Who do we most want to see emerge victorious and seize the Iron Throne? Before Game of Thrones‘ final season, we’re making the case for every worthy candidate still standing, this time looking at the Night King.
If you were going to build the perfect leader, you'd want someone who is focused, so they can devote their energy to important tasks without being distracted by petty squabbles or personal agendas. You would also make them determined, the type of person who will knock down any walls that get in their way. They would also be brave, willing to lead troops into the fiercest battles because they have ice in their veins and are fearless. Finally, you'd want them to be a uniter not a divider. Someone who could bring all people together so that they would never know hunger or war. Westeros has many rulers, but only one can claim to be all of those things.
Here’s the case for why the Night King should reign over a kingdom of darkness.
Qualifications and Experience
We're not entirely sure, because we don't exactly know who the Night King is and when he came into power. Is he the very first man the Children of the Forest transformed into a White Walker? If so, he has twice built a massive army capable of destroying mankind. Or was he the 13th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch who, years after the first Long Night ended, slept with a female White Walker and ruled as Night's King? If so, that means the White Walkers not only accepted him into their ranks, they made him their leader. Or is he someone else entirely? Someone who only came into power a short time ago, which is why the dead have returned once more? He's a mystery of lore, myth, and forgotten facts.
The little we do know about him is plenty impressive, though. He has spent years, possibly hundreds or even thousands, methodically gathering up his army thanks to his magical resurrection powers. He has also recruited/turned Craester's sons into his own clan of close-knit ice warrior generals. This has all been part of a master plan that has required great focus, making him kind of the Fortinbras of Westeros. Everything he does is for the future of his people.
He's also a skilled military man, having successfully run a years-long guerrilla campaign against wildlings and Night's Watch rangers. He also led a successful surprise attack at the Fist of the First Men, and cornered thousands at Hardhome, building his army even more. His greatest accomplishment, though, was killing a dragon. Even if Bronn had brought down Drogon with that scorpion bolt, he wouldn't have been able to raise it from the dead and make it his own flying death machine the way the Night King has.
Even beyond his mystical powers, the Night King is also a master of mind games. Jon Snow has seen terrors most would never imagine, but nothing compared to the horror of watching the dead's leader raise his arms in stony silence.
-He can put his fingernail underneath a human baby's eye and turn him into a White Walker
-No, seriously, that's nuts, right?
-All-Westeros First Team Varsity Javelin
Unlike his human counterparts who rule over small segments of the world, lands divided by arbitrary borders that can shift like sand, the Night King rules over the entire realm of the dead. All of the living will eventually call him king, because as Beric Dondarrion said, "Death is the enemy. The first enemy and the last. The enemy always wins."
The living can fight the Night King as hard as they want, but even if they win today they will lose eventually. Death has the ultimate claim on all of us, whether the Night King sits on an Iron Throne or not.
The Case Against
He is death incarnate and turns everyone into a slave soldier who will never again know joy or warmth. Dying and fading to nothingness, becoming a mere whisper of a shadow time will eventually forget, is preferable to an eternity spent as one of his resurrected demons of darkness. He's a sentient weapon of mass destruction who represents evil.
Also, no one would ever get to go swimming again.
"First of His Name..."
The Night King only exists because of mankind's brutality. The First Men invaded Westeros and went to war with the Children of the Forest. In their desperation the Children took the world's greatest threat, humans, and weaponized it against them. The cruelness, the pettiness, the violence, and all of the horror humans are capable of, everything that led to the White Walkers creations, is still evident in the world today. Cersei, Joffrey, the Mad King, bathing our enemies in dragonflame or wildfire, and fighting over a stupid chair at the expense of innocent people who will always go to bed hungry and cold—how is any of that worse than a quiet world of eternal life?
The Night King might not offer light, but at least he offers the peace of death, and that's why he deserves to be the ultimate winner of the game of thrones.