PLEASE NOTE: This question is not a dupe, because it takes into account more information from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones season 6, episode 5 ("The Door") revealed to us how the Night King was created:

The Children of the Forest somehow weaponized him (an ordinary man) by pinning him to a Weirwood Tree and stabbing him with some kind of magical stone dagger. Hence, he was created as a weapon to stop the Andals and First Men from taking any more land from the Children.

But in the books, the Night's King is transformed after making love to a mysterious woman with pale skin and blue eyes.

So I ask: is the HBO series' take on the Night King’s origin story now completely deviating from the books, or is there still a connection between what we saw in episode 5 and the theories/information already extracted/interpolated from the books?

  • 4
    I thought this was already clear since season 4 that Show was heading in a completely different direction. But to answer your question, yes. Show and Books are at least at this point different.
    – Aegon
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 13:28
  • 4
    @NSNoob we also don't necessarily know if the 'Nights King' in the show is supposed to be the same 'Nights King' that is talked about in the books. IIRC, the only reason we know this character should be called the Nights King is that he was called that in the TV show credits. We don't know if it's supposed to be a character that will show up in the books or if the TV writers just thought it was a cool 'throwaway' name for a character.
    – kuhl
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 13:50
  • 3
    @Kuhl you are absolutely right. From what we know, Night's King was most likely killed by King Brandon of North and King Joramun of Beyond the Wall.
    – Aegon
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 14:17
  • 1
    The book Night's King apparently lived after the Long Night.
    – Möoz
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 10:23
  • 3
    I seriously hope the explanation from the TV series is not the same as the books. The TV series ruined the Others for me, by giving them the stupidest, most facile origin story ever :(
    – Andres F.
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 0:47

2 Answers 2


Differences between Show & Books about the Night's King:


  1. According to show, Night's King was a man captured most likely during First Men-Children of the Forest war. He was magically transformed into a "White Walker" by COTF to be used as weapon against onslaught of the First Men against the Old Races. By this we can assume that he lived at least 4000 years before the Night's King of the books. (First Men invaded Westeros 12,000 years before Aegon's conquest. Night's King lived in circa 8,000 BC (Before Conquest)).
  2. He has not died since the Long Night and has been leading the Others ever since.
  3. He is the first of his kind.
  4. He shows super natural abilities like causing fissures in ground, resurrecting the dead to turn them into Wights, breaking weapons with touch etc.


  1. According to Books, Night's King was a legendary Lord commander of the Night's Watch. He was 13th Lord commander of the Night's Watch. We do not have his name or House but Old Nan believes he was a Stark named Brandon, Brother to King in The North. Other people speculate that he was either a Bolton, Flint, Umber, Norrey or Woodfoot. We can however safely assume that he was one of the First Men because he lived in the Age of Heroes, Prior to Andal Invasions or Rhoynar Landings.
  2. There's a debate whether he ever existed at all. That is the same case as other Legendary figures of the Age of Heroes such as Lann the Clever, Brandon the Builder, Durran Godsgrief etc. Quoting GRRM:

    .. in the books he is a legendary figure, akin to Lann the Clever and Brandon the Builder, and no more likely to have survived to the present day than they have.

  3. He was most certainly not the first one of the Others. Others existed before him which is evident because he took one of them for his bride. It was that woman who took his heart and soul and made him what he was.

  4. He might not have even been one of the Others at all. At least during the day light he could live as a man (Something which has never been said about the Others. Skin Changing is a gift of Old Races and the First Men). We do not know if he actually changed his form to one of the Others at Night. From Bran's POV:

    Night's King was only a man by light of day, Old Nan would always say, but the night was his to rule.

  5. He may have been killed after he was defeated in battle by combined Forces of King in the North and King Beyond the wall who were horrified by his acts. But we do not know that for sure but we do know that he lost the battle and his name and existence was wiped out from all records at command of the Victorious Kings.
  6. We do not know if he had any super natural powers. We are only told about his horrific acts without telling us what exactly were those acts. One of those is mentioned that he used to make sacrifices to Others, much like Craster does.


Yes, Show's Take on origin of the Night's King is deviating from the Book.

  1. In books, he is a man of the Night's Watch and possibly a Prince of the North. In show he is just a captive from Invading bands of First Men.
  2. In books he is only accused of making love, sacrifices to others and some other atrocities but nothing suggests he was ever more than a man. In show he is a super-natural being; immortal and magical.
  3. In show he is the First of the Others. In books he may not have been one of them at all, let alone the First.
  4. In show he is leader of the others. In books he made sacrifices to them which is synonymous to accepting their superiority.
  5. There's also chronological inconsistency between the time the Character is supposed to have originated in the show and in the books. According to show that Character lived a long time ago before he ever appeared in books.

The only connection is that both show and Books agree he was one of the First men.

It is also unlikely that he somehow escaped in the Books. He was surrounded on Both sides of the Wall by forces of King in the North and King beyond the Wall who had allied together to cast him down. Not to mention he was a man who was said to have known no fear so I doubt he made any attempt to escape into Northern Wilderness beyond the wall. (He took an Other as bride, how many men can say that?).

"He had been the thirteenth man to lead the Night's Watch, she said; a warrior who knew no fear. 'And that was the fault in him,' she would add, 'for all men must know fear." - Bran reflecting Old Nan's stories.

Or it could be that he may have had a worst fate than death (Spoilers ahead, do not click if you do not want to be spoiled).

  • 1
    We know there is a whitewalker with a icy crown, but did they, in the show, ever specifically said he is the Night's King?
    – user65648
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 13:03
  • @C.Koca See Kuhl's comment on main question body. According to it the only reason people know him as the Night's King is because he is mentioned as such in the credits.
    – Aegon
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 13:13
  • 1
    Is there anything to say that the man shown transformed into a white walker is the same white walker referred to as the "Night's King". Are they played by the same actor, for instance?
    – Stumbler
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 13:16
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    @Stumbler Yes they are played by the same actor Vladimir Fudrik.
    – Aegon
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 6:58
  • 2
    +1 very interesting, I hadn't picked up on the detail about Night's King making sacrifices to them before, makes me wonder how similar they were to Craster's sacrifices and whether made them powerful again like the Night's King did? One thought, the sacrifice scene in the show seemed somewhat similar to the sacrifice at Winterfell Bran saw in a flashback in the books, wonder if it's worth mentioning it and the differences between the two wierwood sacrifice flashbacks? Would add it as my own answer but I don't have the books to hand... Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 9:21

No; they are not the same.

GRRM, in correspondence with fans, has said this about the Night's King:

As for the Night's King (the form I prefer), in the books he is a legendary figure, akin to Lann the Clever and Brandon the Builder, and no more likely to have survived to the present day than they have.

He says "the form I prefer" in relation to the show's "Night King", which should be considered as only being a similar name, and not the same character.

  • 2
    This answer doesn't add anything to the previous one
    – Bardo
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 9:17
  • -1: That statement is over a year old, not recent. It also is not Made in an interview but as a comment in his blog. But most if all: it was already present (though unsourced) in the older answer, you added nothing new. And your explanation is nonsense, he's talking about a 'form', that could still be 2 different spellings of one name for the same character. Libya's former tyrant had a few dozens variations of his name, but I'm fairly convinced he eas one person.
    – KillianDS
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 12:04

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