Ever since he first appeared on our screens, the Night King has been shrouded in mystery. Heck, the guy has never even said a word throughout the entire series of Game of Thrones. And while that makes memorizing lines pretty easy, it's been a little more difficult to determine what drives this character's actions. Thankfully, Sunday night's episode finally explained the Night King's motive on Game of Thrones, but for all the theories that have been inspired by him, his goal is actually pretty simple and not at all what any of us expected.
For a while now, the Night King has always appeared to share a connection with Bran. Many fans took this as a sign that Bran was actually the Night King or that the Night King used to be a Stark and kin was recognizing kin. But, as it turns out, none of that is the case. The reason the Night King is so obsessed with Bran isn't due to some mind-blowing plot twist — it's simply because Bran is the one thing that could ultimately prevent him from reaching his goal.
In Season 8, Episode 2, Bran explained that what the Night King wants most in the world is "an endless night," which means wiping out humanity so that all that exists is nothing. "He wants to erase this world, and I am its memory," Bran went on to say. And since he is the Three-Eyed Raven, who has access to all of mankind's memories, his existence prevents that from happening. Which is why the Night King wants to take him out, therein completing his apocalyptic goal.
So no, it's looking less and less likely that Bran is the Night King or that he holds the key to the Night King's downfall. He's a target just for being the Three-Eyed Raven. Not because he's a Stark or because he can warg. The Night King wants the world reduced to nothing, and in order to do that, Bran needs to be eliminated.
Sure, it's a little disappointing that Bran's part in all of this isn't nearly as elaborate as we all thought it would be, but it definitely gives us a better sense of what the Night King is after. Plus, his mission makes a lot of sense, particularly because that was the whole point of his creation in the first place: to destroy humanity.
The Children of the Forest created the White Walkers as a way to defeat the First Men, whom they were at war with thousands of years ago. However, they soon learned that they were unable to control the creatures they'd created and joined forces with the humans to keep the Night King and his army at bay. But even now, after all this time, the Night King still plans to carry out his assignment.
It's actually what co-series creator D.B. Weiss has been trying to tell us this whole time, telling Deadline in June 2016:
"I don’t think of the Night King as a villain as much as, Death. He is not like Joffrey, or Ramsey. He’s not really human anymore. To me, evil comes when you have a choice between that and good, and you choose the wrong way. The Night King doesn’t have a choice; he was created that way, and that’s what he is. In some ways, he’s just death, coming for everyone in the story, coming for all of us. In some ways, it’s appropriate he doesn’t speak. What’s death going to say? Anything would diminish him. He’s just a force of destruction."
So it seems we've had the answer the entire time, but for a series chock-full of dragons, demon smoke babies, and zombie armies, we just didn't think it would be that simple.