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Who are The Children of the Forest?
By now, you have heard several references in Game of Thrones to the Children of the Forest. They have been shown in the cave of the Three-Eyed-Raven and were the original creators of the White Walkers. Jon Snow showed the ancient runes created by them at Dragonstone to Daenerys Targaryen. They are bad-ass grenade throwing little elf-like creatures. But, who are they?
During the Dawn Age, there were only two creatures in Westeros, the Children and the giants. About eight thousand years before the show, the Children encountered the First Men who came from Essos. The First Men crossed the land bridge called the Arm of Dorne which connected Westeros and Essos.
At first, the First Men and the Children were friendly but that did not last long. The First Men correctly theorized that the Children were using the weirwood trees (the trees with the faces Bran uses to look into the past, present and future) to spy on them and as a result, chopped them down and burned them. The weirwood trees are sacred to the Children and that did not sit well with them. War was declared.
The war raged on for thousands of years. After realizing it was a stalemate, the two sides decided to make peace. They signed the Pact at the Isle of Faces which is located in the Riverlands. This agreement granted the open lands of Westeros to the First Men and the forests were designated for the Children. Everything was well.
The peace did not last. After about four thousand years of tranquility, the White Walkers invaded from their territory up north called The Lands of Always Winter. This was the beginning of the Long Night. After being decimated by the White Walkers, the First Men and the Children united to fight against them. Led by the Last Hero (who may also have been Azor Ahai), the White Walkers were defeated by the Children and the First Men in the Battle for the Dawn. They were driven back to the Lands of Always Winter and the Children helped Bran the Builder (first member of House Stark) construct the Wall. Afterwards, the Children began to slowly retreat back into the forests.
However, war with men did not end there. After the Andals invaded Westeros from Essos, they attacked the First Men. The Andals chopped down the weirwoods and killed whoever they came across, First Men and the Children included. The Andals conquered Westeros and brought with them the Faith of the Seven which is now the dominant religion in Westeros everywhere except the North and the Iron Islands. Moat Cailin (where Ramsay Bolton slaughtered the ironborn back in season 4) was able to repeal the Andals and prevented them from entering the North so many of the Children bolted to the North. That is why the people of the North still worship the old gods and hold incredible esteem for the weirwood trees.
Eventually, the Children stopped coming around altogether. Most people do not believe they still exist or that they existed at all. But, rest assured, the Children's story has yet to be finished. They will be pivotal in the oncoming war with the Night King and his army of the dead.
Disclosure: There is no mention of them creating the White Walkers in The Song of Ice and Fire. That is why it is not discussed in detail.
© 2017 David Ramos