The Wall

In Game of Thrones, The Wall serves as the boundary between northern and southern Westeros. It got built to protect humanity from the undead.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

The Wall is a barrier separating the Seven Kingdoms from the land beyond. It got created by the First Men and Children of the Forest to keep the Others out of Westeros. Besides protecting the realm of men, it also prevents the wildlings from entering the Seven Kingdoms and causing havoc. Guarded by the Night’s Watch for millennia, it became prone to the Free Folk as the number of brothers at the Night’s Watch dwindled with the threat of Others gone. For millennia the Ice Wall and members of the Night’s Watch prevented barbarians and unearthly creatures from attacking the living. However, the Watch became a shadow of its past as its recruits became inexperienced petty criminals and disgraced nobles.

The Wall Details

  • Year Created: During the Long Night.
  • Creator: Brandon the Builder.
  • Length: One hundred leagues (about three hundred miles).
  • Number of Castles Constructed: Nineteen.
  • Composition: Ice, stone, mud.


The Wall is a massive ice structure stretching across the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms. It is one hundred leagues long and about seven hundred feet tall. Though most of it is ice, it also has stone, gravel, and dirt in its structure. It contains ancient spells and sorcery preventing otherworldly beings from passing through. As a colossal structure, it is wide enough to fit more than twelve mounted knights. 

The Wall has a variable color that changes based on the weather. It glitters with a bluish hue in direct sunlight and takes a duller pale color at night. It is spectacularly pink and purple at dawn and dusk. It has many shapes. From Castle Black to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, it is a straight line, but snake-like from Castle Black to the Shadow Tower.

Beneath each castle guarding The Wall are tunnels of many shapes and forms. Though each passage has its distinct variation, all share the same construction pattern as they have a system that can enable a blocking mechanism to prevent outsiders from gaining entry. At the base are cells used by the Watch as storerooms or prisons.

Fortresses and Castles

After The Wall’s construction, nineteen castles got constructed as guard posts. However, only seventeen were ever in use at a time. As the Night’s Watch dwindled, the number of inhabited castles reduced. The first to get abandoned was Night Fort.

Currently, there are three castles in use by the Watch. They include Castle Black, Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, and Shadow Tower. Castle Black has the most men as it houses the Lord Commander of the Watch. It has about six hundred men. Eastwatch-by-the-Sea is the scantiest, with a garrison of fewer than two hundred men, and Shadow Tower has more men. The castles previously occupied by the Watch include Greyguard, Sentinel Stand, Westwatch-by-the-Bridge, Icemark, Stonedoor, Hoarfrost Hill, The Nightfort, Queensgate, Sable Hall, Deep Lake, Woodswatch-by-the-Pool, Oakenshield, Rimegate, The Torches, Long Barrow, and Greenguard.


Though a great defense, The Night’s Watch takes additional precautions to protect The Wall from the wildlings, as there are mechanisms like trebuchets, cranes, and catapults fed with artillery through steps and ramps. The tunnels of the castles guarding the Wall comprise three heavy gates with iron bars. Each gate has murder holes and can only get unlocked with a chain. All the tunnels of the sixteen abandoned castles and fortresses got sealed.

To break through the defenses of the gates of the castles defending the Wall, one can only directly assault the gate or climb the Wall and attack from the rear. However, climbing is a dangerous job with slim chances of success as the Wall can shed off sheets of ice while one climbs.


According to legend, the Wall got constructed by Brandon the Builder, the founder of House Stark, during the Long Night. Brandon employed the help of the Children of the Forest and Giants, who wove spells into it to prevent the Others from passing through. According to legend, the Horn of Joramun can bring the barrier down. When King Jaehaerys I Targaryen visited Winterfell, his wife Alysanne Targaryen’s dragon Silverwing would not fly over the Wall.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

After King Robert arrives in Winterfell, a feast gets held for him. At the event, Jon Snow, Lord Eddard Stark’s bastard son, begs his uncle Benjen Stark to join the Watch. After Ned agrees, Jon, his direwolf Ghost, and Tyrion Lannister travel to the Wall. After reaching, Jon meets Samwell Tarly, a cowardly boy who refuses to climb the Wall out of fear. When Benjen goes missing, and two of his dead rangers get found, Lord Mormont begins planning a great range.

A Storm of Swords

After killing Qhorin Halfhand, Jon gets taken to meet Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall. Mance tells Jon he is searching for the Horn of Joramun and plans to use it against the Wall. Jon scales The Wall with the Free Folk but later escapes. Meanwhile, a mutiny occurs at Craster’s Keep after the great range ends terribly. Sam and his new friend Gilly escape and meet a mysterious man called Coldhands. With his help, they pass through the Wall at Nightfort. Sam meets Bran Stark and his friends and helps them cross to the other side. 

The wildlings try attacking Castle Black but get defeated as Jon warns the Black Brothers of the imminent attack. Mance tries attacking the Wall but fails. Stannis Baratheon later arrests him after coming to the Watch’s aide. Jon then becomes the Lord Commander of the Watch.

A Dance with Dragons

After becoming Lord Commander, Jon integrates the Free Folk into Westerosi society. He lets those that swear to Stannis pass through The Wall leading to spite from some Black Brothers. Realizing the imminent threat of the wights, Jon revitalizes the abandoned castles of the Night’s Watch. New stairs get built to replace old ones, and Jon begins planning to make new beacon towers. When Janos refuses to obey instructions, Jon orders him to get hanged. However, he changes his mind and beheads him. He later gets betrayed during the mutiny at Castle Black.

Appearance in Adaptations

In HBo’s hit tv series Game of Thrones, The Wall was crucial to the war between the realm of men and White Walkers. After Daenerys Tagaryen’s dragon, Viserion, got killed by the Night King, it got turned and used an ice fire to destroy the Wall. During the Battle of Winterfell, Jon, and Dany rode Rhaegal and Drogon against Viserion, killing him.

The Wall: The Great Divide

The Wall is not just a defender but a symbol that defines the lore of A Song of Ice and Fire. Within its uncovered history is the key to the primary conflict in George R. R. Martin’s epic tale. Though more history is unknown, the divide between the realm of men and the undead will probably fall, and a battle for the fate of the future will get decided.


How many castles are on The Wall in A Song of Ice and Fire?

There are nineteen castles on the Wall. They got constructed by the Night’s Watch to serve as posts for defending the Wall against intruders. The outposts stood for years, but as the number of men in the Watch reduced, some castles got abandoned.

Will the Horn of Joramun break the Wall?

According to legend, the Horn of Joramun can bring down the Wall. However, it is speculation as no one has used it seen the horn. When Mance Rayder met Jon Snow, he claimed to have the legendary Wall destroyer.

How massive is the Wall?

The Wall is the largest structure in the known world. It is seven hundred feet tall and stretches for four hundred and eighty kilometers. However, some people say it is not the tallest structure as they claim the tower of Old Tower has that crown.

Who built the Wall? 

Though Brandon the Builder has the accolade of constructing the Wall, the primary builders were the Children of the Forest and the Giants. The children wove spells into the Wall to prevent the undead from passing through.

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