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      What You Need to Know About the Night King on Game of Thrones

      Here's what we know about the icy villain, his motive, and his origins.

      image
      HBO

      The long-awaited Battle of Winterfell finally airs on tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones. Whether you’re ready for it or not, the White Walkers and their army of wights have arrived to the northern stronghold, ready for combat. Before you watch them wreak havoc on the living, get to know their terrifying leader, the Night King.

      The icy villain has only made a limited number of appearances in GoT’s eight seasons and hasn’t spoken a single word on the show, yet he’s the biggest threat to humankind in Westeros. Not much is known about the mysterious creature either, but flashbacks in Bran’s visions as the Three-Eyed Raven and tidbits from actor Vladimir Furdik, who plays the Night King, give us insight into the character.

      From his ancient origins to his ominous motive, here’s what we know so far about the Night King.

      He’s after Bran.

      Bran Stark, the Three-Eyed Raven, revealed that he’s the Night King’s target in Season 8, Episode 2. "He’ll come for me," he says. "He’s tried before, many times with many Three-Eyed Ravens." Thus, Stark volunteers to lure his enemy into the godswood of Winterfell to be captured.

      The Night King will be able to find Bran because he left a mark on him during one of his visions (Season 6, Episode 5). He grabbed Stark by the arm, leaving a scar on his skin. “He always knows where I am,” Bran says of the scar.

      Before Season 8 premiered, Furdik also teased that his character was after a specific person. "People will see he has a target he wants to kill, and you will find out who that is," the actor told Entertainment Weekly of his character's upcoming storyline.

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      HBO


      He wants to erase “memory” and he wants revenge.

      Once the Night King gets to Bran/the Three-Eyed Raven, what will he do with him? The White Walker leader wants “an endless night,” Bran explains to his comrades in Winterfell. “He wants to erase this world and I am its memory.” As a refresher, the Three-Eyed Raven has the ability of greensight, which means he can see events in the past, present, and future anywhere in the world.

      Samwell Tarly interprets the erasure of memory, or “being forgotten,” as the embodiment of death itself. "If we forget where we’ve been and what we’ve done, we’re not men anymore, just animals,” he tells Bran and his crew at Winterfell.

      Furdik also told Entertainment Weekly of his character, "I think he wants revenge. Everybody in this story has two sides—a bad side and a good side. The Night King only has one side, a bad side."

      He was created by the Children of the Forest.

      The Children of the Forest, a race of mythical creatures who were the first inhabitants of Westeros, originally created the White Walkers to defend themselves against the First Men. In one of Bran’s visions, we see a group of the Children creating a White Walker (presumably the Night King) by tying a man to a tree and plunging dragonglass into his chest until he began to transform.


      No one knows who he was before becoming the Night King.

      "Somebody made him the Night King," Furdik told Entertainment Weekly. "Nobody knows who he was before—a soldier or part of [nobility]. He never wanted to be the Night King." t

      That probably explains why the Children tied him to a tree when they first created him; it’s not like he volunteered to become a White Walker.

      He can reanimate the dead—and he may do it in a big way in Season 8.

      By now, GoT fans know the Night King can raise the dead (humans and animals, including dragons) as blue-eyed zombies called wights that fight for his Army of the Dead. He can also turn living babies into White Walkers, as we’ve seen him do with Craster’s sons.

      The Night King’s most memorable reanimation moment was after the Battle of Hardhome, when he instantly resurrected corpses on the ground simply by raising his arms. Furdik implied that his character may have another moment like that this season, but it’ll be much more intense.

      “There’s also that moment [in 'Hardhome'] when Jon Snow was on the boat and the Night King looked at him and raised his arms — there’s a similar and even stronger moment between Jon and the Night King this time,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly.

      Furdik’s clue leads some fans to believe he might reanimate the dead in Winterfell, both those killed on the battlefield and those buried in the crypts (which includes late members of the Stark family).


      It’s unclear if or how he can be killed.

      White Walkers can be killed by Valyrian steel and dragonglass (as Jon Snow and Sam Tarly have previously proven, respectively), but can the Night King be taken down the same way? He’s much more powerful than his fellow White Walkers.

      Bran also noted that it’s unclear whether the Night King can be killed by dragonfire because no one has tried it before. In past episodes, we’ve seen that him (and other White Walkers) walk through regular fire unscathed, but dragonfire is said to be stronger than regular fire, so it’s possible it’ll elicit a different reaction when aimed directly at the Night King.


      Watch the official trailer for Game of Thrones Season 8 below.

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