What exactly is the point of the White Walkers, or Others? Based on the recent HBO show, you might be forgiven they are simply a giant (and frozen) red herring. Even worse, they were rather laughably easy to destroy in the end. After seven seasons of menacing build-up, they followed that age-old genre trope from the battle droids in Star Wars: Phantom Menace to the aliens in Independence Day that if you kill the central control (whether a computer or hive mind leader) they all fall down dead. The Game of Thrones books, though, have no Night King. So what do the white walkers want?
In all the source materials and histories from A Song of Ice and Fire, the wights are always trying to come South, killing everything in their path.
But why? Is it just because the Children wanted revenge on men for stealing their lands and killing their people.
Were the wights created as an offensive defence that spin horrendously out of control, wreaking horrors far beyond the original intention and turning on their creators? Or are the White Walkers still doing exactly what they were created to do?
Are they heading all the way South towards King’s Landing?
A powerful theory says: “The white walkers are coming to destroy the worshippers of the Seven and R’hllor (and everyone else) because they’re extensively and consistently cutting down the Weirwood trees.”
After the first Battle for the Dawn and the building of The Wall, the Weirwoods remained sacred across most of Westeros where the Old Gods held sway. Even with the rise of the Seven and latterly Rh’llor, the Weirwoods were often left alone.
But the theory argues that the rapid acceleration of destroying ancient weirwoods finally provoked the massing of the Others once more.
And they are heading South to get to the Isle of Faces. It’s on the map below, the big lake below Harrenhal and above KIng’s Landing.
The Isle of Faces lies thousands of miles south of the wall.
If the White Walkers truly make it all that way it will spell destruction for much of Westeros.
It must be noted that so far, George RR Martin has given no clear explanation for what the Others want or their true origins or nature – but he himself has teased there will be a greater connection between the Others and the Children yet to be revealed in the books.
However, there are still some major problems with this theory – not least how would the Others cross the lake once they got there.
The histories from the books point to the Others existing in their own right, rather than being creations of the Children. They are also rather beautiful and eerie rather than TV-land zombies.
Furthermore, their first invasion war with men and the Children thousands of years ago could not have been prompted by any threat to the weirwoods, since Westeros at the time was home to the First Men and Children, both of whom revered the Old Gods.
Perhaps the Children did not create the Others but they may still have some dark and hidden link to them.