‘Game of Thrones’: Why The Night King Almost Looked Very Different

The Night King is one of the most fearsome villains in Game of Thrones. Perhaps the scariest of them all. Though he looks almost human, he is no less terrifying.

But what if he looked different? Would he have been even more terrifying? Is that even possible?

Game of Thrones cast: the Night King almost looked different
Game of Thrones cast members gather onstage at the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO/Getty Images

Who is the Night King in ‘Game of Thrones’ and how was he introduced?

The Night King’s origins are somewhat mysterious in Game of Thrones. What we do know is that he was one of the First Men who was taken by the Children of the Forest. They created him and other White Walkers to defend themselves against the First Men. They were cutting down the sacred Weirwood trees and killing the Children of the Forest.

Therefore the Children decided to fight back, however, things didn’t really go as planned. The Night King and the White Walkers turned against the Children, and therefore they allied with the First Men to defeat the evil they had unknowingly created. Though the Children and the First Men won the War of the Dawn, the Night King survived and took the remainder of the White Walkers to the Land of Always Winter. In Game of Thrones, the Night King first appeared in a vision that Bran saw of him.

He was then shown turning Craster’s newborn son into a White Walker by touching him with his finger. This introduction for the Night King made him a fearsome villain. Anyone that would turn a baby into a soldier in their army has to be evil.

What did the Night King almost look like in ‘Game of Thrones’?

According to Vanity Fair, a new book about the art behind the well-known HBO show reveals the original design of the iconic villain. The publication spoke to production designer Deborah Riley and prosthetics designer Barrie Gower about the Night King’s initial look in Game of Thrones. The original Night King, according to Vanity Fair, somewhat resembled the Ringwraiths from Lord of the Rings.

He looked more ghost-like, and perhaps even a bit scarier than he ended up looking. If you can even imagine him being any scarier. As it was, the Night King was terrifying.

Why did the Night King almost look so different?

Unlike with many characters in Game of Thrones, the team charged with designing the Night King’s look could not consult the books for inspiration. This was because the Night King as he was in the show, doesn’t exist in the books it is based on. There was also not really an actor to reference when creating the character’s design.

Therefore, those creating the design of the Night King for Game of Thrones, only had vague ideas and notes to base their art on. Barrie Gower, the prosthetics designer, was told to create something “regal” that had “familiar White Walker traits.” The final design, however, ended up differing a lot from the original concept art. Gower’s team took the idea of “regal” and went with it but in a different way than the original art.

They, according to Vanity Fair, “needed him to have a sense of power.” The team “talked about creating a crown that could be fused into his head,” something “that felt very much a part of him.” They also wanted to “explore sharp and angular forms, with a translucent quality to help sell the subzero temperature of his flesh.” This all lead to the design that fans know and were frightened by.

But the Night King could have looked very different in Game of Thrones. He may have been more frightening or he may not have been if the team had stuck with the original look, it’s hard to know. Yet either way, he would’ve been terrifying.