11:45am PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones': Night King Actor Hints at Dark Final Season Secret
The night is dark and full of terrors, and the darkest terror of all is the Night King, commander of the White Walker army set to terrorize the final Game of Thrones season.
Unlike so many of the human plotters and schemers in Westeros, the Night King is a creature of action rather than words. As far as the public eye, the character's real-life counterpart, longtime Thrones actor and stuntman Vladimir Furdik, is much the same — which is why it's all the more noteworthy when he breaks his silence. He does so in a recent interview, pulling the curtain back on the Night King's enigmatic motivation.
"People will see he has a target he wants to kill," Furdik tells Entertainment Weekly, "and you will find out who that is."
Through seven seasons, the White Walkers' motivations have been murky at best. We know they are on the march against Westeros, and every living thing that crosses their paths winds up dead then reborn as the monstrous army's newest recruit. Beyond "total destruction," the Night King doesn't seem to have an overarching goal — although now, that no longer appears to be the case. Furdik's revelation is a big one, a stark surprise, if the pun can be forgiven, especially because the person on the Night King's kill list is almost certainly a child of Winterfell.
The likeliest people on the Night King's radar are the two other dragon riders: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). As the rightful heir to Westeros and the product of ice and fire, Jon is easily the most mythical character in the mix. But if the Night King is doing everything in his power to kill one specific person, then why hasn't he killed Jon already? He's had a couple opportunities at this point, from their first encounter in "Hardhome," through their most recent meeting in "Beyond the Wall." As we saw when he shot poor Viserion out of the sky with an ice lance, the Night King has a spectacular throwing arm; he could have easily killed Jon in either encounter. Similarly, if the Night King needed to kill Daenerys, he could have launched his spear at Drogon instead of Viserion — good thing he didn't or else we wouldn't have six more episodes to enjoy.
If not the two Targaryens, then who does the Night King want dead? Our best bet: Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright). The Night King already knows all about Bran, the two of them having crossed paths in the past. What's more, the Night King was dead-set on destroying the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) back in season six. Why? Vengeance for his association with the Children of the Forest, who created the White Walkers in the first place? ("He never wanted to be the Night King. I think he wants revenge," Furdik says about the character's motivation.) Possibly — or maybe there's more to the Three-Eyed Raven's power that makes him a direct threat to the Night King.
The entire Bran Stark storyline has centered on his journey north toward the Three-Eyed Raven, and leaving the experience with the mystic's powers. It stands to reason that those powers will not only play a huge role in the Night King's downfall, but the villain himself is already well aware of Bran's threat level and plans to act accordingly. It also explains why the Three-Eyed Raven was so desperate to call upon Bran in the first place; perhaps there's something uniquely special about Bran as a Stark that makes him the right candidate to take on the Night King.
Of course, there are conspiracy theories suggesting Bran and the Night King are one and the same. If the Night King is really a self-loathing White Walker, maybe he wants to kill Bran and somehow prevent his own creation in the future. (Or would that make it the past? Time travel! Tricky business.) Another Valyrian-foil-hat theory posits Bran will one day fall backward in time and become Bran the Builder, the mythical Stark who built the great Wall of Westeros. Could he have played a serious role in the first White Walker war, fueling the Night King's thirst for revenge?
Whatever the answer, expect the Night King's kill quest to begin in earnest when Game of Thrones returns on April 14. Follow THR.com/GameOfThrones for more.