Wiki of Westeros


Wiki of Westeros
Wiki of Westeros

"In that darkness the White Walkers came for the first time. They swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses, hunting with their packs of pale spiders big as hounds."
Old Nan[src]

The White Walkers[1] were an ancient race of formerly-human ice creatures who came from the far north of Westeros. After remaining hidden for thousands of years, they returned and were sighted by several sworn brothers of the Night's Watch and countless wildlings. However, most who live south of the Wall believed them to be nothing more than creatures of legend.

The White Walkers were thousands of years old, coming from the time preceding the Age of Heroes. Born of powerful and untested magic, they were created to protect the Children of the Forest from the First Men, who had waged war on them ever since they had arrived from Essos. However, the White Walkers eventually broke free of the Children's control and became the most feared creatures in Westeros, posing a threat to all life.[2]

Eight thousand years before Robert's Rebellion, the longest winter in history fell on the entire world and lasted a whole generation. In the darkness and cold of the "Long Night," the White Walkers descended upon Westeros from the Far North, killing all in their path and reanimating the dead as wights to serve as mindless soldiers in their undead army. The people of Westeros soon realized they had to rally together or the White Walkers would kill them all. In a conflict known as the Battle for the Dawn, the living won a decisive victory and pushed the White Walkers far north to the Land of Always Winter. With help from giants and the Children of the Forest, the Wall was raised to bar their return. The Night's Watch was founded to guard the Wall and the realms of men should the mysterious threat ever rise again.


The White Walkers have risen again.

Although the White Walkers have faded into legend over the centuries, disturbing reports began to reach the Night's Watch, just before the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings. The return of the White Walkers was confirmed during the great ranging undertaken by Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, and by an unprecedented attack by the wight army on the wildling settlement of Hardhome.[3] Despite repeated pleas for support from the Night's Watch, the rest of the Seven Kingdoms turned a blind eye to the return of the White Walkers as they remained embroiled in their own civil wars, believing the White Walkers to be purely mythological, much like giants and Children of the Forest, who have also faded into legend.

The ultimate goal of the legendary White Walkers was the end of every living thing in existence, which they planned to achieve by killing the Three-Eyed Raven and creating an endless winter to eclipse the known world. However, their plans were thwarted when Arya Stark killed the Night King at the Battle of Winterfell, resulting in the permanent extinction of the White Walkers and the end of the Great War.

Appearance and characteristics


White Walkers have a mummified appearance with long wispy white hair.

White Walkers outwardly resemble humans but differ greatly from them in other aspects. They are as tall as most humans and have long wispy white hair, with some also having white facial hair. They have pale grey-white skin which is sinewy and stretched taut across their frames, giving them a somewhat gaunt and mummified appearance despite their overall bulky frame. Their most notable trait however, are their vibrant deep blue eyes.[4][5]

White Walkers seem to have divisions, or ranks within their army, with the ones at the top likely having reanimated many wights, while the ones at the bottom seem freshly created. At the end of Oathkeeper, a White Walker donning black armor appears holding Craster's last son, which likely denotes him as having a high position in the Night King's army. The Night King's lieutenants also seem to stay close to him, riding on undead horses.

The Night King is the supreme commander of the White Walkers, possessing the ability to directly control anyone in his army. It is implied that the White Walkers and Wights have a hive mind, being able to "see" through each other's eyes and sensing when someone in their army dies.

According to legend, the White Walkers speak a mythical language known as "Skroth", which purportedly sounds like the cracking of ice.


The show never stated how many White Walkers existed in total or showed all the White Walkers in one onscreen shot. Usually a single White Walker or small groups were shown at one time, making it hard to establish how many White Walkers existed. Twelve White Walkers are shown in the background when the Night King turns Craster's last son. However, it is known that Craster sacrificed 99 sons to the White Walkers. Additionally, four White Walkers were killed on screen at different points in the series: one killed by Sam with a dragonglass dagger, one killed by Meera with a dragonglass spear, and two by Jon with Longclaw. During the Battle of Winterfell, twelve White Walkers enter Winterfell along with the Night King to kill Bran Stark. All the White Walkers were destroyed after Arya killed the Night King.


White Walkers have a very strong affinity with ice magic and coldness. They are physically far stronger than humans, capable of effortlessly tossing people back tens of feet in the air.[3] Since they are inhuman, White Walkers have no physical restrictions. As such, they do not require food or water and seem to be immune to disease, fatigue, extreme cold and extreme heat. White Walkers are immortal. Their arrival is usually accompanied by blizzards and sudden temperature drops.[3] Because of this, they can spread extreme cold wherever they go. The White Walkers wield crystal swords and spears.

However, one of their most deadly abilities is to reanimate the dead as their servants, known as wights.[3] They are capable of reviving any dead creature as wights, including horses, giants, and even dragons.[6] They cannot, however, revive a corpse into servitude if it has been burned.[4] Once a wight has been created, its eyes turn an icy blue, similar to the White Walkers' own eyes. Wights serve their masters without question.

The Night King, leader of the White Walkers, possesses the ability to change humans into White Walkers.[7] He picks up Craster's son from an icy altar and places an index finger on its cheek, causing the baby's eyes to glow blue and his skin to grow pale, taking on the appearance of the White Walkers. Whether or not this ability extends only to the Night King, all of the White Walkers amongst his caste, or all White Walkers in general is unknown.

During the Massacre at Hardhome, White Walkers are shown to be resistant to fire due to the extreme cold they radiate, which snuffs out any flames in their vicinity.[3] They can also freeze normal weapons they come into contact with, causing them to shatter and break.[3] White Walkers are invulnerable against even highly concentrated dragonfire.[8] It is unknown if they are also immune to wildfire.


White walker shatters S3E8

A White Walker falling apart after being stabbed by Dragonglass.

The only known weaknesses of White Walkers are weapons made of dragonglass[5] or valyrian steel.[3] Upon being stabbed by dragonglass, a White Walker's body will begin to freeze into ice from the point at which it was stabbed, causing the Walker great pain. Finally, it will begin to crack and fall apart, eventually shattering into ice. Valyrian steel has the same effect, but works much more rapidly. These materials are also resistant to being frozen and shattered on contact with White Walkers, unlike regular weapons.

Any injury, no matter how minor or significant from weapons made of dragonglass or Valyrian steel, will result in their death and the deaths of all creatures they have reanimated. Because of this, White Walkers tend to stay behind their undead wights or far away from conflict.

Since the Night King was the first White Walker ever created, his death will cause the death of all other White Walkers, and subsequently, their wights. As such, he is simultaneously the strongest and weakest part of the undead army.[8]



The White Walkers' origins are a mystery to most humans. Only the ancient Children of the Forest remember the truth of how they came to be.

Over eight thousand years before the War of the Five Kings, the Children of the Forest were locked in a war with the First Men, who had migrated to Westeros from Essos. Despite resorting to powerful magic, which allowed them to flood the Neck and even destroy the land-bridge linking the two continents and reducing it to a chain of islands, the Children were losing ground; more and more of them fell to the First Men and their precious forests were being cut down.

Night's King when Human

White Walkers' creation

Out of desperation, a small group of Greenseers attempted to create a powerful new weapon against the humans. They bound a captive man to a weirwood and pressed a cursed shard of dragonglass into his heart. The unfortunate captive was transformed into a cold, heartless, deathless creature whose only desire was to consume all life. He would become the progenitor of the White Walker race and lead his kind on a campaign of destruction, not only against humans, but against his creators as well.[2]

Soon the Children saw that their creation had grown beyond their control, and forged an alliance with the First Men to avoid mutual destruction. In what would become known as the "Battle for the Dawn", the alliance beat the White Walkers back to the far north, where they vanished. This victory led to a lasting truce between the Children and the First Men; the Children would keep their forests, and the Men could keep their farms, towns, and cities. The truce also marked the creation of both the Wall and the Night's Watch, the latter having been armed by the Children with dragonglass blades, in case the Walkers should ever return.

Game of Thrones: Season 1


A White Walker, carrying the severed head of Gared and several more White Walkers behind him

At the start of the series, there have been peculiar rumors from beyond the Wall mentioning the White Walkers. According to Will, a renegade from the Night's Watch taken captive near Winterfell, his patrol was attacked by the White Walkers and his comrades Gared and Waymar Royce were killed by them. Prior to this incident, the White Walkers had massacred a tribe of wildlings and left the corpses out as a warning. His story was not believed by Eddard Stark, who executed him as a deserter. The White Walkers showed an ability to animate the corpse of a dead wildling child as a wight.[9]

Jeor Mormont and Maester Aemon of the Watch ask Tyrion to persuade his sister to send them reinforcements. They claim there is something other than the wildlings beyond the Wall and it's been growing in influence for some time. With winter coming they fear this unseen enemy will make its move.[10]

A band of wildlings fleeing south of the Wall passes close to Winterfell. One of them suggests taking a Stark captive for Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, but the others refuse to return north due to the dangers posed by the White Walkers[11], instead asserting they should head as far south as possible.

Osha, one of the wildlings taken prisoner at Winterfell, reveals to the Stark household that she and her companions were fleeing South to escape the Walkers. She also reveals the Walkers are nocturnal and sleep in the day and hunt at night. When her words are dismissed by Maester Luwin due to the belief the Walkers are long dead, she reveals that they were only sleeping and "they're not sleeping now."[12]

The bodies of several rangers are discovered a short distance north of the Wall and are identified as Night's Watchmen who have been missing for weeks. Despite a corpse's prolonged absence, Sam notes that the bodies show no signs of rot and appear in perfect condition. Later that evening one of the bodies reanimates as a wight and attempts to attack the Lord Commander. The creature is stopped when Jon discovers the creature's weakness is fire.[13]

After disposing of the remaining bodies, Sam tells Jon that he read that only the touch of a White Walker could do what they have seen tonight. A worried Sam notes the weakness of the Night's Watch and if the White Walkers decide to come in force then they are in real trouble.[13]

After recent events Lord Commander Mormont decides to mobilize the Night's Watch to head out beyond the Wall to assess the situation and if necessary make a preemptive strike against their enemies. He explains to Jon that the war in the South is of little concern in relation to the threat of the returning White Walkers.[14]

Game of Thrones: Season 2

Jon Snow follows Craster into the woods and sees him placing a newborn baby, one of his sons, into the ground and leaves. Moments later a figure with glowing blue eyes appears and takes the baby away.[15]

After Craster discovers Jon, attacks him and orders the Night's Watch to leave his roof, Mormont confronts Jon, though he also admits he's aware that Craster worships the White Walkers and sacrifices his newborn sons to them in exchange for safety for him and his daughter-wives.[16]


White Walkers lead the army of the dead to the Fist of the First Men.

Sam, Grenn, and Eddison Tollett gather dung around the Fist of the First Men when they hear a horn being blown and believe Jon and Qhorin have returned. They then hear a second blow, the signal for incoming wildlings, and draw their swords for battle. A third hornblast is heard, the signal for White Walkers, which has not been blown in thousands of years. The three run to the Night's Watch camp but Samwell is left behind, while a blizzard envelops the entire plateau. He seeks refuge behind a rock while a White Walker leads a vast horde of wights. The White Walker finds Sam but for reasons unknown ignores him, riding past him atop a wight horse and leading the horde for an invasion, emitting a screeching roar with another White Walker far behind.

Game of Thrones: Season 3

A White Walker attacks Sam and Gilly when they are seeking refuge in a destroyed cabin. Sam tries to stop the White Walker with his sword, but the Walker shatters it and throws him aside. The Walker then approaches Gilly, seeming intent on seizing her baby. Sam, on the ground, grabs one of the dragonglass daggers that he found at the Fist of the First Men. He attacks the Walker from behind, stabbing it in the shoulder. The Walker screeches in pain and quickly begins to freeze, shattering soon afterwards.[5]

Game of Thrones: Season 4


The White Walkers receive Craster's last son as a sacrifice.

Rast sets the last son of Craster on the ground in the Haunted Forest. A White Walker, riding a wight horse, takes the baby to a mysterious place in the far north, to the Land of Always Winter, and places him on an altar made of ice. Another White Walker with pointed horns on its head approaches, picks up the baby, and touches him on the face below his eye. The baby's eyes turn bright blue, similar to that of the White Walkers.[7]

Game of Thrones: Season 5


The White Walkers witness the massacre at Hardhome from high up in the cover of a blizzard.

The White Walkers launch an attack on Hardhome as the Free Folk board ships provided by Stannis Baratheon bound for Castle Black. During the attack, Jon fights one of the White Walkers, discovering their vulnerability to Valyrian steel, and kills it with his sword Longclaw, bringing him to the attention of the Night King. The wight army overwhelms the defenders and sends a panic through the settlement, and wildlings try to swim to the ships instead of boarding rowboats. Those that die are reanimated as wights by the Night King, who looks on intimidatingly as Jon, Eddison Tollett, and Tormund row away.[3]

Game of Thrones: Season 6

The Three-Eyed Raven shows Bran a vision of a heart tree amid spirals of standing stones in lush green valley. He spies Leaf and other Children of the Forest talking amongst themselves, then looking eagerly at a captive - a First Man - bound to the tree. Leaf approaches and slowly forces a dragonglass dagger into the captive's chest. The captive screams, but does not die, instead becoming the first White Walker: the Night King.

White Walkers arrive

The White Walkers arrive at the Weirwood tree.

Bran immediately confronts Leaf about creating the White Walkers in the first place. Leaf tries to explain that they were at war with the First Men and were desperate to protect themselves from the invaders of their lands. Later, Bran is the only one in the cave awake and is anxious to warg back into the Weirwood tree. Unfortunately, the Night King is able to see him and grabs his arm, branding him with an icy mark. He breaks out of the vision with a scream. The Three-Eyed Raven tells Bran, Meera and Hodor that the Night King is now able to locate Bran and bypass the barrier keeping the White Walkers and wights out of the cave. The Children of the Forest use magic projectiles and incendiaries to fend the Walkers off, but are overwhelmed. They light a fire around the entrance which prevents the wights from entering, but the Walkers extinguish a pathway and walk through. The wights climb on top of the Weirwood, dropping through the top of the cave. Meera desperately tries to get Bran out of the vision and attempts to get the frightened Hodor to carry Bran away to no avail. Meera kills the first White Walker that enters with a dagger of dragonglass, as she fights alongside the remaining Children of the Forest to try to fend off the wights until Bran wakes up. Wights begin to swarm the cave, killing all of the Children of the Forest except for Leaf, as Meera starts yelling at Bran to warg into Hodor. Hodor in the cave puts Bran's body on a sled and starts hauling him towards the exit at the back of the cave with Leaf and Meera, as Summer is killed attacking the wights. As the wights are closing in on them, Leaf sacrifices herself, using magic to cause a huge explosion, buying the other three a significant amount of time. While the Three-Eyed Raven and Bran are still sharing a vision, the Night King kills the Three-Eyed Raven, and his figure within Bran's vision blows away as ashes and rags.[2]

Game of Thrones: Season 7

Somewhere beyond the Wall, the Night King and his White Walkers continue their march south through a snowstorm. As a sign of their growing strength, they have added at least three Giants to the ranks of their army of the dead.[17]

WW Carving

Carvings of the White Walkers are found in the dragonglass mines on Dragonstone.

Jon takes Daenerys down into the caves on Dragonstone after she allows him to mine the dragonglass. However, his ulterior motive is to show her the carvings on the cave's walls, which depict the Children of the Forest and the First Men fighting the White Walkers together. One of these carvings strongly resembles the Night King.[18]

Bran Stark wargs into a flight of ravens that fly over the Wall into the Land of Always Winter. Through the ravens, he sees the army of the dead led by the White Walkers and the Night King, traveling south towards Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. Unfortunately, the Night King spots Bran, causing him to quickly disperse the ravens.[19]

As part of their plan to capture a wight as proof of existence of the army of the dead, Jon Snow and his men ambush a group of Wights led by a White Walker, lighting a campfire to get their attention. Jon himself kills the White Walker, at the same time destroying all but one of the wights under his command. While taking refuge from the wights on an island in the middle of a frozen lake, Beric Dondarrion advises Jon to kill the recently arrived Night King, potentially ending the threat of the Walkers and their army. As Daenerys and her dragons arrive to rescue the party, the Night King hurls an ice javelin at Viserion, killing him and sending him crashing into the frozen lake. He throws another at Drogon, but the dragon narrowly avoids it and escapes. Jon stays behind and fights his way to the Night King, only to fall beneath the ice of the lake. Later, after wights haul Viserion's corpse out of the lake, the Night King resurrects him, bringing the beast under his control as an undead ice dragon.[6]

The White Walkers and the army of the dead finally reach the Wall where Eastwatch-by-the-Sea stands. The Night King uses Viserion to burn the Wall, nullifying its magic and allowing the White Walkers and their wights to cross into the Seven Kingdoms.[20]

Game of Thrones: Season 8

The White Walkers quickly advance south and attack Last Hearth, massacring the population and adding them to the army of the dead. Ned Umber is found pinned to a wall in the middle of severed arms arranged in a spiral, which Beric Dondarrion deduces is a message from the Night King.[21]

The White Walkers and their army quickly move further south. They arrive at Winterfell a half day after Tormund, Edd, and Beric bring word of the Fall of Last Hearth.[22]


The White Walkers march into Winterfell.

The White Walkers finally arrive at Winterfell for the Battle of Winterfell. As the living assemble for the final battle, the White Walkers lead their army on their undead horses. The White Walkers send out their army to destroy the living and attack the castle while they hang back at the tree line. When Jon and Rhaegal try to attack them, a massive blizzard slams into them, preventing direct engagement with the White Walkers. The Night King, riding Viserion, commands the wights to scale the castle walls and break down the defenses. The Night King then battles Jon and Daenerys and their dragons. The two living dragons manage to overwhelm their dead brother and the Night King is thrown from his mount.

Daenerys finds where the Night King landed and commands Drogon to burn him with dragonfire. To her shock and dismay, he emerges from the inferno unharmed and she retreats before he can strike her from the sky.

Jon, whose severely injured mount barely manages to land safely, rushes towards the Night King, intent on ending the battle. But before he can get close, the Night King raises all of the corpses around him and walks off to find Bran, the new Three-Eyed Raven.


The destruction of the Night King caused the extinction of the White Walkers.

The rest of the White Walkers enter the castle and rendezvous with the Night King before entering the godswood. The Walkers stand aside as the Night King kills Theon and walks towards Bran. Before the Night King can draw his blade and kill Bran, Arya attacks him with her Valyrian steel dagger. He grabs her midair, but through sleight of hand, Arya stabs the Night King in the heart. The Night King explodes into ice, causing the other White Walkers to explode and their entire wight army to crumple.

With the death of the Night King, the White Walkers are now extinct and their magic ceased after thousands of years.[8]


"The White Walkers have been gone for thousands of years."
Eddard Stark[src]
Osha: "There's things that sleep in the day and hunt at night."
Luwin: "Owls and shadowcats."
Osha: "I'm not talking about owls and shadowcats."
Luwin: "The "things" you speak of, they've been gone for thousands of years."
Osha: "They wasn't gone, old man. They was sleeping. And they ain't sleeping no more."
Osha and Luwin discuss the White Walkers[src]
"The wildlings serve crueler gods than you or I."
Jeor Mormont to Jon Snow, regarding Craster sacrificing his sons to the White Walkers[src]
"Always the artists."
Mance Rayder on White Walkers' habit of arranging the bodies of the dead into special patterns[src]
Bran Stark: "It was you. You made the White Walkers."
Leaf: "We were at war. We were being slaughtered. Our sacred trees cut down. We needed to defend ourselves."
Bran Stark: "From whom?"
Leaf: "From you. From men."
Bran Stark and Leaf, after the former witnesses the Children of the Forest curse the Night King[src]

Behind the scenes

White Walker

The original White Walker design, barely glimpsed in "Winter Is Coming."

The appearance of the White Walkers in the TV series isn't quite the same as in the books. They weren't fully revealed until the Season 2 finale, only quick shots mostly in the shadows in the premiere episode of Season 1. Freeze-frame shots of this display an early working-model design for the White Walkers, but given that it only flashed on-screen for a fraction of a second, this may never have been intended as their final appearance. This early design was almost skeletal, without noses. This original version really appeared too briefly to be seen without taking screenshots, but as this was the only glimpse of the White Walkers in the first season, fan sites (and wikis) heavily circulated these screenshots, somewhat obscuring the fact that the White Walkers' "official" design hadn't been firmly established yet.

According to Pixomondo, the TV series's special effects studio, there was indeed a complete redesign of the White Walkers between the barely glimpsed early concepts in Season 1, and the fully revealed version introduced in the Season 2 finale: "The producers and creatives were not happy with the White Walker costumes from season one; they wanted to redesign the look and it took a bit longer than expected." Only one full version of the redesigned White Walker costume was made by the Season 2 finale, thus the large shot of multiple White Walkers in the shot is just one stunt man doubled up many times. CGI enhancements were used to give the effect that wisps of cold air are emanating from the White Walkers' bodies, as well as to make their abdomens much more gaunt than human physiology.[23]

The final version introduced at the end of Season 2 is closer to how they appear in the books. Some differences remain, in that White Walkers are said to wear much more armor in the books, made out of a strange reflective metal that almost acts like camouflage. Further, the White Walkers in the books are described as "gaunt" but they don't seem to have quite so much of a mummified appearance. They are actually said to have an otherworldly, icy beauty to them. The White Walkers in Season 4 wear more armor than those glimpsed in Season 2, but generally maintain the established appearance. Their armor is black and dark grey, of some unknown material, as opposed to the reflective metal described in the books. Weiss and Benioff suggested in the "Inside the Episode" for "The Door" that the White Walkers began wearing the armor only after Sam killed one of them, and that this incident reminded them that there were things that could still harm them (in that episode, the armor is shown to be strong enough to repel dragonglass projectiles, "Hardhome", shows it is useless against Valyrian steel). Michele Clapton also operated under this assumption, and told Weiss and Benioff that her thinking was that the armor was actually scavenged bits of art and architecture from some long-forgotten culture of the far north.[24]

Author George R.R. Martin, when discussing with comic-book artist Tommy Patterson what the White Walkers were supposed to look like in the comic-book adaptation of the story he was drawing, said that: "They are strange, beautiful...think, oh...the Sidhe made of ice, something like that...a different sort of life...inhuman, elegant, dangerous." Martin also confirmed that the White Walkers are not "dead", just an inhuman kind of life.[25] The Sidhe are a kind of otherworldly fairy creature from Irish mythology, said to inhabit burial mounds, etc., not unlike the Barrow-wights of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.[26]

In the books

In the Game of Thrones television show, the term "White Walkers" is used as an alternate name for a species called the Others in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. They are held to be fairy stories by most of the people of Westeros. According to legend, the Others were creatures of ice and cold who, more than eight thousand years ago, came from the uttermost north during a winter that lasted a generation and a night that covered the world, the Long Night. The Others were defeated in the Battle for the Dawn by a great hero wielding a sword of flame. After the Others' defeat, Bran the Builder constructed the Wall with magic and artifice to ensure they could never return to threaten the people of Westeros and the world beyond. The Battle for the Dawn apparently unified the peoples of the North under the rule of the Starks and saw Winterfell built shortly thereafter.

The Night's Watch was founded to guard against the return of the Others, but this task is generally forgotten today. The Watch is instead believed to be guarding against the human wildlings who hold the lands beyond and occasionally try to raid across the Wall into the richer lands to the south.

The White Walkers are always accompanied by cold temperatures, and coming from the Land of Always Winter, it would seem that they prefer cold climates. They might even have difficulty surviving in warmer climates. Characters within the narrative debate whether this is because White Walkers actually generate cold and might even cause winters (such as the Long Night), or because they simply wait for the next winter cycle and move south when the temperature drops (in which case they didn't cause the Long Night, but seized on the opportunity it provided). White Walkers do not leave footprints in snow.

Some of Old Nan's fairy tales say that wildling women have been known to mate with the Others to produce half-human children, but this is an unsubstantiated rumor.

It is stated in the books that they fear the day and only come out at night. In "Valar Morghulis", however, they are seen in the twilight hours when the sun (hidden by heavy clouds) hasn't completely set yet. The reason for this was most likely practical: the White Walkers in the novels have only appeared in near pitch-darkness, and in the visual medium of television it would be difficult to strictly match this (i.e. even night scenes set in a forest seem curiously well-lit by the moon, so we the audience can see what is happening). The White Walkers again seem to appear during the day, albeit a completely overcast day, in "Hardhome."

There is no mentioning in the books that the Others arrange the bodies of their victims in any pattern.

When stabbed with a dragonglass blade, an Other will melt into a pool of cold liquid. In the TV series, when they are stabbed by dragonglass they painfully freeze into ice, and quickly shatter and crumble into pieces.

In the fourth novel, Jon and Sam find literary references to "dragonsteel", which is also lethal to Others, and assume (but have not yet confirmed) that it refers to Valyrian steel. In the series, Jon discovers quite by accident that Valyrian steel is indeed deadly to White Walkers.

It is unknown whether Others can be destroyed by fire. In the old records Sam finds, it is briefly mentioned that "fire will dismay them."

Origins and reproduction

Nothing is currently known about the origins of the White Walkers, simply that they came from the polar regions of the Land of Always Winter. Nothing is mentioned of them ever attempting to directly communicate with humans.

There actually are female White Walkers, if the legends about the corpse queen are true, but whether they actually reproduce with each other biologically, or if there are ever White Walker children is never mentioned whatsoever.

Craster's wives do say that they believe that the infant sons that Craster gave the Others as sacrifices were turned into new White Walkers - but it wasn't clear if this is what actually happens, or if it was just the wild suspicion of Craster's frightened, isolated wives. When Samwell is told to flee with Gilly and her newborn son, Gilly urges that if he doesn't "they" will come for him. When he asks who "they" are, another wife says: "The boy's brothers...Craster's sons. The white cold's rising out there, crow. I can feel it in my bones. These poor old bones don't lie. They'll be here soon, the sons."

Confirmation of what exactly happens to Craster's sons has not occurred in the books yet, but the Season 4 episode of the TV series "Oathkeeper" revealed that the White Walkers do turn in fact Craster's infant sons into new White Walkers.

When George R.R. Martin was in the very early stages of starting work on the novel series, he sent a three page pitch memo to his agent giving a very rough idea of what the overall story would be like - back when he envisioned it as merely a trilogy of novels (Tywin Lannister's death at the end of book three/Season 4 is essentially the end of what would have been the original first novel out of three). Many ideas from this pitch memo were later heavily revised and bear little resemblance to the final version. When Martin briefly described the Others/White Walkers in this memo, he also referred to them using an alternate name never used in the main novels: The Neverborn:

."..half-forgotten demons out of legend, the inhuman Others, raise cold legions of the undead and the neverborn and prepare to ride down on the winds of winter to extinguish everything we would consider life."[27]

While these ideas in the pitch memo were tentative, they do seem to fit with what was revealed in Season 4 of the TV series - implying that the White Walkers are actually never "born", do not reproduce biologically as their own independent race, but "reproduce" by turning select humans into new White Walkers.

This brings up another vague comment made by Martin about the White Walkers. Early in production on Season 1, the TV series had to make its own costumes and weapons for the White Walkers, and Martin was asked if it fit well with his mental vision of what the White Walkers' material culture is like. Martin responded that the White Walkers don't really have what we would call a "culture." What he meant by this is unclear: the novels also say that the White Walkers have their own language, weapons, armor, etc. so they have some vestiges of such things.

Taken together, the fact that the White Walkers don't reproduce naturally, and don't really have their own "culture"/society, seems to indicate that they were never an independently existing race the way that humans, giants, and Children of the Forest were. It vaguely seems that they are more like demonic or magical spirits somehow housed within human bodies which they possess and turn into "White Walkers." How the first White Walker was created to begin with was later explained in the show, with a vision of Bran showing the Children of the Forest creating the Night King as part of their war efforts against the First Men.


The White Walkers are often known as "the Others" in the novels, and were still known by this name in the first draft of the pilot script. In the books, "white walkers" is the name given to the creatures by wildlings, and with only a few wildling characters, the term is heard only seldom. The name is also used in Westeros, though mostly by older characters such as Old Nan, Maester Aemon, and Lord Commander Jeor Mormont.

Fan speculation was originally that the name was changed to avoid confusion with the faction of the same name in the television series Lost (at a convention panel after Season 5 aired, George R.R. Martin did say that this concern was at least a factor in why the name "Others" was not used).[28] However, the producers stated in the Season 1 Blu-ray commentary that the main reason they made the change was more to avoid viewer confusion between the specific name "Others" and the generic use of the term: book-readers can tell that "Others" is treated as a capitalized proper noun, but TV-viewers cannot. It sounded like actors saying, "He says he saw the others" - but viewers had no way of telling if they simply meant "other soldiers", "other horses", etc. - so the term was just too confusing in the audio-visual medium of television.




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