Although there’s plenty of speculation as to what role Jon Snow, Daenerys, Tyrion and the remaining Starks will have in season eight, often the most powerful Game of Thrones character is overlooked: the Night King.
Outside of the theory that he’s secretly Bran, the army of the dead’s head honcho isn’t spoken about as often as he deserves considering he’s leading an onslaught to conquer the whole of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
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Since he’s missing from the source material, we’ve got very little background about the eerie figure played by Richard Brake and, later on, Vladimir Furdik. Is he trying to take the Iron Throne of Westeros? Is he looking to kill one individual – Jon Snow, perhaps? And is his plan really evil?
The actual answer, recently given by Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, is a lot more chilling.
“I don’t think of him as evil, I think of him as Death,” Benioff explained to EW. “And that’s what he wants — for all of us. It’s why he was created and that’s what he’s after.”
Weiss added that they relished portraying the backstory of the Night King (a character seen so far only in the TV show, as opposed to George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels) and his White Walkers in past seasons. “We always liked the implication that they weren’t some kind of cosmic evil that had been around since the beginning of time but that the White Walkers had a history — that something that seems legendary and mythological and permanent wasn’t.
“They had a historical cause that was comprehensible like the way the wars on screen we’re seeing unfold are comprehensible. They’re the result of people, or beings, with motivations we can understand.”
However, it’s unlikely we’ll hear the Night King speak openly about his motivations.
“What’s he going to say?” Benioff said when asked why the character doesn’t speak. “Anything the Night King says diminishes him.”
In other words, it’s likely Vladimir Furdik – once again – doesn’t have any lines in the remaining episodes. Which makes playing the character easier for him, and a whole lot more terrifying for us.
The final series of Game of Thrones begins in the UK on 15th April at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV