The Night King has become one of the most mysterious characters on Game of Thrones, but with the eighth and final season of the HBO series set to unleash the Army of the Dead upon Westeros, we’ll likely be learning much more about the White Walker leader. Although George R.R. Martin’s books do reference a character with a similar name, the Night King is a creation of Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and the pair recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly about what led them to add the character to the series.
It was almost logical as you went back in time, as you create the prehistory for all this. We’ve seen what the White Walkers do, we’ve seen how they perpetuate themselves and created the wights. If you’re going backwards, well, they made these things so what made them? We always liked the implication that they weren’t some kind of cosmic evil that had been around since the beginning to 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.
The Night King was first introduced in the fourth season where he was played by Richard Brake, but by the sixth season the role was taken over by Vladimir Furdik, who also played the human version of the character in a flashback to the Night King’s creation by the Children of the Forest. For thousands of years, the Night King has been waiting, but with the Wall now breached and a dragon at his command, the Night King is ready to begin his endgame. As for what that endgame entails, David Benioff said, “I don’t think of him as evil, I think of him as Death. And that’s what he wants for all of us. It’s why he was created and that’s what he’s after.” Benioff also addressed a frequent question they get about the Night King regarding why he never speaks. “What’s he going to say?” Benioff asked. “Anything the Night King says diminishes him.“
The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones will debut on HBO on April 14, 2019.