Much like winter, the final season of Game of Thrones is coming – and with it, it’s bringing a gang of White Walkers, an army of undead, and one fire-breathing ice dragon.
While this epic fantasy has plenty of loose ends to tie up before the series finale, one of the story’s biggest mysteries continues to surround the White Walkers. We know what these massively powerful beings are capable of. But what exactly do they want? And what have they been up to for the last eight thousand years beyond the Wall? While it’s easy to assume that they’re pure evil who simply want to destroy, there may very well be more to the White Walkers than meets the eye.
8 They Were Created By The Children Of The Forest
The White Walkers are a far more mysterious threat than any other in Game of Thrones. In the novels, we still know very little about what these creatures want and where they came from. The show, however, sheds some light on their origins by making them a creation of the Children of the Forest.
The children made them to battle against the First Men. But when this “weapon” grew beyond their control, the children actually teamed up with the First Men to defeat the White Walkers – bringing an end to the first Long Night and helping build the Wall.
7 They’re Not Dead, But Their Army Is
It’s easy to see the White Walkers as a race of undead, monstrous beings. But George R. R. Martin has explicitly told us that these creatures are very much alive – they’re just very different than the other form of life in Westeros. We know that they have their own language and have formed pacts with humans, such as Craster, in the past.
Therefore, the White Walkers likely have an entire culture that has yet to be explored. However, when it comes to their army of wights, these creatures really are dead. Or, rather, they're resurrected humans that are now totally under the control of the White Walkers.
6 They Can Be Destroyed With Valyrian Steel And Dragonglass
In the show, there are only two confirmed ways to kill a White Walker: Valyrian steel and Dragonglass. Since there are only a handful of known Valyrian steel weapons floating around Westeros – and since the secret to forging this metal was lost along with Valyria – the Seven Kingdoms will largely be relying on Dragonglass to get the job done.
Fortunately, the island of Dragonstone is replete with this volcanic glass, which is also known as obsidian. It's also worth noting that we have yet to figure out if a dragon's fire can do any damage to a White Walker. But we should know soon enough.
5 Some Believe They Are Gods
While most in Westeros would refer to the White Walkers as demons more than anything else, there are some who actually see them as gods. The wildling Craster was one such person. While Craster is far from the noblest character in the story, the wilding was somehow able to strike a deal with the White Walkers.
Caster gave them his sons in exchange for protection. While this far from proves that the White Walkers are gods, it does hint at the possibility that humans and White Walkers had formed a similar treaty in the past.
4 There Could Be Female White Walkers
All of the White Walkers we’ve seen on the show thus far have been male in appearance, which help explain why they use baby boys to create more of their kind. However, there is a legend about a former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who once fell in love with a woman who had white skin and blue eyes.
This woman was referred to as the Lord Commander’s “corpse queen,” and together, the couple ruled over the Night’s Watch while secretly giving humans to the White Walkers. But whether this woman was actually a White Walker – and whether or not there are any more of her kind – has yet to be seen.
3 They’ve Been “Beaten” Before
Some eight thousand years before the main events of Game of Thrones, the known world was thrown into a bitter and dark winter known as the Long Night. This was the first time the humans faced off in a war against the White Walkers, which resulted in the Wall being built and the Night’s Watch being formed.
Therefore, humans have been able to “beat” the White Walkers before. Though it stands to reason that the two sides came to more of a truce than one side outright beating the other. The White Walkers are still alive, after all. So if that was the case, what exactly were the terms of their agreement?
2 The Starks May Have White Walker Blood
We now know that Jon definitively has Targaryen blood – the blood of the dragon – coursing through his veins. So is it in any way possible that he also shares a bloodline with the White Walkers? As it turns out, there’s a legend about a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who possibly married a White Walker and fathered children with her.
While this Lord Commander’s name has been wiped from the history books, there’s a strong theory that he was related to the Starks. If this is the case, it would explain why the Starks are so well-adapted to the cold. Not to mention that it would make Jon the literal song of ice and fire from the series title.
1 They’re Probably Not As Evil As They Look
The novels and series have continued to subvert our expectations at every turn. So while it’s easy to assume the White Walkers are pure evil hell-bent on destruction, there’s likely a lot more to these beings than what currently meets the eye.
From what little we do know about them, it seems that they’ve been able to co-exist with humans in the past. They may have even used their ice magic to help build the Wall as part of a truce following the Long Night. But that still doesn’t explain why they’ve finally decided to head south after eight thousand years. But with any luck, we’ll find out soon enough.