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Like ghouls, gnomes and trolls, "wights" are a kind of supernatural creature whose details no one quite agrees on. Usually evilly affiliated and somehow related to The Undead, but even that is up for debate. Can be an umbrella term for any magical creature, and occasionally a wight is a poorly understood, vaguely undead creature in-universe as well as in its description.

The word comes from a Middle English word meaning literally 'being' (or by extension, 'person'). Although it may occasionally be applied to supernatural creatures, most historical uses are about people (as in, humans).

In much of modern fantasy (specifically of the Medieval European Fantasy variety), wights are a kind of undead. This is owed to The Lord of the Rings, in which "barrow-wights" appear as undead creatures haunting gravemounds. In this, J. R. R. Tolkien was inspired by the 1869 translation of the Icelandic Grettir's Saga by William Morris and Eirik Magnusson, which used 'barrow-wight' once to translate the Old Norse haugbui, which is a type of undead (namely, the living corpse of a man buried in a barrow, intent on defending his residence from graverobbers and trespassers). Following that trail, Dungeons & Dragons and other works of the fantasy genre have loosely based their concept of 'wights' on the haugbuar and draugar, the undeads of the Icelandic sagas. Many modern fantasy works, therefore, use 'wights' as more or less a stand-in for zombies, especially in settings where calling them zombies would seem out of place.

Has nothing to do with the Isle of Wight nor wrestler Big Show (whose real name is Paul Wight, but don't call him that).


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    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Wights occasionally appear as cards with the Zombie creature type, such as Dread Wight, which can "paralyze" enemy creatures by preventing their player from activating them, and Plague Wight, which deals damage through -1/-1 counters (that is, by lowering a creature's health and power; if the former is lowered to zero, it dies).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: "Skull Servant" is called "Wight" in the original Japanese version. Interestingly, it eventually gained support cards over the years: notably, "The Lady in Wight" and "Wightmare" kept the "Wight" name in the U.S.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm: In the sequel Ghosts of the Past, Harry and the Triwizard champions encounter some wights during the First Task. They're mummified, animated corpses compelled to guard the caverns and tunnels under Hogwarts' lake, forcing anyone they catch to join their ranks, all at the behest of something much, much worse an Elder Wyrm in service to Surtur.
  • Frozen Wight: The main villain is, as the title implies, a wight, who appears to be a frostbitten zombie more than the classical European version. We later learn that wights are cryomancers whose magic animates their corpses after they've died.
  • Infinity Train: Boiling Point makes wights a form of Non-Human Undead. More specifically, they're undead witches.
  • Nine Days Down: Wights are pony-like creatures, but not ponies themselves. They have no hair besides a thin white mane and gray leathery skin. They have a pair of bony, clawed arms mounted like a pegasus' wings, and another set of fingers and a thumb where the front of a pony's hoof would be. They live in the caverns of Tartarus and are predators who will gladly eat other sapients.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Northman includes a fight sequence with a traditional Norse haugbui called "The Mound-Dweller". The movie's protagonist, Amleth, must raid the creature's barrow and retrieve a magical sword he needs to avenge his father's death. The Mound-Dweller is, needless to say, not happy about being disturbed.

  • Wights from the Fighting Fantasy books are a minor, stronger-than-average enemy, which are depicted as undead beings so obsessed with life that they refuse to properly pass on after their deaths, turning them into a supernatural threat that ranks higher than the average zombie or skeleton.
    • Right in the first book, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, you might encounter a wight inside the crypt, depicted as a humanoid creature with green skin and vulnerable only to silver; it can also drain your SKILL if it inflicts three hits on you.
    • The Keep of the Lich-Lord has a were-wight who Was Once a Man, as result of a curse.
    • Island of the Undead, befitting the undead theme, have various wights as enemies stronger than zombies and ghouls, and most of them can only be harmed if your weapon is magical.

  • Books of Pellinor: Maerad destroys "a wight of the abyss". It's implied to be some sort of demon.
  • The Carpet People: Wights are a clairvoyant, varnish-mining race who can remember the future; mostly sympathetic, but with something of an Omniscient Morality License attitude. They're really more Our Elves Are Different with Pratchett simply playing with names.
  • Conan the Barbarian had his first adventure by entering a cave which had a barrow wight (though it wasn't called as such)of an Atlantean king and claiming its iron sword. The king was not happy about that.
  • Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Cavewights, many of whom live in a system of caves called the Wightwarrens. However, they have nothing whatsoever to do with the undead; being physically powerful but weak-willed subterranean creatures who form the bulk of the Big Bad's forces, they're closer to traditional depictions of orcs.
  • Grettir's Saga: The 1869 translation by William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon coined the term "barrow-wight" as a translation of the Old Norse haugbúi. A haugbúi is a resident (búi) of a gravemound (haugr), meaning the animated corpse of a man buried in a barrow. In the saga, Grettir breaks into the gravemound of Karr to carry off the treasures buried with Karr; he is attacked by the undead Karr and, after a hard fight, wrestles him down and cuts off his head. The same translations also use the phrase "evil wight" several times for various trolls and undeads.
  • The Hunters Moon: Two cousins camp out inside an Irish burial mound, and the barrow wight, the spirit of a sacrificial victim, appears to one of them in a dream to warn her that the king of The Fair Folk is about to abduct the other.
  • The Lightbringer Series: Color Wights are very different. A Drafter (someone who uses the local form of Functional Magic) can only use so much power in their life; go over that limit and you "break the halo", with your eyes becoming shot through with your color or colors, your powers enhanced, and usually great insanity following shortly. Color Wights are no longer considered human, and many will attempt to remake themselves using magic, resulting in self-inflicted Body Horror. The Color Prince, the series Big Bad, is a Polychrome Wight — ie, a Wight created from someone who overused all seven colors — and he denies that the With Great Power Comes Great Insanity part is anything but propaganda.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Traversing the barrow-downs, the Hobbits have a nasty encounter with a "barrow-wight", which is described as "a tall dark figure like a shadow against the stars... two eyes, very cold, though lit with a pale light that seemed to come from some remote distance. Then a grip stronger and colder than iron seized him. The icy touch froze his bones and he remembered no more." The creature traps them in an underground burial chamber and is apparently trying to kill them when Tom Bombadil comes to the rescue. From what Tom says about the barrow-wights, they seem to be evil spirits possessing the corpses of long-dead kings in their barrows, and using magic to lead travelers astray. These evil spirits are exclusively subservient to the Witch-King in the same way that he and the other Nazgul are subservient to the Dark Lord, the one who is responsible for the suffering of all those restless souls.
    • The Rohirrim also use the term "elvish wights" of those who seek to ride the Paths of the Dead in a very different context.
  • In Monster Hunter International wights are high-level undead that can paralyze with a touch and have to be burned. Chopping them up just leaves you with a lot of wiggling undead bits. Can be made and controlled by vampires.
  • The Runelords has wights as a type of mage/ghost. It is deadly to touch them as they will freeze you; Borenson's wife almost dies from trying to kill one, which is possible in that universe.
  • Shadow of the Conqueror: Anyone trapped in complete darkness for several falls in a row ("fall" being this universe's word for a twenty-four hour period, measured by the ever-looping descent of a massive distant rock called the Plummet, as the day-night cycle is actually centuries long), becomes a murderous entity of pure evil known as a Shade. Whether or not animals can become Shades has yet to be elaborated on.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the wights are the reanimated corpses of humans, used as undead foot soldiers by the mysterious Others. They're cosmetically similar to Tolkien's (right down to the fact that in their first appearance, a hand is chopped off but keeps moving by itself), but their origins are very different. Also, the Others have been seen using wight horses and other animals as mounts. They are vulnerable only to fire or being chopped into little bits — not even Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain does them in, and contrary to some characters' belief, they aren't vulnerable to dragonglass like their eldritch masters are.
  • The Wardstone Chronicles describes wights as the corpses of drowned sailors that witches bind souls to for sinister purposes. They are usually blind, but have very good hearing, and are fast and strong.
  • In "A Warning to the Curious", by Montague Rhodes James, the last custodian of an Anglo-Saxon mound becomes a shadowy, implacable guardian spirit who "has some power over your eyes".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones, as a Live-Action Adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, follows the same rules as the source material; except now they can be killed with dragon glass.
  • Lost Girl has a "Landwight" as one as a Monster of the Week. Rather than being any kind of undead, they're a type of fae who bring good luck to anyone who eats the food grown on their land. Unfortunately, the one Bo encounters is aligned with the Dark Fae and is happy to use human victims as fertilizer.

    Religion & Mythology 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons borrowed wights from Tolkien and made them into undead monsters that drain energy levels from their victims and are created by draining a character of all their levels. They're almost immune to conventional steel weapons and can only be seriously damaged by weapons made of silver, or with magical weapons and spells. Third edition did away with their resistance to non-magical weapons and nerfed their level-draining power, making them give a character "negative levels", which they then have to roll against to avoid losing that level permanently. If a character ever has more negative levels than actual levels they die and become a wight.
  • Ironclaw has Barrow Wights, barely intelligent flesh-eating undead that are very hard to kill. They can heal by consuming the flesh of the living and even if destroyed they will rise again on the next full moon unless addressed by name and buried in consecrated ground. Also an Oupire who starves to death from lack of blood rises as a Barrow Wight.
  • Nightlife has wights (spelled "wyghts") as a PC race, which resemble dried-up human corpses and can drain the youth from victims by touch.
  • In Talislanta, Shadowights are the spirits of deceased persons sentenced to spend eternity as specters. When they touch a mortal, they drain substance from them to make themselves corporeal. A living being drained of all of its substance becomes a shadowform.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, a wight is what happens when a vampire loses all of their humanity and falls completely to the Beast. They are completely feral and bestial, existing only to kill and feed. Vampires that reach this stage are very rare because other vampires actively hunt down and destroy them to prevent breaches of The Masquerade.
  • Warhammer: Wights are dead knights and guardians of ancient kings; essentially, the Praetorian Guard of an Undead army. As a possible inspiration from Tolkien, they have health-draining weapons.
    • There is an Isle of Wights off the south coast of Albion. As one might expect, it's full of wights.
    • Warhammer's undead come in two distinct flavors — the cold, wet, barrow-dwelling Old World undead in the Vampire Counts army and the dry, desiccated, pyramid-dwelling Nehekharan undead in the Tomb Kings army. Both kinds have their own wights, known as "grave guard", "black knights" and "wight kings" for the former and "tomb guard", "necropolis knights" and "tomb heralds" for the latter. Both flavours are the partially mummified corpses of nobles, guards, and tribal chieftains, and use pretty much exactly the same rules.

    Video Games 
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin: The wight is the name given to a stronger enemy that appears when you defeat several ghouls in an area. As for ghouls, they are only a Palette Swap of zombies.
  • Dragon Age has a version of wight which is basically a teleporting ghost. It's implied they're darkspawn, but which race they come from isn't established.
  • Dragon's Dogma: Wights are... wights in name only, and are in fact more akin to lesser liches.
  • Dungeon Crawl: Wights are undead warriors who tend to come in groups. Not only do they tend to carry high-quality weapons (which were often cursed back when curses were more common), but their strikes can also Level Drain you.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • Exile and Avernum have wights that are higher-level undead who drain experience on hitting.
  • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones: Wights are a monster class that functions as a stronger Palette Swap of the Bonewalker class. More specifically, they are reanimated skeleton warriors wielding various weapons.
  • God of War Ragnarök: Wights are phantasmagoric floating spirits with multiple arms made out of sentient, furious magic due to instability of runic magic caused by the approach of the Ragnarök. They are created when three Wisps — other kind of enemies — converge with each other, and thus, turn into Wisps upon being defeated.
  • Golden Sun: The Wight enemy is a dark blue Palette Swap of the orange and much weaker Zombie.
  • The Heroes Of Karn has a barrowwight in a place called "the long barrow". No description of it is given, but it can be killed using a Bible.
  • Kingdom Hearts: In the Halloween Town world, there are Wight Knights, undead enemies that can best be described as mummies with super-long arms and massive claws.
  • Majesty: A mission in the expansion requires the player to defeat two Wights, named Styx and Stones, described as the Queen and the most trusted General of said queen, respectively. Apparently, their bond in life was so strong that it still existed after death. When they are awakened, the player is supposed to kill them both. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. If you kill one and the other one isn't killed in less than 2 minutes (on normal game speed), then the one you killed comes back to life. To make matters worse, they summon speedy undead predators and they can teleport at will to the other one's location.
  • Might and Magic 7: Wights, wraiths and barrow wights (in order of increasing power) are undead that wear long brown robes and tote really nasty knives. Aging, spell point drain, and magical terror may result from their attacks.
  • Minecraft: Setting the game language to Shakespearean English will cause zombies to be referred to as "undead wights".
  • Myth: Wights are zombies that explode when attacked or when they get close to enemies, and spray a paralyzing toxin over nearby units.
  • NetHack runs with this, usually giving Wights (which are specifically called Barrow-Wights) a long sword, a knife, and immunity to cold, but not an invisibility ring like the more powerful Nazgul. Do not confuse them with Wraiths, which have an attack that can drain character levels. Interestingly, when eaten, Wraiths provide zero nutrition but also raise the consumer's level.
  • Nexus Clash: The Lich can summon lantern-eyed, spectral Wights from the corpses of their fallen enemies. Wights pack an extraordinarily deadly punch and are played as an Elite Mooks alternative to the Mook Maker strategy favored by most Liches.
  • Project Wight: The titular creature is some form of monster rather than an undead entity. It's also capable of gliding long distances and using a sonic shriek.
  • The Witcher: Wights are undead monsters resembling unwrapped mummies typically found in deserts and cemeteries that use Vampiric Draining and summoned Barghests to attack their prey. In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt it's said that there was once a larger, more dangerous subspecies known as Spotted Wights that was eradicated by the witchers.
  • World of Warcraft: Wights are one of the rarer types of Undead in the Scourge. They appear as zombies mutated to monstrous sizes, though are otherwise fairly unremarkable.