In Game of Thrones S04E10, we see wights which are full skeletons and were too fast in comparison to normal wights. But as much we know wights never show signs of decomposition and Jon used to burn bodies to save them from becoming wights.

So how did these skeleton wights come in existence?

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    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 21, 2017 at 15:03
  • Just to add there are different kinds of wights, including Lord of Light 'fire' wights -- ie: Thoros, Beric, & Jon Snow---those ressurected through R'hllor's magic, loose a piece of soul and become a servents for his cause. GOT/ASOIAF is just full of ressurection magic that appears on a spectrum where just about every kind of 'living-dead' entity is presented (skeleton, children, Faceless Men, Lady Stone Heart, white walkers, children wights, men who just died, Three Eyed Raven (sees memories of others), ect and thus has to tie into the metaphysics and cycle cosmology... Dec 29, 2017 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


So how did these skeleton wights come in existence?

  • The bodies had already decomposed, and a skeleton was resurrected. Think back to when Bran arrived at the Three Eyed Raven's cave (where Jojen died). These skeletons were resurrected on the spot (or they were possibly waiting for an ambush, but they seemed to be resurrected).
  • A decomposing body was resurrected, and the flesh was removed from their bones (through combat, wear and tear, or intentionally taking it off to improve their speed)

But as much we know wights never show signs of decomposition ads Jon used to burn bodies to save them from becoming wights.

I'm not quite following your reasoning here. However, I do think that you're forgetting that cremation turns bones to ash. This depends on the heat of the fire (and how long it burns), but bones will at the very least turn brittle in a fire that hot enough to burn the rest of a body.

The skeletal wights we have seen, have not shown any charred bones. They seem to be old corpses from beyond the wall. Possibly, they are men who died there before the wall was erected, thus giving them about 1000 years to decompose before being resurrected by the Night's King. It could also be Wildlings or Crows that died on a scouting mission, but there seem to be more skeletal wights than there have been Wildlings and Crows beyond the wall (or I'm vastly underestimating their numbers)

edit A small addition: The skeletal wights need to be strong enough to swing a sword and hit/pierce their target. A wight made of brittle bones would likely break itself by swinging a sword. It's not impossible that the Walkers intentionally do not resurrect skeletons that are not fit for combat.


But as much we know wights never show signs of decomposition and Jon used to burn bodies to save them from becoming wights.

Although we never see wights decompose in the series, there is no evidence to show that they don't decompose, given that the show doesn't follow any single wight for any significant amount of time.

However, assuming that the series follows book canon in this regard, the decomposition of a wight's remains are described very well Spoilers ahead:

A contingent of the Night's Watch was sent to the south with the still-moving hand of a defeated wight in a glass jar in order to prove that the threat is real and rally assistance in defending the Wall from the Others. However, before they could get an audience with anyone of import, the hand had rotted away to nothing:

Quote from the books:

"The same things I'd have of all of them, lad. Men, horses, swords, armor, grain, cheese, wine, wool, nails ... the Night's Watch is not proud, we take what is offered." His fingers drummed against the rough-hewn planks of the table. "If the winds have been kind, Ser Alliser should reach King's Landing by the turn of the moon, but whether this boy Joffrey will pay him any heed, I do not know. House Lannister has never been a friend to the Watch."
"Thorne has the wight's hand to show them." A grisly pale thing with black fingers, it was, that twitched and stirred in its jar as if it were still alive.
"Would that we had another hand to send to Renly." (ACok, Jon I)


"If I give them bread today, on the morrow I'll have twice as many at the gates. Who else?" "A black brother down from the Wall. The steward says he brought some rotted hand in a jar."
Tyrion smiled wanly. "I'm surprised no one ate it. I suppose I ought to see him. It's not Yoren, perchance?" (ACoK, Tyrion IV)


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