Despite all the signs suggesting Jon Snow would be Games of Thrones’ Azor Ahai, the warrior destined to defeat the army of the dead, it was actually Arya Stark who saved the day, slaying the Night King at the last minute.
And you know what, most were extremely happy with this unexpected hero of the Battle of Winterfell – including the Night King himself. Well, Vladimír Furdík, the Slovakian actor who portrayed the White Walker chief.
“I think this was a good decision,” he told The Daily Beast about Maisie Williams’ character’s surprising role. “Because nobody’s waiting so much for [Arya to surprise him], not many people knew it would happen. Maybe ten minutes before Arya jumps on the Night King, we don’t know where she is.
“We see Jon Snow and other actors, but we don’t know where she is. Maybe somebody can predict it, but I think it was a good decision. Who else can kill him and how? It was the best, I think.”
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Furdík also shed some (much-needed) light on the episode, revealing some alternative Night King moments viewers could have seen. In particular, he opened up about the devilish smirk his character gave to Daenerys after she failed to destroy him with dragon fire.
“I think on the day we did three versions [of that scene],” Furdík explained. “We did like a cold face, we did a big smile—which is not easy to do under the mask because then the smile is not really nice—and then we did a couple where I moved my mouth only a little bit on the right or left side. So we shot three versions and they took this version.”
He added about the smile: “I think Miguel [Sapochnik, who directed the battle] wanted to show people that inside the Night King there is a little bit of humanness, like he was part of… He’s not just a monster – he is actually monstrous, but he also thinks. He’s not stupid.
“Through this smile, I think Miguel would like to show that he knows what he wants, you know? He’s not just walking into the country and killing people. He has some target.”
However, what about the question most Thrones will want to know: can Furdík tell us about the Night King’s background? Was the blue-eyed baddie a long lost Targaryen? A secret Lannister?
As you might have guessed, he knows nothing. In fact, Furdík didn’t even want to learn more about the character – “I can wait for another time when somebody makes a book or something about who the Night King was.”
We’re not holding out though – even if George RR Martin promises a book explaining it all, we’re sure to wait a very long night before he finishes writing it.
Game of Thrones continues Mondays at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic