The White Walkers are on the move in Game of Thrones Season 8, with the Night King leading the way. But while audiences know he's up to no good, it's still unclear what the Night King wants or where exactly he's going. While it's obvious that the undead are heading south, do they have a destination in mind, or are they simply heading towards warm bodies?
Audiences have only seen the White Walkers' leader a handful of times, but each one has been disastrous. The first instance was in Season 4, per the Game of Thrones wiki, when Bran had a vision of the Night King. However, characters didn't physically encounter him until Season 5, when Jon Snow and a Wilding army fought to defend Hardhome from White Walkers — and failed miserably. After they retreated from shore, the Night King locked eyes with the Lord Commander, seeming to look into his very soul.
But perhaps their most dramatic encounter was at the tail-end of Season 7, when the White Walker shot down Daenerys's beloved dragon, Viserion, turning him into a wight. So if the Night King wasn't already dangerous enough, now he can fly on a fire breathing dragon. This allowed the army to break through the wall, continuing their march down south.
And although we don't really know where they're headed yet, here are some predictions about their ring leader and what he wants to accomplish in Westeros.
Turn Everyone Into Wights
This one seems pretty obvious, but it still bears repeating. More people = more zombies in his army. "I don’t think of the Night King as a villain as much as, Death," Game of Thrones co-creator D.B. Weiss told Deadline. "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." Could that be all there is to it — to kill everyone in Westeros — or is there more to the story?
Take Over the Iron Throne
Redditor qp0n laid out a compelling theory in the A Song of Ice and Fire subreddit, explaining that this march on Winterfell may be an elaborate ruse. The post explained that while the wight army is attacking the Northern city, the Night King and Viserion would be flying south to attack King's Landing.
"If you play out what the battle of Winterfell would be like in your head if the NK+Viserion would be there... it would be easy for Drogon/Rhaegal to take out the zombie dragon; it's 2v1 and wight's all can be killed by fire.. including Viserion," the fan explained. "It would not be difficult to simply fly up to Viserion and breathe fire on him, and that would be that. THE NIGHT KING IS NOT STUPID, not enough to kamikaze his most powerful asset. If you have a superweapon that you can't use against a particular target, then you find a different target."
As a result, the Big Bad would be able to kill two birds with one stone, taking control of Westeros just like that. It's certainly a compelling theory — and the Night King is not stupid, as the Redditor stated.
Zero In On His Target
According to an interview that Night King actor Vladimir Furdik did with Entertainment Weekly, his character is targeting someone in particular. "People will see [the Night King] has a target he wants to kill, and you will find out who that is," Furdik said. "There's also that moment [in "Hardhome"] when Jon Snow was on the boat and the Night King looked at him and raised his arms — there's a similar and even stronger moment between Jon and the Night King this time."
Could his target be Jon Snow, and if so, why? This could tie in with the theory that the Night King is a Stark and that he is trying to communicate with Jon for whatever reason.
Perhaps we're just looking at this whole thing the wrong way, as cramazing2798 theorized. "I think when Bran 'died' and became the three-eyed raven, he became aware of [the White Walkers'] ultimate purpose," the Redditor wrote. "I think the moment the Night King touched him, he was shocked. That's when he realized humans were on the wrong side of the war. All of his cryptic warnings aren't meant to aid the humans in a war, they're meant to convince them to end the fighting amongst themselves and pay attention."
The post went on to predict that Jon Snow would be humanity's savior, and that he would save everyone from Daenerys, who wouldn't stop until she was seated on the Iron Throne. "I think [Jon] is the prince that was promised, and I think he is the 'fire' that will defeat the ice, the one who will break the wheel," cramazing2798 continued. If this is the case, then Jon and Dany are about to have more problems than just their shared family tree.
Spit On His Creator
In an interview with the New York Post, Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill explained what the Night King's symbol means, once and for all. "As we saw with Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven, the spiral pattern was sacred to the Children of the Forest, who created the Night King by sacrificing a captured man in a spiral 'henge of stones,'" he said. "The Night King then adopted the symbol as a sort of blasphemy, like Satan with the upside-down cross." And what could be more of middle finger to the Children of the Forest than turning their beloved earth into an arctic tundra?
But whatever the Night King's motivations end up being, audiences will find out soon enough. After all, winter is finally here.