Game of Thrones season 8 has premiered and I, like fans across the globe, couldn’t be more excited.
Unlike most other fans though I’m not excited about Dany and her CGI dragons, Jon and his vapid Valyrian Steel sword, or Arya and her pointless Needle.
No, I’m thrilled that finally, after what feels like forever, my favourite character the dreaded Night King and his legion of undead followers are finally set to take Westeros by (snow) storm.
More than that I’m raising my banners, building a peasant militia, and supporting the real King in the North’s claim to the Iron Throne over the crop of pretenders who believe they deserve to rule.
So with my tongue very much in my cheek – frozen there in fact – let’s examine why the nefarious Night King deserves the least comfortable chair in the Seven Kingdoms.
The first and most obvious reason is that the characters in Game of Thrones are hilariously unlikable, many only qualifying as heroes because their crimes are only slightly less reprehensible than the series’ alleged villains.
Dany for example, the Mother and Dragons and Breaker of Chains, might have broken the grip of the Masters in Slaver’s Bay but she’s also shown hints of being every bit as unstable as her dear old dad, the Mad King.
Lest we forget she’s shown a similar penchant for burning people alive and appears to enjoy threatening her advisors with dragonfire if they ever betray her.
Now you may argue that she’s only been like that since she got to Westeros and her recent bloodthirstiness is a result of her being at war with Cersei, but let’s not forget her solution to being trapped by the Dosh Khaleen was to burn down their temple.
Even in the first season, she let her own brother die because, and I quote, ‘he was no dragon’. The same pattern of deceitful and murderous behaviour can be seen in the rest of our heroes; Tyrion is a kinslayer, Jon an oathbreaker, and the less said about Jaime and Cersei the better.
Each and every claimant to the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones has compromised their beliefs, broken their vows, or betrayed their core beliefs at some point in the series.
But you know who hasn’t? The Night King. The Night King might be a twisted eldritch abomination bent on resurrecting the dead and casting the world into never-ending winter like a demented Elsa, but at least he’s never compromised his principles.
He’s like an ancient Jeremy Corbyn, sure he’s inflexible but he sticks by what he believes in and that’s got to be worth something in a world of corrupt politicians and conniving would-be kings and queens.
Furthermore, if we want to get technical about it the Night King and his people, the White Walkers, are just as much the victims as they are villains. The Night King was forcibly turned into what he is now by the Children of the Forest to act as a weapon against the invading Andals.
It’s only because we perceive events from the perspective of humans, specifically Jon, Cersei and the other shower of shites trying to win the crown, that we perceive the Night King as an evil being.
Don’t take my word for it though, take the word of D.B Weiss, one of Game of Thrones’ showrunners who admitted to Deadline three years ago that the Night King isn’t evil.
I don’t think of the Night King as a villain. He is not like Joffrey, or Ramsay.
To me, evil comes when you have a choice between that and good, and you choose the wrong way. The Night King doesn’t have a choice; he was created that way.
The Night King is more akin to a natural disaster than an actively malicious force, he’s not Cersei plotting to take the crown for himself, or Daenerys out for revenge.
He’s simply being true to himself. It just so happens that being true to yourself, in this case, means the end of the world; but would the end of Westeros be such a bad thing?
Maybe I’m just a nihilist but across the eight seasons, all we’ve seen from the Seven Kingdoms is betrayal and bloodshed as the great houses compete for power.
Even Daenerys when she was half a world away was aware of the problems in Westeros and threatened to ‘smash the wheel’ to stop the cycle of violence the Seven Kingdoms are trapped in.
How better to ‘smash the wheel’ than by literally smashing the Seven Kingdoms into frozen oblivion? Sure millions will die (and that’s terrible) but they’ll come back (sort of) and at least the game of thrones will finally be over.
And who knows, maybe it’s nice being a wight? After all, you won’t die, you won’t go hungry, you won’t be cold. Can the other claimants to the Iron Throne promise the people that? No.
And it’s this competent leadership which is the ultimate reason why the Night King deserves the crown, because of all the characters we’ve seen come and go the Night King is the most capable.
Cersei is an incompetent fool, with all the subtlety of an exploding cathedral, Dany took six years to get her arse across the ocean, Jon managed to get stabbed by his own men, the list goes on and on.
The Night King though, he’s a man (or zombie, or magical blue elf, or magical weapon of mass destruction, it’s not very clear) who gets shit done.
He organises deals with Craster so he can make more White Walkers, he capitalises on the collapse of Mance Rayder’s army to build his own unstoppable force, and manipulates Dany into literally giving him a dragon.
Sure it may have taken him a while to do it (he might be the only character in the show who’s somehow even slower at getting things done than Dany) but the Night King managed to topple the wall with nothing but his wits and a magical dragon.
Who else in the Seven Kingdoms could have done this? I’ll tell you who, no one. They’d be too busy fighting over nothing like a bunch of idiots.
Surely then if you want the best for Westeros as well as a competent leader who can offer his subjects immortality then it makes sense to support the Night King’s claim to the throne.
#TeamNightKing till I die and rise again as a wight!
P.S. Since writing this feature I’ve seen the first episode of Game of Thrones season eight and I would like to rescind my support for the Night King, there’s a bit too much ritual slaughter for my tastes…
The next episode of Game of Thrones airs on HBO on April 21, while UK viewers can tune in during the early hours of Monday morning courtesy of Sky Atlantic
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More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.