'Game of Thrones': The Dark Secret Of The Night's Watch And The Night King
WARNING: Not only does this contain spoilers from the most recent episodes of Game of Thrones, there's also some shit thrown in from the books and online theorists for good measure.
Basically, if you don't want anything ruining, why not read How The 'Game Of Thrones' Weapons Master Goes About Arming The Show's Characters, The Time Barry From Eastenders Sang At The World Bowls Championship, or How Legalising Cannabis Could Be Great For The Economy instead?
What I'm saying is: get out of here right now because spoilers (like winter) are coming...
Game of Thrones' season seven finale finally saw what Jon Snow has been dreading: the Night King broke down the Wall, setting up The Great War between the army of the dead and the realm of men.
As the Night King and his followers have essentially been functioning as a 'Chekhov's gun' to be fired at some point later in the series, ever since their first appearance early on in GoT, it remains difficult for audiences to work out the leader's motivation for waging war with the inhabitants of Westeros.
Watch the first scene here:
However, a lot of this can be explained by a period of the history of the Night's Watch, and a series of gruesome events at the Nightfort.
It's already been explained that Children of the Forest created the White Walkers as a weapon during their millennia-long wars with the First Men.
Watch their creation here:
Following a pact The First Men and Children of the Forest united together against the Walkers and a single hero - known as the Last Hero - fought and drove them North.
Sounds a bit like bullshit though, doesn't it, one man defeating an entire army. As the details are a little sketchy on how exactly this happened, it seems a lot more likely that the Last Hero actually managed to negotiate a pact with the White Walkers as well.
Following the White Walkers retreating north, the official version of events in Westeros is that a Stark named Brandon built the Wall, Winterfell and created the Night's Watch to ensure they would never come south again.
However, some Game of Thrones theorists don't buy that.
They suppose that as part of the pact between the Last Hero and the Night King, it was agreed that the Walkers would be allowed rule in the Land of Always Winter beyond the Wall.
The humans would make regular sacrifices to the Walkers and would not use dragonglass or Valyrian steel against them.
So will all that in mind, Jon Snow telling Cersei that they were dealing with "a general you can't negotiate with" might not be strictly true. In fact, the history of the Night's Watch seems to run counter to that statement.
A ruined castle on the Wall, west of Castle Black called The Nightfort, is likely the site where these regular human sacrifices were once made. It has now been abandoned as there aren't enough men to man the Wall, but it was once the residence of the Night's King: 13th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
The Night King and the Night's King aren't the same person.
See, Night King:
Then, Night's King:
The Night's King was a respected leader until he fell in love with a female White Walker with 'skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue star'. Sexy.
The couple were married and she lived with him at The Nightfort, with the Night's Watch making regular sacrifices to the Walkers to keep them at bay - with the support of House Stark.
However, after 13 years, the free folk rallied against him under the banner of Joramun, then King Beyond the Wall.
That history was previously explained in this video:
But even though he was defeated, if you watch the show, it's pretty clear that humans continue to honour the pact made to keep the Walkers beyond the wall by making sacrifices to them.
Craster, the creepy wilding beyond the wall who was mad into shagging his daughters, used to sacrifice any of his sons to the Walkers, for instance, and it's likely that is why he was allowed to survive.
So clearly you can negotiate with the Night King - I'm talking about the Walker one now - but the terms might be pretty grizzly.
So what does this mean for where we are in the GoT story now?
Well, if you look at it from the perspective of the Night King and his generals, the people of Westeros have reneged on their pact of providing sacrifices.
And member of the Watch - including Jon Snow - have actively been attempting to kill them when they go beyond the wall. So perhaps that's better motivation than any for waging war on the Realm of Men.
In the season seven finale, a bird's eye view of the White Walker army, on the march towards the Wall, appeared to form the profile of a wolf. As you probably know, the animal is also the sigil of House Stark.
Watch a video of the moment here:
So who even knows what that means. I guess we'll have to wait until the next season of Game of Thrones to find out...
Featured Image Credit: HBO