In the very first episode we are shown 3 nights watch men going beyond the wall. It is in this very first set of scenes that we are shown White Walkers, first they kill the man who seems to be in charge and give chase the other.

And when he stops to catch his breath, a White Walker cuts his head off from behind and throw it at the 3rd mans feet.

At this point there is no way he could have escaped unless the White Walkers just let him go and further into the episode he captured by Stark men as a deserter from the Nights Watch.

So why didn't the White Walkers kill him?

  • There are two things I never understood about that scene. One is why the walkers let Gared go. The other is why decapitate people when the walkers wanted to convert dead people into wights. (This assumes that decapitated people don't become wights while stabbed people do, which is consistent with what we saw in later episodes.)
    – RichS
    May 26, 2017 at 4:55
  • 1
    This question already has an answer here. scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/149529/… It says Gared ran off before the white walkers arrived, but that's from the book, not the TV show. Maybe he outran them in the TV show?
    – RichS
    May 26, 2017 at 5:13
  • The "duplicate" of this question is about the books, and explicitly says so in the question. This question is clearly about the tv-series, and is valid from the given circumstances. I vote to reopen, if no real duplicate can be found.
    – TLP
    May 30, 2017 at 14:29