Beyond The Wall

The Night King Finally Revealed What He Was After This Whole Time

game of thrones
HBO
This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8 through the first TK episodes. Visit Beyond the Wall, our official Game of Thrones hub page for recaps, theories, spoilers, explainers, and the best episodes of all time.

The trouble with villains who don't talk is they can never tell you what their motivation for doing evil is. What drives a person to want to murder a bunch of people? Thanos made endless monologues about bringing balance to an overpopulated universe, the Joker talked at length about how all he wanted to do was to mess with people, but Game of Thrones' zip-lipped Night King was a mystery. For a long time, we didn't even know who he was, or where he came from. Luckily, after last weekend's big Battle of Winterfell episode, the stuntman who played everyone's favorite White Walker got candid about his character's wants and needs.

A few seasons ago, through one of the Three-Eyed Raven's time-traveling revelations, we learned that the Night King and the rest of the White Walkers were created by the elfin Children of the Forest, a race that lived in Westeros long before the Andals (humans) arrived and waged war on them. They created the Night King to defend themselves, and did it by plunging an obsidian dagger into a human man's heart in the same spot that Arya would go on to kill him for good (presumably).

The White Walkers quickly became way too powerful for the Children to control and nearly wiped them out, so that many in Westeros believed they were extinct -- if they'd even existed at all. That's why the White Walkers make those creepy crop circles out of body parts so reminiscent of the Children's ancient spiral cave paintings: after the Season 8 premiere, writer Dave Hill explained that it was "a sort of blasphemy, like Satan with the upside-down cross."

This ended up being key to figuring out why the Night King wanted to bring his force of undead down from the lands beyond the Wall to decimate the living people in Westeros. "He wants revenge," Czech stuntman Vladimír Furdík, who played the Night King under all that icy makeup, told Variety. "Because somebody, many years ago, made some mistake and he became the Night King, and he didn’t want to be the Night King…. He was like, 'Now I have a way to go to war. Now I kill everybody because you made me the Night King and made me live seven or 10 thousand years behind the wall in a cold country.' He’s tired of living out there in the cold and the snow."

Honestly… relatable!

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.