In the episode:

Sam is shown with Gilly who is now pregnant with his child.

From my understanding he is still part of the Night's Watch and cannot father any children, this being a really big treason to the oath he took when he joined the Night's watch, especially since from my understanding it can happen to "sleep around", but this feels like a way bigger thing, especially since Jon congratulates him even though he is Warden of the North and thus directly responsible with deserters/oath breakers as shown in the first episode of the series, so shouldn't he be punished at this point or thrown out of the Night's Watch since I would guess they still exist in some form even after the long night.

Edit: I looked over that thread but it doesn't answer my question, since I say that he still is part of the Nights Watch, and my question relates to the punishment/ if he should be punished for the actions he took, or why people don't seem to care even though he is part of the Nights Watch.

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Is Samwell Tarly a deserter of the Night's Watch? May 6, 2019 at 18:43
  • 4
    Keep in mind the Night's Watch (or what was left of it) fled the wall to Winterfell for the events in S08E03. There is no Night's Watch anymore (nor is there really a need for it, what with the wildlings pacified and loyal to the Warden of the North, and the white walkers destroyed).
    – TylerH
    May 6, 2019 at 18:45
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    @NuclearWang Not a dupe of that; this question is not asking about desertion, but about violation of a specific (different) part of the Oath (using new & different information), and whether there will be punishment for it.
    – TylerH
    May 6, 2019 at 18:46
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    @TylerH I would have thought they still exist/ will exist since the wall is still there and we do not know if all wildlings are "friendly", as well as after the Long Night 5000 years ago they created it/continued with it(don't remember which one it was). Anyway, I would expect the Nights Watch to still exist, since someone needs to protect the border from what is beyond the wall. May 6, 2019 at 18:54
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    @TylerH Whether or not the Night's Watch exists, Sam is an oathbreaker for fathering a child, the oath wasn't "for this night and all the nights to come unless the Night's Watch is somehow disbanded". If Ned Stark were still the Warden of the North he'd lose his head for it.
    – Paul
    May 6, 2019 at 18:54

3 Answers 3


First off, its not treason to break an oath, that's oath-breaking. Treason is acting against your country - or in the context of Westeros, the King/Queen. Though admittedly, oath-breaking is a fairly serious offense, especially to the Night's Watch. However, as Lord Commander Jeor Mormont said:

If we beheaded every boy who rode to Mole's Town in the night, only ghosts would guard the Wall.
A Game of Thrones - Chapter 70: Jon IX.

So clearly minor offenses are overlooked by the Night's Watch simply because it would be impractical to do otherwise.

Coming to the situation with Sam and Gilly. Assuming that the Night's Watch as an institution even exists anymore, and assuming that anyone of authority exists to mete out punishment, literally no one is going to care about something so trivial as them having a kid. There is a time and a place, and this time and place never existed in the context of the show, let alone following the Battle of Winterfell.

  • My assumption that it still exists is based on this thread scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/211454/…, the consensus being that it is still needed, so from there it could be assumed that his oath is not fulfilled because it's till death. And yeah I even specified in the post that "this is not sleeping around" like Jeor presumed, it's having a relation and fathering a child, which is completely against the oath. May 6, 2019 at 19:15
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    I will refer you to the last two sentences of my answer. It doesn't mater. Nobody cares. There is no reason for anyone to care.
    – amflare
    May 6, 2019 at 19:16
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    Agreed with amflare. Jon, the prior Commander, knew of Sam's attachment and let it fly. And his successor (who seemed oddly appointed by Jon rather than being voted in, but maybe they did a vote while we weren't watching) also didn't care. And is also now dead. And on his arrival that Lord Commander said that only the handful who arrived with him had survived, with every other member of the Night's Watch being part of the Night King's army now. So Sam may very well be the only surviving member of the Night's Watch, so he's the de facto Lord Commander and he clearly doesn't care. May 7, 2019 at 1:45
  • @starseeker29, one of the key ideas of the book was that all oath, laws, traditions, legitimacy, etc. exists only as long and when people believe in them. If people care enough to force something — it exists, if they don't care — it doesn't.
    – user28434
    May 7, 2019 at 12:24
  • There is nothing trivial about having a child. May 11, 2019 at 6:32

I'm almost certain the entirety of the Night's Watch is dead. Eastwatch-by-the-Sea was manned almost entirely of Wildlings, and the group encountered at Last Hearth were the last of the Watch from Castle Black. The remaining Night's Watch from Castle Black fell during the Battle of Winterfel. Samwell is the only remaining member, Jon finished his duty by being murdered. Samwell is also a volunteer and not there as avoidance of punishment (at least officially).

And, seemingly, the White Walkers are all dead, and that was the reason for the Night's Watch. They only really became a Wildling police force because the Wildlings were a bit hostile, but that's not an issue anymore.

There is no one to punish him, and the only people familiar with the NW's rules are Samwell and Jon. Almost certainly Jon feels the NW failed Samwell in someways, because he saw the treatment he suffered there. Likely Jon feels Samwell fulfilled his oath now that they defeated the Night's terrors.

  • While I do believe in essentially this argument, let's not forget that we see Ned Stark impose the death penalty for an AWOL member of the Night's Watch, with no apparent need to consult with the Night's Watch itself. So in principle everyone knows what the penalty for desertion and breaking the oath is; at least everyone in the north. And that it doesn't require the Night's Watch itself to enforce. May 7, 2019 at 1:52
  • The North has a very different attitude towards the Night's Watch than the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. They still consider it an honor to join voluntarily. I doubt the southern kingdoms (aside from Sam's father or heir) would care what Sam does.
    – chepner
    May 16, 2019 at 17:35
  • @chepner I don't think Sam's father cares, or does anything else, for that matter. May 16, 2019 at 17:46
  • Probably not, but personal interest aside, I don't think anyone in the south would give a second thought to a member of the Night's Watch.
    – chepner
    May 16, 2019 at 17:49

Just applying my own common sense I would think that the oath to not father children has more to do with legitimizing them than just physically having children. Furthermore, unlike desertion it seems like something that would be handled internally by the Lord Commander of the Watch with like punishment duty or other forms of discipline. I guess the next elected Lord Commander, assuming there is one, will need to decide if he's going to do anything about Sam's conduct.

  • As Maester Aemon explained way back, the point of the "thou shalt not have children" part of the oath is the risk of divided loyalties. Sam and Gilly are acting as a family, so even before the new baby Sam was strongly bending that part of the oath and only getting by on the technicality of not actually being little Sam's biological father.
    – Llewellyn
    May 7, 2019 at 11:33

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