When Bran is discussing his history with the Night King on Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2, he comes up with a plan that might give them a chance to win the battle at Winterfell, and it involves their past together. Here’s a refresher on the Night King’s past and how it might intersect with the Three-Eyed Raven.
For years, fans have been guessing that the Night King and Bran were somehow one and the same. Well, it might still be possible, but thanks to Bran we now know that the Night King has been pursuing the Three-Eyed Raven and trying to kill him for generations and generations. All this time, the Night King has been the same person we originally saw turned by the Children of the Forest, even as the Three-Eyed Raven has taken different forms.
One thing we already know binds the Three-Eyed Raven and the Night King: They both have some form of greensight.
Bran Stark started out with the ability to warg into animals. He first began to learn this when he dreamed that he was his direwolf, Summer. Almost every member of the Stark family should have the ability to warg into their direwolf. But most Starks don’t ever develop this ability. Note that the term “warg” is sometimes used interchangeably with “skinchanger.” Some skinchangers end up being Greenseers, who are incredibly rare and can see the future and the past. It’s believed that these Greenseers could see and hear through weirwood trees that had faces in them. The people with Greensight, or the “Greenseers,” are the wise men of the Children of the Forest (who created the White Walkers).
Before Bran came along, the Three-Eyed Raven was the last Greenseer, and a human living among the Children of the Forest. In Season 1, he appeared to Bran in dreams after Bran woke from his coma. In Season 4, Bran finally met him face-to-face in the Children of the Forest’s magical cave. The Raven tells Bran that he’s been many things, and is now the Raven. He said he’s been watching them all their lives. He then adds that Bran will never walk again, but he will learn how to fly.
In Season 6, the Raven teaches Bran about Greensight, showing him many visions, including one that reveals who Jon’s real parents are. He warns Bran, when Bran wants to stay in a vision of the past, that Greensight is powerful and he must resist that urge. He reprimands Bran for trying to interact with the past.
The Night King was originally one of the First Men, caught by the Children of the Forest and turned into the Night King against his will using dragonglass. He was supposed to stop humans from destroying the weirwood trees, but instead he ended up turning into a weapon that the Children of the Forest couldn’t control.
Because of how he was created, the Night King has some of the very same greensight abilities that the Three-Eyed Raven and some Children of the Forest have. This was proven when Bran was marked by the Night King. The Night King was the only one who could see Bran, who had used his greensight to spy on the Night King and the White Walkers.
The Three-Eyed Raven was killed by the Night King, but before he died the Raven gave all his knowledge to Bran. Now Bran is the Three-Eyed Raven in his place, and now the Night King is pursuing him.
We’re not completely clear on why the Night King has been trying to kill the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran said it was because he wants an endless night and the Three-Eyed Raven is the one who protects against that. But surely there’s more to it than something so one-dimensionally evil.
Some think that Bran traveled back in time and warged into the First Man who was turned into the Night King and he got stuck that way. So maybe he’s been trying to kill himself all this time to stop the cycle. But that’s just one fan theory.