The Ninjabot

GAME OF THRONES is the Night King the Mastermind Behind Everything?

Posted on August 28, 2017 at 8:27 am by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

***Spoilers obviously***

estere know next to nothing about the Night King, aside from his Herculean javelin skills, because the books and show have never given us an story elements from his POV. Because of this, we are left to assume that the Night King is an uncaring force of nature. It is something that makes him a slightly underwhelming end-game villain, and yet terrifying at the same time. Why does the Night King want to kill everyone? What happens when winter is over? Why has he waited so long to return to fight the souther folk?

Before we get too far down this rabbit hole, there is one important bit of information we should remember. This isn’t the first time this has happened. 8,000 years before Robert’s rebellion, and the events of the books/show, there was an event dubbed, “The Long Night.” During a winter that lasted a generation, the army of the dead marched south and laid waste to all in their path. This conflict culminated in the “War for the Dawn” in which the heroes drove the white walkers back to the deep north. The Night’s watch was founded, the wall was built, and good triumphed over evil.

So why come back now? The easy answer is to say that they are capitalizing on the current long winter, but that seems a little flimsy. George R. R. Martin is the king of subverting fantasy tropes, and I find it hard to believe he would under-develop his big baddie or give him such meager motivation. Surely in the last 8,000 years there has been a winter long enough for them to travel south. We learned from the season finale last night that the white walkers are unable to breach the wall without the assistance of zombie Viserion. So, we’re lead to believe the Night King simply needed the firepower of a dragon.

This is problematic because we have been told for seven seasons that the White Walkers are the true villains of the story, and that they will bring death with them if we don’t combat them. BUT, with what we have been presented with so far, if they had simply ignored the threat, and laughed off their attempts to pass into the south, all would have been fine. They would have arrived at the wall, checked the door, found it locked and scampered back to their homes. So either our heroes are part of a self-fulfilling prophecy, code for lazy story-telling, which is not often associated with Game of Thrones, or maybe the Night King has been manipulating things this whole time.

We know that the Night King has some of the same abilities Bran does. And we know that our favorite cripple has been able to see things, and even interact in some small ways with his visions. He called out to his father at the Tower of Joy, and Ned heard him. He famously was able to physically interact with the Night King when the leader of the White Walkers grabbed him while Bran tried to snoop on him. And of course there was Hodor, never forget Hodor. Keep in mind that Bran has been the Three-Eyed Raven for all of a couple months, whereas the Night King has been around for thousands of years. Assuming he put any effort into his craft, he should be quite adept at manipulating events.

But why now, and why these dragons? Dragons gave been a thing in Westeros for a couple hundred years, and to our knowledge during this time the Night King made no effort to lure one north of the wall. It could be that the timing/weather wasn’t right, but I would like to believe that it is because Daenerys has love and compassion in her heart. Aegon the Conqueror, was the first Targaryen to bring dragons to Westeros, but no one would accuse him of being a softy. Likewise most of his offspring would not likely risk their lives and their dragons on a “damn fool idealistic crusade.” But Dany is different. She wasn’t raised with Dragons, and she wasn’t raised in royalty. She had one family member, and he sold her to the Dothraki, and was an overall bad dude. She wants to “break the wheel” that has become Weserosi politics, in which leaders rise above their subjects and treat them like cattle. The Night King sees all, and with this knowledge began moving the pieces. He knew Daenerys would deliver him a dragon if he set the right trap.

This would explain why we never get the Night King’s POV. Say what you want about Martin, but he is an incredibly detailed writer, who loves to leave breadcrumbs for his readers to discover, and lament over in great detail. If the Night King is the grand villain we’re hoping he is, then Martin would have laid a much more sophisticated back story for him. But, he couldn’t, because then we would know too much. It would be near impossible to get around this problem, and maybe this is why the books are taking him longer than expected. Or perhaps this is a long con. Martin has the books done or mostly done, but he wants to let the TV show give the revelation of the Night King’s manipulation, and then he can go back and lay the track in his novels. This would add a great amount of value to those who may not be interested in investing in the lengthy novels once they know how it ends on the show.

How great would that be? We know the books and show are headed to the same destination, yet talking different routes. Maybe once the reveal of the Night King’s manipulation is known in the show, Martin is free to show us these machinations in his prose. We would get to see all the events that the Night King is manipulating. It would be great to see Bran and the Night King just monkeying around with the past to get where we are. It would also elevate Bran from a boring robot into a mental warrior that can challenge the infamous Night King. Time-travel is always difficult, but an author like Martin, who is compulsive in his plotting of events, might be able to deliver a masterful arc that is both satisfying and amazing.

Or maybe I am just overthinking it, and our heroes were stupid enough to deliver the weapon of their undoing to their enemy by flying a trio of dragons into the most dangerous region of the world. All I know is that I never expected Cersei to survive this season, so I’m walking on sunshine. Six more to go Cersei, stay safe. What do you think?

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