Night’s Watch and the Wall, Part 2/2 | History, Characters and Locations

Castle Black is an ancient stronghold and
is the headquarters of the Night’s Watch. The castle once held over five thousand men,
but it now currently holds about six hundred brothers. It consists of several stone towers and timber
keeps. Beneath the keeps and towers, there is a series
of subterranean passages called wormwalks which connect all of the buildings. They are rarely used during the summer, but
in the winter it is the only way to travel to different parts of the castle. Castle Black has a small sept, but no godswood. Men who follow the old gods can travel half
a league beyond the Wall into the haunted forest, where a small grove contains a rough
circle of nine weirwood heart trees. • The Lord Commander’s Tower, also called
“Lord Commander’s Keep”, is where the Lord Commander’s quarters are located. • The King’s Tower is a 100 foot tall round
tower with merlons atop it, overlooking the gate and the foot of the wooden stair leading
up the Wall. The entry door is made of oak studded with
iron. Although it is reserved for honored guests
and named for kings, no king has visited the tower in over a hundred years. • Hardin’s Tower has a broken battlement,
from which stone has spilled into the yard below. It has a severe lean. • The Lance is the tallest tower at the
castle, though only a third of the height of the Wall. It is slim and crumbling. • The Tower of Guards is the strongest of
the towers. It lies next to the kingsroad and the Wall,
and guards the wooden stair. • And then there is a Silent Tower. •
• The common hall is a great timbered keep where the brothers take their meals. • The rookery is the nesting place of Castle
Black’s ravens. Consequently, the maester’s quarters are located
in a stout wooden keep beneath it. • The armory is where the equipment for
weapons practice is kept. • The old Flint Barracks is where most of
the brothers reside. • The vaults, located underground, contain
food stores and the library. The library contains records and old books
that even the Citadel does not have. Amongst other topics, it covers drawings of
the faces in the weirwoods, the language of the children of the forest, and scrolls from
Valyria. • The Shieldhall is a feast hall of dark
stone In years past, when the Night’s Watch was much larger in number, the Shieldhall’s
walls had been hung with rows of brightly colored wooden shields. When a knight took the black, his shield would
adorn its wall and he would take up the plain black shield of the brotherhood. When a knight died, his shield was removed
so it could go to the deceased’s pyre or tomb. As the Night’s Watch declined in number, however,
the noble brothers dined instead with the smallfolk in the common hall. The dark Shieldhall was used infrequently,
as it was difficult to heat, it was infested with rats, and had worm-eaten wooden rafters. • The Grey Keep is another building at Castle
Black. •
• The gate guards the tunnel through the Wall, which is long, twisting and narrow. Three iron gates block the inner passage. Each of these gates is locked and has a murder
hole above it. The outer door to the tunnel is solid oak,
about nine inches thick. • The great switchback stair climbs its
way up from Castle Black to the top of the Wall. It is made of wooden stairs, anchored by huge
beams frozen into the Wall itself. • A winch elevator is used to take supplies
and men up to the top of the Wall. It is an iron cage attached to a winch to
allow it to ascend and descend the face of the Wall. It can hold ten men or an equal amount of
supplies. • Facilities on top of the Wall include
a small warming shed for the men on watch located next to the crane. • Beside the eastern road from Castle Black
is a lichyard with the graves of some members of the Night’s Watch. Beside the lichyard are ancient tombs. Oakenshield is an abandoned castle along the
Wall. Stannis Baratheon, while at the Wall, inspects
the ruins of Oakenshield and Queensgate. Jon Snow re-garrisons Oakenshield as the seat
of Tormund Giantsbane. Tormund, also known as Tormund Thunderfist,
all-talker, Horn-blower, and Breaker of Ice, Husband to Bears, the Mead-king, Speaker to
Gods and Father of Hosts, is a famous free folk raider and once thought to make himself
King-Beyond-the-Wall, but he was defeated by Mance Rayder. Although Tormund is said to have slain a giant,
he claims to have actually cut open the belly of a sleeping giantess and slept in her for
warmth during a winter storm. Tormund claims the giantess, thinking he was
a babe, then suckled him for three months in the spring. He also claims to once have drunkenly slept
with a bear. Woodswatch-by-the-Pool is another abandoned
castle along the Wall. Harma Dogshead is seen at Woodswatch-by-the-Pool
prior to the wildlings’ attack on the Wall. Harma is a captain in Mance Rayder’s army,
commanding the vanguard. Harma has big cheeks. She is squat and round and she hates dogs. She kills a dog every fortnight to create
a new totem for her banner. She was killed when Stannis attacked the wildling
camp north of the Wall. After her death Stannis’ knights cut off her
head and mount it on a spear in mocking fashion. She had a brother, Halleck. Halleck later joins the defense of the Wall
under Lord Commander Jon Snow. Before Mance Rayder made peace between them,
Harma once warred with Rattleshirt, also known as The Lord of Bones. He is called Rattleshirt due to his armor,
which is made up of loosely-tied bones that clatter as he moves. He wears a broken giant’s skull as his helm
and is a renowned raider. Sable Hall is a castle along the Wall abandoned
by the Night’s Watch. Lord Commander Jon Snow considers re-garrisoning
Sable Hall with wildlings under the command of Halleck, brother of deceased Harma Dogshead. Rimegate – another abandoned Night’s Watch
castle. Long Barrow is and abandoned castle near which
Mance Rayder climbs the Wall when travels, disguised, to Winterfell for the visit of
King Robert Baratheon. Under the disguise of a musician, Mance plays
the lute during the feast for Robert. Lord Commander Jon Snow re-garrisons Long
Barrow with wildling spearwives. The men of the Night’s Watch then start to
call it Whore’s Barrow. The Torches is another abandoned castle by
the wall, so as the Greenguard next to it. Eastwatch-by-the-Sea is located on a grey,
windswept shore by the Bay of Seals. Near Eastwatch live some fisherfolk and some
wildlings trade with the Night’s Watch at Eastwatch; wildlings prefer it to Castle Black,
because trading ships from “the fabled lands beyond the sea” visit it from time to time. The commander of Eastwatch is Cotter Pyke,
who has less than two hundred men under his command. Cotter is the bastard son of a tavern wench
from the Iron Islands. According to Ser Denys Mallister, Cotter has
been violent since his childhood. He is a veteran of many battles and when Stannis
Baratheon lands his men at Eastwatch, Cotter leads him and his men along hidden paths which
allow Stannis to take the wildlings unaware during the Battle of Castle Black. The Night’s Watch keeps several galleys at
Eastwatch, including larger vessels capable of crossing the narrow sea and lean fighting
vessels. The galleys patrol the Bay of Seals to catch
smugglers who trade weapons to the wildlings. The Gift is a tract of land measuring twenty-five
leagues southward from the Wall that the Night’s Watch received from King Brandon Stark of
the north, also called the Brandon’s Gift. For years the Watch farmed the Gift, but as
their numbers dwindled there were fewer hands to plow the fields, tend the bees and plant
the orchards, so the wild reclaimed much of the area. Wishing to restore the Night’s Watch and reward
its loyal service in defense of the realm, Queen Alysanne Targaryen, wife of King Jaehaerys
the Conciliator, doubled the extent of the Gift. Towns and villages that were located within
the “New Gift” supported the Night’s Watch with their taxes, rendered by goods and labor. In time, the New Gift lost population as people
moved south, into the mountains or into the Umber lands east of the kingsroad to avoid
wildling raids, further reducing the support for the Night’s Watch and the Wall. The nearest point of civilization to Castle
Black is Mole’s Town, a village, that is bigger than it seems because three-quarters of the
village lies beneath ground in deep damp warm cellars connected by a warren of tunnels. There is a brothel located in the cellars,
with nothing more than a shack no bigger than a privy on the surface. It has a red lantern that is hung over the
door. It is said that brothers of the Night’s Watch
go to Mole’s Town to dig for “buried treasure” which brothers enjoy mining a lot. The Night’s Watch consists of three orders:
rangers, builders, and stewards. All are subject to the Lord Commander of the
Night’s Watch, and each of the three orders is led by its own officer. Recruiters for the Night’s Watch are called
wandering crows. The organization also includes septons, maesters,
and sailors. Once, serving on the Wall was honor and a
sign of selfless devotion to duty, with many knights, honorable men, and nobles taking
the black voluntarily. The Night’s Watch is now often seen only as
a way to avoid punishment, suitable less for knights than for the dregs of Westeros. These men are salvaged from dungeons by wandering
crows. Disgraced nobles, bastards, and even the unwanted
legitimate offspring of nobles are “encouraged” to take the black, making many of today’s
Watch a dissatisfied lot. Those who come voluntarily are free to leave
during any time of their training, but no man may leave after he has said vows. Any deserters are sentenced to death. After taking the vows, the men of the Watch
cannot own any land, marry, or father children. Men are also encouraged to sever any ties
left with their families, if they are lucky enough to have one. Thank You for the attention! See Ya!


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