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In the TV series Game of Thrones, now that as of Season 8 Episode 3, "The Long Night", the

Night King is defeated and the White Walkers and their wights are dead along with anyone (presumably) who was behind the Wall prior to season 8,

are the Night's Watch still required?

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    @atayenel The Wall is there. Only a section was breached. Arctic Darth Maul didn't fly from one end of Westeros to the other completely laying waste to the Wall. – Aegon May 2 at 11:45
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    Nope! Not needed! Tear down the wall, disband the Watch. Everything's definitely fine now. – Paul D. Waite May 2 at 11:50
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    I thought it was only legend that said magic was used to build the wall, 8000 year old blueprints can't be that easy to find though – Seamusthedog May 2 at 12:18
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    @Seamusthedog Coldhands says he cannot go south of the wall b/c there is magic there preventing him. – user1129682 May 2 at 13:43
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    @Seamusthedog: also not the most complicated structure to plan. Get some ice. Put some more ice on top of it. Repeat until you think there’s no way it could go any higher, then make it twice as tall as that. – Paul D. Waite May 2 at 17:33
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Well no, but actually yes.

After Battle of the Dawn when the Others were defeated the first time, the Order retained its structure. They won but they didn't know if the threat was truly gone so they remained on their posts, defending the realms of Men against Night's King (The real one, not Darth Maul on Ice) and Wildlings. With time, they lost sense of their true purpose and many believed they were just meant to fight the Wildlings.

Now in the showverse, it seems the Long Night is over after stretching shockingly for almost one whole night. But that doesn't mean that the Watch has lost its usefulness. Here's why:

  1. Night's Watch provides a chance for redemption to criminals. For example Brynden Rivers, Ulmer of Kingswood, Olyver Bracken etc. At th every least, it keeps dangerous criminals out of the society.
  2. It provides a home to misfits like younger sons, bastards, orphans and starving who belong nowhere. For example Waymar Royce, Jon Snow, Lommy Greenhands, Hotpie etc.
  3. It provides a way for the nobles to get rid of rival claimants in a way softer than execution and more permanent than exile. For example Yorick V Yronwood, Eddard Stark etc.
  4. The hope of being allowed to take the black leads to swifter surrender of people with a losing cause. For example both Aegon II and Theon Greyjoy became very hopeful when their Maesters counselled them to join the Watch as their enemies approached. It's another story that both of them decided not to given that they didn't trust their enemies (Or in Theon's case, brothers on the Wall).
  5. It provides a chance to the lowborn and bastards to rise high in the world. For example Cotter Pyke, Satin and Jon Snow.
  6. On the off-chance that the others might rise again, the Watch needs to be there to fight it again, wake the sleepers and defend the realms of men.

Also read: Why do people join the Night's Watch?

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    In the Battle of the Dawn, were the Others annihilated or merely pushed back? Both are defeats, but only the latter requires further vigilance. – Matthieu M. May 2 at 11:34
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    Also until the show is done, It’s unclear whether we’re done with NK storyline. For example what if to remain some kind of climate balance there has to be a Night King, and Jon Snow or someone now has to go fulfill that purpose. – Doug T. May 2 at 11:43
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    @MatthieuM. We just know that the Night's Watch won. We don't know if it resulted in total annihilation of the others. The song "The Night that ended" says that NW drove the others Northwards which implies they weren't completely destroyed. Maesters however speak only of a defeat and how their advance was checked when the First Men and children discovered Dragonglass can kill them. NW however had ample proof of their existence later when NK took a female White Walker for wife. – Aegon May 2 at 13:29
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    @user1129682 In the books no. In the books, Night's King is a fallen Lord Commander of Night's Watch who apparently sold his soul to the Others and took one of them to wife. The wife used magic to enchant the Watch and the Night King ruled with her from Nightfort. Eventually, King in the North and King Beyond the Wall joined hands to cast him down. We do not know anything about leadership of the others (Or lack thereof). There's a very good theory that Coldhands might be the Night's King, condemned to do penance for his sin by fighting others for eternity – Aegon May 2 at 13:59
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    So, the Wall is basically Australia? – Eric Duminil May 2 at 19:09
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In the final episode the purpose of the Night's Watch is further explained by Tyrion and it fits with Aegon's answer.

Tyrion: Giving you to the Unsullied would start a war. Letting you walk free would start a war. So our new king has chosen to send you to the Night's Watch.

Jon: There's still a Night's Watch?

Tyrion: The world will always need a home for bastards and broken men.

Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 6, "The Iron Throne"


It depends on how you interpret the oath and the function of the Night's Watch. The oath is as follows, emphasis mine:

"Hear my words, and bear witness to my vow," they recited, their voices filling the twilit grove. "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 honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."

A Game of Thrones, Jon VI

Their are effectively two parts to the emphasised bits.

I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. [...] the shield that guards the realms of men

This part is generic and so one could argue that they are still needed just as a function to protect those in Westeros from outside threats. In fact in recent years the White Walkers and the threat they pose has long been forgotten and the function of the Night's Watch has mainly fallen down to keeping the Wildlings out.

"You and everyone else," said Matthar. Every man who wore the black walked the Wall, and every man was expected to take up steel in its defense, but the rangers were the true fighting heart of the Night's Watch. It was they who dared ride beyond the Wall, sweeping through the haunted forest and the icy mountain heights west of the Shadow Tower, fighting Wildlings and giants and monstrous snow bears.

A Game of Thrones, Jon V

I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn

This part falls under the very specific job of the Night's Watch that is guarding Westeros against the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead. In fact that is the main reason why they were formed in the first place and some still dream of it as true.

"Denys Mallister writes that the mountain people are moving south, slipping past the Shadow Tower in numbers greater than ever before. They are running, my lord … but running from what?" Lord Mormont moved to the window and stared out into the night. "These are old bones, Lannister, but they have never felt a chill like this. Tell the king what I say, I pray you. Winter is coming, and when the Long Night falls, only the Night's Watch will stand between the realm and the darkness that sweeps from the north. The gods help us all if we are not ready."

A Game of Thrones, Tyrion III

As Aegon says the Others/White Walkers were defeated once before when they were driven back and the Wall was raised so there's nothing stating that they might not come back.

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    nothing stating that they might not come back Isn't it heavily implied that the Night King was the first White Walker, the one that the Children of the Forest converted thousands of years ago? He was the one who raised the army of the dead and created the other White Walkers, which is why all the others shattered when he died. The only way I can think of that other White Walkers survived would be if the Children created more than one Walker, which is never mentioned, one way or the other. – Rich May 2 at 14:21
  • @Rich Exactly, show wise it probably is the end of them but we don't know 100% if that's true. – TheLethalCarrot May 2 at 14:22
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    @Rich If Children of the Forest created one, why not create several (until they discover that's a bad idea). – Martin Bonner supports Monica May 2 at 16:13
  • there's nothing stating that they might not come back. This is the only important part, the first Battle for the Dawn was followed by a prophecy that the Others would return (or so we're to assume given AA and the Promised Prince). It would depend on whether someone makes that prophecy now or not. (I'd say not)... – Möoz May 3 at 3:37
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    @MartinBonner It porobably only took them creating one to realise how much they F'd up. – Möoz May 3 at 3:38
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Kings have sons. Sons become Princes. Princes become Kings.

Night King gets sons. Sons become White Walker Commanders. White Walker Commanders become Night King(s).

I do not remember any explanation about how all the White Walker Commanders were created. But it does seem that the Night King was eagerly accepting all the male babies that Craster was sacrificing.

While I understand the entire "pyramid structure" of the Night army, namely cut off the head, kill every appendage of the body. The separate story lines of the fates of Craster's sacrificial sons and the existance of the White Walker Commanders have never been explained.

If you assume the Night King is a singular and his sole purpose was to kill whatever representation the Three Eyed Raven assumed, he becomes a simple killing machine with his huge army at his disposable (and failed miserably).

Sitting idle for another 8000 years gives you a lot of time for sapphire-eyed babies to grow into Commanders and finally into more Night Kings.

The Wall and the Night's Watch may not be immediately necessary but give it some time.

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    The Night King is shown to turn Crasters sons into White Walkers. – TheLethalCarrot May 2 at 22:42
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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This seems to be speculation; do you have any sources for the idea that a child left for the Night King may rise to be the new Night King? – DavidW May 2 at 22:43
  • Isn't this entire question of the wall and the night watch still being a requirement a basic question of speculation? If it is proof you want I can only add that this was the second long winter. "Winter is coming." was heard all thru Season 1 and of course the fairy tale told to Bran after his accident. Neither the books nor the show provide "evidence". – CookiePolicy May 2 at 23:02

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