Years after ended, fans are still wondering, "what did the White Walkers do with the babies?" Craster's sons were given to the White Walkers, which is just one of the many things that led sworn brothers of the Night's Watch to detest the Wildling, even though he was one of their few allies beyond the wall. Craster's Keep functioned as a sanctuary for the Night's Watch, but it came at the cost of the crows having to tolerate how Craster 'married' his daughters and continuously bred children from incest. The question of what did the White Walkers do with the babies that Craster gives them was seemingly answered with one of the babies turned into a White Walker.
season 2 shockingly revealed that the Wilding Craster gave up his male children — born of incestuous relationships with his own daughters — as sacrifices to the Walkers in exchange for relative peace in the Haunted Forest. In hindsight, this is actually a deeper glimpse into , which revealed some of the horrors in store for Westeros had Arya not killed the Night King. As every White Walker baby was formerly human, it's clear that the Night King planned to repeat throughout Westeros what he did during Craster's story arc.
The conversion of Craster's sons into baby White Walkers is the only way the Night King and his brood can procreate. Even during the Age of Heroes, the Night's Queen bore no children for the mysterious 13th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. As for why babies, and not adults, are candidates for transformation into White Walkers, this is likely because infants are easier to mold into whatever the Night King wishes. As Aegon the Conqueror could've seen what the White Walkers do to babies in his prophetic dreams, this could be part of why Aegon was so driven to ensure that remained on the Iron Throne to defend Westeros from the Night King.
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The final fate of the Night King is one of the most spectacular red herrings in the history of fantasy, reducing the White Walkers — a series-long threat — to a midseason distraction. What the White Walkers did to Caster's babies may be the greatest moment of horror in contemporary fantasy. That said, it's notable how no one else central to the main plot died in “The Long Night,” and how the White Walkers were killed by just one person. This is because the White Walkers were a deliberate diversion from Daenerys Targaryen's descent into villainy and the very last chapter in the
However, fumbled its initially clever use of a red herring because of the rush to make the last two seasons. The White Walkers also suffered from being such a malevolent hidden presence early on, with their appeal as villains hinged on their mystery. Once the mystery was gone, the White Walkers were just another hive mind. The show also failed to capitalize on the shock factor of baby White Walkers, which never factored into the series again after their initial appearance. Although the White Walkers successfully drew attention from Daenerys' final fate, particularly through their sinister genesis near Craster's Keep, and plans for Westeros, their potential was wasted.
Despite the fact that magic is alive and well in the prequel — as seen in — White Walkers will most likely not be appearing in thespinoffThe timeline of unfolds 200 years before the events in the original HBO series, making it unlikely that the narrative will cross over with the events leading up to the Night King's creation.
While ' babies were at risk of being turned into White Walkers, the infants in face other dangers (including giant, fire-breathing lizards). That said, as it's been revealed that the dagger Arya used to kill the Night King is a House Targaryen heirloom that secretly bears Aegon's dream in Old Valyrian script, the fates of the White Walkers and the House of the Dragon are clearly intertwined.
Though 's brutal death scenes and clever political intrigue make it a worthy successor to , there's nothing in the prequel that is as memorably jarring as what the White Walkers do with Caster's babies. Indeed, there's a glaring lack of horror in a series that's hinged on the presence of ill-tempered, reptilian, fire-breathing monsters. That said, as is bound to actually show how House Targaryen killed their own dragons while fighting among themselves, it's also likely to explore darker visuals and ideas from
wasn't a horror show, but it did use many elements that wouldn't be out of place in the genre, and the emotional responses these generate (such as the shock of learning Caster's sons become White Walkers) are what needs to evoke in future seasons in order to be as memorable as .
Though the question of what did the White Walkers do with the babies seems to have been answered with the revelation that they turn them into new White Walkers, the whole subplot proved pointless by the
The audience might know what the White Walkers do with the babies, but there are so many unanswered questions surrounding this subplot. How did Craster strike a deal with the White Walkers? Can they only change babies? Do they quickly become fully grown White Walkers or do the others have to care for a bunch of baby White Walkers until they are old enough to take over Westeros? The fact that they took Craster's babies felt like another detail that was introduced in without a planned resolution and was ultimately brushed aside to avoid having to come up with an explanation.