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The Night King's army cannot go into water. So how did they manage to pull Viserion out with chains? Wouldn't that require going into the water in the first place, to place the chains around Viserion?

  • They can go in water when it is convenient for them...? – cheshire Aug 23 '17 at 21:55
  • They attached hooks to the ends of the chains? – Works for a Living Aug 24 '17 at 4:58
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    I'd like to challenge your assumption that they cannot go into the water. In the same episode we see two wights come out of the water and grab Thormunds legs. – TheLethalCarrot Aug 24 '17 at 8:40
  • @iandotkelly I wonder if it might be better to reopen this question and close the other one as a double-dupe of both this one and the third one? The one you reopened already has four new votes to close, and people are saying it's a dupe because the first half is. If you re-close that one as a double dupe and re-open this one, all the problems should be solved. – Rand al'Thor Aug 24 '17 at 12:47
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is based on a false assumption which, if rejected, makes the answer obvious and the question superfluous and unnecessary. – Ghoti and Chips Aug 24 '17 at 18:19
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They clearly can go in the water, as evidenced by the wights who had previously fallen into the lake that emerged to try and drag Tormund down.

So why don't the just ignore it? Probably because it does present a bit of a barrier, from the point of view of a dead and decaying body. While it might be preserved from staying below the thermocline, inert, would fall apart more quickly the more it was under water, active, and getting in then out, vs staying relatively dry in a dry (ability to hold moisture gets lower the colder air gets), cold environment. Also factor in ocean currents, rocks, reefs, etc, and you'd have your individual wight's ability to move and act being degraded through damage.

None of the wights are 100% skeleton, even ones that are relatively skeletal-looking still have some rotting flesh on them. They still rely on tissue to provide the force to move. As that tissue rots and falls off, their gait becomes noticeably more disjointed and movements more shambling.

Once that tissue has fallen apart, to a certain degree, they're useless, I think.

So it's not in the interest of the army to soak the footsoldiers, and movement is very, very slow underwater. However, given the reward and the limited nature of the body of water in question, the White Walkers thought it would be worth degrading the practical timespan of a few thousand wights to get a dragon to re-animate.

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    I disagree with "They still rely on tissue to provide the force to move." Plenty of wights have been seen moving limbs that have no tissue (or not sufficient tissue to create actual muscle movement). Based on what we have seen, the movement of the wights seems magical. However, it does still play by the rules in terms of bodily functions that the deceased person had when they were still alive; e.g. a wight can lift his arm, but a chopped off arm cannot lift itself (even though it can still move its hand) – Flater Sep 5 '17 at 8:34
  • @Flater - We haven't seen any skeleton-only wights that move, that I can recall. They all have at least some decayed tissue on them, and, as I said, the less flesh, the more erratic the movement. – PoloHoleSet Sep 5 '17 at 15:33
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    This wight has no way of standing upright (no muscles around the spine). This wight has no arm muscles. I can't find a still, but the wights that attacked Bran at 3ER cave were skeletal, as confirmed by the episode's director: "So they go across this snow plain and skeletons start to come out of the snow, à la Ray Harryhausen, who we sort of privately dedicated the sequence to." / "but an arm that had entirely rotted away to nothing but bone" – Flater Sep 5 '17 at 15:48
  • Link for the above quotes. Note also that there are some counterargument to this, e.g. Melisandre's quote: "Necromancy animates these wights, yet they are still only dead flesh." Though she may have been speaking in broad figurative terms. – Flater Sep 5 '17 at 15:49
  • @Flater - Wight #1 is not "upright" - the ribcage is listing over almost sideways. Wight #2 - Has muscles on the lower arm, and we can't see the shoulder. The upper arm looks like it is down to the bare bone. Upper arm only deals with bending and extending at the elbow. That arm is pretty much hanging there. There's nothing about how that photo is depicted that refutes my observation that they still use muscle for movement. – PoloHoleSet Sep 5 '17 at 16:03
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The Night King's army can go into water. They are already dead and they are not going to freeze.

What happens in the episode is:

  • They fall in the water and cannot swim.
  • The shore is frozen so they can either "walk out" but they are still alive.

As for how they got the chains you could see it here: How did the Wights get the chain for doing this?

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