Arya's killing of the Night King on Game of Thrones has been celebrated by the actor who originally played the show's demonic villain. The fantasy epic was based on A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George R.R. Martin and concluded its eighth and final season earlier in the year. After seven seasons of political intrigue and the various, often brutal, maneuvering of Westeros' noble houses, season 8's early episodes were focused primarily on the threat posed by the Night King and his army of the dead.
That tension came to a head in "The Long Night," which saw the majority of the show's surviving characters band together for the Battle of Winterfell. Though many characters fell in battle, a large portion of the cast was successful in making it to the dawn in one piece. The reason for that was mostly due to the actions of Arya Stark who, in the episode's most surprising moment, emerged as the one destined to kill the blue-eyed, undead menace.
Actor Richard Brake debuted as the Night King in the season 4 episode, "Oathkeeper". He would later reprise the role for the critically acclaimed and hugely popular season 5 episode, "Hardhome". Speaking with Consequences of Sound, Brake discussed the scheduling conflicts that forced him to relinquish the role to Vlad Furdik - who continued in the role right up until the character's aforementioned demise. After revealing that he continued to watch the show as a fan after he left, content with having no knowledge of what was to come, Brake was asked what he thought of the character's conclusion. Here's what he had to say:
"I loved the way my character ended up dying because Arya was always my favorite. I wasn't surprised. I thought it was a brilliant development, actually."
Brake cited working on Kurt Sutter's short-lived series The Bastard Executioner as the reason for his Game of Thrones departure. Despite that, the actor isn't sad about how things played out. "A lot of people ask, “Are you sad about that?” I’m not even remotely sad because I would’ve never been able to do all this work that I’ve done subsequently," he said. The actor also praised his replacement, describing Furdik as "wonderful" and a sensible choice, given his background in stuntwork. Brake's aforementioned subsequent projects range broadly from such as Peaky Blinders all the way to Supernatural. He will next be seen in Rob Zombie's Firefly Family follow-up, 3 from Hell, which Brake was interviewed to promote.
Regarding the decision to have Arya be the one to defeat the Night King, fans will no doubt remain split on that outcome. For every person who believed it made all the sense in the world and even cheered it, given the character's journey to the world-class assassin she became, there are others that still wish the Azor Ahai prophecy had been fulfilled more overtly. And that, despite the show's legacy of subverting tropes and expectations, that somebody like Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen had emerged as the show's overall hero. Whatever side of the fence people sit on, however, regarding the Night King's defeat and Game of Thrones' final season overall, few would be able to argue with Brake's picking of Arya as his favorite character.
Source: Consequences of Sound