When the wall was erected in the North after the Long Night thousands of years ago, no men volunteered to guard it. In the warmest Summer, it was cold, and ice and snow threatened to hide the wall and all its posts, even when the Night’s Watch was in its former glory and all castles stood guarding the realm. And why would a highborn son give up land, glory and honor for the cold, lonesome Night’s Watch?
Of course, with no other volunteers, few lowborn men and a handful of fifth or sixth born sons volunteered to hold the Watch and its posts, but as the years passed and Summers and Winters came and went, the Long Night that had inspired the once glorious Night’s Watch was long gone, and to the men of Westeros the Watch had lost its purpose.
But where there were no sons or men to guard it, there were always the women. It began with those who were lowborn and grew up on or just South of the wall, who had known Winter, been told the stories their mothers and mothers’ mothers had told them as they had done their wifely chores and needlework—a time where dead men had came in the darkness. They eventually forged and took up their own swords as the Brotherhood dwindled in number, and after time had passed and no men had been left at the wall, took it upon themselves to defend it.
Two hundred years later, they had become a Sisterhood. And while the agreement in Westeros was silent, the silence was as good as compliance.
In the present day, the Sisterhood of the Night’s Watch allows any willing woman to take the black, whether their reasons be their will to defend the realm, an escape from lowborn life, an escape from an arranged marriage, or even as a means to reclaim her independence. Regardless, the Night’s Watch still stands, guarding the realm from what still lurks beyond the wall.…
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 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.
“They had chosen him to rule. The Wall was his, and their lives were his as well. A lord may love the men that he commands, he could hear his lord father saying, but he cannot be a friend to them. One day he may need to sit in judgement on them, or send them forth to die.”