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Night King or equivalent?


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I was recently admonished for bringing the movie (GoT) storyline's Night King into a discussion about events in the timeline of the books (SoIaF). But in the book continuity someone will have to lead the Enemy's army of wights etc and organize its equipping and supplying and provisioning. Is there any clue as to who or what that will be?, when the book WoW (Winds of Winter) comes out - I have seen various theorizations on Youtube about when that will be.  Will there be a Night King, like in the movie? Or will the leader be the chief of the Others? Or what? The Enemy's armies need a leader, else there will be chaos among their ranks.

 

Edited by Anthony Appleyard
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17 minutes ago, Anthony Appleyard said:

I was recently admonished for bringing the movie (GoT) storyline's Night King into a discussion about events in the timeline of the books (SoIaF). But in the book continuity someone will have to lead the Enemy's army of wights etc and organize its equipping and supplying and provisioning. Is there any clue as to who or what that will be?, when the book WoW (Winds of Winter) comes out - I have seen various theorizations on Youtube about when that will be.  Will there be a Night King, like in the movie? Or will the leader be the chief of the Others? Or what? The Enemy's armies need a leader, else there will be chaos among their ranks.

 

I don't agree with the premise. There doesn't need to be a single leader of the Others, because Undead zombie warriors who can't be killed except by fire don't need to be organized, supplied, or provisioned. They are dead, so what provisions do they need? Maybe skin lotion if they don't want to decompose? It seems clear from the text so far that the weights are perfectly capable of causing mass death even without weaponry, which they have in abundance anyway since many of them died armed. And the weights seem to be pretty singularly focused on murdering the living. At this point, organization really doesn't seem to be a concern.

What the Others and their undead minions are is a hive mind, a collective conscience. Their shared goal is to eradicate life. They certainly do not constitute a normal army of living men who need to be led, fed and disciplined.

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6 hours ago, Nathan Stark said:

I don't agree with the premise. There doesn't need to be a single leader of the Others, because Undead zombie warriors who can't be killed except by fire don't need to be organized, supplied, or provisioned. They are dead, so what provisions do they need? Maybe skin lotion if they don't want to decompose? It seems clear from the text so far that the weights are perfectly capable of causing mass death even without weaponry, which they have in abundance anyway since many of them died armed. And the weights seem to be pretty singularly focused on murdering the living. At this point, organization really doesn't seem to be a concern.

What the Others and their undead minions are is a hive mind, a collective conscience. Their shared goal is to eradicate life. They certainly do not constitute a normal army of living men who need to be led, fed and disciplined.

Agreed, the Night King is just a stupid tv plot line. They wanted an ex machina to kill the others off quickly so they made the night king. I feel like the others are pretty intelligent themselves so they don’t need coordination. One burning question I have is how Others reproduce. 

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50 minutes ago, Brynden"Bloodraven" Rivers said:

Agreed, the Night King is just a stupid tv plot line. They wanted an ex machina to kill the others off quickly so they made the night king. I feel like the others are pretty intelligent themselves so they don’t need coordination. One burning question I have is how Others reproduce. 

I don't think they do reproduce. GRRM called them "neverborn" in his original pitch letter. Maybe he's gardened away from that, but if not, they probably are immortal and eternal, like Tolkien's elves, only they're the bad guys.

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Just now, Nathan Stark said:

I don't think they do reproduce. GRRM called them "neverborn" in his original pitch letter. Maybe he's gardened away from that, but if not, they probably are immortal and eternal, like Tolkien's elves, only they're the bad guys.

It would make sense except for the fact that nearly all of the Others were defeated. This can be interpreted as killing most of them. How are there a lot of them to make tAotD if they can't reproduce?

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9 hours ago, Anthony Appleyard said:

I was recently admonished for bringing the movie (GoT) storyline's Night King into a discussion about events in the timeline of the books (SoIaF). But in the book continuity someone will have to lead the Enemy's army of wights etc and organize its equipping and supplying and provisioning. Is there any clue as to who or what that will be?, when the book WoW (Winds of Winter) comes out - I have seen various theorizations on Youtube about when that will be.  Will there be a Night King, like in the movie? Or will the leader be the chief of the Others? Or what? The Enemy's armies need a leader, else there will be chaos among their ranks.

 

Jon or Bran.  Jon is the one who has the greater chance of becoming the Night King.

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19 hours ago, Nathan Stark said:

...What the Others and their undead minions are is a hive mind, a collective conscience....

For many small brains to link together and become a hive mind, needs reasonably fast communication between them.  Compare the length of time that a swarm of bees needs to decide where to fly to, after scout bees have found possible hollows to build honeycomb in and have come back. Unless there is a hidden advanced technology like the Star Trek Borg have. With 2 more books to come, there may yet be a top leader of the enemy, which GRRM has not yet seen a need to write about in what has been published.

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12 hours ago, Anthony Appleyard said:

For many small brains to link together and become a hive mind, needs reasonably fast communication between them.  Compare the length of time that a swarm of bees needs to decide where to fly to, after scout bees have found possible hollows to build honeycomb in and have come back. Unless there is a hidden advanced technology like the Star Trek Borg have. With 2 more books to come, there may yet be a top leader of the enemy, which GRRM has not yet seen a need to write about in what has been published.

There are apparently not that many Others, and their control over the weights is pretty absolute. There just isn't much need for a single leader to arise here. Besides, it takes away the most frightening thing about the Others, the sense that they are a force of nature, and reduces them to just another player in the game of thrones. Don't forget, this is fantasy. The Others don't need advanced technology. They just need magic.

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Stannis. People had it figured pretty soon after ADWD.

His second life may be an ice dragon, the ice dragon rider, or both, but there will be a Stannis ice dragon.

The show actually gives you nothing because they didn't want to do the whole second life or even skinchanging angle which is where it all comes from.

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Some of these changes between the books and the TV series may be due to the change from a written medium to a spoken medium. As https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Others in "A Wiki of Ice and Fire" points out, the difference between "the others" in its ordinary sense as "not us", and "the Others", is clear in printed text, but not so easy in oral speech, and the TV series refers to the Others as the White Walkers.

Regrettably, I have not watched much of the TV series. (I have read the books plenty.) What word does the TV series use to mean wights, to distinguish them from "whites" in speech?

For meanings of the English word "wight" as it changed over time, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wight .

How is the difference between the Others, and others, handled in the books as translated into languages do not have distinct lowercase and uppercase letters? (Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi and other Indian languages)

 

Edited by Anthony Appleyard
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/2/2021 at 3:01 AM, chrisdaw said:

Stannis. People had it figured pretty soon after ADWD.

His second life may be an ice dragon, the ice dragon rider, or both, but there will be a Stannis ice dragon.

The show actually gives you nothing because they didn't want to do the whole second life or even skinchanging angle which is where it all comes from.

I agree.

I think Stannis will be the new Night King once his army falls apart after, once Shireen and Selyse die and once the Starks retake Winterfell and Robb's kingdom is reinstated.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Night King makes a good horror story for the people of the North  because it was a relatable scale - a man, who was leader of an organisation that still existed, who was tempted and had q dark end. That a story-teller in Winterfell can say it was a Stark, and in Last Hearth they can say it was an Umber, and so on, just makes it a richer tale.

That doesn't mean that a human Night King is actually necessary to lead the Others. They are intelligent. They have their own language and even twisted sense of humour - the Other that spoke to Waymar Royce had a mocking tone. They seem quite capable of leading themselves.

 

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On 10/1/2021 at 6:47 AM, Rondo said:

Jon or Bran.  Jon is the one who has the greater chance of becoming the Night King.

I'm surprised!

If the stupid abomination plotline has some semblance in the books' Others arc, a Night King may very well already exist. That or its Coldhands/Bloodraven. Pet theory that CoTF aren't cute pixies.

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GRRM has several stories featuring hiveminds, some of which feature immobile mother-brains controlling some physically powerful mobile guardians. So the "king" might be more of a centralized intelligence rather than a full-on leader.

LmL has pointed out the many descriptive parallels between the Others and the Kingsguard, and while he concluded it pointed to an Other King like Night King, it could be also evidence that the white walkers are guarding some sort of centralized intelligent mother-brain. 

My own take is that the weirwoods themselves are mother-brains of this sort, although I think they have cousins that we haven't seen in the story yet, the cousin-brains of ice and fire. One group in the Land of Always Winter; the other group underneath the fourteen flames, in the Land of the Long Summer.

We'll almost certainly learn more in Bran's visions, hopefully in TWOW.

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