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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Episode 2 Finally Reveals The Night King’s Plan

In the second episode of Game of Thrones Season 8 Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) finally reveals what motivates the Night King. The episode takes place just before the Night King and his army of the dead arrive at Winterfell—a moment of repose before the biggest battle yet seen on Game of Thrones. The numerous characters brought together at Winterfell—the last alliance of the living—spend their time preparing arms, relaxing, drinking together and arguing. But it’s during their final strategy meeting that Bran describes what the Night King truly wants, establishing the stakes for the climactic battle to come.

“The Night King made them all, they follow his command,” Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen (Kit Harington) says to the leaders assembled at Winterfell, as they look over a battle map together. “Getting to him may be our best chance.”

“If that’s true, he’ll never expose himself,” Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) says.

“Yes, he will. He’ll come for me,” Bran replies, interrupting the strategy session. “He’s tried before. Many times, with many Three-eyed Ravens.”

This is a major revelation. Previously, we’ve only known of the White Walkers attacking once in the history of Westeros, during an event called the Long Night (soon to be the basis of a Game of Thrones spinoff series). But according to Bran, the Night King has long schemed, not to sweep down on Westeros, but erase the collective memory of humanity embodied in the Three-eyed Ravens. Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) asks him to elaborate on the Night King’s goal.

“An endless night. He wants to erase this world. And I am its memory,” Bran replies. The Night King doesn’t just spread death, but is working to undo the totality of all human experience, embodied in Bran, the Stark greenseer explains.

“That’s what death is, isn’t it?” Tarly elaborates, addressing Bran. “Forgetting, being forgotten. People forget where we’ve been and what we’ve done, we’re not men anymore, just animals. Your memories don’t come from books, your stories aren’t just stories. If I wanted to erase the world of men, I’d start with you.”

Not only will the Night King target Bran specifically during the battle, but he already has the power to track Bran down—wherever he may hide—by following the mark he left on Bran in the Game of Thrones Season 6 episode “The Door.”

“His mark is on me, he always knows where I am,” Bran points out to the assembled group, revealing the Night King’s mark upon his forearm. Armed with the knowledge of the Night King’s true aim, Bran plans to wait in the godswood of Winterfell, to bait the Night King into a place where he can be killed.

Theon volunteers to guard Bran with his Ironborn troops. “I took this castle from you,” Theon says. “Let me defend you now.”

But while they may know a way to bait the Night King, they still can’t be sure how to kill him. While Bran has seen many previous attempts and hasn’t seen anything effective.

“Dragonfire will stop him?” Arya asks Bran.

“I don’t know, no one has ever tried,” he replies.

The scene not only explains far more of the Night King’s motives than we’ve ever learned in previous seasons of Game of Thrones combined, but it also gives shape to the coming battle. We now know exactly what’s at stake when the Night King comes to Winterfell.

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