(Game of Thrones) Juego de Tronos XXIII: The Night’s King
- “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. Thirteen years he and his Queen ruled over his Brothers, making sacrifices as black as their cloaks. Lucky for you southerners, Free Folk rallied to a King-Beyond-the-Wall, as we will when need be. And marched on the ancient castle he taken for his own; the Nightfort. With the help of the Starks, we killed the demon and cleansed your precious Watch. And then they thanked us, and kicked us back across the Wall, as you always have.“―Ygritte
The Night’s King lived during the Age of Heroes, not long after the Wall was complete. He was a fearless warrior, who was named the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Later he fell in love with a woman “with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars”, he chased her and loved her though “her skin was cold as ice,” and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. He brought her back to the Nightfort and after the unholy union, he declared himself king and her his queen, and ruled the Nightfort as his own castle for thirteen years.
During the dark years of his reign, horrific atrocities were committed, of which tales are still told in the North. It was not until Brandon the Breaker, the King in the North, and Joramun, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, joined forces that the Night’s King was brought down and the Night’s Watch freed. After his fall, when it was discovered that he had been sacrificing to the White Walkers (possibly in similar way to Craster), all records of him were destroyed and his very name was forbidden.
The Night’s King first appears in a vision that Bran Stark has, when Bran communes with a Weirwood Heart tree. He experiences a flood of images from the past, present, and future, many of which he was not physically present for. He does not comprehend what all of these images are. In retrospect, one of them is an image of the Night’s King picking up the last of Craster’s sons off an ice altar.
After Rast places Craster’s final son on the ground in the Haunted Forest, a White Walker riding an undead horse approaches and takes the baby, carrying it towards a shattered mountain in the Lands of Always Winter.
Once inside, the White Walker approaches an icy altar ringed by large icy spikes and places the baby upon the altar. In the distance, a group of thirteen black-garbed White Walkers are revealed to be viewing the proceedings from afar. One of them breaks from the middle of their number and approaches the altar, stopping to regard the human child for a moment before gently gathering him in its arms. The baby immediately calms, staring into the face of the Night’s King, who is revealed to have a crown of horns jutting from its head. He places his index finger upon the baby’s cheek, causing the child’s eyes to slow turn to icy, depthless blue and his skin to grow pale, finally revealing the fate of Craster’s other sons.
The Night’s King appears again when Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane are coordinating the evacuation of Hardhome. He appears to be leading the attack, or is at least observing it with some other White Walkers, and watches from one of the cliffs above the town as Jon slays one of his lieutenants with Longclaw. As Jon, Tormund and the remaining defenders leave on the boat, the Night’s King appears on the dock and locks eyes with Jon. With a mere raise of his arms, the Night’s King raises the entirety of Hardhome’s erstwhile defenders as wights, and keeps his gaze upon Jon as the boat slips away.