How Will Jon Snow Get A White Walker To King’s Landing On ‘Game Of Thrones?’ Proving The Undead's Existence Is Tricky

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

The White Walkers are invading Game Of Thrones, and Jon Snow finally has a plan to make all the warring factions of Westeros drop whatever they’re doing and help him fight them back — although it’s a pretty ridiculous one, if you ask me. He and Tyrion have decided that the only way to convince Cersei and Daenerys that the White Walkers have an army of dead bodies on their way to ravage the wall is to show them an actual reanimated corpse, or wight. But how is Jon Snow going to get a wight to King’s Landing in the first place?

First off, it’s good to be specific about terminology here: while the phrase “White Walkers” tends to get used pretty indiscriminately to describe anybody supernatural who’s trying to kill humans north of the Wall, there’s a distinct difference between them and “wights.” The White Walkers are the ice-looking otherworldly beings leading the armies of the dead; the Night King is one of them. The creepy blue-eyed undead bodies they use to populate those armies are known as wights. Jon Snow’s not trying to capture a White Walker, because they are super smart and powerful and trying to do anything other than kill them would basically be suicide; what he’s trying to do is capture a wight.

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Getting into King’s Landing will presumably be the easy part; in this episode, "Eastwatch," Davos Seaworth has already made arrangements to smuggle them in, and Tyrion seems to have convinced Jaime and Cersei to agree to a tenuous audience to see this undead body (even though Cersei clearly has her own plan brewing). However, capturing a wight — and making sure it survives long enough to actually make the journey to King’s Landing in the first place — will be another matter altogether.

This isn’t the first time that physical evidence has been used in an attempt to convince the rest of Westeros that White Walkers exist. As showrunner D.B. Weiss noted in the commentary after the episode aired, when the denizens of Castle Black encountered the wights for the first time, they sent Alister Thorne to King’s Landing with a still-moving hand from one of the creatures. However, the limb decayed to the point that it was no longer able to move by the time it got there. But “in theory, you could bring one of these things down and have it still functional by the time it gets to King’s Landing,” Weiss concluded.

But was it decay that made the hand stop moving, or was it distance from the White Walker who first brought the wight to life?  If it’s the latter, then Jon Snow is out of luck — but it also doesn’t seem like Weiss and fellow showrunner David Benioff would even bring this scheme up as a narrative option if there wasn’t going to be a satisfying payoff, so unless Snow’s ragtag group of fighters also manages to capture a White Walker as well (which, again, would be extremely difficult), wights can probably move around just fine on their own once they’re reanimated.

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In any event, the logistics are still pretty tricky: Based on clues from the books that fans have gathered into a timeline, it’s technically supposed to be at least a month’s journey on horse between Winterfell and King’s Landing, and a few weeks between Winterfell and the Wall. If a single rotting hand can’t last in that time, then the team’s best recourse is to get a wight that’s newly dead and still mostly intact (more limbs means more opportunities to move around, right?) and get it down South as quickly as possible. A small boat would be able to do that more quickly, but it would put everyone in extremely close quarters with the wight, which might not be the smartest choice.

Still, if they can find a fast ship and a cage to put the wight in, it’s entirely possible — even though it's still an extremely ridiculous plan. But hey, it wouldn't be the first time Jon Snow survived something completely improbably on Game of Thrones, right?