Now we know that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers and it proved to be a pretty horrible thing to do. The Children are seeking redemption as well as reaching out to Man, their former enemy, to defeat the weapon they created to defeat the First Men. Yep, that’s how it goes with Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire.
We learn that Leaf created the first White Walker by sacrificing a man with an enchanted dragon glass knife. His eyes turned frosty blue and everyone at home jumped up off of their couches. What have you done, Leaf?! Yeah, she totally knows. She and the rest of the Children of the Forest have been paying for this mistake for centuries.
These Children of the Forest White Walkers were a strike in a continual war with the men who chopped down their sacred weirwood trees. The First Men also slaughtered many of the already small population of original inhabitants of Westeros. Yes, the Children were here first. And Man was being all Manny about it. So the Children created the Others and now winter is not only coming, it’s going to kill errbody unless Bran, Jon, Tyrion, Arya, and Daenerys do something about it. Or Howland Reed. What if that is the next Hero in the form of a Green Man? We’ll just carve that one in the weirwood tinfoil tree for now.
And now that Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven, he needs to learn to control his powers and fast. Enter long lost Uncle Benjen now as Coldhands. The Children saved Benjen from his White Walker injuries by sliding a dragonglass knife in his wound. Yep. The very same way they made the first White Walker. So is Coldhands immortal? Does he have super powers too besides that cool fireball on the end of the chain thing? Whatever else he can do, Coldhand’s main goal is to get Bran up to speed so he can play his part.
Let’s look at the origin of the Children of the Forest, what drove them to create these icy jerks, and the unstoppable war.
The Children of the Forest Were Here First
The Children of the Forest were the original inhabitants of Westeros. They were here thousands of years ago, when there were vast swaths of forests. They were non-human and small in stature and only grew to about the average height of a child. They have been described by giants as “little squirrel people.” They preferred the crannogs, caves, and deep forests. Their forest dwelling earned them the name the Children of the Forest, or the Children.
They worshipped the Old Gods of the Forest, all of the spirits of every rock, river, stream, plant, and tree. The weirwood tree was a large part, if not the central part, of their rituals. The Children carved the faces in the weirwood trees and considered them sacred. Their priests are greenseers.
The First Men
When the First Men from Essos migrated to Westeros, they chopped down the sacred weirwood trees and slaughtered the Children. The men and Children fought wars for over 2,000 years. The Children destroyed the Arm of Dorne (the land bridge the First Men used to make their way to Westeros) and their greenseers flooded the Neck, where Howland Reed and other crannogmen live today.
The Children made peace with the First Men called The Pact at the Isle of Faces at the center of God’s Eye lake, agreeing that the humans would have the open lands and the Children would be given back the forests. The peace lasted 2,000 years.
They Saved Benjen for a Very Important Reason
And now he’s Coldhands! Benjen is gravely injured by the White Walkers and the Children push a dragonglass knife into his wound and brought him back, using the very same method to create White Walkers in the first place.
Also, Benjen has been working with the Three-Eyed Raven to look over Bran from a far. And now he’s going to help Bran come into his full powers before the Night King arrives.
The White Walkers Attack
About 2,000 years into the Pact, the peace was interrupted by the White Walker invasion, when Walkers killed both men and Children in great numbers. The First Men and the Children came together to fight the White Walkers.
The Creation of the White Walkers
The Reeds brought Bran deep into the North to meet the Bloodraven, or the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran also met Leaf, one of the last remaining Children of the Forest. Or so we believe. In a green dream, Bran discovers that Leaf and the other Children tied a man to a weirwood tree and drove a knife made of dragon glass into his heart, creating the very first Other or White Walker. She tells Bran they made the Others to fight man, to protect themselves, but clearly the White Walkers were a really terrible idea. The Children’s powerful magic literally created an army of monsters.
Up until this revelation in Season 6, the White Walkers were believed to have been their own race unto themselves. When did the Children create them? Possibly during the first wars with Man. The White Walkers had time to grow in numbers and power and then came for the rest of civilization.
The Possible Extinction of the Children
The wars with the First Men and then the wars with the White Walkers took the Children’s population down to almost zero. By then, there weren’t that many Children of the Forest in the first place. In the books, Leaf tells Bran that there are not very many of them to offset the fact that they live for centuries, so as to not to cause overpopulation and deforestation.
By the time the Andals invaded Westeros six thousand years ago, there were only a few Children left. The remaining Children were hunted or driven away because of their faith in the Old Gods. The Andals believed in the Faith of the Seven and that the Old Gods and the Children were an abomination. The men in the South cut down the weirwood trees, but the men in the North held their ground and continued their worship of the Old Gods.
By the time A Song of Ice and Fire begins, the Children of the Forest are considered a myth by the majority of people. Those who believe they are real, say that the Children went beyond the Wall into the far North where they knew men wouldn’t follow them.
They survived by living in deep caves, undetected by the Night’s Watch and the wildlings. But if Leaf and the few Children in the cave were the last of their kind, they became extinct as they fought the White Walkers, defending Bran.
Why the Children Needed Bran
Clearly the Others turned on their creators a long time ago and have the capacity to create huge numbers from every dead or living person they meet. The Children knew the White Walker numbers were so great, everything alive or freshly dead is in danger. They need man to help fight this attack before they meet the same fate as the Children. They need a powerful warg/greenseer to lead them and to join all of the willing together. They need a Stark. As the Bloodraven tells Bran, “It’s time for you to become me” – we’re not so sure. Bran’s lone warging brought the Night King down on top of them, cutting his training short. Or this was all by design?
Now that Bran is the new Three-Eyed-Raven or whatever his new fancy green name is, he will play a central part in the coming war. Possibly rooted in the ground somewhere, literally, and connecting all of the parts from a central place. The godswood at Winterfell, for instance. So it’s important that Ramsay not be there when Bran arrives.
Can the White Walkers Breach the Wall Now Because of Bran?
It seems like when Bran allowed the Night King to brand him, he removed the magic or the ward to the entrance of the cave, allowing them to waltz right in.
The Wall isn’t just tall and wide, it’s protected by magic, woven into it by Bran the Builder and the Children of the Forest. This is the only way they were able to keep the White Walkers at bay all of these years. Will Bran be the key the White Walkers need to flow through the wall and into Westeros? Do the Children have anything hidden within the Wall to keep them out? Will Bran be called Bran the Unbuilder? Bran the Guy Who Let the White Walkers Kill Us All?
The Reed Connection
Leaf tells Meera that Bran will need her soon before she and the Children sacrifice themselves to save her and Bran. (Let’s pour some weirwood sap on the ground for the fallen homies.) Meera’s role may be more than just impressively killing White Walkers and pulling Bran across the frozen North. It may be to take him to her father to gather forces and create weapons.
Some of the most powerful members of the Children were their green priests. So it makes sense that either Meera is a green priest and doesn’t know it, Bran is the green priest, Howland Reed is, or he knows where to find one.
The Children Created the White Walkers During Peace
We’re Going to Need Some Dragons
We’re Going to Need Some Green Men
We Might Just Need These Lord of Light People
Leaf Created the Night’s King?
Wasn’t the Wall built to keep the White Walkers out? So if the Night’s Watch existed already… never mind. Either she created the Night King or the Others created him. Either way, if the Night’s King is the key to it all, maybe just killing him is all they need to do. The rest are frosty puppets, right?
Wait… what if the Night’s King was Bran the Builder? And this poor first sucker was just the beginning of a series of White Walkers, each more powerful with each new spawning by the Children. We need more information. And a nap.