"Game of Thrones" has answered only a few questions about the Night King so far, but there is still so much that we don't know about this mysterious White Walker leader. Who was he in his human form? A random soldier, or someone of importance? And what about the rest of the White Walkers? There seem to be only twelve of them in both the book and the show. And that's not the only time this number appears in the story, which is rather mysterious. So with that in mind, let's try to unravel some mysteries surrounding the Night King and his White Walker generals.

Let's see how these findings could tie into the future events of "Game of Thrones" and "A Song of Ice and Fire."

The White Walkers in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' books

In the prologue of "A Game of Thrones," the very first chapter of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" book series, we meet Will, Gared and Ser Waymar Royce, three brothers of the Night's Watch on a scouting mission beyond the Wall. This was where they encountered the White Walkers. They all died, as a result, except for Gared (Will in the show), who was then beheaded by Ned Stark in the next chapter, for deserting the Night's Watch.

There are quite a few interesting things we learned about the White Walkers in this chapter:

  • Not only do they speak a language that sounds like cracking of ice on a winter lake, but they also laugh and mock, while fighting Ser Waymar Royce. This seems to imply that the White Walkers are intelligent beings, and not some mindless zombies, like the wights.
  • It's no secret that the White Walkers are called the Others in the books, but in this chapter, George R. R. Martin also refers to them as "the watchers." Take this quote for example: "Behind him, to right, to left, all around him the watchers stood patient, faceless, silent..." Using the word "watchers" to describe the White Walkers is by no means a coincidence. It's almost as if George wants to tell us something about their identities. But more on that later.
  • "The watchers moved forward together as if some signal had been given." Not only does this quote represent yet another instance where the White Walkers are called "the watchers," but it also straight up tells us that there is someone who controls them. Maybe their leader, the Night King, who is yet to make an appearance in the books?
  • Given the fact that Ser Waymar Royce's sable cloak "had been slashed in a dozen places," it stands the reason to believe that there were a dozen White Walkers as well, even though Will saw only five.

But what about the show?

In "Game of Thrones" Season 4's "Oathbreaker" episode we met the Night King for the first time. As he was about to turn one of Craster's sons into a fully fledged White Walker, we saw twelve mysterious figures in the background. Check it out.

The (un)lucky number

The fact that there are twelve White Walkers (thirteen if you count the Night King) holds a little significance on its own.

But if we take into account two more instances where this number was mentioned, we might be on to something. First, the Last Hero had a dozen companions who all died before he ultimately reached the Children of the Forest and subsequently ended the War for the Dawn. And then, we have the story of the Night's King, the 13th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.

According to YouTube user bridge4, the Night King is both the Last Hero and the 13th Commander of the Night's Watch, and the rest of the White Walkers are none other than his twelve companions. Let's see how this could be possible.

"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain"

The Children of the Forest told the Last Hero that in order to completely defeat the White Walkers he must become one himself. For that is the only way to control them. He was then turned into the White Walker, but with most of his consciousness left in him (something like Benjen in the show.) So the first thing he did was to raise his twelve companions from the dead. Then, they built the Wall with the help of Brandon the Builder and the Children of the Forest and became "the watchers on the Wall." The Last Hero became the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch in charge of the Nightfort, where he made sure that the realm stayed safe from any threat beyond the Wall.

But then one day, he noticed a female White Walker from atop the Wall who turned out to be none other than his wife, Nissa Nissa, whom he sacrificed hoping that would end the war. He couldn't resist her so they made love. And it was at that moment that he became a fully fledged White Walker, with no more humanity left in him. Then, he bound his twelve companions to his will and turned them to the other side. It wasn't until Brandon the Breaker, the King in the North, and Joramun, the King beyond the Wall, joined forces that they were all banished into the Lands of Always Winter. Then all the records were destroyed, so no one could know what happened with the Last Hero in the end.

Check out bridge4's video down below for all the details about this theory.

My opinion

This theory could explain why there were only twelve White Walkers at the beginning of the story, with one leader controlling them all, and also why they are called "the watchers" like there were all once members of the Night's Watch. But then again, if the Night King is both the Last Hero and the 13th Lord Commander, what about the White Walker creation scene we saw in "Game of Thrones" Season 6's "The Door" episode?

The sacrifice clearly happened in what was later known as the land beyond the Wall. At that point, the land was still untouched by the impacts of climate change that the creation of the White Walkers caused. So the only way this theory could work is that we actually saw the creation of the first White Walker, who is not the Night King.

After all, Bran did say that the Children of the Forest made the White Walkers and not the Night King. But in my opinion, that's just because he hadn't met the Night King at this point. And this doesn't mention the fact that the man whom the Children of the Forest sacrificed was portrayed by the same actor (Vladimir Furdik), who still plays the Night King.

So however poetic and thought-provoking this theory is, it seems as though the Night King from the show was just some random First Men soldier whom the Children of the Forest converted into the White Walker. Either way, you have to admit that there is more to the number twelve than meets the eye. And maybe Bran could travel to the past at some point in "Game of Thrones" Season 8 to unravel all the mysteries surrounding the Night King and his White Walker generals.