As is typical in the weeks before HBO’s biggest premiere of the year, previous season catch-up articles take over the internet. For those who don’t have the time or inclination to rewatch the last ten episodes (or watch them two to three times the week they air), these articles outlining the broad strokes are really helpful when dealing with as complex a show as Game of Thrones. However, amidst the shocking deaths, drastic regime changes and spectacular battles, there are some less exciting, but just as crucial facts that you should also be aware of going into season seven.
This is the first in a series of articles we’ll release in the coming days to make sure Geek readers are sufficiently boned up before Sunday evening! The following discussion of the Wall includes spoilers for season six and speculation about season seven. Read no further if you want to remain completely pure.
While the show has focused less on the spiritual nature of the Wall’s protection as much as the books have, the magic spells woven into the construction of one of the Wonders of Westeros are established canon. Osha speaks of it, and in the season six finale, “The Winds of Winter,” Benjen admits to Bran and Meera that in his current, mostly dead condition, he cannot pass beneath it with his charges.
The Wall’s not just ice and stone. 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.
There are two important conclusions to draw from this statement. First, if the Wall is a barrier against the dead, that means the White Walkers cannot pass beneath it. It’s possible they could get above it, but we have a hard time imagining the ancient and powerful Night King stooping to use something as pedestrian as grappling hooks and ice boots. Plus, his army of wights doesn’t seem possessed of the intellect to operate simple machines. But let’s not kid ourselves — either the Wall is coming down or the Army of the Dead is going to find a way past it. The question is how. This brings us to our second conclusion: Bran might ruin everything.
Remember when Bran decided to do the astral projection version of sneaking out after curfew and came face-to-face with the Night King? Of course you do. We all do. It resulted in the harrowing chain of events that resulted in all of us sob-shouting “Hold the DOOOOOORRR!” for weeks after. If you recall, the Night King touched Bran and which left a mark the young Stark carried with him back to the physical world. Fans have speculated that this mark, unknown to Benjen, tainted Bran somehow and that if he passes beneath the Wall to Castle Black*, the Wall’s spiritual protection could be damaged or even completely obliterated. Either way, it’s likely the Wall’s fate will have more to do with Bran and magic than a demon king with a battering ram.
*If he even can — we’ve seen set stills of Bran in a wheelchair in a godswood accompanied by what could either be Maester Wolken meaning he’s at Winterfell or a Brother in Black. If it’s a Brother, that means Bran isn’t at Winterfell at all, but north of the Wall in the godswood where Jon and Sam originally took their vows.
Game of Thrones premieres IN FOUR DAYS, this Sunday, July 16th at 9 pm on HBO. Review the latest trailer below and comment with what you’re most excited to see!