This is a listing of brothers of Night's Watch in A Song of Ice and Fire.
For the main character index, see here
The Night's Watch
The Black, The Black Cloaks, The Black Brothers, The Crows
- "We never knew! But we must have known once. The Night's Watch has forgotten its true purpose, Tarly. You don't build a wall seven hundred feet high to keep savages in skin from stealing women. The Wall was made to guard the realms of men and not against other men, which is all the wildlings are when you come right down to it. Too many years, Tarly, too many hundreds and thousands of years. We have lost sight of the true enemy. And now he's here, but we don't know how to fight him."—Lord Commander Jeor Mormont
The oldest institution in Westeros, the Night's Watch exists solely to guard the Wall, an enormous barrier built of ice to shield Westeros from the ancient threat of a Zombie Apocalypse. It is a cross between a monastic order and special forces brigade. They remain neutral to the conflicts within the Seven Kingdoms. In ancient days, it was an esteemed noble order, like the Kingsguard. Nowadays, only those in the North consider the Night's Watch a noble calling. To the rest of the realm, they believe the ancient threat is long gone and to them, the Wall has become a place to ship criminals so the Watch can make use of them. Many nobles come join the Night's Watch as a result of political struggles. However, noble-born illegitimate sons, second and third legitimate sons of noble Houses and other members of ancient families — particularly in the North (such as the Starks) — do join the Watch on their own choice for the sake of honor and duty.
Joining the Night's Watch is called "taking the Black" and all members serve for life. Like his uncle, Benjen Stark, and generations of Starks before him, Jon Snow joins the Night's Watch and quickly takes on a leading role in the group.
- Ancient Tradition: The Night's Watch dates back at least several thousand years, being founded after the Long Night — and in the legend of the last hero during the Long Night — to prevent a disaster like that from happening again according to legend.
- Animal Motif: Men of the Watch are often referred to as "crows", particularly by the Wildlings. Master Aemon notes that crows are smart but willing do scary things, like eating carrion, so they are hated and misunderstood. It's not only literally due to their black cloaks and clothes, but also pejoratively, because the Wildlings consider them as untrustworthy and sneaky as crows.
- Anti-Hero: While they are sworn to defend the realms of men and join for life, there are some members who are this trope that are not necessarily good people (albeit, there are definitely some good people among the ranks, some of who joined for the sake of honor and duty and/or family tradition). However, some other members who aren't necessarily good people were once criminals who preferred to serve than being jailed or killed. Second, although they're sworn to protect humanity from the Others, many members consider wildlings exempt from their oath's protection — except for Jeor Mormont, Jon Snow, and Samwell Tarly, who do see that the wildlings are part of the realms of men and deserve their protection (granted, there are wildlings who tried attacking Westeros, but that was mainly to get across the Wall to safety and because their ancestors were simply on the wrong side of the Wall when it was built, hinting they don't allow anyone crossing into Westeros, even if they're not enemies but ordinary people looking to survive, yet are condemned to eternal winter and possible death north of the Wall). Third, the commitment of some Watch members to their oaths reaches Knight Templar level at times. The tales of the Night's King, Rat Cook, 79 Sentinels and Brave Danny Flint also show that some members of the Night's Watch can be as savage as they believe the wildlings to be.
- Anti-Mutiny: Played with. Many of Jon's reforms in A Dance With Dragons have sound reasoning, as they are made in the interest of saving everyone (including the wildlings) from the oncoming army of the dead and do align with the Watch's original mission to protect the realms of men — but some of these changes are contrary to traditional interpretations and views of those in the Watch. Some members of The Night's Watch resist Jon's plans for allying with the wildlings against the Others, and for sending a ranging party to rescue the ships sent to rescue wildlings at Hardhome — however, Jon explains that they must also save the wildlings because they are part of the realms of men which the Watch is sworn to protect as the wildlings are people too, and that any living person who dies north of the Wall will rise to become part of the Others — the threat the Watch was built to defend against. Some of these Watch members also don't like involving the Night's Watch with Stannis, thus making it a prime target of retribution at the hands of Lord Bolton. When Jon decides to go south to deal with Ramsay Bolton after receiving a series of threats, which amounts to breaking his vow of not getting involved in the wars of the realm, a group of Watch members turn on him.
- Appeal to Inherent Nature: Invoked. The Night's Watch purpose is to defend the realms of men from the threats beyond the Wall (the Others), and wildlings are men — which both Mormont and Jon point out. However, because of the threat's retreat over time, this devolved into defending the territories south of the Wall from wildling invaders, basically to protect the status-quo. Yet, since the ancient threat of the Others has recently returned, Watch members and wildlings alike should be banding together as humankind to survive this threat — which both Lord Commander Mormont and Lord Commander Jon Snow recognize — but unfortunately, not everyone is on the same boat.
- Badass Creed:"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."
- It gets a cool echo in the traditional final words in the eulogy usually given at a dead Night's Watch man's funeral: "His name was ____________, and now his watch is ended."
- Boxed Crook: Far too many of the men of the Watch are criminals who joined up as an alternative to harsh punishment such as mutilation, castration, or death.
- The Cassandra: The Watch's warnings that bad stuff is going down beyond The Wall and that they need help is routinely ignored.
- Chaste Hero: Supposedly, although most of them still get around whenever they have the opportunity. This is tolerated by the superiors because trying to enforce the oath of chastity would do more harm than good, (and it has been pointed out that the oath prohibits marriage and fathering children, not sex per se).
- Mole's Town, the nearest settlement, apparently has several brothels that do quite good business with brothers that have snuck away for an evening. How is it that members an impoverished sworn brotherhood can actually pay for their services is never brought up.
- Ever heard the phrase "Your mother wears combat boots"? The brothers can pay whores by giving them their equipment.
- Mole's Town, the nearest settlement, apparently has several brothels that do quite good business with brothers that have snuck away for an evening. How is it that members an impoverished sworn brotherhood can actually pay for their services is never brought up.
- Child Soldiers: The Watch will take males of any age willing to defend the realm, including young boys.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of The Chosen Many. What is the point of an elite specialist fighting force if the enemy they were created to fight hasn't appeared in thousands of years? The quality of their recruits thus drops and they turn into an Army of Thieves and Whores and the Watch becomes the laughing stock of the realm and disillusions eager recruits like Jon Snow.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Through the first 3 books, and only Stannis Baratheon answered.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: They used to be highly respected, but now they're just made up of crooks, orphans, unwanted sons and disgraced nobles. Yoren laments that a man of the Night's Watch used to be welcomed and feasted everywhere he went in Westeros, and now he can't even take a few ears of corn from a field without being treated like a dirty thief.
- Interservice Rivalry: A bit between the rangers vs. the stewards and builders. The rangers tend to support more aggressive tactics and scouting beyond the Wall, while the stewards and builders would prefer to simply fortify the Wall and seal all the entrances to the other side. This divide only intensifies after Jon Snow becomes Lord Commander, as the rangers tend to have his back on allowing the wildlings to come through the Wall and help defend it against the Others. The stewards and builders, few of whom have seen or fought the Others and have little experience with wildlings outside of their attacks on the Wall, would prefer to let them die. There are some exceptions to this.
- Ironic Nickname: Many members have these, such as "Small Paul" and "Giant".
- Mentor Archetype: Jeor Mormont, Qhorin Halfhand and Maester Aemon.
- Mildly Military: As a combination of a military order, a monastic order, and a gulag, the Night's Watch naturally doesn't run quite the same as a normal army.
- The Oathbreaker: Has had its share, but the Night's King was its most infamous example.
- Old Master: The senior members often are this. Special mention goes to Maester Aemon and Jeor "Old Bear" Mormont.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: By the time of A Game Of Thrones, they're composed mostly of criminals, outcasts, disgraced nobles, enemies of politically powerful people, and the like, alongside diminishing numbers of castle-trained members such as second sons, noble-born bastard sons, and ex-knights who voluntarily join the Watch. It doesn't stop them all from being an effective fighting force.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: One of the reasons people are sent to the Wall; Janos Slynt, for example, and Cersei Lannister's original plan for Eddard Stark.
- Schizo Tech: Castle Black is the only place in the world that has a working elevator.
- Shout-Out: The creed of the Night's Watch is highly inspired by "A Song to Mithras", a poem by Rudyard Kipling in Puck of Pook's Hill, which has a section set in Hadrian's Wall and the Roman soldiers who guarded it:"Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn
Look on Thy children in darkness. Oh, take our sacrifice!
Many roads Thou hast fashioned: all of them lead to the Light''
- A Storm Is Coming: The reason why this group was founded.
- Taking the Veil: Or taking the black, which used to mean something.
- Trading Bars for Stripes: Joining the Watch is now a popular way of avoiding jail. Because many realms (except for the North) stopped most of their support to the Watch once the threat it was built to defend against seemed to become a Sealed Evil in a Can, a good portion of its ranks have now become an Army of Thieves and Whores alongside diminishing numbers of highly-born castle-trained members.
- The Wall Around the World: At the northern end of it, at least.
- Unfriendly Fire: the Lords Commander of the Night's Watch have an alarming tendency to die by the hands of their own men.
- We ARE Struggling Together: They get hit with this hard. The simple truth is that most of the Night's Watch is made of murderers and rapists and a large number of them launch a mass desertion while retreating back to the Wall from the Great Ranging. Most of them, and several loyal men, die and are turned into wights. Ideological differences also create problems for Lord Commander Jon Snow as other senior members oppose his actions and insist on continuing to view the wildlings as enemies rather than the Others. Outside the Watch itself, personal dislikes hamper their efforts. Tyrion's scorn for Allister Thorne has him leave the man waiting to see the king, during which time his proof of the Other's wights rots away. Catelyn's resentment for Jon Snow gets passed to her family, and Brynden Tully mistakenly suspects Jon's rise in authority in the Night's Watch is a plot by Tywin Lannister as a result.
Commander Cotter Pyke
- "I fight best with a deck beneath me, not a horse, and Castle Black's too far from the sea."
A bastard son from the Iron Islands and Commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
- Badass Beard: Has a sparse, rough beard.
- Brutal Honesty: This is one of the traits that makes Ser Denys Mallister dislike Cotter, arguing that a commander of the Night's Watch needs to know how to properly deal with important guests and lords.
- The Captain: Of the warship Talon.
- Colonel Badass: During the Wildling attack on the Wall, he successfully defends the eastern portion of it and captures Rattleshirt at Long Barrow.
- Commanding Coolness: What he lacks in refinement and polish, he gains in just being that effective in the field.
- Covered with Scars: He had the pox at some point in his life which left his face covered in scars, which he grew a beard to try and hide.
- Heroic Bastard: He is now a loyal senior member of the Night's Watch, but it is implied that he used to be a Bastard Bastard before being sent to the Wall.
- Never Learned to Read: He cannot read or write, and depends entirely on Maester Harmune to read messages to him at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and write his responses.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Roguish Male to Ser Denys Mallister's Noble Male. The traits that each one argue make them more suited for command of the Night's Watch are the same ones the other argues make them a bad choice.
- The Rival: To Ser Denys Mallister, commander of The Shadow Tower.
- Seadog Beard: Well, he attempts it, at least. It's not as impressive as some, thanks to the pox. Still, "grizzled" describes him well.
- The Un-Reveal: It's unclear how a bastard son from the Iron Islands came to join the Night's Watch, as this is a very unlikely thing to do from the Ironborn; he was most likely captured, as he is mentioned to have been a reaver and a murderer before taking the Black. Fittingly, he is an experienced sailor and a ship's captain.
- Villainous Widow's Peak: He is not villainous anymore, but he used to be.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He is sent by Jon Snow on a dangerous rescue mission to save Wildlings at the abandoned Hardhome settlement, the last raven sent by him mentions "dead things in the water". It is unknown if he is still alive and in what condition.
Ser Denys Mallister
- "The Lord Commander of the Night's Watch is a lord, first and foremost. He must be able to treat with other lords... and with kings as well. He must be a man worthy of respect."
Commander of the Shadow Tower. He is the uncle of Lord Jason Mallister, the current head of House Mallister. He has a deep distrust of Ironborn due the historical hatred his house bears towards the Iron Islands.
- Always Someone Better: Before Jon is elected Lord Commander, Mallister had twice been passed over for the position; he justified this to himself by saying that his time would come, eventually. After dropping out in favor of Jon, and to prevent Slynt from becoming commander. he returns to the Shadow Tower knowing that his time will never come. He takes it quite well, considering, but warns Jon not to make him regret backing his election.
- Bald of Awesome: As a coot, but that doesn't stop him being actually pretty good at what he does.
- Commanding Coolness: It's the Night's Watch. They don't believe in less.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: He's passed over twice for the position of Lord Commander, and when the opportunity comes a third time, he's too old for it.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Notably so: a very rare beast on the Wall.
- Nice Guy: He is insanely polite to everyone.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Noble Male to Cotter Pyke's Roguish Male. The traits that each one argue make them more suited for command of the Night's Watch are the same ones the other argues make them a bad choice.
- Old Soldier: He has served in the Night's Watch for at least thirty-three years, having had a career as a tournament knight before then.
- The Rival: To Cotter Pyke, commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
An experienced ranger sent to the wall for poaching. Becomes commander of Icemark in A Dance with Dragons.
- Ironic Nickname: "Giant", due to being five feet tall.
- Never Learned to Read: Or write: he claims on a good day he could barely write his name.
Commander "Iron" Emmett
A ranger posted at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea before becoming the new master-at-arms for Castle Black. He is later given command of Long Barrow.
- Amazon Brigade: Given command of one at Long Barrow, which is where Jon Snow sends all the Wildling spearwives who have agreed to defend the Wall. Emmett is entrusted with the command since Jon knows he would never forsake his vows or mistreat the women.
- Blood Knight: Is said to love fighting. When Jon beats him bloody in a training session, Emmett just laughs it off and jokes about it.
- Master Swordsman: He was regarded as the best swordsman at Eastwatch, and is one of the best in the Night's Watch as a whole.
- Nice Guy: He is extremely easygoing and loyal.
- Rank Up: First to master-at-arms for Castle Black, then given command of Long Barrow.
- Sergeant Rock: He is a much better master-at-arms for Castle Black than Ser Alliser Thorne ever was, being a natural teacher who loves fighting and knows how to pass on that love to his trainees without coddling or abusing them.
- Undying Loyalty: He becomes one of Jon's biggest supporters.
Maester Aemon Targaryen
- "What is honor, compared to a woman's love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms, or the memory of a brother's laughter? Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our glory, and our great tragedy."
The oldest man in Westeros, he is a maester and a member of the Night's Watch. He was a prince of House Targaryen many years ago, and was offered the crown after he took his vows. He refused and went to the Wall rather than undermine his brother Aegon after he was crowned.
See the House Targaryen page.
- Adult Fear: For him, Robert's Rebellion. Nearly all his relatives were killed and he couldn't have done anything about it even if he hadn't stayed at the Wall, as he explains to Jon Snow in A Game of Thrones.Aemon: My ravens would bring the news from the south, words darker than their wings, the ruin of my House, the death of my kin, disgrace and desolation. What could I have done, old, blind, frail? I was helpless as a suckling babe, yet still it grieved me to sit forgotten as they cut down my brother's poor grandson, and his son, and even the little children...
- Bald of Awesome: He has lost all his hair to old age, and while he is too old (and blind) to fight, Maester Aemon's awesomeness comes through his helpful advice, reasonableness, and over a century of knowledge, little of which he has forgotten.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: When Jon's life is on the line thanks to Thorne and Slynt Aemon pulls out all the stops to help him. He shoots down Septon Cellador's paltry evidence regarding Jon's faith in the Old Gods as proof he is sympathetic to the wildlings, points out Jon's dedication and skill in the defence of Castle Black and his previous upstanding service to Mormont, and when all else fails, goes directly over Slynt and Thorne's heads to bring in Cotter Pyke, who informs the pair they don't have the authority to arbitrarily execute Jon.
- Big Brother Mentor: Although not much older than Aegon and certainly not the eldest of Maekar's sons, Prince Aemon Targaryen was the nearest any of Egg's brothers came to being this before he was made to start training in the Citadel and had to break most ties — but, he didn't manage to break them all. Which goes to show: he started being a reasonable person a very long time ago. Heck, Egg even liked the nickname big brother Aemon gave him, as it was given with warmth and not as a taunt. How far would Aemon go to look after his little brother? He went to the Wall so Egg's right to the throne wouldn't fall into any dispute. That's how far. And, no guesses which member of his long-dead family he started talking to when his mind started to wander towards the end: little bro.
- Character Death: Passes away of old age in Feast. He was 102.
- Conflicting Loyalty: To the Watch and his house. He chose to honor his vows, but had to watch as House Targaryen fell to utter ruin under the Mad King and nearly all his relatives were killed or forced into hiding in exile.
- Cool Old Guy: Hanging out with Master Aemon doesn't exactly come across as the greatest hardship you could ever face on the Wall. He's full of all sorts of interesting information, if you're willing to listen to his sound advice he tailors to your problems, that is.
- Dead Guy Junior: Named after his grandfather's (Daeron II "The Good") uncle (or father) Ser Aemon Targaryen, the Dragonknight.
- Gilly also plans to name Dalla's son Aemon.
- Foil: Like Stannis Baratheon, the crown passes to them after the deaths of their brothers. Both believe kingship is a duty but while Stannis chose to grab the crown because refusing it is wrong and irresponsible, Aemon passed it on to his brother who he believed would do a better job.
- Healing Hands: Comes with being a maester.
- Last of His Kind: Aemon thinks he is this because has spent much of the latter portion of his life unaware that Viserys and Daenerys still live. And also so does Aegon. He actually does not find out until right before his death he still has living relatives. Though, if you buy into the popular fan theory about Jon being Rhaegar and Lyanna's son, the scene where he explains the tragedy of House Targaryen and how he is the last of the line becomes slightly humorous, as he would have been explaining this all to his long-lost great, great, grand nephew.
- Long-Lived: At the start of the series he is 100 years old.
- Mentor Archetype: To Jon and Sam.
- Monochromatic Eyes: Due to cataracts.
- Nice Guy: Very much. The kindness he extends to Sam is only one indication.
- Offered the Crown: And not only famously refused it, but joined the Night's Watch so he would be ineligible to rule and thus not be a target of conspiracy.
- Old Master: He was blind with age and in very poor health, but his hands were steady and his mind sharp, and when he spoke the Night's Watch listened.
- Reassigned to Antarctica/Locked Away in a Monastery: While he chose to be a maester and to go to the Wall to protect his brother Aegon, it's also said that he didn't became Archmaester and was left to freeze because he's a Targaryen, and therefore linked to magic (which the Citadel hates).
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Along with Jeor Mormont's leadership, it's Maester Aemon's advice and knowledge that holds the Night's Watch together. With Jeor dead and Aemon sent to Oldtown and dying en-route, the tensions among the Night's Watch explode into a mutiny against the new Lord Commander, Jon Snow.
- Rule of Three: Like all Targaryens. The gods tested his vows three times and each time he stuck by them.
Janos Slynt is the commander of the King's Landing City Watch. The son of a butcher, Slynt's true loyalties lie with whoever pays his salary. Which is actually Littlefinger. He's made Lord of Harrenhal by Joffrey but gets sent to join the Night's Watch after Tyrion begins cleaning King's Landing of his sister's allies. He conspires to become Lord Commander, but his refusal to follow Jon Snow's orders after he is elected to the post ends up getting him executed.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When Jon chooses to spare Slynt from being hanged and decides to behead him himself in accordance to the ways of the First Men.
- Animal Motifs: He is often compared to a frog.
- Bald of Evil: He is a bald Slimeball.
- Better the Devil You Know: When Jon Arryn tried to remove him from the post for his corruption, Robert argued that since they all steal, it's better to have one they know because the next man might be worse. Stannis opines that this was one of many instances of Littlefinger's words coming out of Robert's mouth.
- Bling of War: When commanding the Gold Cloaks, he wore elaborate black armor with gold filigree.
- The Brute: In Littlefinger's plot to betray Ned.
- Didn't Think This Through: Tries to flaunt his status prior to being forced to take the black as a way to scare Jon. Jon promptly has him executed because he refused to follow orders.
- Dirty Cop: Known for taking bribes and selling positions and promotions. Half the officers pay him part of their salaries.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: He is outraged whenever someone does not show him the respect that he thinks is his due. The fact that he has never done anything worthy of respect and that even his "allies" do not really like him never dawns on Janos.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The only redeeming moment he's had in the books is his concern when he believed Tyrion was threatening his children.
- Fatal Flaw: Believing himself untouchable because he has "powerful friends" (the Lannisters), which means squat on the Wall.
- Fish out of Water: A slippery Southron who tries playing the political game in the North.
- Hope Spot: Thinks he's getting one when Jon declares he won't be hanged... and then swiftly has it dashed when Jon draws his sword and tells Edd Tollett "Fetch me a block".
- Insistent Terminology: Insists on being called "m'lord" when dealing with Jon Snow. He also generally refers to Jon as "bastard" or "turncloak", only ever addressing him respectfully about two seconds before Jon takes his head off.
- Leave No Witnesses: Stannis claims Slynt had two gold cloaks who were willing to testify he was corrupt discreetly murdered before they could condemn him.
- Meaningful Name: Janos sounds a lot like Janus, the two-faced Roman God.
- Nouveau Riche: He's raised to lordship and given the ancient castle of Harrenhal for betraying Ned Stark. Nevertheless, he still eats, drinks and speaks like a commoner, and all the nobles consider him nothing more than an "upjumped butcher's son".Denys Mallister: This so-called "Lord of Harrenhal" is a butcher's whelp upjumped by the Lannisters. Small wonder he is venal and corrupt.
- Off with His Head!: Karmic when considering his betrayal led to Ned's execution and the one to behead Slynt is none other than Ned Stark's bastard son.
- Oh, Crap!: His reaction to the following pronouncements... 'Please take Lord Janos to the Wall... and hang him'.
- Overranked Soldier: After arriving on the Wall, he takes temporary command of the Night's Watch due to no Lord Commander being present and the fact that he was a lord. He is clearly not cut out for the position at all.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Tries to pull one of these in the hopes of getting Stannis to support his attempt to become Lord Commander. Stannis, who hates such practices and already despises Janos for his corruption, flatly tells him he is wasting his time.
- Punch-Clock Villain: When compared with the likes of King Joffrey, Queen Cersei and Littlefinger.
- Rags to Riches: From son of a butcher to lord of one of the greatest castles in Westeros. Not that he ever gets to see it, because not long after he's raised to a lordship, Tyrion quickly packs him off to the Wall for his part in the massacre of Robert's bastard children and his betrayal of Ned Stark.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Tyrion sends him to the Wall after learning that he had sent one of his men to execute a bastard baby of King Robert and her mother and that he had played a part in the execution of Ned Stark.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Nobody, not even Cersei, really bats an eye when Tyrion sentences Janos to the Wall for purging Robert's bastards and betraying Ned, and many consider it a justified action given Janos' actions.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Thinks his "friendship" with the Lannisters will ensure his safety, even on the Wall. He is wrong.
- Slimeball: As his master Littlefinger, but less apparently benign.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Spends a solid amount of his appearance talking about his own importance or how his "friends" the Lannisters are lucky to have him as an ally. One of the few times the Lannisters ever bother to mention him, Tywin can do nothing but snort with derision at the upjumped son of a butcher. And nobody moves a finger or even lifts an eyebrow when Tyrion sends him to the Wall.
- This trait gets even more ridiculous when he arrives at the Wall and seems to think that everyone there should be automatically bowing down before him due to being a "lord". He even claims that Mance asking for terms is because he heard Janos arrived on the Wall and now knows he has no chance of defeating the Night's Watch with someone like him in charge. He even threatens that Tywin Lannister will punish the Watch severely if they execute him (unaware that Tywin is A) dead and B) despised Slynt).
- Smug Snake: Thinks really high of himself because he has attained lordship and a seat in the Small Council. His smugness leads him to openly defy his Lord Commander before the entire Night's Watch. He gets sentenced and beheaded by Jon Snow, the son of the man he had betrayed, for disobedience. It also doubles as Karmic Death.
- Third-Person Person: Not always, but usually namedrops himself as though it's a name people should remember and take note of. See Small Name, Big Ego above.
- Token Evil Teammate: Of the senior Night's Watch officers, Slynt is the only one who could truly be called evil.
- Too Dumb to Live: Repeatedly insulting a superior officer and refusing his orders turns out to not be a great idea.
- Cersei also invokes this about Slynt, stating he only took two men with him to arrest Barristan Selmy and didn't consider Selmy might choose to fight rather than come quietly.
- Undignified Death: All of his defiance towards Jon ends up deserting him, and he meets his death crying and begging almost incoherently on the execution block.
- Uriah Gambit: Slynt sends Jon to assassinate Mance Rayder, hoping that Jon will be killed in the process.
- Villainous Friendship: With Ser Alliser, although Jon notes that most of Janos' ideas are too clever for him and thinks that Alliser is simply pulling the higher-ranked officer's strings and that no real friendship exists beyond their hatred of Jon. The fact that Alliser so easily gives up on trying to stop Janos' execution seems to confirm this.
- Villain with Good Publicity: There are rumors in King's Landing that he was sent to the Night's Watch because he was too bluff and honest for Tyrion's liking.
The resident septon at Castle Black.
- The Alcoholic: Cellador is often described as constantly "being in his cups."
- Commander Contrarian: Along Bowen Marsh and Othell Yarwyck, he's one of the Night's Watch leaders that resist Lord Commander Snow's reforms.
- Disney Villain Death: Is threatened with this by Donal Noye during the Battle of Castle Black. Cellador is singing a pacifistic hymn to the Seven urging both sides to stay their hands; Noye hears it and roars that if the Septon stays his hand, he will be booted off the top of the Wall.
- The Fundamentalist: He's actually distrustful of those who worship the old gods because they share the religion of the Free Folk. When Jon Snow is arrested under Slynt's orders, he's ready to believe the latter's accusations and distrusts Jon's sincerity because he made his vows before a heart tree.
- Only One Name: If he had any surname, he dropped it when joining the Faith of the Seven.
First Builder Othell Yarwyck
Hailing from the Westerlands, Othell is in charge of the builders, who maintain the Wall and the forts of the Night's Watch.
- Commander Contrarian: Practically any decision Jon makes after becoming Lord Commander is opposed by Yarwyck, although he is less confrontational than Bowen Marsh.
- Commuting on a Bus: During A Dance With Dragons, he comes in an out of the story as he divides his time between Castle Black and overseeing the rebuilding of other castles along the Wall.
- Fantastic Racism: Towards giants, and he wrongly believes they eat human flesh when they are actually vegetarians.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: To Jon after he becomes Lord Commander.
- "It's the builders for me. What use would rangers be if the Wall fell down?"
A apprentice stonemason before being sent to the Wall, Halder trained alongside Jon and several other recruits. After training he was assigned to the builders.
- Demoted to Extra: Unlike some of Jon's other friends, Halder doesn't remain as prominent after the first book.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Him versus Samwell Tarly on Sam's first day of training, and Ser Alliser makes him continue it even after it is clear that Sam cannot stand up. Halder really did not want to do it though and is grateful that Jon's protests gave him reason to stop.
- In-Series Nickname: Ser Alliser mocks him as Stone Head during training.
- Nice Guy: He is friendly and affable, and supports Jon immediately alongside Pyp to convince the other recruits to not follow Ser Alliser's orders to abuse Sam.
- Put on a Bus: Near the start of A Dance With Dragons, Halder is sent with Toad to the Shadow Tower by Jon.
- True Companions: With Jon, Sam, Grenn, Pyp, and Todder.
- Unskilled, but Strong: He can put a lot of power behind his blows, but doesn't have very good technique and tires quickly. He gets a little better after some training from Jon, but is still assigned to the builders because his stonemason skills trump his strength and fighting skills.
A stablehand from Moletown, Hareth fled to the Wall when Wildlings struck south of the Wall. He ended up joining the Night's Watch and was assigned to the Builders.
- In-Series Nickname: Horse, due to being big and having buck teeth.
- Jumped at the Call: After coming to the Wall, he was one of the handful of people from Moletown who stayed to defend it after it became safe to leave Castle Black and began expressing immediate interest in joining the Night's Watch.
- Undying Loyalty: To Jon Snow.
- "Been bringing men to the Wall for close on thirty years. All that time, I only lost three."
A recruiter of the Night's Watch, he travels the Seven Kingdoms to bring new recruits (mostly criminals) back to the Wall.
- Badass Beard: Albeit, one that has lice in it.
- Body Horror: A mild and fairly mundane version. Yet, it's rather hard to suppress the wish to scratch when you read about the small ecology of parasites he carries with him.
- Brutal Honesty: He is not a fan of mincing words, so when informing Robb, Bran, and Rickon of Benjen's disappearance, he tells them that their uncle is most likely dead.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He dress all in black, as befits a man of the Night's Watch, and has dark hair, an unkempt appearance, surly attitude, and genuinely appears fairly thuggish, but is one of the more honorable and noble men of the Night's Watch who cares for his recruits does whatever extra good he can.
- Due to the Dead: He is buried by some of his surviving recruits at Arya's insistence.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Takes down four Lannister soldiers before being cut down.
- Good Is Not Nice: While he may be willing to bend the rules of the Night's Watch to aid House Stark, Yoren is a cynical, abrasive, and blunt individual.
- Knight In Sour Armor: While he may bemoan the lack of respect the Night's Watch gets and the quality of the recruits he brings to the Wall, he is very dedicated to the order and its purpose.
- Old Soldier: He's been around the block a bit, put it that way.
- Oral Fixation: He has a habit of chewing sourleaf. When he wants to make a show of contempt, he spits the juices on the ground.
- Recruiters Always Lie: It is implied he uses any tactics available to drum up recruits for the Watch, though as most of them are in prison to begin with they don't exactly have much to lose. Martin has jokingly commented that Yoren recruited Dolorous Edd to the Night's Watch by telling him it was a good place to meet girls.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The Night's Watch are supposed to be neutral in regards to the affairs of the realm, but Yoren ignores this to get Arya out of King's Landing and avoid seeing her father get beheaded.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Night's Watch, and by extension his brothers on the Wall. Thus he feels some loyalty to Benjen Stark, which is why he brings word to Eddard Stark about Catelyn Stark kidnapping Tyrion Lannister.
A singer accused of raping a nobleman's daughter, although he insists that it had been consensual and that she only claimed rape after her father caught them. He becomes a steward at Eastwatch-By-The-Sea, but later gets assigned to become a recruiter, with the hope his singing ability will draw in recruits.
- Ambiguous Innocence: We never do find out if he was really innocent of raping Lord Rowan's daughter. He claims he is, but considering how he later abandons his vows, he doesn't exactly come across as reputable.
- Asshole Victim: After wasting Sam and Maester Aemon's money on whores and dissolution which eventually contributes to Maester Aemon's death from illness, his death at Arya's hands is fittingly karmic.
- Jerkass: Not obvious when first introduced, but becomes extremely clear when he treats Sam and Maester Aemon horribly on the voyage to Oldtown and he decides to desert the Night's Watch in Braavos.
- The Oathbreaker: Sleeps with prostitutes in Braavos before eventually deciding to desert completely.
- Slashed Throat: Arya executes him this way and dumps his body into a canal after learning he is a deserter from the Night's Watch.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Is a fairly reasonable guy in the first book, but suddenly transforms into a major asshole come book four.
- Wandering Minstrel: His life before being sent to the Wall. When he becomes a recruiter, he is to do this again, only singing songs about the Night's Watch to recruit people. He decides not to do this and settles down in Braavos, spending the money he makes singing on prostitutes.
A rapist sentenced to the Wall. He is part of Jon Snow's training group.
- The Bully: Towards Samwell Tarly in particular. While all the other recruits are convinced by Jon, Pyp, and Halder to go easy on Sam, Rast refuses and looks forward to beating him in training. A midnight visit from Jon, Pyp, Grenn, and Ghost put an end to that idea quickly though.
- Demoted to Extra: He never graduates from training and stays at the Wall during A Clash of Kings. He reappears briefly in A Storm of Swords to die during the wildling attack on Castle Black.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Killed by a Thenn wielding a spear. The Thenn is so strong he actually lifts Rast up into the air on it.
- In-Series Nickname: Ser Alliser calls him Rat.
- Jerkass: He has no redeeming qualities and is a vile sadistic rapist.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: None of the recruits like him due to his crimes and he has absolutely zero positive traits.
- Token Evil Teammate: Of the recruits in Jon's group, Rast is the only one who never makes friends with him or shows any kind of Hidden Depths. Not that this bothers Jon and the others, since they want nothing to do with Rast.
Night's Watch Animals
- "He's not like the others. He never makes a sound. That's why I named him Ghost. That, and because he's white. The others are all dark, grey or black."—Jon Snow to Benjen Stark
Jon Snow's pet direwolf, who is his near constant companion. Ghost is named so due to being albino and mute.
- Action Pet: Ghost is more of a scouter than a killer: but, don't think that makes him less action-orientated. He's helped Jon take down several enemies.
- Bond Creature: Even after learning the nature of wargs/skinchangers and their animal thralls, Jon recognizes the connection between him and his direwolf goes deeper than that. Ghost is a part of him.
- Chameleon Camouflage: White fur, white snow — and, one vanishing Ghost.
- The Dreaded: None of the Wildlings will touch Jon whenever Ghost is around, a fair few having seen what happened to Qhorin Halfhand, but mainly because wargs and their wolves are still generally remembered and dreaded. With just cause. Janos Slynt is likewise terrified of Ghost and uses his presence to accuse Jon of being an abomination.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Although he is silent, Ghost is a handy-dandy wight-and-Other detector, along with other types of danger. When Jon bothers to stop and listen, that is.
- Heroic Albino: Ghost is the only albino of his brothers, and grows to be the biggest and the most dangerous.
- Heroic Mime: Unlike the other direwolves, Ghost doesn't vocalize at all. So, when he does let loose with a howl... you know it's big.
- Meaningful Name: Ghost is also well-named: he quietly turns up without warning quite a lot. Even Jon doesn't always know exactly where he is even when he knows he's somewhere close. And, he sometimes even fudges the "somewhere close" thing, too.
- Not Now, Kiddo: When Ghost becomes increasingly uncontrollable to the point of going berserk, Jon leaves him locked in his quarters and attributes it to his desire to fight a huge boar owned by a wildling warg. It's because his several of his Night's Watch brothers are about to betray him.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Ghost stops being silent the day Jon is betrayed by his brothers.
- Silent Snarker: Ghost manages, upon occasion, to give the impression of snarking a little at Jon in a friendly manner. His stealth appearances do have a tendency to be about when Jon has said he's not exactly sure where he is, for example. Some of his disappearances do the opposite, too.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: All Stark direwolves can all be pretty hard to keep track of when they wish to be (just ask the Ironborn and Bolton trackers), but Ghost is the best of the bunch at pulling this trope. White fur + ice and snow = Cheshire wolf.
Lord Mormont's pet talking raven, which displays an unusual tendency to say apropos things. After Mormont's death, Jon Snow cares for the raven.
- The Bus Came Back:He reappeared dramatically during the Lord Commander elections. It could just as easily have just flown off to somewhere slightly warmer and less likely to wind up pinnion-deep in Others, but it didn't.
- Clever Crows: This particular corvid is not just clever, but suspiciously insightful and rather appropriately ironic and sardonic for a bird. His rather unsettling habit of saying the right word at the right moment may have to do with Bloodraven's habit of warging crows to spy around Westeros.
- Polly Wants a Microphone: Has a disturbing habit of repeating chilling words during tense conversations. It also asks for corn a lot... often at points where an ice-breaker would be used by a good Fool.
- Put on a Bus: The raven vanishes after the mutiny during the Great Ranging.
- Snarky Nonhuman Sidekick: To Jeor and later to Jon, some of its lines count as snarks.
- Trademark Favourite Food: Corn.
Brave Danny Flint
- "A girl who dressed up like a boy to take the black. Her song is sad and pretty. What happened to her wasn't."
A brave young girl, who joined the Night's Watch by disguising as a boy. It did not turn out well for her, as she was discovered and subsequently raped and murdered by her former brothers. Her ghost is said to be one of the many things wandering the Nightfort.
- Action Girl: Joined the Night's Watch to fight for their cause.
- Famous Ancestor: Or rather an infamous, unfortunate ancestor to House Flint.
- In-Universe Nickname: "Brave Danny Flint" is the title of a song about her fate.
- Rape as Drama: Getting gang raped to death by the guys who were your colleagues mere hours ago? Fairly dramatic, yes.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Deconstructed; she joined the Night's Watch by posing as a boy but got discovered and raped.
- Too Dumb to Live: Not a good idea for a woman to join a group with rapists as members.
- Mad Axe had once walked these yards and climbed these towers, butchering his brothers in the dark.—Bran Stark's thoughts on reaching the Nightfort.
A member of the Night's Watch famous for murdering his sworn brothers at the Nightfort.
The 79 Sentinels
- "They left their posts in life, so in death their watch goes on forever."—Bran Stark
Seventy nine brothers of the Night's Watch who deserted their post at the Nightfort and were entombed at the Wall as punishment.
- Buried Alive: Were bricked up inside the wall.
- Dangerous Deserter: They deserted the Night's Watch, becoming outlaws.
- Karmic Death: Buried Alive within The Wall for deserting their posts.
- Hell Is War: Have to spend their afterlives serving the Watch.
- Honor Before Reason: Lord Ryswell delivered the seventy nine deserters back to the Wall, including one who was his youngest son.
- Together in Death: Lord Ryswell joined the Watch so he could be buried close to his son.
The Rat Cook
Another infamous figure of the Night's Watch. As the name suggests, he was a cook of the Night's Watch who was supposedly offended by an Andal King, who then visited the Nightfort. As revenge, the Rat Cook served him a delicious pie of bacon... and his own son's flesh. The king enjoyed the pie so much he asked for a second helping. The gods cursed the cook by turning him into a fat, white rat which could only survive by feasting on its young. He was condemned to run the halls of the Nightfort. Rather than because of the murder or the forced cannibalism, they did it because he broke the rules of Sacred Hospitality.
See the Legendary Figures page.