I watched Game of Thrones season 7 lately and wondered about a few things:

When Jon and his crew got stuck on that ice platform, surrounded by White Walkers, knowing that the water will eventually freeze – why didn't they spend their lengthy wait time with breaking the ice around the platform? Like with their swords (fire-swords, some of them even) or rocks?

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    Why the downvote? Isn't that a legitimate question to ask? – SquareCat Nov 7 '17 at 19:33
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    It honestly feels a little...odd. It's like one of these plot-hole questions poking at why the characters didn't do that totally obvious and intelligent thing rather than the story panning out like it was planned. It didn't seem like they were particularly aware of the water freezing back so fast. – Napoleon Wilson Nov 7 '17 at 19:36
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    as it currently stands this question will serve to only draw opinions and speculation – DForck42 Nov 7 '17 at 19:38
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    I agree that it's odd. I feel the plot-hole issue, to a degree, but then again when you spent some 6-12 hours on an ice platform surrounded by 100.000 insanely aggressive creatures, with only some broken ice saving you from an attack, and the only thing you really can do is wait, you may want to spend your time figuring out a way to survive just a little longer. – SquareCat Nov 7 '17 at 19:39
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    @DForck42 While i agree, i think i just browsed through at least 20 questions of similar nature, which sparked interesting discussion and have accepted answers that really seem to provide good reasoning that makes total sense. – SquareCat Nov 7 '17 at 19:40

(this might be a duplicate. Or maybe I'm just thinking of comments to another question)

Because, if they only break the ice that is right next to the island, the water there is shallow, or the distance is easily leapt over.

So, they have to venture out on the ice, a good ways, to "protectively" break the ice. They want to do this before the ice is stable enough to carry the weight of wights, who often have very little muscle, tissue or water weight that normal humans have.

That means, in order to make the ice too unstable for wights, they have to venture out and further weaken the ice before it is stable enough to hold humans, which means they can't do it, physically.

Then there's the matter of breaking the ice. You'll notice that once the ice was breached, the weakness/breaking spread pretty quickly. That means if I venture out and it does somehow support me, breaking the ice out there is very likely to destabilize the ice that is still supporting me, plunging me to my icy death. Even if it doesn't, the randomness and chaotic nature of the ice cracking, breaking and destabilizing means it would be nearly impossible for me to go around and systematically break the ice only where I want it broken, in sequence.


Because the thought hadn't occurred to them that it was needed.

Notice the scene where Sandor threw the stones. He was throwing them at the wights. One of the stones ends up thrown too close, and skids over the ice. This catches everyone's attention, and Sandor mumbles "Oh shit".

Their general response wasn't "it appears to have frozen again", it was closer to "it froze again!?"

The fact that it caught so much attention, and Sandor's reaction on top of that, indirectly proves that the characters had not considered the ice freezing again.

edit SquareCat mentioned in the comments that Jorah had mentioned the ice freezing again. That does change my answer, but it still allows for the possibility that the Merry Men had not considered that the ice would've frozen again by then.

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    I wanted to agree, but then i remembered the conversation between Jon and Jorah. Jorah says: "We'll all freeze soon. And so will the water.", while they are standing on the platform. – SquareCat Nov 8 '17 at 22:19
  • @SquareCat: Good point, but that doesn't prove the timeframe in which they expected the water to freeze. Given that the wights immediately attacked when they knew they could, the Walkers may have sped up the freezing of the ice (if they can indeed bring the cold, which is at least claimed to be true). – Flater Nov 9 '17 at 8:49
  • Thought that was more of an "oh shit, here they come" - not surprise that it happened, or happened then, but anticipating the hopeless onslaught they were hoping would not happen before help arrived. – PoloHoleSet Dec 22 '17 at 17:50
  • @PoloHoleSet As I remember it, Sandor's "oh shit" happened when the rock had slid to the wights but they hadn't yet moved. – Flater Dec 22 '17 at 23:10
  • @Flater - It was when everyone, living and dead, including the wight with the freshly broken jaw, looked up and observed that the heavy rock landed and slid along the ice without breaking it. It was the moment that everyone realized that the ice was solid enough to bear weight. So that universal realization marked the re-start of hostilities, so to speak, so it was because they were coming and there was nowhere to go. I don't think anyone ever had any doubt that it was going to re-freeze. Gendry was asking how to keep his testicles from freezing off altogether, if you recall. – PoloHoleSet Dec 26 '17 at 14:51

To add to already good answers:

The Night King is very patitent. Even if they had a safe way to break the ice (even though they don't as nicely said in another answer) , they couldn't do it forever. It's because the water will eventualy freeze again, and if they continue to destroy it over and over again, the Night King will simply wait until they die from freezing and hunger.

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