‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: Is the Night King a Stark?

As the final season of Game of Thrones continues, fans everywhere are thinking hard about theories for the show and the outcomes that we could possibly see in the next few weeks.

One theory that many fans are considering involves the Night King — the main zombie villain posing a threat to mankind on the show. The Night King’s identity is still a mystery with some speculating he could be Rhaegar Targaryen. Others believe the Night King could a Stark. But is it true? How much does this theory hold up? Let’s explore it in details and find out.

Who is the Night King?

The Night King is the leader of the terrifying zombie-like White Walkers that threaten inhabitants south of The Wall. Not much is known about the Night King as he does not usually talk and has no significant relationship with the other characters on the show.

However, from Bran Stark’s vision, we learned that the Night King used to be human. He was one of the First Men that came to Westeros thousands of years ago, though he was turned into a White Walker by the Children of the Forest. Since then, the Night King has been leading the other White Walkers to destroy The Wall and kill mankind.

The Night King also has several powers, including the ability to turn any male human baby into a White Walker, the ability to raise corpses, and the ability to ride dragons.

Could the Night King be a Stark?

There seems to be a lot of commonalities between House Stark and the White Walkers. For one thing, the Starks’ motto is “Winter is coming” and they are the only house on the show whose motto doesn’t really reflect anything in the family. In George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice, Catelyn Stark (a Tully who married into House Stark), acknowledged this and thought about “what a strange people these northerners were.”

However, the links to the White Walkers actually would make the Starks seem less strange as the White Walkers are associated with the Long Night – the longest winter in history.

Old Nan, a woman in Winterfell who used to be a servant for House Stark, seems to confirm that the Night King was a Stark. In George R. R. Martin’s, A Song of Swords, Bran Stark recalls her telling him this about the Night King:

“Some say he was a Bolton. Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint, or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear Island before the ironmen came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down.”

Here, the brother refers to Brandon Stark (or Bran the Builder), who helped build The Wall to repel the White WalkersBran the Builder is remembered as a legendary hero in Game of Thrones, though if his brother is the murderous Night Walker, there would definitely be a lot of things that the members of House Stark will have to unpack.

Some fans believe the Night King could also be Rhaegar Targaryen

While the theory of the Night King is a member of House Stark has good evidence backing it up, other fans believe that he could be Rhaegar Targaryen — one of Daenerys’ late brothers and Jon Snow’s birth father.

A reason for this seems to be the fact that the Night King is capable of riding dragons, something only the Targaryens could do since they came from the dragon-taming city of Old Valyria. 

Moreover, many fans who subscribe to the theory of Rhaegar being the Night King believe that it is possible the Children of the Forest found Rhaegar and turned him into a creature who could lead the White Walkers (instead of Rhaegar dying in a battle like it has been reported).

Right now, it’s hard to tell which theory could be true, but we will likely know more as the show continues. Be sure to catch Game of Thrones every Sunday on HBO.