'Game of Thrones': White Walker Spirals Meaning Revealed

The Night King claimed another victim on Sunday's season premiere of Game of Thrones, and left many fans wondering about the spiral pattern he often employs.

Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones lie ahead!

Season 8 of Game of Thrones came with an ominous death carried out by the Night King, the White Walkers and the Armies of the Dead. The young lord Ned Umber was killed in his home at Last Hearth and pinned to a wall, where the severed limbs of his people were arranged around him in a spiral pattern.

This is a symbol Game of Thrones fans have seen before, going back to the opening scene of the pilot episode. In those years, there has never been a clear explanation for what the symbol means, and as the end draws near some are hoping for a more straightforward explanation.

What we know for sure is that the symbol predates the White Walkers. It was shown in a massive stone arrangement around the Wierwood tree in the flashback scene where Leaf and the Children of the Forest first created the Night King. This means that the spiral was sacred -- or at least significant to the children, and they passed it on to the their creations.

We know now, however, that the Children of the Forest and the White Walkers are at odds, fighting against each other rather than against humans. This suggests to some that the spirals have something to do with the ancient magic that animates the White Walkers and fuels abilities like Bran's visions, which come from the Children's leaders known as Green-Seers.

So far, the spirals have a generally negative connotation, appearing at the sight of many White Walker killings including the massacre at the Fist of the First Men. However, they also showed up in the cave carvings Jon Snow found on Dragonstone last season, suggesting that the Children may have had a more benign use for them.

While it seems we will get a very straightforward explanation of the spirals before the show is over, there is one popular observation circulating online that could come into play. As Twitter users have noted, the spirals are very similar to the Targaryen family crest, which consists of a three-headed dragon with its limbs spiraling out to form a circle.

In the books, this sigil was developed only 300 years ago, when three Targaryen dragon-riders conquered Westeros. Still, on an elemental level it could go back even further to the Valyrian Freehold -- the ancient civilization of which House Targaryen are the last survivors.

Many popular fan theories suggest that the Children of the Forest had interactions with the dragon-riders of old Valyria in the distant past. This is fueled by Sam's discovery of the phrase "dragonsteel" in ancient manuscripts, likely referring to Valyrian Steel. These are questions that many fans hope to see answered in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series, which is tentatively titled Game of Thrones: The Long Night.


In the meantime, Game of Thrones Season 8 airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.