In the first ever episode of Game of Thrones, the arrival of the White Walkers is heralded by a bloody arrangement of body parts in the snow. In a later episode, we see a huge spiral shape constructed in the same way. And that shape is repeated in the opener to the concluding series, with human limbs attached to a wall in castle Last Hearth and the young Lord Umber pinned to its centre.
Similar symbols were seen carved into the walls of the caves under Dragon Stone, put there by ancient magical beings the Children of the Forest, the same race that inadvertently created the White Walkers.
Clearly, the Night King is sending a message and, clearly, it has something to do with the Children of the Forest. But exactly what is it?
Game of Thrones season eight writer David Hill has shed some light…
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“As we saw with Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven, the spiral pattern was sacred to the Children of the Forest, who created the Night King by sacrificing a captured man in a spiral ‘henge of stones’,” Hill told the New York Post.
“The Night King then adopted the symbol as a sort of blasphemy, like Satan with the upside-down cross.”
This would also appear to put paid to another popular theory, which says that the Night King was once a Targaryen like Daenerys.
Targaryens, of course, have a particular affinity with dragons, and after killing Daenerys’s dragon Viserion and raising it from the dead, the Night King was able to ride the beast and use it to melt The Wall.
Meanwhile, some fans have argued that the spiral shapes left by the Night King echo the three-headed dragon sigil of House Targaryen.
I’ve commented about this before but that NK symbol or whatever looks way too much like the targ sigil or is it just me? Mainly today pic.twitter.com/v5vWYfRyMg
— dragon's daughter (@yeahclarke) April 15, 2019
But if Hill’s take is to be believed, that theory no longer appears valid. More likely, it seems, the Night King has power over all the undead creatures he has created, be they human or dragon – and those symbols are simply a big “up yours” to the Children of the Forest, and the mortal inhabitants of Westeros.
Game of Thrones airs on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on Mondays at 2am and 9pm