White cold

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Do the Others come when it is cold, or does it get cold when they come? © FFG

The white cold is what Craster's wives call the extremely cold air and white mists that they have noted heralds the coming of the Others.

Tormund Giantsbane also tells Jon Snow of the severe cold that accompanies the Others:

A man can fight the dead, but when their masters come, when the white mists rise up … how do you fights a mist crow? Shadows with teeth … air so cold it hurts to breath, like a knife inside your chest … you do not know, you cannot know … can your sword cut cold? [1]

The old stories reveal uncertainty whether the Others come when it is cold or that it becomes cold when they appear, during snowstorms or mist and vanish when the skies clear. After researching books and annuals in Castle Black Samwell Tarly tells Jon Snow,

The Others come when it is cold, most of the tales agree. Or else it gets cold when they come. Sometimes they appear during snowstorms and melt away when the skies clear. They hide from the light of the sun and emerge by night … or else night falls when they emerge.

King Stannis Baratheon tells Davos Seaworth that after the Battle of the Blackwater he was lost in despair but Melisandre bid him to gaze into the hearth fire; he describes to Davos what he saw in the flames, and in addition says that he felt a terrible cold,

For all the heat of the fire, I felt a cold so terrible I shivered.[2]


The white cold's rising out there, crow. I can feel it in my bones. These poor old bones don't lie. They’ll be here soon, the sons. [3]

When it is cold it will hurt to breathe. When the Others come …