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The true enemy won't wait out the storm. He brings the storm.
~ Jon Snow, regarding the Night King.

The Night King is the leader of the White Walkers, the very first of their kind, and the Greater Scope Villain of the TV series Game of Thrones. He existed since the age of the First Men. He is also the master of the wights.

He is a creation of the television series and is not expected to appear in the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series.

In the TV series adaptation he is the apparent mastermind behind their coming invasion. He serves as a minor antagonist in Season 4, one of the secondary antagonists in both Season 5 and Season 6 and one of the two main antagonists of Season 7, alongside Cersei Lannister. He is the most dangerous threat to the Seven Kingdoms.

The religion of R'hllor claims that he and the Walkers are servants of an evil god of ice, archenemy of the Lord of Light, known as the Great Other. Red Priests claim that only Azor Ahai reborn can stop them and the Long Night that Never Ends.

It is shown that the Children of the Forest created him as the very first White Walker to defeat the invading humans known as the First Men. The Night King himself was a First Man.

He is portrayed by actors Richard Brake in Seasons 4 to 5, and Vladimir Furdik from Season 6 onwards.

Game of Thrones

The episode "Oathkeeper" reveals the fate of the infants, as well as introduce the Night King. A White Walker takes Craster's last son to what appears to be an altar where the Night King himself greets the infant, and with a poke to his cheek, turns him into another White Walker.

In the episode Hardhome, in which Jon Snow, now Lord Commander himself, goes to the titular village on a mission with Tormund, to make peace with the remaining wildlings from the army of Mance Rayder fled during the attack of King Stannis Baratheon (all the other wildlings and giants are around beyond the Wall like groups, Craster's wives, and a group at the river Milkwater ) and get them to the Wall. While they are evacuating the village, an army of wight's attack, and a massacre ensues. The Night King and other White Walkers oversee the attack. During the fight, Jon Snow kills as White Walker, which the Night King witnesses. After the fighting, Jon and his men flee with the last of the evacuates, and the Night King walks down the dock. Jon and the Night King make eye contact, and the king has him watch as he resurrects the dead of the battle into new wights.

In the episode The Door, it is revealed that the Night King was the first White Walker and that the White Walkers were created by the Children of the Forest as a weapon against the First Men. During one of his greendreams, Bran sees the undead forces of the White Walkers. He walks through the army until he stands before the Night King who sees him. The Night King grabs Bran by the arm which leaves a lasting mark, even after Bran has woken. This mark allows the Night King to penetrate the security spells around the cave and he sends his undead army inside it. Bran and Meera are able to flee but the Night King and his men eradicate all remaining Children of the Forest as well as the Three-eyed raven who is slain by the Night King himself.

Later in Beyond the Wall the Night King and his army surround Jon, Sandor Clegane, Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion north of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, during their mission to capture a wight to show proof of the White Walkers' existence. Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal arrive to rescue the group, but the Night King takes an ice lance, and successfully kills Viserion. The group narrowly escapes, but the Night King then resurrects Viserion as an undead dragon. He rides the wight of Viserion and destroys the eastern part of the Wall at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, breaking the spell of the Children of the Forest and making a passage for his army to invade the Seven Kingdoms. The Night King's army is currently marching south, invading the Seven Kingdoms.

A Song of Ice and Fire

In the novels there's no mention of this character. There is only a legend about a traitor known as Night's King. George R.R. Martin stated that the Night's King is a legendary figure who's most likely to be dead. There's also no mention of the Others having a leader at all. The Night King from the show has been added only for the TV version of the events. There are different rumors and theories about possible candidates for a new leader of the Others who will lead them during the Long Night that Never Ends.

A possible candidate for the "next Night's King" is Stannis Baratheon, due to his similarities with Night's King and the fact he took the Nightfort as his seat in the North. Stannis is also said that he will break before he bends. In the House of the Undying, Daenerys Targaryen sees in a vision a blue-eyed king with a red sword, who casts no shadow. The description matches with Stannis, who's said to have deep blue eyes, has the magic red sword called Lightbringer, and created two Shadow Assassins with Melisandre. Voices of the Undying Ones call Daenerys "slayer of lies". 

In the book version the situation with the wildlings is more complicated and the events at Hardhome is happening "off-screen" as Jon Snow, who is the POV character of this storyline, stays at Castle Black and sends Cotter Pyke and Tormund there.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The Night King's first appearance on the show was controversial to the fans of A Song of Ice and Fire novels, of which Game of Thrones is based off, because there was no implication of his presence in the books.
    • When asked about this, George R.R. Martin claimed: "As for the Night's King (the form I prefer), 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."
    • Furthemore, George R.R. Martin has stated that A Song of Ice and Fire does not need an evil Dark Lord, in contrast to the Game of Thrones showrunners saying that the Night King is the incarnation of all evil. So far in the books there are implications and theories about Stannis Baratheon becoming a "King of Ice" or Night's King's successor. Stannis has various parallels with Night's King's character and actions, and during the narrative with Stannis, the words "cold" and "night" appear a lot, including the description of Stannis' eyes as "deep blue as night", just like the White Walkers' eyes are described. If the theory is true, then Stannis in the TV show was no longer needed, as his role in season 6 was given to Jon Snow and his possible future villainous role replaced by the Night King. Apparently Jon and Daenerys are the chosen ones to save the world, while Melisandre's visions of Stannis as a king was actually Stannis breaking after losing everything and join the Others to destroy Westeros.
  • He is portrayed by Richard Brake who is also Joe Chill in Batman Begins.
  • He is evidently similar to The Lich King.
  • Night King received the title "The True Enemy". Sauron from Lord of the Rings received almost the same as he is referred to as "The Enemy".
           Game of Thrones Villains

Westeros
Beyond the Wall
Craster | Mance Rayder | The Others | Rattleshirt | Night King | Styr | The Weeper | Tormund Giantsbane | Viserion | White Walker Commander | Wights

The North
Arnolf Karstark | Arthor Karstark | Bowen Marsh | Cregan Karstark | Harald Karstark | Locke | Myranda | Night's King | Olly | Ramsay Bolton | Reek | Rickard Karstark | Roose Bolton | Smalljon Umber

The Vale of Arryn
Mord | Lysa Arryn | Petyr Baelish | Rast

Riverlands
Aenys Frey | Benfrey Frey | Big Walder Frey | Black Walder Frey | Edwyn Frey | Emmon Frey | Garse Goodbrook | Harys Haigh | Hosteen Frey | Jared Frey | Lady Stoneheart | Leslyn Haigh | Little Walder Frey | Lothar Frey | Lysa Arryn | Merrett Frey | Raymund Frey | Rhaegar Frey | Ryman Frey | Symond Frey | Walder Frey | Walder Rivers | Whalen Frey

Iron Islands
Balon Greyjoy | Dagmer Cleftjaw | Euron Greyjoy | Harren Hoare | Theon Greyjoy

Westerlands
Amory Lorch | Cersei Lannister | Gregor Clegane | Ilyn Payne | Jaime Lannister | Polliver | Rafford | Sandor Clegane | Tyrion Lannister | Tywin Lannister

Crownlands
Aegon II Targaryen | Aegon IV Targaryen | Aemond Targaryen | Aerys II Targaryen | Aerion Targaryen | Alliser Thorne | Baelor I Targaryen | Biter | Catspaw | Clayton Suggs | Daemon Targaryen | Daenerys Targaryen | High Sparrow | Hugh Hammer | Joffrey Baratheon | Karl Tanner | Mad Targaryens | Maegor I Targaryen | Rhaenyra Targaryen | Rorge | Smiling Knight | Ulf the White | Viserys Targaryen

Stormlands
Meryn Trant | Renly Baratheon | Robert I Baratheon | Shadow Assassins | Smiling Knight | Stannis Baratheon

The Reach
Axell Florent | Mace Tyrell | Pycelle | Qyburn | Randyll Tarly | Selyse Florent

Dorne
Ellaria Sand | Nymeria Sand | Obara Sand | Gerold Dayne | Tyene Sand

Westerosi Groups & Houses
Brave Companions | Brotherhood without Banners | Faith Militant | House Baratheon of Dragonstone | House Bolton | House Frey | House Lannister | Mountain's Men | Sand Snakes |

Essos
Free Cities
Daenerys Targaryen | Doreah | Illyrio Mopatis | Vargo Hoat | Tyanna of the Tower | Varys | Waif

Dothraki Sea
Drogo | Viserion

Lhazar
Mirri Maz Duur

Slaver's Bay
Kraznys mo Nakloz | Malko | Sons of the Harpy

Qarth
Pyat Pree | Xaro Xhoan Daxos

Far East Essos
Yi Ti
Bloodstone Emperor | Lo Bu

Asshai and Shadow Lands
Melisandre | Shadow Assassins | Viserion

Video Games
Asher Forrester | Andros | Britt Warrick | Damien | Dezhor zo Raza | Gared Tuttle | Gryff Whitehill | Harys | Ludd Whitehill | Rickard Morgryn | Tazal