26

According to this answer, The Night's Watch gets it's funding from The Gift, which is comprised of taxes taken from towns and villages near the Wall, I always assumed they were funded directly by Winterfell or perhaps even all of the kingdoms contributed in some way, a collective Wall Tax or some such.

If the Wall is there to keep Wildings out, and everyone knows the Wildlings are behind the Wall in fact the Wildlings are constantly raiding south of the Wall, which is why there is no one left for the Night's Watch to tax, why then does no one fund it?

If the Wildlings overrun the Wall, it's bad news for everyone in the south.

I've read the books and seen the shows but I can't remember if anyone ever explains why no one funds the Wall.

Is there ever a reason given?

It's pretty important but no one seems to care about it.

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    they dont care, because they perceive there being no threat, they dont know about any "undead" and they think the wildling numbers are small, and would never unite(though even united still believed to be extremely low numbers) The nights watch themselves didn't realize how large manse's army would be. – Himarm Feb 13 '15 at 15:36
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    Because most people on that world are beyond retarded? – o0'. Feb 13 '15 at 17:15
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    Out of sight, out of mind. – Preston Feb 14 '15 at 0:58
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    Seems pretty normal to me. Preventive measures against future disasters almost always get poor funding. – Misha R Feb 15 '15 at 2:47
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    @Himarm: OP specifically avoided that pitfall since he did not argue regarding any undead or supernatural beings - just hordes of wildlings, whose existence is well-known (though perhaps they are under-appreciated). – einpoklum Feb 15 '15 at 8:05
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The wildlings have invaded the Seven Kingdoms several times. Every single time, they were crushed before they even reached Winterfell. Typically, they were crushed by the Starks of Winterfell, in their capacity as Warden of the North.

Simply put, the wildlings pose no threat to Highgarden, to Casterly Rock, not even to the Riverlands just below the Neck. So right off the bat, the vast majority of the Kingdoms have basically nothing to gain by sending aid to the Night's Watch, other than ridding itself of criminals and mouths to feed.

But even Northerners see the wildlings as more of a nuisance than an existential threat. As Jon tells Ygritte, Mance Rayder's undisciplined army is bound to lose to the discipline and military tactics of the Seven Kingdoms.

He's ultimately proven right when Stannis' force of 1,500 completely decimates Mance's host of 100,000.

Even Ned, who is very generous to the Night's Watch, doesn't see Mance Rayder as a threat.

“And it will only grow worse. The day may come when I will have no choice but to call the banners and ride north to deal with this King-beyond-the-Wall for good and all.”

“Beyond the Wall?” The thought made Catelyn shudder.

Ned saw the dread on her face. “Mance Rayder is nothing for us to fear.” (Eddard I, AGOT)

So when you get down to it, the people south of the Wall neglect it because they don't see any threat that the roughly 1000 brothers of the Night Watch can't handle. Obviously, they've all forgotten that the Wall wasn't built to keep out men...

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    Even in Winterfell, the mere notion that things like giants (and dragons) could actually exist has fallen into the category of myth and superstition. So there's a passage-of-time element at work. – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 13 '15 at 18:22
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    If I remember correctly either Tyrion or Cersei were informed about the army beyond the wall and their reaction was basically: "huh, that might make Robb turn back from his war against us long enough for us to deal with Renly/Stannis". – Hoffmann Feb 13 '15 at 18:34
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Why don't folks in the south care about wildlings invading? I think one quote from the lord commander sums that up really well.

We never knew! But we must have known once. The Night's Watch has forgotten its true purpose, Tarly. You don't build a wall seven hundred feet high to keep savages in skins from stealing women. The Wall was made to guard the realms of men … and not against other men, which is all the wildlings are when you come right down to it. Too many years, Tarly, too many hundreds and thousands of years. We lost sight of the true enemy. And now he's here, but we don't know how to fight him.

When folk down south think of the wall they think of Grumps and Snarks, and if you tell them to be serious they'll tell stories of small groups of wildlings sneaking over and stealing away young girls.

The idea of something uniting a horde of wildlings with giants and mammoths just isn't something they'd consider. Even the folks who study history in the south would look back at occasions when the wall was breached and bypassed and see that the lord of winterfell dealt with the undisciplined horde.

When you're reading the books and seeing how real the White Walkers are and what forces Mance wields it's easy to think "Wake up people of the south", but for a lord there the wall has done fine so far at keeping "savages in skins" out of the kingdom and doesn't need them to donate more than the occasional criminal or raper.

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    @Mickey Mouse: Good answer - concise, relevant and canon. – Joe L. Feb 13 '15 at 17:06
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I don't have any canon answer, but from what I can tell, is that people in the South have problems of their own.

You must remember that the Targaryen regime wasn't really peaceful. Off the top of my head I remember that there was a civil war (The Dance of Dragons) as well as the Mad King. These two reasons, really had a bad influence on people. The civil war lasted many years and costed a lot of money and lives. During the reign of the Mad King, there was a revolution and then some peaceful years with King Robert. After that, more war.

People of the south needed to rebuilt and repopulate. They couldn't be bothered with something that was supposedly a threat many many miles away. They needed money for their own needs. After many wars,rebellions and fool kings, the people don't have as much money as they used to.

The wildlings never actually gathered together to form a good attack, like they did on the final episodes of season 4 under Mance Rayder's leadership. So, we can assume that the people of the south thought that even if they managed to get through the wall, their army could destroy them.

While Yoren was in King's Landing, he asked for help, (which if I'm not mistaken included money), but all his Majesty could spare were half a dozen criminals.

TL;DR: The wildlings always incapable of pulling off some strategical plan; the Black Brothers could most of the times take care of these attacks, so people didn't feel the need to fund them more than they already did.

As far as the Others go, people (even the Maesters) only believe that they are tales to scare children. No one alive had actually seen one, until the beginning of the show/book series.

2

These answers are all good, so I won't add anything else to their explanations. However, in addition to those things, by the time anyone asks for help at the wall, the Northmen are at war with the crown.

So any attack by the wildlings (which is all that the southerners think there are to be afraid of) is an attack on the north.

Even if the huge wildling army managed to stampede throughout the north and want to continue onto the south, they would easily be defeated in open combat, and they would not be particularly good with siege tactics because the majority of them have never even seen a castle before, never mind held one during an attack.

To the Lannisters, the only thing that the wildlings could do is help their cause in crushing the North. If they got further than that, they would be at most a nuisance to the south. And I'm guessing the Lannisters would trade the well-trained Stark bannermen for a ragtag group of wildlings as enemies any day of the week.

  • This is a great answer, much appreciated. – Daft Mar 23 '15 at 19:01

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