That White Walkers are the big threat in Game of Thrones, we all knew. We were also aware that they are closely related to the Winter that is supposed to be coming and the Long Night of thousands of years ago. What we didn’t know is where they came from and why they despise anyone and anything with hot blood running through them.
Though we’re still left wondering why they seek to kill everyone south of the Wall, Game of Thrones threw us a bone in regards to their origins in this week’s episode ‘The Door’. It’s more of a who instead of a where, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
[This article contains HUGE spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 6 and A Song of Ice and Fire]
How to make a White Walker 101
If you’ve been watching Game of Thrones this season, you are aware that Bran Stark has been having flashbacks that are, apparently, important in his instruction to become a Greenseer. He’s seen the infamous Tower of Joy and Winterfell, where he found out that once upon a time Hodor was Wylis, for example.
This episode, Bran flashbacks to a Weirwood in summertime, and this is obviously his farthest travel into the past because, surrounding the Heart Tree, we see Children of The Forest. They seem to be performing some kind of ritual, which Bran soon learns involves a First Man and some obsidian.
Leaf, one of the Children present, then walks to the man, who is tied up to the tree, and sinks the dragonglass into his chest. Surprisingly, instead of killing him right away, his eyes turn icy blue and he becomes the first White Walker.
“We were at war”
An astonished Bran confronts Leaf, saying that the Children made the White Walkers, and she justifies it using the prerogative of war. She doesn’t tell him who the Children were at war with, and some may think she means the First Men. She doesn’t.
Let’s get our history straight…
The Children were the first inhabitants of Westeros, having lived there thousands of years before the First Men arrived through the Arm of Dorne. In the beginning, the Children and the First Men were indeed enemies – with the new arrivals destroying the Children’s sacred trees and grounds – fighting for two thousand years. They eventually came to terms when they divided Westeros – the Children would have the forests and the First Men would have all the rest – and there was peace.
Leaf doesn’t mean the Giants either, since the First Men helped the Children defeat their former nemesis. So, as history goes, the Children and the First Men fought for two thousand years and then had another two thousand years of peace, until the White Walkers came into play.
See where I’m going here? If the Children weren’t fighting the Giants nor the First Men, then why would they make the White Walkers? What’s more, why would the Children create an enemy that they would later help destroy? Using a First Man to make a White Walker only to help the First Men defeat the White Walkers doesn’t hold much sense.
G.R.R.Martin did promise we’d see more about the origins of the White Walkers in Winds of Winter, but since the book isn’t out yet, we’ll have to count on the mercy of the TV show producers to explain that twist that, clearly, contradicts quite some history laid out in A Song of Ice and Fire and the companion books thus far.
That flashback was somewhat helpful though. It explains, for example, why the dragonglass only works on the White Walkers themselves, and not on the Wights. Since the first White Walker was made using a – possibly magic infused – obsidian stone, it’s fair to assume that something that made them could also be used to kill them. Since the Wights are turned – without any dragonglass being used in the process – it doesn’t affect them.
There’s also the fact the first White Walker was created using Greenseer sorcery – the same the Children use till this day – which explains why they can walk through fire, how the Night’s King is able to reach Bran in a vision and also manage to kill the Greenseer himself.
This episode may have given us some insight into the White Walkers, but it also left a huge plot twist to chew on. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait until the Long Night to get some answers.