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I read the first book in the series and started with the second. So far, I noticed that, although northern noblemen are much more willing to join the Night's Watch, there was a healthy number of southron lords among them as well and some were even volunteers.

However, among them, the name Lannister was oddly missing. Somewhere at the start of the second book it was explicitly said that Lannisters were never friends of the Night's Watch, which would also mean that taking the black wasn't really a common thing for them to do.

"If the winds have been kind, Ser Alliser should reach King's Landing by the turn of the moon, but whether this boy Joffrey will pay him any heed, I do not know. House Lannister has never been a friend to the Watch."

A Clash of Kings, Jon I

On the other hand, there is an exception to everything. For example, Tyrion could be called a friend of the Watch. Was it ever mentioned in the rest of the books if a Lannister ever joined it?

  • There are fairly few important houses that are explicitly said to have members who took the black. Mormont, Stark, Royce... Targaryen. – TLP Apr 5 '12 at 21:38
36

Donnel Hill (also known as "Sweet" Donnel Hill), steward of the Night's Watch, and squire to Ser Mallador Locke, claims to be a Lannister bastard.

Hill is the name taken by Lannister bastards, so it is possible that he is telling the truth.

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    "Hill" is not the natural name of Lannister bastards, but of the whole Westerlands: awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Bastardy#Surnames – Möoz Sep 1 '14 at 22:06
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    @Mooz I didn't say it was exclusive to the Lannisters. Just that it was the surname Lannister bastards use, which is, as far as I can tell, still accurate. – Beofett Sep 1 '14 at 22:36
  • @Beofett some were called "Baratheon" – Jungkook May 21 at 13:07
25

As explained by Jon Snow in A Dance With Dragons [no spoilers]

The Shieldhall was one of the older parts of Castle Black, a long drafty feast hall of dark stone, its oaken rafters black with the smoke of centuries. Back when the Night’s Watch had been much larger, its walls had been hung with rows of brightly colored wooden shields. Then as now, when a knight took the black, tradition decreed that he set aside his former arms and take up the plain black shield of the brotherhood. The shields thus discarded would hang in the Shieldhall.

Hundreds of knights meant hundreds of shields. Hawks and eagles, dragons and griffins, suns and stags, wolves and wyverns, manticores, bulls, trees and flowers, harps, spears, crabs and krakens, red lions and golden lions and chequy lions, owls, lambs, maids and mermen, stallions, stars, buckets and buckles, flayed men and hanged men and burning men, axes, longswords, turtles, unicorns, bears, quills, spiders and snakes and scorpions, and a hundred other heraldic charges had adorned the Shieldhall walls, blazoned in more colors than any rainbow ever dreamed of.
-A Song of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons, Part Two - Blood and Dust (Jon).

I know that it's a wall of text, but it essentially shows that there are/have been Lannister knights in the Night's Watch!

  • Bit of a late response, but although it says that shields containing golden lions were among them, it doesn't necessarily mean that the shield formerly belonged to a Lannister as it was common for bannermen and footsoldiers in the Westerlands to carry the sigil of House Lannister on their gear yet not being a member of House Lannister themselves. – user65657 May 5 '16 at 9:59
  • It also says "when a night took the black, tradition decreed that he aside his former arms and up the plain black shield of the brotherhood. The shield this discarded would hang on the shield room" implying that the shields Jon was looking at formerly belonged to Knights. – Möoz May 5 '16 at 20:39
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    @KingInTheNorth Only shields of knights were shown in that hall. Common foot soldiers don't get to create their sigils or show them. And Knights either carry the arms of their house or make their own. Only a trueborn son can inherit the arms of his father. So the golden lions are in all probability younger sons of House Lannister. – Aegon May 13 '16 at 11:30

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