Game of Thrones fans are divided on whether or not the identity of the Night King is even a mystery that’s waiting to be solved. Some are convinced the chilly antagonist has a secret past waiting to be unveiled, and there are plenty of Night King fan theories out there to back that up. Others think that Night King legends are nothing more than world-building for the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, and that the character in the show is just a nameless, heartless zombie-making machine.
There are merits to both schools of thought, but this is the world of George R. R. Martin, and he loves his dark reveals and plot twists. Of all the fan theories regarding the identity of the Night King, or the Night’s King as he’s known in the books, the most convincing all revolve around the leader of the White Walkers beginning life as a Stark. And you have to admit, a direct connection between the series’ main protagonists, including Bran, and its ultimate villain would be a very George R. R. Martin-esque twist.
The Brandon Stark Called 'Ice Eyes' Is A CluePhoto: Game of Thrones/HBO
There is one character in Westerosi history who just might be one of the fabled half-Stark, half-Others. A knight in the books, Ser Bartimus, tells Davos how White Harbor came to be a part of the North:
The White Knife froze hard, and even the firth was icing up. The winds came howling from the north and drove them slavers inside to huddle round their fires, and whilst they warmed themselves the new king come down on them. Brandon Stark this was, Edrick Snowbeard’s great-grandson, him that men called Ice Eyes.
The mention of Ice Eyes immediately makes one think of the White Walkers, with their icy blue eyes, and perhaps this particular Brandon Stark was a Stark of mixed White Walker heritage.
The Stark Words Have A Deeper MeaningPhoto: Game of Thrones/HBO
In the the first novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, Catelyn Stark ponders the Stark family words, “Winter Is Coming,” disturbed by them:
The words gave her a chill, as they always did. The Stark words. Every noble house had its words. Family mottoes, touchstones, prayers of sorts, they boasted of honor and glory, promised loyalty and truth, swore faith and courage. All but the Starks. Winter is coming, said the Stark words. Not for the first time, she reflected on what a strange people these northerners were.
An interesting observation: the Starks are the only family whose motto seems to have nothing to do with their actual family. But what if it does? If all, or most, of the White Walkers (including the Night King) are Starks, then “Winter Is Coming” would be a family motto of sorts.
After all, the White Walkers do seem to bring the cold with them.
Warging Might Have Created The White Walker MenacePhoto: Game of Thrones/HBO
Reddit user HolyHerbert shared a fantastic theory about how the White Walkers became so powerful and independent. Originally, they were created by the Children of the Forest as a weapon to fight the First Men. The Children intended dragonglass as a failsafe against their creation, as the substance is used to both create and destroy White Walkers.
However, HolyHerbert speculates the Children of the Forest screwed up. One human they transformed into a White Walker had warging abilities—and that guy became the Night King. Perhaps the ability to warg is what allows the Night King to raise dead people as wights, and this advantage is what caused the Children to lose control of their creation.
Jon Snow’s 'Evil Name' Could Have SignificancePhoto: Game of Thrones/HBO
There’s an odd moment in the books when Jon Snow first meets Ygritte. He tells her his name, and she flinches and says, “An evil name.” Some think that she’s just referring to the fact that snow is cold, and thus not a very friendly name, but Reddit user Velvale has a different idea.
They theorize that the Night King might have been a Stark bastard, too, and that his name might have been Jon Snow. This information could be common knowledge amongst the wildlings, but unknown south of the Wall.