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Night's King

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Night's King
NightsKingCrop (Hardhome)
Season(s) 4, 5
Appeared in 3 episodes (see below)
Titles 13th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch
Status Alive
Age Approx. 8000
Allegiance Night's Watch (formerly)
White Walkers
Family {Night's Queen} - wife
Portrayed by Richard Brake
"We Free Folk have our stories too. About how one of your King Crows found something cold in the woods, with bright blue eyes. How he brought her home through your Wall and declared himself Night’s King. Thirteen years he and his Queen ruled over his Brothers, making sacrifices as black as their cloaks. Lucky for you southerners, Free Folk rallied to a King-Beyond-the-Wall, as we will when need be. And marched on the ancient castle he taken for his own; the Nightfort. With the help of the Starks, we killed the demon and cleansed your precious Watch. And then they thanked us, and kicked us back across the Wall, as you always have."
Ygritte[src]

The Night's King is a recurring character in the fourth and fifth seasons. He is played by guest star Richard Brake and first appears in "Oathkeeper". He is the leader of the White Walkers.

Biography

Background

Nights king

The Night's King during the Age of Heroes.

The Night’s King lived during the Age of Heroes, not long after the Wall was complete. He was a fearless warrior, who was named the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Later he fell in love with a woman “with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars”, he chased her and loved her though “her skin was cold as ice,” and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. He brought her back to the Nightfort and after the unholy union, he declared himself king and her his queen, and ruled the Nightfort as his own castle for thirteen years.

During the dark years of his reign, horrific atrocities were committed, of which tales are still told in the North. It was not until Brandon the Breaker, the King in the North, and Joramun, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, joined forces that the Night’s King was brought down and the Night’s Watch freed. After his fall, when it was discovered that he had been sacrificing to the White Walkers (possibly in similar way to Craster), all records of him were destroyed and his very name was forbidden.[1]

Season 4

White Walker leaders thirteen at temple

The Night's King approaches an altar-like ice formation where Craster's last son has been placed.

The Night's King first appears in a vision that Bran Stark has, when communes with a Weirwood Heart tree. He experiences a flood of images from the past, present, and future, many of which he was not physically present for. He does not comprehend what all of these images are. In retrospect, one of them is an image of the Night's King picking up the last of Craster's sons on an ice altar.[2]

After Rast places Craster's final son on the ground in the Haunted Forest, a White Walker riding an undead horse approaches and takes the baby, carrying it towards a shattered mountain in the Lands of Always Winter.

Baby

With a touch of his finger, the Night's King turns Craster's final son into a White Walker.

Once inside, the White Walker approaches an icy altar ringed by large icy spikes and places the baby upon the altar. In the distance, a group of thirteen black-garbed White Walkers are revealed to be viewing the proceedings from afar. One of them breaks from the middle of their number and approaches the altar, stopping to regard the human child for a moment before gently gathering him in its arms. The baby immediately calms, staring into the face of the Night's King, who is revealed to have a crown of horns jutting from its head. He places his index finger upon the baby's cheek, causing the child's eyes to slow turn to icy, depthless blue and his skin to grow pale, finally revealing the fate of Craster's other sons.[3]

Season 5

WhiteWalker (Hardhome)

The Night's King looks at Jon Snow.

The Night's King appears again when Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane are coordinating the evacuation of Hardhome. He appears to be leading the attack, or is at least observing it with some other White Walkers, and watches from one of the cliffs above the town as Jon slays one of his lieutenants with Longclaw. As Jon, Tormund and the remaining defenders leave on the boat, the Night's King appears on the dock and locks eyes with Jon. With a mere raise of his arms, the Night's King raises the entirety of Hardhome's erstwhile defenders as wights, and keeps his gaze upon Jon as the boat slips away.[4]

Powers and Abilities

The Night's King possesses a number of supernatural powers or abilities – it is not, at present, clear how many of these are unique to him, or if other White Walkers possess some of these.

  • White Walker conversion: The Night's King can turn a human baby into a White Walker by pressing the tip of his finger to the baby's cheek. The child's skin will begin to pale and its eyes will turn the same blue as the other White Walkers.[3]
  • Raising Wights: The Night's King can raise corpses as wights. He doesn't require physical contact to do so, and can raise hundreds of wights at a single time with a mere raise of his arms.[4]
  • Superior strength: Although he has not been observed engaging in single combat, the Night's King presumably has the same enhanced strength that other White Walkers exhibit.[4][5]
  • Weapon shattering: the Night's King's touch can presumably shatter regular metal weapons, as with most White Walkers.[4][5]

Appearances

Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose * Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children
*Briefly appears in a vision
Season Five appearances
The Wars to Come The House of Black and White High Sparrow Sons of the Harpy Kill the Boy
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken The Gift Hardhome The Dance of Dragons Mother’s Mercy

Image gallery

Behind the Scenes

  • The synopsis for "Oathkeeper" on the HBO Viewer's Guide originally listed this character as the Night's King, though this was later removed. The Inside the Episode for the episode Hardhome confirmed he is indeed the Night's King.
  • The actor who plays the Night's King is Richard Brake: he isn't very recognizable under all of the prosthetics he is wearing, but he is best known for his appearance in Christopher Nolan's 2005 Batman Begins film, in which he played Joe Chill (the street mugger that killed Bruce Wayne's parents), as well as Corporal Dean Portman, one of the Marines in the film version of DOOM.
Executive producers Benioff and Weiss discussed the appearance of the Night's King in a Season 4 featurette:
Weiss: "We wanted to kind of evolve the White Walker look. He is of a group of almost ageless creatures."
Benioff: "It's an interesting mix between something frightening, obviously, but also regal, something aristocratic about Him. We wanted a distinction from the other White Walkers that we've seen."
Weiss: "And we went back and forth for a long time, until we hit upon something that was, if anything, moving in a more human direction, while maintaining a generally horrific look."[6]
  • According to the Season 4 Blu-ray commentary, a lot more material was actually filmed with the Night's King in "Oathkeeper", but the production team then decided to cut it in order to keep his appearance brief and mysterious.[7]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, there has not yet been any mention of the Others, who appear in person only very occasionally, currently having a leader or any kind of hierarchy. The Night's King is believed to be long dead, and the legends about him don't suggest he was an Other.

The Night's King is a legendary Lord Commander of the Night's Watch who lived during the Age of Heroes, not long after the Wall was complete. According to legend, he was a fearless warrior named the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Later, he fell in love with a woman "with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars". He chased her and loved her though "her skin was cold as ice", and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. He brought her back to the Nightfort and after the unholy union, he declared himself king and her his queen, and ruled the Nightfort as his own castle for thirteen years. During the dark years of his reign, horrific atrocities were committed, of which tales are still told in the North. It was not until Brandon the Breaker, the King of Winter, and Joramun the King-Beyond-the-Wall, joined forces that the Night's King was brought down and the Night's Watch freed. After his fall, when it was discovered that he had been making sacrifices to the Others, all records of him were destroyed and his very name was forbidden and forgotten. It is likely this led the lords of the North to forbid the Night's Watch to construct walls at their keeps, ensuring the keeps would always be accessible from the south.

One of the Stories Old Nan told Bran is about the Night's King. She said some people believe the Night's King was a Bolton, a Magnar of Skagos, an Umber, a Flint, a Norrey, or a Woodfoot. However, she identified the Night's King as a Stark of Winterfell and brother to the King of the North, and hints his name was Brandon.

In the TV series, the Night's King reanimates dead men into wights with only his will, and turns Craster's sons into White Walkers with his touch, abilities that have not been specified in the books. In fact, the fate of Craster's sons is still unknown: Old Nan's tales allude to the Others' feeding human children to the wights, or that wildling women lay with White Walkers to make horrible half-Walker babies, etc. Craster's wives do say that they believe that the infant sons that Craster gave the Others as sacrifices were turned into new White Walkers - but it wasn't clear if this is what actually happens, or if it was just the wild suspicion of Craster's frightened, isolated wives. When Samwell Tarly is told to flee with Gilly and her newborn son, Gilly urges that if he doesn't "they" will come for him. When he asks who "they" are, another wife says: "The boy's brothers...Craster's sons. The white cold's rising out there, crow. I can feel it in my bones. These poor old bones don't lie. They'll be here soon, the sons." Confirmation of what exactly happens to Craster's sons has not occurred in the books yet. Given the inaccuracy of Nan's other stories, however, it is apparent that the show's writers felt Craster's wife may have inside information regarding their fates.

See also

References

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