It was a dramatic scene which gave Arya a major hero moment. Killing the Night King single-handedly destroyed all his White Walkers and zombie-like wights in one swift blow. Kudos to the plucky Stark lass but it was perhaps a tad underwhelming as an ending to a mythical storyline which had built over eight series. So, what’s this about another Night’s King in the source novels? Has George RR Martin got another icy trick up his sleeve?
The Night’s King also dates back thousands of years, eight thousand to be ‘precise.’
He was not created by the Children of the Forest but was rather a human warrior. He was the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night’s watch and many believe he was actually a Stark back in the days when the fierce family were the Kings of the North and the Kings of Winter.
This fallen hero was the sworn protector of the human realms – until he fell into the icy clutches of the White Walkers.
In a bonus feature for Season 2 of the HBO show, Ygritte narrates the story: “We Free Folk have our stories, too. About how one of your King Crows found something… cold in the woods, with bright blue eyes. How he brought her home through your Wall and declared himself Night’s King.
“For thirteen years, he and his queen ruled over his brothers, making sacrifices as black as their cloaks. Lucky for you southerners, the Free Folk rallied to a King-Beyond-the-Wall, as we will when need be, and marched on the ancient castle he had taken as his own, the Nightfort. With the help of the Starks, we killed the demon and cleansed your precious watch.”
In the books, It was not until Brandon the Breaker, the King of Winter, and Joramun, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, joined forces to defeat the Night’s King and his icy bride.
All military defences on the south side The Wall and The Gift were torn down so that nobody could ever use the Night’s Watch to threaten the human lands or establish any kind of kingdom or rule again.
All records of The Night’s King were destroyed and he faded into myth, with most maesters doubting he even existed.
George RR Martin was asked directly about the Night’s King when the HBO show introduced the Night King.
Fans of the books already know there is no Night King as depicted by the HBO show. The character was created by the showrunners to establish a focal point for the enemy, rather than the mysterious glimpses given so far in the novels.
Asked about the Night’s King and whether he might still exist and return to threaten the Seven Kingdoms, Martin said; “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.”
On a charming side note, Martin also believes his White Walkers and Others are rather beautiful, not rotted, cadaverous creatures from horror. They are “Strange, beautiful… Think, oh, the Sidhe made of ice, something like that. A different sort of life – inhuman, elegant, dangerous.”
Fans will be waiting to see what more he reveals of them in the upcoming books.