The Night's King, by Oriana Wiesner ©
According to legend, Night's King lived during the Age of Heroes, not long after the Wall was complete. While serving as the thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, he fell in love with a woman he saw from the top of the Wall. This woman had skin white as the moon and eyes like blue stars, and her skin was cold as ice, but Night's King was fearless and chased and caught and loved her, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. Night's King brought this woman back to the Nightfort, and declared her a queen and himself her king. With strange sorcery, he bound the Night's Watch brothers to his will, and ruled the Nightfort as his own castle for thirteen years with his corpse queen by his side.
During the dark years of his reign, horrific atrocities were committed, of which tales are still told in the north. It was not until Brandon the Breaker, the King in the North, and Joramun, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, joined forces, that Night's King was brought down and the Night's Watch freed. After his fall, when it was discovered that Night's King had been making sacrifices to the Others, all records of him were destroyed, and his very name was forbidden and forgotten.
The legend of the Night's King is frequently told, and in it the Night's King may be a Bolton, a Woodfoot, an Umber, a Flint, a Norrey, or even a Stark, depending on where the tale is told and who tells it. The legend is recorded in Archmaester Harmune's book, Watchers on the Wall, which includes many stories of the Nightfort. In the Citadel, archmaesters generally dismiss the tale as only fiction, though some consider the possibility that an early Lord Commander did indeed try to create a kingdom for himself. Some suggest that the corpse queen was actually a barrowlander, a daughter of the Barrow King.
A Storm of Swords
At the Nightfort, Bran Stark recalls a story about Night King that Old Nan, a servant in Winterfell, would tell the Stark children. Nan would always end the story saying that some people believe Night's King was a Bolton, a Magnar of Skagos, an Umber, a Flint, a Norrey, or a Woodfoot. But she would say that none of those were true— that Night's King was a Stark of Winterfell, and brother to King Brandon the Breaker, who brought him down. Nan would pinch Bran on the nose, and say that perhaps his name was Brandon, and he might have slept in Bran's own bedroom.
A Feast for Crows
—thoughts of Bran Stark
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Night's Watch.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 7, Jon II.
- So Spake Martin: On Maegor III and the Night's King, June 09, 2015