The highborn of the North have traditionally considered it an honor to serve on the Wall. Many younger sons of Northern houses, low in the line of succession, gladly took the black. 300 years after Aegon's conquest, only three castles remain in use and the Night's Watch's numbers have dwindled to fewer than a thousand men. Not only that, but the Night's Watch is now largely made up of the misfits of the Seven Kingdoms: peasants, debtors, poachers, rapers, thieves, and bastards. Only a few of the noble and knightly houses south of The Neck have members in the Night's Watch, and most serve because they fought on the wrong side of a war or fell afoul of political machinations.