The ancient warrior brotherhood that guards the northernmost border of The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the members of this order take their vows for life, forsaking any and all allegiance to their House and their King.
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 the 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 honour to the Night's Watch, for this night and all nights to come.
-- The Night's Watch Oath
The Night's Watch is an ancient military order that guards the northern most boundary of Westeros. They swear allegiance to no House or Lord of the Realm, rather it is their duty to protect all the 'Realms of Men', taking no part in the internal affairs of the Kingdom. When a man swears the oath, he forsakes all ties of family and all other oaths, including any sworn to the Iron Throne. The breaking of this oath is punishable by death. All members of the watch are considered equals, with no title held in a recruit's previous life having any bearing on their new one.
The Watch is split into three orders: the rangers, the builders and the stewards. The rangers are the footsoldiers of the Watch, venturing beyond the Wall, acting as scouts, explorers, spies and warriors. The builders are responsible for maintaining the wall and the fortresses that sit along the base of the southern face, as well as gravelling the upper surface and maintaining the elevators and tunnels that provide access. The stewards carry out the most mundane tasks that are vitally important to the functioning of the Watch. They are the librarians, stablehands, cooks, clothiers and administrators. All members of the watch receive basic combat training before swearing their oath and are all ready to fight at a moments notice.
Each of the three orders is lead by it's own officer, called the First Ranger, First Steward and First Builder. These officers, as well as the commanders of the forts, are appointed by the Lord Commander, the man chosen by popular vote among all brothers of the watch to lead them. Any members of the watch, regardless of age, rank or level of experience is eligible to stand for this position, and one elected they hold the position either for life or until they resign. The Lord Commander is not a lord in the same sense as a Lord of the Realm is a lord, rather he is the first among equals.
While 'Taking the Black' was once considered a great honour among commoners and high-born nobles alike, the the regard with which The Watch was once held has all but faded and now only outcasts and exiles fill the ranks of the 'Black Brothers'. The southern kingdoms have become decadent, shrugging off honour and duty as obstacles to be overcome in their own quests for personal wealth and power. The Watch must then send a handful of trusted men south to search the kingdom for able bodied men who would make suitable recruits. With few willing to sacrifice all that do and could have to serve on the Wall, these 'Wandering Crows', as they are known, are forced forced to go from town to town and city to city, gathering up society's cast-offs and criminals, many of whom are given the simple choice of service in the Watch or a one-way trip to the gallows. Only the Starks still have the reverence for the Watch that the south once did, with Ned Stark's own brother Benjen once having taken the black and now commanding the rangers.
We don't have any info about movies that contain The Night's Watch. Help us fill it in!