Difference between revisions of "Wights"

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Revision as of 13:09, 19 August 2013

All wights are easily identified by their eyes having turned bright blue, like two blue stars - by Thomas Denmark. © Fantasy Flight Games
Wight, dead raised up by the Others. Art by AniaEm©

Wights are dead men or creatures raised up by the Others, seemingly when touched by the cold that accompanies them. [1] Anyone who falls against the Others must be burned, or else the dead will rise again as their thralls. Fear of their own dead becoming wights leads the wildlings to burn them.

Appearance

The appearance of wights depends entirely on the condition of the corpse when it is raised. Some are lifelike, while others are badly rotten although the process of decay has been halted. All are easily identified by their eyes having turned bright blue [2][3] like two blue stars [4] and their hands and feet black and swollen with pooled and congealed blood. [5]

About

Wights are supposedly attracted to warm blood and will attack with surprising strength. Unlike the Others they are slow and clumsy. [6] Wights have a queer, cold scent that can panic animals if they catch a wiff of it. [4]

It appears that wights retain at least some of their former memories, since the wight of Othor seemed to know where Lord Commander Jeor Mormont slept and who he was as it tried to kill him, and the wight of Thistle recognises Varamyr Sixskins even warged into the body of a wolf.

Being dead, wights feel no pain and will continue to fight regardless of injury. [4] 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. [1] [4]

Wights appear to be able to remain in a state of stasis, such as outside the hillside entrance to the cave of the three-eyed crow. The snows have buried most of the dead men, but they are still there, hidden, frozen, waiting. [7]

Weakness

Dragonglass cannot stop a wight [4] but fire can. They are highly flammable and will be quickly consumed if set aflame. [1] It is unknown at this time whether wights can cross the Wall on their own, although corpses brought through the Wall can apparently still reanimate as wights. Burning corpses appears to prevent them from being reanimated by the Others to become wights.

The Seven-Pointed Star

It is stated in the Seven-Pointed Star that spirits, wights, and revenants cannot harm a pious man, so long as he is armored in his faith. [8]

Known Wights

A list of individual characters that have been turned into wights over the course of the series:

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Ser Waymar Royce rises as a wight after falling to the Others beyond the Wall. Jon Snow rescues Lord Commander Mormont from the wight which was Othor.[9]

Old Nan tells Bran the tale of the last hero in which she mentions that the Others led hosts of the slain and fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children.

A Clash of Kings

Othor’s hand (still moving) was sent to King's Landing in a jar with Alliser Thorne to try to an impress on the king the severity of the threat from beyond the Wall so that the king may send more troops to the wall. Tyrion Lannister kept Ser Allister waiting so long that Othor's hand decomposed, and was not very convincing.

A Storm of Swords

During the Battle of the Fist of the First Men the Night's Watch was unable to defend against the wights that were sent against them. After a crushing defeat, the majority of the Night's Watch who fought on the Fist were slain by the insurmountable odds.

Those who survived were led by Mormont on a grim march back to Craster's Keep. Sam notices that there are no attacks by the Others or the wights while they are there.

After the Battle of Castle Black the wildling Torwynd dies a few days later from the cold. He rose as a wight and his father Tormund was forced to slay him.

Coldhands saved Samwell Tarly, Gilly and her son when they were beset by wights, some of whom had been men of the Night's Watch.

A Dance with Dragons

While listening to gossip in the Lazy Eel in White Harbor Davos notices that no one speaks of King Stannis. No one seems to know he has gone north to help defend the Wall. Wildlings and wights and giants had been all the talk of Eastwatch, but no one seems to be giving them so much as a thought.

Jon consigns some of the dead wildling corpses in the ice cells. [10] Sometime thereafter he talks with Bowen Marsh, Septon Cellador and Othell Yarwyck in his chambers. Bowen Marsh eventually asks Jon why he has kept those corpses in the cells as they make the men uneasy. Bowen also asks why the corpses are kept under guard. He wonders if Jon fears they will rise up. Jon replies that he hopes they do. Septon Cellador is horrified, saying to Jon,

Wights are monstrous, unnatural creatures. Abominations before the eyes of the gods. You … you cannot mean to try to talk with them? [11]

Jon replies by asking septon Cellador if they can talk. Jon says he thinks not, but he does not claim to know. He tells the men,

Monsters they may be, but they were men before they died. How much remains? The one I slew was intent on killing Lord Commander Mormont. Plainly he remembered who he was and where to find him [11]

Jon thinks to himself that Maester Aemon would have grasped his purpose, Samwell Tarly would have been terrified, but he would have understood as well. Jon tries to explain, telling the men,

My lord father used to tell me that a man must know his enemies. We understand little of the wights and less about the Others. We need to learn. [11]

Jon’s answer does not please the men.

Cotter Pyke sailed towards Hardhome by the command of Lord Commander Jon Snow. By rescuing the wildlings Jon hopes to be able to prevent the Others from raising an enormous army of wights by killing the thousands of wildlings stranded at Hardhome and raising them as their thralls. Jon knows that if the Others manage to do this the wights will head for the Wall in their hundreds and their thousands.

By the time Cotter arrived at Hardhome he sent a report to say there were dead things in the woods and dead things in the water. [12]

Later on Jon Snow goes down to the ice cells where they have four living men and two dead men in. Jon had almost forgotten the corpses. He thinks that he had hoped to learn something from the bodies they’d brought back from the weirwood grove, but the dead men had stubbornly remained dead. [13] When Jon Snow decides to move the living men he instructs Bowen Marsh to leave the corpses . Jon thinks to himself that he will no doubt need to burn them eventually but for the nonce they are bound with iron chains inside the cells, and that that, and being dead, should suffice to hold them harmless. [13]

Quotes

“The cold winds are rising, and men go out from their fires and never come back . . . or if they do, there’re not men no more, but only wights, with blue eyes and cold black hands. Why do you think I run south with Stiv and Hali and the rest of them fools?” [14]

- Osha, to Bran


Yet his eyes were still open. They stared up at the sky, blue as sapphires. [15]

- Jon Snow, observing Othor’s corpse


The world shrank to two blue stars, a terrible crushing pain, and a cold so fierce that his tears froze over his eyes. [6]

- Samwell Tarly being throttled by the wight that was Small Paul

References and Notes