The Others, known as the "White Walkers" among the wildlings or Free Folk exist north of the Wall. Before the events in the Novel, the Others had not been seen in the Seven Kingdoms for more than eight thousand years since their defeat during The Long Night and the foundation of the Night's Watch. Consequently they became regarded south of the Wall as nothing more than fairy tales to frighten the little children. North of the Wall it is a different matter. Craster at first appears to sacrifice his infant sons to the Others, but then his wives reveal that at least some of the White Walkers are his sons: “The boy’s brothers,” said the old woman on the left. “Craster’s sons. 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.”
The White Walkers have thus far appeared in the flesh only twice in the whole saga and their motives remain completely unknown at this time.
The White Walkers appear as being tall and gaunt with white skin and eyes of blue so deep it burns like fire. They wear reflective armor that shifts in color with every step rather like the stealth armor once said to have been worn by the Children of the Forest. They appear to be superior swordsmen, wielding thin crystal swords that said so cold as to shatter any object they touch, including the steel blades favoured by the Night's Watch. Their language is unknown, although it may be the Old Tongue and their voices sound like the cracking of ice. The Free Folk believe the White Walkers and their wights can smell life, or rather its warmth.
The old stories claim that the Others come when it is cold or that it becomes cold when they appear, during snowstorms or mist and melt away when the skies clear. They hide from the light of the sun and emerge at night; although once again some stories claim that their coming brings the night. There are tales of their riding the corpses of dead animals such as bears, direwolves, mammoths, and horses, and can be accompanied by giant ice spiders.
The Others have a few known weaknesses that are recorded in ancient texts. One is obsidian, otherwise called dragonglass or "frozen fire". Weapons made of obsidian will pierce the Others' armor easily and kill them instantly. When Samwell Tarly accidentally stabbed a White Walker with an obsidian dagger, its flesh and bones melted away as well leaving only an icy puddle, which would indicate that they are sustained by a magical glamour. Ancient texts also record a weakness to "dragonsteel", which several Night's Watchmen have speculated to be Valyrian steel. Mance Rayder expressed belief that magic wards in the Wall prevent the Others from crossing into the Seven Kingdoms.
Wights are raised up by the Others, who hold some form of power over them and can gather them together to attack their enemies en masse. Creatures or men slain by the Others, can become a wight, unless their bodies are burned. Wights could be dead for days, before they finally raise, although they don't stink or exhibit other signs of decomposition that a normal corpse would have in that time. When they do rise, Wights have icy cold body, with flesh as pale as milk, although their hands are black as if with deep frostbite and their eyes change to an unnatural blue.
Wights will attack any living creature around them with surprising strength, and may retain a certain amount of intelligence and memories of their previous life (as indicated by an assassination attempt of the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch). They feel no pain and will continue to fight regardless of injury. Though they can be stopped by total dismemberment, their limbs will continue to move if detached from their bodies. When a wight is destroyed, the blue disappears from its eyes.  They are highly flammable and will be quickly consumed if set aflame. It is unknown at this time whether wights can cross the Wall on their own, although corpses brought through the Wall can still reanimate as wights and even enter castles of the Wall.
A list of individual characters that have been turned into wights over the course of the series.
- Ser Waymar Royce
- Jafer Flowers, slain by Castle Black garrison.
- Othor, slain by Jon Snow.
- Small Paul, slain by Samwell Tarly.
The Others, as they are known in the novels and in the TV series during the first draft of the pilot script, were later renamed to 'White Walkers' instead. Whilst the producers have not commented directly on the reasons for the name change, fans speculate that this was done to avoid similarities to an identically-named faction in the television series Lost.
Because of that Some fans have confused the term 'White Walkers' with their minions, which are called 'wights'. This confusion stems from the name change, when in the novels it is made clear the Others and wights are two separate types of creature.
References and Notes
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Night's Watch. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Night's Watch. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.