Wait, So Is ‘Game of Thrones’ Viserion a Wight Dragon, or a White Walker?
Sunday’s Game of Thrones brought with it the dragon-sized twist fans have predicted for years, as one of Dany’s children inadvertently switched sides to join The Night King. “Beyond The Wall” didn’t exactly help our understanding of wights and White Walkers, but might that last shot mean Viserion is more ice dragon than undead?
You’re warned of full spoilers for Sunday’s penultimate Game of Thrones Season 7 episode, but however expected, the reveal of Viserion resurrected as The Night King’s new dragon pal left more than a few scratching their heads. Nevermind how the wights managed to get giant chains under the lake where Viserion crashed; what exactly is he now? An “ice dragon”? The same fire-breathing Viserion, but with different allegiance? A wight dragon, or a White
The only tangible evidence we have lies with the scene itself, as The Night King touched Viserion’s frozen snout, and his eye subsequently opened with a brilliant blue. That’s definitely how we’ve seen White Walkers created, as with the baby carted off from Craster’s Keep (minus the dead part), whereas the mindless wights don’t actually need physical contact to revive, and their eyes are typically more of a pale blue (if they have any):
No less confusingly, the dead bear that attacked Jon’s group has eyes that could be read either way. Incidentally, what was that thing doing, resurrected and wandering out on its own?
Either way, Game of Thrones hasn’t made crystal clear all the rules surrounding wights and White Walkers, as the HBO wights share a dragonglass weakness their literary counterparts do not, and can apparently remain animate south of The Wall. We’ve also only seen an infant “transformed” into a White Walker, so it remains unclear how much agency individual Walkers have, or if they serve The Night King as mindlessly as wights. If Viserion is in fact our first non-human White Walker, one wonders if he has any leftover allegiance to Daenerys or his brothers.
Finally, we’re left with the question of Viserion’s abilities and physical nature. The Game of Thrones books actually mention “ice dragons” made of living ice (George R.R. Martin even wrote an unrelated book called The Ice Dragon), but Viserion remains in theory a physical creature capable of breathing fire (minus whatever damage done to his lungs by the spear). The Night King would presumably also have little use for a dragon with cold breath, which could neither transport his army south of The Wall, nor do any damage to the structure itself.
Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss didn’t exactly clarify matters in the post-show “Inside the Episode,” referring mainly to Viserion as The Night King’s new “weapon of mass destruction” than any specific name. As with Dany’s trip north, it’s possible writers haven’t explicitly thought out the moment, or which set of rules it might follow.