If there's one thing Game of Thrones fans do better than any other fandom, it's that it comes up with the craziest (yet somehow absolutely logical) theories. One such theory that has taken over the internet recently suggested that the Night King and his army might not need to break the Wall on their way south after all. But despite the fandom's best efforts to theorize, it looks like Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 6, "Beyond the Wall," is going to once again turn a popular fan theory on its head and throw us all off in the process.
As soon as #GameofThrones Season 7 premiered, eagle-eyed fans spotted the icy sea around the Wall in the opening credits. This sparked the theory in the GoT fandom that the Night King could cross his army south by going around the Wall instead of going through it. To add to the hype even more, in the episode titled "Dragonstone," the Hound had a vision in the flames, and even made reference to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea with the "dead marching past" and walking on frozen waves. The frozen waves line was eventually cut from the episode, but it definitely gave credence to the idea that an army of Wights walking around the Wall could happen in Season 7.
As far as theories go, this one seemed legit (especially after comparing the credits from previous seasons), but opinions were still divided. Some fans attributed the ice frosting on the water to the fact that winter has finally arrived, while others considered it sacrilege to imagine building such a mythical Wall (and building up the absurd hype around it for seven seasons) only to have the enemy walk around it.
In "Beyond the Wall," the Hound's vision came to life; there were the dead, marching on frozen waters. The problem is that the White Walker army was still traveling to the Wall and they were still at some significant distance from Eastwatch. Jon and his group were surrounded on a rock in the middle of a lake and, true to the theory, the Wights didn't have the magic powers of walking on water. Once the thin layer of ice broke, they had to wait around all night for it to freeze back up before they could continue wreaking havoc on Jon and his men.
Just as the white ravens announced the winter to the whole of Westeros last season, the absolutely freezing conditions so close to the Wall are a stark reminder that winter has not only arrived, but it's also making its way south. That alone explains the icing of the sea in the credits, but the fact remains that Eastwatch is still by the sea — and not a frozen sea. After the survivors make it to Eastwatch, they sail south on a Targaryen boat — which is anchored near the Night's Watch keep.
But probably the biggest hint that the Night King won't be marching his army over the water is that he had to wait for the water to freeze, just like all the Wights. You'd think with his magic (which can awaken a dead dragon after all) he would simply touch the water and make a path for his army, but he didn't.
So, although it's fair to assume the Night King is a fairly patient creature (after all, it did take him over a thousand years to march south), I'm having trouble imagining him patiently waiting just below the Wall for the sea to harden around it. He has the manpower and the magic (now that Bran has crossed over) to simply break through it, perhaps killing everyone in Eastwatch in his wake. And now that he has a dragon of his own, waiting patiently for the sea to freeze doesn't seem like something an enemy that's supposed to bring about the end of the world would do.
Do you still think the Night King will march on water? Or do you think he'll break the Wall by the end of the season? Sound off below.