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Can any dead become a wight or must they be victims of the wights or White Walkers? The question comes from a discussion around people, horses and dragons being reanimated.

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Your Grace, if my father had seen the things that I've seen, he'd also tell you to burn the dead before nightfall.

-- Jon Snow's words to Stannis after Stannis' troops attacked a group of wildlings and killed many of them. Those wildlings were not killed by White Walkers of wights, and yet Snow - who by now knows what he's dealing with - is clearly implying that they can be raised.

Judging by this, you do not need to be killed by wights or White Walkers to become a wight.

Additionally, when Meera, Jojen, Hodor, and Bran reach their destination at the weirwood tree, they are attacked by several wights and first meet Leaf, a Child of the Forest. Jojen is stabbed multiple times by the wights, and is then killed - not by wights, but by Meera, who cuts his throat to spare him a much worse death at the wights' hands. They then follow Leaf - but, before they leave, Leaf makes sure to burn Jojen's body with a fireball.

  • You also don't need to be dead, right? The Night King converted that baby in season something, episode something. – Dancrumb Apr 23 at 2:28
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    @Dancrumb To be fair, the baby turned into a White Walker, rather than into a wight. I don't think we know for sure whether the dead can become White Walkers, or whether the living can become wights (without being killed first). As a side note, the Night King was an adult when the Children of the Forest turned him into a White Walker - so it seems there is a way an adult can become one as well. – Misha R Apr 23 at 2:54
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    To be more exact: "Judging by this, Jon Snow believes that you don't need to be killed by wights or white walkers to become a wight". I'm pretty sure he hasn't witnessed someone re-animated who was killed by other means, so this statement is based on a reasonable cautious assumption (in the show - in the books, a wildling dies of cold during the night and is reanimated in the morning) – user568458 Apr 23 at 9:28
  • @user568458 To be even more exact, we haven't witnessed Jon Snow witnessing someone reanimated who has been killed by other means. Time passes and stuff happens while we're away from Jon - whether it's Jon getting information from wildlings, or Jon acquiring his own field experience. Whichever the case, it is quite clear that Jon has come to believe this - and, judging by this, anyone can be raised. I'm fairly comfortable going with Jon on this one. – Misha R Apr 23 at 14:15
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From what we've seen on the show, I haven't read the books, it would seem that any creature can become a wight if they die in the area of influence of whatever magic that causes it.

Said area was limited by the Wall, but now that it has been breached, it seems to expand as the Army of the Dead advances, as proved by the transformation of the Umber boy at The Last Hearth.

Also, the wildlings had the habit of burning their dead, and it's highly unlikely that they all die at the hand of a wight or a White Walker.

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