Let’s Talk about Games of Throne’s Evil King

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Once upon a time, we thought Game of Thrones was about various families warring for control of the seven kingdoms. Now, it seems that even the worst of those families are small potatoes compared to what lies beyond the giant wall of ice even further north than the North.

Based on the visions of Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright), the ice-faced Night King has been marching his army of reanimated dead corpses towards that wall for years now, with intent to kill everyone and add them to his army. He’s so dangerous and terrifying that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) thinks he’s going to get Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) to form an alliance with him to fight the guy.

ut what do we really know about this snowy looking fellow? He doesn’t talk much. He’s mostly been seen protecting his own people and adding more to his kind, including babies who had been otherwise abandoned. Sure, he took a dragon last week, but that dragon was helping to burn his army, and who wouldn’t take the opportunity to acquire a dragon?

Let's Talk about Games of Throne's Evil King
Let’s Talk about Games of Throne’s Evil King

And he’s apparently been marching on Westeros for a couple of seasons now, but he hasn’t actually done anything other than march. How do we know he’s actually coming to wreak havoc on our favorite living characters? What if marching is just his thing and there isn’t anything better to do out there in the snow?

We’re not saying he’s good or not a danger to all of Westeros, but what if the Night King is only bad in the same way that everyone else is bad—he murders people, but only because those people are threatening him and his people?

Based on the level of reverence he’s being given in this show, there has to be more to the Night King than just Big Scary Bad Guy. Villains who are just villains—Ramsay Bolton, Joffrey Lannister, Walder Frey—don’t last long on this show, and if the Night King and his army really is the biggest thing to worry about at this point, we’ve got to have more of a reason to care about him, whether we’re fearing him or just anticipating him doing anything other than standing there or throwing spears.

Plus, if he were really truly evil, why wouldn’t he have targeted the dragon that was sitting on the ground, not moving, carrying a big group of people towards escape? His choice of Viserion seemed very deliberate, and not just in a convenient plot kind of way.

This is why we’re kind of obsessed with a fan theory that’s been making the rounds after this week’s epic (but also kind of stupid) trip beyond the wall, where Jon Snow met up with the Night King’s army of wights for the first time and discovered that they’re really not that friendly when you encroach on their snowy territory. The idea is that the Night King is actually none other than Bran Stark himself.

Nerdist has a full write-up of the entire theory, but the gist is that Bran has (or will have) attempted to go back in time using his many powers to prevent the rise of the White Walkers, and then got stuck as the man who eventually became the Night King.

Everything the characters on this show have known so far about the Night King came from Bran, who has both the ability to see anything that has ever happened in the past, present, or future as a greenseer and to possess another living creature (including humans, which is rare) as a warg. We’ve seen the time loop in action when we learned Hodor’s tragic backstory, and we’ve also seen that Bran can affect past through his visions, because Ned was able to hear him when Bran saw him at the Tower of Joy.

In this theory, Bran would have tried to go back multiple times to affect the past. First, he tried to convince the Mad King Aerys to “burn them all”—them being the white walkers—but Aerys thought the voices were telling him to burn his own people.

Then, he tried to go back to the time when the white walkers were created, but was too late, so instead he helped to build the wall to keep the White Walkers out.

Finally, he made it to the creation of the White Walkers—which we saw in one of Bran’s visions, when one of the Children of the Forest pressed a spear into a man’s chest to turn him into the Night King. Bran inhabited that man, but then stayed too long and couldn’t go back, meaning he’s now been the Night King for over 12,000 years.

It’s certainly not a perfect theory, but it does give us a whole new reason to potentially care about the Night King and what his motivations might be, especially whenever he comes up against family members like Jon Snow and doesn’t kill them, or when he knows exactly which raven present day Bran is warging into.

Another theory that also makes a fair amount of sense is that the Night King is Voldemort and Bran is Harry Potter, in the sense that when the Night King marked Bran on his wrist last season, the Night King and Bran became linked.

It’s not totally clear what effects that mark has, but it may explain a lot of the connections between Bran and the Night King, and it definitely has some effect on magic. It broke the magic that was hiding the cave that Bran was in when he got the mark, and many people are speculating that it will break the magic of the Wall, allowing the White Walkers through, but it could also be the thing that brings the Night King down. There are also theories that Bran will warg into the zombie dragon itself and face off against the Night King as a dragon, which would also be pretty awesome.

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In any case, Bran and his powers are most likely incredibly important to whatever happens next, making him the most important character with the smallest amount of screentime. Let’s just hope Hodor’s death, Jojen’s death, and Bran’s transformation into the all-knowing and kinda arrogant three-eyed raven will all be worth it in the end.

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