• Mattie Stu

The Children of the Forest - Game of Thrones Lore

Rumoured to be the original inhabitants of Westeros, the Children of the Forest were a mysterious non-human race. They at least lived on the continent when the First Men migrated there around 12,000 years before Robert’s Rebellion. According to legend, they vanished nearly 6,000 years later during the Andal Invasion. However, most believed they never existed at all, and those who did, like Maester Luwin and Ned Stark, assumed they had all died out…

The Children of the Forest were said to be humanoid, but once they reached adulthood they were around the same size as actual human children. They had large and expressive eyes to complement their rounded and soft face. Preferring to hide in forests, swamps and caves, the Children worshiped nature gods – being the countless and nameless spirits of every tree, rock and stream. Though their religion devoted to the Old Gods of the Forest had no complex temples, legend claimed the Children carved faces into the sacred weirwood trees, making them similar to shrines. Not being very technologically advanced, the Children of the Forest relied on other skills, like wood crafting. In addition, the race had a vast knowledge of trees and plants. They hunted with bows made from weirwood and blades made from dragonglass. The wise men of the Children of the Forest were known as “Greenseers”, and apparently used powerful magic.

According to legend, the Children of the Forest ruled Westeros for thousands of years before the arrival of the first humans. They inhabited the vast primeval forests on the continent, hence their name. Rumour claimed that giants also lived on the continent and frequently clashed with the children. Unfortunately, their history was forgotten as the years passed. When the First Men crossed a land bridge known as the Arm of Dorne from Essos to Westeros, they began cutting down the Children’s forests, which included the sacred weirwood trees, causing a conflict between the two. The following 2,000 years had the races fight for dominance. During which, the Greenseers destroyed the Arm of Dorne and flooded the Neck (a swamp and marsh-filled region of Westeros) by the use of magic. After millennia of violence, the two threw down their weapons and agreed to a peaceful coexistence. On the Isle of Faces in Gods Eye lake, a peace treaty was signed.

Unfortunately, 2,000 years after the pact, the White Walkers invaded from the uttermost north, killing many of both races. To drive back the White Walkers, the First Men and the Children of the Forest joined forces. Following the War for the Dawn, the Children, who sustained heavy losses, were rumoured to have aided Bran the Builder in constructing the Wall, using their powerful magic to ensure the White Walkers never returned. Due to the Children’s heavy losses from the war, and because the race never had a large population to begin with, they never fully recovered. By the time the Andals invaded Westeros, the Children of the Forest had all but disappeared. However, the few that remained were hunted or driven away by the Andals, who believed their magic was an abomination to their Faith of the Seven. As the Andals continued their conquest on the continent, they cut down the sacred heart trees in the south. The handful of Children who survived apparently fled to Beyond the Wall, to hide in vast underground caverns, knowing the Andals wouldn’t follow. By the time Aegon I Targaryen conquered and unified the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, no contact from the race was made.

With all of that being said, however, maesters claimed that the Children of the Forest either became extinct, or never existed at all and were a purely mythical race. This was disputed by the people of the north though, who claimed they were real but had long departed the realms of men. However, Leaf, one of the Children of the Forest, emerged from the cave of the Three-eyed-raven to save Bran Stark and his group of companions from a group of wights. Afterwards, she led the party deeper into the cave to the Three-eyed-raven as other Children looked on…

Now it’s time for this week’s question: how do you think the Children of the Forest will factor in the TV series? Let me know in the comments below.

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