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.…
“Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods.”
ASOIAF meme: 1/4 songs or stories
♦ the Night’s King and his Queen
He had been the thirteenth man to lead the Night’s Watch; a warrior who knew no fear. “And that was the fault in him,” Old Nan would add, “for all men must know fear.”
A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound his Sworn Brothers to his will. For thirteen years they had ruled, Night’s King and his corpse queen, till finally the Stark of Winterfell and Joramun of the wildlings had joined to free the Watch from bondage. After his fall, when it was found he had been sacrificing to the Others, all records of Night’s King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden.
“Some say he was a Bolton,” Old Nan would always end. “Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint, or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear Island before the ironmen came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down.”