Underdogs, one of the biggest questions in Game of Thrones is who is the Night King? I will try to stick to the TV show version as much as possible and for this blog, I want to make sure we are on the same page. I am talking about the Night King, not the Night’s King, the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. If you are confused, it’s the big scary ice dude that seems to be the leader of the White Walkers. There is very little known about the Night King, or his history. Why are they all set on killing and destroying everything in their path? Why did he create an army, and what is his end goal? Does he want to destroy the world as we know it,and populate the Earth with his crew? Or, is he truly misunderstood and is actually the hero of this saga, while everyone else is wrong? Let’s take a look into some thoughts about the Night King. I actually have a strange theory of who he is, and this may be fun falling down this rabbit hole!
If you have not seen the show, or watched the TV show: SPOILERS!
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In the HBO show, there is a brief history of the start of the White Walkers. That is, if you trust the narrative. The Children of the Forrest show Bran that they were the ones who created the Night King, and thus, the White Walkers. They stabbed him in the chest with dragon glass, and used dark magic to turn him into whatever he is now. The thing is, not much of this story is reliable. First, this is supposed to happen AFTER the long night, not before, or even during. The caves on Dragon Stone show White Walker’s and one figure that seems like a different Night King, or even a leader. Why would this being be created during a moment of peace? The other thing is that Blood Raven (or the Three Eyed Raven) is also showing Bran what he wanted him to see. Blood Raven, and the Children of the Forrest have been together for years, so who knows what their motives are. Why would The Children create a killing machine in a time of peace, and say it was because of Man? The time line isn’t right, but as you can tell by watching the show, the characters in the story aren’t even sure of their own history. So what was Bran shown? Why that one moment because without any more context, it is very hard to trust the story that they are telling him.
The other strange thing about the Night King is the fact that he has chances to kill major characters in the story, but doesn’t. For example, he has several stand offs with Jon, but it ends with epic stare downs, and no real confrontation. There is creepy raising of a whole bunch of dead, but he could have easily killed Jon not once, but twice. He chooses not to hurt him. Why would he do this? He also had the chance to kill Danny as well, but he doesn’t. Yes, he ends up killing her dragon and bringing him back to life, but why didn’t he take the time to kill Danny when he had the chance? The answer may surprise you.
My theory is that what Bran was shown in his vision was wrong. I think this wasn’t the creation of the White Walkers, but the creation of one of many leaders of the White Walkers. The vision we see with Bran and Blood Raven was the person they choose before the current Night King. Again, there is some evidence that there had been more than one Long Night, and more than one leader of the White Walkers. If you listened to the stories of Old Nan, and some of the history Sam has pieced together, this type of thing has happened many times. There was one person who was obsessed with the prophecy of Azor Ahai. In fact, he read something that changed his life and made him believe he was Azor Ahai, and then later on, he believed it would be one of his children. I am talking of course, about Rhaegar Targaryen. What if he was correct, but not exactly in the way that he thought?
No one is certain what Rhaegar read to make him believe that he was Azor Ahai, but it changed the person that he was to the core. He was at one point a dreamer, a poet, and a singer. One day, after reading this mysterious scroll, he decided that he needed to start to train and became a strong fighter, and a leader. At some point, he changed his mind about the prophecy being about him. Again, we left in the dark as to why. However, he believed that his child would be the chosen one so much so that he had a child with another women when his own wife could no longer give him any. My theory is that Rhaegar knew he had a role to play, but he had no clue how steep the cost would be.
Rhaegar died during Robert’s Rebellion, but no one was sure what happened to his body. Many people think that he was left in the field to rot in the spot he fell. What if he was brought back to life, but not with the kiss of life, but from dark magic. What if the Night King that we see right now is not a Stark like many people believe, but in fact, it is Rhaegar. If we look at the words of the prophecy, we know Rhaegar was born among smoke and salt. He did indirectly kill his wife by using “light bringer” to get Lyanna pregnant. She passed away after giving birth to Jon Snow. He needed a hero’s sword to defeat the darkness, which is Jon Snow. However, what if he was the leader of that darkness, and his own son would have to kill him in order to end the darkness and the killing. Jon is the song of ice and fire, and would be the right person to end the cycle, or sacrifice himself to help the bigger picture, whatever the picture may be.
The fact that the Night King has yet to harm Jon (as of this publishing) and didn’t harm Danny is very telling. Danny is his little sister. He didn’t take the chance to kill his son, and his sister because he cares for them. What would be more of a big surprise than Rhaegar being the newest version of the Night King? What would be more bitter sweet than Jon finally getting to meet his Father, but then having to kill him in order to bring about balance. The Song of Ice and Fire is all about balance, but it’s also about conflict.
George R.R. Martin has said in several interviews that he likes to write about the human heart in conflict with itself. What bigger conflict could it be than the tragic story of both Jon, and Danny, and how they have to choose to end a man who was so special to their lives. Maybe there has to be a Night King to keep the balance between the light and dark. Maybe Jon will become the next Night King. Maybe it will be Danny. Who knows, but I really think that the Night King could really be Rhaegar and Bran was shown what they wanted him to see, not what he needed to see at that time. Bran and Sam will most likely find out the truth, but what truth will it be. The story of the Night King and the White Walkers is still mysterious, and it could be even more tragic than we have ever imagined.
What do you think? Is Rhaegar the Night King? Leave your comments below.