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Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - The Night's Watch - Lord Commanders

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This is a listing of Lord Commanders of the Night's Watch in A Song of Ice and Fire.

For the main character index, see here.

For the main Night's Watch entry, see here.

Lord Commander of the Night's Watch is the title held by the most senior officer of the Night's Watch; his seat is at Castle Black. The Lord Commander is the final authority and oversees the entire organization. He is assisted by the maester of Castle Black, the First Ranger, the Lord Steward, the First Builder, and other high officers under him. The Lord Commander serves in office until the day he dies.


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    Jeor Mormont 

Jeor Mormont, the 997th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch

The Old Bear
"When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits the Iron Throne?"

Jeor Mormont is the 997th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch at the start of the series. He is the former head of House Mormont, father of Jorah Mormont, and brother of Maege Mormont. Nearing seventy years old, Jeor is a resolute man, committed in his efforts of defending the Wall, and is accompanied by a large pet raven who exhibits odd traits. At the start of the series, Jeor is one of the few characters who correctly believes the threat of the Others has returned after thousands of years but his requests for support from the Crown go unheeded. In A Storm of Swords, Jeor is stabbed by Ollo Lophand when several members of the Night's Watch mutiny at Craster's Keep and the remnant of the Great Ranging flees back to the Wall. He bleeds to death in Samwell Tarly's arms.

See the House Mormont page for more on that family.

  • Agent Mulder: He is convinced that the Others are returning and realizes dark times are approaching for Westeros. A pity his warnings are ignored by the Crown, who still believe the Others are a long-ago Sealed Evil in a Can in The Time of Myths. Jeor also comes to believe that Jon Snow and his direwolf were destined to come to the Watch for a purpose. However, he does not believe the stories about giant bears beyond the Wall, which is pretty funny considering his House's sigil.
  • Big Good: For the Night's Watch storyline until his death at the hands of the mutineers at Craster's Keep.
  • Commanding Coolness: A Lord Commander, even. Talk about doubling-up.
  • Cool Old Guy: Very much so. There is nothing frail, decrepit, or boring about Lord Commander Mormont. Though nearing seventy, he is still an active part of the Watch and personally leads rangings himself. He is also among the few characters in the series who recognizes the real value and true intellect of Tyrion Lannister, commenting that he wished Tyrion would join the Night's Watch.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Often about the idiocy surrounding him at the Wall.
  • Despair Speech: Gives one to Tyrion Lannister after having a bit too much to drink:
    Jeor: In two years I will be seventy. Too old and too weary for the burden I bear, yet if I set it down, who will pick it up? Alliser Thorne? Bowen Marsh? I would have to be as blind as Maester Aemon not to see what they are. The Night's Watch has become an army of sullen boys and tired old men. Apart from the men at my table tonight, I have perhaps twenty who can read, and even fewer who can think, plan, or lead. Once the Watch spent its summers building, and each Lord Commander raised the Wall higher than he found it. Now it is all we can do to stay alive.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: He tells Tyrion that he has seen dark shapes in his dreams and believes it may signal the return of the Others.
  • Feeling Their Age: Laments to Tyrion that at age 68, he is too old for the burden of being Lord Commander — but he can't quit because there are too few candidates suitable or experienced enough to succeed him. Marsh and Thorne are assholes while the rest of the Watch is mainly made up of young boys with not enough experience; old, tired men; and just a few Watchmen who can read, write, and lead because only those from noble houses are educated with these skills. All the while, the Watch is dwindling more and more as the Others return.
  • Frontline General: He personally leads the Great Ranging and fights alongside his men.
  • Hypocrite: He bemoans the fact that King's Landing doesn't keep the Night's Watch well-informed about the goings-on of the realm, while, at the same time, he hides from Jon Snow the fact that his half-brother Rob has marched south with his army to fight the Lannisters.
  • In-Series Nickname: "The Old Bear", due to his age and the bear being the sigil of his House.
  • I Owe You My Life: Owes Jon Snow his life for saving him from the wight of Othor. He gives Jon the Cool Sword Longclaw in thanks.
    Jeor: A sword's small payment for a life. Take it, I'll hear no more of it, is that understood?
  • Four-Star Badass: Hands-on Lord Commander who definitely still knows how to wield a sword and scout a path.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: He is fully aware of the decaying state of the Night's Watch and his utter inability to do anything about it. Doesn't mean he won't stop trying to make it better or do everything in his power to defend the Wall.
  • Last Request: Jeor tells Sam to send word to his son Jorah that he wishes for him to come home to Westeros and join the Night's Watch.
    "No corn. Tell Jorah. Forgive him. My son. Please. Go."
  • Like a Son to Me: Never says this out loud, but he takes an interest in mentoring Jon, as Sam assumes when he makes Jon his steward because he wants him as a successor. He even gives him House Mormont's Ancestral Weapon Longclaw to him, which had previously bestowed upon his son Jorah before Jorah fled Westeros.
  • Mentor Archetype: To Jon Snow. To a lesser extent, for Samwell Tarly.
  • Old Master: Still one of the The Aces on the Wall who's seen nearly everything that can be thrown at it. Though he hasn't seen the Others, he knows this threat has come back and they need to defend against it. He is a mentor, particularly to main characters Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly.
  • Old Soldier: Goes with the above. He is nearly seventy years old but has the stamina of a much younger man and is still a great warrior. He's also fought alongside and is friends with some of the other great Old Soldiers of the series, including Ser Barristan Selmy, who Jeor had hoped could convince the Small Council to reinforce the Night's Watch. He becomes extremely angry when he learns that Barristan has been dismissed from the Kingsguard and is wanted for treason.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Jeor's primary concern is defending the Wall from the wildlings and the Others. Thus, while he is concerned about what is going on in the rest of realm, he knows he can do nothing to help except doing his job on the Wall. While beyond the Wall, Jeor also reveals his regrets that he cannot help Craster's wives/daughters or stop Craster from sacrificing his sons but explains the Night's Watch needs all the allies it can get and he can't afford to piss off the old bastard.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Notes the worth of new recruits Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly, who many of the other officers look down upon, and immediately believes Sam's story about killing an Other with dragonglass.
  • Rousing Speech: To Jon in the vein of Dare to Be Badass at the end of A Game of Thrones:
    Jeor: I will not sit here meekly and wait for the snow and the ice winds. We must know what is happening. This time the Night's Watch will ride in force, against the King-beyond-the-Wall, the others, and anything else that may be out there. I mean to command them myself. By custom, the Lord Commander's steward is his squire as well... but I do not care to wake every dawn wondering if you've run off again. So I will have an answer from you, Lord Snow, and I will have it now. Are you a brother of the Night's Watch... or only a bastard boy who wants to play at war?
  • Sergeant Rock: He is a gruff man who doesn't sugar-coat his words, but is shown to be a good leader who possesses all the qualities that a member of the Night's Watch is supposed to have, and is devoted to defending the realm against the otherworldly threat beyond the Wall.
  • Supporting Leader: He may be the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch but the events of Castle Black and beyond the Wall are told from Jon and Sam's POV chapters as Jeor is not a POV character.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: He isn't particularly happy with the quality of most of the officers under his command.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He is not happy at all about the Night's Watch having to cooperate with Craster, but does so because it is necessary.
  • The Unreveal: It's still not clear why Jeor joined the Night's Watch. The main theory is that he stepped aside from the lordship of Bear Island when he wanted to honor his son Jorah, who made a name for himself as a warrior during the first Greyjoy Rebellion and a jouster during the Tourney at Lannisport. He also might have joined because of his belief of the supernatural happenings beyond the Wall. Whatever his reasons were, he took them to the grave.

    Jon Snow* 

Historical Night's Watch Lord Commanders

    Jack Musgood 

Jack Musgood

Jolly Jack, Sleepy Jack

Jack Musgood, known earlier as Jolly Jack and later as Sleepy Jack, was a member of House Musgood. He rose to become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.

  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: He was too late to the battle of Long Lake. To shame him, the Watch was made to dispose of the bodies of the dead.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: He became known as Sleepy Jack after a wildling army slipped past the Wall under his watch.
  • General Failure: A wildling army got past him and was only stopped by a Northern army at the cost of the King in the North's life.

    Osric Stark 

Osric Stark

A former Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, from four hundred years before the War of Conquest. He was elected Lord Commander at the age of ten but commanded the Watch for sixty years.

See the House Stark Ancestors page.

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: He was elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch at age ten and led the Night's Watch for many years while just a child.
  • Child Soldier: He joined the Night's Watch at or before the age of ten.

    Rodrik Flint 

Rodrik Flint

A former Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. He nearly destroyed the Watch when he broke his oath and attempted to make himself King-Beyond-the-Wall.

See the Northern Mountain Clans page.

  • Face–Heel Turn: He betrayed the Watch and tried to become the ruler of the Wildlings.
  • The Oathbreaker: He declared himself a king, which runs counter to the Night's Watch vows that state "I shall wear no crowns and win no glory."

    Runcel Hightower 

Runcel Hightower

A former Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. He nearly destroyed the Watch when attempting to pass Castle Black and the Watch onto his bastard son as inheritance.

See the House Hightower page for more on this family.

  • Heir Club for Men: He tried to make the Lord Commander's post hereditary.
  • The Oathbreaker: You know that whole "I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children" thing? He tried to defy it, which led to disaster.

    The Night's King 

The Night's King

The sinister figure known only as the Night's King was the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
See the Legendary Figures page.

    Lord Commander Hoare 

Lord Commander Hoare

Brother of Harren the Black, and Lord Commander during Aegon's Conquest.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: While tempted to try and rally the Watch to go help his brother and nephews, he remembered his oaths and ultimately stayed while they died.
  • Last-Name Basis: His first name hasn't been revealed.
  • Last of His Kind: The last surviving member of House Hoare after Aegon burned Harrenhal, killing his brother and all his nephews.
  • White Sheep: Quite possibly the only Hoare with any real sense of duty and integrity.

    Brynden Rivers 

Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers

A bastard of Aegon IV and Hand of the King under Aerys I and Maekar I, Brynden Rivers was deposed and took the black.-\->See The Great Bastards of House Targaryen Ancestors

    Lord Commander Qorgyle 

Lord Comander Qorgyle

A Dornish nobleman and Mormont's predecessor.
  • Commanding Coolness: Like Mormont, with Denys Mallsiter implying that he was even more diligent (or just had more recourses) sending multiple patrols to the Shadow Tower and Eastwatch per week.
  • Last-Name Basis: His first name hasn't been revealed.
  • Old Soldier: Denys Mallister, who lost the election to Lord Commander to him, felt that it was fair, as Qorgyle had been serving on the wall for much longer, and had done so admirably.
  • Posthumous Character: He has only been mentioned and died years before the story under unknown circumstances.
  • Token Minority: Although he rose to command the watch, he's one of only two explicitly Dornish characters serving on the Wall in the present era (the other being a Red Shirt killed by the Thenns in the third book).