Warning: Spoilers ahead.
For thousands of years, he dwelled in the Land of Always Winter, turning newborn babies into ice zombies and amassing an army of thousands of wights and walkers, but now the Night King is no more. In Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones,” the zombie with the piercing blue eyes was caught off-guard by Arya Stark, who stabbed him in the gut with a Valyrian steel dagger, instantly shattering him into thousands of pieces.
Although he was hardly the most beloved character to bite the dust on “Game of Thrones,” the Night King — with his graceful walk and eyes like a husky’s — was definitely a silver fox. And his death, although apparently final, will do little to quell the fan theories about his origins.
Since Season 6, the Night King has been played not by an actor but by Vladimir Furdik, a 48-year-old stuntman who was born in the former Czechoslovakia and who without his makeup looks like a cross between Bronn and Daniel Craig. Let the conspiracy theories begin!
On Tuesday he spoke to The Times by phone from Budapest.
Were you surprised the Night King was killed off so quickly?
No, I wasn’t surprised. This show is not just about the Night King. There are very many other stories. I wasn’t surprised he died in the middle of Season 8. Because “Game of Thrones” is about something else. He’s part of one story.
What’s the most difficult part about playing him?
The last season with [director] Miguel [Sapochnik], he give me big lesson because I’m not properly an actor. He gave me a big lesson before everything happen on the set. Everything what I did for Miguel was hard for me. If you’re walking from A to B. He would like to see completely different walk. He told me many times, “Don’t walk like soldier. Don’t walk like fighter. Can you walk like you see the cake and you would like the cake? You’re looking forward to the cake. I would like to see this walk.” He helped me a lot.
So you were thinking about cake in that scene?
Yes. He said, ‘I don’t want to see anything like you’re a soldier.’ He said it’s scarier if you are loose in the body, you are just walking like, “OK, this is mine, I’m going to take it.” This was very hard for me because you have fire all around you, the camera, everyone looking at me, wind and smoke and now I should do the relaxed walk. It was not easy.
What about his arms? He moves them very specifically.
We did maybe 15, 20 takes on set of the walk.
Sometimes I was confused. I said, “Do I change something?” He said, “No, no, do the same thing.” So I really didn’t care about my hands. It’s not easy to be an actor. It’s [easier] to be a stuntman.
How did you get to be a stuntman?
This happened in my life: I love horses and I start with the horses for the other actors. I clean the stable, take the horse to the set, take the saddle, ride the horse for the other actors when they need the double. It was step by step and then one day I wake up and I’m a stuntman.
What about the makeup?
It’s around five or six hours. At the start of the season it’s like seven hours but they get faster so it’s around five hours.
So what do you do while they’re putting it on?
Listen to music, sleep. I don’t need to think about anything. This was like yoga.
Are your eyes blue?
My eyes are funny. If you’re watching under the normal light, it’s a little bit brown-green. I remember many times I was doubling for some actor, and they give me dark makeup, suddenly my eyes change to blue. I don’t understand. It depends where I am or my makeup. Most of the time it’s green and brown.
Whom do you want to win the Iron Throne?
I love one person. But I don’t think he cares about the throne. I love Tyrion Lannister.
His character is confident. How he plays his character, he’s so relaxed and I love his style and he loves wine, which I love also, and he loves women. You know?
What do you think the Night King wanted?
Revenge. I think maybe someone will give us the answer one day what he exactly wants. But I think because he don’t want to become the Night King. He became the Night King. And now what? This wasn’t his fate or destiny. I think he’s looking for revenge.