I just finished watching this year's season of Game of Thrones and I noticed a weird thing. Books containing information about White walkers were placed in a restricted section.

But that just does not make any sense. In a restricted section I would expect books about making a wildfire, creating a deadly poison etc. (containing really dangerous knowledge), but not books considered a bunch of made up nonsense and fairy tales.

It might be because those books are very old, but in one episode, Sam is creating newer copies of books, so they might have publicly accessible copies of of these old books as well.

And if they are placed there because they were placed there pretty much from the beginning of the citadel (therefore placed there just because of tradition), shouldn't in this case the maesters take their content more seriously, since their predecessors valued information in those books as incredibly important?

No matter how I try to justify it, it just seems as a nonsensical plot device.

  • 3
    Books related to white walkers may contain the dark ways of creating them. White walkers are more dangerous than wildfire and deadly poisons.
    – HBhatia
    Sep 4, 2017 at 12:15
  • 4
    Maybe those books are rarities, very valuable, that's why the access is restricted. The archmasters may've considered the white walkers a nursemaid tale, so the knowledge how to combat them wasn't first priority for the scribes to transcribe the books by hand, (which is tedious work) but nevertheless ancient knowledge is valuable therefore 2b preserved. Also may be that Name of the Rose fashion they didnt want those books in circulation to avoid rumors and panics about monsters who, in their opinion never existed
    – user68762
    Sep 4, 2017 at 12:53
  • They weren't even all books about mysterious, magical or mystical things like white walkers, one was a plain old history of how dragonglass was used to decorate weapons... Sep 4, 2017 at 13:06
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    @user568458 the one which had the illustration that looked like the plot device valyrian steel dagger? That tome contaied spoilers, that's why it was restricted
    – user68762
    Sep 4, 2017 at 13:17
  • 3
    There's no such thing as a harmless book. "Elsewhere, someone might have said “It’s just books! Books aren’t dangerous!” But even ordinary books are dangerous, and not only the ones like Make Gelignite the Professional Way. A man sits in some museum somewhere and write a harmless book about political economy and suddenly thousands of people who haven’t read it are dying because the ones that did haven’t got the joke. Knowledge is dangerous, which is why the government often clamps down on people who can think thoughts above a certain caliber." - Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent Sep 5, 2017 at 1:00

1 Answer 1


I can think of three reasons:

  1. The Maester's want to keep the knowledge but don't want people to believe in the fairy tale of it all so restrict new recruits from being able to see them.

  2. The books are actually quite important in defeating a very deadly threat, you don't want anyone being able to get their hands on them.

  3. They don't even know the books exist: It's possible none of the senior Maesters have even read them.

As for number 1 we have the following quotes to back it up:

It's also possible that this message is part of a ploy by the Dragon Queen to lure southern armies away from the lands they are currently defending to open those lands to easy conquest. Sandhu: That does seem far more likely than magic birds talking to cripples.
Maester: It brings to mind the work of Jenny of Oldstones, the charlatan who claimed descent from the children of the forest.
- ( all chuckling )
- Sandhu: Don't forget the prophet Lodos, who promised that the Drowned God would rise up and destroy Aegon the Conqueror.
- ( all laugh ) - Ah, Lodos.
Game of Thrones, S07E05, "Eastwatch"

I personally believe the books were placed there initially because of number 2 but have been kept there because of a combination of numbers 1 and 3.

As for why they don't take the books more seriously?

  • I'm pretty sure not every Maester has read every book and even if a few has it would be majority/seniority vs minority.
  • The Maesters believe they are fairy tales so probably believe the same about the books.
  • 1
    I do not know, it did not completely convice me. If they were afraid of people using fairytales, then a whole lot of nonsensical books would end up in a restricted section. If they had at least a minimum amount of believe in number 2), they would not act as complete pri*ks when Sam was trying to convince them. But it could be a combination of nescience and caution. Something of a type: "We do not know what exactly is in those books that makes them so dangerous, but our ancestors did not want anyone to read them, so we rather treat them that way too."
    – TStancek
    Sep 6, 2017 at 14:39

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