When the White Walkers attack the North in Game of Thrones season 8, can Winterfell survive? Though the final season of HBO's blockbuster series won't dawn until 2019, speculation about what will happen when the Night King's legions of ice zombies siege the North continues to run high. As we saw in the final moments of the season 7 finale, the evil leader of the undead used the flame of Daenerys Targaryen's resurrected ice dragon Viserion to destroy the eastern section of the Wall. The White Walkers finally swarmed beyond the magical barrier to victimize the Northern lands of Westeros. Their target destination will be Winterfell itself.
Of course, the mighty castle that has been the home of the Stark family for 8,000 years is not undefended, nor will it go down without a fight. Winterfell is the rallying point for the Army of the Living; Daenerys is bringing her remaining two dragons and her battalions of Dothraki screamers and Unsullied soldiers to the North's defense. The treachery of Cersei Lannister during the armistice in King's Landing resulted in a disgusted Jamie pledging his family's army to fight the Great War in defiance of his sister's wishes. In addition, the North is united under Sansa Stark as the Lady of Winterfell and Jon Snow as King in the North (at least for now, until Jon's true Targaryen heritage is revealed).
But against a hundred thousand wights and the fearsome magic of the Night King, will Winterfell's defenses be enough to survive the horrors of the imminent war coming to their doorstep? Let's look at the North's chances of surviving the attack by the Army of the Dead:
This Page: How Winterfell Can Win
How Winterfell Can Win
The North certainly benefits from having the best people in Westeros leading its defense. Jon Snow has more experience battling White Walkers than anyone alive. Daenerys inspires loyalty from nearly everyone she meets, and the Mother of Dragons brings her own formidable army from Essos. As the Hand of the Queen, Tyrion Lannister has proven to be an expert tactician. Sansa Stark has evolved to become a worthy Lady of Winterfell. Jaime Lannister, even with one hand, is one of the greatest knights in the realm and also brings an army with him. In addition, they have Bronn, Brienne of Tarth, Jorah Mormont, and an assassin the caliber of Arya Stark on their side, not to mention Bran Stark's magical ties to the Night King as the Three-Eyed Raven. Simply put, the good guys have a lot of high cards in their deck.
Daenerys' two remaining dragons, Drogon and Rhaegal, will certainly be at the forefront of the action and will be more needed than ever, especially with their brother Viserion turned into an ice dragon for the Night King to ride. Dany's winged children are certainly capable of engulfing the Army of the Dead in a field of fire, one of the zombies' weaknesses. The dragons have proven vulnerable to the Night King's magic, however, and one well-thrown ice javelin from the zombie commander can quickly turn Daenerys' greatest advantage into a nightmare. Gaining control of all three dragons is something the Night King covets, therefore, an overreliance on the power of the dragons could end up being a costly mistake. Hence, the dragons are best used sparingly in the battle, or else the tragedy that befell Viserion will revisit Daenerys twice more.
Fortunately, the defenders have other weapons to utilize, like dragonglass and Valyrian steel blades. The union of Jon and Daenerys began over the King in the North asking for permission to mine the wealth of obsidian found in Dragonstone. Dragonglass can kill White Walkers and Wights; presumably, Jon has now acquired enough to arm the Northern warriors. Valyrian steel blades are considerably rarer, but every known weapon in the series is now in Winterfell: Jon, Jaime, Brienne, Sam Tarly, and Arya all carry Valyrian steel swords or daggers. Still, that's merely a handful of the cherished weapons against a hundred thousand ice zombies.
The heroes do have another potential weapon at their disposal: wildfire. Tyrion utilized the highly combustible element to successfully defend King's Landing in season 2. Wildfire would be an incredibly effective substitute for Dragonfire, but the question is where to get it? Westeros' main supply is stored in King's Landing and Cersei used much of it to destroy the Sept of Balor and kill her enemies the Faith Militant. Whatever wildfire is left would be something the Queen would likely horde to use if the Army of the Dead sieges King's Landing (or if Daenerys wins and resumes their war).
Finally, there is the castle of Winterfell itself, which could be used as a weapon of last resort. Season 8 set reports have shown the great keep aflame, so it's possible the worst case scenario does occur and Winterfell is destroyed by the Night King. However, Winterfell has its secrets: it rests above hidden hot springs, which are beneath the tunnels and crypts the Starks use to enshrine their dead. Somehow collapsing the castle could send the zombies plunging into the hot springs - and to their doom. That would mean the end of Winterfell, but, as in the ending of Thor: Ragnarok, the ultimate survival of as many of the Northmen as possible in spite of the loss of their physical home might end up being the only realistic outcome.