List of A Song of Ice and Fire Characters - Night's Watch and Wildlings

Night's Watch and Wildlings

"Night's Watch" redirects here. For other uses, see Night Watch (disambiguation).

The Night's Watch is a group of men who patrol the Wall, a massive wall of ice in the North, and defend the Seven Kingdoms against threats from beyond the Wall, usually wildling raiders. As the series progresses, the true enemies are established to be a mysterious and supernatural race called the Others and wights, the reanimated bodies of their victims. The Brothers of the Watch vow to never hold land and titles, never take a wife, never father children, cut ties to their families, take no part in the quarrels of the kingdom, and "live and die at post." Breaking these vows or desertion is punishable by death. They wear only black, so joining the Watch is known as "taking the black." Joining the Watch is still considered an honor as any man can rise through the ranks, but by the events of A Game of Thrones, it is a shadow of its former self. It has become a pitiful force filled with the criminals and traitors of the Seven Kingdoms. There are not enough men to staff all of the nineteen castles along the Wall, so sixteen are abandoned and in ruins at the start of the series. Only Castle Black, Shadow Tower, and Eastwatch-by-the-Sea remain in use. In A Dance with Dragons, Lord Commander Jon Snow has resolved to repair and staff every castle by any means necessary before the year is out. The Watch is based out of Castle Black, where the Lord Commander of the Watch resides and new recruits are trained. At the end of training, new recruits are assigned jobs: builders are craftsmen who repair the castles and smith weapons, stewards take care of administration, housekeeping and other day-to-day tasks, and rangers are the primary fighting force and are sent on patrols.

Wildlings, or the Free Folk, are people who live beyond the Wall. They live in independent villages and have no lords or kings. Bands of wildlings often cross over the Wall to raid the Northernmen, causing the Westerosi to see them as savages. Before the events of A Dance with Dragons, they are only considered enemies. In A Storm of Swords, the wildlings unite under the leadership of Mance Rayder, the self-styled King-beyond-the-Wall, and try to invade the Seven Kingdoms to escape the Others. With the help of Jon and Stannis Baratheon, they are allowed to settle in the North. Many move into the abandoned castles to help the Watch defend the Wall.

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