Who are the White Walkers in Game of Thrones, how can they be killed and why did the…

12 April 2019, 12:54 | Updated: 18 April 2019, 12:36

Season 7 of GoT ended with the threat beyond The Wall busting through the huge block of ice with their White Walker DRAGON. But who are they and why did the Children of the Forest create them? Here’s the lowdown…

Game of Thrones is about to return for the very last time, as season 8 of the hit HBO show airs on Sunday 14th April. And while we’re not ready to say goodbye to our fave show ever, we are excited to find out how it all ends – and, of course, who wins the Iron Throne.

One of the biggest cliffhangers of the last season involved the White Walkers and their Army of the Dead.

Tyrion managed to convince Jon Snow and Sir Davos to agree to his wacky plan, to capture a Wight and bring it back to Westeros in order to convince Cersei and the like that they all had a common enemy – and that enemy was much bigger than the fight for the Iron Throne.

READ MORE: THIS is how Daenerys Targaryen is related to Jon Snow

The King in the North and his crew headed north of The Wall to bring the plan into fruition, but it kinda backfired. Trapped on a small island of ice, Jon and his men were safe from the Wights (who can’t swim).

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Then, the Hound stupidly started throwing rocks at the Wights; the first rock hit one of the zombie-like creatures, but the second skidded on the water, showing the Wights that the lake had frozen and they could walk across it.

Just when it looked like it was all over for Jon Snow and his pals, Dany swooped in on her dragon Drogon and wipes out a load of Wights with its flames.

The Night King speared one of Daenerys' dragons, turning it into a Wight Dragon
The Night King speared one of Daenerys’ dragons, turning it into a Wight Dragon.

YouTube / HBO, Game of Thrones

While she’s saving the men, the Night King draws a frozen spear and hits Daenerys’ other dragon, Viserion, killing it.

After Dany, Jon and the others have flown away with their Wight captive, we see the Army of the Dead pull the beast out of the water (where did they get those chains, tho??) and it comes back as a huge ass zombie dragon.

The season finale sees said zombie dragon throw blue flames at The Wall, meaning the Wights and the Night King are on their way – and shit is gonna go down!

Season 7 concluded with the Night King's zombie dragon crumbling The Wall away
Season 7 concluded with the Night King’s zombie dragon crumbling The Wall away.

YouTube / HBO, Game of Thrones

Who are the White Walkers in Game of Thrones?

Referred to as “the Others” in the books, the White Walkers are zombie-like creatures that pose a supernatural threat to humankind.

For centuries, the White Walkers have been kept at bay behind The Wall, but, as we saw at the end of season 7, they’ve now broken down that barrier and are about to march towards Westeros – hitting up Winterfell first.

In the books, author George R R Martin describes the White Walkers as “gaunt and hard as bones, with flesh pale as milk”.

The term ‘Wights’ refers to those who have been turned by the White Walkers, AKA, the Army of the Dead.

Then, we have the Night King, who heads up the scary AF fleet. He’s the original White Walker and master of it all. He’s existed since the age of the First Man.

Beyond this, details on their true identity are scarce, but no doubt the last ever season will explore them in more detail.

The Night King is the master of the White Walkers
The Night King is the master of the White Walkers.

YouTube / HBO, Game of Thrones

How can they be defeated?

Samwell Tarly uncovers in an ancient book that White Walkers can be defeated with “dragonsteel”.

At the point of discovery, the White Walkers were still pretty much seen as mythological creatures across the kingdom, but when Jon and the Night’s Watch come across the White Walkers, they discover Jon’s sword, made of Valyrian steel, can defeat the Wights.

It’s also discovered that dragonglass can kill the Army of the Undead, which is why Jon goes to Dragonstone to meet Dany in the first place, as he wants to mine the material to make weapons from it.

As we also saw, fire can defeat the Wights, too. But it seems the Night King is immune to fire, as he steps through the flames unharmed.

Then there’s the idea that killing the Night King will wipe out all of the Army of the Dead, because he was the one that turned them all originally.

We have seen evidence of this in previous episodes, when Jon killed a White Walker on an expedition beyond The Wall. When he struck the White Walker, the Wights with him all perished.

Why did the Children of the Forest create the White Walkers?

In season 6, Bran, Meera and Hodor entered the cave where the Children of the Forest live. The young Stark lad has a vision when he’s training to become the Three-Eyed Raven, in which he sees Leaf (one of the Children), create the first ever White Walker.

The vision shows Leaf driving a dagger made of dragonglass into a human man’s chest. The dagger then turns the man’s eyes that icy blue shade, before he transforms into the Night King.

Leaf explains the Children created the White Walkers to help defend them against the First Man, whom they were at war with. Unfortunately, shortly after they created the Night King, he and his army turned on the Children of the Forest.

In the same episode that Bran is in the cave, the Night King orders his Wights to kill Leaf. In the process, Bran’s trusted travel companion, Hodor, is killed.

It was revealed that the Children of the Forest created the first White Walker
It was revealed that the Children of the Forest created the first White Walker.

YouTube / HBO, Game of Thrones

What are the GoT theories around the Night King’s identity?

One of the most popular theories about the Night King’s true identity is that it is in fact Bran.

This may seem a little out there, especially as we’ve seen the Night King and Bran co-exist in the same episode, but hear us out…

The theory goes that Bran went back in time to stop the Children of the Forest creating the Night King. When he travels back, however, Bran accidentally becomes the Night King himself.

According to Reddit user turm0il26, Bran warged into the human that was turned, in the hopes that Leaf would recognise him from the future.

We also see the Night King sense Bran’s presence in one of his warging sessions, which would make sense if it was really Bran, as he’d know his former self was there.

Bran saw Leaf turn a human man into the Night King in one of his visions
Bran saw Leaf turn a human man into the Night King in one of his visions.

YouTube / HBO, Game of Thrones

When is Game of Thrones back?

Game of Thrones returns for the eighth and final season on Sunday 14th April, 2019. in the US

UK viewers can watch it from 9pm on Sky Atlantic, or stream it on NOW TV.

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