.
  • Small Paul, a simple-minded brother. He is part of a conspiracy to kill Jeor Mormont until the brothers are attacked at the Fist of the First Men. He saves Samwell Tarly, but is slain and returns as a wight.
  • Stonesnake, ranger from the Shadow Tower. Companion to Qhorin Half-Hand and the most accomplished mountain climber in the Watch. Missing and presumed dead after trying to cross the Frostfangs alone and on foot.
  • Ulmer, a grey-bearded outlaw, once part of the Kingswood Brotherhood. Skilled with a bow.
  • Yoren, senior "wandering crow" or recruiter for the Watch. He attempts to smuggle Arya Stark to the north, but is killed at the Gods Eye fighting Lannister men under Amory Lorch who are searching for the outlaw Beric Dondarrion.

Quotes

The Night's Watch is a shadow of what it once was.[79]

On the Wall, a man gets only what he earns.[26]

Any man of the Night’s Watch is welcome here at Winterfell for as long as he wishes to stay.[33]

Robb Stark to Yoren and his Sworn Brothers

The men who formed the Night’s Watch knew that only their courage shielded the realm from the darkness to the north ... We all do our duty, when there is no cost to it. How easy it seems then, to walk the path of honor. Yet soon or late in every man’s life comes a day when it is not easy, a day when he must choose ... It hurts, boy.Oh, yes. Choosing ... it has always hurt. And always will. I know.[23]

I could rise high in the Watch—chief of rangers, likely even Lord Commander ... If I served at Eastwatch, I could command my own ship, and there's fine hunting beyond the Wall. As for women, what wildling woman wouldn't want a prince in her bed? A black cloak can't be turned. I'd be as good as any man ...[11]

—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy

The Night's Watch is a pack of thieves, killers, and baseborn churls.[46]

This castle's been my home for forty years. You say I'm free to go, but where? I'm too old and too stout to make a hedge knight. But men are always welcome at the Wall.[80]

The Night's Watch needed leaders with the wisdom of Maester Aemon, the learning of Samwell Tarly, the courage of Qhorin Halfhand, the stubborn strength of the Old Bear, the compassion of Donal Noye.[21]

—thoughts of Jon Snow

References

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  70. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 21, Jon V.
  71. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 35, Jon VII.
  72. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 39, Jon VIII.
  73. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.
  74. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
  75. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Stoneborn of Skagos.
  76. Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
  77. The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings.
  78. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Jeor Mormont.
  79. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  80. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.

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