White Walker Neoprene Face Mask in a shameless attempt to profit off the Game of Thrones series. Some people (like my mother) have no idea about White Walkers. Well, here you go:
The White Walkers are a mythological race mentioned in ancient legends and stories from the time of the First Men and the Children of the Forest. Eight thousand years before Robert's Rebellion, a winter known as the Long Night lasted a generation. In the darkness and cold of the Long Night, the White Walkers descended upon Westeros from the farthest north, the polar regions of the Lands of Always Winter. None knew why they came, but they killed all in their path, reanimating the dead as wights to kill the living at their command. Eventually the peoples of Westeros rallied and in a conflict known as the War for the Dawn, they managed to defeat the White Walkers and drive them back into the uttermost north, with the Wall raised to bar their return.
In the present day, most believe they never existed and are just myths, spoken of in the same breath as ghosts, goblins, grumpkins, or snarks. Even the few who believe they did once exist think they went extinct thousands of years ago. Certainly, none were seen for thousands of years after the Long Night.
Just before the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings, however, disturbing reports began to reach the Night's Watch from the wildlings who live beyond the Wall that the White Walkers had returned. Having enjoyed a decade-long summer, Westeros seemed due for an equally long winter, and the White Walkers seem to be spreading with it. With the Seven Kingdoms embroiled in a petty civil war, the dwindling and under-supported Night's Watch realize that they are all that guards the realms of men against the return of these legendary demons of ice and death.
While having an overall humanoid appearance, White Walkers differ greatly from humans. They are taller than humans and have long wispy white hair. They have pale grey-white skin which is wrinkly but stretched taut across their frames, giving them a somewhat gaunt, sinewy, and mummified appearance despite their overall bulky size. White Walkers are much stronger than humans and are capable of sending large men reeling back several feet with a single blow. Their most notable trait, however, is their glowing blue eyes.
v A second type of White Walker (revealed at the end of the episode "Oathkeeper") also exists, which may form some sort of ruling or priestly caste. Their number is unknown, and they are immediately distinguishable from their cohorts by icy horns around their heads, resembling a crown of ice. All those seen so far all wear black armor of uncertain material. These new White Walkers are apparently led by the Night's King, who could be the overall leader of the White Walkers. The Night's King possesses the power to make ordinary humans into White Walkers if he can get to them in their infancy, such as he did with Craster's last son by merely touching his cheek which turned his eyes ice blue. The Night's King can also resurrect dead people as wights, as seen after the massacre at Hardhome during which he led the army of the dead surrounded by a group of White Walkers. It is unknown if the other members of this caste are capable of performing the same magic as the Night's King.
White Walkers possess the magical powers related to ice and cold. Their arrival is usually accompanied by blizzards and the dropping of temperatures. They can also freeze anything they touch, as one froze Sam's sword to the point that it shattered. White Walkers also have superhuman strength, as one managed to toss Samwell Tarly several feet away with a single back-handed punch. The White Walkers wield swords and spears made from unique ice crystals.
However, one of their most deadly abilities is to reanimate the dead as their servants, known as Wights. They are actually capable of reviving any dead animals as wights, as a few White Walkers have been seen riding undead horses. They cannot, however, revive a corpse into servitude if the fallen creatures have died by fire. Once the Wights have been risen to serve the White Walkers, their eyes turn an icy blue, similar to the White Walkers' own eyes. Wights can only be killed by fire and serve the Walkers without question.
As previously mentioned, one White Walker, speculated to be their master, possesses the ability to change humans into White Walkers, demonstrated at the end of Oathkeeper when he takes Craster's son into his arms and places a single finger upon its cheek, causing the baby's eyes glow blue and his skin to grow pale, taking on the appearance of the White Walkers. Whether or not this ability extends to only this White Walker, all of the White Walkers amongst his caste, or all White Walkers in general remains to be seen.
During the massacre at Hardhome, White Walkers are shown to be resistant to fire due to the extreme cold they radiate, which snuffs out any flame they approach. It is unknown if this also applies to wildfire or a dragon's fire.
According to legend, the White Walkers speak a language known in myth as "Skroth", which sounds like the cracking of ice.