What Winter Means For 'Game Of Thrones'

A white raven arrived at Winterfell in the Season 6 finale and marked that winter is here on Game of Thrones. The Starks have been warning viewers of this since the series premiere, and while the ominous motto is repeated so often that it can fall on deaf ears, the threat of the Night's King and his wights is very real. With winter arriving, the White Walkers will be able to breach the Wall and enter the north of Westeros, but the North is just the first frontier that the White Walkers will hit. If the history presented in Game of Thrones and the novels by George R.R. Martin is any indication, all of humankind is in danger of being destroyed now that the unrelenting cold season is here.

The Stark's motto of "Winter is coming" is an essential reminder that when winter arrives, their house will be the first major house of Westeros to be affected. However, that doesn't mean the rest of Westeros will be safe from winter since the cold weather can and will spread as south as King's Landing and Highgarden — not to mention, winters can last years or even decades. Based on previous winters, the southern part of Dorne — its capital Sunspear — was the only place out of the Seven Kingdoms not to suffer the effects of winter. But, with warnings that this winter will be worse than the last (sounds like Westeros has got some climate change), even Dorne could see some snow this winter. While snow falling in Sunspear would be pretty awful news for humans, maybe winter coming to Dorne would help improve the Dorne story line in book readers' eyes.

Anyway, however far south winter's effects are felt, the winter season means that the White Walkers have the ability to expand their territory since they appear to only be able to thrive in the cold temperatures. More territory for White Walkers means a higher death toll for humans, so what should happen now that winter is officially here (actually, what should have happened even before now) is that the South should recognize the imminent threat and form alliances with the North to help defeat the supernatural beings. Yet, as of the Season 6 finale, good old Cersei sits atop the Iron Throne and I can't think of one time where she has ever acknowledged the White Walkers, let alone considered them a legitimate threat. Perhaps the wildfire has her feeling confident, but she has been continually shortsighted when it comes to the White Walkers and I find it nearly impossible that the Starks and Lannisters could form a successful alliance in time to save the people of Westeros.

My fear is that Cersei will keep focusing on her individual power rather than the safety of the realm. Yes, she has wildfire, which maybe could kill White Walkers (until now, only dragonglass and Valyrian steel have been shown as a successful way to kill them), but if she continues her tyrannical ways, then Cersei needs to die. That way Daenerys and Tyrion can align with Jon and Sansa to defeat the biggest threat to humankind because all of these power struggles won't matter much if the White Walkers make their way through Westeros unimpeded as Jon understands firsthand.

To be fair, Cersei is not alone in not realizing the incredible danger that Westeros is in because the Long Night — a time when the White Walkers nearly defeated humans to extinction — happened over 8,000 years ago and is regarded as myth by many people (kind of like Daenerys' dragons). Yet, there is physical proof of the Long Night in the fact that the Wall exists. It was built by the Stark ancestor Bran the Builder as a way to keep the White Walkers from the land of humans. Now that Bran Stark, as the Three-Eyed Raven, is nearing the Wall, it will be his duty to try to stop the Night's King. Uncle Benjen told Bran that the Night's King will make it past the Wall and the youngest surviving Stark child will be an integral part in the battle against the White Walkers with his magical powers. Thankfully, Bran working on defeating the White Walkers with Jon isn't really something that fans need to worry about, even if the one brother isn't aware of his brother's supernatural involvement. Come to think of it, Bran helping Jon and Sansa is perhaps the only thing fans don't have to worry about on Game of Thrones.

From a practical, real world standpoint, what winter coming to Westeros really means for fans is that the show is coming to an end. The showrunners confirmed there will only be two more seasons of Game of Thrones and I imagine the battle between White Walkers and humans will be the final showdown of the series. Winter coming mean that all of the humans should band together to stop the White Walkers from taking over their world and something tells me that Daenerys with her dragons and Jon with his Targaryen blood are smart enough to realize that.

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