The final episode of the seventh season of Game of Thrones ended with the Night King finally breaching the Wall. But, the biggest question that remains to be answered right from the opening scene of the first season was – What is the motivation of the Night King and who is he? We’ve got many speculations here:
Identities of the Night King:
All we know is that the Night King is the leader of the White Walkers, who first appeared in Season 4. We all first saw a glimpse of his in Bran’s weirwood vision and finally in the Land of Always Winter, holding the last son of Craster offered to him by Night’s Watch mutineer Rast, and converted into a White Walker.
Since then, the Night King has made major appearances in multiple episodes in the fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons, alongside various main characters like Jon Snow, Dolorous Edd, Tormund Giantsbane, Brandon Stark, Meera Reed, the Three-eyed Raven, and many more. And, in the final season, he finally breached the Wall, with undead Viserion as his mount.
Night King is a First Man
In the episode ‘the Door’ of the sixth season, Bran witnesses a vision of the creation of the Night King by the Children of the Forest. He sees Leaf plunge a dagger of dragonglass into the chest of a first man, thus creating the Night King.
Bran then steps out his vision and asks Leaf, “It was you? You made the White Walkers.”
“We were at war. We were being slaughtered. Our sacred trees cut down. We needed to defend ourselves,” replies Leaf.
“From you. From men.”
Up to this part, we can understand that the White Walkers were created as a weapon of destruction by the Children to be used against the first men who had invaded their homeland and were cutting down their sacred weirwood trees.
Night King is the ‘Night’s King’ from the books
Night’s King is a legendary figure who appears only in the book. He was the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, who fell in love with a female White Walker. He then brought her back to the Wall and the duo ruled over it for thirteen years declaring themselves the king and the queen. Old Nan believes him to be a Stark of Winterfell.
The dark years of his reign ended when Brandon the Breaker, the king of Winterfell and Joramun, the King-beyond-the-Wall, joined forces. According to the author George RR Martin,
“… in the books, he [Night’s King] is a legendary figure, akin to Lann the Clever and Brandon the Builder, and no more likely to have survived to the present day than they have.”
This isn’t the case in the TV series. However, the TV series did give us some clues. In the episode “Oathkeeper” we can clearly see the Night King approaching for Craster’s son, while his twelve companions stay in the background. So, it is possible that the Night King is the 13th Lord Commander from the Age of the Heroes?
Night King’s motivation:
Why is the Night King back? What does his want? – there are several questions to be answered in the TV series since the opening scene of the first episode. There are a few possible reasons for the others to return:
Craster’s 99th son
Craster was a wildling who lived beyond the Wall along with his daughter-wives. He made some strange offerings to the White Walkers, giving all his new-born sons to them. He had successfully offered his 98 infants but Gilly, one of his daughter-wives declined to give away her son and escaped his keep with Samwell Tarly. Later, a Night’s Watch mutiny broke out and Craster was killed. His 100th son was eventually offered to the others by Rast. Is it possible that they are back for Gilly’s son?
A Broken Pact:
We all know the story of the pact which was made during the Age of the Heroes that ended the war between the Children of the Forest and the First Men. We also know that the White Walkers were created by the Children at the peak of the pact. But, have we been misled since the very beginning of the story?
We all know that the Wall was constructed by Bran the Builder, a long time ago to keep the others and whatever else lies beyond it away. What if this story was wrong? What if the White Walkers themselves built the Wall to keep away from the realms of men? If this theory is to be believed, Will, Gared, and Ser Waymar Royce were slaughtered beyond the Wall because of this reason. Also, the Wildlings too were reuniting to cross the Wall for the same reason.
The Return of Magic:
Game of Thrones is a world where magic exists in all religions especially the religion of R’hllor. Even the actual name of the series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ promises a clash between the two mighty forces of nature: Ice and Fire. Could the birth of Dragons be the reason for the others to return? But, they have long existed in the Valyrian freehold for thousands of years, haven’t they?
Return of the Prince/Princess who was promised:
The religion of R’hllor believes that the last time, the others were defeated at the hands of a legendary figure named Azor Ahai or the prince who was promised. Up to this point in the story, we’ve been lead to believe that it is either Jon or Daenerys. So, it might be possible that the Night King believes them to be a threat to his kin as a whole.
Night King wants to avenge his creation
We all know the fact that the Children created the Night King, subjugating him to a life of immense torcher. Also, in George’s world, nothing is purely good or evil. It is entirely possible that the Night King wants to avenge his creation as we don’t exactly know his back-story.
We expect that the final season of Game of Thrones will definitely tie some loose ends and will answer these questions soon. So, who do you think is the Night King and what is his motivation? Tell us in the comments section.