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The Night's Watch
"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."An order of volunteers, convicted criminals, and fugitives that defends the northern frontier of the Seven Kingdoms. This is marked by the Wall, the biggest man-made structure in the world. Any man joining the Night's Watch is given amnesty for all his previous crimes and is beyond the reach of the Kings of Westeros.
- Ancient Tradition: They are by far the oldest institution of Westeros.
- Animal Motif: They are referred to as "crows" by many people.
- Army of Thieves and Whores: Specially in the latest decades, in which only few nobles join the Night's Watch on their own choice. Most of the Watch members are criminals such as rapists, murderers, or thieves, or knights who fought on the side of the Mad King during Robert's Rebellion and were exiled to the Wall to keep their heads. This fills the ranks with haphazard members prone to mutinies, a risk which is not dispelled by taking and oath of honor.
- Arch-Enemy: The Night's Watch and the Wildlings have been locking horns for generations. Not only that, but the White Walkers are also regarded as the ancient enemies of the Night's Watch.
- Badass Decay: In-universe; they used to be a highly regarded order, attractive to the Westerosi elite and capable of operating nineteen border fortifications and castles during their heyday. In the present day they can hardly man three outposts and noble, quality volunteers are a rarity. Despite this, however, they manage to repel the first wave of Wildlings who attack the Wall.
- Celibate Hero: What they are supposed to be as they are sworn to take no wife and father no child. It is, however, an Open Secret within the order that some higher ranking members visit whorehouses when they are out on errands.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: All Nightswatchmen are required to wear black clothing and armor. The reason for this is that by convention, solid black is considered a rejection of any heraldic symbol - reflecting their vow that they have abandoned all prior allegiances to any noble Houses.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Even though their uniform is all-black, they are sworn to protect the northern border of the realm from the danger and horrors that lie beyond. In a more traditional fantasy story this would usually make them the Big Bad's minions, but George R.R. Martin deliberately wanted to turn the trope on its head.
- The Dead Have Names: Maester Aemon's funeral elegy after the Battle at Castle Black:"They came to us from White Harbor and Barrowton, from Fairmarket and King's Landing. From north and south, from east and west. They died protecting men, women, and children who will never know their names. It is for us to remember our brothers. We shall never see their like again."
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Defenders of the realm for generations, but their importance is dismissed even by reasonable Southerners.Tyrion: ...ah, yes yes, against grumpkins and snarks, and all the other monsters your wet nurse warned you about.
- Due to the Dead: A fallen comrade deserves a proper ceremony even if the unit is knee-deep in hostile territory in the far end of the world."And now his watch is ended."
- Fantastic Racism: The men of the watch, as a rule, have a low regard for the Wildlings north of the wall, and regard them as their main enemy. Even with the appearance of a southward-marching army of supernatural, undead ice-zombies, many simply cannot lay their hatred for the wildlings aside. This results in mutinies and the deaths of Lord Commanders on two separate occasions.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Word of God is that the Wall is based on Hadrian's Wall and the Night's Watch was inspired by the author wondering how the life of a Roman legionary deployed there would be like. However, the Night's Watch self-rule, imposed celibacy and penitence shtick likens it more to a crusader order, especially when the Medieval European Fantasy setting of the show is considered.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: Toyed with. Criminals may choose the Wall to keep from being executed, castrated, or mutilated. Most choose the knife.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: The Watch calls for help in the Season 3 finale. Only Stannis Baratheon answered. Likewise, Jon Snow as Lord Commander kept asking for men and supplies from Northern Lords throughout Season 5, even writing a letter to Roose Bolton, putting aside his feelings for revenge in the service of duty. The moment before his assassination, Jon Snow was in fact reading many rejection letters from all the Lords he had written to. This makes Smalljon Umber's complaints about the Wildlings settled on the Gift highly hypocritical since he and his house had not moved a muscle to help the Watch when they were fighting Wildlings and White Walkers.
- A House Divided: Internal struggle arises in the middle of the most crucial events the order has faced in centuries.
- Ignored Expert: Their alarming concerns are dismissed as antiquated fairy tales at first and diluted by the Westerosi civil war later. Eventually Gondor Calls for Aid, and Stannis answers.
- In-Series Nickname: The crows, used derogatorily by the Wildlings because of their black uniforms.
- Loophole Abuse: Some of them regularly visit the brothel in the nearest town despite their vow of celibacy, but in "The Watchers on the Wall", Sam notes that "take no wife and father no child" doesn't specifically say anything about having sex. The more serious higher officers, though (and even Jon), point out that having sex with prostitutes obviously violates the spirit of this rule.
- Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: Even many of the members who don't have a criminal past are fleeing from a life wherein they were considered unsuitable by their own kin.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: How most people in Westeros view joining the Night's Watch. To be fair, a life at the Wall is extremely austere and uncomfortable. Not to mention cold.
- Reformed Criminal: Invoked and enforced. Many members were criminals who were given a choice to either join the Watch or receive punishment (e.g. execution, castration, etc) for their crimes.
- That Man Is Dead: The plus side of joining the Night's Watch is that all crimes, no matter how heinous, are washed away. Any man can rise high in the Watch, regardless of origin.
- Ungrateful Bastard: How the Night's Watch regard the rest of Westeros, they are protecting them from Wildling invasions and are the ones who are standing on guard in-case the White Walkers return, but everyone thinks they are a joke and use them as a penal colony.
- In Season 2, and a deleted scene in Season 3, Lord Commander Mormont's request for men and supplies was turned down by the Small Council. Tyrion at least was sympathetic in both cases (having befriended Mormont on his visit to the Wall) but the others refuse, for the partly justifiable reason that they are embroiled in war. Tywin in Season 3's deleted scene however refuses because he sees the Night's Watch as an entirely Northern organization (even if Dolorous Edd is from the Vale and Sam Tarly is from the Reach to say nothing of Maester Aemond and Ser Alliser Thorne who aren't Northmen at all) and, in jest, he suggests sending arms and supplies to Mance Rayder so that he can invade and attack the North.
- When Maester Aemon sends his summons at the end of Season 3, Stannis is the only one who responded to their calls and saved the Watch from certain defeat at the hands of Mance Rayder. In most of Season 5, Jon Snow keeps writing letters to other Northern houses for help, and he even writes a request to House Bolton, putting the greater good of the Watch over his hatred for him. For all this effort, House Umber, who didn't move a finger to help the Watch against the Wildlings, sells out Rickon to Ramsay Bolton and cites the Watch legally settling Wildlings on the Gift, which is their land, as justification for his betrayal.
- Windmill Crusader: This becomes their reputation among Westerosis during the present era as many believed that the mystical creatures that they are fighting to be either just myths or things in the past.
Lord Commander Jeor Mormont
Played By: James Cosmo
"A man of the Night's Watch lives his life for the realm."997th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Killed by one of his own men during a coup.
- Badass Beard: He has one.
- Badass Grandpa: He's one of the oldest members of the Night's Watch, and his wealth of experience has made him into the Lord Commander.
- Blood from the Mouth: As a result of Rast stabbing him multiple times.
- Colonel Badass: Has a reputation as a great warrior, which he backs up by personally leading a massive force of the Night's Watch beyond the Wall at the end of Season 1.
- Due to the Dead: Averted. The Night's Watch traditionally burn their dead on a pyre, and Mormont would have earned a great and respectful speech. Instead Karl turned his skull into a cup, which he drinks from while mocking his commander's memory. from the books
- Dying Moment of Awesome/Defiant to the End: Even after he's stabbed in the back, he tries to choke Rast to death. One-handed. Unfortunately, Reality Ensues as Mormont succumbs to his wounds before he can finish off Rast.
- Famed In-Story: A renowned warrior in life and a well remembered figure after his death.
- A Father to His Men: As much as one can be when the men in question are an Army of Thieves and Whores. He cares for his men and knows the story of every one of them. Jon even describes him as a father to the brothers of the Night's Watch, and gets half a dozen volunteers on a dangerous mission partly intended to avenge Mormont's death.Mormont: Tarly, I forbid you to die.
- Frontline General: He personally leads the great ranging beyond the Wall.
- Godzilla Threshold: As of Series 3, with the massive army of White Walkers marching on the unprepared and undermanned Wall, he definitely believes that it's been reached.Mormont: We need to get back to the Wall. It's a long march, we know what's out there. But we have to make it! We have to warn them! Or before Winter's end, everyone you've ever known will be dead!
- I Have No Son: Effectively disowned his son, Ser Jorah, for selling slaves and fleeing the King's justice.
- In the Back: Rast stabs him in the back during the mutiny at Craster's Keep. It's pretty much the only way a Dirty Coward like Rast could best him.
- Like a Son to Me: He doesn't say the words, but gives Jon his family's sword (which was previously given to Jorah) and he's apparently grooming him to be his successor.
- The Mentor: For Jon Snow, who he'd been grooming to become the next Lord Commander.
- Moral Event Horizon: In-universe, Jon presents the fact that Mormont knows that Craster kills his sons (and implies that he also knows that it is an offering to the White Walkers) when he is brought before Mance Rayder to pass himself as an oathbreaker and gain Rayder's trust.
- Old Soldier: Mormont has been a soldier almost his entire life.
- Passing the Torch: Gives Jon Snow the Mormont ancestral sword, Longclaw, in thanks for saving his life and partly because he could not pass it on to his dishonored son.
- Playing Gertrude: His actor is only 13 years older than the actor who plays his son Jorah.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Takes his position as Lord Commander very seriously (see the above quote) and wants the Night's Watch to be better prepared for the future. He also takes the opportunity to send Thorne away on business to ease tensions at the Wall.
- Taking You with Me: He attempts this on Rast and nearly succeeds, but Reality Ensues and he succumbs to his severe wounds before he can finish the job.
- Worthy Adversary: Viewed as this by Mance Rayder, despite their falling out.Jon: You think any of them got away?
Mance: It's not impossible. You don't go far betting against Mormont.
Lord Commander Jon Snow
Eddard Stark's bastard son and 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. See Game Of Thrones House Stark
Lord Commander Eddison "Dolorous Edd" Tollett
Played By: Ben Crompton
"If the Gods wanted us to have dignity, they wouldn't make us fart when we died."Part of the group Commander Mormont leads beyond the Wall, who has a cynical wisecrack for any situation.
- Action Survivor: While he is a competent fighter, his skill with a sword doesn't compare to the likes of Jon. That being said, he has managed to survive almost every major battle in the Night's Watch storyline, including the massacre at Hardhome.
- Adaptational Badass: In the books he's a steward, with any action he's part of taking place offscreen. The show implies him being a ranger. Of note, he's fought against the Night's Watch mutineers, survived captivity by them and returned with Jon to punish them, took command of the wall during the wilding attack, and even survived the battle of Hardhome. Ultimately, he becomes the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, the idea of which being a joke and a chance to snark in the books.
- Band of Brothers: With Jon, Sam, Pyp, and Grenn.
- Brutal Honesty: To Sam, after he collapses in the second episode of Season 3.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's actually a pretty good commander.¸
- Character Development: His pessimism and snarky nature dropped after the battle with the Wildings where he is the Only Sane Man who tries to stop the White Walkers even when Jon gave up and tried to move South.
- Deadpan Snarker: What he's widely known for."I always imagined I would end up doing much worse."
- The Eeyore: He has a cynical, deadpan demeanour coated with some nice misery.Eddison: Whoever dies last, be a good lad and burn the rest of us. Once I'm done with this world, I don't want to come back.
- Hero of Another Story: Along with Grenn, Edd had an interesting time off-screen following the mutiny at Craster's Keep. He fights the mutineers, is defeated, imprisoned and tortured, is witness to Karl's rise to leadership and his subsequent atrocities, escapes and travels through Wildling-infected harsh environment to return to Castle Black.
- Hidden Depths: Sure, he's a morose, pessimistic killjoy by trade, but he also proves to be a surprisingly competent commander during the Battle of Castle Black.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: "I was born in a place like this (Craster's Keep). Then I fell on hard times."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Snarky and callous on the surface but in truth he's a loyal and reliable friend.
- OOC Is Serious Business: He drops his uncaring pessimist act on the third blast. He also fights in Mormont's defense after he is attacked, even though his previous scene had Edd joking about the deceased in a fellow Nightswatchman's funeral.
- Pet the Dog: After his antagonistic relationship with Sam, when it seems that Gilly was killed in the Wildling attack on Mole's Town he joins Jon, Pyp, and Grenn in comforting him, even noting all the other things she's managed to survive so she might have done it here too.
- Precision F-Strike: His response to Jon's concerns about the dragonglass when retreating from Hardhome.Eddison: Fuck the dragonglass, we're gonna die here.
- Remember the New Guy: He's suddenly a member of the team in Season 2, after never being seen in Season 1. In the book it seemed less sudden due to there being a narrator who explains who he is when he joins the expedition.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Runs away screaming "fuck!" when wights charge off a cliff above him, and then jump up when they land.
- Undying Loyalty: He is the second person to stand up for Jon Snow when he asks for volunteers for the quest for Craster's Keep.
- After Jon's death by the hands of Thorne, he and the other loyal brothers plan to strike against Thorne and the ones who helped him to take revenge for Jon's murder, even if it means death.
- You Are in Command Now: Jon gives him command of the Wall's defenders during "The Watchers on the Wall." After Jon's resurrection, he gives Edd the Lord Commander's robes before leaving the Night's Watch.
Maester Aemon Targaryen
Played By: Peter Vaughan
"I am the Maester of the Citadel, bound in service to Castle Black and the Nights' Watch. I will not tell you to stay or go. You must make that choice yourself, and live with it for the rest of your days — As I have."Maester serving as a member of the Night's Watch. Extremely old, blind, and awesome. When most of the Night's Watch's commanding officers get killed off in the expedition beyond the Wall, he steps up to help lead the remaining garrison, while supporting Alliser Thorne's position as Acting Lord Commander until a new election can be held (a maester can't be a Lord Commander). Before completing his maester's chain, he was Prince Aemon Targaryen, the son of King Maekar. When the succession passed to him, he stepped aside for his younger brother Aegon V and completed his very long life in the Citadel and then the Wall. Aegon V's son (in the TV continuity) was Aerys II, the Mad King - making Aemon Daenerys's great-uncle.
- Adult Fear: Nearly all his family members were killed during Robert's Rebellion. The only survivors were his brother's grandchildren, Viserys and Daenerys, who were sent into exile across the Narrow Sea. Viserys was later murdered by a Dothraki khal and Daenerys was left alone halfway around the world. And all the while, Aemon was completely powerless to do anything about it.
- Affectionate Nickname: 'The Gift' reveals he used to call Aegon 'Egg', and calls Gilly 'Gillyflower' after the carnation.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's roundly a Nice Guy, when he talks to Jon about the murder of Elia Martell's children, it's clear if he had been a younger man at the time with his eyesight remaining nobody would have stopped him from seeking revenge.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Egg/Aegon V. He remembered him when he was a baby and he willingly took the black so that he could be King instead of him. About the only thing Aemon likes about dying is that he can meet his brother again, who he had long outlived, and tell him that he dreamt that he had grown old.
- Conflicting Loyalty: He knows far better than Jon Snow the problems of conflicting loyalties. He also shares this later to Sam, noting that while he knows fully well that "Love is the death of duty", as a young man he had known love himself and was seriously tempted to accept his birthright.
- Cool Old Guy: The oldest man in Westeros, in fact. Definitely a good man, he vouches for Jon when he comes back from the Wildlings. He also bonds with Samwell Tarly regarding his transparent fondness for Gilly. He also casts the tie-breaking vote that makes Jon the new Lord Commander.
- Deadpan Snarker: Can't resist a tiny bit of snark at the end of Season 3 when Sam brings a woman and a baby to Castle Black.
- Decided By One Vote: He casts the tie-breaking vote to make Jon the next Night's Watch Commander over Alliser.
- Dramatic Irony: He's been talking to a Targaryen the entire series, and neither of them are aware of it.
- Famous Last Words: "Egg? I dreamed... that I was old."
- Foil: To the extremely corrupt Maester Pycelle, Aemon represents the true dedication and commitment to his vows, offers genuine and useful advice and is beloved and respected by his charges.
- For Want of a Nail: He mentions that he refused his birthright to become King, so the crown passed to his younger brother instead. Who then passed it to his son, who became the Mad King and inspired Robert's Rebellion. It boggles the mind how differently everything might have turned out if Aemon had taken the job.
- Go Out with a Smile: He grows delirious in his final hours and relives the days of his youth, his final words being a statement that he now thinks his real life at the Wall was a dream.
- Hidden Depths: This blind old Maester is the last Targaryen living in Westeros. People tend to forget this as he reminds Sam:Aemon: You can imagine all sorts of horrors that may have befallen that girl and her baby, but you can't imagine that an old man was once, more or less, like you?
- Honor Before Reason: Informs Jon that an oath is simple to keep in easy times but the true test comes when a person has every good reason to break it. Overlaps with a bit of What You Are in the Dark.Aemon: We all do our duty when there's no cost to it. Honor comes easy then. But sooner or later, in every man's life, there comes a day when it is not easy. A day when he must choose.
- I Was Quite a Looker: He used to be a real ladykiller. Sam finds this hard to believe, and he scolds him for assuming that he always looked the way he does now. Sam then apologizes.
- Living Lie Detector: Why he believes Jon's story after he returns from his mission with the Wildlings. After all, he grew up in King's Landing.
- Long Lived: He seems to be the oldest man in Westeros.
- Long-Lost Relative: To Daenerys and Jon.
- Karmic Death: The kindest and gentlest soul in Westeros, and he peacefully dies an old man in his bed.
- Nice Guy: Acts with kindness and patience towards pretty much everyone he meets and interacts with including Tyrion, gives an especially Angsty Jon Snow some important life lessons in Season 1, and in Season 3, he happily welcomes Gilly and her baby to stay at Castle Black. During his eulogy, Sam calls him with quite some justification the nicest person in Westeros.
- Not So Different: He tells Jon that he knows what it's like to have Conflicting Loyalty to the Night's Watch and the desire to save your family. The Targaryens were entirely slaughtered, even the children, while he was powerless to stop them, being too old and blind by then to desert his post and fight at their side.
- Offered the Crown: He's the Mad King's uncle and turned down the crown in favor of his younger brother. One has to wonder what Westeros would be like had he taken the Iron Throne rather than Aegon V, who sired the Mad King.
- Parental Substitute: Slightly to Jon Snow, greatly to Samwell Tarly.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: In the series, Aemon identifies Mad King Aerys II as his nephew, while in the books, he is his great-nephew, thereby cutting one generation from the Targaryen family tree and making him Daenerys' great-uncle. While the timeline does make sense in the books (Aemon is 100 years old at that point — exceptional, but not unrealistic), this was probably changed to avoid viewers being puzzled on how it is possible that Daenerys' (who also got an Age Lift) great-great-uncle is still alive.
- Prophet Eyes: Of the 'just blind, not psychic' variety. As far as we know.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Takes heed to Sam and quickly sends word of the White Walker situation to every corner of the kingdoms. He also extends an invitation to Gilly and Little Sam to stay at Castle Black, as they certainly can't send them back beyond the Wall.
- During a period of interregnum, he's the fair, balanced voice that tries to moderate the rash or punitive tendencies of Thorne and Slynt.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: He willingly chose this, feeling he was not cut out for the game of thrones and stepped aside for his younger brother Aegon V "Egg".
- The Reveal: He has been serving at the Wall so long, his lineage has been largely forgotten by most of Westeros.Jon: Who are you?
Aemon: My father was Maekar, first of his name. My brother Aegon, reigned after him, when I had refused the throne. And he was followed by his son, Aerys... who they called "the Mad King"
Jon: You're Aemon Targaryen?!
- Your Days Are Numbered: He falls ill early in Season 5 and becomes convinced that he's dying. He finally passes away in "The Gift".
First Ranger Ser Alliser Thorne
Played By: Owen Teale
"When you're out there, beyond the Wall with the sun going down, do you want a man at your back? Or a sniveling boy?"The Master-at-Arms and later First Ranger of Castle Black, tasked with the training of the new recruits. Also formally Acting Lord Commander in Mormont's absence and after his death, but he really shares power with Maester Aemon. Leads the defense of Castle Black against Mance Rayder's Wildling horde.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- While Thorne is still a nasty piece of work and a sadistic bully to boot, he does show more restraint when he becomes Acting Lord Commander. He doesn't outright insult Jon the way Janos Slynt does at the hearing, and mostly just acts coldly toward him while actually listening to him about the Wildlings and White Walkers.
- Most notably, he leads the charge against the Wildlings during Mance's assault on Castle Black and shows himself to be capable of both inspiring the men under his command and fighting alongside them. In the books, he and Slynt don't even arrive to Castle Black until after the attack is over.
- He's also shown as more competent as a Master-At-Arms when one of his most dickish characteristics in the books is the fact that he has never bothered to teach low-born recruits basic footwork and sword grips, sadistically taunting them from the privilege of his rankings. One reason why Jon Snow was so popular among them was that he actually taught them these things.
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: In the books, the mutiny (which Thorne was not part of) occurred because Jon received a taunting letter from Ramsay Bolton that he was marching against the Watch, and announced he was going to ride off to fight him at Winterfell, breaking his oath of neutrality. In the show, Thorne mutinies because he feels Jon betrayed the Watch's principals by letting wildlings through the Wall... when Thorne had previously allowed Jon to bring them through, and could have easily just not let him in. Alliser's last words implies he was going by Honor Before Reason logic, as he felt compelled to follow what ever command his Lord Commander gave to him... it just so happened that Jon Snow never explicitly said 'Don't stab me'. Also, the wildlings that were already at the Wall after Stannis' army defeated them would doubtless have been released at that point and would have settled in the Gift. They would have heard sooner or later that the 50 men at Castle Black had not let their brethren in, and the Night's Watch would have ended up having to deal with angry wildlings anyway.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the books, Alliser is not involved in the mutiny against Jon Snow.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He may be a Jerk Ass, but at least he's one very effective military commander and fighter during battle.
- Badass Boast: His best:Thorne: Tonight we fight! And when the sun rises, I promise you, Castle Black will stand! The Night's Watch will stand! With me now! Now with me!
- The Bully: He delights in his position as Master-at-Arms and the power he wields over the new recruits. He belittles them constantly and his cruelty goes beyond the call of duty training the new recruits. He purposefully makes Jon unpopular among the recruits by emphasizing his superiority and mockingly calling him 'Lord Snow'.
- The Bus Came Back: The character returns in Season 4, and boy does he step up.
- The Chains of Commanding: As he and Jon face down Mance Rayder's wildling horde, he opens up about how his refusal to listen to Jon's now clearly prudent advice, which at the time appeared to be purely because of his personal dislike for Jon, was actually because he's constantly facing criticisms of his leadership, and if he let any of it get to him he'd constantly be second-guessing himself, an even worse trait for a leader to have.
- Composite Character:
- Starting in Season 4, Show!Thorne begins to take over the part of Donal Noye, the master smith at Castle Black who is supportive of Jon, while still playing the part of the original Thorne, who is Jon's enemy. This results in show!Thorne still disliking Jon as a person, but being sensible enough to recognize the knowledge Jon gathered beyond the Wall and take the Wildling threat seriously.
- In Season 5, he also incorporates aspects of the book's First Steward, Bowen Marsh. Bowen openly and bluntly opposed many of Jon's decisions, while still following his orders out of loyalty to the office of Lord Commander. Bowen is also the one who leads the mutiny on Jon in A Dance with Dragons.
- Conflicting Loyalty: He is supposed to obey his Lord Commander but when his Lord Commander starts doing thing that in his mind would destroy the Watch he starts doubting as he also made an oath to give his life to the Watch. After a while he decides to go with his guts and kill Jon Snow in order to save the Watch.
- The Creon: Thorne doesn't enjoy command, but discharges his responsibilities competently. He still hates Jon and is generally a dick, but seems to recognize that holding petty grudges while in a position of leadership isn't the most becoming of behaviour. However, with some nudging from Slynt he campaigns for the title of Lord Commander, likely because he believes he's genuinely the best man for the job.
- Didn't Think This Through: Thorne's coup and assassination of Jon Snow didn't ends up crumbling in quick fashion. Not only did Thorne fail to take into account that the Wildlings loyal to Jon greatly outnumbered his troops, but even the majority of his men were conflicted over following him and promptly surrendered once the tides turned.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Thorne pushes the recruits hard with harsh training and constant insults, although it could be said he wants them to toughen up so they can face what's beyond the Wall. However, he does take overly sadistic pleasure in bullying Jon and Samwell, nor does he ever show pleasure at his recruits becoming more skilled. Despite his Character Development in Season 4, he's still got this at the end, but it's crossed over with Badass Boast and Rousing Speech, to great effect.
- Enemy Mine: Notes before the battle of Castle Black that he and Jon can go back to hating each other once the Wildings are defeated.Thorne: This is not the end. Not for us. Not if you lot do your duty for however long it takes to beat them back. And then you get to go on hating me, and I get to go on wishing your Wildling whore had finished the job.
- Face Death with Dignity: When facing his execution, Thorne uses his last words to calmly tell Jon that he still believes that he did the right thing, but he accepts his punishment for losing.
- Failed a Spot Check: Thorne's coup ends up falling up short due to his failing to take into account that the Wildlings were loyal to Jon Snow. His men, greatly outnumbered, promptly surrender.
- Freudian Excuse: Word of God has it that the series Ser Alliser was a Targaryen loyalist who was sent to the Wall by Robert Baratheon for his service. His distaste for Jon Snow is due to the fact Ned Stark was, and always has been, a traitor in his eyes.
- Frontline General: He leads the defense of Castle Black from the front, and engages Tormund Giantsbane in single combat.
- General Ripper: Simply cannot take the long view on the wildlings, refusing to acknowledge that 100,000 wildlings behind the wall, however bad, is better than 100,000 wights assaulting it.
- Hidden Depths: In a scene present only in the series, Thorne details to Jon and Sam the horrors that one may face in their duty. Though he doesn't say he was talking about himself, one can easily see how he came to become so bitter. He also proves himself to be a excellent leader, soldier, and administrator in Season 4. He and Jon even developed a grudging respect for each other, that didn't last long when Alliser became unsatisfied with Jon's leadership.
- Hypocrite: He has the audacity to call Edd a traitor after the latter brings the wildlings back to Castle Black and imprisons him. Edd has to point out that Alliser was the one who murdered his own Lord Commander.
- I Am A Humanitarian: He heavily implied that he ate some of his deceased brothers' parts to survive for six months after a mission went awry.
- Icy Blue Eyes: They become very apparent in his close-up scenes, and they work nicely with his 'you don't know cold' speech.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In Season 6, he rationalizes his decision to commit mutiny and murder Jon Snow by stating that he would have led the Night's Watch down to ruin. The fact that he has usurped the office of an elected position by force being even more destructive of the institution doesn't occur to him.
- Insult Backfire: A rather subtle one with his mocking Jon as "Lord Snow," once Jon is elected the new Lord Commander over him, meaning that actually is his proper title now.
- Jerkass Has a Point: His reason for bullying recruits is to harden them for life on the Wall, and his distrust of Jon is somewhat reasonable, given that he doesn't know the full story.
- Kick the Dog:
- He really enjoys rubbing Jon's face in the fact he's not only a bastard, but also the bastard son of a traitor.
- He makes a point of reminding Sam that he has no friends left during Aemon's funeral.
- Meaningful Name: Unpleasant, stingy and vexatious. He certainly has a thorny personality.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Subverted, at first he accepted bitterly Jon's authority and even goes along with letting the Wildlings in despite constantly saying it's a bad idea. Then after a few days he decided that no, this is just wrong and kill Jon and plan on kicking out the Wildlings too.
- No Party Like a Donner Party: Being stranded beyond the Wall during the last winter left its mark on Ser Alliser.
- Perma-Stubble: Always seems to have a day or so's growth.
- Put on a Bus: An in-universe example — Commander Mormont sends him as an envoy to King's Landing, mostly to put the majority of Westeros between him and Jon Snow. Becomes Chuck Cunningham Syndrome in Season 2, in which his scene with Tyrion is replaced with "a raven from Castle Black". It likely wasn't worth bringing back the actor for an exposition scene.
- Rank Up: Appointed by Lord Commander Jon Snow to serve as First Ranger, in recognition of his valor and bravery.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Thorne takes the Wildling threat seriously and quickly steps up to the plate once they march on Castle Black. Though he is initially skeptical of the scope of the Wildling threat, saying that "you can't get fifty Wildlings together before they try killing each other," he doesn't laugh off the existence of giants as Ser Janos does. He even admits that Jon was right to suggest sealing the tunnel.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Thorne (thinks he) has seen the worst of what Beyond the Wall has to offer, and it's made him a bitter and cruel man.
- Smug Snake: He's introduced as one, but the show presents some Hidden Depths to justify his behavior; he sees most of the recruits as not up to snuff for the Night's Watch, as he himself has been through hell and back while serving. He does have an irrational distaste for Jon, but even then takes Jon's assertions that Mance Rayder has united the Wildlings and is marching on the Wall with an army of 10,000 seriously, after some convincing.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ser Alliser makes it clear that both Jon and Sam, along with the rest of their company, are not men and certainly not yet full men of the Night's Watch, and that them coddling Sam will only ensure that they do not have the best trained men at their side when needed.
- Rousing Speech: Thorne gets to give several kick-ass speeches at the end of Season 4. Owen Teale had fun.
- Took a Level in Kindness: While still not the nicest guy in the world when the Wildling attack is about to happen he goes through this, even admitting to Jon that Jon's advice to seal the tunnels was right and he (Ser Alliser) was wrong. He also becomes a more effective leader to his men. When Jon's heroic acts are listed by Sam (leading his fellow brothers against the mutineers, killing Styr, dealing with Mance Rayder) Thorne simply says he can't argue with his deeds, subtly giving him credit where credit's due. Later, he even admits that Jon is a good man with a good heart. Unfortunately he slides right back into his old Jerkass ways in Season 5, ultimately becoming even worse after he murders Jon.
- Undying Loyalty: Thorne's dedication to the Watch is unwavering, even when Jon Snow, who he despises utterly, is elected Lord Commander. It drives him to finally murder Jon.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Lord Commander Jon Snow treated him fairly, rewarded him into a high post based on merit (despite his dislike for Thorne) and Thorne repays him by instigating The Coup and assassinating him. Thorne states later that he did it because he disagreed with his Wildling policy but since he let Jon and the Wildlings through the Wall when he had a chance to let them die, it's clear that his main reasons was personal ambitions.
- Uriah Gambit: Alliser gives Jon leave to go on a mission to kill the mutineers at Craster's Keep in the hope that Jon will get himself killed and be unable to challenge him for the rank of Lord Commander. It almost works.
- The Usurper: He usurps the leadership of the Watch from the duly elected Lord Commander Jon Snow in The Coup and asserts dominance over the rest of the Watch.
- Villainous Friendship: He seems to have one going with Janos Slynt. They're often seen together and Slynt gives him advice on how to deal with Jon. However, he turns on him once Janos proves to be insubordinate to the new Lord Commander.
- Villainous Valour: He fights valiantly during the Battle for Castle Black, and when he's about to be hanged he says he has no regrets and that he wouldn't change what he did.
- You Are in Command Now: He becomes the acting commander of the Night's Watch after Mormont's death, until a new one can be elected. Due to some composition with other characters, he's pretty damned good at it, too. He's later promoted to First Ranger after Jon becomes Lord Commander, and ends up taking power from Jon after killing him.
First Ranger Benjen Stark
Played By: Joseph Mawle
"The Wildlings are no different from us. A little rougher, maybe. But they're made of meat and bone. I know how to track 'em and I know how to kill 'em. It's not the Wildlings giving me sleepless nights."Eddard Stark's younger brother and First Ranger of the Night's Watch. He went missing on a ranging north of the Wall, prompting an expedition to investigate his fate, which has been left a mystery.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Benjen had to earn the position of First Ranger at the Night's Watch.
- Badass Beard: Thinner than his brothers, but present all the same.
- Big Damn Heroes: Saves Bran and Meera from wights in Season 6.
- Brutal Honesty: Tells Jon in no uncertain terms that he is no better than anyone at the Wall; they are all brothers now.
- But Now I Must Go: He leaves Bran and Meera at the end of Season 6 as the Wall has magic spells carved into it which prevent the undead, and by extension him, from passing.
- Came Back Strong: His watch was ended by the White Walkers, but The Children of the Forest kept him from turning into wight and gifted him with some sort of augmented or awakened power in the process, as he's able to ignite a weapon, he can foresee the future and is even aware of the actual contents of Bran's visions.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: To Bran when he rescues him and Sansa.
- Composite Character: With Coldhands, as the former Night's Watch member who was turned into a wight, and comes to Bran's rescue in the north.From the books...
- Cool Uncle: Jon simply adores him. Benjen perhaps sees something of himself in the family outcast.
- Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: He and his ranging party went north to find White Walkers. They encountered the obvious problem — they found them.
- Epic Flail: Wields a flaming flail against the wights when he rescues Bran and Meera.
- Stock Ninja Weaponry: Rather than having a handle like a normal flail (as wielded by Westerosi knights) it has a long chain attached to a short scythe on the other end. This bizarrely makes it basically a dead ringer for a Japanese kusari-gama.
- Kill It with Fire: He knows this is the best way to kill wights and comes prepared.
- Never Found the Body: His horse returned riderless and two of his comrades corpses are found — reanimated by White Walkers. While he is officially only missing in action, his comrades-in-arms are not optimistic and he is 'presumed dead'. He returns in Season 6, alive and kicking, so to speak.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Or more precisely, noble born Night's Watch First Ranger who is also essentially a zombie.
- Ranger: First ranger, in fact.
- Walking Spoiler: His return in Season 6.
- Was Once a Man: The White Walkers attempted to turn him into a wight, but he was saved by the Children, who restored his mind. However, his appearance and the way their magic works makes it clear he isn't strictly human anymore either way.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's the question that spurs the Watch to go look for him: what happened to him? We find out what in season 6.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Due to Benjen's acquired undead nature, the magic of the Wall prevents him from ever returning south.
- Zombie Infectee: Being mortally wounded by a White Walker and subsequently saved by the Children has left Benjen in a limbo between human and wight.
First Builder Othell Yarwyck
Played By: Brian FortuneThe First Builder; a senior position within the Night's Watch.
- Last Request: He asks Jon to write to his mother and tell her he died fighting the wildlings, rather than execution for mutiny.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Downplayed, but he's the only one of the four Jon hangs to show any regret for his actions.
- The Other Darrin: An odd inversion. Fortune played a Night's Watch member in Season 1 who had speaking lines - prominent enough that he's the one who performed the swearing-in ceremony for Jon and Sam. His name was never stated in actual dialogue, and he was never formally credited, but the actor was told he was playing Bowen Marsh - the First Steward. Based on his actions in Season 1 he also seemed to be taking Marsh's role from the books. He didn't appear again in Seasons 2 or 3 because some Night's Watch members stayed behind at the Wall. In Season 4, however, Fortune returned...and was now stated to be playing First Builder Othell Yarwyck. The show even made it a point to prominently introduce him by name - in "Mockingbird", Thorne turns to him and formally asks "First Builder Yarwyck" what he thinks about the situation. So while it is a retcon of sorts, in-universe it was never definitively established that Fortune was playing Bowen Marsh — we're now left to understand that Fortune was actually playing Othell Yarwyck the whole time, even in Season 1. This is probably because a different actor has been cast to play Bowen Marsh in Season 5.
First Steward Bowen Marsh
Played By: Michael CondronThe First Steward of the Night's Watch.
- Adaptational Villainy: While he still stabs Jon Snow in the books, he does so with tears in his eyes. He also has more of a justification beyond petty racism.
- Demoted to Extra. He's far less important in the show than the books. Whereas he was the leader of the mutineers in the novel, Alliser Thorne takes this role in the show, and Bowen is simply one of his lackeys.
Ser Denys Mallister
Played By: J.J. Murphy
"Ser Denys Mallister joined the Watch as a boy and has served loyally longer than any other Ranger. Through ten winters he served. As Commander of the Shadow Tower he kept the wildlings away. We could do no better."Ser Denys Mallister is the commander of the Shadow Tower, located at the western end of the Wall, one of only three major castles along it still manned by the Night's Watch (the other two being Castle Black in the center, and Eastwatch at the eastern coast).
- Absentee Actor: Narrowly averted. J.J. Murphy died a matter of days after filming all or at least most of his scenes for Season 5. It isn't clear if the writers wanted to film another scene or two with him, but apparently enough of his scenes were filmed that the producers wanted to use what he already filmed instead of recasting the role.
- Badass Grandpa: He joined the Watch when he was only a boy, has survived ten winters and in the past he has successfully repelled an attempted Wildling invasion.
- Graceful Loser: Is one of the three contenders running for Lord Commandership, but he seems to know he won't be a darkhorse winner and is content with Jon getting the position.
Samwell "Sam" Tarly
Played By: John Bradley
"If someone had asked me my name, right there, I wouldn't have known. I wasn't Samwell Tarly anymore. I wasn't the steward of the Night's Watch, or son of Randyll Tarly, or any of that. I was nothing at all. When you're nothing at all there's no more reason to be afraid."A new trainee at the Wall, and the rejected scion of the noble Tarly family. He is assigned to the Stewards after completing training.
- Abusive Parents: Hoo boy. His own father was willing to personally murder him.
- Adaptational Badass: In the books, him killing a White Walker was purely an accident where as here he went actively attacked it, despite being thrown aside like a sack of potatoes. Further shows his badassery in Watchers on the Wall where as his book incarnation is still largely a coward who freezes up at imminent danger.
- Adorkable: Particularly towards Gilly.
- Badass Boast: "How many brothers can say that they've killed a White Walker and a Thenn? I might be the first in history." Repeats it and modifies it later against two sworn brothers who're trying to rape Gilly and had just beaten the living hell out of him; "I killed a White Walker, and a Thenn. I'll take my chances with you."
- Badass Bookworm: He spends most of his spare time in the library, doing research. This pays off when he establishes precedent for someone as young as Jon to become Lord Commander, and he hopes to find further information on how to combat the White Walkers - something that King Stannis approves of.
- Band of Brothers: With Jon, Pyp, Grenn, and Edd.
- Big Fun: Albeit in a lower key kind of way.
- Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: Season 2's finale ends with Sam surrounded by an army of wights led by the White Walkers.
- Bookworm: Wanted to be a wizard, and freely admits he much prefers being a steward to being a ranger. "I read it in a book" is his fitting answer to many questions about his knowledge.
- Butt Monkey: He is one to the other trainees and to Alliser Thorne, until Jon puts a stop to it.
- The Champion: To Gilly.
- Cool Ancestral Weapon: When he leaves Horn Hill, he also takes House Tarly's Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane.
- Cowardly Lion: When he has to defend Gilly, he gets fierce. During the Battle for Castle Black, he's clearly scared shitless the entire time, but he stands his ground.
- Crazy-Prepared: "Mhysa" reveals that he collected all the dragonglass daggers and arrowheads from the Fist of the First Men, because of their historical significance and because he thought they might prove useful. And boy, was he right!
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Sam gets the crap beaten out of him by two Brothers in The Gift when he tries to protect Gilly from them. Thank god for Ghost.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Owns a dragonglass dagger which he uses to slay a White Walker.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Accidentally oneshotting a White Walker counts as this.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: No one at Castle Black believes he killed a White Walker, thanks to the only witness being a Wildling.
- Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Sam's reason for wanting to help Gilly, one of Craster's daughters. He points out to Jon that the Night's Watch is supposed to be protecting people and aiding those in need of help, which Gilly clearly is. From the books...
- Expy: For Samwise Gamgee. GRR Martin admits there was some influence, plus John Bradley's portrayal is clearly based on the film version of Samwise.
- Fat Best Friend: To Jon.
- Fluffy Tamer: In "The Night Lands", Sam appears to be the only person besides Jon that Ghost will listen to.
- Friendless Background: Until he met Jon.
- The Funny Guy: He gets a lot of humorous moments.
- Go Through Me: Takes this stance when a couple men try to rape Gilly.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jon.
- Hunting "Accident": What would have happened to him if he hadn't taken the black.
- In-Series Nickname: "Sam the slayer." Used derogatively, it still works as a reminder of his unlikely but remarkable deeds.
- Irony: The wayward son of a famously martial family, derided for being a weak, cowardly Bookworm, ends up being the first person in thousands of years to kill a White Walker.
- Kirk Summation: Gives Maester Aemon a reminder of their cause when he's accused of forgetting his oath by choosing to help Gilly.Sam: "Night gathers and my watch begins. I am the shield that protects the realms of men". The realms of men; that means her, as well as us! We didn't build five hundred miles of ice wall, seven hundred feet high to keep out men! The Night is gathering, Maester Aemon, I've seen it. It's coming for all of us!
- Loophole Abuse: Upon falling in love with Gilly, he takes a second look at the Night's Watch oath and notices it never actually specifically forbids them to have sex, as long as they don't get married or have children.
- Lovable Coward: Scared of absolutely everything. Subverted completely in "The Watchers on the Wall" where he voluntarily joins in the defense and keeps a cool head before and during the battle.
- Lyrical Dissonance: In a manner of speaking. While the nursery rhyme he sings about the Seven Gods to Gilly's baby is incredibly sweet, the dissonance comes when one considers the first verse describes the goodness of the Father to his children, compared to Gilly and Sam's relationship with their own respective fathers.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: His pep-talk to a terrified Olly inspires him to take up a bow and help fight...then he kills Jon's Love Interest. Ouch.
- Nice Guy: Sam is very friendly and easy-going.
- Non-Action Guy: He's a self-admitted coward. Subverted in "The Watchers on the Wall," where he keeps his cool in the battle and manages to get a headshot on a Thenn.
- Number Two: Unofficially becomes this to Jon after the latter's election as Lord Commander. He's Jon's main confidant and, with Aemon passing away and Thorne being Thorne, his only source of trusted advice. Jon outright states that he's reluctant to send Sam to become a Maester primarily because of this reason.
- Papa Wolf: When defending Gilly and her baby from a White Walker.
- Parental Substitute: He's this to Gilly's baby to the point that in Season 6, Gilly flat out calls him the father of her son.
- Persona Non Grata: Of his own house after his father finds out Gilly is a Wildling.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Probably the best fit for this among any of the characters.
- Precision F-Strike: Sam is a pretty polite speaker, which makes his telling Pip to "open the fucking gate" all the more shocking/hilarious.
- Protectorate: Jon Snow seems to have adopted him as this within seconds of meeting. He beats up anyone who tries to lay a finger on the new recruit, convinces all the other boys to leave him alone, and when one refuses to go along with it, sneaks into his room in the middle of the night and threatens him with his pet direwolf. Basically, hurting him is currently the quickest and most dangerous way to piss Jon off.
- And Gilly and her baby are his. He killed a White Walker to protect them!
- Reality Ensues: Sam killed a White Walker and a Thenn; impressive accomplishments, but ultimately the product of luck. His actual fighting ability is demonstrated in The Gift, where he gets the living shit beaten out of him by a couple of sworn brothers attempting to rape Gilly. He still retains his badass status, though, because even beaten to a pulp, he gets back up.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: He later reasserts this stance to Maester Aemon, correcting him in case he's having similar sentiments to Lord Mormont's ones about it not being their place to help others.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Lord Commander Mormont is attacked by Rast, and all hell breaks loose, he runs to take Gilly away, forgetting about Edd and Grenn. In all fairness, they did the same thing to him when that horn sounded a third time...
- Shrinking Violet: Which is why his father made him join the Night's Watch.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Shames Janos Slynt when he makes a crude remark about Gilly by mentioning how he cowered in the pantry when everyone else fought bravely to defend Castle Black in Season 4.
- The Smart Guy: Makes some astute observations in "The Pointy End" when bodies are brought back from the other side of the Wall.Commander Mormont: You may be a coward, Tarly, but you're not stupid.
- Took a Level in Badass: First introduced as a completely hopeless fighter and a coward. By Season 3, he's able to lead Gilly and her baby all the way back to the Wall on his own, killing a White Walker along the way. Graduated to full on Badass as of "The Watchers on the Wall". He chooses to fight in the battle instead of hiding with Gilly - he recognizes that he is a terrible fighter and poor shot, but he still makes himself useful by reloading crossbows for the other men on the walls. He is also able to keep calm and collected during the fight, even when his friend Pypar dies, running through arrow-fire to go for reinforcements after Ser Alliser falls. Samwell even manages to kill a charging Thenn with a crossbow headshot. By Season 5, he's able to command enough respect from his fellow brothers to make a case to elect Jon as Lord-Commander of the Night's Watch.Sam: I'm not nothing anymore.
- True Companions: With Jon, Pyp, and Grenn.
- Undying Loyalty: To Jon. It's notable that despite being a self-admitted coward, he still chooses to go with Jon beyond the Wall in order to take his vows, despite the fact that he wasn't even raised to believe in the Old Gods. In Season 5, after Jon tells Sam of his intent to turn down Stannis's offer of legitimacy out of loyalty to his vows, Sam in turn nominates and successfully makes a case for Jon as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, knowing that Jon is truly the best person for the job out of the three candidates.
- Unexplained Recovery: He survives season 2's finale, luckily, but we are cheated out of a scene showing how in the process.
- The Unfavorite: He's at the Wall because his father threatened to murder him if he didn't "voluntarily" remove himself from the line of inheritance. Ouch. From the books...
- You Shall Not Pass: Invokes this towards the White Walker who tried to take Gilly's baby.
Pypar a.k.a. Pyp
Played By: Josef AltinA recruit at the Wall; one of Jon's friends. He is assigned to the Stewards after completing training.
- Band of Brothers: With Jon, Sam, Grenn, and Edd.
- The Bus Came Back: When Jon returns to Castle Black near the very end of Season 3, Pyp's there to meet him along with Sam.
- Deadpan Snarker: It's more prevalent in the earlier seasons, though.
- Death by Adaptation: Ygritte shoots him in the neck. Pyp's still alive in the books.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Sam holds Pyp as he bleeds out with his neck wound, all the while promising Maester Aemon will fix him up to try and ease his passing.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Him, Jon and Grenn had a very rough start, but they eventually become True Companions along with Sam.
- Ironic Echo: See his quote above. He doesn't manage to kill a hundred wildlings during the battle of Castle Black, but he does kill at least one; thus playing his small part in the vital Nights Watch's defence, before he himself dies.
- Justified Criminal: Subverted. He claimed that he was caught stealing cheese for his starving sister, but the real reason for being sent to the Wall involved a noble grabbing his cock, which he was too embarrassed to confess to strangers.
- Non-Action Guy: Pyp's not a fighter and he knows it. He confesses to Sam that he's never used a bow or held a sword that didn't have a blunted edge.
- Put on a Bus: Though a more apt metaphor would be that he's the only one who didn't get on the bus. Pypar isn't among the party Mormont leads north of the Wall at the end of Season 1, so he's offscreen for nearly all of the next two seasons.
- Those Two Guys: With Grenn.
- True Companions: With Jon, Sam and Grenn.
Played By: Brennock O'ConnorA young boy who is the lone survivor of a small village in the Gift razed by Wildlings.
- Broken Pedestal: He greatly looks up to Jon as an older brother, but Jon's decision to save and ally with the wildlings upsets him deeply, since it was wildlings that killed his family and everyone else in his village. Worse, Jon goes off on a mission with Tormund, the one who led the raiding party. In the end, he betrays Jon for it.
- Canon Foreigner: He has no counterpart in the books. However as he becomes Jon's steward in Season 5, he is apparently taking Satin's place. Satin never betrays Jon, however.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He's mostly a talking extra and the Tagalong Kid for the Night's Watch, but then during the defence of Castle Black he kills Ygritte.
- Children Forced To Kill: Scores his first kill during the Battle of Castle Black.
- Child Soldiers: By necessity. With his village slaughtered, the Night's Watch was the only place left that he could go.
- Composite Character: He takes on aspects of Satin from the books.
- Defiant to the End: As he is about to be hanged, he has no last words to give to Jon, only a Death Glare to him.
- Doomed Hometown: His hometown was decimated by Wildlings and only he was left alive.
- Et Tu, Brute?: He is the final one to stab Jon.
- Forced to Watch: His father is killed before his eyes. Styr then forces him to look at his parents bodies a second time, telling him that he is going to eat them, before sending him to Castle Black as lure.
- Freudian Excuse: His parents and entire village were butchered in a Wildling attack. Given that Jon decides to help the Wildlings (including Tormund, who actually participated in the destruction of Olly's village), it's hard to blame him for being angry at Jon. Whether or not it justifies him betraying Jon is up for debate.
- Informed Ability: Boasts to be the best archer in his hamlet. True either way, since everyone else in his hamlet is dead now, and his hamlet is small enough that it doesn't even have a name. Nevertheless he proves he is a competent archer when he lands a fatal shot on Ygritte in "The Watchers on the Wall".
- Morality Pet: Jon seems to take an instant liking to him and often has a hand over his shoulder. Grenn also takes a shine to him, promising to go hunting with him. Not that any of it stops him from betraying Jon.
- Revenge: Olly manages to gain some measure of justice when he kills Ygritte with an arrow from behind, in much the same way that she killed his father.
- Sole Survivor: Of his hometown, when it's attacked by Wildlings.
- Shout-Out: An archer named "Olly".
- The Squire: As Steward, he's essentially this to Jon.
- Tagalong Kid: Becomes one for the Night's Watch once he joins them, after his hometown is attacked by Wildlings.
Played By: Mark Stanley
"When people talk about the Night's Watch, they never mention the shovelling."A recruit at the Wall and also in Jon's friend group. He is assigned to the Rangers after completing training.
- Bad Bad Acting: His reaction after getting Sam to hit him during training.
- Badass Beard: In Season 2 and onwards.
- Band of Brothers: With Jon, Sam, Pyp, and Edd.
- Badass Boast: He uses the Night's Watch oath as a sort of hybrid between this and a Rousing Speech in his battle against the Giant.
- The Big Guy: Of Jon's friends, he's the most physically intimidating and strongest.
- The Bully: Pre-Character Development; he was rather mean to Sam.
- Character Development: He starts his run in the show as The Bully to Sam and a rather arrogant jerkass, but as Jon Snow proves himself and wins him over, Grenn becomes a loyal friend and trusted comrade.
- Composite Character: Takes Donal Noye's place in sacrificing himself to hold the tunnel gate against the king of the giants.
- Death by Adaptation: Grenn's still alive in the books, but the series's version of Grenn died holding the Wall's gates against Mag the Mighty.
- Dumb Is Good: Grenn is sometimes made fun of for being "slow-witted." But while he's not the brightest bulb at the Wall, he's definitely one of the bravest and as loyal a friend and comrade as you could hope for.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Though offscreen, taking out the King of the Giants is still a badass way to go out.
- Famous Last Words: On-screen, at least: "I give my life to the Night's Watch, for this night, and all nights to come!"
- Fire-Forged Friends: Him, Jon and Pyp had a very rough start, but they eventually become True Companions along with Sam.
- Hero of Another Story: Along with Edd, Grenn had an interesting time off-screen following the mutiny at Craster's Keep. He fights the mutineers, is defeated, imprisoned and tortured, is witness to Karl's rise to leadership and his subsequent atrocities, escapes and travels through Wildling-infected harsh environment to return to Castle Black.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Grenn and a few of the Night's Watch brothers die to keep the Wall's gates from being breached.
- The Lancer: He acts as this for Jon Snow from time to time.
- Last Stand: At the Internal Gate, against the Giant.
- Mutual Kill: Implied to have happened between him and the giant, as Grenn and his five brothers' corpses are later found alongside the now dead giant.
- Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: He and five other Nightswatchmen successfully hold off and kill a giant trying to breach the Wall's gates. After the initial Wildling siege is repulsed, Jon and Sam find his and the five others' corpses next to that of the now dead giant's.
- Parental Abandonment: His father abandoned him in a farmhouse when he was just three years old.
- The Only One I Trust: Kit Harington suggested in an interview that Jon sends Grenn down to hold the gate against Mag the Mighty, despite knowing he was probably sending one of his closest buddies to his death, because Grenn was the only one he trusted could do it. He was probably right.
- Those Two Guys: Alternately with Pyp in Season 1 and Edd during the Great Ranging.
- True Companions: With Jon, Sam and Pyp.
- Undying Loyalty: He's the first man to volunteer for Jon's mission to Craster's Keep, both to aid his friend and avenge Mormont.
- Worthy Opponent: Mance Rayder drinks a toast to both him and Mag the Mighty upon learning a humble farmer managed to kill the last King of the Giants.
- You Shall Not Pass: Jon orders him to hold the Wall's gates with only five men. They manage to kill Mag the Mighty and stop anyone else from coming through the gate, albeit at the cost of each of their lives.
Lord Janos Slynt
Played By: Dominic Carter
Janos Slynt: Are you drunk? I won't have my honor questioned by an imp!Commander of the City Watch in King's Landing at the beginning of the series, he is named Lord of Harrenhal and becomes the founder of House Slynt for his service to King Joffrey Baratheon and the betrayal and arrest of Ned Stark. He is exiled to the Night's Watch by the acting Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister, for his part in the massacre of King Robert Baratheon's bastard children.
Tyrion Lannister: I'm not questioning your honor, Lord Janos. I'm denying its existence.
Tyrion Lannister: I'm not questioning your honor, Lord Janos. I'm denying its existence.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the books it's not him who kills baby Barra but his subordinate Allar Deem. He was, however, fully complicit in the atrocity so he was still very much a villain. His love for his children is also Adapted Out.
- Agent Scully: Slynt doesn't believe in the creatures that lurk beyond the Wall, which is a dangerous attitude to have for a brother of the Night's Watch. Forget the grumpkins and snarks, the giants, wargs and mammoths are very real.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: He cries and begs for his life as Jon prepares to execute him. It's completely pointless and just makes his death undignified on top of everything.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Slynt might have been a cowardly, baby-killing, corrupt asshole for every second of his life, but there's oddly little satisfaction to be had in his death as he pathetically cries and tells Jon that he's always been afraid.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: When he's on the Wall, about to fight giants and seeing two of them from his position, he still refuses to believe such a creature could exist. The unspoken reactions of everyone present says it all. This also makes him an Agent Scully.
- Bald of Evil: Slynt is one shiny-headed piece of filth.
- Beard of Evil: He has a pretty thick white beard, possibly to prevent his head from looking too much like an egg.
- Bodyguard Betrayal: To Ned Stark.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Sam shuts down his advocating Aliser for the new Commander by reminding everyone he spent the assault on Castle Black cowering in the larder "in a puddle of his own making."'
- The Brute: To King Joffrey's Big Bad.
- Call It Karma: In "The Night Lands", Tyrion, acting as Hand of the King, considers the way he killed a baby without question the last straw, and has him replaced, arrested and sent to the Wall. He ends up being killed by the son of the man he betrayed at the start of his power grab.
- Closet Shuffle: Does this during the Battle of Castle Black in "The Watchers on the Wall". He freaks out when it's his time to fight, and then runs away to end up hiding in the closet instead.
- The Corrupter: To Alliser Thorne. Slynt urges Thorne to consider himself a candidate for the Lordship Commander, but it clearly hadn't occurred to him before that, and he doesn't seem to keen on the idea. Slynt also gives him the idea to send Jon to Craster's Keep to kill the mutineers with too few men so they'll get rid of him.
- Dirty Cop: One of the reasons Tyrion gets rid of him, since he can't be trusted to be loyal when his loyalty is easily bought.
- Dirty Coward: When it comes time for him to fight on the frontlines in "The Watchers on the Wall", he panics and runs to a closet. Considering it's an episode where each member of the Night's Watch gets their own personal Crowning Moment of Awesome including a pre-pubescent boy, Slynt ends up looking pathetic.Slynt: Sam the Slayer. Another wildling lover, just like his friend, Jon Snow. How's your lady love, Slayer?
Sam: Her name is Gilly. Ser Slynt knows her quite well. They cowered together in the larder during the battle for the Wall.
Sam: A wildling girl, a baby, and Lord Janos. I found him there after the battle was over...in a puddle of his own making.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Slynt is filled with indignant fury when people don't respect him. He's outraged when Tyrion accuses him of lacking honor and again when Jon Snow tells him he must not have been good at his previous job as Commander of the City Watch. The trouble is, Slynt expects respect without doing a single thing to earn it. This crops back up in Season 5; his defiance of Jon's orders stems both from not wanting to take commands from him and his belief that his given assignment doesn't seem worthy of him. It was actually not a terrible fate; he was given command of his own castle (a ruin, but still) and charged with the important task of getting it ship-shape. It was probably a better assignment than Janos deserved, considering his desertion during the Battle of the Wall. Slynt still thinks he deserves more.
- Faux Affably Evil: Janos is quite fun to have a drink with, as seen in his scene with Tyrion. It isn't enough to make anyone forget what a horrible monster he is.
- General Failure: See his behavior in "Watchers on the Wall" for a glaring example of his inability to lead.
- Humiliation Conga: Stripped of lands and titles, of command over the City Watch, and sent to the Wall. Even at the Wall, he is given no respect. Only Thorne is able to stomach him due to their mutual hatred of Jon Snow.
- Hypocrite: He tries to justify his actions by saying Ned tried to bribe him to betray the king. Tyrion quickly points out the real reason was that Littlefinger had already paid him to betray Ned.
- Inelegant Blubbering: When it becomes clear to him that Jon Snow is seriously going to excute him, the waterworks quickly turn on.
- Insistent Terminology: Addresses any young man who he feels is beneath him as "boy," including Tyrion's squire Podrick and Jon Snow. He even continues to address the latter as such when Jon has been elected to Lord Commander and is ordering Janos' execution for insubordination.
- Just Following Orders: His reason for carrying out the purge of Robert's bastards.
- Karmic Death: He tries to be insubordinate to the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. He ends up beheaded by Jon Snow, a bastard, like the children he slayed on Joffrey's orders, and the son of the man who Slynt betrayed. Like Jon's father, Slynt gets his head lopped off with a blade made of Valyrian steel.
- A Man Of Wealth And Taste: Upon his elevation to Lord, he fancies himself one. He knows his wine, at least, but he can't disguise his status as a cowardly traitor.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: So he'd have us believe, but really he's Only in It for the Money.
- Nouveau Riche: He was made Lord of Harrenhal and leading House Slynt for betraying Ned Stark and helping Joffrey secure the throne. It doesn't last though, thanks to Tyrion.
- Off with His Head!: He's executed via beheading.
- Only in It for the Money: According to Littlefinger, Slynt and the Goldcloaks will serve whoever pays them.
- Put on a Bus: Thanks to being sent to the Wall at the same time that the Night's Watch story has left it, it's two years before we see him again.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Tyrion exiles him to Castle Black at the Wall, partly for crossing the line when he murdered a baby, and partly because he can't trust Janos not to betray him in turn after he already betrayed Eddard Stark, the previous Hand of the King.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Tyrion has him sent to the Night's Watch both as punishment and to get rid of him.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!:
- He invokes this in "The Night Lands". He's wrong. Cersei isn't pleased that her mutt has been sent to the Wall, but she doesn't lift a finger to help him.Slynt: Did you... my friends at the court will not allow this! The queen herself —
Tyrion: The queen regent. And you are a fool to believe she is your friend.
- He does this again in Season 5, when he is insubordinate to now-Lord Commander Jon Snow, who sentence him to death. As Janos is dragged away he shouts about how his powerful friends in King's Landing won't stand for this. Apparently he was still unaware that Tywin is dead and that the Lannisters never liked him to begin with and have probably forgotten that he exists by now.
- He invokes this in "The Night Lands". He's wrong. Cersei isn't pleased that her mutt has been sent to the Wall, but she doesn't lift a finger to help him.
- Slimeball: Slynt is a weasel with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
- Smug Smiler: Look at his expression when Littlefinger ridicules Ser Barristan.
- Too Dumb to Live: Blatantly and openly defying the orders of his Lord Commander, especially in such a disciplined and oath-heavy order as the Night's Watch, was a ridiculously bad move. It should be noted that Jon gave him every opportunity to take back his comments, only for Slynt to refuse.
- Undignified Death: For all the blustering and defiance that forced Lord Commander Jon Snow to personally execute him, he blubbers and begs for mercy when on the chopping block.
- Uriah Gambit: He suggests to Alliser Thorne that they pull this on Jon Snow, sending him to deal with the mutineers at Craster's Keep in the hopes that he'll be killed, to prevent him from becoming a popular contender for Lord Commander. Unfortunately for them, Jon's success in leading the foray is very likely going to boost his support extensively.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- He completely falls apart upon being given command of the Wall's defenders, even denying the existence of the giants right before his eyes, until an excuse can be manufactured to send him away.
- And again, when he is about to beheaded by Jon Snow. He loses all traces of dignity and begins crying and begging for his life.
- Villainous Friendship: With Alliser Thorne, who he's pretty chummy with. He even gives him advice on dealing with Jon Snow. But when Janos proves to be insubordinate to newly-minted Lord Commander Jon Snow, Thorne mercilessly steps aside and leaves him to his demise.
- While You Were in Diapers: He tries this on Jon Snow, to no effect.Janos: I was charged with the defense of King's Landing when you were soiling your swaddling clothes.
- Wicked Cultured: Slynt knows his wine.
- Would Hurt a Child: After one of his men refuses to kill a baby bastard daughter of Robert Baratheon, he steps up and does it himself right in front of the screaming mother.
- You Are in Command Now: He gets placed in charge of the Wall's defenders when Alliser has to leave to defend Castle Black. He fails miserably.
Played By: Luke McEwan
- Adaptational Villainy: While he's a jerkass rapist in the books, in the show he betrays and murders the Lord Commander. And in Season 4 he does just like Craster and keeps sacrificing babies to the White Walkers, albeit reluctantly.
- Arch-Enemy: To Sam, who he holds a special hatred for. They never do get any kind of final battle, however, since Rast is killed by Ghost. However, he also had a special enmity with Ghost ever since Jon threatened him with siccing the direwolf on him.
- Ascended Extra: In Season 3, he is revealed to have been part of the ranging party Beyond the Wall all this time, despite not appearing even once in Season 2. In the books he remains at Castle Black instead and quickly becomes a footnote.
- Beard of Evil: Rast is a self-serving rapist with a thick beard.
- The Bully: Against Samwell. It takes Jon's threats (as well as Ghost's intervention) to get him to lay off Sam. When Jon is with the Wildlings, he's back on bully mode. It takes Mormont's threat to get him to lay off again.
- Butt Monkey: Rast earns it by being a jerk and a bully, but he's treated with disdain by much of the Night's Watch and Jeor Mormont dislikes him greatly. Even after Craster's death, he's relegated to a Butt Monkey role, clearly not having the strength to stand up to the likes of Karl who belittles him.
- Composite Character: He shares some traits with Chett in Season 3 and takes the place of Ollo Lophand killing Lord Commander Mormont.
- Demoted to Dragon: Eventually he becomes a reluctant toady to Karl.
- Dirty Coward: Rast has no problem bullying Sam, but gets put in his place when others step in, especially Jon and Mormont. He also has no problem stabbing Mormont in the back, but practically shits himself when Mormont turns around to start choking him. He's also terrified of Karl and falls over in fright when a caged Ghost barks at him. When the Night's Watch raids Craster's Keep, he turns tail instead of participating in the fighting.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He is among the rapists taken by Benjen to the Wall when Jon joins.
- Even Evil Has Standards: We finally see him reach his own personal moral line when he's clearly uncomfortable sacrificing a baby to the White Walkers. He still does it, however.
- Evil Is Petty: After killing Mormont, he walks out of Craster's Keep and swears to hunt Sam down and kill him... who had just run away. While Craster's jerkassery contributed a lot, Rast's decission to betray the Watch and kill Mormont apparently grew out of his hatred of Sam and being told to lay it off by others.
- Ignored Epiphany: When sacrificing Craster's baby, Rast appears extremely uncomfortable and for a fleeting moment it looks like he might not go through with it... but then he just covers up the child's face so he won't have to look at him before going on his way.
- Jerkass: Particularly to Sam, who he bullies relentlessly.
- Just Desserts: He meets his end eaten by a recently freed Ghost.
- Karmic Death: Mauled and bitten to death by Ghost after taunting him in the previous episode.
- Kick the Dog: He continues stabbing Mormont's corpse even after he's already dead. Later, his cruel torment of Hodor is this.
- Knife Nut: Rast's weapon of choice seems to be a knife, which is perfect for a back-stabber.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Rast goes from a bully to a victim of a bully, and his murder of Mormont ultimately makes things worse for him, particularly when Karl Tanner takes over. Karl turns Rast into his resident Butt Monkey, delegating the worst of duties to him and humiliating him at every turn. And when Jon and his volunteers attack the mutineers at Crasters Keep, he tries to flee, only to be devoured by Ghost. Bet he wishes he hadn't killed Mormont now.
- The Oath-Breaker: He betrayed the Night's Watch and joined Karl in raping and abusing Craster's daughter-wives.
- Oh Crap!: Has one when he sees Ghost is missing from his now open cage. All by himself, in the middle of nowhere, in the snowy night, he hears growling.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: One of many rapists that chose the Wall before castration.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: His motivation to mutiny. He doesn't stay to fight the Watch's punishment party against the mutineers, either.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Rast was in the battle against the Wights, and seems rather affected by it.
- We Used to Be Friends: He, Pyp, and Grenn were seen hanging around together at their introduction and all had a very special hatred for Jon. The latter two eventually became True Companions with him along with Sam while Rast himself remained antagonistic.
- Would Hurt a Child: He sacrifices Craster's last son to the White Walkers.
See Game Of Thrones House Bolton for tropes associated with Locke.
Played By: Burn Gorman
"We had a good thing here. We were free men. You'll never be free. You'll never know what that's like."A brother of the Night's Watch who led a mutiny which claimed the life of Lord Commander Mormont. Karl has since taken over Craster's Keep.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, there is a "Clubfoot Karl" in the Night's Watch. Here, he is just "Karl".
- Adaptational Villainy: Karl was just one of many mutineers in the books. In the show, he's a hardcore rapist and psychopath who drinks from a cup made out of Mormont's skull, has a past as a Psycho for Hire, and is willing to sacrifice infants to the White Walkers.
- All There in the Manual: In Season 3, his name was not stated onscreen. Since he is an amalgam of several minor NW members (and lacks Book Karl's club foot), early reviewers used different names for him, like Dirk.
- Arc Villain: For the plotlines north of the Wall in the first half of Season 4.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: He's the leader of the mutineers because the others are terrified that he'll kill them if they disobey.
- Ax-Crazy: He's a sadistic, psychotic, completely terrifying assassin and rapist.
- Badass Boast: He's prone to making them.Karl: I could piss in any gutter and soak five of you. You know how much they paid me to kill a man at King's Landing? Seven silvers. They told me a man's name and that man never saw daylight again. None of them cocksuckers got away from me. I haven't lost a fight since I was nine. Maybe it's time? What do you think? EH? Maybe [Rast is] the man. EH? CUNTS? [...] I was a fucking LEGEND in Gin Alley. The. Fucking. LEGEND! I would take any knight, ANY knight, any time. Fucking cunts in steel plate. Fucking cowards.
- Blood from the Mouth: A given, considering Jon kills him by ramming Longclaw through his head.
- The Bully: Towards Rast, his very own Butt Monkey, of all people.
- The Caligula: His reign as the Lord of Craster's Keep involves a great deal of rape, murder, and partying.
- Combat Pragmatist: He kicks and spits as so to gain the upper hand in combat. And in an irony that would probably make him chew his arm off in frustration, Jon is able to win his fight with Styr thanks to remembering how effective this was against himself.
- Composite Character: Takes over the place of some of the Garths (insisting in calling Craster a bastard) and Dirk (killing Craster and being a ranger instead of a steward), with the name of Clubfoot Karl. His background, however, is original.
- Consulting Mister Puppet: He drunkenly does this with Jeor Mormont's skull. Apparently Mormont wants the mutineers to "fuck 'em (Craster's daughter-wives) 'til they're dead".
- Creepy Souvenir: He makes a wine cup out of Commander Mormont's skull.
- Deadpan Snarker: Karl is deeply sarcastic and snarky; bullying Rast with jibes, pretending to speak to Mormont's skull and taking a mock bow when Jon faces off with him.
- Dual Wielding: He uses two large knives in combat.
- Evil Is Petty: Mormont was already dead! You didn't have to desecrate his body and make a cup out of his skull!
- Evil Sounds Raspy: His scratchy tone is perfect for delivering threats.
- Glory Days: Apparently working as an assassin in Gin Alley, at Flea Bottom.
- Guttural Growler: He has a raspy, throaty voice.
- Has a Type: In the creepiest possible way.Karl: I've always liked a girl with curls. A touch of class.
- History Repeats: Like Craster, he's a psychotic, loathsome piece of work who greatly enjoys lording his power over others and boasting about how great he is. Also like Craster, he's a proud sociopath and rapist who sees no problem in killing/sacrificing children for his own safety. To top it all off, he also appears to have some incestuous, fetishistic tendencies like Craster, though they're of a different vein; as he mentions Meera sharing qualities with his mother (her curly hair), whilst he's sizing her up with the clear intent to molest/rape her.
- It's All About Me: Karl is so self-involved that he could not overstate his own importance if he tried.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jon drives Longclaw through the back of his skull, after a daughter of Craster whom Karl had taken as his personal punching bag stabs him in the back just prior.
- Jerkass: We don't see much of his personality aside from his mutinous side, but when we revisit him in Season 4, it's clear just how much of a jerk he is.
- Karmic Death: He gets knifed in the back by one of Craster's wives, giving Jon an opening to kill him in the exact same way that Karl killed Craster: by stabbing him in the head. The sword was also Longclaw, Commander Jeor Mormont's sword, the same man whose death he was gloating about. Even better, the wife that stabbed him was the same one whom he had made as his personal "pet".
- Kick the Dog: His time as the new "Lord" of Caster's Keep is basically an endless exercise in this trope. Beating and raping Caster's daughters, drinking from Mormont's skull, and then threatening to sexually assault Meera.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Karl's murder of daughter-raping, child-sacrificing professional Jerkass Craster doesn't exactly come across as an unforgivable sin. Though, as hinted at in "Breaker of Chains" and fully shown in "Oathkeeper", he's just as bad, if not worse than Craster. His bullying treatment of Rast also counts, since Rast honestly deserves everything he gets.
- Knife Nut: Karl seems to use knives for most of his duties, and he proves himself highly adept with them in combat.
- Large Ham: Particularly when drunk. He rants and boasts about his past as a Psycho for Hire while practically challenging Rast to a fight.
- Lean and Mean: He's rather thin and a little gaunt, not to mention a treacherous killer.
- The Mutiny: Instigates one amongst members of the Night's Watch by killing Craster, which in turn leads to Lord Commander Mormont's own death minutes later.Karl: There are no laws beyond the Wall!
- The Oath-Breaker: Not only did he betray the Night's Watch, he styled himself as a king and claimed Craster's daughter-wives as his own, violating the oath to not claim any lands, glory, or wives.
- Psycho for Hire: Before becoming a member of the Night's Watch, he was a psychopath who murdered people for money; and he seems to have fond memories of that time, if his boasting about it is any indication.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: When we see him in Season 4, he's turned Craster's Keep into an all-you-can-rape buffet, specifying to his men to "fuck [Craster's daughter-wives] 'til they're dead". He even keeps some poor girl, injured and traumatized, by Craster's makeshift throne for easy access. He is about to rape Meera as well, right before Rast shows up to warn him that the Night's Watch has come for them.
- Rebel Leader: He is the first of the Night's Watch brothers to mutiny against Jeor Mormont at Craster's Keep, and consequently becomes the undisputed leader of the mutineers. See Asskicking Equals Authority above for more.
- Remember the New Guy: He is first seen when the Night's Watch returns to Craster's Keep from the Fist of the First Men.
- The Resenter: Karl seems to hold a special hatred for knights and nobles. Screenwriter Bryan Cogman also thinks Karl has a class issue.Bryan Cogman: ...This man feels he had a raw deal his entire life, and now he has real contempt for upper classes and society.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Pulls one on Craster, before killing him.
- Slouch of Villainy: Karl seems to be spending much of his time working on destroying his posture by slouching lazily in Craster's chair.
- Small Name, Big Ego: As he loves to remind everyone, his prowess as an assassin made him legendary... in Gin Alley. Even after taking over Craster's Keep, he thinks he's special despite being nothing but the "lord" of a bunch of thugs and traumatised girls. This being said, he gives Jon Snow one hell of a fight even before he starts using dirty tactics.
- The Sociopath: Karl is an unfeeling, impulsive psychotic. In terms of pure evil, he shares company with the illustrious likes of the Mountain, Polliver, Ramsay Bolton and Styr.
- Spear Carrier: Burn Gorman is a rather known actor because of his work on film and TV, making him a strange choice to play such a small part in the show. It is a critical small role, however since it leads to Mormont's death and nearly destroys the Night's Watch. Subverted once he plays a larger role in Season 4 ruling over Craster's Keep, and the mutineers' story intersects with Bran's as well as Jon's.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Some, such as reviewer and blogger Sean T. Collins of "All Leather Must Be Boiled", spell his name as Qarl, which is an actual nayme found in the books. Although the Karl spelling seems a bit too normal, as noted above, there actually is a Karl among the mutineers in the books.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Karl constantly bullies Rast, his fellow mutineer.
- Too Dumb to Live: Karl totally had Jon at his mercy after battling him, but after getting stabbed in the back by one of Craster's daughters, he then pays full attention to her and clearly intends to kill her; but he doesn't even think that maybe Jon would use this to his advantage when he was distracted, and thus is rewarded with a sword to the back of his head. And while paying attention to the person backstabbing you is usually smart, he takes a lot of time as if he completely forgot Jon was still there.
- Ungrateful Bastard: His gleeful torment of Rast seems to indicate that he's forgotten about that time when Rast practically saved his life by stabbing Mormont in the back. As good a fighter as Karl is, he likely would have been no match for the legendary Jeor Mormont (armed with a greatsword, while Karl was armed with a knife).
- Would Hurt a Child: He was perfectly willing to kill a newborn infant son of Craster. At the behest of one of Craster's wives, he instead sends Rast to leave the baby out for the White Walkers. He also tortures Bran and later tries to rape Meera.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: After killing Craster, he takes possession of the man's land, food and daughters.
Played By: Simon Armstrong
"We are at war. We've always been at war. It's never going to end 'cause we're not fighting an enemy. We're fighting the North and it's not going anywhere."A legendary ranger of the Night's Watch, based at the Shadow Tower.
- Adaptational Wimp: Played with, in that his badassery, compared to in the books, becomes an Informed Ability. In the books, for instance, he doesn't get captured. However, that doesn't stop him from being considered a Memetic Badass by everyone else in the Night's Watch and even among the Wildlings.
- Adaptation Personality Change: Compare these quotes from Show!Qhorin and Book!Qhorin, respectively.Show!Qhorin: You can't tame a wild thing. You canít trust a wild thing. Wild things have their own rules, their own reasons. Youíll never know them.
Book!Qhorin: Only fools [...] despise the wildlings. They are as brave as we are, Jon. As strong, as quick, as clever. But they have no discipline. They name themselves the free folk, and each one thinks himself as good as a king and wiser than a maester. Mance was the same. He never learned to obey.
- Badass Beard: A scratchy white one.
- Badass Grandpa: He's one of the older members of the Night's Watch.
- Cool Old Guy: A solid badass willing to sacrifice his own life and whose age hasn't stopped him from being The Dreaded among the Wildlings.
- The Dreaded: The Wildlings all know who he is and appear somewhat frightened on him as a result. Which says a lot considering the only other thing they've thus-far shown actual fear towards are White Walkers.
- Handicapped Badass: Losing half of a hand hasn't made him any less awesome.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Makes Jon kill him to convince the Wildlings that Snow is genuinely defecting to their side.Qhorin: We are the watchers on the wall...
- Hyper Awareness: Part of what makes him such a solid badass is how in tune he is with his surroundings, able to live outside the wall almost as well as the Wildlings.
- Informed Ability: See Adaptational Wimp, we never see him do anything badass, even though everybody goes on about how awesome he is.
- Living Legend: Among the men of the Night's Watch, he's earned the status as one of the most renowned rangers to have ever lived.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe.Jon Snow: So it is possible for someone to survive out here on their own...
Lord Mormont: Well, possible for the Halfhand.
- The Mentor: Yet another one for Jon, although he doesn't last as long as the others.
- Mr. Exposition: You need to know anything about Mance Rayder and the Wildlings? Then Qhorin is your man.
- Thanatos Gambit: He probably had an inkling he would not be treated well by his wildling captors knowing his reputation, so he engineered a Suicide By Watch-Brother, also serving to help sell Jon Snow's fake defection.
- Undying Loyalty: When Qhorin said his vows, he fucking meant it. He eventually allows himself to die for the Night's Watch.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Mance Rayder.Mance Rayder: He was my brother once. Back when he had a whole hand.
- Worthy Opponent: For Mance Rayder and the Wildlings.
Played By: Bronson Webb
"I know I broke my oath. I know I'm a deserter. I should have gone back to the Wall and warned them, but I saw what I saw. I saw the White Walkers."A ranger who sees the White Walkers while on a ranging party. Later executed by Eddard Stark for desertion.
- The Cassandra: He tries to warn Ned about the return of the White Walkers, but Ned dismisses this as the ramblings of a deserter.
- Decoy Protagonist: Of a sort. He, along with Waymar Royce and Gared, are the first people seen in the show. However, all of this is ended when his head is lopped off not 10 minutes into the pilot. From the books...
- Face Death with Dignity: Even though he's completely wrecked when he's captured, he still composes himself before the end.
- The Oathbreaker: He deserts the Night's Watch, albeit while he's incredibly scared at the time. Regardless, Benjen still recalls him fondly, even if he did break his oath.
- Off with His Head!: He's decapitated by Ned for desertion.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Very, very briefly. In the books, he takes the place of Gared being the second killed by the Walkers. However, like Gared in the book, he's executed not long after being introduced.
Ser Waymar Royce
Played By: Rob Ostlere
"If you want to run away south, run away. Of course, they'll behead you as a deserter, if I don't catch you first."A young ranger, and third son of House Royce of Runestone. He leads Will's ranging party beyond the Wall, and is one of the first victims of the White Walkers.
- Adaptational Wimp: In the book, he actually fights the Walkers in a Let's Get Dangerous moment, even if he's killed in the end. However, here he's killed before he even knows what's going on.
- Decoy Protagonist: Arguably the first one in the series. He's one of the first three people seen in the pilot, but he doesn't last long. Perhaps to emphasize this, in the pilot he was originally played by Jamie Campbell Bower, too well known of an actor simply to cast in a throwaway role.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: His disappearance is noted by the Watch but he's little missed compared to Benjen Stark whose disappearance was the first sign that something weird was going on. Years later, he's remembered by, of all people, Sansa Stark who reminds Lord Yohn Royce of meeting them when he escorted Waymar to the Wall.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Surprisingly, and definitiely not setting the tone for the rest of the series (especially when his comrade is gorily beheaded a moment later), the scene cuts away when Waymar turns around and is slain.
- Have We Met?: At the Eyrie, Sansa has to remind Waymar's father, Bronze Yohn, that they had met before when he brought Waymar to the Night's Watch and stopped at Winterfell.
- Jerkass: He's pretty abrasive towards both Will and Gared, despite him being both younger and more junior than either of them.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: More or less, along with him being a knight, how he was able to command a ranging party. His father, Lord Yohn Royce, is a High Lord of the Vale. As fully stated in the books, Mormont was initially reluctant to give Waymar such an important task, but given who he was related to, he thus gave him the chance.
Played By: Dermot Keaney
"Our orders were to track the wildlings. We tracked them. They won't bother us no more."A senior ranger, and the third member of Will's wildling party. Killed by the White Walkers in the forest.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, Gared is described as old, scrawny, and lacking not only a finger and several toes, but both of his ears as well. In the show, Gared simply looks like a weathered, not quite middle-aged man.
- Death by Adaptation: Like Will, very briefly. In the books, Gared is the one who makes it past the Wall and is executed by Ned, while here, he's decapitated by a White Walker in the forest. Will takes over the rest of his brief story.
- Decapitation Presentation: The Walker who killed him subsequently throws the severed head at Will, freaking him out.
- Off with His Head!: He's beheaded by a Walker while trying to run.
Played By: N/AA ranger under Qhorin Halfhand's command.
- Bus Crash: A victim of one, along with the rest of Qhorin's rangers. They leave Jon alone to kill Ygritte; when Jon meets again Qhorin, he politely informs Jon and the audience that Stonesnake and the rest were killed in the meantime.
- Death by Adaptation: Went missing fleeing Rattleshirt in the books and might still be alive, while he's definitely dead in the show.
- Demoted to Extra: He has a bigger role in the books - with actual lines - and even a Heroic Sacrifice moment.
Played By: Francis Magee
"It's a funny thing; people worry so much about their throats that they forget about what's down low."A sworn brother of the Night's Watch, in which he serves as a recruiter.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Described in the books as having a twisted shoulder as well as a beard both greasy and full of lice.
- The Alcoholic: It's not overt, but Yoren implies one of the advantages of being a Recruiter for the Night's Watch, is the excuse to visit every tavern between King's Landing and the Wall.
- Annoying Arrows: When a Lannister crossbowman shoots him, all it does is knock him to his knees for a couple of seconds, before getting up and cutting down the shooter.Yoren: I never liked crossbows. Take too long to load!
- Badass Beard: He has one.
- Badass Boast: He's good at making them, but special mention goes to his handling of a Goldcloak.Yoren: It's a funny thing; people worry so much about their throats that they forget about what's down low. Now, I sharpened this blade before breakfast. I could shave a spider's arse if I wanted to, or I could nick this artery in your leg. And once it's nicked, there's no one around here who knows how to unnick it.
- Beware the Nice Ones: In most of his conversations, he comes off as amiable, pleasant, and prone to jokes... and then he calmly tells a Goldcloak how he could accidentally nick the artery in his leg and let him bleed to death, unless they turn around and tell Joffrey they didn't find anything. Then, he takes the Goldcloak's sword, mostly because it's funny. Also possibly subverted in that if he had been less nice (and simply killed both of them) he and the recruits would likely have been able to escape (or at least cross the Stark lines).
- Characterization Marches On: A cosmetic one: in the first season, he has curly hair. In the second season, his hair suddenly becomes straight.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Travels to King's Landing to find new recruits for the Night's Watch. Some episodes later, he's still at King's Landing. Just in time to be told by Ned to protect Arya and keep her from watching his execution. from the books
- Deadpan Snarker: His snarky attitude is most prevalent in his scenes with Tyrion and Arya.
- Died Standing Up: Despite having more than a few mortal wounds, Yoren stays standing until Lorch slides a sword down the back of his neck.
- Guile Hero: Pulls a knife on a Goldcloak, makes him turn around and even takes his sword for his troubles.Yoren: Nice sword! [takes it] We could use good steel like that on the Wall.
- Honour Before Reason: Why he doesn't turn Gendry over to the Goldcloaks, noting that he belongs to the Night's Watch now and thus the King has no jurisdiction over him anymore.
- Large Ham: "Get up you sons of whores! There's men outside who want to FUCK YOUR CORPSES!"
- Made of Iron: An arrow to the chest, as if that's going to stop him from killing half your men and telling you why. And then he gets stuck in the back with a spear, and it takes being stabbed in the back of the neck to finally kill him. They might as well have dropped an anvil on him for good measure!
- Masochist's Meal: In a discussion with Tyrion, he recalls the strangest thing he's ever eaten — a bear's testicles, brains, guts, lungs, and heart, all fried in the same bear's fat — and describes the results as "a bit chewy."
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Just like with anyone who becomes a mentor or Parental Substitute to Arya, time catches up with him eventually.
- Odd Friendship: Considering how the other Night's Watch members view Tyrion, it's a little surprising that he and Yoren become fast friends who greatly enjoy each other's company.
- Parental Substitute: Briefly, to Arya.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "I never liked crossbows. Take too long to load!" Sure he's quipping about his own death, but it still counts.
- Recruiters Always Lie: Subverted. He's pretty much straightforward, to the point of being in the direction of Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die in terms of his speech-making. This is justified since for many recruits, the Watch is just an alternative to the death penalty.
- Spiteful Spit: His reaction when ordered to throw his sword in the name of King Joffrey.
- You Killed My Father: Relates to Arya a story of how a man named Willem killed his brother, and how he nursed a desire for vengeance for so long that he'd recite the man's name every night before going to bed. When he finally killed Willem, he ended up burying an axe into his skull so deeply that it was unable to be removed.Yoren: You know, we've got something in common, me and you. You know that? I must have been a couple of years older than you. I saw my brother stabbed through the heart right on our doorstep. He weren't much of a villain what skewered him. Willem, the lad's name was. He ran off before anyone could spit. And I just stood there, watching my brother die. Here's the funny part. I can't picture my brother's face anymore. But Willem, oh, he was a nice-looking boy. He had good white teeth, blue eyes, one of those dimpled chins all the girls like. I would think about him when I was working, when I was drinking, when I was having a shit. It got to the point where I would say his name every night before I went to bed. Willem. Willem. Willem. A prayer almost. Well, one day, Willem came riding back into town. I buried an ax so deep in Willem's skull they had to bury him with it. Willem's horse got me to the Wall and I've been wearing black ever since. That'll help you sleep, eh?