Why haven't the defenders of Winterfell, in S8 of GOT, at least contemplated using wildfire to defend the castle (and humanity)?

I just watched 8.2. The defenders of Winterfell have been armed with Dragonglass and Valyrian steel as much as possible. But no-one has brought up wildfire. Why?

We know regular fire is effective against the walking dead. We know wildfire is pretty useful when defending a keep. Tyrion has used it, Sers Davos and Clegane have seen it being used, Cersei has used it. So why don't they at least fill some of the frozen trenches with it, instead of pointed sticks?

  • 1
    no-one has brought up wildfire and other possibilities. There is a limit to what needs to be discussed onscreen to avoid breaking immersion and what becomes a boring discussion about all available examples. Charles' and Niffler's answers are quite interesting to me, but would likely not be worth the precious and expensive screen time of this season. Also, these explanations would have been needed before Cersei's usage of Wildfire, not after if the runners want to avoid poor writing practices.
    – Mefitico
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 18:52
  • 3
    @Mefitico - "...if the runners want to avoid poor writing practices." Not sure that's a big concern of theirs anymore... :/
    – BruceWayne
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 21:24
  • Kind of redundant when you have a couple of frigging dragons racing about burninating everything. (Granted not used in a particularly strategic way)
    – Shayne
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 2:35

3 Answers 3


The simple answer of why the North doesn't use Wildfire to help defend Winterfell is because they don't have any. The only ones who know how to make it are the remaining pyromancers that are in King's Landing, Tyrion enlisted them to produce more for the battle of Blackwater Bay but he never knew how to make it himself.

  • 18
    @Ivana true, but even if they had thought about it and tried, Cersie wouldn't have allowed them too. She lied and none of her resources or men were going to help the North. And most, if not all, of the remaining wildfire Cersie had was probably used when destroying the Sept of Balor.
    – Virusbomb
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 20:45
  • 1
    @Virusbomb Not that it matters much, but it was made clear that the Sept of Balor had a dedicated cache of wildfire below it from the Mad King. As did several other places in King's Landing. It's safe to assume those other caches are still there.
    – Logarr
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 16:21
  • 4
    @Logarr: “It's safe to assume those other caches are still there.” Is it? Cersei might have moved all of it under the Sept to make sure she got everyone. Commented May 9, 2019 at 22:20
  • 2
    @PaulD.Waite And to make sure nobody else could then inconveniently do the same thing she did. Such as under the Red Keep. Commented May 10, 2019 at 4:14
  • 1
    FWIW, as we saw in S08E05, there was definitely Wildfire left below King's Landing. How much, how accessible, etc. is unknown, but there was definitely some exploding during Dany and Drogon's spin through town.
    – BruceWayne
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 21:25

Why haven't the defenders of Winterfell, in S8 of GOT, at least contemplated using wildfire to defend the castle (and humanity)?

For several reasons:

  1. The only people who know how to make wildfire are the pyromancers of the Alchemists' Guild in King's Landing, and they are under the control / at the service of Cersei.
  2. Even if the North could make wildfire, they probably wouldn't have enough time to make a worthwhile amount to use against 100,000+ wights.
  3. Using wildfire doesn't go well with close quarters combat, which is the prevailing combat style for the army of the North.
  4. The North's main defense/strategy against the Night King's army is harvesting and manufacturing weapons made of dragon glass... a substance much easier to acquire, proven to be effective, able to be issued to every soldier, and is reusable.
  5. There's no indication that the North even has the proper resources/ingredients/equipment to make wildfire.


  1. As it stands, the Alchemists' Guild is under the directive of Queen Cersei. Excluding the fact that none of them [the Alchemists' Guild members] may even believe the White Walkers are real, and/or have the inclination to join the North's cause, IMO, there's very little chance they could successfully leave King's Landing without being detected.

  2. The distance between The Wall and Winterfell traveling by foot is roughly 625 miles. With the Night King's army moving at a somewhat slow pace (say 2MPH) but never stopping, it would take them roughly two weeks to get to Winterfell. That being said, I have serious doubts that enough wildfire could be produced in that amount of time, not to mention subtracting the amount of time it took for the army of the North to fully assemble at Winterfell.

  3. Wildfire is typically used from a distance, either through some kind of "trap" (e.g., how it was used against Stannis Baratheon) or by catapulting it from afar. With the wights having such large numbers, the use of catapults being somewhat slow (and the North having a limited number of them), and the wights being able to move so quickly, using wildfire wouldn't be so effective in the long run of the battle.

  4. Jon and Daenerys had already committed to using dragon glass as the primary weapon against the Night King's army. Swords, daggers and arrows could be issued to each and every member of the North's army, whereas wildfire would only be used from a distance with catapults or in single-use bottles that could be thrown (keep in mind that wildfire is highly combustible though so the chances of those bottles exploding just from bouncing around is pretty high).

  5. It's never mentioned how wildfire is made, and there's also no indication that the North even has the proper resources to manufacture wildfire. I assume though that takes takes a good amount of equipment, ingredients, time and care, given that not many people know how to make it and that it's a highly combustible substance.

  • 1
    Point 2,3 and 4 are not really justified.2 and 4: It would not hurt to have another weapon against the wights, you do now have to set everything on one weapon. And fire is still the most effective against them. 3 the North does not fight more in close quarters than others. Catapults were used and they probably would have been more effective with wildfire. So wildfire would probably have been a great addition in the fight even making a crucial difference because of its Area of effect. But it was not available and thats it.
    – Kami Kaze
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 6:56
  • 2
    @KamiKaze To provide a rebuttal -- 2 and 4: The differences between fire and wildfire are somewhat negligible when considering their effectiveness against wights. The North could have easily dropped oil on the wights and then torch them with regular fire and that would for all intents and purposes be just as good. The problem with that approach though is that the North had a very limited amount of time and resources to produce the best weapons they could that they knew would be most effective over the course of an entire battle consisting over 200,000+ bodies.
    – Charles
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 10:56
  • @KamiKaze 3. As for the use of catapults, the wildfire is simply too combustible to use with that kind of technology. The initial thrust when releasing the catapult is too great and the wildfire would explode before it even left the chute. In the end, it's better to have a single strategy that's most easily coordinated than it is to spread out your resources on three and four different ploys and hoping collectively they'll work. For thousands of years and proven by the First Men themselves, dragon glass has been the #1 weapon against the white walkers. Best to just go with that and dragons.
    – Charles
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 11:02
  • #3 Yep: you bury a few barrels of it in the shallow snow, at a wide distance from your castle. Then when the enemy army is on top of it you set it ablaze with a flaming arrow from the castle walls. Bob's yer uncle.
    – Ivana
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 11:20
  • Wildfire is not fire, it seems more like nitro with the effect that it also has fire when ignited. The cumbustibility would be more effective then just hurling big burning objects into the ranks (if possible). The time and resources are not relevant as it was just not possible to begin with. And if it would have been possible a single cask (if hurlable or maybe made as a trap before the formation) might increase the damage done to the enemy. There would be no reason not to do it expect they couldn't. Plus we do not know how long they had to prepate in total. Just because it is not shown.
    – Kami Kaze
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 11:23

Too dangerous.

As we know, Wildfire is extremely dangerous.

“There will be no mishaps, my lord Hand. The substance is prepared by trained acolytes in a series of bare stone cells, and each jar is removed by an apprentice and carried down here the instant it is ready. Above each work cell is a room filled entirely with sand. A protective spell has been laid on the floors, hmmm, most powerful. Any fire in the cell below causes the floors to fall away, and the sand smothers the blaze at once.”

Now imagine transporting it all the way there, across bumpy roads or anything of the like could spark it and then Boom, your wildfire is gone and so are a few of your soldiers.

  • Then don't transport it. Transport ingredients. That is how it is done today with chemical warfare if i understand correctly.
    – Ivana
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 11:22
  • 3
    @Ivana it's been shown to be a challenge to make and only the Pyromancers know how. So you'd need to bring Pyromancers along with the ingredients and you'd be limited by how much wildfire the Pyromancers are able to make. Odds are it'd be a lot of work for not that much of a benefit over plain fire or dragon fire.
    – kuhl
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 14:20

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