Editor’s note: This post was originally published on June 27, 2016 and has been updated with details from Season 7 ahead of the finale.
(Hey! Some spoilers for the “Game of Thrones” season 6 finale and maybe the future of the series are in this post. So tread lightly.)
Season 7 is coming to a close, and with only one season remaining it seems inevitable that the Wall will have to come down soon so the White Walkers and the army of the dead can move south and trigger the endgame of “Game of Thrones.” Or at least it feels so inevitable to us that we included it in our predictions for what will go down in the Season 7 finale.
The show has given no hint whatsoever how the Night King might be able to bring his forces south of the Wall, but it has explained why he hasn’t simply assaulted one of the unmanned forts on the Wall and passed through the normal way, or just climbed over it the way Jon Snow, Ygritte and Tormund did back in Season 3.
Said explanation came courtesy of Benjen Stark, the long lost uncle of the Stark children who appeared in the nick of time in Season 6 to save Bran and Meera Reed and then drop some knowledge on them. Benjen, you’ll recall, was no longer just a regular man — he was nearly killed by a White Walker and transformed into one of their undead horde. He was saved from that fate by a Child of the Forest, but he’s not quite human anymore.
“The Wall’s not just ice and stone,” Benjen told Bran and Meera. “Ancient spells were carved into its foundation. Strong magic. To protect men from what lies beyond. And while it stands, the dead cannot pass. I cannot pass.”
Benjen’s declaration is the confirmation of what had been considered an old myth about the Wall. It was considered a myth because the foundations of the Wall were built thousands of years before current events, and magic in general has not been present for a long time.
Even the White Walkers themselves are considered myths when the show begins, which is how we’ve ended up with a Night’s Watch that’s overly preoccupied with fighting wildlings even when the threat of those immortal invaders has been made plain.
Judging by everything we’ve seen, and Benjen’s own state as at least partially undead, it’s very likely he can be considered a reliable source on this matter.
Now, just because the Wall contains magic that prevents the dead from passing through or over it doesn’t mean the White Walkers will have no means of getting by — we just haven’t been presented with such a means yet on the show. The books, though, are another matter.
From the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels we know of something called the Horn of Winter. According to legend, a blast from the Horn of Winter can destroy the Wall.
In the books Mance Rayder claims to possess the Horn, but the one he had was destroyed and Tormund Giantsbane said it was just a fake anyway. Some fans believe that an old horn Jon Snow had found north of the Wall and gave to Sam is the real Horn of Winter. That horn we haven’t seen on the show either, though.
But just because the Horn of Winter hasn’t been mentioned on “Game of Thrones” doesn’t mean it never will. One would assume, anyway, that the war with the White Walkers won’t just take place north of the Wall. They’ll find some way to get by.