In S02E10 of Game of Thrones, Sam hides behind a rock when the White Walkers walk by.

One mounted White Walker seems to look directly into Sam’s eyes. After that the White Walker screams and all of them seem to go on, leaving Sam there. The scene (and season) ends here.

enter image description here

In the beginning of S03E01 we see Sam running. He stops by a dead man and then a White Walker attacks him.

What happened in the meantime? Did the White Walker "army" spare him? Why? Or did Sam really manage to escape (and we see him still running from that escape in the beginning of season 3)? It would seem rather hard to escape, as there are many White Walkers and Sam is not really fast.


8 Answers 8


Now, it may very well have been just your good old fashioned MacGuffin, HOWEVER on closer inspection of the scene at the end.

You never actually see Sam or the mounted White Walker make eye contact. It is cleverly implied. Sam clearly hears the hooves padding through the snow and hears the rattling chains and the White Walker looks off to the left and then shrieks an order/battlecry.

BUUUUUUUUUUUUT, when the pan out begins, we see: The large rock is IN FRONT of the mounted white walker. Rock infront of white walker

The only other rock in the entire pan out is tiny and there is no shallow on the other side. enter image description here

And Sam is clearly seen getting behind a rock with a shallow which, when he sits down, gives about a foot of cover above enter image description here


  • The walkers never actually saw him
  • He pressed his back against the rock and waited until he thought they had all gone past
  • He then legged it!

The council for the defense rests m'lud, although I would like to say at this point. This whole bit feels like it was just rammed in for a cliffhanger, and is actually full of gaffs!

  • 23
    While the answer seems like a correct possibility, what on earth does any of this have to do with a MacGuffin?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 14, 2014 at 18:18
  • Your answer showing the images of the rock do not show the entire rock formation, if you actually watch the scene again you will see the rock he hides behind is next to a smaller rock to its left, that is the rock you circled during the moment the camera backs away showing the white walkers. May 21, 2015 at 3:16
  • 6
    Then I think he went back to the Winchester to wait for this all to blow over or something.
    – corsiKa
    Jun 8, 2015 at 16:47
  • This answer, like others here, is speculative. Can you provide actual citation from the book? Thanks.
    – RichS
    Jan 8, 2017 at 7:02
  • We are talking about "MOVIES & TV", not the book (@RichS). But I agree with the top rated answer. If you watch closely (and look at the pics provided by the top answer) you will see that the mounted walker not in Sam's line of vision. I believe they were trying to convey that Sam could see the horses head but not the White Walker, nor could the Walker see him. But yes it was a quick cliffhanger jammed in there and they were a little careless in my opinion. Feb 22, 2021 at 6:53

If you look at all the things individually then

  1. Sam is slow and not a good warrior (This is something anyone can make out through previous episodes)

  2. There are too.. many White Walkers to escape from.

  3. White Walkers are not forgiving or sparing (Can be seen in previous episodes)

All of the above three things if added up will surely guarantee that Sam would definitely be killed by the White Walkers.

But on the contrary He does manage to escape.

The only conclusion that comes out, that how Sam managed to do this is.... is through the courtesy of the script writers of the show.

Possible reasons: 1. This can be considered a technical error on the makers part. 2. They had to keep Sam alive as he may come of use in the future episodes. 3. He may be important for the story.


There may be some other reason that may be revealed in the future episodes.


One other possibility is that through some miracle Sam manages to outsmart the White Walkers and walks away from certain death. This may easily be true as Sam as shown in previous episodes has been a book worm and has read many books related to their history. thus he may have come across some method in the books to escape from.

Hope this answers your question.

  • 7
    Watch it carefully, the White Walker never actually looked at Sam. It's very clever camera work that implies it, but in the panning shot, the Walker is WELL behind the rock that Sam hid behind, so the looking to the left was merely to let out that banshee shriek to the Wights
    – Kegg
    Sep 9, 2013 at 12:46
  • This answer is speculative. Can you provide actual citation from the book? Thanks.
    – RichS
    Jan 8, 2017 at 7:01

I'm gonna answer based on what happened on the book.

This scene didn't happen at all in the book, not like this at least. This was just a cliffhanger for the final season, hence wasn't necessary to be explained in detail.

In the book, the night's watch group was attacked when camping, and Sam escaped using the Dragonglass (Obsidian) knife (BTW in the series they never tell what Dragonglass is in detail, and where did Jon and Sam found this knifes/dagger), just like when he used in the series to protect the baby boy from the white walker...

I believe there are big gaps between scenes in the TV show, and of course turn out to be confusing for people who haven't read the books.

(I apologize for my english grammar :D)

  • It was a dragon glass/obsidian dagger that kills white walkers not valyrian steel.
    – user5353
    Jul 6, 2013 at 7:57
  • 9
    The series did show where they got the Dragonglass and Sam explained about Dragonglass/Obsidian. When they found an old Rangers cache at the fist of the first men, though he does not know that it can harm Others @Justin the books actually say that Valyrian is "also said to be effective against Others" However only Dragonglass is proven to work
    – Kegg
    Sep 8, 2013 at 21:52
  • 2
    update: even the valyrian steel works on white walkers. Jon killed two of them with his claw ;) (epsiodes - s5e8 & s7e6)
    – ashveli
    Aug 28, 2017 at 6:38

I assumed that they felt killing him just was not worth the bother of stopping what they were doing.

It is not as if he was a threat or anything. So what if he warned people, they were on the march anyway.

  • Could the divebomber leave a comment to help improve the answer?
    – Stefan
    Sep 9, 2013 at 8:26
  • "None knew why they came, but they killed all in their path, reanimating the dead as wights to kill the living at their command" - from the first march of the White Walkers upon the South. They do not feel, they only seek to enslave in death and make the re-animated Wights kill on command. The Walkers themselves need not bother themselves with the task.
    – Kegg
    Sep 9, 2013 at 12:44
  • "... they killed all in their path ... " is clearly not the case though is it? They did not kill Sam. Hence, when wondering why they might have spared him I think that mercy is unlikely, lack of capability is unlikely ... I can only think they did not try and that was because it was not worth the effort. Although the actual reason is almost definitely a plot device for dramatic purposes.
    – Stefan
    Sep 9, 2013 at 12:52
  • 1
    Ah, that is a possibility - although the camera work does seem to imply that the walker is looking directly at Sam and then turns away. Also it would be odd that Sam was behind a rock and not a single one of the many walkers and associated army see him as they go passed. However, it is not explicitly shown so it is not impossible that he is unseen - although I find the idea that he is seen and ignored more plausible.
    – Stefan
    Sep 9, 2013 at 13:20
  • 1
    Your answer is good (+1). However, I find it more likely that the on screen rock was an error, otherwise the camera work is intentionally very misleading for no apparent reason. I also find it implausible that a Wight would not kill Sam or at least mention he is there or that he would not be seen by hundreds of 'people' walking passed him - some within a few yards.
    – Stefan
    Sep 9, 2013 at 13:50

Assuming the walker did see him and look into his eyes, maybe he sensed that Sam had the dragon glass on him and decided not to initiate aggression since Sam was not?

  • 4
    But then this wouldn't make sense at the scene of the third season, when the same walker comes to get the baby. Jan 22, 2014 at 10:18
  • 1
    @ArturBalestro How do you know it was the same one? Did he show you his ID?
    – arkon
    Mar 26, 2015 at 3:24

I felt that because Sam just sat there and was no threat to the white walkers at all they didn't harm him... They saw that he was scared and that he wouldn't attack them so why should they attack in return.... Just my thought


I can think of 3 possible things,

  1. Sam was hidden from sight, by fog.. seems unlikely though seeing the horde of White walkers.

  2. Sam having dragon glass deterred them from aggression.

  3. The one I like the most.. White walkers don't kill frightened people. Like the first deserter that they show, who survived and was later beheaded by Ned Stark.


I think it could be one of two possible reasons

A: Sam had the obsidian/dragon glass OR B: Maybe Sam being a virgin has something to do with it.

Just an opinion.

  • add opinions to comments. down vote. Only detailed answers should be posted with relevant references.
    – ashveli
    Aug 28, 2017 at 6:35

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