We've been shown in Game of Thrones that people who die north of The Wall can end up becoming wights (another footman in the army of the dead), and we also know that anyone killed by a White Walker (or in the vicinity of one, by a wight) is also a candidate for joining the army of the dead.

We also know, now (spoilers for S07E06)...

... that the control over a group of wights is localised to individual White Walkers - meaning that killing a White Walker who is magically linked to a group of wights will "de-activate" those wights, leaving them permanently dead (until another White Walker might walk in and revive them with magic again).

Q: Do we know all the possible ways this spell of animating the dead, which has been compared to zombieism, can propagate? Is it possible, for example, for a lone wight in a populated area to make other people wights

(i.e. if a wight kills someone, does that someone become a wight, too, like a zombie? Or do they have to be near a White Walker?)

  • @LeonX White Walker (Wight) It would appear that you are confused. White Walkers are not the same as wights. My question here is regarding the wights and not the White Walkers. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


I figure only the White Walkers raise the Wights. In the battle in the ending of season 5 episode 8, the Wights kills tons of people who stay dead until the Night King shows off to Jon as he is fleeing, by raising every dead person from the fight.

  • 1
    The Night's Watch burn bodies (S07E06 - Jon says Thoros must be burned) specifically to prevent them from turning into wights automatically. It's not impossible that the Night's King is actively resurrecting all the dead (effectively broadcasting a resurrection spell, and resurrecting all the dead), but this does seem different from how the Night's King raised the dead at Hardhome. I think a full explanation hinges on how the Walkers are affecting winter in the first place (it has been hinted by GRRM that the irregular seasons will be resolved in the end)
    – Flater
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 9:54

They seem some sort of necromancers to me. They can raise the dead and control them. And from what we saw in Hardhome,

It's as easy for a white walker to raise the dead as lifting his hands

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Although the term "necromancers" won't completely fit since they don't seem to use magic (Spells/spoken words). The magic involved (if there's any) seems to come from the White Walkers themselves.

Here's a quote from the books

Melisandre: Necromancy animates these wights, yet they are still only dead flesh. Steel and fire will serve for them. The ones you call the Others are something more.


Is it possible, for example, for a lone wight in a populated area to make other people wights?

No, Because it's not an infection to be spread, it's a magical power (most likely) that don't allow the White Walkers to resurrect them, but rather control them like if they're puppets.

Wights in the novels are indeed not exactly like zombies: they can't turn other people into wights with infectious bites, every body part keeps moving even if amputated, etc. (the term "revenant" is a closer description). Source

Here's an example (from min 3:10) for people get bitten by Whites and don't turn until The White Walkers raise them:

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A man with a bite mark will start to twitch while the Walker is raising his hand

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  • What this answer doesn't address is whether a wight can turn other people into wights after killing them (kinda like conventional zombies). What we can infer so far is that whenever a wight kills someone, a White Walker has always been close-by enough to quickly animate them, too, but it's just an assumption: it may be that within a wight exists the magic to spread the spell without a White Walker being in the vicinity: that's what I'm after. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 17:17
  • Oh! and no, they can't, it's magic not an infection. Not sure if I'll find a specific proof to that, but it seemed obvious to me.
    – madmada
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 19:16
  • I know it's magic - notice I wrote "the White Walkers' spell", and only compared them to zombies in the ways that they are similar. It's not an infection in the literal, contagious disease sense, but it might be that the White Walkers have imbued within the wights the ability to curse dead bodies (who knows? - that's kind of my question). Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 19:38
  • That's why I posted that Wikia quote, and That the White Walkers control them like puppets. Also there are examples in "Hardhome" to people get bitten and don't turn, until the White Walker did. Not sure if this is the main point you're asking for.
    – madmada
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 19:50
  • I thought about what would happen if a wight made it to King's Landing (as they have planned), is it at all possible that the wight would cause an outbreak (maybe the Walkers can remote control him and through him cause others to turn). Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 19:56

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