Although they were hardly mentioned in the first few seasons, the Children of the Forest, as they’re called, are suddenly a huge deal in Game of Thrones. What are they? Young millennials abandoned in the woods without their avocado toast? Plants that have reproduced with humans? (Weirder shit has happened on this show!) Elves? A medieval version of Robin Williams in Jumanji?
No, none of that. They’re actually really important and the cause of basically everything good and bad that has ever happened in this war-torn land of Westeros. Here’s what you need to know.
Are they human?
No, but they are humanoid. As their name very blatantly suggests, they look like human children who are green and wear plants on their bodies and in their hair. They’ll probably be the hot new costume of Halloween 2017 (be on the look out for a lot of “Sexy Plant Women,” which will cost $59.99 in Halloween stores).
Where’d they come from?
The easy answer is: Westeros! They were the OG inhabitants of Westeros, who were already living there when they watched those First Men migrate to their continent and ruin the neighborhood 12,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones.
How’d it go between the Children of the Forest and First Men?
As you’d imagine, not so well. At first things were mostly fine. But, as humans tend to do, the First Men cut down trees, burned shit, and pretty much trashed the Children’s namesake forests. This led to a war for thousands of years until the Children of the Forest and First Men figured it out. That’s when the Children of the Forest taught humans their religion and about the old gods.
Where do the White Walkers come in?
According to what we saw in Season Six, the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers to help them in their fight against the First Men. But, then after they negotiated peace with the First Men, the Children of the Forest evidently lost control of the White Walkers, who invaded from the North. That’s when Bran the Builder, the founder of House Stark, used magic to construct the wall and keep the White Walkers out.
What have they been doing since all that?
That’s a good question. There was another war! This time the Andals migrated from across the narrow sea. The Andals are one of the major human ethnic groups in Westeros, along with the First Men (and why Daenerys and Cersei call themselves the Queen of the Andals and the First Men). During this war, the Andals conquered the First Men and wiped out most of the Children of the Forest, who retreated north and vanished for thousands of years. When the events of Game of Thrones take place, people believe Children of the Forest have either gone extinct or live far beyond the wall.
So, what do the Children of the Forest do?
They can do magic! These Children of the Forest have power over animals and also have something called greensight, which is the ability to see the past and the future and other various vague visions. They’re also responsible for the obsidian weapons (made from dragonglass) that can create and destroy White Walkers.
But, like, in regards to this actual show, what have they done so far?
They first appeared in Season Four outside the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven. They protect Bran while he learns to use the greensight. In a Season Six vision, he learns that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers, but before they can explain how they fucked up so bad, Bran, Meera, the Children of the Forest, the Three-Eyed Rave, and Hodor are attacked by the White Walkers themselves. All the known Children of the Forest, along with the Three-Eyed Raven, die in the subsequent escape (as does Bran’s direwolf, Summer). We next hear about the Children of the Forest in Season Seven, when Jon Snow conveniently “finds” some ancient cave drawings depicting the First Men and White Walkers and some pretty basic patterns we’ve seen elsewhere.