THE Army of the Dead is led, of course, by the Night King but who is he, what does he want and what’s the difference between White Walkers and their Army of the Dead?
Fans of the show are hoping that the origins of the Night King will be explained in more detail during season eight but for the time being, here’s what we know so far…
The Night King is, to put it bluntly, one cold-hearted mother-f***** who has a mean throw with a spear and is intent on turning the entire seven kingdoms into his domain. Oh yeah, and he’s got a dragon now, too.
So where did Game of Thrones’ big bad come from?
THE NIGHT KING
Thousands of years ago, the Children of the Forest – greenish-elf-like creatures who helped protect Bran, Meera and Hodor when they got to the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave – were at war with the First Men.
They faced certain defeat and needed a secret weapon, so Leaf, one of the Children of the Forest, plunged a dragonglass dagger into a man’s chest. This caused his eyes to turn blue and turned him into the first White Walker.
The Night King was born, although it’s still unknown who that man was.
The Night King has the power to raise the dead, turning them into wights and he also has the power to create White Walkers.
In season 4 we see the Night King create a brand new Walker by placing his hand on Craster’s last abandoned son, heavily implying this is how all the other Walkers were also created.
WHAT DOES HE WANT?
This is what a lot of fans are hoping to discover in the final season, but it seems likely that all he really wants is total destruction of the human race. Turning everyone into either a wight or White Walker.
Showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss have previously described him as death incarnate, and he can’t speak, so this may well end up being the case.
WHO ARE THE WHITE WALKERS?
The White Walkers are an ancient race of formerly-human ice creatures who come from the Far North of Westeros. After remaining hidden for thousands of years, they have returned.
They have the power to raise the dead can only be killed with dragonglass or Valyrian steel.
Most people who live south of the Wall believe them to be nothing more than creatures of legend. They are thousands of years old, coming from the time preceding the Age of Heroes.
They were created to protect the Children of the Forest from the First Men, who had waged war on them ever since they had arrived from Essos. After eventually breaking free of the Children’s control, they became the most feared creatures in Westeros.
Eight thousand years before Robert’s Rebellion, the longest winter in history fell on the entire world and lasted a whole generation. In the darkness and cold of that time, the White Walkers descended upon Westeros and killed all in their path.
As they went on their murdering spree, the White Walkers reanimated the dead as wights to serve as their foot soldiers in their Army of the Dead. Which leads us on to…
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WHO ARE THE ARMY OF THE DEAD?
Wights are zombies, reanimated corpses who serve the Night King and White Walkers.
They wights can be killed with fire and hacked to pieces by a regular weapon – no need for Valerian steel or dragonglass.
There’s a combined 100,000 White Walkers and Wights marching on Westeros, so Daenerys, Jon and the rest of Game of Thrones heroes need all the help they can get.
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