‘Game of Thrones’: Children of the Forest & White Walkers — History & Top Theories

HBO Children of the Forest

Tonight on Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 4, we learned a little bit more about the relationship between the Children of the Forest, the White Walkers, and the First Men. We’ll recap what we learned, but also review what we already know about the Children of the Forest and their role in the history of Westeros.

This article includes spoilers through Season 7 Episode 4 of Game of Thrones. 

Who Are the Children of the Forest?


The Children of the Forest are the creatures who rescued Bran from the White Walkers at the end of Season 4. We didn’t see them again until Season 6. No one is really sure who the Children of the Forest are, or whether their intentions are good or bad. They’re magical creatures with amazing abilities, and the Three-Eyed Raven lived with them before he was killed.

Some speculate that the Children of the Forest may have been created by an otherworldly being themselves, just like they created the White Walkers. Just like the White Walkers seem to be a mesh of humans and ice, with supernatural magical abilities, the Children of the Forest seem to be a mesh of human and weirwood, with supernatural abilities.

The First Men Invaded About 12,000 Years Ago

When the First Men, the first human inhabitants of Westeros, invaded about 12,000 years ago, they warred with the Children of the Forest, who ruled Westeros with giants who were even greater than the giants we’ve seen in the show. They eventually made a pact and found peace, converting to the Children’s religion that worshipped the Old Gods of the Forest. The Old Gods of the Forest, according to the Game of Thrones wikia, are nameless spirits whose worship centers around sacred weirwood trees that have faces carved in the bark.

In Season 7 Episode 4, we saw that the Children of the Forest had even carved drawings into the caves beneath Dragonstone, showing their allegiance with the First Men.

The Children of the Forest Created the White Walkers


In Season 6 episode 5, we learned that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers during the war with the First Men. They created them as the ultimate weapon against the First Men, who were slaughtering them and destroying their sacred weirwood trees.

The White Walkers were supposed to battle the First Men and help the Children of the Forest win the war.

To create the White Walker, they caught one of the First Men and tied him to a tree. Leaf speared him with something (likely dragonglass) and his eyes turned blue as he was transformed into a White Walker (more specifically: the Night King who leads all the other White Walkers.)

It appears that at some point, the Children weren’t able to control their creation anymore.

The White Walkers Attacked the Children of the Forest 8,000 Years Ago

Game of Thrones 6×05 – Bran Stark learns that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers.Game Of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 5 – The Door.2016-05-23T02:58:38.000Z

The White Walkers attacked the First Men and the Children of the Forest about 8,000 years ago in a battle called “War for the Dawn.” Yes, the White Walkers attacked their makers. This is when Bran the Builder created a wall to keep the White Walkers out.

A big fan theory is that the Children of the Forest helped build the Wall that keeps out Winter and the White Walkers. The theory is that the Wall is infused with magic and that’s part of the reason it works against White Walkers, just like the Children could keep the White Walkers away from the Three Eyed Raven with special magic.

White Walkers Procreate By Turning Human Babies Into New Walkers

Game of thrones 4×04 – Final Scene HD, What white walkers do with the babies finally revealed!Season 4 episode 4 What white walkers do with the babies finally revealed!.2014-04-28T05:50:22.000Z

White Walkers procreate by transforming human babies into their own kind. We’ve seen this on the show, when the Night King touched a human Craster baby and his eyes turned blue. White Walkers can think and have autonomy and intelligence, unlike the zombie “wights” that they raise from the dead to be part of their armies.

The White Walkers Emulate Their Origins in Body Part Swirl Patterns


The White Walkers were first created by the Children of the Forest at a great tree that was surrounded by stones which were set up in a swirl pattern. (See the photo above.) When they kill people, they sometimes put the bodies into a similar swirl pattern that emulates where they were first created. In this photo below from Season 3, you can see the swirl they sometimes create from dead bodies.


For comparison, the photo below shows the tree where the White Walkers were located, as seen in Season 5. It looks exactly like the swirls of dead bodies that they created.


Now, we see this pattern repeated in Season 7 Episode 4, in the cave drawings done by the Children of the Forest. There’s likely a deeper meaning to this pattern. Perhaps this pattern means something to the Children of the Forest’s religion, and they “programmed” the White Walkers to emulate the pattern when they killed. What do you think?