Winter may be several years long, which is effectively a natural siege in itself. Why not simply wait a year or two for the people of Westeros south of the Wall to be starving and worn down, versus attacking relatively soon after winter begins?

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    What if it's not still winter in a year or two? – Kevin Workman Apr 25 at 1:45
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    We don't really know what the Night King or the White Walkers want to achieve. Yes, Bran offered a suggestion last episode ("A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms"), but we still don't know if it's accurate. If we don't know what the enemy wants to achieve, who knows why they choose one situation or the other? – Andres F. Apr 25 at 3:19
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    Seriously, we waited 7 seasons for this, you want us to wait two more??? :) – Paul Apr 25 at 10:34
  • Ha! True... but they could easily have had a time jump two years forward into winter if this was the case. As for what they want to achieve, it would seem the permanent destruction of mankind is their only charter. (I asked in case I've missed something obvious along the way.) – MartyMacGyver Apr 25 at 20:55

There are 2 theories that are linked to this that I have seen, neither has been confirmed. I have my own theory as well.

Theory 1 :- The White Walkers are the cause of this long winter and it can only spread across Westeros as they move across the land, this would mean that if they stop and wait the winter actually wont be so bad in the more southern parts of Westeros allowing people to prepare, grow more food etc.

Theory 2:- The White Walkers come with the winter, moving with the cold and the dark like animals migrating with the sun. It may be that the White Walkers are more like Animals then people and act largely on instinct. They understand that a big winter is coming and so are driven to move with it understanding it will allow them to go to lands they could not travel to normally because it is to hot. In the books we have only seen the White Walkers in darkness, they seem to be averse to light, even avoiding moonlight. The TV show ignores this, largely because it is really hard to make it clear what is happening in night shot scenes. It could well be that as the nights get longer the white walkers are simply moving taking there wights etc with them.

Theory 3 (my theory) The Night King had his hand forced by Jon Snow, he understands that by taking the wight the people of the 7 kingdoms will now see the myths are true and start preparing, so he needs to attack now before they have time to prepare, ironically Jon's actions at the frozen lake hastened the attack of the Night King it might also be a case that everyone north of the wall is dead, so there are no more people to fill his armies, if people know the night king is coming body's in Westeros will be burned as a matter of course reducing the number of corpses that can be raised.

  • While I asked on the presumption there is a given answer I just wasn't seeing, I like your theory - if not for that, the Night King could've just waited a bit til the living were thoroughly worn down by the weather and then slowly picked them off. – MartyMacGyver Apr 25 at 18:53
  • If Theory 1 was correct, then you're saying that The Wall stopped winters from hitting the southern parts of Westeros? I'm pretty sure the whole kingdom was worried about winter until you got as far south as Dorne, even before they knew about the White Walkers. – Harabeck Apr 29 at 14:15
  • I was just repeating the 2 theories I have read I agree with you with the first one – Richard C Apr 29 at 22:13

I would say this is because the wall is destroyed, and the way to Westeros is open. The Night King doesn't need to wait for the people to starve, because he doesn't have to worry about losses.

  • The wall is destroyed because they are advancing though. – GordonBennett Apr 25 at 9:59
  • If the Night King wasn't planning ahead, indeed, he might not worry about losses. But the taking and raising of the fallen Viserion suggests planning and patience (which I suspect we will see more evidence of before it's over). So while I think there are reasons he's advancing now, tactical overconfidence isn't one of them. – MartyMacGyver Apr 25 at 18:49

Any answer would only be speculative and as such the question may be out of scope of this SE

That being said, magic or a simple tactical decision

There are way to many ways to explain how magic could enter into it.

There are also many ways a simple tactical decision could enter into it.


There is no way to know currently

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