This is a listing of rangers 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
Rangers of the Night's WatchThe rangers of the Night's Watch are the main fighters of the Watch. They are responsible for defending the Wall and scouting beyond it, as well as training new recruits. They are commanded by the First Ranger.
The Wolf Pup
- "On the Wall, a man gets only what he earns."
Eddard (Ned) Stark's youngest sibling, Benjen is First Ranger of the Night's Watch at the beginning of the series. Benjen is uncle to Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon and, in addition to his older brother Eddard, has two other siblings - Brandon and Lyanna - who are deceased. He joins the Night's Watch shortly after Robert's Rebellion ended. He inspires his nephew Jon Snow, the illegitimate son of his brother Eddard, to join the Night's Watch, but disappears shortly afterwards on a ranging beyond the Wall while trying to locate other missing rangers. His disappearance is one of the major mysteries of the series and weighs heavily on Jon.
For the House Stark entry, see here.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He was not made First Ranger simply because he's a Stark — he's just that good and everybody knows it as most have seen him outperform others on a regular basis.
- The Baby of the Bunch: He was the youngest child of Ned's generation and the one perpetually stuck in Winterfell because he was too young to be of any help. His older brothers were, instead, first fostered away from home and then became the fulcrum of Rebellion, while he had to stay at home (remember the thing about "a Stark must be always in Winterfell?"). It's kinda lampshaded in the Knight of the Laughing Tree tale - his siblings are fittingly the wild wolf, the quiet wolf and the she-wolf, while he's just the pup.
- Brutal Honesty: With Jon. He cautions him about how hard life on the Wall can be, and tells him that he has to earn respect and power and can't expect it just because he is related to the First Ranger.
- Chekhov M.I.A.: Disappears after going on a mission to find some missing rangers, and two members of his party were found as wights. His disappearance has been frequently mentioned since then, but he has yet to reappear and no clues to his fate have been found.
- Cool Uncle: Jon definitely thinks of Benjen as this — repeatedly — as he adores his uncle. Likewise, Robb, Bran and Arya adore Benjen as well and basically, all his nephews and nieces think he is so cool.
- Gerion Lannister. The Warden's younger, more adventurous brother, loved by his nephews, who gave himself to a practically lost cause and became MIA; Benjen Stark was this to Eddard just as Gerion Lannisternote was this to Tywin.
- Oberyn Martell. Both the younger brothers of ruling lords who apparently followed their own path instead of being their brothers' Number Two like for example - Tywin and Kevan Lannister. The truth is much more complex in both cases, as Oberyn did actually cooperate with his brother in his own way, and Benjen's reasons for joining the Night's Watch are yet to be discovered. Also, their older sister Elia and Lyanna were in the polar opposite sides of Robert's Rebellion, and they were the closest to them. Oberyn still mourns Elia and copes with it with desire for revenge, while Benjen is very likely as grieving as Ned is shown to be and is speculated by fandom to have joined the Night's Watch to atone every possible part he could have had in his sister's involvement with Prince Rhaegar.
- Renly Baratheon. Both were the pup of their family, remained orphans at a very young age and were left home by their older brothers who went fighting. While growing up, Renly got involved in political roles by his older brother, while Benjen avoided any possible political role by joining the Night's Watch. Both ended up childless for different reasons — Renly married Margaery Tyrell but avoided her bed due to his sexuality, while Benjen's oath to the Night's Watch means a life as a Celibate Hero.
- History Repeats:
- Benjen was the Stark at Winterfell while his brother Eddard warred in the South during Robert's Rebellion; his nephew Bran was the Stark at Winterfell while his brother Robb warred in the South during the War of the Five Kings. Afterward, both Benjen and Bran followed common paths northwards and because very few know what happened to them in the far north, they are believed to be dead or MIA by the rest of the world.
- As it's common, Benjen joined the Night's Watch as a nobleman without any claims to land or vassal houses, mostly to avoid being used as a political pawn against his brother; likewise, his nephew Jon Snow joined the Night's Watch to prevent the same and he holds true to this fact by refusing to be named Lord of Winterfell by King Stannis Baratheon for the sake of his own siblings' claims on Winterfell.
- Like a Son to Me: He obviously love all his nephews, but seems to have a soft spot for his nephew Jon, and even slips into calling him "son" once, which — because they are arguing at this point — Jon corrects him on. Catelyn invokes this trope by thinking Jon would be the son Benjen never had while she argues with a reluctant Ned to allow Jon to join the Night's Watch as Ned doesn't wish for Jon to go. Benjen loves Jon but does not let his affection for his nephew override his duties as a high-ranking Night's Watch officer because he believes it's unfair to give Jon preferential treatment only because he's his nephew.
- Mentor Archetype: Subverted. At first, it appears he's being set up to act as one to his nephew, Jon Snow, but he does not give him preferential treatment and instead, gives Jon a few lectures when Jon pleads to let him join the ranging as a ranger soon after he arrives in the Night's Watch as a new recruit. Benjen refuses Jon, reminding him that "this is not Winterfell," that he is a "green boy with the smell of summer still on (him)," and Jon needs to mature some before he can fulfill his aspirations. The reason for Benjen's refusal is that he believes Jon has to earn the right to serve under him as a ranger, rather than just being given it right away due to them being family. Benjen's lectures, along with a few other lessons given to Jon, are successful as Jon does a turn-around in his attitude as a result.
- Minor Major Character: He's the First Ranger of the Night's Watch, one of seven surviving Starks at the start of the series, a primary factor in Jon's decision to join the Night's Watch as Jon looks up to him and thinks that his role as First Ranger is so cool, and the main motivation for the Great Ranging... yet he's only appeared in the first quarter of the first book, and doesn't really do all that much.
- My Nayme Is: Benjen instead of Benjamin. During the scenes in which he's actually present, (considering he's been Put on a Bus since the first quarter of the first book, these are fairly slim), he's usually referred to as Ben.
- Named After Someone Famous: There are at least five other historical Benjen Starks.
- Nepotism: Averted. He purposely defies this trope once his nephew, Jon, has joined the Night's Watch because he believes it's unfair giving Jon a preferential treatment and that he has to earn his position.
- Put on a Bus: He disappears early in the first book after being sent to look for a missing group of rangers, but it's unlikely that we've seen the last of him.
- Ranger: Uh, yes. It's kind of in his job description.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: In comparison to Ned, Benjen is jovial, warm, and laughs much easier. They do share the same sense of duty and honor.
- The Unreveal:
- The first and foremost, of course, is what happened to Benjen Stark beyond The Wall.
- The exact reason why Benjen joined the Night's Watch is unknown, as he joined when the Stark succession had just been severely compromised during Robert's Rebellion. The only living Starks were Ned and himself. For unknown reasons, Benjen left for the Wall shortly after Ned and Catelyn, with baby Robb and Jon, took up residence in Winterfell. At the time, there was only a legitimate heir (Robb) and Benjen himself, who was around 14/15 and felt he was too young, as he would tell Jon years after. Also, from his conversation with Jon, he may have a degree of regret that he did not have children of his own. George R. R. Martin refused to clarify his reasons, so there's definitely something big in stock.
- It's not known whether Benjen knows the truth about Jon's parentage. It's rather unlikely he didn't figure it out at some point, especially if indeed Jon is Lyanna's son, as he was Lyanna's closest brother.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: To Lyanna. While playing at sword fighting while children, she knocked him into one of the pools in the Winterfell godswood, then helped fish Benjen out. He mocks her over crying about Rhaegar's song, so she pours wine over his head. They apparently got on better than any of Rickard's children, and they both team up with Ned to help out Howland Reed.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Fans still await a response to where he is, and whether he's alive or not. Since 1996.
Black Jack Bulwer
A noble ranger stationed at Castle Black. He is appointed First Ranger shortly after the election of Jon Snow as Lord Commander.
- Decapitation Presentation: He is captured by the Weeper while ranging with Garth Greyfeather and Hairy Hal. Their faces are mutilated and then their bodies are decapitated and left impaled on spears outside the gates of Castle Black.
- Eye Scream: His eyes are gouged out after he is captured by the Weeper.
- Mauve Shirt: Gets only a little page time and development before being killed.
- Rank Up: He is promoted to First Ranger shortly after Jon Snow becomes Lord Commander.
Ser Jaremy Rykker
- "Tywin Lannister gave us a splendid choice. Take the black, or see our heads on spikes before evenfall."
Acting First Ranger following Benjen Stark's disappearance. He's killed by the Jafer Flowers wight.
- Bling of War: Wears gleaming black mail and an embossed breastplate, with a trimmed sable cloak clasped with silver hammers, the sigil of his house. All of it is taken by Thoren Smallwood after Jaremy is killed.
- Do Not Go Gentle: He puts up a good fight before dying.
- Jerkass: Not to the extent of his comrade Ser Alliser Thorne, but Jaremy is known for having little patience and is fairly mean towards Samwell Tarly.
- Oh, Crap!: A small moment when Dywen points out that neither Othor or Jafer Flowers had blue eyes before they died.
- Pet the Dog: He's very affable towards Tyrion despite Tyrion's dwarfism and status as the son of the man who sent him to the wall.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Like Ser Alliser, Jaremy was part of the city's defenders during the Sack of King's Landing. After the rebel victory, Tywin Lannister made him choose between execution or the Wall.
- Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Subverted: Jaremy manages to decapitate the undead Jafer Flowers, but since that doesn't work on wights, Jafer keeps attacking until he gets ahold of Jaremy's dagger and kills him with it.
- Replacement Goldfish: For Benjen.
Ser Alliser Thorne
- "If the Others ever come for us, I pray they have archers, because you lot are fit for nothing more than arrow fodder."
The master-at-arms of Castle Black, hated by the recruits for his harsh ways. Thorne develops a particular hatred for Jon Snow, leading to many clashes between the two.
- 0% Approval Rating: Thorne is hated and despised by everyone at Castle Black. Considering hes an insufferable and despicable asshole, this is completely justified. Even people outside the Nights Watch have nothing but disdain for Thorne.
- Anti-Villain: He belongs to a quasi-monastic order of warriors tasked with defending the realm of men, selflessly shedding away their possessions and families; being all that, he is a gaping, smoking, spewing, insufferable asshole and a stone in the shoe of everyone that comes across him.
- It's worth pointing out that he didn't actually join the Watch by choice. He was forced to by Tywin Lannister.
- Asshole Victim: He was sent to the Wall for treason — in reality, he was doing his duty defending King's Landing from a rebel army, only the rebel ended up becoming king. It's not surprising Thorne has a permanent chip on his shoulder.
- The Bully: Spends most training sessions doing little else but demeaning and insulting his recruits instead of actually training them.
- Chekhov M.I.A.: He is sent on a ranging in A Dance With Dragons, but his group never returned and their bodies have not been found.
- Commander Contrarian: After Jon Snow takes command of the Night's Watch, Alliser opposes every move he makes, but is never willing to physically oppose him or refuse a direct order.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Though a departure from the usual depiction of putting recruits through hell so they'll learn to take it. It quickly becomes clear the recruits aren't really learning very much under his tutelage and that his primary motivation seems to be sadism rather than any desire to create functioning Watchmen. Jon notes that Alliser did not even teach Pyp how to hold a sword correctly. One gets the feeling that if he spent half as much time actually training his men as he did thinking up clever insults and nicknames for them, the Night's Watch might have more better-trained soldiers.
- Freudian Excuse: He was sent to the Wall simply because he was on the losing side of Robert's Rebellion, and thus resents pretty much the entire world for his situation. His particular hatred for Jon Snow stems from the fact that Jon's father Eddard Stark played a key role in Robert's victory over the Targaryens.
- Hates Everyone Equally: He treats everyone he meets like dirt, regardless of who they were before coming to the Night's Watch.
- Hate Sink: He is hated by everyone at Castle Black except for a few cronies who hold similar views and share his disdain for everyone else. The readers are also supposed to hate him.
- Hypocrite: Mocks Jon for being a "traitor's bastard", despite having been sent to the Wall for siding against the same dynasty that accused Ned of treason.
- Irony: He calls Jon "Lord Snow" to mock him for being a bastard with a lord's upbringing. Later on, Jon actually does become "Lord Snow" as the new lord commander of the Night's Watch.
- He hates Jon because everyone knows he's Eddard Stark's son. Irony is that he may very well be Rhaegar Targaryen's son instead, making him the tormentor of his original liege lord's son.
- Jerkass: He is the most personally unpleasant member of the Watch introduced in the series, which includes numerous rapists and murderers.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Upon arriving in King's Landing with a severed wight hand that still moves, Thorne desperately tries to convince people to listen to him but is only mocked in return and forced to wait to see Tyrion Lannister, acting Hand of the King, for so long that the hand rots, destroying all the proof he has. He condemns Tyrion and the others for their ignorance and insults to the Night's Watch, which is in desperate need of assistance.
- Though the reason his audience to Tyrion is delayed again-and-again was Tyrion knows that he is insufferable jerkass undermine this.
- Jerkass to One: He picks on all the recruits but has a particular disdain for Jon Snow and Sam Tarly.
- Kick the Dog: His favorite sport. He loves to find the one thing that can really get under his recruits' skin and mercilessly taunt them about it. In particular, he loves rubbing Jon's bastard status in his face and his father getting executed as a traitor. His horrible treatment of Samwell Tarly counts as well, ordering his recruits to beat him as he struggles to stand.
- Know When to Fold Them: Doesn't bother to interfere with Jon's execution of Janos Slynt, who was Thorne's partner in scheming and despite his dislike of the command Jon gives him to partake in a ranging beyond the Wall, Thorne accepts it as he accuses Jon of wanting him to refuse to provide a reason for execution. He promises Jon We Will Meet Again.Ser Alliser said, "You would like me to refuse. Then you could hack off my head, same as you did for Slynt. Ill not give you that pleasure, bastard. Youd best pray that its a wildling blade that kills me, though. The ones the Others kill dont stay dead... and they remember. Im coming back, Lord Snow."
"I pray you do." Jon would never count Ser Alliser Thorne amongst his friends, but he was still a brother. No one ever said you had to like your brothers.
- Meaningful Name: He's quite the thorn in a number of people's sides. And, his wit is, although not sophisticated, rather... stabbing. He's also as accommodating and forgiving of minor transgressions (as he sees them) as a briar patch is of unclothed skin.
- The Neidermeyer: Not that it does him much good. He just doesn't learn: it's more than hinted that he's been this way for years before the books even began.
- The Nicknamer: Gives nicknames to all his recruits, designed to insult them.
- Not So Above It All: In spite of being a jerk and a bully, Thorne is fiercely loyal to the Night's Watch and most of his actions are (as he sees them) for the sole benefit of the Night's Watch; the Old Bear argues that he has it under employ because he is useful, not because he's nice.
- Old Soldier: Over fifty, which definitely qualifies him.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: During the Sack of King's Landing, Thorne was among those fighting for the Targaryens. After the battle ended, Lord Tywin Lannister gave him a choice between execution and taking the black. Lord Commander Mormont pulls off a short-term version of this by sending Alliser to King's Landing with a severed wight hand in order to get him away from Jon and bring in Ser Endrew Tarth as the replacement master-at-arms.
- Smug Snake: Oh, boy... yes. With touches of Small Name, Big Ego as well as his general Neidermeyerness.
- Tranquil Fury: When he gets really angry his voice goes cold and quiet.
- Troll: A major part of his jerkass personality is trolling and mocking his recruits.
- Villainous Friendship: With Lord Janos Slynt, 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.
- We Will Meet Again: Insists to Jon that he is coming back from his ranging. One way or another.Thorne: You'd best pray it's a wildling blade that kills me, though. The ones the Others kill don't stay dead ... and they remember. I'm coming back, Lord Snow.
- "Mance Rayder means to break the Wall and bring red war to the Seven Kingdoms. Well, that's a game two can play. On the morrow we'll bring the war to him."
A senior ranger of the Night's Watch. He takes part in Lord Commander Jeor Mormont's Great Ranging, but is killed at the Battle of the Fist of the First Men.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: When camped at the Fist of the First Men, Thoren advises Mormont to strike at Mance Rayder's army in the Frostfangs without even scouting them out, since he believes they do not have enough warriors to threaten them and that most would be drunk, women, or children.
- Blood Knight: His approach to the wildlings is to Kill 'Em All.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: During the battle at the Fist of the First Men, Smallwood dies when he bravely takes on an undead bear.
- Jerkass: Noted to be one of Alliser Thorne's pals and has a similar mindset. He's also one of the advocates of Craster's collaboration with the Night's Watch.
- Kick the Dog: Literally: while at Craster's Keep, he kicks a small puppy sniffing at his leg simply because it annoyed him.
- Mauve Shirt: He is one of several Night's Watch officers who get a basic personality established and several scenes during the Great Ranging before dying.
- Off with His Head!: A undead bear swipes his head off in one stroke.
- Underestimating Badassery: He vastly underestimates the strength of the wildlings, dismissing them as having a maybe a few hundred warriors who could threaten the Night's Watch. They actually have tens of thousands.
- You Are in Command Now: Twice averted. He tries to claim the title of First Ranger following Ben Stark's disappearance and Jaremy Rykker's death, but Mormont disabuses him of that notion. Later, following Mormont's death, Jon considers him a viable candidate for Lord Commander before remembering he's dead.
Qhorin Halfhand, The Halfhand
- "Why else do we don these black cloaks, but to die in defense of the realm?"
A veteran ranger and second-in-command of Shadow Tower. He leads a group of one hundred Night's Watch members to the Fist of the First Men to join up with Jeor Mormont during the Great Ranging.
- A Father to His Men: Cares deeply for those under his command, and likes getting to know them well so he knows how to use them best. He sacrifices his own life so that Jon has a chance of living and escaping back to the Night's Watch.
- Agent Mulder: Instantly believes what Jon saw in his dream, and concludes that he must be a warg fairly quickly.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: Rather than allow himself to be captured by wildlings, who suffice to say would be most unkind to Qhorin, he has Jon kill him so he can continue their mission.
- Colonel Badass: He's a very competent veteran Ranger.
- Cool Old Guy: Jon certainly thinks so.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Mentioned twice in the first book before becoming a prominent character in the second. Bizarrely, his name is spelled as Quorin both times.
- Heroic Sacrifice: When faced with certain capture he instructs Jon kill him so he can become a Fake Defector and find out what Mance is up to. No-one would believe him a turncloak and Qhorin probably couldn't bring himself to do so even if they did.
- The Dreaded: To many wildlings.
- Fingore: Lost all the fingers on his right hand except his thumb and forefinger to a wildling axe, giving him his name.
- Handicapped Badass: He is no less deadly a warrior even without three of his fingers.
- In-Series Nickname: Called "Halfhand" due to the above Fingore.
- Living Legend: Among the Night's Watch for his battles against the wildlings.
- Master Swordsman: Qhorin is one of the topmost swordfighters of the Watch, despite having to learn to fight with his left hand after his maiming.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe: he is one of the most feared rangers of the Night's Watch among the Wildlings.
- The Mentor: To Jon Snow, albeit briefly.
- My Nayme Is: Qhorin instead of Corrin, an admittedly rather rare name that is actually feminine.
- Ranger: He's the topmost ranger of the Shadow Tower.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He doesn't punish Jon for letting Ygritte go, viewing the situation as simply a way to learn more about the person Jon is. When learning Jon is a warg, he simply views it as another asset rather than something unnatural or evil.
- Situational Hand Switch: He was originally right-handed, but had to switch to his left hand after losing most of the fingers on his right hand.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Night's Watch. To the point where he sacrifices his life for the mere chance of Jon carrying on his mission rather than be captured.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Mance Rayder.
- Worthy Opponent: He considers Mance and the wildlings to be worthy of respect, and the feeling is mutual.Qhorin: Only fools like Thoren Smallwood despise the wildlings. They are as brave as we are, Jon. As strong, as quick, as clever.
Ser Waymar Royce
- "I am not going back to Castle Black a failure on my first ranging. We will find these men."
As the third son of Lord Yohn Royce of the Vale, Waymar joined the Night's Watch due to the few options available to him. Although inexperienced, his high birth gives him a position of certain authority in the Watch.
For the House Royce entry, see here.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: After being killed by the Others, he becomes a wight and strangles Will to death.
- Badass Cape: He wears a thick sable black cloak that is said to be "soft as sin".
- Bling of War: Wears a suit of "gleaming black ringmail", as well as that insanely expensive cloak.
- Captain Oblivious: He's given a position of power with still an awful lot to learn. Being a newbie, Waymar doesn't find it wise to listen to his companions, who are more experienced rangers than him. This kills the lordling.
- Cool Sword: Before going to the Night's Watch, Waymar was gifted with a brand new sword that had jewels in its hilt.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most of his lines are snarky comments meant to belittle or insult Gared and Will. Mostly, they showed how little common sense vs vocabulary he had, however.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Or, in this case, "don't cockily tell an Other to Bring It". Because they will.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Major Jerkass he may be, but when the Others show up, he takes charge and bravely (and futilely) fights them, actually managing to hold out for a few minutes before dying.Ser Waymar: Dance with me then.
- Eye Scream: When his sword shatters, courtesy of an Others' ice blade, some of the shards embed themselves into his eye. Ouch...
- Face Death with Dignity: He is faced with a monster of unspeakable evil; he does not run and he does not yield. He unsheathes his sword and fights, redeeming with this short-lived act of courage his disastrous first ranging.
- Hidden Depths: He joined the Night's Watch willingly, which says a lot about his character and his commitment to duty; as such, he's one of the few Black Brothers in the story that actually wants to be there.
- Icy Gray Eyes: Gray eyes inherited from his father. They represent his cold and unapproachable nature. Note that the Stark and Royce families are, in fact, related: the Others might well have confused him for somebody else closer to the Stark line (likely Benjen).
- Jerkass: Spoiled Brat version. But, at least he's very definitely not a Joffrey, going on what we saw of him.
- Jerkass Has a Point: A couple times, which even the two experienced rangers who accompany him have to acknowledge:
- When Gared suggests that the group of dead wildlings they found froze to death, Waymar points out the Wall is still "weeping", meaning that it is too warm for them to have frozen.
- He also argues that they do have to pry on because it's their duty, danger or no danger.
- Lots of Luggage: Ranges on the wrong horse kitted out with the wrong tack for the conditions, while also wearing the wrong clothes with heavier armour than needed and having the wrong, riding-style boots during his first ranging: no horse, simple leathers, strong boots, woolens and a reasonably-sized backpack would've been far more sensible. He gets a pass because he is a lordling who doesn't know his arse from his elbow.
- Could be setting up something Chekhov-y-by-absence: he wasn't wearing House Royce's traditional runes in any of his brand spanking new, very black, Night's Watch-themed clobber. If his old sets of armour could have helped against the Others, he didn't get to find out.
- The Neidermeyer: He mocks the lower ranking but more experienced rangers under his command every time they display caution or prudence.
- Nerves of Steel: When confronted with the Others the fact he stands his ground and doesn't flee for his life shows tremendous courage.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- His disappearance causes Benjen Stark and Jeor Mormont not to baby Jon just because he's related to Benjen (just as Mormont had when Royce arrived due to his well-connected father). Had Ser Waymar not disappeared, Jon would have had a better standing and position in the Night's Watch when he arrived to the Wall.
- His disappearance snowballs into even worse situations: though it's not his responsibility, Benjen Stark goes missing himself while looking for Royce; after that Mormont dies betrayed by his own men while looking for Benjen and Royce.
- Pretty Boy: He was quite handsome and little Sansa Stark had a big crush on him when he and his father visited Winterfell to escort him to the Wall.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Introduced just to demonstrate how much the Others are Bad News incarnate. Also has the dubious honour of being the first character killed off in the series - the start of a long, long line. He also killed off the second character to die, Will.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Usually such a young and inexperienced knight would not be put in charge of a ranging, but Lord Commander Mormont felt as though he had little choice but to bestow the honor of command upon him.
- Shadow Archetype: He is what would happen if Jon Snow doesn't get his stuff together. Heck, they look a lot alike, too: grey eyes, dark hair, of an age, fit and active...
- Teaser-Only Character: Only appears in the first chapter of the first book. A pretty memorable appearance, though.
- Upper-Class Twit: He is given his position of authority because the Lord Commander didn't want his father Bronze Yohn Royce to be upset and he ignores the advice of two experienced rangers by arguing that he wanted to save face on his first ranging; he is wearing the wrong clothes, the wrong shoes and is riding the worst possible horse using the wrong tack for ranging. And, ends up getting killed with one of the other rangers because of it. He does save some points by being as brave as all hell, though.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Everything from his Cool Sword to his Impractically Fancy Outfit showcases how out of depth he is when fighting beyond The Wall and facing the supernatural, when he's still thinking of daring-do, glory and status.
Ser Jarman Buckwell
A crownlands Knight and commander of the Scouts of the Great Ranging.
- Army Scout: Commands the men who scout beyond the wall.
- Bearer of Bad News: He told those at the Castle about the massacre at the camp, and how he'd seen Jon walking unmolested in the wildling camp.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: He's more experienced and flexible than many of the men he serves, making intelligent comments and observations. He is quick to accept the notion that the wildlings aren't following expected patterns, (pointing to the death of Robert in the seven kingdoms as evidence of how fast change comes), and disagrees with Smallwood's claim that their small force could route the whole Free Folk army.
- Late to the Tragedy: He and his four men did not make it back to Camp prior to the Battle of the Fists of First Men and retreated home on their own.
- Uncertain Doom: Jon mentions his name when reflecting on good men the watch has lost but as Buckwell hadn't been mentioned as dying (and the battles with the Free Folk where he was most at risk drew attention to the deaths of less significant characters and probably would have had some mention it if he'd died to) its unclear if this is a goof or he was Killed Offscreen.
Ser Wynton Stout
An elderly knight stationed at Castle Black.
- For Want of a Nail: He came within a dozen votes of becoming Lord Commander thirty years before the series began. Thankfully he didn't win, or else the Night's Watch would have been left with a senile leader.
- Long-Lived: He has been in the Night's Watch for around eighty years.
- Noodle Incident: Apparently, he once fell asleep at the table during a dinner and nearly drowned in a bowl of pea soup.
- Scatterbrained Senior: His mental state is mentioned to have been deteriorating for the past decade, to the point where he is unaware of much of what is going on around him anymore.
- You Are in Command Now: After Bowen Marsh takes most of the men stationed at Castle Black to defend the Bridge of Skulls, Ser Wynton is left in charge of the castle due to being the highest ranking officer left there. Most of the men are flabbergasted that a senile old man was left in charge, but Wynton is so far gone mentally by that point that he quickly forgets that he was, resulting in Donal Noye having to take up command.
Ser Endrew Tarth
Ser Endrew Tarth is a member of the Night's Watch. He is the master-at-arms at Castle Black.
See the House Tarth page.
- My Nayme Is: Endrew instead of Andrew.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Jon Snow thinks Ser Endrew's training is gentler than his predecessor's.
- Replacement Goldfish: Endrew serves at the Shadow Tower until Lord Commander Jeor Mormont reassigns him to Castle Black as the replacement for Ser Alliser Thorne.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He is killed in battle in book 3.
Mallador LockeCommander of the Great Rangings Baggage train.
- Extreme Doormat: Lets himself get persuaded from trying to reason with Smallwood into doing a 180 and supporting his questionable position.
- Failed a Spot Check: His squire is one of those plotting to desert and he hasn't a clue.
- Leeroy Jenkins: While initially favoring a retreat, he lets Smallwood talk him into supporting charging Mance's whole army with just their 300 men.
- Uncertain Doom" He hasn't been seen since the battle started.
Ser Ottyn Wythers
Commander of the Great Ranging's Baggage Train.
- Heroic BSoD: Wythers just shuts down and stands there in the middle of the White Walker attack, making no move to fight or flee.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: He is very much in favor of retreating in the face of Mance's army and spreading the warning at the wall.
- Old Soldier: an aging, somewhat tired officer of the Watch who is quick to protest any proposed aggression.
Ronnel Harclay is an officer of the Night's Watch, promoted to acting First Ranger after Thoren Smallwood's death.
- Animal Motifs: Described as Fox-faced.
- Archer Archetype: Reportedly skilled with a bow.
- Lawful Neutral: Turns a blind eye to Craster abusing his wives, as it's his house, his rules. The does imply, however, that he would never break guest right.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: His fate following the mutiny at Craster's Keep is unknown.
A poacher caught on the lands of House Mallister, Will has been a ranger for four years at the start of the series.
- Character Death: As he gathers evidence from the scene of the duel between Ser Waymar and the Others, Waymar rises as a wight and strangles Will to death.
- Decoy Protagonist: The first POV of the series, he dies at the end of the prologue.
- Ranger: Although only four years on the Wall, Will is a veteran ranger and regarded as one of the best scouts in the Night's Watch.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Demonstrates very quickly that POV characters will not be safe in this series.
- The Sneaky Guy: Learned how to move quietly as a poacher to avoid getting caught, which quickly made him one of the Night Watch's better scouts.
- Teaser-Only Character: Shows up in the first book's prologue and is barely mentioned after dying.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in the series first chapter.
- "Everyone talks about snows forty foot deep, and how the ice wind comes howling out of the north, but the real enemy is the cold."
An experienced ranger of the Night's Watch. He joined as a boy and has served for more than 40 years.
- Agony of the Feet: He has lost three toes to frostbite.
- Break the Badass: His experience with the White Walkers completely unmans him. After learning of Gared's execution, Lord Jeor Mormont notes that Gared was one of the best and most loyal rangers in the Watch, and that something more terrible than a Wildling must have happened to him to make him desert and flee south of the Wall.
- Desecrating the Dead: After he is beheaded, Gared's head is kicked around by Theon Greyjoy, much to the disapproval of Jon Snow.
- Ear Ache: Besides his toes, he also lost both of his ears to frostbite.
- Face Death with Dignity: Both Eddard and Robb Stark note that Gared faced his execution bravely and did not try to resist. Jon Snow simply notes that he seemed to afraid to actually do much of anything.
- Fingore: In addition to his ears and toes, Gared also lost the little finger on his left hand to frostbite.
- The Oathbreaker: Instead of reporting back to Castle Black about the Others, he deserts flees in terror south across the Wall.
- Old Soldier: He has been serving on the Wall for more than forty years and has learned plenty of tricks and wisdom to pass onto the younger rangers.
- Off with His Head!: Caught and beheaded as a deserter by Lord Eddard Stark.
- Sacrificial Lamb: His execution helps establish what kind of man Ned Stark is and gives some of the characters their first hint at what is happening north of the Wall.
- Sanity Slippage: Driven mad by witnessing his comrades Ser Waymar Royce and Will die to the Others. Ned notes that he was almost completely out of it before the execution.Ned Stark: The poor man was half mad. Something had put a fear in him so deep that my words could not reach him.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Driven mad, he runs south and gets over the Wall after they're attacked by Others, but is caught and executed.
- Villain Respect: A recipient from Craster, of all people. "Not half-bad, for a crow" nearly amounts to high praise, considering the speaker.
- "Sometimes I think everyone is just pretending to be brave, and none of us really are. Maybe pretending is how you get brave, I don't know."
A fellow recruit alongside Jon Snow, who he becomes friends with. Assigned to the Rangers after completing training.
- Animal Motif: His strength and size makes people compare him to an aurochs, a large wild bull.
- Badass Beard: Growing in nicely.
- The Big Guy: And he keeps getting bigger as the series goes on, aging two years and putting on a lot of muscle. He also becomes a much better fighter under Jon's training.
- Bully Turned Buddy: Tried to antagonize Jon Snow for his arrogance at first (Jon isn't exactly victim material, so Grenn never was an actual bully to him, but he tried). After Jon stopped being an elitist prick around his fellow recruits, he and Grenn became friends.
- Dumb Muscle: Grenn isn't the brightest member of the Night's Watch, but he's strong and loyal, and has his own sort of simple wisdom.
- Fire-Forged Friends: He and Jon start of hating each other, due to Jon's arrogance and superior skill as he is the only recruit with actual sword training from his highborn upbringing in a castle. Once Jon realizes this, he begins teaching Grenn how to fight effectively and they quickly bond as friends.
- I Did What I Had to Do: He leaves Sam behind at Craster's keep with the traitors because Sam was in shock and just wouldn't move. There was no real way he or any of the other loyalists could carry him, and staying seemed like a death sentence, so they left him.
- In-Series Nickname: Aurochs, initially coined by Ser Alliser to call Grenn big and stupid. He hated when Ser Alliser called him it, but is fine with his friends doing so.Grenn, to Sam: He was saying I was big and stupid. If Pyp wanted to call me Aurochs, though, he could. Or you, or Jon. An aurochs is a fierce strong beast, so that's not so bad, and I am big, and getting bigger.
- I Resemble That Remark!: Pyp has a habit of tricking Grenn into doing this in. One early example:Pyp: You're too stupid to be craven.
Grenn: I am not.
Pyp: Yes you are. If a bear attacked you in the woods, you'd be too stupid to run away.
Grenn: I would not. I'd run away faster than you. Beat (realizes what he just said and begins arguing with Pyp)
- Must Not Die a Virgin: Before going on the Great Ranging, Grenn is taken by his friends (excluding Jon) to the brothel in Mole's Town so he can lose his virginity, just in case he dies on the mission.
- Put on a Bus: Near the start of A Dance With Dragons, Grenn is sent with Pyp to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea by Jon.
- Ranger: An apprentice one, admittedly. As are the other new Rangers. He quickly proves himself though.
- Simple-Minded Wisdom: See his quote above.
- Those Two Guys: With Pyp, who has a tendency to turn it into a Straight Man and Wise Guy kind of deal. Grenn makes an excellent unintentional Straight Man.
- True Companions: With Jon, Sam, Pyp, Halder, and Todder.
- Undying Loyalty: To Jon.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Pyp.
Another recruit trained alongside Jon, Pyp was a mummer before coming to the wall. Assigned to the Rangers after completing training.
- The Bus Came Back: When Jon returns to the Wall, Pyp comes back into the story.
- Deadpan Snarker: Thanks to his background, yeah. Dry, pithy comebacks are his thing.
- In-Series Nickname: Pyp. He is also mocked by Ser Alliser as 'the Mummer's Monkey' due to Pyp's past as a mummer and his large ears.
- The Lancer: He is a comedic foil to the serious Jon, and is usually the first one to back him up whenever he proposes something.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: He used to be a mummer, and learned how to do more than a hundred voices. He can also use his skill with accents to determine very precisely where someone is from.
- Nice Guy: When Jon proposes they do all they can to protect Samwell from Alliser Thorne's abuse, Pyp immediately agrees with him and helps convince the other recruits.
- Plucky Comic Relief: His main role as a character is to provide comic relief through snarking and other antics.
- Put on a Bus: Or rather, left behind by the bus. He stays to defend the Wall during the Great Ranging.
- Then he gets back on the bus, when near the start of A Dance With Dragons, Pyp is sent with Grenn to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea by Jon.
A son of a winesink owner, Todder is a recruit who trained alongside Jon and the others. He was assigned to the rangers after training.
- Demoted to Extra: Unlike Grenn and Pyp, he doesn't stay as relevant to Jon's storyline after the first book.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Jon, who he initially despised because of his arrogance. After Jon stopped being arrogant and began training Toad and the other recruits, they quickly became friends.
- Put on a Bus: Near the start of A Dance With Dragons, Toad is sent with Halder to the Shadow Tower by Jon.
- In-Series Nickname: Toad.
- True Companions: With Jon, Grenn, Pyp, Sam, and Halder.
- "No man in Castle Black knew the woods as well as Dywen did, the trees and streams, the plants that could be eaten, the ways of predator and prey."—Jon Snow
An experienced Ranger and the best tracker in the Night's Watch. He was a forester before joining the Watch.
- Character Tic: Sucking on his wooden teeth.
- Cool Old Guy: He likes to joke around with the younger rangers and is a smart, capable ranger.
- Deadpan Snarker: Oh, yes. But, at least he's mostly friendly with his dry ribbing.
- Nice Guy: He is one of the few Night's Watchmen who believe Samwell Tarly's story about killing an Other with an obsidian dagger, and helps convince him to tell Jeor Mormont about it.
- The Nose Knows: Not to superpower levels (maybe), but Dywen has an excellent sense of smell, and even claims that he can smell when snow is coming. He also claims that Craster has a "cold" smell to him, and he believes that this signifies that Craster is associated with something very evil.
- Old Soldier: He is one of the older Rangers, but also one of the most skilled and respected.
- Ranger: One of the best on the Wall.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: To the point where a group of Night's Watchmen who are planning to desert during the Great Ranging decide Dywen needs to die before they do, otherwise he would lead the other in tracking them down and killing them. Luckily for him, the Others attack the Fist of the First Men before they can put their plan in action.
- "The mountain is your mother. Cling to her, press your face up to her teats, and she won't drop you."
A ranger from the Shadow Tower who travels with Qhorin Halfhand and Jon Snow.
- Badass Beard: A beareded badass ranger and daring climber.
- Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: One of his specialties. He is regarded as one of the best at it in the Night's Watch.
- Deadpan Snarker: After Jon captures Ygritte and tells her his name and where he is from, Stonesnake laughs and reminds him that captives are supposed to be the ones giving up information.
- Innate Night Vision: His other specialty. He can see in the dark better than any man Jon has ever met.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His awesome and meaningful nickname, at that.
- Sole Survivor: After Jon is killed by Bowen Marsh, he is the only one left of the five-man party that might be alive... and even then, that isn't guaranteed.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After his horse broke a leg, the Halfhand ordered him to climb through the mountains to escape, reasoning that the wildlings couldn't match his climbing skill and match him. Rattleshirt later confirms they were unable to follow. What happened to him after that is anyone's guess.
- "Ebben can make any man give up his secrets."—Qhorin Halfhand
A ranger from the Shadow Tower who travels with Qhorin Halfhand and Jon Snow.
- An Axe to Grind: Wields an axe, which Rattleshirt claims after killing him.
- Bald of Awesome: A bald and brave ranger who dies en route to give a warning to Lord Commander Mormont about the whereabouts of the wildlings
- Decapitation Presentation: He is killed by Rattleshirt's band of wildlings, and his head is taken as a trophy. Rattleshirt shows it to Jon and Qhorin, and notes that Ebben died well.
- Mauve Shirt: He's joins Qhorin's scouting party and gets a little characterization before getting killed off by Rattleshirt's party
- Torture Technician: He interrogates and tortures any wildling captives Qhorin takes, and is quite skilled at getting them to give up information before they die.
- Worthy Opponent: The wildings who slew him claim he died bravely.
- Would Hit a Girl: Has no problem with killing female wildlings, and when Jon brings Ygrite back as a captive, Ebben wants to slit her throat before she can do them any harm.
An elderly ranger from the Shadow Tower who travels with Qhorin Halfhand and Jon Snow.
- Cool Old Guy: He is one of the friendlier Watchmen.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Stays behind to try and hold off the wildlings pursuing Qhorin's party from a high vantage point and armed with his bow. He is overwhelmed and killed by them.
- In-Series Nickname: He is called "Squire" Dalbridge because he once squired for King Jaehaerys II when he was younger.
- Master Archer: According to Qhorin, he's a great shot.Qhorin: Should I need to put an arrow through the eye of some foe across a windy battlefield, I summon Squire Dalbridge.
- Mauve Shirt: He gets very little characterization before he dies.
- Nonindicative Name: Squire Dalbridge is not actually a squire, and is in fact quite old.
A forty-year-old ranger who joined the Night's Watch when he was ten.
- An Axe to Grind: His weapon of choice.
- Child Soldiers: Why he was sent to the Watch at the age of ten is unknown, but he has served faithfully as a Ranger since then.
- Handicapped Badass: Still a fearsome warrior despite lacking his left eye.
- In-Series Nickname: "Whiteye" comes from his blind left eye.
- I Work Alone: He prefers to range alone, and is noted to have never gotten along well with others.
Ulmer of the Kingswood
An elderly ranger who had once been part of the Kingswood Brotherhood.
- The Everyman: In the Brotherhood. He's not a great warrior like the Smiling Knight, has no great heritage like Simon Toyne, no funny nicknames like Big Belly or Oswyn Longneck nor any memorable exploits like The White Fawn and he's only second best as an archer to Fletcher Dick.
- Lovable Rogue: The fact that he used to be a criminal doesn't make him any less likable.
- Mercy Kill: He's one of the four who fire arrows at "Mance" (really Rattleshirt) to put him out of his misery.
- Nice Guy: He's very friendly, and completely loyal to the Watch.
- Old Soldier: He is one of the older Rangers, but no less competent.
- Ranger: Obviously.
- Reformed Criminal: Once he was a feared outlaw. Now he is a very loyal and competent member of the Night's Watch.
- Sole Survivor: He is the last living member of the Kingswood Brotherhood.
- The Storyteller: Fond of entertaining his fellow black brothers with tales of his days as an outlaw.
- What You Are in the Dark: Despite being (former) criminal he stays loyal to the Watch during the Mutiny at Craster's Keep.
A wildling who joined the Night's Watch after being captured.
- An Axe to Grind: He wields an axe in combat.
- Establishing Character Moment: His first big scene is calming down Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun to prevent a fight between him and a group of wildlings against the Night's Watch. In that moment, Leathers proves his loyalty to the Watch, demonstrates quick thinking by talking with the giant, and shows just how useful it is to have wildlings recruited into the Watch.
- HeelFace Turn: From the Watch's point of view.
- Translator Buddy: For the giant Wun Wun.
- Undying Loyalty: To Jon Snow, becoming one of his best allies within the Night's Watch. This upsets several of the more traditional members of the order, like Bowen Marsh, who opposed allowing wildlings into the Watch and adds fuel to their allegations that Jon is half-wildling.
A ranger who takes part in the Great Ranging and the conspiracy to kill Lord Commander Mormont and several black brothers to desert and flee south of the Wall. He later becomes one of the ringleaders of the mutiny at Craster's Keep.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: He rarely talks.
- Jerkass: He's one of the "bad" Watchmen.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: His real name is unknown. Dirk is just a nickname.
- Karmic Death: He is killed by Coldhands alongside the rest of the Betrayers.
- Knife Nut: It's his weapon of choice, and his name.
- Meaningful Name: Dirk, in reference to his Weapon of Choice.
- Ranger: Obviously.
- The Starscream: Along with the rest of the mutineers.
- Token Evil Teammate: One of the many among the Watch.
A Tyroshi ranger who lost a hand for thievery and got sent to the Wall after being found in bed with a knight's wife. He takes part in the Great Ranging and the conspiracy to kill Lord Commander Mormont and several black brothers to desert and flee south of the Wall. He later becomes one of the ringleaders of the mutiny at Craster's Keep.
- An Arm and a Leg: Lost one hand, and keeps the stump wrapped in leather.
- Meaningful Name: He had one of his hands lopped off for theft.
- Karmic Death: He is killed by Coldhands alongside the rest of the Betrayers.
- The Starscream He is the one who stabs Lord Commander Mormont.
- Ranger: His position in the Watch
A ranger who takes part in the Great Ranging and the conspiracy to kill Lord Commander Mormont and several black brothers to desert and flee south of the Wall. A former rapist boasting of having raped a hundred women in his youth.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Killed by the Others either during their attack to the Fist of the First Men or during the march of the Fist survivors to Craster's Keep.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: He rarely talks.
- Evil Old Folks: He's an evil old rapist.
- Karmic Death: He's killed by Coldhands for deserting the Watch.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: His real name is never revealed.
- Meaningful Name: He boasts none of his victims had seen or heard him before it was too late for them. This is why he's one of the two chosen to murder Lord Commander Mormont.
- Only One Name: Softfoot.
- Ranger: His job in the Watch
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He presumably chose the Watch to avoid getting gelded or executed for rape.
Alan of Rosby
A ranger who committed mutiny at Craster's Keep
A ranger who accompanies Smallwood's scouting parties beyond the wall.
TumberjonAnother Ranger in Smallwood's party.
- Leeroy Jenkins: He wants to shoot Harma Dogshead with an arrow in plain view of her whole war party, who would surely come charing down on the vastly outnumbered group.
- Uncertain Doom: He hasn't been mentioned since before the Battle of the Fist of First Man began and wasn't among those who've made it back to Castle Black since.
Hairy HalA Ranger who assists Jon in dealing with the wildings.
- Bodyguarding a Badass: He stands guard outside Jon's chamber and later accompanies him to meet with the wildlings.
- Decapitation Presentation: He's sent beyond the wall with first Ranger Bulwer and suffers this fate.
- Nervous Wreck: He's dependable but clearly rattled as the Free Folk start threatening them for more food and he briefly thinks Jon is accusing him of stealing the food when Jon is just making a metaphor.
Black BrenarrA member of the Great Ranging.
- Agent Scully: He expresses doubt at Sam's claims to have killed a wight with dragon glass.
- Doomed Hurt Guy: Subverted. He breaks an ankle during the withdrawal towards the wall but somehow makes it back even after the Battle of Crasters Keep.
- Everyone Has Standards: He expresses a desire for Craster to let the men of the Watch share his wives with him, but stays loyal to Mormont during the mutiny.
- One Steve Limit: There's also a Brown Bernarr.
Bearded BenOne of the Rangers archers.
Duncan LiddleA Ranger from House Liddle.
- Badass Baritone: A seasoned Ranger described as having a voice "Like thunder".
- Bodyguarding a Badass: Accompanies Jon beyond the Wall to a Heart tree and later to parlay with Tormund.
- The Unreveal: He's the oldest son of Torren Liddle and would have been chief of the Liddle clan under normal circumstances. Whatever reason he had for joining the Night's Watch, or perhaps being made to join the Night's Watch, are unrevealed.
- Those Two Guys: Always appears with Rory.
RoryA Ranger accustomed to login beyond the wall.
Deaf Dick FollardAn aging Crossbowman stationed at Castle Black.
- Archer Archetype: He's a stony crossbowman.
- A Death in the Limelight: He is killed fighting right alongside with Jon for a couple of pages, although with little fanfare.
- Old Soldier: He's old enough to have lost his hearing and fall asleep on the eve of battle.
- Reading Lips: He has learned to do this to communicate.
Arron and EmrickTwin brothers from Fair Isle and promising recruits who are accepted into the Rangers.
- Always Identical Twins: Averted. Jon pegged them as brothers, but not twins, the first time he saw them together.
- Combat Pragmatist: During a practice fight, the moment Jon lectures their fellow recruit Jace about not having the luxury of fighting fair, he hears Aron and Emrick lunging at him while his back is turn and proudly thinks they may make good rangers yet.
- Orphan's Ordeal: They are orphans, which is why they joined the watch.
- Real Men Love Jesus: They journey beyond the wall to take their vows at a weirwood tree.
- Sibling Team: They share all of their scenes so far and duel Jon together in the practice yard.
Tim StoneA survivor of the Great Ranging.
- Heroic Bastard: A Vale bastard who stayed loyal in the mutiny at Craster's Keep then went back to The Wall.
Garth GreyfeatherA Ranger known for his skills with the bow, and a survivor of the Great Ranging.
- Ambiguously Gay: Given his apparently close relationship with the builderAlf of Runnymud.
- Guile Hero: Apparently has a reputation of this, as Alf insists he's too clever to let the wildlings get him.
- Mauve Shirt: He never gets any characterization to speak of but is a recurring presence for multiple books and survivor of the Great Ranging before accompanying Black Jack Bulwer's scouting mission and dying with him.
- Mercy Kill: He's one of those who shoots Rattleshirt, who they think is Mance to keep him from being burned.