Game of Thrones fans spent years wondering why the Night King seemed determined to turn all of Westeros into a frozen wasteland, but in the HBO show’s final season, we barely got an explanation for the character’s motives before he was killed halfway through Season 8. Sure, Bran Stark offered up a few cryptic lines of dialogue about the Night King’s desire to wipe out human memory, but that’s not exactly a satisfactory explanation for the villain Game of Thrones spent seven seasons hyping up as the ultimate big bad.
Thankfully, we now have some genuine insight into the Night King’s motivations thanks to the actor who played him, Vladimir Furdik. In The Last Watch, a behind-the-scenes documentary for Game of Thrones Season 8, Furdik explains why his character is so evil. It might be a little late, but at this point, it’s pretty much par for the course that Game of Thrones’ biggest questions only get answered after the episode in behind-the-scenes interviews.
Here’s Furdik’s explanation for why the Night King is so evil:
“I think he’s angry; he did not want to be the Night King … The Children of the Forest, they’ve changed him, and now he’s [like], ‘Okay, you want me to be Night King? I’m going to kill you.’”
This might not be the answer you’re looking for, but it’s still pretty interesting. Imagining the Night King as a man trapped inside a monster puts a new spin on the character. He’s not evil for a specific purpose. Instead, he just wants vengeance on everyone who hasn’t been subjected to icy immortality.
It’s unclear if the Night King became more evil over time, or was a monster the moment he was transformed by the Children of the Forest, but Furdik’s interpretation seems to suggest the latter. Another quote from the documentary amplifies this idea through the actor’s own experience playing the Game of Thrones villain.
“The mask changes you completely,” he says. “Step by step, you enter the dark side.”
If you’re still not satisfied with Furdik’s explanation, you may be in luck. A planned Game of Thrones prequel, potentially titled Bloodmoon, is expected to explore the initial conflict between the first humans in Westeros and the Children of the Forest. That includes the creation of the Night King, who was originally meant to be used as a weapon against humanity.
So we can probably expect to see more of Furdik and hopefully a bit more backstory on the Night King when the prequel premieres. As for all those other lingering Game of Thrones questions, you’re probably out of luck — at least until George R. R. Martin finally finishes the books that inspired the show in the first place.
You can stream Game of Thrones: The Last Watch right now on HBO.