After losing one of her beloved dragons to the Night King in Season 7's "Beyond The Wall", things have taken a drastic turn in Game of Thrones. With a new zombie dragon about to take flight, Westeros finally has something to fear besides Cersei's reign. With a significant addition to his army, fans have started to wonder how he's able to control the undead in the first place.
An understanding of the Night King's power could give us tremendous insight into how the show may progress, and some eagle-eyed fans are linking his mysterious magic to greenseeing and, in the case of Viserion, an extreme form of warging.
Is There More To The Night King's Power Than Meets The Eye?
We've watched as white walkers and wights have risen to stand with the Night King, but until recently, we were unaware that the Night King had other tricks up his icy sleeve. It seems as though the Game of Thrones villain can recruit all kinds of creatures for his undead army, even though these resurrected animals function differently to the once-human wights.
During Season 5's "Hardhome", we saw the true power of the Night King. With a mere wave of his hand, the dead rose and would abide to his every command. However, Viserion's reanimation took a physical touch. Faithful fans will be reminded that this interaction is similar to what we saw in Season 4's "Oathkeeper," when one of Craster's children was taken to the Lands of Always Winter.
His eyes turned ice-blue after being touched by the nail of the Night King, the same act that we saw during Viserion's resurrection. This is clearly how new White Walkers are "born" into servitude to the Night King. However, it's important to note that Craster's children were turned into White Walkers - not "wights".
White Walkers Vs. Wights: A Significant Difference
This idea is key to how the Night King has such a diverse army behind him, rather than just a barrage of reanimated corpses. Although the show haven't given fans a definitive answer as to how any of this is possible, we do know that the first White Walker was created by the Children of the Forest after piercing the heart of the First Man with dragonglass.
The difference between these two creatures was more evident than ever in last week's episode "Beyond the Wall," as we discovered that wights are tied to the fate of the white walker that reanimated them.
White Walkers are more than simply once-dead warriors. They may look human-like, but they have wispy white hair, otherworldly pale skin and terrifying ice-blue eyes. With the power to freeze things with a touch, they are incredibly difficult to kill - but can be destroyed by dragonglass and Valyrian steel.
Wights, on the other hand, are your standard zombie-style minions. Depending on how long they were deceased before reanimation understandably determines their appearance. Wights are simple-minded, but through the last few episodes we've learned that they have their own form of communication and have some basic deductive logic, possibly thanks to a hive-mind connection. This leads us to an all-important question:
Does The Night King 'Control' His Army By Warging?
Because White Walkers and Wights are created differently, it begs the question of how the Night King is able to control them all (including the white walkers), or whether they are simply subservient to his commands. The simple answer is "it's magic," but that seems too convenient for Game of Thrones. It's far more likely that there's more to the Night King's ability to control such an impressive force.
If there really is more to his power, it would make sense for his power of persuasion to be a form of warging, adding another significant connection between the Night King and the Three-Eyed Rave, a.k.a. Bran Stark.
A theory with huge fan-support claims that Bran's greenseeing causes him to become trapped inside the Night King, essentially creating the villain that is currently marching south. Bran's powers have been developing throughout the show, having connected past and present versions of Hodor in a closed time-loop, forcing the gentle giant to "hold the door" and even forcing poor Hodor to kill Locke outside of Craster's Keep in Season 4.
Based on the lore from George R. R. Martin's source material, only 1/1000 children have the ability to warg into other creatures, and 1/1000 of those children possess greensight - including prophetic dreams, visions, time travel and so forth. So, with Bran being capable of both, he really is one in a million. Combining Bran's warging and visions together with whatever icy abilities that the First Men had would easily explain how White Walkers are created, but also how he can warg into Viserion.
Whether you believe the theory that Bran is the Night King or not, the similarities between their abilities cannot be ignored. Even if they are revealed to be separated entities, it's likely that the Night King's is both a greenseer and a warg - making him the antithesis of the Three-Eyed Raven.
Do you think the Night King is a greenseer and a warg? Tell us in the comments below.