The Others, also known as white walkers, are a species of humanoid beings that exist in the north beyond the Wall. As they had not been seen for eight thousand years, they were considered to be extinct.
Appearance and Characteristics
- See also: Images of the Others
The Others are tall and gaunt, with flesh pale as milk. They have cold blue eyes that have been described as burning like ice, or being as bright as blue stars. According to George R. R. Martin, the Others "are strange, beautiful… think, oh… the Sidhe made of ice, something like that… a different sort of life… inhuman, elegant, dangerous." Further, although Old Nan describes the Others as "dead things", Martin has stated that the Others are not dead. However, the Night's King's queen, presumably an Other due to her blue eyes and pale skin, is described as a "corpse queen" on account of her white, cold skin.
The Others wear delicate, reflective, camouflaging armor that shifts in color with every step.. According to comic book artist Tommy Patterson, Martin told him that "the reflective, camouflaging armor" is able to pick up "the images of the things around it like a clear, still pond."
The Others appear to be superior swordsmen, wielding thin crystal swords. The pale swords are extremely sharp, capable of moving through ringmail as if it is silk. The swords are alive with moonlight and have a faint blue glow to them. When the sword touches a steel blade, only a high, thin sound, similar to an animal screaming in pain, can be heard instead of the sound of metal on metal. When the blades brush the flames of a torch, a screech as sharp as a needle can be heard. When asked what substance the swords of the Others are made from, Martin answered "Ice. But not like regular old ice. The Others can do things with ice that we can't imagine and make substances of it." The blades the Others use seem to be rather cold; They are able to cover a metal blade in frost, and shatter a steel blade.
The Others are capable of resurrecting the dead. These resurrected men or creatures are known as wights. Only burning the bodies of the deceased can prevent the Others from resurrecting them. Martin has refused to answer whether or not the Others control these resurrected people and animals in the same way a warg or skinchanger can control an animal. There are tales of Others riding the corpses of dead animals such as bears, direwolves, mammoths, and horses. Some tales also speak of Others riding "giant ice spiders".
The Others go lightly on the snow and leave no prints to mark their passage. Their movements can be lighting quick and gracefull. Extreme cold accompanies them, cold so extreme that it hurts to breath and it feels like there is a knife in one's chest, but it is unknown whether the Others only come when it is so cold, or whether they bring the cold with them. White mist also rises when they come. They might appear during snowstorms or mist, and melt away when the skies clear. They hide from the light of the sun and emerge at night; although once again some stories claim that their coming brings the night. They are said also hate iron and fire. The language the Others speak is unknown, but has been described as sounding like "the cracking of ice on a winter lake", and their laughter as being as sharp as icicles.
According to Old Nan, the Others hate "every creature with hot blood in its veins". Stannis Baratheon calls them "demons made of ice and snow and cold". Melisandre, a priestess of R'hllor, believes that the Others are the "cold children" of the Great Other, allegedly an evil god of darkness, cold, and death who wages eternal war against R'hllor. According to Tommy Patterson, "[Martin] spoke a lot about what [the Others] were not, but what they were was harder to put into words.". The wildlings believe the Others and their wights can smell life, or rather its warmth. According to the stories of Old Nan, the wildlings give the women they steal from the Seven Kingdoms to the Others, and used to lay with the Others during the Long Night to birth half-human children. According to his wives, the wildling Craster leaves his sons for the Others, who he calls "the gods", come the "white cold", and, when he does not have any sons to give, gives them sheep. Craster's wives believe that Craster's sons become Others as well. Craster calls himself a godly man, and as such believes he does not have to fear any attacks from the Others or their wights.
The Others have a few known weaknesses that are recorded in ancient texts. One is obsidian, otherwise called dragonglass or "frozen fire". When Samwell Tarly accidentally stabs an Other with an obsidian dagger, he hears a sound similar to the cracking of ice beneath one's foot. The Other's armor, flesh, ad bones melt away as a result, dissolving away until nothing remains. Ancient texts also record a weakness to "dragonsteel", which Samwell Tarly and Jon Snow think to be Valyrian steel. When asked about the ability of Valyrian steel to kill an Other, George R. R. Martin simply replied that "the Night's Watch would like to know as well". Fire is known to dismay the Others. Mance Rayder and his wife Dalla expresse belief that the Wall prevents the Others from crossing into the Seven Kingdoms.
According to legend, the Others came from the Lands of Always Winter six or eight thousand years ago, and brought with them cold and darkness that lasted a generation: the Long Night. They resurrected dead men and animals to serve them. In the Battle for the Dawn, they were finally defeated, by the first men of the Night's Watch and the children of the forest, an alliance made possible by the last hero. When asked whether there was a closer relationship between the Others and the children of the forest than there thus far has seemed to be, Martin replied that it was possible, and that the topic would be explored later on in the story.
Night's King, the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, is said to have married a woman with pale skin and blue eyes, matching the description of the Others. Reportedly, she was a sorceress. He brought her to the Nightfort, where he proclaimed himself king and her his queen, and bound his Sworn Brothers to his will. After a thirteen-year reign, he was defeated by Brandon Stark, "the Breaker", and King-Beyond-the-Wall Joramun, after which it was discovered that he had been sacrificing to the Others.
In his Lies of the Ancients Archmaester Fomas speculates that the Others were a tribe of the First Men who had been living in the far north. Fomas suggests that the Long Night pressured these men, the ancestors of the current wildlings, to migrate south. Over the years, they became more and more monstrous in the telling of the tales about them, because the Night's Watch and the Starks wanted to seem heroic. However, Lies of the Ancients is little regarded nowadays, as it contains erroneous claims about Valyria, the Reach, and the westerlands.
The Wall was built to protect the people of the realms in Westeros from the threats of the north, specifically the Others. However, the Others have not been seen since the Long Night ended, and are now regarded as nothing more than fairy tales to frighten the little children. Some people believe they never existed at all.Template:ReF They are often mentioned in curses, such as "The Others take his eyes."
A Game of Thrones
Bran Stark encounters two wildlings and two black brother’s who deserted the Night’s Watch, who discuss whether to take him hostage and return north to sell him to Mance Rayder. Out of fear for encountering the white walkers, one of the men decides not to do so.
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
The brothers of the Night's Watch are attacked by wights in the Battle of the Fist of the First Men. During the retreat back to Craster's home, Samwell Tarly kills an Other with a dragonglass dagger in the haunted forest. During the mutiny at Craster's Keep, one of Craster's wives warns Sam that Craster's sons will soon arrive for Gilly's newborn boy.
A Dance with Dragons
Jon Snow, now the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and Tormund discuss their common foe, the Others, when Tormund's four thousand wildlings cross the Wall. Jon asks if the Others troubled the wildlings on their march to the Wall, and Tormund informs him that the Others had been with them all the way, though never attacked the wildlings in force.
Game of Thrones
There are notable differences between the Others in the novels and HBO's television adaptation Game of Thrones. In the television adaptation, the Others are known only as White Walkers. While the term "the Others" appeared in early drafts of the pilot episode's script, the name "White Walkers" was ultimately settled upon for the final version of the TV series. In the audio commentary for "Winter Is Coming", producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss explained that the change was made to avoid confusion that may arise between references to the race known as the Others and "others" meaning other groups or people within the show. Additionally, George R. R. Martin has stated that the change was decided upon early in the development process when they all agreed that ABC's show Lost had sort of made it impossible to use the term "the Others" without causing possible confusion and such, as the show used the name for the mysterious habitants of the island on which the show mostly takes place.
Unlike the strange beauty Martin describes them as having in the book series, the white walkers in the TV series are depicted with frightening, emaciated appearances. In Valar Morghulis, the tenth and final episode of the second season, Others appear looking like undead men without skin, their bones and muscles white from ice and snow. Their eyes are bright blue. They wear little armor and no camouflage. In "Oathkeeper", several white walkers appear dressed all in black.
The language spoken by the Others, unnamed in the book series, is called Skroth in the TV Series. Although it was created for the first episode of Season 1 by David J. Peterson, it was eventually not used. The language has been described to sound "ice-cracking" and "pretty scratchy".
The leader of the white walkers is known as the Night King in the TV series. He is first seen in "Oathkeeper", transforming Craster's last son, and next in the Season 5 episode "Hardhome". He differs in appearance by having a ring of small icy horns atop his skull that form a natural crown. The synopsis for "Oathkeeper" on the HBO Viewer's Guide originally listed this specific character as the Night's King, a legendary figure that has been mentioned a few times in the novels, though this was later removed. It is unknown whether this was due to an error in identification or the fact that this would be a major spoiler.
While in the novels, the backstory of the Others has barely been revealed, the Season 6 episode "The Door" has Bran Stark seeing a vision of the children of the forest creating an Other from a captured First Man, in an attempt to create a defense against the invasion of the First Men.
|“||The Others are as dead as the children of the forest, gone eight thousand years. Maester Luwin will tell you they never lived at all. No living man has ever seen one.||”|
|“||If the Others ever come for us, I pray they have archers, because you lot are fit for nothing more than arrow fodder.||”|
|“||The Others are only a story, a tale to make children shiver. If they ever lived at all, they are gone eight thousand years.||”|
|“||The cold gods. The ones in the night. The white shadows.||”|
|“||Melisandre: Necromancy animates these wights, yet they are still only dead flesh. Steel and fire will serve for them. The ones you call the Others are something more.
Stannis: Demons made of snow and ice and cold. The ancient enemy. The only enemy that matters.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 A Game of Thrones, Prologue.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24, Bran IV.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 18, Samwell I.
- ↑ "Interview with the Dragon" Copyright © 2003 Robert Shaw.
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 52, Jon VII.
- ↑ So Spake Martin: Conjose (August 29, 2002)
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 13, Bran II.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 39, Jon VIII.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 58, Jon XII.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell II.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 7, Jon II.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 46, Samwell III.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- ↑ So Spake Martin: Magic, the Darrys, and POVs (February 28, 2002)
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73, Jon X.
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Long Night.
- ↑ So Spake Martin: Asshai.com Interview in Barcelona (July 28, 2012)
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 21, Tyrion III.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37, Bran V.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Prologue.
- ↑ So Spake Martin: Stockholm and Archipelacon Report (June 28, 2015)
- ↑ Game of Thrones, Season 2, "Valar Morghulis".
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 Game of Thrones, Season 4, "Oathkeeper".
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 Entertainment Weekly: 'Game of Thrones': How producers pulled off 'Blackwater' (May 27, 2012)
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 ‘Game of Thrones’ language creator explains why White Walkers don’t speak
- ↑ Game of Thrones, Season 5, "Hardhome".
- ↑ Game of Thrones, Season 6, "The Door".
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.