When the Game of Thrones series first premiered in 2011, it became instantly apparent that the White Walkers were going to be a huge element in the series. The very first episode started out with a ranging party from The Wall encountering these creatures, and it became a huge draw for new fans of the series. The interesting part about it was the fact that no one seemed to believe that these creatures even existed. The stories of the White Walkers roaming through cities had become the stuff of legends, and people had long since believed that the White Walkers hadn’t been around for thousands of years. The Men of The Night’s Watch not only had the difficult task of battling these creatures but also had to face the problem that they wouldn’t be getting any help from the rest of the people in Westeros simply because they didn’t believe it was true.
As the series progressed, more and more people began to see for themselves that the legends of the White Walkers were real and that they truly had returned. Yet, there is still some confusion as to the difference between White Walkers and wights. There’s a close relationship between these two entities, but they’re often forced into the same category. There’s actually a huge difference between these two creatures, and their relationship is something that should be investigated in order to fully understand and defeat them for the war to come. Whether you’re a huge fan of the show or you just want some more detail surrounding these fantasy creatures, check out our list of the 15 things you need to know about the White Walker and wight relationship.
15. White Walkers Bring The Cold
The words of House Stark have always sounded a bit ominous since the seasons aren’t really the same in Game of Thrones. “Winter is coming” isn’t just a phrase to let people know about the changing season; it’s actually a statement regarding the ominous threat of prolonged winter. There was once a recorded incident of winter lasting thousands of years, and Old Nan used to tell stories about winters lasting whole generations where children were born, lived, and died in darkness. The interesting part of this is that the White Walkers can actually bring on cold. When Samwell Tarly found himself in the presence of a White Walker while he was with Gilly, he could instantly tell that there was a temperature drop and could see his own breath.
14. White Walkers Can Freeze Things By Touching It
The White Walkers have a plethora of different supernatural abilities. They have the ability to bring on cold, they have a resistance to most things that would kill a human being, and they have immense strength. Yet, they also have the ability to freeze things with just a single touch. This is extremely useful in battle since they can touch any normal sword or weapon and freeze it to the point where it can shatter and be completely useless. While the wights seem to have added strength as well, they don’t have the same magical ability to freeze things upon touch. The White Walkers are the only ones that are able to omit these abilities, and they also seem far stronger than the wights that they create.
13. White Walkers Have Specialty Weaponry
The magical ability of the White Walkers isn’t just limited to their touch since it also lends well to their weaponry. While it’s not exactly clear how they’re able to forge their weaponry, it’s somehow related to ice. The spears that they carry are made of magical ice that can combat any other weapon. They’ve been seen wielding these ice swords during battle, and that was a huge reason why the fight at Hardhome was so difficult to the wildlings. This was also seen in the spear that The Night King used to kill Daenerys’s dragon. While other weapons (besides the giant crossbow that Qyburn had made) could barely pierce the skin of a dragon, The Night King’s ice spear was able to bring down the dragon with one shot.
12. Wights Don’t Always Have To Be Human
One of the most interesting aspects of the White Walkers is that they can reanimate more than just human beings. The White Walkers can be seen riding dead horses, and there have been some other creatures that have been seen as wights. The polar bear that attacked the group beyond The Wall was a great foreshadowing of what was to come. The wight polar bear seemed practically unstoppable, and it became instantly apparent that it wasn’t just an ordinary bear. Its body was somewhat decomposed and its eyes shined the same crystal blue as the White Walkers. This was shown again when The Night King killed Daenerys’s dragon and then was able to resurrect it as a wight dragon. The book series refers to this as an Ice Dragon, and it will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in Season 8 of the series.
11. Wights Are Unlike Other Corpses
There’s some confusion as to how the wights are able to transform after being resurrected from the dead since many people tend to compare them to zombies. Yet, there’s a distinct difference in their physical form when comparing them to the rotting flesh of a zombie. One of the biggest differences is the fact that their bodies don’t give off a stench. When a dead man was delivered to The Wall during the early part of the Game of Thrones series, one of the giveaways that there was something peculiar about it was the fact that there was no smell. This dead man later tried to attack the Lord Commander and was put down by Jon Snow. The wights also don’t seem to continuously grow their hair and nails like regular corpses; otherwise, there would be far more long-haired wights roaming with the Army of the Dead.
10. White Walkers And Wights Are Susceptible To Obsidian
Obsidian in the Game of Thrones series is referred to as dragonglass. The purpose of it was a little obscure when it was first discovered by the Men of The Night’s Watch beyond The Wall, but it did seem peculiar that it was buried with a black cloak. Samwell Tarly later used it to kill a White Walker, and he relayed the information to Jon Snow. There was a comment made about how they would practically need a mountain of it in order to defeat the Army of the Dead, which is exactly what they discovered at Dragonstone. Tarly found a depiction from an old Targaryen book that showed a huge amount of obsidian at Dragonstone, and there were plans to start mining it. This will definitely come in handy for the Great War.
9. Created By The Children Of The Forest
One of the most interesting things about the Game of Thrones series is the fact that it doesn’t just start up at the time when Jon Arryn dies and Eddard Stark is called upon to be the Hand of the King. The actual storyline goes all the way back to the First Men and the Children of the Forest, with all of the events afterward being a huge contributing factor to the present day. During Season 6 of Game of Thrones, Bran was able to travel back in time and showed the audience a flashback sequence of when it was revealed that it was the Children of the Forest that actually created the White Walker race. They did this in the hopes of having a force to battle human men with and shoved a piece of dragonglass through a human man’s heart.
8. Led By The Night King
Although showrunners of Game of Thrones have already divulged that the audience will never hear The Night King speak, it’s important to note that the White Walkers have their own language. This definitely isn’t something that could be understood by any Westerosi, but there’s a form of communication that’s needed since there’s a definite leader. The Night King is the very first White Walker that the Children of the Forest created, and he’s the leader amongst the White Walkers and wights. He’s the one that coordinates when it comes to leading attacks on the humans, and he’s also the one that the other White Walkers relinquish their power to. He has the ultimate control amongst the dead, and he’s the one that Jon Snow refers to when he talks about defeating the White Walkers.
7. White Walkers And Wights Are Susceptible To Valyrian Steel
While the characters within the Game of Thrones series have enough dimension to keep the fans busy, it’s interesting how even some of the swords have their own names. When Eddard Stark was first featured, his Valyrian sword was named “Ice,” and he wielded it while executing a deserter from The Night’s Watch. Yet, Valyrian steel is from Valyria, and there are very few that can even work the steel. The Noble Houses aren’t going to be quick to relinquish their prized Valyrian steel swords, and they definitely won’t be on board with melting them down to make small little daggers for the Men of The Night’s Watch. Yet, Valyrian steel is like Kryptonite to White Walkers and basically shatters them to oblivion. This will definitely give the upper hand to anyone who owns one.
6. Wights Are Susceptible To Fire
While White Walkers and wights are both susceptible to dragonglass and Valyrian steel, there’s a difference when it comes to fire. Wights are utterly defenseless when it comes to fire, and it’s become common practice for the wildlings and the Men of The Night’s Watch to burn their dead. When Jon Snow was attacked by a wight at The Wall, the only thing that would stop it was when he threw a lantern at it and set it ablaze. Yet, the White Walkers seem to be immune to fire. When Bran Stark entered into the cavern to meet with the Three-Eyed Raven, he accidentally led The Night King to their location. In an effort to halt him entering the cavern, there was a ring of fire surrounding the entrance. Yet, that didn’t do anything to him, and he was able to walk right through it.
5. Wights Retain Their Physical Condition
It can be a tad confusing to see the distinct difference between the White Walkers and the wights when it comes to their appearance. Many of the White Walkers look like skeletons in their facial features and the appearance of their skin and hair. Yet, many of the wights have been able to hang onto some semblance of their human appearance. This is because of the way the wights are able to retain their physical condition from the time that they were turned into a wight. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be able to remain exactly the same for the rest of their existence. Since it’s extremely difficult to kill a wight, their appearance could change in battle without it necessarily causing it to die.
4. Wights Are Reanimated Corpses Fighting As Their Army
Oftentimes, people tend to get White Walkers confused with the wights since they’re both thought of as the “dead.” Yet, the wights are actually the reanimated corpses that are used as puppet soldiers to fight for the White Walkers. It can be difficult to grasp this for those who are so used to zombie-like creatures that have an infection that can spread by being bitten or killed by another zombie. Yet, there have been a number of wights that have severely injured humans, and those humans haven’t turned into White Walkers. This was shown in the incident where Thoros of Myr was severely injured by the wight polar bear, and then, he later died. While they did burn his body, they didn’t at all seem concerned that he was walking around with them with a bite from a wight. The Night King was able to resurrect the wildlings at Hardhome, and he didn’t need to touch them in order to do so.
3. Wights Will Call Out To Their Own Kind
One of the more subtle aspects to the White Walkers and wights is the fact that they have their own language. This is something that isn’t delved into much in the series since the audience never really hears any words come from them. The showrunners have already said that the audience will never hear The Night King speak, but there’s a language that’s spoken amongst them. This was seen a few times in the series, but it was a very subtle element of their race. When Samwell Tarly killed the White Walker in the woods, Gilly proclaimed that she’ll never forget the sound it made before it died. When Jon Snow and his group were able to capture a wight beyond The Wall, it seemed to be calling out to the hoard. It got to the point where the others had to muffle its sound.
2. Killing A White Walker Also Kills Its Wight Creations
All of the other seasons of Game of Thrones had focused on how difficult it was to kill a White Walker and a wight. The Men of The Night’s Watch had to focus on the surefire ways to kill these creatures by seeking out Valyrian steel and dragonglass. Yet, there was a revelation in Season 7 that’s a huge element in how to defeat the White Walkers and the wights they’ve created. When Jon Snow and his group ventured beyond The Wall in order to capture a wight to bring to King’s Landing, they came upon a small group of them. During the battle, they were able to kill one of the White Walkers, and this suddenly made the surrounding wights fall dead. This shows that killing a White Walker also destroys the wights that they’ve created.
1. They Can’t Procreate, So They Turn Babies Without Killing Them
While procreation doesn’t really seem like something the White Walkers would be too concerned about, it’s actually an important aspect of their species. The Night King has lived for thousands of years and doesn’t seem like he’s going to die of old age anytime soon. The White Walkers also seem like they’re centuries old, so it doesn’t seem like they’re too worried about dying off and not having a lineage to pass along their ways to. Yet, it’s worth nothing that there are never any female White Walkers depicted in the series. Their version of procreation is based on human babies being transformed into their race. This was seen when Craster would sacrifice his male children, and then, The Night King would touch their faces and turn them into their kind.
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