In "The Dragon and the Wolf" (Game of Thrones, S07E07),

the Night King and the army of the dead pass through a gap in the wall, which was made possible by the undead Viserion's fire.

If this much is possible, then why didn't they try it a long time ago on this side of the wall?

A map of Westeros with a suggested path around the wall for the Night King and his army of the dead

It seems that the Wall spans the land all the way to the coast on the east, but leaves a considerable gap on the west; a landscape known as the Gorge, where the closest castle on the Wall is Westwatch-by-the-Bridge.

Wildlings are known to use this circumvent the wall, and there is even a bridge.

Why didn't the army just use this gap to circumvent the wall, considering the events in S07E07 described above?

  • 4
    Isn't it obvious that a gorge isn't going to be the most practical place to take an army across? Aug 28, 2017 at 11:23
  • 17
    @Randal'Thor You're right - almost as impractical as waiting 8000 years for a dragon to come over the wall, slay it, revive it, ride it and burn a gap into the Wall. What was I thinking? Aug 28, 2017 at 11:25
  • 3
    Also, if you read the question, it's based on the massive gap in the map, not on an in-depth understanding of what is actually there - that's what the answer is for. Aug 28, 2017 at 11:29
  • 2
    My question is: What would he have done without the dragon...?
    – James
    Aug 28, 2017 at 13:52
  • 2
    Well it seems he was waiting for the dragon actually. He took time north of the Wall, visting various people and location although he had far superior army, he took his time. And he sees Bran, we may as well suspect he has greenseering powers on his own. In the first season we barely saw wights and Walkers. But after dragons hatched, then the real movement of the Others had begun. Could be Night King has some prophecies on his own to fullfill, not just playing numbers and tactics with the living. Aug 28, 2017 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


This question has been raised by fans before and has been addressed by George R. R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series that the show is based on.

Is it possible to circumvent the Wall to the West with an army?

No, the mountains and a deep river gorge make the terrain impassable for all but small groups of raiders.
—George R. R. Martin, "Many Questions", So Spake Martin, DECEMBER 28, 1998

The Night King could conceivably march down to the Gorge with his army and trickle down small groups of wights, but this would be a waste of soldiers, since it would make it very easy to deal with a bottlenecked army that approaches in scattered, small groups at a time.

According to A Storm of Swords, Brandon the Builder had the Wall built wherever was possible, so this gap in the west is probably due to the impassable terrain making it practically unfeasible to build there, and it was probably decided that an army would have trouble getting past.

Brandon the Builder had laid his huge foundation blocks along the heights wherever feasible, and hereabouts the hills rose wild and rugged.

He had once heard his uncle Benjen say that the Wall was a sword east of Castle Black, but a snake to the west. It was true.
—George R. R. Martin, A Storm of Swords, Chapter 30, Jon

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    "Certainly it would be impossible to bring a large military force through this mountainous, difficult terrain." — the French military, c. 1930 Aug 28, 2017 at 14:35
  • 1
    Does the French military you refer to have to deal with a deep river gorge? If not, it's an irrelevant reference, and all comedic value is lost, I'm afraid. Aug 28, 2017 at 14:38
  • 1
    @GhotiandChips of course they did: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meuse
    – Kevin Troy
    Aug 28, 2017 at 19:57
  • @KevinTroy Nothing there about the French military circa 1930, so, I win. Aug 29, 2017 at 0:11

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