Warning: This article is dark and full of Game of Thrones season eight spoilers.
Just when you thought Game of Thrones had given us all the clues to how things will end in its eighth and final season, fans come up with new theories that blow our minds and toy with everything we thought we knew. In the wake of episode three, “The Longest Night,” airing this past Sunday, two new Reddit theories about Jon Snow or Bran becoming the Night King have surfaced. Already doing the mental gymnastics to try and figure out how this could be possible? Yeah, us too.
While it’s long been thought the show would reveal Bran and the Night King are one and the same, it’s still unclear if the show can (or will) make it happen. Arya killing the Night King at the Battle of Winterfell proved that Bran is not as inextricably linked to the undead ice villain as we thought, nor were they revealed to be the same. According to Reddit user u/itsmyst, the Night King isn’t really dead and instead, Bran will take on his powers and raise the dead Winterfell army once again to help fight Cersei. Itsmyst points out that the Night King’s death was pretty anticlimactic, the death doesn’t fulfill the Azor Ahai prophecy and Jon and Daenerys’s army is decimated. Itsmyst goes on to write, “Maybe [Bran] revives the army of the dead. Boom, instant army to fight against Cersei,” as a way of alluding to the fact that Bran becomes the Night King and, in doing so, returns the advantage to Jon and Dany.
It’s certainly a possibility. Cersei’s army doesn’t have the weapons to take down the undead, whereas Jon and Daenerys do. Once they take back the Iron Throne, sadly, they’d be forced to kill Bran because, as the Night King, killing him would be the only way to take out the entire army of the undead. It would be an unfortunate trade-off, but entirely plausible. Although Itsmyst doesn’t explain it in their theory, it’s possible Bran wargs back to when the Night King was, erm, alive and is able to connect to points in space and time (as we saw when Bran’s warging allowed Meera Reed to affect teenage Hodor in the past) to create a channel that can access the Night King’s resurrection powers on Jon and Daenerys’s army.
In a second theory, Reddit user u/highly_animated recalls the wheel metaphor associated with Daenerys as an entry point to theorize either Bran or Jon (the other character arguably the most knowledgeable about the Night King at this point) become the Night King.
“Someone (we believe Bran or Jon) will sacrifice themselves in the Isle of Faces with a dragon glass dagger to the heart to become the next Night King. Since it was a willing sacrifice, they maintain humanity (like Benjen) long enough to raise the dead army again to defeat Cersei. Then we’d get a few scenes of our heroes traveling far north to the Lands of Always Winter to lock away the new Night King 2.0 for a 1000 years of slumber before the whole process repeats itself,” highly_animated writes.
This is also an extremely plausible theory, especially considering both Bran and Jon understand what is at stake if they allow Cersei to beat them in battle. Hinging on the notion that raising the dead Winterfell army will be key in keeping the advantage in Jon and Dany’s court, it’s easy to see how Jon would sacrifice himself for the cause seeing as he’s not particularly interested in the Iron Throne and instead is focused on honoring his promise to Dany. Bran’s choice to become the Night King (per this theory) would probably be done for more pragmatic reasons, but he understands how to think like the Night King, so why not?