The unthinkable has finally happened: the Wall came tumbling down on Game of Thrones, thanks to the undead Viserion's fiery blast. It was the very definition of an OMG moment, and now that we've had time to scrape our jaws off the floor, it's time to consider what the fall of the Wall means for Westeros. In short, it means everyone is screwed, but this new development is sure to make season eight an intense ride. The Night King and his army are officially marching south, and the barrier between Westeros and the true North is no more. Everything the citizens of the Seven Kingdoms thought they knew about their world is about to change in a major way.
Season eight is still a long (long) way off, but the destruction of the Wall is such a major event that the time to start thinking about the ramifications is now.
The Wall's Magic Has Been Broken
Bran the Builder, the Children of the Forest, and the giants teamed up to build the Wall thousands of years ago when the Children of the Forest's little White Walker experiment got out of hand. They used a mix of good old-fashioned manual labour and magic to construct the massive barrier between Westeros and the expansive North, with the goal being to prevent the White Walkers from ever entering the Seven Kingdoms again. In season six, Benjen Stark tells Bran and Meera that "ancient spells were carved into its foundation" and that as long as the Wall stood, the dead would never pass.
That magic couldn't withstand the onslaught of a dragon, though, and it's safe to say whatever spells were in place have effectively been broken. With so few practitioners of magic left, there's little hope of rebuilding the Wall. Everyone who lives in Westeros needs to band together to destroy the White Walkers for good this time, because there is no plan B. If they leave even one wight alive, they're doomed.
The Illusion of Safety Will be Gone
Sam spent most of season seven trying to convince the maesters that the Night King and his army were nothing to scoff at. However, Archmaester Ebrose's words sum up the reaction people had when Sam told them about the coming war: "The Wall has stood through it all, and every Winter that has ever came has ended." Ebrose and a whole lot of other people will now have to reevaluate their idea of safety because the Wall no longer stands.
The illusion that nothing beyond that great barrier could touch them is gone now. And with the Wall gone, fear is going to become a motivating factor for quite a few people. King's Landing may become flooded with refugees, which would put even more of a strain on the capital's food supply, while others may turn on the living as they scramble to keep themselves safe. More than that, the people are going to have confront the fact that this thing that they put so much faith in failed them and all of the stories they thought were fairy tales are real.
The Night King Is Free to Attack the Seven Kingdoms
After years of marching, the Night King is completely free to lay siege on the Seven Kingdoms. This isn't just scary because his army is deadly; it's terrifying because he now has limitless access to new recruits. Before, the only dead things he could raise were the ones beyond the Wall, but now he has access to everyone in Westeros. Meanwhile, Jon and Daenerys's army is finite. Expect more than one of your favourite characters to be turned before the war ends. With just six episodes left, Game of Thrones is going to be aiming to break as many hearts as possible.
The Night's Watch Will Be Forever Changed
With no Wall to guard, the institution of the Night's Watch may disappear forever. In recent history, they've been tasked with keeping the Wildlings out, but there's no time to hold on to petty grudges now. The Night's Watch no longer has a Wall to protect, and their true enemy is in the Seven Kingdoms. When the Great War ends, so will the brotherhood that has been protecting the realm since the Wall was built.
The North Will Fall First
It's no coincidence that almost all of the major players are currently in the North. Winterfell is sure to be a hub for the first part of season eight as the Night King's army pours into the region. Ideally, Jon, Daenerys, and their combined armies would be able to stop the White Walkers before they push further south. Unfortunately, that outcome seems unlikely, which means the North will almost certainly fall.
There Are Going to Be a Whole Lot of Battles
Season seven's battle scenes are sure to seem small in comparison to what lies ahead. With the White Walkers free to flood into Westeros, the skirmishes between the living and the dead will be epic. For viewers, that means you are almost guaranteed to see epic moments like Jaime and Brienne fighting side by side, Arya taking out a wight with her Valyrian steel dagger, and some dragon vs. dragon action as Drogon and Rhaegal face off against Viserion. Of course, some of our heroes will die, but the end of the Wall guarantees season eight will be a war story, and deaths are unavoidable.
The destruction of the Wall is a game changer. No one is safe going into season eight, and by the time the series ends, Westeros as we know it will be a very different place. Let's just hope it's still populated by the living.