The Book That Was Promised

Winds of Winter theory fixes the biggest mistake in Game of Thrones

Is this how George R. R. Martin will humanize the White Walkers?

Game of Thrones did a lot of things wrong in its final season. The eighth season of the HBO series was widely criticized by both casual viewers and die-hard fans alike who felt — justifiably — that the series had fallen victim to the kind of haphazard pacing issues and lackluster plotting techniques its previous seasons had (mostly) avoided.

As a result, many fans have turned to The Winds of Winter — the long-awaited sixth novel in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series — to deliver the kind of storytelling that Thrones ultimately failed to. And there’s one Winds of Winter fan theory, in particular, that may even reveal the wild way Martin will help explain one of the most underdeveloped characters in Game of Thrones: the White Walkers.

The Theory — For those who don’t know, the books in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series are all written from multiple points of view. Chapters jump from the perspective of various characters, including Catelyn Stark, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, Jamie Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, and others.

However, some readers of Martin’s novels believe that the author will change things up a bit in The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring (the planned seventh and final installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series). What if Martin offers us a perspective that we’ve never had before. One that the author perhaps purposefully avoided.

We talking, of course, about the White Walkers.

Winds of Winter and the White Walkers

HBO

Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments of Game of Thrones was the way it failed to develop the White Walkers in any real or tangible way. The HBO series introduced the Walkers as one-dimensional, purely evil beings and, for the most part, didn’t really dig any deeper into their motivations or perspective. (This felt like a particularly bad oversight for a show that gave every character — even terrible villains like Cersei — clear emotions, morals, and motivations.)

Given Martin’s penchant for filling his stories with morally gray, complex characters, fans have long suspected that there’s more to the White Walkers (or “the Others,” as they’re referred to in the books) than meets the eye. The mere existence of a character like the Night’s King in the books is evidence of the more ambiguous way Martin views the White Walkers compared to how the Thrones writers treated them.

The author has already set up ways of revealing the history and motivations of the White Walkers in the books as well — namely, through Bran’s ability to see into the past. However, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting and shocking method for developing and exploring the motivations of the White Walkers than by literally writing chapters from their POV. It’s the kind of move that would probably leave book readers reeling.

In other words, it’s classic George R.R. Martin.

A deadly force.HBO

The Inverse Analysis — There’s no telling if Martin will actually do this in either The Winds of Winter or A Dream of Spring, but the mere idea is an exciting one. The manner in which Game of Thrones ultimately handled the depiction of the White Walkers is one of the biggest complaints fans still have with the series, and this is one way that Martin could fix a huge mistake from the show.

The Winds of Winter will be released one day, hopefully.