Why do dead bodies beyond the Wall reanimate but those south of the Wall do not?

We only see dead bodies reanimate in Castle Black, but further south the dead do not come back to life.

Is there a reason for this? Or is this just something that happens in that region?

  • The magic seems to have a limited range. Maybe there has to be snow on the ground or something.
    – Skooba
    Jul 3, 2016 at 14:07
  • 1
    Maybe the Others only have power north of the Wall?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 3, 2016 at 14:14
  • @Randal'Thor, could be. But it seems strange that only bodies beyond the wall are affected???
    – KyloRen
    Jul 3, 2016 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


The reanimation of dead body's (also referred to as wights) happens when a white walker uses his magic to do so.

Which can be seen here.

At the end of season 6...

we see Benjen Stark telling Bran that the wall is more than just ice, the same magic that keeps him alive also keeps him from passing it. So the wall blocks (certain) magic.

Considering that the reanimation is magical, this explains why none of that happens south of the wall.

As for the reanimation at Castle Black, one could speculate that the corpse had already been turned into a wight and was left as a trap or that the magic still works there because the castle is built in/against the wall.
Or this could simply be an error by the producers, seeing as this happened a few seasons/years ago, they could have overseen such an event.

Still, a real answer why it happened at castle black is not available through the information of the tv show.

Credits to Kuhl: The corpse that reanimated at Castle Black was found beyond the wall and had blue eyes when it was found, so its safe to assume that the corpse was already turned into a wight at that point and was left as a trap. Also...

The information about the magic of the wall was only given in the last episode of the last season, very little is known about this magic, the magic casted on the wall and the magic and nature of the white walkers.

  • 3
    If you notice with the Castle Black reanimation, the dead bodies have bright blue eyes when they are found North of the wall. So the common belief is that they were touched by magic north of the wall and laid dormant until they were in castle black.
    – kuhl
    Jul 3, 2016 at 14:38
  • 4
    Here's the relevant quote from A Game of Thrones: The old forester peered down suspiciously. “And might be I’m a fool, but I don’t know that Othor never had no blue eyes afore.” Ser Jaremy looked startled. “Neither did Flowers,” he blurted, turning to stare at the dead man.
    – kuhl
    Jul 3, 2016 at 14:41
  • 1
    I believe it's the same in the show, but don't know where to find that quote
    – kuhl
    Jul 3, 2016 at 14:42
  • 2
    That isn't an error by the producers. Happens in the book also.
    – Rodger
    Jul 3, 2016 at 20:50
  • 1
    @Rodger updated answer.
    – Vahx
    Jul 4, 2016 at 15:02

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