The Night King — a silent, all-powerful evil — has been the most mysterious character on Game of Thrones since he was first introduced.
Well, Game of Thrones gave us an answer in Season 8, Episode 2 — but it might not be what some fans were expecting.
What the Night King and the White Walkers want in the end is pretty simple, really — nothing. Literally, they want to reduce the world of humans to nothing.
Death and destruction is their only aim — going as far as obliterating every trace of humanity's existence with the end of the Three-Eyed Raven, mankind's "memory."
This is why the Night King is so bent on coming after Bran. Not because he is him, and not because he necessarily holds the key to his defeat — not in any straightforward way, anyway. Instead, Bran's existence as the Three-Eyed Raven prevents the Night King from achieving his ultimate apocalyptic purpose.
It might seem a little anticlimactic after all the theorizing, but it wouldn't be the first time Game of Thrones fans have thought a plot would be way more complicated than it actually is.
It makes total sense, considering everything we've previously been told. After all, the Night King was originally created with the sole purpose of killing humans.
The creators of Game of Thrones have long flagged this as the Night King's motivation. Back in 2016, D. B. Weiss told Deadline that the Night King was just "death":
"I don't think of the Night King as a villain as much as, Death. ... The Night King doesn't have a choice; he was created that way, and that's what he is. In some ways, he's just death, coming for everyone in the story, coming for all of us. In some ways, it's appropriate he doesn't speak. What's death going to say? Anything would diminish him. He's just a force of destruction."