Do White Walkers bring winter, or do they simply take advantage of it? The answer to this elemental question holds huge ramifications, beginning nearly eight thousand years prior to the Targaryen Conquest (which itself took place about 300 years before the events of the book/TV series). During the generational pall of The Long Night, which saw a lifetime of cold and darkness descend on Westeros, the White Walkers first emerged. As Old Nan tells a crippled Bran, the humanoid creatures “swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses, hunting with their packs of pale spiders big as hounds.”
While Nan’s tale remains hearsay throughout the land, recent events confirm the growing hordes of White Walkers and their army of the undead. History will indeed repeat itself, and you can expect gigantic ice spiders will be there when it does.
10. THE NIGHT’S KING
Colloquially known as “the horned one,” the Night’s King is the designated leader of the White Walkers. The most menacing of his comrades, the Night’s King is the “Adam” of his race, the originator of the White Walkers. A victim of Leaf’s heart-bound dragonglass dagger (more on that later), the former member of the First Men became the first White Walker in existence.
While divergences between ASoIaF and Game of Thrones are clear, the literary roots of the Night’s King (played by Richard Brake, best known as Joe Chill from Batman Begins) are worth exploring. As George R. R. Martin tells it, the Night’s King was a champion of the battlefield and the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. His military career dissolved, however, after following the desires of his heart. These passions took him beyond the wall and into the arms of…