HBO’s Game of Thrones never fails to amp up the excitement with each and every season, and now with the series about to near its end (and the network has confirmed that season 8 will be its last), fans are kept on the edge of their seats with more frequent appearances of the the Night King and his ever-bloodthirsty crew of wights and White Walkers.
While the army of White Walkers is on a constant quest to destroy everything in their path, Jon Snow has finally summed up the courage to prove their existence and set about to retrieve a living wight for Daenerys as evidence of Westeros’ inevitable winter war.
As audiences have witnessed in the latest episode — this didn’t end well for the many involved, leading to the Night King’s murder of Viserion and now a new, deadly recruit (and weapon) for his seemingly unstoppable army.
As one of Game of Thrones’ most shocking scenes, many fans are now centred on the White Walkers and their leader’s next evil move to take over the Seven Kingdoms.
As Westeros’ ultimate enemy, and arguably the series’ most frightening villain, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Game Of Thrones’ Night King.
15. His powers make him near-invincible
What undoubtedly makes the Night King so frightening is the number of supernatural abilities he possesses, which — if you think about it — makes him an essentially indestructible villain, much to the disadvantage of everyone else in Westeros.
On top of being able to turn others into stone-cold, blue-eyed White Walkers themselves (as seen when he touches Craster’s infant child in Season 4’s “Oathkeeper”), the guy also has the ability to walk through fire un-singed, re-animate corpses as wights, shatter weapons with his touch, and even cause earthly tremors.
With the over-powered likes of a superhero, humans already have enough to worry about but, throw in his most recently revealed, Olympic-level talent for throwing spears, and now even Daenerys’ dragons aren’t safe.
14. He could have warging abilities
It’s been established that the Night King has quite an impressive array of supernatural powers in the show; a collection of tricks up his sleeve that essentially make him an indestructible villain. However, what if he has another useful skill his belt: the ability to warg?
As far as we know, the Starks descended from the First Men, and a number of Starks possess the ability to warg — Bran being one of them.
With this logic, it is thus not impossible that the Night King would have inherited such powers too, being a former member of the First Men himself.
His capability of re-animating the dead can also tie in to this theory, as such a skill may be part of the warging ability.
As we’ve seen from the latest episode that, when one White Walker is killed, its crew of wights die along with it, indicating that their consciousness were all somehow tied to their blue-eyed leader.
13. He may be trying to save the Seven Kingdoms
Having made quite the reputation for himself in the show as a pretty unlikeably guy — and, lets face it, the show’s latest events havent helped with that — the possibility of this fan theory seems highly unlikely.
Additionally, with a series that’s unfailingly shocked its audience time and time again, it’s safe to say that nothing is impossible.
A Reddit user has concluded that the Night King will inevitably pass his crown over to Jon Snow, after which he will become the “Ice King” to Daenerys’ “Fire Queen.”
A marriage between the two would become a symbolic pact between the White Walkers and the humans, and thus restore peace to Westeros under their rule.
This detailed theory garners various quotes and elements from the original books, with a convincing, fact-based argument that Jon Snow is destined to lead the White Walker army in a future battle of ice and fire, according to the vivid visions of Melisandre.
12. He was a human in the “Age of Heroes”
The series gave a brief history on the Night King’s origin through season 6’s memorable (and meme-able) episode, “The Door”. During this episode, Bran experiences a warged vision of the past, witnessing the Children of the Forest drive a shard of dragonglass into the heart of a captured member of the First Men.
This lead to his chilling transformation into a White Walker, which was created to protect the Children during their great war against the humans.
Some believe that this was the very first White Walker that came into existence, and miht have been the Night King we know today. However, his history in the novels tell quite a different story.
Termed as the “Night’s King” in the book (not to be confused with the “Night King”), he began his origins as an unknown, ordinary person, with no ties to the Children of the Forest what-so-ever, living in Westeros during the “Age of Heroes.”
This was a time that followed a peace treaty formed between the Children and the First Men, and was an era that lasted for 4,000 years, with the kingdoms living in harmony until the first terrifying invasion of the White Walkers.
11. It seems he planned to entrap Jon Snow all along
The shocking events of Sunday’s episode were unexpected, but perhaps it was all according to the Night King’s plan. With the help of a few keen-eyed Redditors, an interesting observation has come to the fore.
It seems like the Night King and his White Walker cronies came prepared for Daenerys’ counter-attack, as a screencap of the episode clearly shows them patiently in wait, with three members brandishing a long, deadly spear each.
For those up-to-date, you guessed it, one of them was the Night King, who eventually used his as Viserion’s devastating murder weapon.
Fans are now pressing the questions of: why were they pre-equipped with dragon-lynching spears? And, if they weren’t solely at hand for killing Dany’s dragons, why did they bring only three?
These are all striking clues towards the very likely possibility that the Night King had planned this deliberate trap, knowing that, with Jon and his suicide squad cornered, the Mother of Dragons would inevitably come to their rescue (they had no viable escape plan, otherwise).
10. He was also the 13th Commander of the Night’s Watch
When the White Walkers first attacked in the books, it was during Westeros’ coldest, darkest winter experience — later referred to by successive generations as “The Long Night.”
Fought boldly by the Children of the Forest and the First Men, it was eventually discovered that dragonglass or valyrian steel were highly effective in defeating these unknown beings, and they were eventually driven back to “The Land of Always Winter” — from where they first arrived.
The first Night’s Watch was thus formed, following the formation of the Wall by Bran the Builder — the founder of House Stark.
How does the Night’s King tie in to all this? As legend had it, he eventually became a member of the Night’s Watch in these early years, and actually obtained the title as its 13th Lord Commander. Who knew that roughly 8,000 years ago, he was in the same position as our gallant young hero Jon Snow?
9. As a human he fell in love with a White Walker and turned against his men
Continuing with the lore of the books, many began to forget about The Long Night’s tragic events, along with the White Walkers who started the war.
Among these people were, unfortunately, the later members of the Night’s Watch themselves, including their eventual 13th Lord Commander (aka the novels’ version of the Night King).
Ignorant and careless, he ventures beyond the Wall one dark night and falls madly in love with a mysterious woman he comes upon.
She was described to be a being as “white as the moon and [with] eyes like blue stars, [and] her skin was cold as ice.” Fans of both the HBO and book series alike can agree that this description perfectly fits that of a White Walker.
Blinded by his affection for this strange woman, the Night’s King bedded her — losing his human soul and becoming one of her kind in the process. He then ruled the Night’s Watch with her by his side, during which he obtained his title in as the “Night’s King.”
8. He was killed by Joramun and Brandon the Breaker
With the Night’s Watch under his dark rule and a White Walker queen by his side, those in the Nightfort were witness to many terrifying atrocities committed by the powerful two — often entwined with supernatural forces.
While many of these horrendous acts were left unspecified, they were enough for legendary Westerosi figures Joramun (the King-Beyond-the-Wall) and Brandon the Breaker (the King of the North) to join forces and take down the Night King once and for all.
With an army of Northmen and Wildings, the two warriors successfully destroyed the Night’s King, freeing those of the Night’s Watch of his imprisonment. With that in mind, it is thus impossible for him to have led the White Walkers to Westeros in present day — which we see in the show — so much remains a mystery.
7. His book version was never a leader of the White Walkers
As a conclusion to his original backstory, the Night King as we know from the televised show was thus never a White Walker leader in the books, but was rather an ill-fated human character who fell victim to dire mistakes — eventually leading to his destruction.
Unlike his hair-raising scenes in the HBO series, he also never had the supernatural ability to recruit other humans into White Walkerdom during his rule.
However, Brandon Stark and Joramun did make the disturbing discovery of his frequent human sacrifices to the White Walkers.
It is unknown whether he and his Night Queen were sacrificing actual members of the Watch or why they had such rituals in the first place, though it’s safe to assume that their motives were as horrific as the acts themselves.
6. He is not susceptible to Dragonfire
We all know that the dreaded Night King can walk through fire — as shown in the latest episode and in season 6, when a circle of flame literally paved the way for him to pass into Bran’s hideout.
However, surely, he wouldn’t stand a chance against the fiery breath of Daenerys’ dragons. Sadly, director Alan Taylor has debunked this otherwise cool theory in an interview with the Daily Beast, where he implies that the Night King’s ability to repel fire may extend to even that of the supernatural variety.
“…You’ll notice when the Night King walks forward with his spear he steps into a line of fire and the first brushes away from him when he steps through it. We saw that effect earlier in the series… So it’s possible that dragon fire may not work on him,” Taylor states.
5. His previous actor was also in Thor and Batman Begins
It’s difficult to envision the Night King as an ordinary human man, what with his icy, menacing appearance and the supernatural atrocities he’s committed throughout the series.
On the show’s set, however — from seasons four to five — he is depicted by 52 year-old actor Richard Brake, who plays one of the most terrifying villains in television history.
He is, however, best known for his role as the infamous murderer of Bruce Wayne’s parents Joe Chill from Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
4. His make-up takes over four hours
To nail that spine-chilling appearance that’s haunted Jon Snow and viewers of the show alike, the two actors who have played the Night King actually underwent a four-and-a-half-hour process of detailed makeup and prosthetics.
An insightful, Youtube video has detailed this lengthy procedure, featuring a short time-lapse of season six/seven’s actor Vladimir Furdik undergoing his icy transformation.
The applied cosmetics include silicone with coats of airbrush paint. Additionally, the make-up artist makes sure to stand by on set (for as long as 11 hours), applying touch-ups in between scenes when needed.
Richard Brake, who plays the Night King from the fourth to fifth season, recalls being covered in prosthetic make-up from his face, chest, and even down to his arms.
In envisioning the ideal appearance for the Westerosi villain, showrunners D.B Weiss and David Benioff stated that they wanted him to look like a “mix between something frightening, [but] also regal, something aristocratic about him.”
3. He was a Stark in the novels
The Night’s King, as we know him from the books, was a former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, who fell in love with a White Walker beyond the Wall, and entrapped its members under him and his undead Queen’s dark rule.
They were eventually overthrown by Joramun and Brandon Stark (the Breaker), after thirteen years of unspeakable, nefarious acts towards those of the Nightfort.
Following his destruction came the demolishing of his entire history — including his House and his name — which became one that was forbidden and forgotten among the Seven Kingdoms.
In the books, Bran Stark recalls a time he was told of this legendary tale by Old Nan, who additionally made the disturbing speculation that the Night’s King was, in fact, a Stark.
Furthermore, he could have possibly been Brandon the Builder, founder of House Stark and the builder of the Wall.
2. There is a highly popular theory that he could be Bran Stark
Fans of Game of Thrones have quite the talent for piecing little details together and forming the most insane and intriguing theories for what’s to come.
Ever since the Night King’s more frequent re-occurrences, one theory in particular has been making waves throughout the internet: Bran Stark may be the dreaded White Walker leader.
Though it may sound slightly far-fetched, the original Reddit post behind this theory breaks it down into a pretty convincing argument, entwining details of previous events that have taken place in the series.
The gist between Bran’s connection with the Night King is as follows: in an attempt to save Westeros from its deadly current events, he goes back in time, warging into the man who became the first White Walker.
He tries to stop them from driving dragonglass into his heart, but repeatedly fails to convince them, and as a result of staying too long in the past, is stuck in the man’s consciousness, living on to become the Night King of the present time.
1. He now has the ultimate weapon to kill the Mother of Dragons
In season 1, audiences witnessed a horrifying scene in which Lord Commander Mormont was attacked by a deceased member of the Night’s Watch — Othor.
As a former ranger of Castle Black, Othor’s corpse was found beyond the Wall, and returned to their headquarters for examination. Unfortunately, his body re-animated into a bloodthirsty wight and sought out Jeor Mormont — leading Jon Snow to destroy the undead body with fire.
Based on these events, it is implied that wights can somehow retain memories of who they once were — seeing as Othor specifically looked for and targeted his Lord Commander, even in his undead state.
What’s more, Ser Alliser Thorne actually tells Jon Snow in the novels: “The ones the Others [White Walkers] kill don’t stay dead — and they remember.”
With this information, it is very likely that the now re-animated Viserion will head straight for his Targaryen mother in battle.
As an already incredibly strong, fire-breathing fiend, he will no doubt be the strongest weapon of the Night King and his army.
Do you know any other interesting facts about Game of Thrones‘ Night King? Do you have any speculations about his future plans for Westeros? Let us know in the comments!
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