Game of Thrones is one of those shows that rarely disappoints, especially when it comes to villains, hitting us with some pretty straight up terrifying and sadistic characters over the years. But at the end of Season Seven, Westeros is left to face someone even more ruthless than human-version-of-evil Joffrey or murderous psychopath Ramsay. They’re now dealing with the undead Night King. While we know the ominous King of the dead has some ghostly pale skin and eyes that are bluer than Kanye in colored contacts, figuring out who he is beyond his looks requires a bit of a deeper dive.
The first time we see the Night King is in Season 4 when Bran touches the Weirwood Heart Tree and has a whole bunch of visions, one of which was the Night King taking Craster’s baby and turning it into another White Walker. This is the first hint we get that he’s out there trying to build up his army.
A few seasons later, we finally learn that the fire-wielding, kinda-scary-kinda-cute Children of the Forest are the ones responsible for creating what could be the world’s downfall. Thousands of years ago, they took one of the First Men and pushed a giant piece of dragon glass into his heart. Thanks to Bran’s flashbacks, we got to see the creepy transformation firsthand of the poor guy they chose to turn into the very first white walker aka the Night King.
Turns out the Children of the Forest actually created the White Walker to try to protect themselves against the First Men. What sucks for them is that the White Walkers eventually turned on them, and they had to team up with the First Men to fight them off. The Army of the Dead retreated to the most northern part of Westeros, and Brandon the Builder put up the Wall to keep them there, and it worked…until the Night King got his hands on a dragon and burned it down last season.
While we don’t know the identity of the man the Children took to become the Night King, there’s one theory that Bran will eventually become the Night King. According to the theory, Bran will try to save the day by going back in time and warging into the icy creature but ultimately getting stuck in the Night King’s Body.
What may come as a surprise to most non-book readers, though, is that there actually isn’t a Night King in the books—at least in the way we know him. But there is a somewhat similar but still very different Night’s King—note the apostrophe ’s. In the books, the Night’s King was the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s watch (for context, Jon Snow was 998th).
As legend has it, he ventured out beyond the Wall one day where he met a beautiful white-skinned woman with bright blue eyes who could freeze the living. The Lord Commander and his icy love took up residence in the Nightfort, and when they finally got it on, he lost his soul. He performed black magic and made sacrifices to the White Walkers for 13 years until the King Beyond the Wall (think: the original Mance Rayder) defeated him. It’s also rumored that the Night’s King was a Stark, so we wouldn’t put it past the show writers to want to keep that detail and make Bran the Night King.
With the Night King having broken down the Wall and starting his march south, it’s only a matter a time before we figure out exactly who he is and what he’s after.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.