Game of Thrones is full of villains. Cersei Lannister has murdered babies and blown up droves of people using wildfire. Littlefinger set basically all of the terrible events in the series in motion, including conspiring to murder Jon Arryn, getting Ned Stark beheaded, and triggered the War of Five Kings — and that’s not even the half of it. Plus, who could ever forget the psychopathic Joffery Baratheon and his penchant for torture and abuse? We all recall what he did to those prostitutes with his crossbow. And let’s not even discuss Ramsay Snow and his love of sexual violence and castration. Still, no other villains have been quite as menacing as the Night King.
Though we saw a glimpse of the Night King is Season 4 of GoT when he turned one of Craster’s infant sons into a baby White Walker, his first real appearance in “Hardhome” during Season 5 — hands raised and frightening AF — made us (and Jon Snow) want to run for cover. Every time, the Night King has seen any resistance from humankind, he’s regarded it in an almost amused fashion. His unbothered nature makes him all the more terrifying.
Now that the Night King, his fellow White Walkers and their Army of wights have ripped down the Wall and marched into Westeros, we know that a long, dark, and bloody battle is inevitable. There isn’t enough dragonglass in all of the Seven Kingdoms to take down wight giants, a wight dragon, the rest of the Army, and all of the White Walkers. But what exactly does the Night King want from Westeros?
Could it be possible that the Night King isn’t actually as horrible as we think? Reddit user twerkmileyyy seems to think so, proposing this theory:
I predict the Night King is going directly to the Gods Eye. Maybe he has been trying to reach the Gods Eye for centuries, and man has always denied this passage. Therefore he has the mentality of removing all obstacles in his way. Ultimately I think his end goal is to reach the Isles of Faces and use its magical properties to give life to his undead army.
If you recall, the Gods Eye is that lake that sits in the middle of the heart of the Riverlands. The Isle of Faces is the place where the Children of the Forest made a pack with the First Men. Tywin Lannister mentioned the Isle of Faces way back in Season 1, so the GoT writers have been dropping hints about it since then.
Is it possible that the only thing the Night King wants is to become human again? We’ll have to wait until Season 8 to find out.
Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons
After seven seasons of Game of Thrones, you would think that almost nothing would shock GoT fans. However, nothing could have prepared us to see the Night King raise Viserion from the dead. We were even more astounded to see the wight dragon spray his icy blue flames on the Wall as it collapsed upon itself.
Perhaps the Night King’s plan all along was to get his hands on one or more of Daenerys’ dragons. We’ve seen the Night King interact with Bran Stark, which means he probably has similar all-knowing vision capabilities. In Season 2, the Warlocks of Qarth say that the birth of Dany’s dragons caused a magical resurgence in the world. Since we know that some sort of magic was needed to take down the Wall, it is possible that the Night King manipulated Jon and used him to bait Dany and her dragons to go North of the Wall.
Whether he’s trying to freeze all of Westeros or get his humanity back, riding on the back of an undead Viserion will certainly make it easier for the Night King to do.
Covering the world in darkness
Now that winter aka the Long Night has come, it’s the perfect time for the Night King to get his army in formation (and he has), so that he can take over the entire world. The Long Night is not a game. During the first season of GoT, Old Nan sat by Bran’s beside in Winterfell and told him the most horrific bed time story known to man.
While calmly knitting, she told the small boy of a time when the White Walkers took over the world. Babies were born and died in the darkness, and spiders the size of hounds strolled about with the White Walkers and their army of the dead.
The Night King’s motivation could be as simple as ending hot-blooded life and covering the world in total darkness. After all, his fashionable coat would work quite well in the never-ending winter.
Perhaps the Night King’s motivations are more simplistic than we’ve considered. Many of the characters on GoT are power hungry — and that’s gotten them killed. Right now, Daenerys and Cersei are both pretty drunk with power. Though Dany can still be reasoned with (to some degree), Cersei fell off the deep end ages ago.
Could the Night King be a cold-blood version of Cersei? Maybe he wants to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. After all, he probably feels betrayed by the Children of the Forest and men in general.
At a very basic level, the Night King could just be pure evil. After all, he was made by the Children of the Forrest to kill men — that’s it. That’s a pretty dull motivation when you think about it, but it is possible that the Night King doesn’t have any free will in the matter. He might simply be death in the form of a creature.
I don’t think of the Night King as a villain as much as Death. He is not like Joffrey or Ramsey. He’s not really human anymore. To me, evil comes when you have a choice between that and good, and you choose the wrong way. The Night King doesn’t have a choice; he was created that way, and that’s what he is. In some ways, he’s just death, coming for everyone in the story, coming for all of us. In some ways, it’s appropriate he doesn’t speak. What’s death going to say? Anything would diminish him. He’s just a force of destruction. I don’t think we’ve ever been tempted to write dialogue for the Night King. Anything he said would be anticlimactic.
A balance of ice and fire
Though we might not want to believe it, White Walkers can be negotiated with. Before the birth of Dany’s dragons, the White Walkers stayed beyond the Wall, only killing wildlings and crows who crossed their path. However, they left Craster and his harem of daughter-wives alone in exchange for their infant sons.
It looks like the birth of Dany’s dragons sparked an imbalance between fire and ice magic. Perhaps the Night King is marching into Westeros to restore order. After all, men can’t be trusted with the magic of fire — they are far too susceptible to the seduction of power.
Could the Night King be after Jon? According to legend, the Night King was a member of House Stark. This would mean that the Night King and Jon share the same blood, which kind of explains the whole “winter is coming” slogan and the White Walkers’ obsession with both Jon and Bran. Since Jon is also a Targaryen, he is literally the living embodiment of ice and fire.
The Night King might want to negotiate with Jon. However, we can’t see the King of the North (does he still hold that title now that he’s bent the knee to Dany?) negotiating with cold hands. There’s also this pretty insane theory that Jon will become the next Night King to ensure peace across Westeros.
Bran might be the Night King
So Bran isn’t our favorite Game of Thrones character. In fact, since he’s become the Three-Eyed Raven, he’s been pretty creepy and arrogant — even though his visions have been rather useful.
Still, one of the major things we’ve learned about Bran is that he can time travel. Remember when he went back in time, causing Wylis to become Hodor? The OG Three-Eyed Raven tried to warn Bran when he said, “The past is already written.” When Bran goes back in time, his actions directly affect the future.
With that in mind, there’s a theory going around that Bran is actually the Night King. By naively thinking he can stop the White Walkers from existing altogether, Bran goes back to the moment of their creation, when the Children of the Forest plunge that dragonglass into the heart of one of the First Men. When Bran wargs into the First Man, he’s unable to stop the transformation and eventually realizes he’s stuck in the past, even as he tries to return to the present.
That would mean Bran is the Night King, and he’s lost humanity while trying to do the right thing. Could the Great War really be a war between two brothers?
Whatever the Night King’s motivation is, winter has arrived, and after seven seasons, we still aren’t prepared.
Follow Aramide on Twitter @midnightrami.
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