Little it is known about the White Walkers, about where they come from and what they want. When it comes to Game of Thrones, at the beginning the White Walkers were only mentioned as monsters that walked through the woods in the long winter nights.
Fans especially remember the big night when the White Walkers, along with their army of deads and big pale spiders, attacked the castles.
But despite the stories, the White Walkers are considered as creatures that hate humanity. That is why they kill innocent people and afterward resurrect their bodies from the dead. Their way of reproducing is by transforming innocent babies and infants into White Walkers. Thus, they have formed a large army of resurrected dead Wildings and former men of the Night’s Watch.
What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Being as they were, the White Walkers have magical powers such as great manipulation with ice and cold weather. Namely, whenever they approach, a snow storm precedes. Their weapons made out of ice can shatter any other weapon, and they have great physical strength.
But one of their greatest power is resurrection. They can raise people from the dead and add them to their armies. That is, in fact, their way of reproducing, and maintaining themselves as a species. The resurrected dead people are called whites and act as basic soldiers in the army of the Dead.
The White Walkers also have their weaknesses, such as swords made out of Valyrian steel or dragon glass carved into a weapon. Both Valyrian steel and dragon glass are hard to find and in very short supply since they are made with dragon fire.
George RR Martin describes the White Walkers as beautiful, inhuman, elegant and dangerous. They still however have the humanoid appearance. In the books, their language is described as ice crackling, and their bodies are made out of flesh and bones with ice running through their veins.
Where do they come from?
The White Walkers are mostly shown as an army travelling through the blizzards, but it is very possible that they have formed their own civilization far north. In season 4, episode 4 – it is shown how a White Walker is carrying Craster’s last son and how the Night King transforms the baby into a White Walker. This is the first appearance of the Night King.
What will happen with them?
Overall, the White Walkers look very vicious, they kill and resurrect everyone in their path. As the grande finale approaches, many fans believe that the North and the South will unite to fight against the White Walkers, probably with Jon Snow leading the army together with Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons. That would be a great happy ending for this series of books, but could it be that obvious?
George RR Martin stated several times that he doesn’t like stories with clear “good verses the evil” plot, and the good guy always winning at the end. His stories about wars, he says, are morally complex, and that the only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself. In every character, there is a good side and a bad side, so why would it be different with the White Walkers?
This is definitely not a classic tale of good versus evil or the living versus the dead and there’s a side that we still cannot see. But, there are so little information about them and we can’t fully explore their perspective.
What we know so far
Twelve thousand years before the ruling of Robert Baratheon, the land was divided to two groups: the first men and the children of the forest. Both groups, after fighting for thousands of years for the control of the Westeros continent, signed a peaceful pact where they stated that the First Men would rule all open lands and fields, while the Children of the Forest would rule the forests. This pact lasted over hundreds of years, until the First Men converted into worshiping the gods from the forests, the same religion of the Children.
It was then when the White Walkers attacked for the first time, and they were defeated. According to the myth, the White Walkers were defeated by the Last Hero of the First Men, who had the help of the Children and their magic. The Night Watch was formed then and the White Walkers retreated to the far North, and the wall was built.
The legend says that Bran the Builder, the founder of House Stark, built the wall with the help of the Children and the Giants. The wall was made out of blocks of ice, gathered from the frozen lakes and the haunted forests. According to the legend the wall has old spells woven inside to keep the White Walkers up North, and keep Westeros safe.
However, manipulating such amount of ice would take a really long time. It is much more logical to believe that the White Walkers have built the wall, since they can handle colder temperatures. Is it possible that the White Walker and the First Men made a pact, similar like the one with the Children of the Forest? This might be true since the White Walkers weren’t destroyed and they continued to live on back in the North.
This sort of agreement was possible, according to the legend, with the help of the Night’s King – The thirteenth Lord Commander of the Nights Watch. Once the wall was built, the Nights Watch was formed with great warriors and knights who would defend the wall, should the White Walkers ever return.
The love story that changed everything
According to the legend, the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Nights Watch fell in love with a White Walker. He named her his bride and so he became the Night’s King. They both enslaved men of the Watch and performed human sacrifices for the next thirteen years. There’s also the possibility that this marriage was made for the sake of keeping the peace between the two races. Marriages between two houses were made for keeping the peace and gaining power.
Now, according the legend, the Night’s King and his bride were making sacrifices to the White Walkers. But in the show the only one we see to make any sacrifices to the White Walkers is Craster, who gave away his sons and stayed alive. Basically, if they are offered a sacrifice, the White Walkers will spare a life of an enslaved man.
Why was the pact broken?
But the White Walkers felt betrayed because the men have broken the pact – they started to live in the North and they stopped giving sacrifices. They also felt threatened by dragons, creatures that haven’t been seen for thousands of years.
Another threat for the White Walkers are John Snow, Bran Stark and Daenerys Targaryen. All of these characters have different magic powers – and each power is not found in normal human beings. Daenerys has a weird connection to the fire by her Valyrian ancestry, and Starks have earth powers with their ancestry from the First Men and potentially the White Walkers. If the Night’s King was truly a Stark, their children would be half Stark, half White Walkers. And since Jon Snow is a mixed combination of Lyanna Stark and the Mad King, he is the perfect candidate to bring the worlds of Ice and Fire together in peace. Throughout the whole book serie,s John is referred to as the negotiator for bringing together the Wildings and the Nights Watch. He succeeds most of the time, until he was killed. Would John play the same role during the long night when the White Walkers and the people of Westeros face each other?
The end will be bittersweet
As the end approaches, many theories arise, every new one more incredible than the old ones. We remain to see the ending, but one thing is sure – it will be surprising for all of us.
George RR Martin once said that the end of Game of Thrones will be bittersweet, and how bittersweet would it be if Jon Snow must save the world by killing Daenerys Targaryen?