Game of Thrones is running out of villains. Sure, Euron Greyjoy seems a little unstable, but pretty much all of those character that you love to hate are gone now. It's a little unsettling, isn't it? Luckily, the show's mysterious threat in the North may finally be making his news. How will the Night's King figure into Season 7 of Game of Thrones ? Not many characters have encountered the leader of the White Walkers, but I have a feeling that that is about to change.
While Jon Snow encountered the full power of the Night's King and his army of wights and White Walkers in Season 5, this past year featured the character in smaller ways. We learned that he was once a human, engaged in an epic battle against the Children of the Forest. He's indirectly responsible for the death of Hodor, which is probably his worst offense.
After attacking Bran and killing the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran escaped him almost too easily. Sure, Bran and Meera had Uncle Coldhands Benjen to help them out — but still, they could have easily caught up with them. He basically disappeared, and Westeros is consumed with other things. Even Bran's first foray into the weirwood tree dealt with the Tower of Joy instead of the White Walkers that had been chasing them. The Night's King made a deliberate retreat, and here are some of the ways I think he could fit into what comes next in the story.
He Marked Bran
That's the way I think the Night's King will appear first in Season 7. Magical marks are a big part of fantasy stories, from Harry Potter to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (in the novel, the Good Witch kisses Dorothy to protect her from harm) — so the fact that the Night's King touched Bran, and was then able to cross the magical barrier and kill the Three-Eyed Raven is probably going to be significant for a long time.
My theory is that Bran won't be able to cross the Wall, because that would prevent him from getting Jon Snow the news about his mother. There has to be some kind of obstacle, right?
That Mysterious Backstory...
Here's a potentially controversial question: is the Night's King a villain? However, in Bran's vision that showed him being "made," the dude was not exactly volunteering as a White Walker tribute or anything. Hopefully, Season 7 will continue to explore his history. I have a hunch that, despite the origins of this character or whether or not he deserved his fate, the Night's King is still the Big Bad. Why else are his people massacring wildlings? Why else does he need sacrificial babies? Is he the sexist who only wants male infants, or was that Crastor's idea to keep keep a fresh supply of daughter-wives around? Is it weird that he's called the Night's King and his alleged enemies are the Night's Watch? I have so many questions!
Whether we hear it from the former man himself, through one of Bran's visions, or as part of Samwell Tarly's graduate work at the Citadel, there is clearly more to the Night's King and his story.
The Wall Is Coming Down
As soon as the (newly hilarious) Jon Snow told his successor not to knock the wall down, I think we all knew that this was somehow inevitable. Winter is coming, and the Night's King is leading the charge.
Images: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO; Giphy (3)