Warning: The following may contain spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7
The table is set for the Game of Thrones season finale. Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are in the romantic fastlane, Cersei Lannister is pregnant, Euron Greyjoy is wreaking havoc, the White Walkers are coming, and the Night King is now riding Dany’s undead dragon.
Despite all of those developments, one major moment has yet to happen: The Wall needs to fall. After seven seasons, and against all odds, Brandon the Builder’s most famous construct is still standing. While the King of the North, the Mother of Dragons, and their Suicide Squad were recently at its Eastwatch-By-The-Sea fortress, no one has even mentioned the need to fortify The Wall. What was once considered the crowning achievement of security for the Seven Kingdoms has seemingly been forgotten. Considering the Night King and the Army of the Dead are now just a few miles away, this is alarming.
The Night's Watch may soon lose their job security. We’ve seen the Watchers of the Wall only in passing this season, and after the White Walkers cut their way through the Lord Commander and his men, we'll likely never see them again. Whether by hook or by crook, The Wall will fall. For all intents and purposes, it probably won’t live to see season 8.
Though its fate is all but guaranteed, we still haven’t answered the biggest question: who will fell the great Wall, and how will they do it? Over the years, there have been many secrets imputed to the great barrier that's said to have been built of ice, stone, and magic. Many have believed that a mystical ice dragon is housed within its borders, waiting for a day of immense danger before breaking out and saving the Seven Kingdoms.
Others hoped the legendary "Horn of Winter" would be introduced on Game of Thrones with the express purpose of collapsing The Wall. In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Horn of Winter is known as the Horn of Joramun, named after the eponymous King-Beyond-The-Wall who awoke the giants with one blow of his horn. Should the instrument be used a second time, it will allegedly bring The Wall crashing down.
Alas, these theories are hardly stronger than Old Nan’s bedtime musings. As the seventh season has made clear, the myths of the books are a world apart from what HBO developed with their beloved adaptation. That leaves us with only one real candidate for the destruction of The Wall. To be sure, there isn’t a single soul in Westeros (perhaps with the exception of Cersei) that wants to see the great border fall. They need it now more than ever, and if it fails to stand tall and strong, they'll perish.
Unfortunately, the Night King is in peak form. In adding to his wight army, his swelling ranks of undead giants and polar bears, his armory of crystallized ice spears, and his White Walker companions, he just assassinated Viserion and brought him back to life. It’s all systems go for the Night King, and his next stop can only be The Wall.
Though the Night King is public enemy number one, it’s unclear how he’ll break through The Wall and move south into Westeros. The dividing line is 300 miles wide, 800 feet high, and allegedly filled with magical properties that keep the un-dead and the half-dead from crossing over. That's why Benjen Stark couldn’t take Bran Stark and Meera Reed beyond it:
“The Wall’s not just ice and stone. Ancient spells were carved into its foundations...strong magic to protect men from what lies beyond. As long as it stands, the dead cannot pass. I cannot pass.”
Benjen’s revelation would be encouraging if it weren’t for the fact that this won't be the first time the Night King has entered a place that was supposedly protected by such magic - like after Bran foolishly used the Weirwood net in season six. In the morass of his time-traveling, reality-altering powers, recall the scene where the Night King reached out and grabbed Bran’s arm. Though it seemed to cause pain to the Three-Eyed Raven in training, it did something far graver: it “marked” Bran, like a tracking device stuck under a car. That’s what allowed the Night King to break into the magically-protected cave that housed Brynden Rivers, Hodor, and the Children of the Forest.
Because Bran still wears the Night’s King icy scar, it's likely that the leader of the White Walkers can also gain entry through The Wall. Wherever Bran is, the Night King can also go. He can even interrupt Bran's warging when he gets too close. Now that the Night King is just outside Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, we’re about to find out how strong the magic of The Wall really is.
With only seven episodes left in Game of Thrones, it's hard to imagine the show dedicating much time to the mystical properties of the Wall. Indeed, if Game of Thrones was truly invested in exploring its secrets, we would have been given more context and clues long before the season finale. It's literally the last domino that has to fall. Given the rapid-fire clip at which season seven has developed, expect the White Walkers to swiftly bring it down and promptly pass through.
Now that the Night King has his own 747 fire (or ice) breathing dragon, will he simply fly over The Wall? Dany and her three companions easily made the trip over the construct, so that shouldn’t pose much of a problem for undead Viserion. Even if the magic in The Wall is as strong as Benjen implied, it likely doesn't have a supernatural forcefield extending above and beyond its natural height - otherwise, why would it need to be any taller than its magic infused foundation?
Still, even if the Night King clears The Wall with his new ride, he'll need to get his ice zombies beyond it as well. Because the show has scarcely mentioned any instrument that could bring down The Wall, or hinted at any insecurity in its foundation, it seems likely that the Night King will rely on shock-and-awe to get the job done. Could Viserion be the secret to breaking The Wall and joining Westeros with The Land of Always Winter, or does the Night King have another scheme up his cold sleeve?
We'll find out soon enough.
Game of Thrones returns on Sunday with its season finale on HBO @ 9PM EST.