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Where and how do they get their food?

More importantly, where do they get money to buy stuff? Is this by tax from the people who stay at the gift?

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SPOILER It's worth pointing out that in the last book, they come by a very large amount of wealth –  danrhul Apr 8 at 13:58
    
That is a good question, though I don't think it is mentioned in the books. They certainly do not get money or goods from either the North or King's Landing, seeing as neither the fall of Winterfell or changing kings has changed things much for them. –  TLP Apr 8 at 14:05
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3 Answers 3

The Night's Watch used to collect taxes and farm areas near the Wall. But recently, there have been several wildlings' raids and people have moved south; thus there aren't a lot of taxes and they can't afford to have all 19 castles of the Wall that there used to be (also there is a lack of men).

A Storm of Swords, Chapter 40 (Bran):

The Gift is a tract of land measuring twenty-five leagues southward from the Wall that the Night's Watch received from King Brandon Stark of the North. For years the Watch farmed the Gift, but as their numbers dwindled there were fewer hands to plow the fields, tend the bees and plant the orchards, so the wild reclaimed much of the area. Wishing to restore the Night's Watch and reward its loyal service in defense of the realm, Queen Alysanne, wife of King Jaehaerys the Conciliator, doubled the extent of the Gift. Towns and villages that were located within the "New Gift" supported the Night's Watch with their taxes, rendered by goods and labor. In time, the New Gift lost population as people moved south, into the mountains or into the Umber lands east of the Kingsroad to avoid wildling raids, further reducing the support structure for the Night's Watch and the Wall.

The Night's Watch has several iron smiths etc. These are the the people that are making the weapons of the Brothers

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Isn't there also a component that's expected to come from King's Landing? I got the sense that the Iron throne was expected to support them (but was doing so less and less). Is the capital support just in the form of fresh young men? I'd always assumed there was a gold component, too, but maybe there's no evidence of that? –  Jaydles Apr 8 at 15:25
    
I think so, but I'm not sure. I'll try to see if I can find anything –  Shevliaskovic Apr 8 at 16:08
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@Jaydles - I don't think there is one. The whole point of the Gift was for the Watch to be independent from the Nobles of Westeros and thus not become beholden to them. –  System Down Apr 8 at 16:46
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That's right. The first gift was given to the Night's Watch by the Starks, and this was farmed by the Night's Watch to supply them with food and materials. Later, the Gift was extended to encompass several towns, which pay taxes to the Watch.

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so how about weapons and everything ? cloaks ? do they all come from the gift ? are do the other houses donate stuff to them too as per donating people to the nights watch –  nessa Apr 8 at 7:25
    
I've got to resort to speculation for that, but the Night's Watch have their own blacksmiths and forges operated by the stewards, so it's reasonable that they could make their own weapons with ores from the gift. But also, the Night's Watch at the time of the series is vastly reduced from what it once was, so it's possible they now have a huge surplus of weapons that they only have to maintain. –  beeneto Apr 8 at 7:31
    
>> interesting . thanks for answering ! –  nessa Apr 8 at 7:33
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As I remember it, Benjin Stark travels to King's Landing to ask the king for money and new recruits (prisoners given a pardon in exchange for Taking the Black).. It seemed to me, to be commn practise..

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It's Benjen Stark and he didn't travel to King's Landing. He got lost in a raid north of the Wall. Ιt was Ser Allister that went to King's Landing –  Shevliaskovic Apr 10 at 10:47
    
Name aside (Benjen have probably gone another time), I still think the theory about the Watchmen travelling to kings and lords in the realms to gather money/weapons, under the argument "protection from the wildlings is not free"... –  FuxieDK Apr 10 at 11:18
    
Yoren is the black brother who went to King's Landing in AGOT... –  Justin Ethier May 13 at 19:45
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