Jump to content
The Fattest Leech

Night's Watch vows and the truth of history.

Recommended Posts

58 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

What exactly points to that? Realms of men means humanity, nothing more nothing less. 

So you think the NW should protect the thugs who steal the women of the people they recruit themselves from and who want to tear down the Wall they do protect? That doesn't make any sense.

Even if we grant the NW the ability/right to defend the wildlings against the Others - how on earth should they do that when they just sit on some Wall whereas the Others are up in the north where all those wildlings are. Are they supposed to fly there whenever some wight rises in the night?

The idea that the NW has the right to allow men to pass the Wall even if they would bend the knee doesn't hold much water. That could only work with the permission of the rulers of the 'realms of men' (i.e. Hundred/Seven Kingdoms). This is still a world where people have laws and the rulers can determine whether they want women-stealing people who are unwilling or incapable to adapt to the laws and customs of the land in said land.

And if the wildlings had been part of 'the realms of men' then the wildlings would also have supported the NW through the ages like the Seven Kingdoms did. Did the wildlings support the NW through the ages?

Jon Snow twists the meaning of the vow so that he can see the wildlings not as enemies - but this only works because these people actually want to enter the 'realms of men'/Seven Kingdoms. It makes sense to allow them in so they cannot become wights.

But if they had asked the Watch to come up north and defend 'the realms of men' up in the Valley of Thenn and Whitetree and Hardhome, etc. Jon would have laughed them out the hall because that would have been ridiculous.

If the Wall were to stand and the NW could hold it, then those so-called 'realms of men' north of the Wall would be ceded to the wights and the Others because there is no way they can take them back without destroying all the Others, no?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always found it intriguing how the NW vows say "We are the watcher on the walls" instead of on the wall. Makes me think there's another wall, possibly the five forts, and the grey waste actually connects to the land of always winter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, kleevedge said:

I always found it intriguing how the NW vows say "We are the watcher on the walls" instead of on the wall. Makes me think there's another wall, possibly the five forts, and the grey waste actually connects to the land of always winter.

The Five Forts are not connected together.  At least from the image on the maps.  An army could easily pass between them.  George has yet to tell us what they were made for.

The plural for wall was used in the vows because of the long length of the structure.  Each fort is considered a wall.  Perhaps watchers on the forts is more accurate.  The wall grew over time.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The Five Forts are not connected together.  At least from the image on the maps.  An army could easily pass between them.  George has yet to tell us what they were made for. 

The plural for wall was used in the vows because of the long length of the structure.  Each fort is considered a wall.  Perhaps watchers on the forts is more accurate.  The wall grew over time.

 

Joramun supposedly blew the horn of winter to wake the giants. The wildlings believe it can bring down the wall, well if Joramun supposedly blown it already and the wall's still up, why would they think this? I think it did bring down a wall, not the wall in Westeros but the one that used to connect the five forts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The Five Forts are not connected together.  At least from the image on the maps.  An army could easily pass between them.  George has yet to tell us what they were made for.

The plural for wall was used in the vows because of the long length of the structure.  Each fort is considered a wall.  Perhaps watchers on the forts is more accurate.  The wall grew over time.

 

By all means, please contact the author and tell him he wrote his own story incorrectly, that is, unless you have text to back this up? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, kleevedge said:

Joramun supposedly blew the horn of winter to wake the giants. The wildlings believe it can bring down the wall, well if Joramun supposedly blown it already and the wall's still up, why would they think this? I think it did bring down a wall, not the wall in Westeros but the one that used to connect the five forts.

That’s possible. If there was a long night ages ago, then these other forts could have also been a connecting system between a wall of some sort. The long night is akin to current day global climate change today (as alluded to by the author in an interview). The five forts could be sans wall because it was destroyed, maybe by the horn, or maybe in conjunction with R’hllorists who believe the opposite extreme (an endless summer). That could be why such a large part of Essos is so arrid and why one of the Dothraki found dragon bones in the Dothraki sea. Did everything go wrong with defenses the first time?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/30/2018 at 5:20 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

ust what are the Night's Watch vows?

How old are they?

How much interference has been involved in changing them, and why?

What does this mean for the future of the story?

ADDING: What do the vows not cover?

 
Quote

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

That was two centuries past, though. Now Deep Lake stood as empty as the castle it had replaced, and the Nightfort . . .
"There are ghosts here," Bran said. Hodor had heard all the stories before, but Jojen might not have. "Old ghosts, from before the Old King, even before Aegon the Dragon, seventy-nine deserters who went south to be outlaws. One was Lord Ryswell's youngest son, so when they reached the barrowlands they sought shelter at his castle, but Lord Ryswell took them captive and returned them to the Nightfort. The Lord Commander had holes hewn in the top of the Wall and he put the deserters in them and sealed them up alive in the ice. They have spears and horns and they all face north. The seventy-nine sentinels, they're called. They left their posts in life, so in death their watch goes on forever. Years later, when Lord Ryswell was old and dying, he had himself carried to the Nightfort so he could take the black and stand beside his son. He'd sent him back to the Wall for honor's sake, but he loved him still, so he came to share his watch."
 

@FattestLeech We seem to have very little indicator for how long ago the NW instituted their vow.  I was hoping that the seventy-nine sentinels would shed some light, but there is no info that I can find about which Lord Ryswell and son this tale is about. So all we get here, is that the vow must have existed before the start of the current calendar- before Aegon the conqueror.  Among other things, we know there was a consequence, so we can deduce there was a vow.  The date for these events is about as clear as mud, just like the rest of Old Nan's stories.  It is so annoying that Benjen didn't really answer Bran when he questioned him about it in a SOS.  :dunno: 

Quote

Benjen Stark never said the tales were true, but he never said they weren't; he only shrugged and said, "We left the Nightfort two hundred years ago," as if that was an answer.

 

The vows do not typically cover the afterlife, but this particular case is a notable exception.  In death you could be burned, buried, or sealed into the icy wall.  Maybe the same commander that sealed the tunnel, thought that sealing these guys in alive was a good idea.  Is it possible that being frozen into the wall was a tradition?  I ask because it seems so ritualized, with the spears, horns and the guys facing north.  Seems like a logistical nightmare to get the all the guys to pose for you while they froze to death. 

Similarly to Stannis and Visenya, Lord Ryswell clearly didn't have any interest in changing the vows and apparently spoke the words himself once he was safely on death's doorstep. 

Side note: It seems so foolish for seventy-nine crows try to fly south all at once.  Mayhaps Lord Ryswell's son was somewhat of a leader, since the outlaws tried to take shelter in his family's castle?  I can't help but wonder what might have prompted 79 men to flee.  During the current story 79 men is a significant number... 

Jeor gave a simple explanation to the recruits about what their vows mean today:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Jon VI

"A man of the Night's Watch lives his life for the realm. Not for a king, nor a lord, nor the honor of this house or that house, neither for gold nor glory nor a woman's love, but for the realm, and all the people in it. A man of the Night's Watch takes no wife and fathers no sons. Our wife is duty. Our mistress is honor. And you are the only sons we shall ever know.
"You have learned the words of the vow. Think carefully before you say them, for once you have taken the black, there is no turning back. The penalty for desertion is death." The Old Bear paused for a moment...
 

If the vows were embellished, maybe it was done to enshrine the things their organization had learned the hard way.  They wanted to forget the Night King's name and the child sacrifice bit, but at the same time ensure that future recruits don't take wives or have children.  It seems to me that if I were to radically change or adopt new rules, that it would be helpful to do so at the same time as a change in locations.  If it is worth anything, my experience in the world tells me that people do better with new rules when you change their environment too.  Which brings me back to what Benjen said about abandoning the Nightfort because that is a change of location.  Lastly, any kind of update to the rules would likely cause a big revolt... and spur like... I don't know... seventy-nine men leave their posts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, kleevedge said:

Joramun supposedly blew the horn of winter to wake the giants. The wildlings believe it can bring down the wall, well if Joramun supposedly blown it already and the wall's still up, why would they think this? I think it did bring down a wall, not the wall in Westeros but the one that used to connect the five forts.

The Horn of Winter wakes the giants in the earth - and that's a metaphor for an earthquake. If Joramun actually blew the horn once - which is not unlikely - then he most likely did do that not exactly close to the Wall, causing an earthquake which did not affect the Wall.

The Horn of Joramun isn't a magical horn made to specifically bring down the Wall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/30/2018 at 8:35 PM, Hugorfonics said:

I never noticed that about Sam. Im shocked lol, good find. Maybe i knew before. So much Ive forgotten, I feel like the NW.

So what came first the chicken or the egg. I always thought it was the chicken, or is it the egg? The Black Gate seems to mean that the NW is older then the wall. I am the watcher on the walls. Plural. (The great wall of China wasnt completed untill the Ming dynasty, a good thousand years after the first instalments) that seems to suggest that the NW manned multiple walls.  Maybe when LC was created it ended a strict feudal structure and became more democratic, hence an oath for no crowns and such. But this is all talk with no evidence.

Im also confused on one line in the original, the horn that wakes the sleepers. Giants? Theyre like the NW servents? Or dragons. Probably not. But Others. Now theyre the ones that are sleeping. Now i feel like im speaking heresy

I do agree with you about the original and changes. The new are all oaths and the original is just confusing

I'm cherry picking what to reply to as I read so if this has already been submitted kindly disregard.   The Gate asks "Who are you?"  Sam replies with a version of the Nights Watch vows and George RR conspicuously adds Sam's full name.   That is 7 identities.  Jobs of the Nights Watch.   Earmarks of true heroes.   The horn that wakes the sleepers as I see it, is a duty.  I liken this to people like Jon and Mance who warn of the approaching Others.   People at large are "asleep" in their complacency and disbelief.  It is the NW job to make people aware of their coming.   Makes sense because, who else would know?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/1/2018 at 9:31 AM, The Fattest Leech said:

Ok, I have to come back later when I have more time to expand on this part of history. In the meantime, YES, there is wording and evidence written in to the books that what Queen Alysanne did to the Watch, the North, and ultimately the entirety of Westeros, was part of the NW decline and alterations.

The World of Ice and Fire - The North: The Lords of Winterfell

We have earlier discussed House Stark's role in the Dance of the Dragons. Let it be added that Lord Cregan Stark reaped many rewards for his loyal support of King Aegon III...even if it was not a royal princess marrying into his family, as had been agreed in the Pact of Ice and Fire made when the doomed prince Jacaerys Velaryon had flown to Winterfell upon his dragon.
Though in these days it is said that Lord Ellard Stark was glad to aid the Night's Watch with the Gift, and took little convincing, the truth is otherwise. Letters from Lord Stark's brother to the Citadel, asking the maesters to provide precedents against the forced donation of property, made it plain that the Starks were not eager to do as King Jaehaerys bid. It may be that the Starks feared that, under the control of the Castle Black, the New Gift would inevitably decline—for the Night's Watch would always look northward and never give much thought to their new tenants to the south. And as it happens, that soon came to pass, and the New Gift is now said to be largely unpopulated thanks to the decline of the Watch and the rising toll taken by raiders from beyond the Wall.

Gads this is such great rich conversation in the midst of such a drought.   I will apologize to you, Lady, as I am replying as I read through and the moment rings.   I was recently pondering why would Alysanne build a whole new castle for the NW--with all the creature comforts--heck it's right there on a beautiful lake--fish soup forever!   I think something is wrong here.   Not the sacrifices suspected to have originated at the Nightfort, but something and definitely NOT because she was soooooo impressed by those Black Knights.  The Nightfort was abandoned, but not destroyed.   Bran runs into books there.  Why not take the books if you're just moving?  Why not seal it up?   And how did the ruling castle end up being Castle Black if there is this wonderful new castle to run things from?   When did that happen?   It's obvious that the Nightfort is Harenhal North, but why? Why would that concern a queen?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Obscured by Klowds said:

If the vows were embellished, maybe it was done to enshrine the things their organization had learned the hard way.  They wanted to forget the Night King's name and the child sacrifice bit, but at the same time ensure that future recruits don't take wives or have children

Welcome! And great username! :cheers:

The way I see it, it's the opposite... the parts that [maybe] were added to the NW vows were meant to make the NW more Andal-friendly, in a way. Remember, many of the early Andals were religious zealots, w/ 7-pointed stars carved into their flesh. Up until when they started to join/send men to the NW, the organisation was, basically, 100% FM. In other words, when the fancy shiny religious knights started to join the NW, they must have thought their northerner brothers were a bunch of tree-worshipping savages.

I think the idea that in the early days the families of brothers were living alongside the Wall in small settlements a very valid one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/2/2018 at 4:43 PM, Trefayne said:

It could be that the original purpose of the Wall was to keep people in, not keep the Others out. Normal people wouldn't be bothered by the magical guards and wards meant to keep the super-natural out and it would be crazy to let people migrate north to add to their undead army. Jon understands this uncomfortable reality at this late date and I think the original Wall builders did back then.

Not the original purpose, but what it became in the years between the Others leaving and not coming back.   Certainly keeping the Wildlings in is precisely what the Wall does now.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome welcome welcome @Curled Finger, master of lightning quick threads! 

You and @kissdbyfire and @Ygrain ( and a few others that I didn’t mean to forget at the mo’) have added some great input. 

I will scarf down my pizza and join back in shortly... which has been difficult to do in recent weeks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/2/2018 at 5:00 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

So we have Whitetree and Mole's Town that are both within a short distance to the Wall. I do not have any of the big map/map books so I cannot tell for sure, but there are sure to be to other villages along the way, and most likely on both sides of the wall.

 

By the way, does that quote you have any additional information that specifies the Watch require the wall to be so tall for any reason?

CF Paraphrase:  I saw Hadrian's wall and turned it to ice and made it bigger by a lot.   I heard him say this in an interview.    Well, to the effect at any rate.    The Wall is big because the author wanted it big.  He made no overture to any other reason. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, The Fattest Leech said:

Welcome welcome welcome @Curled Finger, master of lightning quick threads! 

You and @kissdbyfire and @Ygrain ( and a few others that I didn’t mean to forget at the mo’) have added some great input. 

I will scarf down my pizza and join back in shortly... which has been difficult to do in recent weeks. 

I'm only on page 4 go away

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Curled Finger said:

CF Paraphrase:  I saw Hadrian's wall and turned it to ice and made it bigger by a lot.   I heard him say this in an interview.    Well, to the effect at any rate.    The Wall is big because the author wanted it big.  He made no overture to any other reason. 

 

Totally agree. I have some mental meanderings from a while ago that may be relevant here. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/2/2018 at 5:26 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

It's almost like the huddled free folk were taking protection within a weirwood ringfort of nine trees, not unlike the nine swords of the crown of the king in the north.

Cool. Thank you.

Bitchen!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, The Fattest Leech said:

:lmao:

I've been trying to get in on this for 3 days now!   Every word is eye candy.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want pizza!!! :bawl:

Nearest pizza is about 60 mi on shite dirt road, no delivery. :bawl: :bawl: :bawl:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×