Was the Night King’s death satisfying?

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

“The Long Night” delivered on many fronts, from heart stopping action to character deaths that hit us right in the feels. With respect to our heroes though, it was the Night King’s death at Arya’s hand that carried the most weight. After eight seasons of teasing the Night King’s assault on the Seven Kingdoms, was this a satisfactory conclusion for the big popsicle? Where were the rest of the White Walkers during the battle? What did the Night King want? And what was that weapon the Night King was carrying wrapped in cloth? Let’s get into it!

First, let’s talk about the Night King’s motivations. We got a short explanation from Bran in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”: the Night King, true to his name, wanted an eternal night. But he died without giving us more detail.

Or did he? I’d say the jury is still out on this. Short of the Night King busting out in a monologue, which would have been incredibly incongruous with the character, any explanation we’re likely to get will probably come from Bran, the one person equipped to know these ancient secrets. Bran’s still around, so we could still get a post-death explanation.

But would it be needed? Sure, a line or two from Bran might be nice — something explaining how being used as a weapon by the Children of the Forest inspired the Night King to hate all life. But really, I’m okay not knowing. In an age of incredibly complex villains in both TV and film, a single-minded, mysterious villain with motivations left up to interpretation is refreshing. At any rate, with the action appearing to shift to King’s Landing next week, we might not be spending much more time on a pile of ice cubes in Winterfell’s godswood.

As for the Night King’s actual death however, I’m not so sure I’m satisfied. After ten thousand years of attempting to wipe out humanity, bringing down the world’s largest structure, raising the dead, etc etc, did the Night King’s arc end too abruptly? I’m on the fence.

First and foremost, it was cool to see Arya, and not Jon or Daenerys, land the killing blow. We saw both the show’s main characters take a shot at the Night King only to come up short, and watching one of the show’s secondary characters take down the Night King was great. Imagine if after all the nonsense we heard about Harry Potter, it was Hermione that eliminated Voldermort once and for all (you could argue it was all Hermione anyways, but that’s a different story).

But on the other hand…

For eight seasons, we’ve seen the Night King perform some incredibly powerful feats. From killing and raising Viserion to creating a full blown ice hurricane to surviving a full blast of dragon flame, the Night King was presented as pretty close to all-powerful. So to see it all come down to a simple knife stroke was a little underwhelming. Again, I like that Arya did it, but after all the build up, I thought he would put up more of a fight before he went down. For me, that was too quick given everything that had come before. It’s hard for me to reconcile the power we saw the Night King wield with the apparent ease with which Arya took him out, which is why it felt a little anti-climatic.

And where were the Night King’s White Walker lieutenant doing during all of this? Whether it was Arya’s skill or arrogance on the White Walkers’ part, you’d still think those guys would do a better job protecting their leader, especially since his death meant their own. Worst. Bodyguards. Ever.

My final question might seem unimportant, but it’s nagging me: Just what exactly was the Night King carrying on his back? It looks like some sort of spear or sword, except wrapped in cloth. Was it some sort of ceremonial weapon to kill Bran? And why not just use a regular ice weapon?

The Night King left a lasting impression on the series, and was enjoyable for his sense of mystery, not to mention the visual splendor he brought. Calming dropping out of the sky after being knocked off Viserion was a boss move, and the ice hurricane was pretty damn cool. We will never see his like again.

What did you think of the way the Night King went out? Sound off below!

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