8,000 years ago, after The Long Night, the White Walkers were pushed back North during the Battle of the Dawn. It was at this point that Brandon Stark, otherwise known as Brandon the Builder, built the Wall using the magic of the Children of the Forest and help from the Giants. He built this wall to protect Westeros should the White Walkers ever try to invade again.
It was at this time that the Night’s Watch was formed to guard the Wall and protect the realm from the threat of White Walkers. It was an honorable order composed of skilled warriors. At this time, The First Men were still the only inhabitants of Westeros, so the Night’s Watch was composed of only The First Men. This explains why today’s descendants of the First Men, mostly Northerners such as the Starks, have a much greater respect and appreciation for both the Night’s Watch and the threats that lie beyond the wall.
It is said that each year, the Children of the Forest gave the Night’s Watch 100 obsidian daggers, otherwise known as Dragonglass. It was one of these ancient obsidian daggers that Samwell Tarly used to slay a White Walker. (See video below).
When the Wall was built, the Night’s Watch raised 19 castles all along the wall. The most notable of these castles is Castle Black, where the Night’s Watch is currently stationed. Castle Black once stationed more than 1,000 brothers of the Night’s Watch, but today it has less than half of that. Beneath the castle there are a series of passages which allow the Night’s Watch to navigate different parts of the castle; there are also secret tunnels that connect each side of the Wall, allowing the Night’s Watch to go beyond the Wall and return back.
A DEPLETED NIGHT’S WATCH
The Night’s Watch is led by a Lord Commander who leads his Rangers into battle. The most recent was Lord Commander Mormont, otherwise known as the Bear, who was killed by one of his own Rangers at Craster’s Keep. The Watch is also composed of builders and stewards that help to maintain the castles.
At the time of its formation, the Watch is said to have had 10,000 men. Today, their numbers have dwindled down to less than 600. Though Brandon Stark built the wall to protect from another White Walker invasion, over the next 8,000 years, the White Walkers never really came. Over time, people began to doubt the true existence of the White Walkers and the danger of their threat. The Long Night became more myth than truth and the Night’s Watch found themselves defending the realm from Wilding raids, rather than a White Walker invasion. The Watch began to forget its true purpose and they received less and less support each year from the rest of Westeros. A noble order that once boasted 10,000 warriors to protect the realm from the White Walkers, now only receives several dozen men a year — most of which are criminals and outcasts that have never swung a sword in their life. Only a couple of their once 19 castles along the wall are currently being manned.
Winter is coming and the Night’s Watch is more vulnerable and undermanned than ever, leaving many to wonder, who will protect the realm from the next Long Night?