“La Nuit se regroupe, et voici que débute ma garde usqu’à ma mort, je la monterai”
There are plenty of allegories between Game of Thrones (or A Song of Fire and Ice series to the book readers). The fight between the Starks and Lannisters is inspired by the Yorks and Lancasters, both Edward of Lancaster and Joffrey being little sh-ts. The Red Wedding is the Glencoe Massacre. and the Battle of Blackwater Bay is essentially the Second Arab Seige of Constantinople.
Related: How Tolkien’s war experience shaped ‘The Lord of the Rings’
The most interesting parallel is between the French Foreign Legion and the Night’s Watch. Granted, most of the similarities come from the Legionnaires of the past. As of 2010, applicants could apply under their real name or a “declared identity,” making the FFL one of the most bad-ass organizations around.
1. It doesn’t matter who you were before you joined.
It doesn’t matter where you were from, who your family was, what “nobility” you held. You were welcome.
2. Their vow is their Code of Honor.
“The mission is sacred, you carry it out until the end and, if necessary in the field, at the risk of your life.” That’s the sixth article of the Legionnaire’s Code of Honor. Sound familiar?
3. Many expect an adventure. Many disappointingly assigned to support roles.
There are many front line fighters in the Foreign Legion, but much of the fighting is done by the French Land Army / Night’s Watch’s Rangers. There’s always a need for support / Stewards.
4. They each have three main bases of operation and one “Intervention” deployment.
French Guiana, Mayotte, and Gabon. And Castle Black, The Shadow Tower, and Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
Let’s just say “beyond the wall” is Afghanistan and it works.
5. Romanticized for its glory, but had criminals in its ranks.
Kind of comes with the territory if you believe people would turn a new leaf by fighting for you.
6. The consequences for desertion were severe.
The standard desertion in the Legion carries a sentence of 40 days. It is increased if it’s before the brink of war. And things (as I’ve read) turn “sinister” if you desert with a weapon.
7. Both tried a coup d’etat against a beloved leader. Both ended up alright.
In 1961, some of the Legionnaires deserters, along with others, attempted to stage a coup against Charles de Gaulle in the Algerian War. He survived all assassination attempts.
And for you history buffs, here’s a little backstory on the French Foreign Legion.
The French Foreign Legion (FFL) is a military service branch of the French Army. Its history stretches all the way back to 1831. The Legion is unique because it accepts foreign recruits willing to fight for the French military. But back in 1831 when the FFL was founded, that wasn’t too much of a big deal. Now, the unit produces some of the most highly-trained infantry soldiers in the world. Their training focuses on traditional military skills with a heavy dose of spirit de corps.