THE Night King has been the biggest threat to Westeros since the beginning of Game of Thrones.
But as he and his army of the undead get ready to finally begin their attack on the living, we look into the theories that the powerful commander could be related to some of our favourite characters in the show.
Who is the Night King and how was he created?
Every army needs a commander, and the Night King is the leader of the White Walkers’ army of the dead.
He coordinates the walkers’ attacks as they move south towards Westeros, and he is the most powerful among them.
But the Night King’s existence did not come about naturally.
In season six of Game of Thrones, Bran Stark learned that the Children of the Forest had created the Night King in a bid to protect themselves and the forest from the First Men.
During a vision he saw the man who became the Night King tied up against a tree, and watched as one of the Children pushed dragon glass into his heart, turning his eyes the characteristic bright blue of the walkers.
The White Walkers were created in the same way so that the Children could protect themselves from humans, but the move backfired and the walkers became hugely dangerous in themselves.
Is the Night King a Stark?
Thanks to a vision from Bran Stark, fans have seen the moment when the Children of the Forest plunged a piece of dragon glass into the heart of a man – thus creating the Night King.
He was among one of the First Men and could well have been from the Winterfell area, plus the Starks are direct descendants from the First Men.
In the books, there is a legend about the Night’s King, who was a man that fell in love with a White Walker.
He was the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and lost his soul when he made love to his girlfriend.
When Nan was telling Bran her story about the Night’s King, she hinted that he was a Stark.
Bran said: “Some say he was a Bolton. Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint, or Norrey.
“Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear island before the ironmen came.
“He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down.”
Old Nan added: “He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say?
“Mayhaps his name was Brandon. Mayhaps he slept in this very bed in this very room.”
Game of Thrones seems to hint that the Night King could be a Targaryen[/caption]
Is the Night King a Targaryen?
Many fans believe the Night King’s symbol shares uncanny similarities to that of House of Targaryen’s crest.
At the end of the opening episode of season eight, a dead Ned Umber was tacked to the wall surrounded by a spiral made of human hands and arms that look like the crest when set alight.
Then in season seven, Jon shows Daenerys the carvings on the walls of the caves beneath Dragonstone that were inscribed there by the Children of the Forest.
And once again, the familiar symbol was seen near the drawings of the White Walkers.
As we all know, the Night King has a dragon in his army now and he was seen riding the dragon in the finale of season seven.
And fans think this is another clue because the show’s creators once claimed that “only a Targaryen can ride a dragon”.
The fact the Night King can ride a dragon has some fans questioning his blood line as a Targaryen[/caption]
Is Bran Stark the Night King?
There is currently a hugely popular fan theory which says that Bran Stark is actually the Night King.
Especially when in the first episode of series eight Ned Stark’s youngest son is reunited with his half-brother Jon Snow and describes himself as “almost” a man.
A Reddit user has claimed his incredible powers and ability to travel back to past events and “warg” – placing his soul in to the body of a different person or creature – makes the theory viable.
User turm0il26 claims that Bran either wargs into the human who becomes the Night King, or tries to kill the Children of the Forest who create the zombie king.
However, he ends up becoming the Night King as he has travelled too far to leap back in to the present day.
It’s riveting stuff – and as Bran has gone from cute kid to a smug psychic misery guts who refers to himself as the Three-Eyed Raven, it makes sense that he might make one MORE transformation.
So what are White Walkers?
The White Walkers are the biggest threat facing Westeros – much bigger than any civil war that could erupt.
They are a race of ice creatures who were thought to be the stuff of legend before they returned in the first ever scene of Game of Thrones – and have now arrived at Winterfell to take on Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and all the living.
White Walkers have superhuman strength and have powers relating to ice and cold that mean their arrival is usually accompanied by blizzards and extreme cold temperatures.
They can also resurrect the dead to act as their servants, and command a huge army of the dead, known as “wights”.
Time will tell if people who have been dead for years and years can be resurrected from their crypts to become “wights”.
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Can animals become wights too?
Yep – wights are the reanimated army of the dead who do the White Walkers’ bidding.
We’ve seen that the walkers’ horses are not living since the commanders of the army of the dead first rode into view.
And in season 7 episode 6 there was further confirmation that animals can be used in the army of the dead as a bear with the startling blue eyes of the walkers and their army attacks Thoros of Myr.
Now the army of the dead has become scarier still after the Night King reanimated Daenerys’ slain dragon Viserion – meaning the odds of Jon Snow defeating the White Walkers became slimmer than ever.