As one of the biggest tv series in the world, The Long Night (Season 8, Episode 3) was one of the most anticipated episodes in Game of Thrones. It brought everything to a head, with the White Walkers finally appearing and showing fans how scary the undead truly is. Not only that, but we got to see more action from Khaleesi and her remaining dragons. As the 70th episode of the show, it brought much action and left little room for questions to be asked. And, using Bran Stark as bait, Arya Stark took out the Night King in the coolest manner possible, so there was a great conclusion to the epic battle.
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And, of course, with a show as big as Game of Thrones, the internet is always buzzing with fan questions and theories. In fact, one such question birthed an interesting scenario that may have shocked fans more than Arya’s defeat of the Night King. It surrounds the moment in the episode when the Night King enters the godswood of Winterfell, where Bran is awaiting him. His soldiers take out all the warriors protecting Bran, and he reaches for his sword before Arya comes flying at him. Of course, his reaching for his weapon already dismisses this as a theory, but what if the Night King wanted to bend the knee to the Three-Eyed Raven instead?
Would This Have Made Sense in the Overall Storyline?
Certainly not! Fans would have been even more furious than they were about the ending of the final season. While yes, it would have made for a great plot twist, it would not have been relevant to the story. If one considers how many people have died only for the Night King to submit to Bran, it will mean many of those deaths were in vain. One massive death that this would steal the emotional impact from is Hodor. Not only would that moment have been in vain, but the trauma that impacted his entire life would also have been for nothing.
Then, there was all the build-up to the Night King and how he would be the series’ big bad. If he bent the knee to the Three-Eyed Raven, it would really make all his backstory very questionable. Why was he portrayed as evil if he wanted to join the Three-Eyed Raven, who we know for sure is not evil? We do not know if the Raven is good, but it proved itself not to be evil and has the best for humanity in mind. It would have been a complete disaster the show would not have recovered from.
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How Would the Night King Bending the Knee Have Impacted the Storyline?
Let’s say that this is the direction the showrunners chose to take. Previous events aside, it would have made for a fascinating story going forward. Just looking at the sheer number of wights, they would have made for a great army. If they were bending the knee to Bran Stark, there may have been a chance that they would have joined Daenerys and Jon in the fight for the Seven Kingdoms. No matter how you look at it, more chaos would have ensued had the Night King and his army of undead soldiers (and undead dragon) marched on King’s Landing. It would see the Song of Ice and Fire take on an entirely new meaning.
But then what? The entirety of Westeros would have been stuck in an eternal winter with Daenerys ruling over a frozen land. While yes, this would have made for a cool cinematic ending, the narrative would be terrible. And honourable Jon Snow, there is no way he would have been okay with this. However, things could have gone in a completely different direction and see Bran still ending up on the Iron Throne anyways. Judging from Daenerys’ reaction to finding out Jon was a Targaryen, she would have been even more upset that the Night King bent the knee to Bran and not her.
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Chances are that her character arc would play out in a similar fashion to the official ending of the series. Daenerys would have felt threatened by Bran having such a large army. Not to mention, the Night King killed Viserion, her dragon and her child. There is no chance she would just let that go so easily. The show’s last season had a lot of weird personality changes for many prominent characters, resulting in some strange political decisions. The Night King’s presence in their army probably still would not have changed the direction Daenerys’ character eventually went in.
Save for some more cool aesthetic scenes, the Night King bending the knee may not have changed much at all. The icy villain may have just become another enemy to Daenerys; if not, it is difficult to picture any other characters accepting him. So even if she was on board, the Starks might not have been willing to buy into it. As for Three-Eyed Raven, it is difficult to say whether it would have trusted this show of submission. As an omnipresent and omniscient force, the Raven should have no issue seeing whether the Night King’s intentions were pure or not. Overall, while it would have been an interesting and shocking twist, it would have resulted in the story falling even further apart.
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- The Long Night, Episode 3 of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, was one of the most anticipated episodes in the entire series.
- An interesting question brought an interesting scenario: what if the Night King bent the knee to Bran Stark in the godswood of Winterfell?
- While it presents an interesting story going forward, it would have ruined many significant character deaths in the series, such as Hodor. Overall, this would have been a lousy writing decision.
Would you want to see the Night King bending the knee to Bran Stark?