[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Game of Thrones.”]
The much-anticipated “Game of Thrones” episode depicting the Battle of Winterfell delivered in terms of shock value, with nothing surprising fans more than the battle ending with the death of The Night King. The show had turned the character into its biggest villain over the last several seasons, which made a lot of fans think the Night King would not be so easily disposable and would certainly stick around beyond the third episode of the final season.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Night King actor Vladimír Furdík said he was not surprised when he read of his character’s death at the end of the Battle of Winterfell. The Night King was murdered by Arya Stark, another shock considering the show had teased an epic one-on-one fight between the villain and Jon Snow. The decision to have Arya be the one who kills the Night King has led to some backlash, mostly angry men labeling Arya a “Mary Sue” character. The argument ignores the fact Arya has been training as an assassin for several seasons, giving her more than enough experience to kill the Night King. Furdík himself loved the twist.
“I think this was a good decision,” the actor and stuntman said. “Because nobody’s waiting so much for [Arya to surprise him], not many people knew it would happen. Maybe ten minutes before Arya jumps on the Night King, we don’t know where she is. We see Jon Snow and other actors, but we don’t know where she is. Maybe somebody can predict it, but I think it was a good decision. Who else can kill him and how? It was the best, I think.”
Maisie Williams admitted earlier this week that finding out Arya kills the Night King initially worried her. “I immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it,” she said. “The hardest thing in any series is when you build up a villain that’s so impossible to defeat and then you defeat them. It has to be intelligently done because otherwise people are like, ‘Well, [the villain] couldn’t have been that bad when some 100-pound girl comes in and stabs him.’ You gotta make it cool.”
Even Kit Harington admitted he always thought Jon Snow would be the one to finish the Night King. “Thrones” has always subverted expectations, and it’s that surprise factor that Furdík says was essential to making the Night King’s death pay off.
“Game of Thrones” final seasons continues Sunday at 9pm ET on HBO.