‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: Is the Night King Rhaegar Targaryen?

One of the most mysterious characters on Game of Thrones is the Night King, even though he has a significant history if you’re familiar with George R.R. Martin’s books and the show’s backstories. Despite the Night King playing a different role in George R.R. Martin’s books, he still matters profoundly in the TV show edition.

In a world filled with zombie obsession, you can also see how the Night King fits into zombie lore. Considering he was the first White Walker, he now leads an army of similar walkers like a wintry edition of The Walking Dead.

GoT fans also keep wondering who the Night King really is. There is a theory that the Night King is the long departed Rhaegar Targaryen, but does this speculated narrative really hold water?

Who is Rhaegar Targaryen?

An integral part of HBO’s Game of Thrones is how the presence of characters long departed still permeate the series through references and associations. Targaryen was killed off long before the events of the first season even started. His death took place during the tumultuous time of King Aerys II, the father of Rhaegar, by Robert Baratheon.

Rhaegar falls for Lyanna Stark: they two secretly get married and have a son (Jon Snow). Upon the demise of Rhaegar, and fearing for Jon’s life, Lyanna makes her brother Ned Stark promise to never reveal her son’s identity. Ned brings Jon into the family as his illegitimate son.

The possible connection between Rhaegar and the Night King

During the time the Night King became who he was, there’s still a mystery about the identity of the person beforehand. Many fans (including those on Reddit) have written up long explanations explaining Rhaegar was possibly found by The Children of the Forest and turned into the Night King as a method to help improve the human race (First Men) in the GoT universe.

Many of the arguments are detailed and exact, making it perhaps one of the strongest theories adding considerable weight to the entire story line.

One of the strongest relational aspects is the idea the Children of the Forest wanted to create a worthy leader to improve the First Men. From a larger perspective, this has strong biblical metaphors in Adam and Eve being disowned in Genesis.

In Westeros, things also went equally wrong along the way, turning the Night King into something unintended.

Everything aligns with this theory, but what about other theories?

Just take a look at the above Reddit piece about all the connections between Rhaegar and the Night King. It’s truly compelling and seems obvious there’s relevance to it. How did all other theories, start, though?

A major theory is the Night King is also Bran Stark, something gaining credibility considering Bran’s powers, including time-travel abilities. Once again, you’ll find entire essays devoted to proving this theory correct, despite being outlandish.

When you think more about it, though, the Rhaegar theory has more logic, especially with so many compelling connections outnumbering the Bran Stark parallel.

Maybe fans will have to agree it’s a combination of the two, as in the mind of Rhaegar still exists inside the Night King, along with a part of Stark.

The possibility of the Night King bringing something positive

If either theory holds up, the purpose of the Night King may be to help bring peace in the long run. The original purpose of the Children of the Forest may mean the Night King will do something to restore things if he isn’t killed first by Jon Snow or others using dragonglass.

Through the Bran Stark theory, Bran might have become the Night King to help protect Westeros from the approaching army of White Walkers.

Whatever the truth is, it probably lies somewhere in the middle of these theories. It’ll be just one small piece of a larger puzzle once the finale arrives in May.