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Characters / Game of Thrones - The Night's Watch

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The Night's Watch

"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."

The Nightís Watch is a sworn brotherhood of warriors tasked with defending a giant wall of ice against supernatural and unknown threats beyond the Wall. It is described by the series' show-runners as a cross between an ancient monastic order and a special forces brigade. It was once considered a noble calling by the entire realm but now, it is only considered a noble and honorable calling by those in the North, from where many second sons or highborn illegitimate sons of Northern noble houses voluntarily join for the sake of honor and duty. Because the army-of-the-dead threat is considered to be long gone, most realms donít hold it in high esteem anymore and nowadays — in addition to the few nobles and noble-born bastard sons who voluntarily join — it is also manned by individuals who were once criminals, fugitives, and disgraced ex-knights. Any man joining the Night's Watch is given amnesty for all his previous crimes and is beyond the reach of the Kings of Westeros. At the beginning of the series, the Others are shown to have returned.

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    In General 
  • Ancient Tradition: They are by far the oldest institution of Westeros.
  • Animal Motif: They are referred to as "crows" by many people.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: While the Night's Watch used to be regarded as a noble calling by the whole of Westeros in which the best of the best joined to defend the Wall against the Night King's army of the dead, it has gradually fallen into disrepair since the evil the Wall was built to defend against is believed to be long gone. As a result, the Watch lost support from many realms and, especially in recent decades, only a handful of nobles and noble-born bastard sons now join the Night's Watch voluntarily for the sake of honor and duty — primarily from the North, the only realm in which the Watch is still seen as a noble calling. These days, many Watch members now were once criminals, disgraced nobles, or ex-knights who fought on the side of the Mad King during Robert's Rebellion who were either exiled or chose to serve, rather than be jailed or executed. This fills the ranks with haphazard members prone to mutinies, a risk which is not dispelled by taking an oath of honor.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Night's Watch and the wildlings have been locking horns for generations. Not only that, but the White Walkers are also regarded as the ancient and true enemies of the Night's Watch.
  • The Artifact: They're still around even after the fall of the Night King and the reconciliation with the Wildlings. Jon even lampshades this when he was exiled back into the order in the Grand Finale.
  • Badass Decay: In-universe; they used to be a highly regarded order, attractive to the Westerosi elite and capable of operating nineteen border fortifications and castles during their heyday. In the present day, they can hardly man three outposts and noble, quality volunteers are a rarity. Despite this, however, they manage to repel the first wave of wildlings who attack the Wall.
  • Celibate Hero: What they are supposed to be as they are sworn to take no wife and father no child. It is, however, an Open Secret within the order that some higher ranking members visit whorehouses when they are out on errands.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: All Night's Watchmen are required to wear black clothing and armor. The reason for this is that by convention, solid black is considered a rejection of any heraldic symbol — reflecting their vow that they have abandoned all prior allegiances to any noble Houses.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Even though their uniform is all-black, they are sworn to protect the northern border of the realm from the danger and horrors that lie beyond. In a more traditional fantasy story this would usually make them the Big Bad's minions, but George R. R. Martin deliberately wanted to turn the trope on its head.
  • The Dead Have Names: Maester Aemon's funeral elegy after the Battle at Castle Black:
    "They came to us from White Harbor and Barrowton, from Fairmarket and King's Landing. From north and south, from east and west. They died protecting men, women, and children who will never know their names. It is for us to remember our brothers. We shall never see their like again."
  • Death by Adaptation: The three watchmen killed at Mole's Town, Black Jack, Kedge and Mully. For Black Jack, it is a case of Dies Differently In The Adaptation, but Kedge and Mully are both alive in the book.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • The entire order lost its screentime the moment Jon leaves to retake Winterfell from the Boltons.
    • The order is merely mentioned in the first season of House of the Dragon, since the threat from the Song of Ice and Fire (the White Walkers) won't manifest for over a century and a half.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Defenders of the realm for generations, but their importance is dismissed even by reasonable Southerners.
    Tyrion: ...ah, yes yes, against grumpkins and snarks, and all the other monsters your wet nurse warned you about.
  • Due to the Dead: A fallen comrade deserves a proper ceremony even if the unit is knee-deep in hostile territory in the far end of the world.
    "And now his watch is ended."
  • End of an Age: Following the reconciling with the Wildlings and their settling in the Gift, the destruction of Eastwatch-By-The-Sea and the eastern end of the Wall, and the death of the Night King and the Army Of The Dead at Winterfell, the Night's Watch has fulfilled or nullified all of their ancestral debts to the realm, meaning that the order will either be dissolved or will perform a different service to the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Fantastic Racism: The men of the Watch, as a rule, have a low regard for the wildlings north of the Wall, and regard them as their main enemy. Even with the appearance of a southward-marching army of supernatural, undead ice-zombies, many simply cannot lay their hatred for the wildlings aside. This results in mutinies and the deaths of Lord Commanders on two separate occasions.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Word of God is that the Wall is based on Hadrian's Wall and the Night's Watch was inspired by the author wondering how the life of a Roman legionary deployed there would be like. However, the Night's Watch self-rule, imposed celibacy and penitence shtick likens it more to a crusader order, especially when the Medieval European Fantasy setting of the show is considered.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: Toyed with. Criminals may choose the Wall to keep from being executed, castrated, or mutilated. Most choose the knife.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The Watch calls for help in the Season 3 finale. Only Stannis Baratheon answered. Likewise, Jon Snow as Lord Commander kept asking for men and supplies from Northern Lords throughout Season 5, even writing a letter to Roose Bolton, putting aside his feelings for revenge in the service of duty. The moment before his assassination, Jon Snow was, in fact, reading many rejection letters from all the Lords he had written to. This makes Smalljon Umber's complaints about the wildlings settled on the Gift highly hypocritical since he and his house had not moved a muscle to help the Watch when they were fighting wildlings and White Walkers.
  • A House Divided: Internal struggle arises in the middle of the most crucial events the order has faced in centuries.
  • Ignored Expert: Their alarming concerns are dismissed as antiquated fairy tales at first and diluted by the Westerosi civil war later. Eventually Gondor Calls for Aid, and Stannis answers.
  • In-Series Nickname: The crows, used derogatorily by the wildlings because of their black uniforms.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Some of them regularly visit the brothel in the nearest town despite their vow of celibacy, but in "The Watchers on the Wall", Sam notes that "take no wife and father no child" doesn't specifically say anything about having sex. The more serious higher officers, though (and even Jon), point out that having sex with prostitutes obviously violates the spirit of this rule.
    • Since the oath specifies "until death," it never considers the possibility of what happens when a brother dies and is resurrected. When the traitorous members of the Watch murder Jon Snow and he is brought back, Jon feels he cannot stay in the Watch after this and determines his "watch is over", with no one stopping him since his watch technically did end with his death.
  • Out of Focus: As mentioned in Demoted to Extra above, the order was rarely shown once Jon left.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: Even many of the members who don't have a criminal past are fleeing from a life wherein they were considered unsuitable by their own kin.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: How most people in Westeros view joining the Night's Watch. To be fair, a life at the Wall is extremely austere and uncomfortable. Not to mention cold.
  • Reformed Criminal: Invoked and enforced. Many members were criminals who were given a choice to either join the Watch or receive punishment (e.g. execution, castration, etc) for their crimes.
  • That Man Is Dead: The plus side of joining the Night's Watch is that all crimes, no matter how heinous, are washed away. Any man can rise high in the Watch, regardless of origin.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: How the Night's Watch regard the rest of Westeros, they are protecting them from wildling invasions and are the ones who are standing on guard in-case the White Walkers return, but everyone thinks they are a joke and use them as a penal colony.
    • In Season 2, and a deleted scene in Season 3, Lord Commander Mormont's request for men and supplies was turned down by the Small Council. Tyrion at least was sympathetic in both cases (having befriended Mormont on his visit to the Wall) but the others refuse, for the partly justifiable reason that they are embroiled in war. Tywin in Season 3's deleted scene however refuses because he sees the Night's Watch as an entirely Northern organization (even if Dolorous Edd is from the Vale and Sam Tarly is from the Reach to say nothing of Maester Aemon and Ser Alliser Thorne, who aren't Northmen at all) and, in jest, he suggests sending arms and supplies to Mance Rayder so that he can invade and attack the North.
    • When Maester Aemon sends his summons at the end of Season 3, Stannis is the only one who responded to their calls and saved the Watch from certain defeat at the hands of Mance Rayder. In most of Season 5, Jon Snow keeps writing letters to other Northern houses for help, and he even writes a request to House Bolton, putting the greater good of the Watch over his hatred for him. For all this effort, House Umber, who didn't move a finger to help the Watch against the wildlings, sells out Rickon to Ramsay Bolton and cites the Watch legally settling wildlings on the Gift, which is their land, as justification for his betrayal.
  • Windmill Crusader: This becomes their reputation among Westerosi during the present era as many believed that the mystical creatures that they are fighting to be either just myths or things in the past.


    Lord Commander Jeor Mormont 

Lord Commander Jeor Mormont
"You want to lead one day? Then learn how to follow."

Played By: James Cosmo

"A man of the Night's Watch lives his life for the realm."

997th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Killed by one of his own men during a coup.

  • Blood from the Mouth: As a result of Rast stabbing him multiple times.
  • Colonel Badass: Has a reputation as a great warrior, which he backs up by personally leading a massive force of the Night's Watch beyond the Wall at the end of Season 1.
  • Defiant to the End: Even after he's stabbed in the back, he tries to choke Rast to death. One-handed. Unfortunately, Mormont succumbs to his wounds before he can finish off Rast.
  • Due to the Dead: Averted. The Night's Watch traditionally burn their dead on a pyre, and Mormont would have earned a great and respectful speech. Instead, Karl turns Mormont's skull into a cup, which he drinks from while mocking his murdered Lord Commander's memory. from the books 
  • Famed in Story: A renowned warrior in life and a well-remembered figure after his death.
  • A Father to His Men: As much as one can be when the men in question are an Army of Thieves and Whores. He cares for his men and knows the story of every one of them. Jon even describes him as a father to the brothers of the Night's Watch, and gets half a dozen volunteers on a dangerous mission partly intended to avenge Mormont's death.
    Mormont: Tarly, I forbid you to die.
  • Frontline General: He personally leads the great ranging beyond the Wall.
  • Godzilla Threshold: As of Series 3, with the massive army of White Walkers marching on the unprepared and undermanned Wall, he definitely believes that it's been reached.
    Mormont: We need to get back to the Wall. It's a long march, we know what's out there. But we have to make it! We have to warn them! Or before Winter's end, everyone you've ever known will be dead!
  • Honor Before Reason: His alliance with Craster, providing supplies in exchange for being allowed to rest at Craster's Keep and turning a blind eye to Craster's rampant incest and serial filicide, zigzags this trope quite heavily, depending on how you look at it and how sympathetic you care to be. On the one hand, technically, Mormont is choosing Reason over Honor by burying his disgust at Craster's actions and letting him keep his miserable kingdom in exchange for the help he provides the Rangers. On the other hand, given how Craster's usefulness to the Night's Watch comes off as a case of Informed Attribute, and also that Craster's daughter-wives could still keep the homestead running without Craster and would be genuinely grateful for being freed from him, one can instead look at it as Mormont placing the Honor of the Night's Watch before both Reason and his own Honor.
    • Either way, Honor ultimately got him killed, in that he was willing to stand back and tolerate Craster's abuse of the surviving Night's Watch, in order to Honor him as their host, until their resentment ultimately provoked them to murder Craster and fatally mutiny against him. The Reasonable course of action, in this case, would have been to challenge Craster on his starving his guests and otherwise being an awful "host", who had already broken the spirit of Sacred Hospitality.
  • I Have No Son!: Effectively disowned his son, Ser Jorah, for selling slaves and fleeing the King's justice.
  • In the Back: Rast stabs him in the back during the mutiny at Craster's Keep. It's pretty much the only way a Dirty Coward like Rast could best him.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: "Unhand her. I shall have your head—(Rast stabs him In the Back)
  • Like a Son to Me: He doesn't say the words, but gives Jon his family's sword (which was previously given to Jorah) and he's apparently grooming him to be his successor.
  • The Mentor: For Jon Snow, who he'd been grooming to become the next Lord Commander.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe, Jon presents the fact that Mormont knows that Craster kills his sons (and implies that he also knows that it is an offering to the White Walkers) when he is brought before Mance Rayder to pass himself as an oathbreaker and gain Rayder's trust.
  • My Greatest Failure: His son, Jorah, was not only caught committing one of the most heinous acts in Westerosi society by selling criminals into slavery, but he didn't have the honor to let himself be executed, instead running away to Essos. Jeor Mormont took up the black as a Night's Watchman to atone for his shame at this.
    • There are subtle hints that he also feels similar shame for his turning a blind eye to the wicked things that Craster does.
  • Old Soldier: He's one of the oldest members of the Night's Watch, and his wealth of experience has made him into the Lord Commander.
  • Papa Wolf: Jeor has grown fond of both Jon and Sam, and has protected them both a few times. In return, they look up to him as a father figure in the Night's Watch.
  • Passing the Torch: Gives Jon Snow the Mormont ancestral sword, Longclaw, in thanks for saving his life and partly because he could not pass it on to his dishonored son.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: Starting Season 2.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Takes his position as Lord Commander very seriously (see the above quote) and wants the Night's Watch to be better prepared for the future. He also takes the opportunity to send Thorne away on business to ease tensions at the Wall.
  • Sacred Hospitality: He takes this very seriously, which is the main reason why, as much as Craster makes his skin crawl, he tolerates Craster's disgusting behavior because Craster is their host, after all. After the mutineers kill Craster, he even makes a comment that the gods will curse them all for this blasphemous act, shortly before being murdered himself.
  • Taking You with Me: He attempts this on Rast and nearly succeeds, but succumbs to his severe wounds before he can finish the job.
  • Worthy Adversary: Viewed as this by Mance Rayder, despite their falling out.
    Jon: You think any of them got away?
    Mance: It's not impossible. You don't go far betting against Mormont.

    Lord Commander Jon Snow 

Lord Commander Jon Snow

Played By: Kit Harington

Eddard Stark's bastard son and 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. See Lord Jon Snow.

    Lord Commander Eddison Tollett 

Eddison "Dolorous Edd" Tollett

Played By: Ben Crompton

"If the Gods wanted us to have dignity, they wouldn't make us fart when we died."

Acting Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Part of the group Commander Mormont leads beyond the Wall, who has a cynical wisecrack for any situation.

  • Action Survivor: While he is a competent fighter, his skill with a sword doesn't compare to the likes of Jon. That being said, he has managed to survive almost every major battle in the Night's Watch storyline, including the massacre at Hardhome. He is killed by wights in "The Long Night", but only because he was distracted protecting Sam.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books, he has black hair with long stripes of grey. In the show, his hair is brown.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the books, he's a steward, with any action he's part of taking place offscreen. The show implies him being a ranger. Of note, he's fought against the Night's Watch mutineers, survived captivity by them and returned with Jon to punish them, took command of the wall during the Wilding attack, and even survived the battle of Hardhome. Ultimately, he becomes acting Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, the idea of which being a joke and a chance to snark in the books.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The Night's Watch loose focus when Jon leaves, only making a cameo appearance when Bran crosses the wall, so it is unknown if Edd was ever officially elected the 999th Lord Commander, or if an election was never held.
  • Big Brother Instinct: In Season 6, Edd returns to Castle Black with Tormund and the remaining Free Folk to prevent the mutineers from burning Jon's body. In Season 8, he saves Sam from being killed by a wight shortly before being stabbed in the back by one.
  • Character Development:
    • His pessimism and snarky nature drop after Jon's resurrection, where he plays the part of the Only Sane Man who tries to stop Jon from giving up fighting, citing the White Walkers, while Jon feels there's nothing he can do to help the Watch anymore, as he was just killed by his own men. Jon comes back into the fight by the end of the episode and then passes command to Edd.
    • While he accepted Jon's decision to allow the Wildlings through the Wall, he made it clear he still resents them for killing their Night's Watch brothers, especially Grenn and Pyp. By the time the Night King's army breaks through the Wall, he's let go of his grudge, as shown when he embraces Tormund following the attack on House Umber.
  • Deadpan Snarker: What he's widely known for. He always has a sarcasm handy. "I always imagined I would end up doing much worse."
  • The Eeyore: He has a cynical, deadpan demeanor coated with some nice misery.
    Eddison: Whoever dies last, be a good lad and burn the rest of us. Once I'm done with this world, I don't want to come back.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Tormund Giantsbane. As a wildling and Night's Watchman, they used to be adversaries but fighting the army of the dead together has forged a friendship between them — while investigating the attack on the Last Hearth, their groups run into each other and once they determine neither side has been wightified, Edd and Tormund give each other a Man Hug.
  • Hero of Another Story: Along with Grenn, Edd had an interesting time off-screen following the mutiny at Craster's Keep. He fights the mutineers, is defeated, imprisoned and tortured, is witness to Karl's rise to leadership and his subsequent atrocities, escapes and travels through wildling lands and harsh environments to return to Castle Black.
  • Hidden Depths: Sure, he's a morose, pessimistic killjoy by trade, but he also proves to be a surprisingly competent commander during the Battle of Castle Black.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: "I was born in a place like this (Craster's Keep). Then I fell on hard times."
  • In the Back: Dies when he's stabbed from behind during the Battle of Winterfell.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Snarky and callous on the surface but in truth he's a loyal and reliable friend.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: His turning to help Sam leaves Edd open for a Wight to kill him from behind.
  • Oh, Crap!: His reaction to a wight's sword coming out of his chest.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: He drops his uncaring pessimist act on the third blast. He also fights in Mormont's defense after he is attacked, even though his previous scene had Edd joking about the deceased in a fellow Night's Watchman's funeral.
  • Pet the Dog: After his antagonistic relationship with Sam, when it seems that Gilly was killed in the wildling attack on Mole's Town he joins Jon, Pyp, and Grenn in comforting him, even noting all the other things she's managed to survive so she might have done it here too.
  • Precision F-Strike: His response to Jon's concerns about the dragonglass when retreating from Hardhome.
    Eddison: Fuck the dragonglass, we're gonna die here.
  • Remember the New Guy?: He's suddenly a member of the team in Season 2, after never being seen in Season 1. In the books, it seemed less sudden due to there being a narrator who explains who he is when he joins the expedition.
  • Sacrificial Lion: He is the first named casualty in the Final Battle against the Army of the Dead.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Runs away screaming "fuck!" when wights charge off a cliff above him, and then jump up when they land.
  • Undying Loyalty: He is the second person to stand up for Jon Snow when he asks for volunteers for the quest for Craster's Keep. After Jon's death by the hands of Thorne, he and the other loyal Watch brothers plan to strike against Thorne and the ones who helped him to take revenge for Jon's murder, even if it means death.
  • Unexpected Successor: By all outward appearances he would seem to be the absolute last person destined to inherit the mantle of Lord Commander. Thorne's betrayal, the deaths of Pyp, Grenn and Aemon, and Sam's departure for the Citadel, Edd is literally the only person left in the Watch that Jon not just trusts to be his successor — but trusts period.
  • You Are in Command Now: Jon gives him command of the Wall's defenders during "The Watchers on the Wall." After Jon's resurrection, he gives Edd the Lord Commander's robes before leaving the Night's Watch.

    Maester Aemon Targaryen 

Maester Aemon Targaryen

Played By: Peter Vaughan

Maester serving as a member of the Night's Watch. Extremely old, blind, and awesome. When most of the Night's Watch's commanding officers get killed off in the expedition beyond the Wall, Maester Aemon steps up to help lead the remaining garrison, while supporting Alliser Thorne's position as Acting Lord Commander until a new election can be held (a maester can't be a Lord Commander). See The Order of the Maesters.

    First Ranger Ser Alliser Thorne 

First Ranger Ser Alliser Thorne
"You don't know cold. Neither of you do."

Played By: Owen Teale

Dubbed By: Paul Borne (European French)

"When you're out there, beyond the Wall with the sun going down, do you want a man at your back? Or a sniveling boy?"

The Master-at-Arms and later First Ranger of Castle Black. Thorne is tasked with the training of the new recruits. He is also formally Acting Lord Commander in Mormont's absence and after Mormont's death, both Thorne and Maester Aemon hold power before a new Lord Commander is elected. He leads the defense of Castle Black against Mance Rayder's wildling horde.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books, Thorne is described as black-haired. Owen Teale is sandy-haired.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • While Thorne is still a nasty piece of work and a sadistic bully to boot, he does show more restraint when he becomes Acting Lord Commander. He doesn't outright insult Jon the way Janos Slynt does at the hearing, and mostly just acts coldly toward him while actually listening to him about the wildlings and White Walkers.
    • Most notably, he leads the charge against the wildlings during Mance's assault on Castle Black and shows himself to be capable of both inspiring the men under his command and fighting alongside them. In the books, he and Slynt don't even arrive to Castle Black until after the attack is over.
    • He's also shown as more competent as a Master-At-Arms when one of his most dickish characteristics in the books is the fact that he has never bothered to teach low-born recruits basic footwork and sword grips, sadistically taunting them from the privilege of his rankings. One reason why Jon Snow was so popular among them was that he actually taught them these things.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Regarding Thorne's actions leading up to the mutiny. In the books, the mutiny (for Thorne was not present for as he had been given a mission away from Castle Black) occurs shortly after Jon receives a threatening letter from Ramsay Bolton, in which Ramsay makes demands and threatens to march against the Watch, and Jon announces he is going to ride south and confront Ramsay at Winterfell, breaking the Watch's neutrality. In the show, Thorne mutinies because he feels Jon betrayed the Watch's principals by letting the wildlings south of the Wall... when Thorne had previously opened the gate to allow Jon to bring the wildlings through the Wall with him. Thorne could have easily just not let the wildlings in. Alliser's last words imply he was going by Honor Before Reason logic, as he felt compelled to follow whatever command his Lord Commander gave to him... it just so happened that Jon Snow never explicitly said, "Don't stab me." Also, the wildlings who were already at the Wall after Stannis' army defeated them would doubtless have been released at that point and would have settled in the Gift. They would have heard sooner or later that the 50 men at Castle Black had not let their brethren in, and the Night's Watch would have ended up having to deal with angry wildlings anyway.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the books, Alliser is not involved in the mutiny against Jon Snow.
  • Asshole Victim: Given that he was a traitor who murdered his lord commander for letting wildlings down south and before that, a sadistic bully, he got what he deserved when he is executed by Jon for mutiny.
  • Badass Boast: His best:
    Thorne: Tonight we fight! And when the sun rises, I promise you, Castle Black will stand! The Night's Watch will stand! With me now! Now with me!
  • The Bully: He delights in his position as Master-at-Arms and the power he wields over the new recruits. He belittles them constantly and his cruelty goes beyond the call of duty training the new recruits. He purposefully makes Jon unpopular among the recruits by emphasizing his superiority and mockingly calling him 'Lord Snow'. This ends up backfiring though because it makes Jon go through Character Development, meaning when time comes to elect a new Lord Commander, Jon ends up managing to get enough votes to tie with him because just as many people in the Nights Watch have seen his development and capacity for leadership.
  • The Bus Came Back: The character returns in Season 4, and boy does he step up.
  • The Chains of Commanding: As he and Jon face down Mance Rayder's wildling horde, he opens up about how his refusal to listen to Jon's now clearly prudent advice, which at the time appeared to be purely because of his personal dislike for Jon, was actually because he's constantly facing criticisms of his leadership, and if he let any of it get to him he'd constantly be second-guessing himself, an even worse trait for a leader to have.
  • Composite Character:
    • Starting in Season 4, Show Thorne begins to take over the part of Donal Noye, the master smith at Castle Black who is supportive of Jon, while still playing the part of the original Thorne, who is Jon's enemy. This results in show Thorne still disliking Jon as a person, but being sensible enough to recognize the knowledge Jon gathered beyond the Wall and take the wildling threat seriously.
    • In Season 5, he also incorporates aspects of the book's First Steward, Bowen Marsh. Bowen openly and bluntly opposed many of Jon's decisions, while still following his orders out of loyalty to the office of Lord Commander. Bowen is also the one who leads the mutiny on Jon in A Dance with Dragons.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: He is supposed to obey his Lord Commander but when his Lord Commander starts making decisions that, in Thorne's mind, would destroy the Watch, Thorne starts doubting as he also made an oath to give his life to the Watch. After a while, he decides to go with his guts and kills Jon Snow in order to save the Watch.
  • The Creon: Thorne doesn't enjoy command, but discharges his responsibilities competently. He still hates Jon and is generally a dick, but seems to recognize that holding petty grudges while in a position of leadership isn't the most becoming of behaviour. However, with some nudging from Slynt he campaigns for the title of Lord Commander, likely because he believes he's genuinely the best man for the job.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Downplayed. Thorne's coup and assassination of Jon Snow ends up crumbling in quick fashion, as not only did Thorne fail to take into account that the wildlings loyal to Jon greatly outnumbered his troops, but even the majority of his men were conflicted over following him and promptly surrendered once the tides turned. But then again, he couldn't have anticipated that the leader that he 'assassinated' would return from Death.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Thorne pushes the recruits hard with harsh training and constant insults, although it could be said he wants them to toughen up so they can face what's beyond the Wall. However, he does take overly sadistic pleasure in bullying Jon and Samwell, nor does he ever show pleasure at his recruits becoming more skilled. Despite his Character Development in Season 4, he's still got this at the end, but it's crossed over with Badass Boast and Rousing Speech, to great effect.
    Thorne: I said 'nock and hold,' you cunts! Does 'nock' mean 'draw'?
    Brothers: No, Ser!
    Thorne: (To Grenn) Does fucking hold mean fucking drop?
    Brothers: No, Ser!
    Thorne: You all plan to die here tonight?
    Brothers: No, Ser!
    Thorne: That's very good to hear. Draw!
  • Deadpan Snarker: "That's very good to hear!".
  • Enemy Mine: Notes before the battle of Castle Black that he and Jon can go back to hating each other once the Wildings are defeated.
    Thorne: This is not the end. Not for us. Not if you lot do your duty for however long it takes to beat them back. And then you get to go on hating me, and I get to go on wishing your wildling whore had finished the job.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite disliking Jon and later committing mutiny against him, he doesnít lift a finger to help Janos Slynt when Slyntís public insubordination and disrespect toward Jon gets him beheaded, with Thorne silently acknowledging that Slynt brought this upon himself and leaving him to be carried away.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When facing his execution, Thorne uses his last words to calmly tell Jon that he still believes that he did the right thing, but he accepts his punishment for losing.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Thorne's coup ends up falling up short due to his failure to take into account that the wildlings were loyal to Jon Snow. His men, greatly outnumbered, promptly surrender.
  • Fatal Flaw: Thorne has high arrogance (bordering stupidity) that causes problems for him and others. He refuses to seal the tunnel simply because Jon advised it and he believes the Night's Watch will win because they have for thousands of years. This makes it easier for a giant to get into the tunnel and six brothers die as a result. And later he murders Jon because he let the wildlings down south. Okay, but he doesn't say how murdering the lord commander will fix the wildling problem. And he doesn't put a defense in case the wildlings come back. It costs him dearly.
  • Freudian Excuse: Word of God has it that the series Ser Alliser was a Targaryen loyalist who was sent to the Wall by Robert Baratheon for his service. His distaste for Jon Snow is due to the fact that Jon's father Ned Stark was, and always has been, a traitor in his eyes.
  • Frontline General: He leads the defense of Castle Black from the front, and engages Tormund Giantsbane in single combat.
  • General Ripper: Simply cannot take the long view on the wildlings, refusing to acknowledge that 100,000 wildlings behind the Wall, however bad, is better than 100,000 wights assaulting it.
  • Graceful Loser:
    Thorne: I fought. I lost. Now I rest.
  • Guttural Growler: Thorne's voice is a harsh, raspy bark.
  • Hate Sink: His bullying, smug nature makes him one of the more detestable characters in the show. This becomes worse when he betrays and murders Jon Snow. It makes his death by a resurrected Jon extremely satisfying.
  • Hidden Depths: In a scene present only in the series, Thorne details to Jon and Sam the horrors that one may face in their duty. Though he doesn't say he was talking about himself, one can easily see how he came to become so bitter. He also proves himself to be a excellent leader, soldier, and administrator in Season 4. He and Jon even developed a grudging respect for each other, that didn't last long when Alliser became unsatisfied with Jon's leadership.
  • Hypocrite
    • He has the audacity to call Edd a traitor after the latter brings the wildlings back to Castle Black and imprisons him. Edd has to point out that Alliser was the one who murdered his own Lord Commander.
    • When he's standing at the gallows for his own execution, he refers to the wildlings as an army of murderers and raiders. He seems to be forgetting that a good portion of the Night's Watch is made up of criminals who were sent there as punishment, including murderers, rapists, and worse.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: He heavily implied that he ate some of his deceased brothers' parts to survive for six months after a mission went awry.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: They become very apparent in his close-up scenes, and they work nicely with his 'you don't know cold' speech.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: In Season 6, he rationalizes his decision to commit mutiny and murder Jon Snow by stating that he would have led the Night's Watch down to ruin. The fact that he has usurped the office of an elected position by force being even more destructive of the institution doesn't occur to him.
  • Insult Backfire: A rather subtle one with his mocking Jon as "Lord Snow," once Jon is elected the new Lord Commander over him, meaning that actually is his proper title now.
  • Irony: Alliser Thorne was sent to the Wall for being a Targaryen supporter and a staunch follower of Rhaegar Targaryen. He ends up leading a mutiny, and personally kills Jon, who is revealed to the audience at the end of Season 6 as Rheagar's son with Lyanna Stark, and ends up being executed by his leader's son for this mutiny.
  • Jerkass: Far from the worst one in the series, but he's still a very unpleasant person nonetheless.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: His reason for bullying recruits is to harden them for life on the Wall, and his distrust of Jon is somewhat reasonable, given that he doesn't know the full story.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In Season 4 when he has the heart-to-heart with Jon Snow, and in 5 where he tells him in a sympathetic tone he has a good heart but it will get them all killed. Unfortunately, this is subverted when he thinks killing Jon Snow, who's brought the wildlings inside, is a good idea.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • He really enjoys rubbing Jon's face in the fact he's not only a bastard son, but the bastard son of a traitor.
    • He makes a point of reminding Sam that he has no friends left during Aemon's funeral.
  • Meaningful Name: Unpleasant, stingy and vexatious. He certainly has a thorny personality.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Subverted, at first he accepted bitterly Jon's authority and even goes along with letting the wildlings in despite constantly saying it's a bad idea. Then after a few days, he decided that no, this is just wrong and kill Jon and plan on kicking out the wildlings too.
  • Noble Demon: His sense of loyalty is virtually unmatched by any other character in the series.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Being stranded beyond the Wall during the last winter left its mark on Ser Alliser.
  • Perma-Stubble: Always seems to have a day or so's growth.
  • Punishment Detail: Subverted to humorous effect. After Jon Snow defeats Thorne in the election for Lord Commander, the Watch has a meeting where Jon assigns new tasks to everyone. One of these is the job of digging a new set of latrines, and after Jon announces this must be done he gives a significant look at Thorne, who fully expects to be given this terrible duty. Instead, Jon assigns the latrine duty to some random Watchman named Brian, and promotes Thorne to First Ranger.
  • Put on a Bus: An in-universe example — Commander Mormont sends him as an envoy to King's Landing, mostly to put the majority of Westeros between him and Jon Snow. Becomes Chuck Cunningham Syndrome in Season 2, in which his scene with Tyrion is replaced with "a raven from Castle Black". It likely wasn't worth bringing back the actor for an exposition scene.
  • Railing Kill: Put out of action during the Battle of Castle Black when Tormund cuts him, causing Thorne to fall off a battlement. He's still alive.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: He may be a Jerkass, but at least he's one very effective military commander and fighter during battle.
  • Rank Up: Appointed by Lord Commander Jon Snow to serve as First Ranger, in recognition of his valor and bravery.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Thorne takes the wildling threat seriously and quickly steps up to the plate once they march on Castle Black. Though he is initially skeptical of the scope of the wildling threat, saying that "you can't get fifty wildlings together before they try killing each other," he doesn't laugh off the existence of giants as Ser Janos does. He even admits that Jon was right to suggest sealing the tunnel.
  • Rousing Speech: Gives two in "The Watchers on the Wall", see above for transcripts.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Thorne (thinks he) has seen the worst of what Beyond the Wall has to offer, and it's made him a bitter and cruel man.
  • Smug Snake: He's introduced as one, but the show presents some Hidden Depths to justify his behavior; he sees most of the recruits as not up to snuff for the Night's Watch, as he himself has been through hell and back while serving. He does have an irrational distaste for Jon, but even then takes Jon's assertions that Mance Rayder has united the wildlings and is marching on the Wall with an army of 10,000 seriously, after some convincing.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ser Alliser makes it clear that both Jon and Sam, along with the rest of their company, are not men and certainly not yet full men of the Night's Watch, and that them coddling Sam will only ensure that they do not have the best trained men at their side when needed.
  • Rousing Speech: Thorne gets to give several kick-ass speeches at the end of Season 4. Owen Teale had fun.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: While still not the nicest guy in the world when the wildling attack is about to happen he goes through this, even admitting to Jon that Jon's advice to seal the tunnels was right and he (Ser Alliser) was wrong. He also becomes a more effective leader to his men. When Jon's heroic acts are listed by Sam (leading his fellow brothers against the mutineers, killing Styr, dealing with Mance Rayder) Thorne simply says he can't argue with his deeds, subtly giving him credit where credit's due. Later, he even admits that Jon is a good man with a good heart. Unfortunately, he slides right back into his old Jerkass ways in Season 5, ultimately becoming even worse after he murders Jon.
  • Stupid Evil: Thorne's mutiny against Jon was completely and utterly stupid. The only reason he did it was because of his hatred against the wildlings- if he really hated the Wildlings that much, he should never have let them through the Wall to begin with, which would get rid of both them and Jon at the same time (until they came back as wights). After that, he stupidly forgets to prepare in case the wildlings come back, which they do (again, killing Jon is pointless if thousands of people loyal to him are already through the Wall). His mutiny only results in him being declared a traitor, arrested along with his fellow mutineers, and finally hanged by a resurrected Jon Snow. Thorne was definitely not one of the smartest men in the Night's Watch.
  • Undying Loyalty: Thorne's dedication to the Watch is unwavering, even when Jon Snow, who he despises utterly, is elected Lord Commander. It drives him to finally murder Jon.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Lord Commander Jon Snow treated him fairly, rewarded him into a high post based on merit (despite his dislike for Thorne) and Thorne repays him by instigating The Coup and assassinating him. Thorne states later that he did it because he disagreed with his wildling policy but since he let Jon and the wildlings through the Wall when he had a chance to let them die, it's clear that his main reasons was personal ambitions.
  • Uriah Gambit: Alliser gives Jon leave to go on a mission to kill the mutineers at Craster's Keep in the hope that Jon will get himself killed and be unable to challenge him for the rank of Lord Commander. It almost works.
  • The Usurper: He usurps the leadership of the Watch from the duly elected Lord Commander Jon Snow in The Coup and asserts dominance over the rest of the Watch. It doesn't last long however.
  • Villainous Friendship: He seems to have one going with Janos Slynt. They're often seen together and Slynt gives him advice on how to deal with Jon. However, he turns on him once Janos proves to be insubordinate to the new Lord Commander.
  • Villainous Valour: He fights valiantly during the Battle for Castle Black, and when he's about to be hanged he says he has no regrets and that he wouldn't change what he did.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Alliser's betrayal of Jon was not driven by a desire for power but rather a genuine belief Jon's actions were wrong for the watch. During his confession to killing Jon he even makes a point of saying Jon had noble intentions with his actions.
  • Worthy Opponent: Even Jon Snow has respect for the strength of his conviction shortly before he hangs him for treason.
  • You Are in Command Now: He becomes the acting commander of the Night's Watch after Mormont's death, until a new one can be elected. Due to some composition with other characters, he's pretty damned good at it, too. He's later promoted to First Ranger after Jon becomes Lord Commander, and ends up taking power from Jon after killing him.

    First Ranger Benjen Stark 

First Ranger Benjen Stark

Played By: Joseph Mawle

Eddard Stark's younger brother and First Ranger of the Night's Watch. He went missing on a ranging north of the Wall, prompting an expedition to investigate his fate, which has been left a mystery.

See the House Stark page.

    First Builder Othell Yarwyck 

First Builder Othell Yarwyck

Played By: Brian Fortune

The First Builder; a senior position within the Night's Watch.

  • Adaptational Villainy: Isn't present for the mutiny in the books, having been sent to supervise the restoration of the Nightfort.
  • Last Request: He asks Jon to write to his mother and tell her he died fighting the wildlings, rather than execution for mutiny.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Downplayed, but he's the only one of the four mutineers Jon executes to show any regret for his actions.

    First Steward Bowen Marsh 

First Steward Bowen Marsh

Played By: Michael Condron

The First Steward of the Night's Watch.

  • Adaptational Villainy: While he still stabs Jon Snow in the books, he does so with tears in his eyes. He also has more of a motivation beyond petty racism.
  • Asshole Victim: His hanging by a resurrected Jon Snow was well-deserved.
  • Demoted to Extra: He's far less important in the show than the books. Whereas he was the leader of the mutineers in the novel, Alliser Thorne takes this role in the show, and Bowen is simply one of his lackeys.

    Ser Denys Mallister 

Ser Denys Mallister

Played By: J.J. Murphy

"Ser Denys Mallister joined the Watch as a boy and has served loyally longer than any other Ranger. Through ten winters he served. As Commander of the Shadow Tower he kept the wildlings away. We could do no better."

Ser Denys Mallister is the commander of the Shadow Tower, located at the western end of the Wall, one of only three major castles along it still manned by the Night's Watch (the other two being Castle Black in the center, and Eastwatch at the eastern coast).

  • Adaptation Induced Plothole: Joining the Watch as a boy is a show creation, which raises questions about what makes his knighthood.
  • Graceful Loser: Is one of the three contenders running for Lord Commandership, but he seems to know he won't be a darkhorse winner and is content with Jon getting the position.
  • Old Soldier: He joined the Watch when he was only a boy, has survived ten winters and in the past, he has successfully repelled an attempted wildling invasion.

    Cotter Pyke 

Cotter Pyke

Commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.

  • The Ghost: Mentioned in a Season 1 episode and not seen since. He is even missing from the Lord Commander's choosing. It's implied he's no longer alive by Season 7, given that Jon has need of Tormund and the Free Folk to defend the castle.


    Samwell "Sam" Tarly 

Samwell "Sam" Tarly

Played By: John Bradley

Former Steward of the Night's Watch, later dispatched by Lord Commander Jon Snow to the Citadel in the hopes of becoming the Maester to replace Maester Aemon. See The Order of the Maesters.

    Pypar a.k.a. Pyp 

Pypar a.k.a. Pyp
"I don't think I can kill a hundred wildlings."

Played By: Josef Altin

A recruit at the Wall; one of Jon's friends. He is assigned to the Stewards after completing training.

  • Adaptational Job Change: Is named to the stewards rather than the rangers.
  • Band of Brothers: With Jon, Sam, Grenn, and Edd.
  • The Bus Came Back: When Jon returns to Castle Black near the very end of Season 3, Pyp's there to meet him along with Sam.
  • Composite Character: Like the book character Dareon, he's a former entertainer who was caught up in a sexual scandal involving nobles who was forced to take the black and ended up a steward.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It's more prevalent in the earlier seasons, though.
  • Death by Adaptation: Ygritte shoots him in the neck. Pyp's still alive in the books.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Sam holds Pyp as he bleeds out with his neck wound, all the while promising Maester Aemon will fix him up to try and ease his passing.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Him, Jon and Grenn had a very rough start, but they eventually become True Companions along with Sam.
  • Ironic Echo: See his quote above. He doesn't manage to kill a hundred wildlings during the battle of Castle Black, but he does kill at least one; thus playing his small part in the vital Nights Watch's defence, before he himself dies.
  • Justified Criminal: Subverted. He claimed that he was caught stealing cheese for his starving sister, but the real reason for being sent to the Wall involved a noble grabbing his cock, which he was too embarrassed to confess to strangers.
  • Non-Action Guy: Pyp's not a fighter and he knows it. He confesses to Sam that he's never used a bow or held a sword that didn't have a blunted edge.
  • Put on a Bus: Though a more apt metaphor would be that he's the only one who didn't get on the bus. Pypar isn't among the party Mormont leads north of the Wall at the end of Season 1, so he's offscreen for nearly all of the next two seasons.
  • Those Two Guys: With Grenn.
  • True Companions: With Jon, Sam, and Grenn.



Played By: Brenock O'Connor

A young boy who is the lone survivor of a small village in the Gift razed by wildlings.

  • Alas, Poor Villain: When he is executed by Jon Snow given that he is just a kid and his family was killed by wildlings. Even though he did betray and killed Jon Snow, Jon shows regret of having to kill him given he is just a kid with a tragic backstory.
  • Broken Pedestal: He greatly looks up to Jon as an older brother, but Jon's decision to ally with and save the wildlings from the Night King's army of the dead upsets him deeply since it was a wildling group who killed his family and everyone else in his village. Then Jon goes on a mission with Tormund, the one who led the raiding party, to save the wildlings stranded at Hardhome. In the end, Olly betrays and murders Jon for it.
  • Canon Foreigner: He has no counterpart in the books. However, as he becomes Jon's steward in Season 5, he is apparently taking Satin's place. Satin never betrays Jon, however.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: He's mostly a talking extra and the Tagalong Kid for the Night's Watch, but then during the defence of Castle Black he kills Ygritte.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Scores his first kill during the Battle of Castle Black.
  • Child Soldiers: By necessity. With his village slaughtered, the Night's Watch was the only place left that he could go.
  • Cool Big Bro: Though not related by blood, Jon seems to take on this role for Olly, looks out for Olly, and often has a hand on his shoulder to help him out. While Jon is training Olly, Jon gives him the exact same advice that Jon's father Ned gave to his own younger brother Benjen in the training yard. Grenn also takes a shine to him, promising to go hunting with him. Not that any of it stops Olly from betraying Jon. Jon is visibly saddened by Olly's betrayal.
  • Composite Character: He takes on some aspects of Satin from the books in being Jon's steward.
  • Defiant to the End: As he is about to be hanged, he does not appear remorseful for murdering Jon and only gives Jon a Death Glare. He does not give any final words as the other mutineers did and appears to seethe with hatred in his last moments.
  • Doomed Hometown: His hometown was decimated by wildlings and only he was left alive.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: He is the final one to stab Jon.
  • Forced to Watch: His father is killed before his eyes. Styr then forces him to look at his parents' bodies a second time, telling him that he is going to eat them, before sending him to Castle Black as lure.
  • Freudian Excuse: His parents and entire village were butchered in a wildling attack. Given that Jon decides to help the wildlings (including Tormund, who actually participated in the destruction of Olly's village), Olly is angry at Jon. Whether or not it justifies him betraying Jon is up for debate.
  • Informed Ability: Boasts to be the best archer in his hamlet. True either way, since everyone else in his hamlet is dead now, and his hamlet is small enough that it doesn't even have a name. Nevertheless, he proves he is a competent archer when he fatally shoots Ygritte in "The Watchers on the Wall".
  • Revenge: Olly manages to gain some measure of justice when he kills Ygritte with an arrow from behind, in much the same way that she killed his father.
  • Sole Survivor: Of his hometown, when it's attacked by wildlings.
  • Shout-Out: An archer named "Olly".
  • The Squire: As steward, he's essentially this to Jon.
  • Tagalong Kid: Becomes one for the Night's Watch once he joins them after his hometown is attacked by wildlings.
  • Tragic Bigot: His immense hate for the wildlings stems from his Freudian Excuse - his parents and hometown being wiped out by wildlings.



"The Gods aren't down here. It's the six of us, you hear me?"

Played By: Mark Stanley

"When people talk about the Night's Watch, they never mention the shoveling."

A recruit at the Wall and also in Jon's friend group. He is assigned to the Rangers after completing training.

  • Bad "Bad Acting": His reaction after getting Sam to hit him during training.
  • Band of Brothers: With Jon, Sam, Pyp, and Edd.
  • Badass Boast: He uses the Night's Watch oath as a sort of hybrid between this and a Rousing Speech in his battle against the Giant.
  • The Big Guy: Of Jon's friends, he's the most physically intimidating and strongest.
  • The Bully: Pre-Character Development; he was rather mean to Sam.
  • Character Development: He starts his run in the show as The Bully to Sam and a rather arrogant jerkass, but as Jon Snow proves himself, teaching him how to fight properly, and befriends him, Grenn becomes a loyal friend and trusted comrade.
  • Composite Character: Takes Donal Noye's place in sacrificing himself to hold the tunnel gate against the king of the giants.
  • Death by Adaptation: Grenn's still alive in the books, but the series's version of Grenn died holding the Wall's gates against Mag the Mighty.
  • Dual Wielding: Shown holding a sword in one hand and a double-bitted axe in the other while facing down Mag the Mighty
  • Dumb Is Good: Grenn is sometimes made fun of for being "slow-witted." But while he's not the brightest bulb at the Wall, he's definitely one of the bravest and as loyal a friend and comrade as you could hope for.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Though offscreen, taking out the King of the Giants is still a badass way to go out.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Him, Jon and Pyp had a very rough start, but they eventually become True Companions along with Sam.
  • Hero of Another Story: Along with Edd, Grenn had an interesting time off-screen following the mutiny at Craster's Keep. He fights the mutineers, is defeated, imprisoned and tortured, witnesses Karl's rise to leadership and his subsequent atrocities. Grenn finally escapes and travels through wildling territories and harsh environments before returning to Castle Black.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Grenn knew that when Jon tasked him and a few of the Night's Watch to hold the Wall's inner gate it was likely he wasn't going to make it out alive. Nevertheless, he assures Jon he'll get the job done and he and the other brothers die keeping the Wall's gates from being breached.
  • The Lancer: He acts as this for Jon Snow from time to time.
  • Last Stand: At the Internal Gate, against the Giant.
  • Mutual Kill: Implied to have happened between him and the Giant, as Grenn and his five brothers' corpses are later found alongside the now dead giant.
  • Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: He and five other Night's Watchmen successfully hold off and kill a giant trying to breach the Wall's gates. After the initial wildling siege is repelled, Jon and Sam sadly find Grenn and the five others' corpses next to that of the now dead giant's.
  • Parental Abandonment: His father abandoned him in a farmhouse when he was just three years old.
  • The Only One I Trust: Jon sends Grenn to hold the gate because if the gate is taken, everyone dies. Kit Harington suggested in an interview that Jon sends Grenn down to hold the gate against Mag the Mighty, despite knowing he was probably sending one of his closest buddies to his death, because Grenn was the only one who Jon trusted could actually do it. He was probably right.
  • Those Two Guys: Alternately with Pyp in Season 1 and Edd during the Great Ranging.
  • True Companions: With Jon, Sam and Pyp.
  • Undying Loyalty: He's the first man to volunteer for Jon's mission to Craster's Keep, both to aid his friend Jon and avenge Lord Commander Mormont, who was killed in a mutiny. He dies holding the gate to defend the Watch.
  • Worthy Opponent: Mance Rayder drinks a toast to both him and Mag the Mighty upon learning a humble farmer managed to kill the last King of the Giants.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Jon orders him to hold the Wall's gates with only five men and Grenn doesn't hesitate to do it, even knowing it'll likely cost him his own life. They manage to kill Mag the Mighty and stop anyone else from coming through the gate, but all die in the process.

    Lord Janos Slynt 

Lord Janos Slynt
"I commanded the City Watch of King's Landing, boy."

Played By: Dominic Carter

Janos Slynt: Are you drunk? I won't have my honor questioned by an imp!
Tyrion Lannister: I'm not questioning your honor, Lord Janos. I'm denying its existence.

Commander of the City Watch in King's Landing at the beginning of the series, he is named Lord of Harrenhal and becomes the founder of House Slynt for his service to King Joffrey Baratheon and the betrayal and arrest of Ned Stark. He is exiled to the Night's Watch by the acting Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister, for his part in the massacre of King Robert Baratheon's bastard children. He will not let you forget that he commanded the City Watch of King's Landing.

  • Adaptational Villainy: In the books, it's not him who kills baby Barra but his subordinate Allar Deem. He was, however, fully complicit in the atrocity so he was still very much a villain. His love for his children is also Adapted Out.
  • Agent Scully: Slynt doesn't believe in the creatures that lurk beyond the Wall, which is a dangerous attitude to have for a brother of the Night's Watch. Forget the grumpkins and snarks, the giants, wargs, and mammoths are very real. He even refuses to believe in the giants while literally looking at them.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: He cries and begs for his life as Jon prepares to execute him. It's completely pointless and just makes his death undignified on top of everything.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: While Janos was a loathsome person whose stupidity brought about his own death, his desperate pleas for mercy are so pathetic that even Jon can't help but pity him. Not that it saves Janos's life.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: When he's on the Wall, about to fight giants and seeing two of them from his position, he still refuses to believe such a creature could exist. The unspoken reactions of everyone present says it all. This also makes him an Agent Scully.
  • Asshole Victim: Given how much of a slimy bastard he is, it's pretty hard to feel sympathy for him when he gets executed by Jon.
  • Bald of Evil: Slynt is one shiny-headed piece of filth.
  • Beard of Evil: He has a pretty thick white beard, possibly to prevent his head from looking too much like an egg.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: To Ned Stark.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Sam shuts down his advocating Aliser for the new Commander by reminding everyone he spent the assault on Castle Black cowering in the larder "in a puddle of his own making."
  • The Brute: To King Joffrey's Big Bad, as the commander of the City Watch. At least until Tyrion gets rid of him. Trant then takes over this role.
  • Call It Karma: In "The Night Lands", Tyrion, acting as Hand of the King, considers the way he killed a baby without question the last straw, and has him replaced, arrested and sent to the Wall. He ends up being killed by the son of the man he betrayed at the start of his power grab.
  • Closet Shuffle: Does this during the Battle of Castle Black in "The Watchers on the Wall". He freaks out when it's his time to fight, and then runs away to end up hiding in the closet instead.
  • The Corrupter: To Alliser Thorne. Slynt urges Thorne to consider himself a candidate for the Lordship Commander, but it clearly hadn't occurred to him before that, and he doesn't seem to keen on the idea. Slynt also gives him the idea to send Jon to Craster's Keep, in hopes Jon will be killed while dealing with the mutineers.
  • Dirty Cop: One of the reasons Tyrion gets rid of him, since he can't be trusted to be loyal when his loyalty is easily bought. Just ask Ned Stark.
  • Dirty Coward: He'll happily murder a defenseless baby in its mother's arms, but God forbid the man does any actual fighting. When it comes time for him to fight on the frontlines in "The Watchers on the Wall", he panics and runs to a closet. Considering it's an episode where each member of the Night's Watch gets a moment to shine, including the cooks and a pre-pubescent boy, Slynt ends up looking pathetic.
    Slynt: Sam the Slayer. Another wildling lover, just like his friend, Jon Snow. How's your lady love, Slayer?
    Sam: Her name is Gilly. Ser Slynt knows her quite well. They cowered together in the larder during the battle for the Wall.
    Slynt: Lies!
    Sam: A wildling girl, a baby, and Lord Janos. I found him there after the battle was over... in a puddle of his own making.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Slynt is filled with indignant fury when people don't respect him. He's outraged when Tyrion accuses him of lacking honor, revealing Slynt's betrayal of Ned Stark, and again when Jon Snow tells him that he must not have been good at his previous job as Commander of the City Watch. The trouble is, Slynt expects respect without doing a single thing to earn it. This crops back up in Season 5 when Jon is elected Lord Commander. Slynt's defiance of Jon's orders stems both from not wanting to take commands from him and his belief that the assignment he has been given doesn't seem worthy of him. It was actually a fine assignment—Slynt was given command of his own castle (a ruin, but still) and charged with the important task of rebuilding it and getting it ship-shape. It was probably a better assignment than Janos deserved, considering his desertion during the Battle of the Wall. Slynt still thinks he deserves more, and he gets executed for it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He shows some vague concern for the refugees arriving at King's Landing, asking Cersei what should be done with them; given how obvious the solution of "don't let them in the city" is, it's implied that Janos was hoping Cersei would come up with a solution that accounted for their well-being.
    • Even earlier than that, when Robert held a tourney for Ned Stark's appointment as Hand of the King (to Ned's displeasure at the costs of it), Janos desperately asks for the City Watch to be given more men to not only handle the increased flow of people into King's Landing but also to stop fights in places such as taverns and brothels.
  • Fatal Flaw: Janos relied too much on his ties with powerful friends rather than his fighting ability or office competence.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Janos is quite fun to have a drink with, as seen in his scene with Tyrion. It isn't enough to make anyone forget what a horrible monster he is.
  • General Failure: See his behavior in "Watchers on the Wall" for a glaring example of his inability to lead.
  • Hate Sink: Even worse than Thorne. Both Thorne and Slynt are arrogant and abrasive, but at least Thorne can compensate by being an effective battle commander and fighter, while Slynt expects respect without doing anything to deserve it.
  • Hope Spot: Jon Snow orders him to be seized and carried outside to be executed for his open insubordination, but Alliser Thorne stands up, preventing anyone from reaching him. For a moment Slynt believes that Thorne will speak up for him or even openly revolt, but then Thorne stands aside and lets Slynt be taken away.
  • Humiliation Conga: Stripped of lands and titles, of command over the City Watch, and sent to the Wall. Even at the Wall, he is given no respect. Only Thorne is able to stomach him due to their mutual hatred of Jon Snow...and by the end of "High Sparrow", even he wants nothing to do with Slynt.
  • Hypocrite: He tries to justify his actions by saying that Ned tried to bribe him to betray the king. Tyrion quickly points out the real reason was that Littlefinger had already paid him to betray Ned. Also what makes the difference between him and Ser Barristan is that Janos Slynt is willing to do the easy tasks like harming vulnerable children but unwilling to do the hard stuff like fighting wildlings as shown in the Dirty Coward section.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: When it becomes clear to him that Jon Snow is seriously going to excute him, the waterworks quickly turn on. It doesn't save him.
  • Insistent Terminology: Addresses any young man who he feels is beneath him as "boy," including Tyrion's squire Podrick and Jon Snow. He even continues to address the latter as such when Jon has been elected to Lord Commander and is ordering Janos' execution for insubordination.
  • Jerkass: Janos can be charming but is generally dismissive to anyone who he feels is beneath him or can't pose a threat to him. But his true colours are revealed whenever someone of remotely martial fortitude stands up to him.
  • Just Following Orders: His reason for carrying out the purge of Robert's bastard children.
  • Karmic Death: He tries to be insubordinate to the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. He ends up beheaded by Jon Snow, an illegitimate son—like the illegitimate children Slynt slayed on Joffrey's orders—and Jon is also supposedly the son of the man Slynt betrayed. Like Jon's supposed father, Slynt gets his head lopped off with a blade made of Valyrian steel. He also dies while a Baratheon (Stannis) is watching and approving of it—he previously had Robert's bastard children killed, and one of them, a baby, died by his hand.
  • A Man of Wealth and Taste: Upon his elevation to Lord, he fancies himself one. He knows his wine, at least, but he can't disguise his status as a cowardly traitor.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: So he'd have us believe, but really he's Only in It for the Money.
  • Nouveau Riche: He was made Lord of Harrenhal and leading House Slynt for betraying Ned Stark and helping Joffrey secure the throne. It doesn't last though, thanks to Tyrion.
  • Off with His Head!: He's executed via beheading.
  • Oh, Crap!: His face quickly dons this expression when he watches Jon unsheathe Longclaw from his position on the chopping block. It's the moment that he realises Jon isn't messing around; he's about to kill him.
  • Only in It for the Money: According to Littlefinger, Slynt and the Goldcloaks will serve whoever pays them.
  • Put on a Bus: Thanks to being sent to the Wall at the same time that the Night's Watch story has left it, it's two years before we see him again.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Tyrion exiles him to Castle Black at the Wall, partly for crossing the line when he murdered a baby, and partly because he can't trust Janos not to betray him in turn after he already betrayed Eddard Stark, the previous Hand of the King.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • Tyrion has him sent to the Night's Watch both as punishment and to get rid of him.
    • Subverted with Jon Snow. While he attempted to send him to Greyguard to keep him out of the way and prevent him from scheming, Janos was being given command of a castle and entrusted with the important task of restoring it to fighting condition.
  • The Scapegoat: Played with; Tyrion's exiling him to the Wall is partly intended to take the heat away from Joffrey for the massacre of Robert's bastards, and partly so that Tyrion can give Slynt's job to his own ally, Bronn. That being said, there's no doubt at all that Slynt deserves it.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!:
    • He invokes this in "The Night Lands". He's wrong. Cersei isn't pleased that her mutt has been sent to the Wall, but she doesn't lift a finger to help him.
      Slynt: Did you... my friends at the court will not allow this! The queen herself —
      Tyrion: The queen regent. And you are a fool to believe she is your friend.
    • He does this again in Season 5, when he is insubordinate to the new Lord Commander Jon Snow and is sentenced to death. As Janos is dragged away, he shouts about how his powerful friends in King's Landing won't stand for this. Apparently, Janos is still unaware that Tywin Lannister is dead and that the Lannisters never liked him to begin with, having probably forgotten that he exists by now.
  • Slimeball: Slynt is a weasel with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
  • Smug Smiler: Look at his expression when Littlefinger ridicules Ser Barristan.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Blatantly and openly defying the orders of his Lord Commander, especially in such a disciplined and oath-heavy order as the Night's Watch, was a ridiculously bad move. It should be noted that Jon gave him every opportunity to take back his comments, only for Slynt to refuse. He pays for his stupidity with his head.
  • Undignified Death: For all the blustering and defiance that forced Lord Commander Jon Snow to personally execute him, he blubbers and begs for mercy when actually on the chopping block.
  • Uriah Gambit: He suggests to Alliser Thorne that they pull this on Jon Snow, sending him to deal with the mutineers at Craster's Keep in the hopes that he'll be killed, to prevent him from becoming a popular contender for Lord Commander. Unfortunately for them, Jon's success in leading the foray is very likely going to boost his support extensively.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • He completely falls apart upon being given command of the Wall's defenders, even denying the existence of the giants right before his eyes, until an excuse can be manufactured to send him away.
    • And again, when he is about to beheaded by Jon Snow. He loses all traces of dignity and begins crying and begging for his life.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Alliser Thorne, who he's pretty chummy with. He even gives him advice on dealing with Jon Snow. But when Janos proves to be insubordinate to newly-minted Lord Commander Jon Snow, Thorne mercilessly steps aside and leaves him to his demise.
  • While You Were in Diapers: He tries this on Jon Snow, to no effect.
    Janos: I was charged with the defense of King's Landing when you were soiling your swaddling clothes.
  • Wicked Cultured: Slynt knows his wine, as Tyrion points out.
  • Would Hurt a Child: After one of his men refuses to kill a baby bastard daughter of Robert Baratheon, he steps up and does it himself right in front of the screaming mother.
  • You Are in Command Now: He gets placed in charge of the Wall's defenders when Alliser has to leave to defend Castle Black. He fails miserably.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Twice. Janos has spent his whole life seeking power by being a Professional ButtKisser for the ones in charge, but apart from this, he has no real leadership or military skills. He managed to become the commander of the Gold Cloaks only because those in charge needed someone willing to do any dirty work they needed as long as they rewarded him. When he joined the Night's Watch, he became Ser Alliser Thorne's first supporter, with the clear aim of becoming his second-in-command, should Thorne become Lord Commander. The problem is that, at the end of the day, Janos is nothing more than a no-good, gutless bully, only able to pick on those weaker than himself. Moreover, he seems really oblivious to the fact that this is no secret to anyone, especially after betraying Ned Stark and hiding during the Battle of Castle Black. Therefore, when those in charge become people demanding efficiency and loyalty instead of corruption and sycophancy, no one wonders why they get rid of him so quickly.
    • Tyrion Lannister, knowing how far Janos is willing to go with the right bribe, personally sends him to the Wall soon after being appointed Hand of the King.
    • Jon Snow, shortly after being elected Lord Commander, summarily executes him after Janos refuses to obey his orders, since allowing him to live at that point would only undermine Jon's authority.



Played By: Luke Barnes

Another recruit at the Wall. Unlike Pyp and Grenn, he's not one of Jon's friends. He is assigned to the Rangers after completing training.

  • Adaptational Villainy: While Rast is still a jerkass and rapist in the books, his show storyline also has Rast betraying and murdering Lord Commander Mormont. In Season 4, he does just like Craster and keeps sacrificing babies to the White Walkers, albeit reluctantly.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Sam, who he holds a special hatred for. They never do get any kind of final battle, however, since Rast is killed by Ghost. However, he also had a special enmity with Ghost ever since Jon threatened him with siccing the direwolf on him.
  • Ascended Extra: In Season 3, he is revealed to have been part of the ranging party Beyond the Wall all this time, despite not appearing even once in Season 2. In the books he remains at Castle Black instead and quickly becomes a footnote.
  • Ax-Crazy: Underneath all of his cowardice lies a seriously disturbed individual. Notably he goes on stabbing Mormont after heís already dead and screams his intentions to cut their throats after Sam and Gilly as they flee.
  • Beard of Evil: Rast is a self-serving rapist with a thick beard.
  • The Bully: Against Samwell. It takes Jon's threats (as well as Ghost's intervention) to get him to lay off Sam. When Jon is with the wildlings, he's back in bully mode. It takes Mormont's threat to get him to lay off again.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rast earns it by being a jerk and a bully, but he's treated with disdain by much of the Night's Watch and Jeor Mormont dislikes him greatly. Even after Craster's death, he's relegated to a Butt-Monkey role, clearly not having the strength to stand up to the likes of Karl who belittles him.
  • Composite Character: He shares some traits with Chett in Season 3 and takes the place of Ollo Lophand killing Lord Commander Mormont.
  • Death by Adaptation: The books' version of Rast is killed in the Battle of Castle Black. Here, he gets mauled by Ghost a good four episodes before that.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Eventually he becomes a reluctant toady to Karl.
  • Dirty Coward: Rast has no problem bullying Sam, but gets put in his place when others step in, especially Jon and Mormont. He also has no problem stabbing Mormont in the back, but practically shits himself when Mormont turns around to start choking him. He's also terrified of Karl and falls over in fright when a caged Ghost barks at him. When the Night's Watch raids Craster's Keep, he turns tail instead of participating in the fighting.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He is among the rapists taken by First Ranger Benjen Stark to the Wall when Jon joins.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: We finally see him reach his own personal moral line when he's clearly uncomfortable sacrificing a baby to the White Walkers. He still does it, however.
  • Evil Is Petty: After killing Mormont, he walks out of Craster's Keep and swears to hunt Sam down and kill him... who had just run away. While Craster's jerkassery contributed a lot, Rast's decision to betray the Watch and kill Mormont apparently grew out of his hatred of Sam and being told to lay it off by others.
  • Hate Sink: Heís nothing more than a cowardly bully and rapist who gleefully abuses the little power he has but immediately falls in line when someone stronger like Jon or Karl steps up.
  • Ignored Epiphany: When sacrificing Craster's baby, Rast appears extremely uncomfortable and for a fleeting moment, it looks like he might not go through with it... but then he just covers up the child's face so he won't have to look at him before going on his way.
  • Jerkass: Particularly to Sam, who he bullies relentlessly.
  • Just Desserts: He meets his end eaten by a recently freed Ghost.
  • Karmic Death: Mauled and bitten to death by Ghost after taunting him in the previous episode.
  • Kick the Dog: He continues stabbing Mormont's corpse even after he's already dead. Later, his cruel torment of Hodor is this.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Rast goes from a bully to a victim of a bully, and his murder of Mormont ultimately makes things worse for him, particularly when Karl Tanner takes over. Karl turns Rast into his resident Butt-Monkey, delegating the worst of duties to him and humiliating him at every turn. And when Jon and his volunteers attack the mutineers at Craster's Keep, he tries to flee, only to be devoured by Ghost. Bet he wishes he hadn't killed Mormont now.
  • The Napoleon: Rast is short (5'6") and a Jerkass oathbreaker.
  • The Oath-Breaker: He betrayed the Night's Watch and joined Karl in raping and abusing Craster's daughter-wives.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has one when he sees Ghost is missing from his now open cage. All by himself, in the middle of nowhere, in the snowy night, he hears growling.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: One of many rapists that chose the Wall before castration.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: His motivation to mutiny. He doesn't stay to fight the Watch's punishment party against the mutineers, either.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Rast was in the battle against the wights, and seems rather affected by it.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He, Pyp, and Grenn were seen hanging around together at their introduction and all resented Jon in the beginning. Pyp and Grenn later became True Companions with Jon, along with Sam, while Rast himself remained antagonistic.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He sacrifices Craster's last son to the White Walkers.

See Game of Thrones - House Bolton for tropes associated with Locke.

    Karl Tanner 

Karl Tanner

Played By: Burn Gorman

"We had a good thing here. We were free men. You'll never be free. You'll never know what that's like."

A brother of the Night's Watch who led a mutiny which claimed the life of Lord Commander Mormont. Karl has since taken over Craster's Keep.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, there is a "Clubfoot Karl" in the Night's Watch. Here, he is just "Karl".
  • Adaptational Villainy: Karl was just one of many mutineers in the books. In the show, he's a hardcore rapist and psychopath who drinks from a cup made out of Mormont's skull, has a past as a Psycho for Hire, and is willing to sacrifice infants to the White Walkers.
  • All There in the Manual: In Season 3, his name was not stated onscreen. Since he is an amalgam of several minor NW members (and lacks Book Karl's clubfoot), early reviewers used different names for him, like Dirk.
  • Arc Villain: For the plotlines north of the Wall in the first half of Season 4.
  • Asshole Victim: Sadistic psychopath, murderer, and rapist. Jon shoves Longclaw through Karl's head, just after Karl is stabbed in the gut by the woman he was menacing — one of Craster's daughter-wives.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: He's the leader of the mutineers because the others are terrified that he'll kill them if they disobey.
  • Ax-Crazy: He's a sadistic, psychotic, completely terrifying assassin and rapist.
  • Badass Boast: He's prone to making them and backs them up when he gains the upper hand against Jon Snow, he even kills Craster before the latter can even swing his axe.
    Karl: I could piss in any gutter and soak five of you. You know how much they paid me to kill a man at King's Landing? Seven silvers. They told me a man's name and that man never saw daylight again. None of them cocksuckers got away from me. I haven't lost a fight since I was nine. Maybe it's time? What do you think? EH? Maybe [Rast is] the man. EH? CUNTS? [...] I was a fucking LEGEND in Gin Alley. The. Fucking. LEGEND! I would take any knight, any knight, anytime. Fucking cunts in steel plate. Fucking cowards.
  • Bad Guys Do All The Dirty Work: Karl's murder of daughter-raping, child-sacrificing professional Jerkass Craster doesn't exactly come across as an unforgivable sin. Though, as hinted at in "Breaker of Chains" and fully shown in "Oathkeeper", he's just as bad, if not worse than Craster. His bullying treatment of Rast also counts, since Rast honestly deserves everything he gets.
  • Blood from the Mouth: A given, considering Jon kills him by ramming Longclaw through his head.
  • Blood Knight: Karl loves a good fight with his knives and never backs down if given the opportunity, as shown when Lord Commander Mormont draws a sword on him and he comes face to face with Jon Snow.
  • The Bully: Towards Rast, his very own Butt-Monkey, of all people.
  • The Caligula: His reign as the Lord of Craster's Keep involves a great deal of rape, murder, and partying.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: First appears as a very minor background character with only a few lines and showing interest in Craster's wives/daughters and food stash. He then becomes the main instigator behind the mutiny that claims the lives of both Craster and Lord Commander Mormont and later becomes a major antagonist in the Night's Watch storyline in Season 4.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He kicks and spits as so to gain the upper hand in combat. And in an irony that would probably make him chew his arm off in frustration, Jon is able to win his fight with Styr thanks to remembering how effective this was against himself.
  • Composite Character: Takes over the place of some of the Garths (insisting in calling Craster a bastard) and Dirk (killing Craster and being a ranger instead of a steward), with the name of Clubfoot Karl, and the plan to become the next Craster from Chett. His background, however, is original.
    • Could be considered as one for Rorge and Biter from the books. Given that their role was minimal in the show and had no on-screen atrocities, Karl seems to have gained their desire for raping and brutalizing women and young girls. While ruling at Craster's Keep, Karl's actions are the only things that come even close to what Rorge does during the sack at Saltpans in the books. Both are the most heinous serial rapists in the said universes and Karl even dies the same way as Biter in the books.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: He drunkenly does this with Jeor Mormont's skull. Apparently, Mormont wants the mutineers to "fuck 'em (Craster's daughter-wives) 'til they're dead".
  • Creepy Souvenir: He makes a wine cup out of Commander Mormont's skull.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Karl is deeply sarcastic and snarky. He bullies Rast with jibes, pretends to speak to Mormont's skull, and takes a mock bow when Jon faces off with him, taunting Jon about his castle training.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: For the Nightís Watch plotline in Season 4 before they face Mance Rayderís wildling army in the Battle of Castle Black. Fittingly, his death marks the halfway point for the season.
  • The Dreaded: Has this reputation during his reign in Craster's Keep. He is constantly pressuring his own men to rape and brutalize Craster's wives/daughters and throwing vulgar insults at them, knowing that nobody else there matches him in combat.
  • Dual Wielding: He uses two large knives in combat.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Particularly when drunk. He rants and boasts about his past as a Psycho for Hire while practically challenging Rast to a fight.
  • Evil Is Petty: Mormont was already dead! You didn't have to desecrate his body and make a cup out of his skull!
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: His scratchy tone is perfect for delivering threats.
  • Glory Days: Apparently working as an assassin in Gin Alley, at Flea Bottom.
  • Guttural Growler: He has a raspy, throaty voice.
  • Has a Type: In the creepiest possible way.
    Karl: I've always liked a girl with curls. A touch of class.
  • History Repeats: Like Craster, he's a psychotic, loathsome piece of work who greatly enjoys lording his power over others and boasting about how great he is. Also like Craster, he's a proud sociopath and rapist who sees no problem in killing/sacrificing children for his own safety. To top it all off, he also appears to have some incestuous, fetishistic tendencies like Craster, though they're of a different vein; as he mentions Meera sharing qualities with his mother (her curly hair), whilst he's sizing her up with the clear intent to molest/rape her.
  • It's All About Me: Karl is so self-involved that he could not overstate his own importance if he tried.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jon drives Longclaw through the back of his skull, after a daughter of Craster whom Karl had taken as his personal punching bag stabs him in the back just prior.
  • Jerkass: At first we don't see much of his personality aside from his mutinous side, but when we revisit him in Season 4, it's clear just how much of a jerk he is.
  • Karmic Death: He gets knifed in the back by one of Craster's wives, giving Jon an opening to kill him in the exact same way that Karl killed Craster: by stabbing him in the head. The sword was also Longclaw, Commander Jeor Mormont's sword, the same man whose death he was gloating about. Even better, the wife that stabbed him was the same one whom he had made as his personal "pet".
  • Kick the Dog: His time as the new "Lord" of Caster's Keep is basically an endless exercise in this trope. Beating and raping Caster's daughters, drinking from Mormont's skull, and then threatening to sexually assault Meera.
  • Lean and Mean: He's rather thin and a little gaunt, not to mention a treacherous killer.
  • The Mutiny: Instigates one amongst members of the Night's Watch by killing Craster, which in turn leads to Lord Commander Mormont's own death minutes later.
    Karl: There are no laws beyond the Wall!
  • Noodle Incident: It's not said how he got arrested and sent to the Wall but given his comment on knights and steel plates, he bit off more than he could chew.
  • The Oath-Breaker: Not only did he betray the Night's Watch, he styled himself as a king and claimed Craster's daughter-wives as his own, violating the oath to not claim any lands, glory, or wives.
  • Psycho for Hire: Before becoming a member of the Night's Watch, he was a psychopath who murdered people for money; and he seems to have fond memories of that time, if his boasting about it is any indication.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: When we see him in Season 4, he's turned Craster's Keep into an all-you-can-rape buffet, specifying to his men to "fuck [Craster's daughter-wives] 'til they're dead". He even keeps some poor girl, injured and traumatized, by Craster's makeshift throne for easy access. He is about to rape Meera as well, right before Rast shows up to warn him that the Night's Watch has come for them.
  • Rebel Leader: He is the first of the Night's Watch brothers to mutiny against Jeor Mormont at Craster's Keep, and consequently becomes the undisputed leader of the mutineers. See Asskicking Leads to Leadership above for more.
  • The Resenter: Karl seems to hold a special hatred for knights and nobles. Screenwriter Bryan Cogman also thinks Karl has a class issue.
    Bryan Cogman: ...This man feels he had a raw deal his entire life, and now he has real contempt for upper classes and society.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Pulls one on Craster, before killing him. Although he proves to be no better.
    Karl: You are a bastard. A daughter-fucking, Wildling bastard.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Karl seems to be spending much of his time working on destroying his posture by slouching lazily in Craster's chair.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: As he loves to remind everyone, his prowess as an assassin made him legendary... in Gin Alley. Even after taking over Craster's Keep, he thinks he's special despite being nothing but the "lord" of a bunch of thugs and traumatised girls. This being said, he gives Jon Snow one hell of a fight even before he starts using dirty tactics.
  • The Sociopath: Karl is an unfeeling, impulsive psychotic. In terms of pure evil, he shares company with the illustrious likes of the Mountain, Polliver, Ramsay Bolton, and Styr.
  • Spear Carrier: Burn Gorman is a rather known actor because of his work on film and TV, making him a strange choice to play such a small part in the show. It is a critical small role, however since it leads to Mormont's death and nearly destroys the Night's Watch. Subverted once he plays a larger role in Season 4 ruling over Craster's Keep, and the mutineers' story intersects with Bran's as well as Jon's.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Some, such as reviewer and blogger Sean T. Collins of "All Leather Must Be Boiled", spell his name as Qarl, which is an actual nayme found in the books. Although the Karl spelling seems a bit too normal, as noted above, there actually is a Karl among the mutineers in the books.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Karl constantly bullies Rast, his fellow mutineer.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Karl totally had Jon at his mercy after battling him, but after getting stabbed in the back by one of Craster's daughters, he then pays full attention to her and clearly intends to kill her; but he doesn't even think that maybe, with his back turned, Jon would shove a sword into the back of his head when Karl is menacing the girl. While paying attention to the person who just stabbed you in the back is usually smart, Karl takes his time — as if he completely forgot Jon was still there.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: His gleeful torment of Rast seems to indicate that he's forgotten about that time when Rast practically saved his life by stabbing Mormont in the back. As good a fighter as Karl is, he likely would have been no match for the legendary Jeor Mormont (armed with a greatsword, while Karl was armed with a knife).
  • Would Hurt a Child: He was perfectly willing to kill a newborn infant son of Craster. At the behest of one of Craster's wives, he instead sends Rast to leave the baby out for the White Walkers. He also tortures Bran and later tries to rape Meera.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: After killing Craster, he takes possession of the man's land, food and daughters.

    Qhorin "Halfhand" 

Qhorin "Halfhand"
"I've been called a lot of things, but that's probably my first 'Lord Qhorin'."

Played By: Simon Armstrong

"We are at war. We've always been at war. It's never going to end 'cause we're not fighting an enemy. We're fighting the North and it's not going anywhere."

A legendary ranger of the Night's Watch, based at the Shadow Tower.

  • Adaptational Wimp: Played with, in that his badassery, compared to in the books, becomes an Informed Ability. In the books, for instance, he doesn't get captured. However, that doesn't stop him from being considered a Memetic Badass by everyone else in the Night's Watch and even among the Wildlings.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Compare these quotes from Show Qhorin and Book Qhorin, respectively.
    Show Qhorin: You can't tame a wild thing. You canít trust a wild thing. Wild things have their own rules, their own reasons. Youíll never know them.
    Book Qhorin: Only fools [...] despise the Wildlings. They are as brave as we are, Jon. As strong, as quick, as clever. But they have no discipline. They name themselves the free folk, and each one thinks himself as good as a king and wiser than a maester. Mance was the same. He never learned to obey.
  • Cool Old Guy: A solid badass willing to sacrifice his own life and whose age hasn't stopped him from being The Dreaded among the Wildlings.
  • The Dreaded: The Wildlings all know who he is and appear somewhat frightened on him as a result. Which says a lot considering the only other thing they've thus-far shown actual fear towards are White Walkers.
  • Fingore: Why else do you think he's called Halfhand?
  • Handicapped Badass: Losing half of a hand hasn't made him any less awesome.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Makes Jon kill him to convince the wildlings that Snow is genuinely defecting to their side.
    Qhorin: We are the watchers on the Wall...
  • Hyper-Awareness: Part of what makes him such a solid badass is how in tune he is with his surroundings, able to live outside the Wall almost as well as the wildlings.
  • Informed Ability: See Adaptational Wimp, we never see him do anything badass on-screen, even though everybody goes on about how awesome he is.
  • Living Legend: Among the men of the Night's Watch, he's earned the status as one of the most renowned rangers to have ever lived.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe.
    Jon Snow: So it is possible for someone to survive out here on their own...
    Lord Mormont: Well, possible for the Halfhand.
  • The Mentor: Yet another one for Jon, although he doesn't last as long as the others.
  • Mr. Exposition: You need to know anything about Mance Rayder and the wildlings? Then Qhorin is your man.
  • Old Soldier: He's one of the older members of the Night's Watch.
  • Thanatos Gambit: He has an inkling he would not be treated well by his wildling captors who know of his reputation and believed he would be killed, so he engineers a Suicide By Watch-Brother, also serving to help sell Jon Snow's fake defection.
  • Undying Loyalty: When Qhorin said his vows, he fucking meant it. He eventually allows himself to die for the Night's Watch.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Mance Rayder.
    Mance Rayder: He was my brother once. Back when he had a whole hand.
  • Worthy Opponent: For Mance Rayder and the wildlings.



Played By: Bronson Webb

"I know I broke my oath. I know I'm a deserter. I should have gone back to the Wall and warned them, but I saw what I saw. I saw the White Walkers."

A ranger who sees the White Walkers while on a ranging party. Later executed by Eddard Stark for desertion.

  • Adaptational Badass: As he takes the place of Gared in the role of the Ranger executed by Ned, Will is a lot more coherent than Gared, who was incomprehensible with fear, and gets out a few more words asking Ned to tell his mother that he didnít die a coward and that heís sorry.
  • The Cassandra: He tries to warn Ned about the return of the White Walkers, but Ned dismisses this as the ramblings of a deserter.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Of a sort. He, along with Waymar Royce and Gared, are the first people seen in the show. However, all of this is ended when his head is lopped off not 10 minutes into the pilot. From the books... 
  • Face Death with Dignity: Even though he's completely wrecked when he's captured, Will still composes himself before the end.
  • The Oathbreaker: He deserts the Night's Watch, albeit while he's incredibly scared at the time. Regardless, Benjen still recalls him fondly, even if he did break his oath.
  • Off with His Head!: He's decapitated by Ned for desertion.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Very, very briefly. In the books, he takes the place of Gared being the second killed by the Walkers. However, like Gared in the book, he's executed not long after being introduced.

    Ser Waymar Royce 

Ser Waymar Royce

Played By: Rob Ostlere

"If you want to run away south, run away. Of course, they'll behead you as a deserter, if I don't catch you first."

A young ranger, and third son of House Royce of Runestone. He leads Will's ranging party beyond the Wall, and is one of the first victims of the White Walkers.

  • Adaptational Wimp: In the book, he actually fights the Walkers in a Let's Get Dangerous! moment, even if he's killed in the end. However, here he's killed before he even knows what's going on.
  • Death by Adaptation: Of a sort. After getting killed by the Walkers in the books, he becomes a wight and strangles Will. Here, he just gets killed.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Waymar is one of the first ones in the series. He's one of the first three people seen in the pilot, but he doesn't last long. Perhaps to emphasize this, in the pilot, he was originally played by Jamie Campbell Bower, too well known of an actor simply to cast in a throwaway role.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: His disappearance is noted by the Watch but he's little missed compared to Benjen Stark whose disappearance was the first sign that something weird was going on. Years later, he's remembered by — of all people — Sansa Stark, who reminds Lord Yohn Royce of meeting them when he had escorted Waymar to the Wall.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Surprisingly, and definitely not setting the tone for the rest of the series (especially when his comrade is gorily beheaded a moment later), the scene cuts away when Waymar turns around and is slain.
  • Have We Met?: At the Eyrie, Sansa has to remind Waymar's father, Bronze Yohn, that they had met before when he brought Waymar to the Night's Watch and stopped at Winterfell.
  • Jerkass: He's pretty abrasive towards both Will and Gared, despite him being both younger and more junior than either of them.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: More or less, along with him being a knight, how he was able to command a ranging party. His father, Lord Yohn Royce, is a High Lord of the Vale. As stated in the books, Mormont was initially reluctant to give Waymar such an important task, but given who he was related to, Mormont gave him the chance.



Played By: Dermot Keaney

"Our orders were to track the Wildlings. We tracked them. They won't bother us no more."

A senior ranger, and the third member of Will's Wildling party. Killed by the White Walkers in the forest.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, Gared is described as old, scrawny, and lacking not only a finger and several toes, but both of his ears as well. In the show, Gared simply looks like a weathered, not quite middle-aged man.
  • Death by Adaptation: Like Will, very briefly. In the books, Gared is the one who makes it past the Wall and is executed by Ned, while here, he's decapitated by a White Walker in the forest. Will takes over the rest of his brief story.
  • Decapitation Presentation: The Walker who killed him subsequently throws the severed head at Will, freaking him out.
  • Off with His Head!: He's beheaded by a Walker while trying to run.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he sees a White Walker rising up behind Waymar.



Played By: N/A

A ranger under Qhorin Halfhand's command.



"Come on, you sorry sons of whores! It's a thousand leagues to the Wall, and winter is coming!"

Played By: Francis Magee

"It's a funny thing; people worry so much about their throats that they forget about what's down low."

A sworn brother of the Night's Watch, in which he serves as a recruiter.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Described in the books as having a twisted shoulder as well as a beard both greasy and full of lice.
  • The Alcoholic: It's not overt, but Yoren implies one of the advantages of being a Recruiter for the Night's Watch, is the excuse to visit every tavern between King's Landing and the Wall.
  • Annoying Arrows: When a Lannister crossbowman shoots him, all it does is knock him to his knees for a couple of seconds, before getting up and cutting down the shooter.
    Yoren: I never liked crossbows. Take too long to load!
  • Badass Boast: He's good at making them, but special mention goes to his handling of a Goldcloak.
    Yoren: It's a funny thing; people worry so much about their throats that they forget about what's down low. Now, I sharpened this blade before breakfast. I could shave a spider's arse if I wanted to, or I could nick this artery in your leg. And once it's nicked, there's no one around here who knows how to unnick it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In most of his conversations, he comes off as amiable, pleasant, and prone to jokes... and then he calmly tells a Goldcloak how he could accidentally nick the artery in his leg and let him bleed to death, unless they turn around and tell Joffrey they didn't find anything. Then, he takes the Goldcloak's sword, mostly because it's funny. Also possibly subverted in that if he had been less nice (and simply killed both of them) he and the recruits would likely have been able to escape (or at least cross the Stark lines).
  • Characterization Marches On: A cosmetic one: in the first season, he has curly hair. In the second season, his hair suddenly becomes straight.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Travels to King's Landing to find new recruits for the Night's Watch. Some episodes later, he's still at King's Landing. Just in time to be told by Ned to protect Arya and keep her from watching his execution. from the books 
  • Deadpan Snarker: His snarky attitude is most prevalent in his scenes with Tyrion and Arya.
  • Died Standing Up: Despite having more than a few mortal wounds, Yoren stays standing until Lorch slides a sword down the back of his neck.
  • Guile Hero: Pulls a knife on a Goldcloak, makes him turn around and even takes his sword for his troubles.
    Yoren: Nice sword! [takes it] We could use good steel like that on the Wall.
  • Honour Before Reason: Why he doesn't turn Gendry over to the Goldcloaks, noting that he belongs to the Night's Watch now and thus the King has no jurisdiction over him anymore.
  • Large Ham: "Get up you sons of whores! There's men outside who want to FUCK YOUR CORPSES!"
  • Made of Iron: An arrow to the chest, as if that's going to stop him from killing half your men and telling you why. And then he gets stuck in the back with a spear, and it takes being stabbed in the back of the neck to finally kill him. They might as well have dropped an anvil on him for good measure!
  • Masochist's Meal: In a discussion with Tyrion, he recalls the strangest thing he's ever eaten — a bear's testicles, brains, guts, lungs, and heart, all fried in the same bear's fat — and describes the results as "a bit chewy."
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Just like with anyone who becomes a mentor or Parental Substitute to Arya, time catches up with him eventually.
  • Odd Friendship: Considering how the other Night's Watch members view Tyrion, it's a little surprising that he and Yoren become fast friends who greatly enjoy each other's company.
  • Parental Substitute: Briefly, to Arya.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "I never liked crossbows. Take too long to load!" Sure he's quipping about his own death, but it still counts.
  • Rasputinian Death: An arrow to the chest and a spear through the back don't do the job; it still takes a sword through the neck to kill him.
  • Recruiters Always Lie: Subverted. He's pretty much straightforward, to the point of being in the direction of Go, Ye Heroes, Go and Die in terms of his speech-making. This is justified since, for many recruits, the Watch is just an alternative to the death penalty.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Not as small as some examples of this trope, but he saves Arya's life, disguises her as a boy, and gets her safely out of Kings' Landing. His story about how he avenged his brother's murder also inspires Arya's "revenge list."
  • Spiteful Spit: His reaction when ordered to throw his sword in the name of King Joffrey.
  • You Killed My Father: Tells Arya a story about how a man named Willem killed his brother, and how he nursed the desire for vengeance for so long, that he'd recite the man's name every night before going to bed. When he finally killed Willem, he ended up burying an axe into his skull so deeply that it was unable to be removed.
    Yoren: You know, we've got something in common, me and you. You know that? I must have been a couple of years older than you. I saw my brother stabbed through the heart right on our doorstep. He wasn't much of a villain what skewered him. Willem, the lad's name was. He ran off before anyone could spit. And I just stood there, watching my brother die. Here's the funny part. I can't picture my brother's face anymore. But Willem, oh, he was a nice-looking boy. He had good white teeth, blue eyes, one of those dimpled chins all the girls like. I would think about him when I was working, when I was drinking, when I was having a shit. It got to the point where I would say his name every night before I went to bed. Willem. Willem. Willem. A prayer almost. Well, one day, Willem came riding back into town. I buried an ax so deep in Willem's skull they had to bury him with it. Willem's horse got me to the Wall and I've been wearing black ever since. That'll help you sleep, eh?