It’s hard to keep track of all the villains on Game of Thrones. Since the series began in 2011, we’ve met royal sociopaths, conniving confidantes and a knight so large and terrifying, they just call him The Mountain.
Much of the focus on major conflicts so far have centered on the living, breathing foes of Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and the rest of the heroes. But we’ve also seen glimpses of an undead threat looming beyond the Wall. And as Season 7 gets into full swing, we’re coming to see that our favorite GoT characters’ real enemies may not be each other, but an army of undead warriors.
So far, we don’t know much about these frightening creatures. But we do know that they’re led by the Night King, the creepy warrior who is poised to become a major player as winter closes in on HBO’s adaptation.
Fans have theorized that our favorite three-eyed raven, Bran Stark, will eventually become the Night King. While we’re still not sure whether that will pan out, here’s everything we do know about this powerful leader and the role he’ll play in the oncoming war.
1. He plays a different role in the book series
When we first met the Night King in Season 4 of Game of Thrones, it seemed like he might be the same, or similar, to the Night’s King — a legendary character in George R. R. Martin’s book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. But as we’ve learned more about the character in the HBO adaptation, fans have figured out that there are some pretty significant differences between the two.
First and foremost, the TV version of the Night King is considerably older than the Night’s King, who first showed up after the Wall had been built. In Martin’s books, the Night’s King is a relative of the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, which doesn’t seem to be the case on the TV series.
And most importantly, according to Martin himself, his Night’s King likely isn’t even around during the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. The author told fans on LiveJournal, “In the books, he is a legendary figure, akin to Lann the Clever and Brandon the Builder, and no more likely to have survived to the present day than they have.”
So while we may seem some similarities between the two characters, HBO’s Night King will likely play a much more prominent role.