Culture

'Game Of Thrones': Why The White Walkers Will Win

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The Night’s King marches toward the Wall with his army of the dead on “Game of Thrones” Season 6. HBO

Game of Thrones has returned, and the Season 6 premiere immediately confirmed that Jon Snow is, in fact, dead. The Night’s Watch killed its own Lord Commander, a choice that is going to have serious consequences. And the White Walkers are advancing on Westeros: last season, they devastated the wildlings at the epic battle of Hardhome, and from here on out they’re the true villains of Game of Thrones. The White Walkers are a force of pure elemental evil bent on destroying Westeros.

With the Night’s Watch reeling and chaos everywhere in Westeros, the White Walkers won’t just try to destroy the Seven Kingdoms—they’ll succeed.

The Night’s Watch Is Weak and Divided

The first line of defense against the White Walkers is the Night’s Watch. After all, that’s why the order was first established, thousands of years ago—not to keep pesky wildlings out of the Seven Kingdoms, but to protect the realms of men from the forces of cold and night. But the Night’s Watch in Game of Thrones is a total disaster. They just mutinied and murdered their own Lord Commander. They’re leaderless. They hate the deal Jon Snow made with the wildlings, and tensions are very high. What’s more, the Boltons may soon march against Castle Black—a move that could destroy the Night’s Watch altogether.

But the Night’s Watch’s problems run deeper than current emergencies. The organization has been undermanned and underfunded for generations. It’s a ragtag crew of misfits, outcasts and criminals, and the group mans less than half of the castles along the Wall. The Night’s Watch has no chance against an organized army of nearly invincible magical warriors.

Only the Wall Can Stop the White Walkers—and the Wall Will Fall

The Night’s Watch does have one major edge against the White Walkers: The Wall itself. But the Wall is destined to fall. According to legend, the long-lost Horn of Joramun has the power to bring the Wall crashing down. It has yet to be found— but it’s been mentioned too many times to not show up. And when it does, the Night’s Watch or the wildlings may just be foolish enough to blow the horn and sound their own doom. If not, the White Walkers surely will. The prophecy must be fulfilled, and without the Wall, the White Walkers will sweep over the war-torn North.

Westeros Is in Chaos

Even if the Seven Kingdoms were at peace, with all the Great Houses working together, defeating the White Walkers would be no easy task. Their numbers are seemingly limitless. They can raise the dead right on the battlefield. And they are very hard to kill—only dragonglass and Valyrian steel blades can kill the White Walkers, and both are in short supply.

But Westeros isn’t like that. The Seven Kingdoms are in total chaos. The aftermath of the War of the Five Kings in the first few seasons left widespread destruction. The Starks have been driven out of the North, and Winterfell is mostly a ruin. The riverlands are torn by starvation and disease. A prophecy says that King Tommen is doomed to die, leaving the Iron Throne empty. Lannister rule is already near collapse. Couple that with the coup in Dorne and Westeros is on the verge of anarchy. The Houses can’t work together against the White Walkers amid so much chaos.

Daenerys and Dragons Alone Can’t Save the World

It’s not going to be easy for Daenerys to conquer Westeros with an army of foreigners—assuming she even gets her armies back. She has to turn chaos into order and forge the Seven Kingdoms into one. Of course, the dragons are her trump card. But she’s learned in Meereen that crushing her opponents with overwhelming force, and then treating them with kid gloves, doesn’t work very well. She hasn’t yet figured out a way to bind the conquered to her rule. And when she conquers Westeros, with fire and blood, she’ll make many enemies… ones who won’t stand beside her in the war with the White Walkers until it’s too late. Daenerys doesn’t have the luxury of time. She needs to sweep over Westeros with her dragons and convince its people that otherworldly foes from the North aren’t just creatures of myth, but a real threat. It’s a tall order—even if Jon Snow comes back to life and helps out.

It’s What "Game of Thrones" Would Do

Here’s one more reason to think the White Walkers could end up winning: It’s a very Game of Thrones thing to do. The show is all about how politics and petty personal differences can tear society apart. It’s not a story about coming together for the greater good. A final moment of good uniting against evil just doesn’t feel like Game of Thrones. Instead, the show and the books by George R. R. Martin are all about defying expectations. That’s why Ned Stark, Rob Stark and Jon Snow died. It’s why Game of Thrones became the most popular show on television. Because it’s different.

And what could be more different than having the bad guys win?