'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Theory: The Night King's Heir
Is Always Winter the goal, or is the Night King's invasion more... personal?
Editor's note: 'Game of Thrones' will return in 2019 for its final season on HBO. To help fill the void in all our lives now, when the series usually airs, we thought it would help to theorize how the show will end. Over the coming weeks, we'll run a series of "'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Theory" articles for your consideration. This is the second article in the series: (1)
"He marries his daughters, and they give him more daughters, and on and on it goes." —Eddison Tollett
Season 2 of Game of Thrones introduces the wildling Craster, a reluctant ally of the Night's Watch whose "Keep" shelters the brothers when they travel north of the Wall. Craster lives with 19 of his daughter-wives and has been growing his incestuous family for years. The daughters stay and live with him making babies, but Craster's sons share a fate far worse.
As Jon Snow discovers, Craster sacrifices his sons to the White Walkers instead of raising them as his own. He places them alone in the woods where the Walkers can find them. It appears to be an agreement that allows Craster to live in peace. However, in Season 4, we learn what truly happens to the babies. A scene in the Land of Always Winter shows the Night King touching a baby's cheek and the infant's eyes turning blue. Craster's sons are the White Walkers. You can see them all lined up behind the Night King in the scene (below). The baby Jon Snow sees in the woods turns out to be Craster's final gift to the Night King. The wildling is murdered shortly afterwards by Karl Tanner, setting off the Night's Watch mutiny.
During the mutiny, Samwell Tarly escapes Craster's Keep with one of the old man's daughters and her newborn son. They eventually make it to Castle Black and safety, but not before Sam is forced to kill a White Walker with dragonglass. The Walker appears out of nowhere and clearly wants Gilly's son, Little Sam — the ice zombie's brother.
Consider the origin of the White Walkers. They're a family, at least some of them, depending on how long Craster has been sacrificing his sons. He has 19 wives in George R.R. Martin's books, so it's been awhile. He claims to have 99 sons on the show. Since they're born of incest, the Craster bloodline is pure. This is a practice, to put it generously, most famously time-honored in the Targaryen family. Is it possible Craster is a long-lost Targaryen and there's some connection between the great Westerosi family and the Night King? On his deathbed, Maester Aemon says Little Sam laughs like his brother Aegon Targaryen. Maybe there's something there, but we'll put that aside for now. What's important is the Walkers seem to share the same bloodline.
Assuming they are all brothers, and the Night King is their father, perhaps the White Walkers have more motive for invading the south than previously thought. Sure, they're evil personified, intent on bringing the Long Night and covering the world in winter, but they could also simply be coming for their little bro. Maybe they need him for some powerful reason. Maybe the Night King cannot create any more White Walkers without him. Maybe Little Sam is the Night King's heir.
Little Sam is the last born son of Craster. He was destined to become a White Walker before Sam and Gilly ran off with him. Maybe that decision had far-reaching repercussions. The Walker that Sam kills didn't just find the baby by accident. He was hunting Sam and Gilly, on a mission to find the child. It makes sense his zombie father and brothers would do the same. Perhaps the last born son of Craster was destined to be the next Night King, and Samwell Tarly ruined those plans.
Look for Little Sam to become important during Season 8 next year. He could be a living homing beacon for the White Walkers, or he could be the target of a sacrifice attempt (we're looking at you, Melisandre and Kinvara) that would somehow help the living defeat the dead. I'm not saying Little Sam's the main reason the Walkers are coming — they obviously have bigger plans — but the kid may have a larger role in the endgame than we think. Bloodlines are too important in the world of Game of Thrones not to speculate.