Thanks to a classic Bran Stark time-travel adventure, one of the scariest creatures on Game of Thrones got the origin story treatment on Sunday night's episode: Many moons ago, the Children of the Forest turned a member of the First Men into the original White Walker. Now, why would the Children transform a mortal into the seemingly invincible Night King? Present day Leaf tells Bran that their intent was to make their weirwood tree-killing enemy their ally; Ideally, the obsidian blade would morph the First Man into a powerful snow demon that would want to protect the Children from the First Men. (Aaaaand as anyone who watches the HBO series knows, that whole plan blew up in their faces like one of their magic bombs.) So when was the first White Walker created?
*Borrows Leaf’s day planner.* *Flips back a few thousand years.* *Searches for the day when Leaf jotted down “Turn a First Man into a White Walker.”* *Can't find that day.* Hm, maybe I'll have better luck looking at the history of Westeros (GoT Wiki, I'd be lost without you).
- 12,000 years before Aegon I Targaryen conquered Westeros (BA). The First Men migrated from Essos to Westeros. In their quest to run the place, the First Men wound up destroying some of the Children’s forests. The Children were not about to sit idly by as their sacred weirwood trees were wiped out, so they fought the mortals. Desperate to defeat the First Men, the Children turned one human into an ice zombie weapon: the first White Walker. Alas, the Night King was not chill (har har har) with being the Children's weapon.
- 10,000 BA. But hey, looks like they didn't need to create that ice monster anyhow! After 2,000 years of battling, the Children of the Forest and the First Men decided enough was enough and signed a peace pact. All was well in Westeros...
- 8,000 BA. ...Sike. Cue grim and cold era that was The Long Night. At some point during this dark period, a whole mess of White Walkers showed up in Westeros and attacked the Children of the Forest and the First Men. In the Battle for the Dawn, the First Men and the Children of the Forest joined forces against the White Walkers. The White Walkers were defeated but not wiped out entirely. After the Long Night, the Night's Watch was created and the Wall was erected.
Well, there's our super specific answer: 10,000 to 12,000 years before Aegon the Conquerer ruled (which was around 300 years before present day GoT), the first White Walker was born.
*Gently dabs brow with weirwood leaf.* Whew. Ancient Westeros history sure can tucker a gal out.
Image: Helen Sloan/HBO