Much has been said about the Night King and his identity on Game of Thrones heading into the final season of the HBO series. Some fans feel he could be Bran Stark through some time travel trickery -- the same type that gave us Hodor. Others have different theories.
There are plenty of facts already known about the major evil making his way south, including his revealed origin story and the abilities he has at his disposal. We also know a few of his weaknesses on top of that.
But what if we now know his identity? -- or at least a piece of his identity. The premiere for Season 8 seemed to drop a few hints that could indicate the leader of the White Walkers comes from a familiar family on the show.
Spoilers for Game of Thrones ahead.
The first episode of the final season was full of throwbacks to the earlier seasons in the show. None were more visually stimulating than the spiral symbol we saw holding poor young Ned Umber at its center. He wasn't fully dead just yet, but his final resting place was a message for Westeros and a possible hint for fans at home. Many theorized that the look of the symbol itself when compared to a particular family sigil might reveal that the Night King is a Targaryen.
The theory is explained through the spiral symbol and where seen in the series. Viewers have encountered it several times in the show to this point, actually stretching all the way back to the first episode of the series. Typically when it appears, it is in respect to encounters with the White Walkers.
One major moment was the massacre of horses at Fist of the First Men and is a gory relative to what we saw in the premiere, but we've also seen it in the drawings in the caverns below Dragonstone. It has become a representation of the White Walkers on the series, but they didn't craft it. The ice zombies apparently got it from those that created them, The Children of the Forest.
Co-creator David Benioff said as much in a past interview according to Time Magazine.
"One of the things we learn from these cave paintings is that the White Walkers didn't come up with those images, they derived them from their creators," Benioff explained. "These are patterns that have a mystical significance for the Children of the Forest. We're not sure exactly what they signify, but spiral patterns are important in a lot of different cultures in our world, and it makes sense that they would be in this world as well."
This answers nothing in particular, but the connection to the Children of the Forest takes us to the creation of the Night King. The spiral design can be seen on the ground around the tree where the First Man who becomes the royal creature is tied. We also know that area is now covered in ice and frost deep in the north, inherited by the White Walkers during the Long Night thousands of years before.
So the details we have is that the spiral is definitely connected to the Children of the Forest. It appears beneath Dragonstone castle, built 500 years before the story we see in the series by the Targaryen family. And it now has been adopted by the White Walkers as some sort of calling card or trademark, relating back to their homebase in the North.
Apart from the spiral, the other big thing that connects the Night King to the Targaryens is his ability to ride a dragon. Yes, it is a dead dragon that he brought back to life in Season 7, so the actual details could be fudged. But it is said that only members of the white-haired clan can ride the flying beasts, meaning our major villain could have some dragon blood in his veins.
Still it's far fetched to believe such a thing without solid proof.
The biggest blocker here is that the Targaryen clan wasn't even in Westeros during the period of The Long Night and creation of the White Walkers. That moment comes 8,000 years before the Targaryen conquest from Valyria, meaning the Night King would have had to have founded the family himself -- or a relative had to. It's hard to explain and believe, even if you're into fan theories.
But it is at least a better thought than the Night King being Bran Stark warging into the past to become the arch-villain he is trying to stop throughout the series. There is also the fact that none of this is mentioned in the source texts by George R.R. Martin and the White Walkers still haven't truly been encountered by the main characters on the page.0comments
What do you believe? Is it possible the Night King is a hidden Targaryen? Is this why he and Jon Snow seem destined to battle each other? We'll see in the final five episodes of Game of Thrones hopefully.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.