Before we go any further, let’s just say this: the following article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones. If you aren’t up to date with the latest episodes and you read ahead anyway, then it’s your own fault if something gets ruined for you. Clear? Good.
Now let’s move on to the business at hand. As we move towards what will eventually be the finale of the show, one Big Bad is emerging that all of the characters who are still standing are going to have to deal with. That Big Bad is the Night King, who is ready to face off against Jon and Daenerys and all who stand with them. They’re hoping for a bit of help, as their current efforts really don’t seem to be doing much against this king and his army.
All this time, we thought that the game for the throne was between all the human players trying to negotiate who would follow Robert Baratheon to the crown. Instead, we’re now looking at a situation where a new king from beyond the wall looks set to threaten the existence of that throne in general, and could well put an end to all of the characters that we have come to know and love. This is a serious threat, and it’s likely that this is the final battle which will determine the fate of Westeros. That’s how big this is. With that in mind, it’s time we got to know the Night King a little better.
15. He’s The Most Powerful Enemy Yet
There’s never been a greater force for the heroes of Game of Thrones to fight. This is the first time that there has been a threat big enough that all of the potential claimants to the throne might just have to work together. What proof do we have of that? Well, just look at the damage that he has already done. He managed to lure Jon Snow into a trap, which means he’s clever enough to outsmart his enemies. He took down the dragon Viserion, something other powers have tried to do and failed, and all it took was one javelin throw. He’s also managed to turn the dragon into a wight to fight alongside him, which means he has the power to take any asset the other side has and turn them into his own. In other words, everyone is screwed. We’re about to see a showdown of epic proportions.
14. Their Blades Shatter Normal Steel
The frozen blades that the White Walkers carry aren’t just good for stabbing. In fact, they have another advantage which makes fighting them pretty unfair. Their blades can shatter normal steel, by which we mean non-Valyrian steel. And Valyrian steel is pretty hard to come by. The only weapons left in existence, that we know of, are Jon Snow’s Longclaw, Jaime Lannister’s Widow’s Wail, Brienne of Tarth’s Oathkeeper, Sam Tarly’s Heartsbane, and Arya’s Valyrian steel dagger. Isn’t it pretty convenient how all the weapons have managed to fall into the hands of main characters, mostly after they became established as important characters? Anyway, there is a small hope that they might be able to make more. They have dragon fire left, and they still have Gendry, who might be able to forge more blades. But the way Dany is going with keeping track of her dragons, it might not be as easy as that to get enough weapons in enough hands to make a difference.
13. He’s Different In The Books
All of the facts that you think you know if you have read the books are wrong. This is true of many things going forward, as we have officially diverged from the book storyline and gone straight into the TV show’s own version of events. Some people think it’s a little odd that George R R Martin made this decision – to basically create two different storylines at the same time, considering that the final book isn’t out yet. Then again, this fact could be the reason behind it all. If everyone watches the show and finds out what happens, why would they bother buying the final book? This way, he gets to make high book sales as well as keeping interest going in the show. However, there are inevitably going to be a lot of comparisons between the two later on, especially for this character and what happens when he comes to the ultimate end.
12. What His Original History Was
In case you haven’t read the books and are wondering about the distinction, the Night’s King is based on a different man in the text. He’s actually the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. This makes sense, given his name. This commander fell in love with a woman who had white skin, blue eyes, and a very low body temperature, which you would presume makes her a White Walker. He then spent 13 years wreaking havoc before the King in the North and the King Beyond the Wall got together in order to put him down. This is all told through legends in the books, so we’re never quite sure whether it’s the real version of events or just a fairy tale which evolved from some version of the truth. It would presumably be quite hard to twist it back around to the TV show story from this basis, however – the timeline is all wrong, for a start.
11. Why His Army Must Be Stopped (Besides The Obvious)
Why is everyone so keen to stop the Night King from approaching? Is it just because they don’t want him to make a challenge for the throne? Well, no, there’s actually much more at stake. Legend has it that if he manages to make it past the wall, he will bring with him something known as the Long Night. This is a mythical (so far) winter which would wipe out almost all life on the whole continent, allowing the king and his army to thrive but decimating all others. This is serious stuff. Remember the oft-uttered phrase, “winter is coming”? Turns out it’s not just a cute saying to symbolize how powerful the men in the north are. It’s actually a prophecy, and it’s about to come true. If they don’t stop the Night King, winter will be pretty much constant for everyone living in Westeros, and there won’t be many of them left to tell the tale.
10. White Walkers Can Raise Anything
What’s pretty scary about the White Walkers is that they can take any corpse and raise it for their own purposes. This means that your fallen comrades in arms will start fighting against you instead. They seem to lose all previous connections and will be intent on carrying out the orders of the Night King when this happens. But White Walkers and their king aren’t limited to just raising men. They can raise horses, giants, and even dragons, so we have to presume that anything which can die can be raised again by the army. Will we see a typically gruesome George R R Martin finale which has everyone in Westeros turned into an icy warrior? What purpose would the Night King have if he ever achieved that goal? It doesn’t feel like there is anything scarier they could raise than a dragon, but the series isn’t over yet and we could easily still be proven wrong.
9. Dragonglass Is The Best Weapon Possible
As Sam Tarly discovered by accident, there is another way to kill White Walkers which doesn’t require Valyrian steel. Dragonglass stabbed into a White Walker will cause them to shatter, and now they have basically a whole mountain’s worth of dragonglass to play with. This means that they can at least equip their armies with a weapon that will work. However, we don’t quite know whether the Night King follows the same rules as the White Walkers or if he is stronger and harder to kill because he was the first. We know that it was a stab of dragonglass to the heart which turned him into the monster he is today, so would that be enough to kill him or would it merely make him stronger? Wights can be taken care of with fire, but White Walkers don’t burn. Could it be that dragonglass suffices for White Walkers but won’t affect their king?
8. It’s Easy To Kill Lots At Once
One piece of good news is the fact that it can be fairly simple to take down a lot of White Walkers at once. If you kill one, you kill all of the corpses that it has raised (known as wights). It could be quite easy to end this whole threat: kill the Night King, and watch his army crumble into dust around him. Of course, that does require being able to kill him first, and that isn’t an easy matter. Still, there are some advantages to be had with this knowledge. Right now, one of the biggest threats facing our heroes is the raised dragon. Take down the dragon through this method and there wouldn’t even be any need to fight it. If they were to find a method which would take down a lot of White Walkers at once, their army could be decimated by just a few key moves. This will play into the strategy of the final battle, for certain.
7. There’s A Crazy Theory About Bran
There’s one crazy theory that you might have heard before and might want to pay attention to. After all, everyone said the theories about Jon Snow and Daenerys were crazy, and here we are. The theory goes that Bran is actually the Night King, and that he travelled back in time to be the man who was first turned into him. This would fit with his telepathic abilities, and also his ability to raise people from the dead. We also know that he can travel somewhat through time, though it may have catastrophic effects on those around him. With that in mind, there’s a big reason why a group of people in the past would very much want to stop him from travelling around and messing things up. He could be Bran the Builder himself, and he could have caused a lot of the madness we’ve seen in the past. Could it be true? Only time will tell.
6. What We Know About His Origins
Where did the Night King come from, anyway? Well, let’s look at what we know from the show. Bran saw a vision of a ritual back in season six which tells us how he came about. The Children of the Forest took a captive First Man and turned him into the Night King, intending him to be the ultimate weapon against mankind to stop them from invading and cutting down the weirwood trees. Something went horribly wrong, however, and the White Walkers turned on the Children of the Forest, causing them to ally with the First Men in order to drive them back. The Night King then went on to kill the last remainders of the Children of the Forest when he attacked the Three-Eyed Raven’s refuge, so there was clearly no love lost there. This ultimate weapon now appears to be aiming to take down the humans as well, perhaps out of revenge for what he was turned into.
5. Combat With Him Is Really Hard
Why is it so hard to fight the White Walkers? Well, they aren’t like normal humans but just a little bit colder. Instead, they possess enhanced strength and speed – you could think of them as super-zombies. They have their frozen blades, which means that most fighters aren’t well-equipped to take them on. That means full-scale army combat is going to be very difficult indeed. There’s also a psychological issue. The men that fall turn against their previous allies and become wights, which means that there’s a burden on the warriors to kill their friends, comrades in arms, and family members again once they have been raised. Even knowing that they are no longer the person that they used to be, that’s a hard task to bear. In the heat of battle, a moment’s hesitation at a familiar face could easily be enough for a wight to overpower you.
4. They Don’t Talk Out Loud
One of the eerie things about the White Walkers and the wights is that they don’t talk out loud. If the Night King could be heard giving orders, and the wights shouting to one another, then you might be able to use that strategically. You could see their battle plans unfolding and react in the right way. Unfortunately for the humans, that isn’t the case. They do communicate, but they do it in some kind of non-verbal way, somehow using a telepathic connection or a hive-mind. Though they may look a little ragtag in the show, they’re a fighting force to be reckoned with, and seriously creepy to boot. Plenty of normal soldiers have already been depicted as simply running away when faced with them. The fact that they won’t speak is just another part of that overall impression. Interestingly, another change from the books is that they are supposed to wear armour which reflects their surroundings so that they can blend in, like chameleons.
3. Craster Found A Way To Make Peace
If you can’t beat the Night King, what can you do to survive? There may be a sign that he is willing to make peace in some small parts. He did make an uneasy truce with Craster, in which Craster would offer up his baby boys in exchange for not being attacked. However, this was likely at a time when the Night King was trying to build up his army. Now that he is on the march, he clearly has the numbers that he thinks are appropriate. If he was going to make a deal, it’s unlikely that it would be the same one. Still, there is some small ray of hope that he might be willing to negotiate. How that would work, or what he might want, is unclear. If Westeros falls under his dominion, there might at least be a chance for small pockets of people to survive.
2. He’s Been Here Since Day One
If you cast your mind back, you may recall that the opening scene of Game of Thrones centred around some rangers from the Night’s Watch stumbling upon some White Walkers who were killing wildlings. One of them escaped the massacre and fled all the way south beyond the Wall, trying to desert his duty. That’s when he was caught and beheaded by Ned Stark, kicking off the entire series. This is also the starting point of the books. At the time, we all just thought it was a neat way to introduce Ned, though we were soon proven wrong – he was never the main character he was seemingly set up to be. When you think about it, however, it shows that everything about the series has been leading up to this moment. Perhaps the Night King is really the central character of the show, and the rest has just been a distraction.
1. The Wall Was Built For Him
Just in case you were wondering about how deadly the Night King really could be, remember that he has been faced in battle before. Then, it took all of the Children of the Forest as well as the First Men to band together and face him down so that he could be stopped. They were determined not to let this happen again. Their solution was to build a wall so big that he would never be able to get past it. Yes, the Wall was actually built to keep him out of Westeros. This was the whole reason that the Night’s Watch was even formed. While they may have defeated the White Walkers at the Battle for the Dawn, they didn’t manage to actually kill the Night King but merely delayed him from attacking again. He has potentially spent all the time since then preparing for this moment.
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