Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3, “The Long Night.”

Game of Thrones’ most recent episode, “The Long Night,” was probably the final showcase of the Night King, the enigmatic progenitor of the White Walkers. But he went out in style, riding his undead dragon into one-on-two aerial combat, raising a whole new Army of the Dead to replace the army he lost, and shrugging off a blast of dragon fire to the face before Arya Stark finally took him down.

His ability to control and ride a dragon has been inspiring theories since season 7. For some, his use of a particular symbol confirmed those theories. The “ignores dragon fire” thing set off further speculation because that combination of abilities seems familiar. There’s another fireproof, dragon-riding character on the show: Daenerys Targaryen. With all of the last-minute parentage reveals Game of Thrones has been throwing at fans lately, was the show trying to hint at a Star Wars-esque reveal of the Night King as some ancient Targaryen ancestor?

Allow me to set the record straight. Simply put: no, the Night King is not a Targaryen, as poetic as it would have been for Jon / Aegon and Daenerys to have to face off against their many-greats-grandfather.

Let’s unpack that further. We already know that before the Night King was the Night King, he was a normal human who was transformed into the first White Walker by the Children of the Forest.


Specifically, this dude.
Image: HBO

“But what if that dude is a Targaryen?” I can hear you shout through your computer screen. He’s not because, unfortunately, there weren’t any Targaryens around Westeros then. The Night King was created by the Children of the Forest as a weapon in their war against the First Men, the original race of humans that came to Westeros (later followed by the Andals and the Rhoynar). This took place roughly 6,000 to 8,000 years before the Targaryen conquest of Westeros after the downfall of Valyria, around 300 years before the series started.

The Night King, on the other hand, (at least in the show) has been around so long that he was not only deployed by the Children of the Forest against the First Men, but the plan backfired. He became such a threat that the Children and mankind eventually allied against him.

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