It must be so frustrating for the men of the Night’s Watch to have to hear reports about the squabbling between the rulers of the Seven Kingdoms. All of their conflicts are pointless, as the White Walkers have arisen and are preparing to bring a new Long Night to Westeros.
The Walkers have created an army of zombies and are ready to wipe out all the living beings in the world, but the main houses of Westeroes neither seem to notice nor care.
It has been a long-running joke among fans how the White Walkers seem to be taking their sweet time to make their move. It seems like they have spent the past six seasons sitting behind the Wall, smoking cigarettes and watching daytime TV. With Game of Thrones reaching the end of its penultimate season, it seems that the time has finally come for the army of the dead to march on Westeros.
We are here today to learn about the true enemy of the world of Game of Thrones.
From their full range of emotions to the awesome mounts that HBO probably won’t pay for, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The White Walkers.
15. The White Walkers Can Laugh
The A Song of Ice and Fire book series starts the same way as Game of Thrones does. Waymar Royce leads a three-man expedition beyond the Wall, where they find bodies of wildlings that have been killed. They run into the White Walkers, which leads to Waymar being killed and turned into a wight.
A Night’s Watch ranger named Will was also in the group. In the show, the Walkers let him go for some unexplained reason. In the books, he was observing events from the top of a tree, so the Walkers didn’t see him. He eventually made his way south of the Wall, where he was executed by Ned Stark for desertion.
When Will witnesses Waymar fighting the White Walkers, he notices that they actually start to laugh at him. This is the most emotion that we have ever seen from the Walkers in either the books or the show, which suggests that there is far more to them than meets the eye.
14. They Are Referred To As The Others In The Books
In Game of Thrones, the White Walkers are always referred to by that name. However, they actually have a few different names in the books, many of which came about due to their status as myths. The name White Walker is actually the term that is commonly used by the wildlings. The rest of Westeros usually refers to them as “the Others.”
The Others is a name that works on paper but not when spoken aloud. It’s easy to tell when a character is talking about the Others in the books because the letter o is capitalized. You can’t tell when people are doing this with speech, though. There was also the problem of people confusing it with the word other, like when you refer to someone else.
It is also possible that the Other name wasn’t used because there was a group of evil characters in Lost that was also called the Others.
13. They Were Originally Going To Kill Catelyn Stark
The story of Game of Thrones was once very different. The publisher of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series in the UK put up a picture on Twitter of George R. R. Martin’s original outline for the series. This letter has now been referred to as the “Ur-Text” and it shows that the story was once going to go in a very different direction.
In the Ur-Text, Catelyn Stark and Arya would have escaped from King’s Landing and returned to Winterfell. Robb Stark would be killed in battle and Winterfell would be sacked by Jaime and Tyrion Lannister.
Catelyn Stark would be forced to flee to Castle Black with Arya and Bran. Jon Snow and Lord Commander Benjen Stark would refuse to give them sanctuary, and thus Catelyn and her children would be forced to flee beyond the Wall.
Catelyn and her children would then hook up with Mance Rayder and his army before it was decimated by the White Walkers. Arya and Bran would have escaped, but Catelyn would have been killed by the Walkers and possibly resurrected as a wight.
12. They Have Their Own Language In The Show
Game of Thrones has often filmed entire scenes that are spoken in a fictitious language. Like with the Klingon language in Star Trek, the creators of Game of Thrones hired a man named David J. Pearson to create new dialects for the characters to use in the show.
He was the creator of the Dothraki language used in the first season of the show and the High Valyrian that was used later on.
David J. Pearson also created a language for the White Walkers to use. They are described as communicating with each other in the books, using a language that sounds like ice being broken.
The language that Pearson created was called Skroth. It has yet to be used on the show, as the White Walkers haven’t really attempted to communicate with anyone. This might change during the final season, when the White Walker storyline takes center stage in the show.
11. The Two Night Kings
One of the things that make the A Song of Ice and Fire book series so unique is the fact that many characters share names. This is something that happens a lot in real life, yet rarely comes up in fiction, as the author doesn’t want to confuse the reader.
In fact, Game of Thrones did change some of the character’s names, so that they sounded less similar to other prominent characters (like Robin Arryn originally being named Robert).
The TV show has managed to include two different characters with the same name. The leader of the White Walkers is called the Night King, while there is also a figure in Westeros history called the Night’s King, who was the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
The 13th Lord Commander fell in love with a White Walker and turned the Night’s Watch into his own personal kingdom. It took an alliance between the King in the North and the King Beyond the Wall to stop him.
When the Night King’s name was accidentally leaked on HBO’s website, there were many fans who assumed that the two were the same person. This was eventually disproven, as we now know that the Night King was a human who was turned into a White Walker.
10. They Are Based On The Sidhe
Game of Thrones is all about turning fantasy tropes on its head. The heroes are killed by wicked men and it is ruthlessness that determines who wears a crown. This also extends to the monsters that we see in the story.
The creatures beyond the Wall might best exemplify this, as the Children of the Forest are intended to be the elves of the story, yet they commit acts of genocide in order to protect their land.
The White Walkers are intended to be the fairies of Game of Thrones. George R. R. Martin confirmed this when the Game of Thrones comic book was being developed. The artist asked for a description of the White Walkers and Martin said that they were like an ice version of the Sidhe from Celtic lore.
The Sidhe are a separate race from humans, though similar in certain respects. They are fairies and as such possess magical abilities. They were said to be as beautiful as they were terrifying in their actions, with an attitude towards life that seemed alien to the people of the time.
9. There Was At Least One Female White Walker
All of the White Walkers that we have seen so far in the show appear to be male. We know that they don’t breed through conventional means and require the use of human children in order to create more of their species.
We know from the history of the setting that there was at least one female White Walker in the past. The 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch went on a ranging beyond the Wall and came across a woman with pale white skin and bright blue eyes.
He took this mysterious woman back to the Wall and took her as his wife. Together, they ruled as the Night’s King and Night’s Queen of the Watch. They held blood sacrifices to ancient gods, which eventually drew the attention of the Starks in Winterfell.
8. There May Be Other White Walkers In Different Parts Of The World
The story of Game of Thrones takes place across two continents: we see the story of the Seven Kingdoms in Westeros and the numerous strange civilizations in Essos. There are other continents and distant lands that are seen on maps, but Westeros is never actually visited by any characters from there.
One example of this is Yi Ti, which is a distant land that is supposed to represent a fantasy version of Asia, in the same way that Westeros is similar to fantasy Europe and Essos is a fantasy Middle East.
In the lands of Yi Ti, there are a series of castles which act in a similar way to the Wall. The Five Forts were originally built to defend the Golden Empire of Yi Ti from creatures called Lions of the Night.
The night reference in their name is telling, as it suggests a connection to the White Walkers and the Night King. If the Long Night does come, will the White Walkers be able to strike as far as Yi Ti? Will any nation be safe from them?
7. They Come Out At Night… Mostly
One of the main differences between the White Walkers in Game of Thrones and the Others of A Song of Ice and Fire is their working hours. According to numerous sources within the books, the White Walkers cannot come out during the day, though the wights can still function during this time.
The White Walkers that have appeared on the show seem to lack this weakness, as we have seen them active during the day and the night. This is most likely due to the fact that it is harder to shoot during the night, so that weakness was scrapped to make things easier on the production of the show.
This weakness gives humanity an advantage against the White Walkers, as people can operate at any hours of the day. This might be why they have awakened now, as a long winter is coming, which means fewer hours of daylight. The White Walkers might have been waiting for a 30 Days of Night situation to arise.
6. Roose Bolton May Be A White Walker Hybrid
One of the enduring mysteries of A Song of Ice and Fire involves Roose Bolton and Ramsay. Why does Roose allow his maniac son to run loose and risk his alliances that he needs in order to hold the North?
There is a prominent fan theory concerning the books (not the show, as Roose and Ramsay have both been killed), which suggests that Roose might be related to the White Walkers.
We know for a fact that there was at least one female White Walker, which means that a human/Walker hybrid child might be possible. Roose Bolton is commonly described as having an ageless look about him and has pale blue eyes, which Ramsay also has.
The reason Roose might be keeping Ramsay around is that he intends to steal Ramsay’s identity. Roose’s mixed heritage might make him immortal, which means that he would have to keep changing appearance in order to stop people from becoming suspicious.
5. Telltale Games Lied About A White Walker Being In Their Game Of Thrones Game
Telltale Games have produced some awesome titles in the past. Their games based on The Walking Dead and Fables had some of the most memorable characters and stories of gaming history. Fans were ecstatic to learn that they were going to make a Game of Thrones game, which involved several prominent actors from the show reprising their roles.
Game of Thrones followed several different characters, one of whom was a Night’s Watch recruit who is forced to flee beyond the Wall. Gared Tuttle is a former ward of House Forrester, who is given a mission that requires him to join the Night’s Watch and find a way to leave Castle Black, as he needs to find a mystical location known as the North Grove.
The North Grove has allies that can help House Forrester from being destroyed by their enemies. The promotional artwork for the series featured a White Walker, yet we never actually see one in the game. There are several wights that need to be battled, but no one actually encounters a White Walker.
4. They Had A Different Design In The First Season Of The Show
The first couple of seasons of Game of Thrones were funded individually. HBO wasn’t sure if the show was going to be a hit, so they didn’t want to commit to a multi-year deal on something that no one watched (which is what happened to them with Rome). As such, the creators of the show never knew exactly how long they had to tell their story.
The design of the White Walker’s was totally different in the first season of the show. This is because they didn’t want to come up with a final design until Sam sees one clearly in the second season. The White Walkers that kill Waymar Royce’s party at the start of the show are shrouded in darkness, so we don’t get a clear look at them.
If you paused the screen at a certain point during the first season, you can see a brief glimpse of the original White Walker design, which was similar to that of a mummy, rather than a humanoid creature.
3. Mastodon Released A Song About The White Walkers After Appearing On The Show
A lot of musicians have appeared in cameo roles in Game of Thrones. The band Sigur Rós brought their signature “sound a sailor makes when he drowns” style of music to Westeros when they played at Joffrey’s wedding.
Members of bands like Coldplay, Snow Patrol, and Of Monsters and Men have also had cameos. Ed Sheeran also recently had a brief speaking role, which caused outrage among the fans, partly because it’s only one step away from having the Minions on the show, or fidget spinners.
The American heavy metal band called Mastodon appeared as wildling warriors during the battle of Hardhome. They released a song called “White Walker“, which was released on an album called Game of Thrones: Catch the Throne Vol. 2.
2. They Have A God That Opposes R’hllor
The majority of the religions in the world of Game of Thrones are based on polytheism, which is the idea that there are multiple gods in the world. The faith of R’hllor is no exception, as worshipers of the Red God actually believe in two different deities.
R’hllor has an evil opposite, named the Great Other. The worshipers of R’hllor believe that the Great Other will usher in a never-ending era of darkness. This is why Melisandre was so quick to convince Stannis to rush to the Wall’s defense.
When Melisandre is looking into the flames in A Dance with Dragons, she sees a vision of Bran and the Three-Eyed Crow. Melisandre believes that they are the champions of the Great Other, in the same way that she opposes them for the Lord of Light. If she is right, then Bran may not be aware of what he has got himself into.
1. The Spider Mounts
There are several characters who make prophecies in A Song of Ice and Fire. People like the Ghost of High Heart and Patchface seem to be able to accurately predict the future, though others mostly ignore their warnings.
The greatest prophet of them all is Old Nan of Winterfell, as most of the stories that she told to the Stark children were accurate. She tells a young Bran Stark about the White Walkers and how they invaded Westeros in the past, which involved packs of spiders that were as large as hounds. There were even spiders so big that the White Walkers rode them into battle.
The idea of a White Walker climbing over the walls of Winterfell while mounted on the back of Shelob is an awesome one to be sure. Will we see it on the show? It’s doubtful, due to how big the budget for Game of Thrones already is.
The creators would likely have already hinted at the existence of the spiders if they were planning on actually using them in the show. It seems that the White Walkers must be satisfied with the mounts that they already have when they invade Westeros.
What else do you know about Game of Thrones‘ White Walkers? The night is dark and full of terrors, so let us know in the comment section… while there is still time.
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