WARNING: This article might contain spoilers from Season 8 Episode 3 of Game of Thrones.
Everyone’s bashing the alliance at Winterfell about their clusterfuck battle tactics but I think Night King also performed really poorly. I’d like to point out some issues about his handling of total world destruction.
Night King Failed To Drive The Narrative
I think Night King failed in PR throughout the series. Here, you have the most impressive, fearful, terrifying, horror show of an army, you can raise dead at will who cannot be killed, yet your enemies don’t even know the half of the story. Nobody in Westeros knows about you. Some who do actually only know about some “white walkers”. Night King completely ignores propaganda and fails to infuse his agenda in the enemy.
Here we’re talking about some guy who can fly and raise dead at will. This can be a great disruption to the preparedness of the battle, cause uproar, political clashes. He is completely oblivious towards politics and psychological operations which makes him a shallow, single-dimensional leader.
Night King Failed To Be A Successful Commander
There is one more commander in the history of fiction who sends armies to their death until they overflow the defense mechanism so it finally stops working: Zapp Brannigan from Futurama. To his credit, Night King has more than enough resources to allow such a tactic but he wastes precious resources that can be leveraged for the success. As evidenced in the series, the result of a battle is never known until the last minute.
Night King Failed To Create A Solid Organization
Organization comes with hierarchy, a healthy delegation of power. Night King actually accumulates all the power to himself. That level of overconfidence creates a weakness in the whole organization of the white walker army. First, it creates a single point of failure: killing Night King means total loss of war. Well, the white walkers seem to be connected to Night King through some spiritiual link so killing him makes the rest vanish, but, Night King could have employed living, too. But as I said, overconfidence creates weakness.
That level of accumulation of power deprives the rest of the organization of a critical asset: initiative. That’s why nobody cared to defend Night King or took measures for defense when he was about to slay Bran, because Night King was driving the whole command at the moment. Centralizing power was his utmost failure.
Night King Failed To Drive A Vision
Nobody among white walkers knew about Night King’s goal. They were dumb soldiers. We know that by how they never acted independently of Night King’s will. Night King relied on total loyalty over competence and failed to communicate his ambition with his colleagues.
Night King Underestimated The Competition
The way how Night King avoided to enrich his strategic approach to his ultimate goal and how he only recruited dumb soldiers in astronomical numbers actually points out how Night King sees the competition: also dumb. Bad data may cause bad results but bad assumptions certainly will. He didn’t research his subject, he didn’t plan extensively. He didn’t even take lessons from his former self: supposedly a human. He is not a robot as we can see he can show some attitude albeit mostly brash snobbery.
I don’t want this article to be a complete downer for the Night King though. He was able to create a functional army, breached The Wall, annihilated armies, inflicted fear and got a dragon which were no easy feats to say the least. So, his achievements are commendable but since he failed in his final goal, all he did was to have repaired the fault lines in Westeros among most of the rival dynasties. He did nobody else could, he united Westeros.
I’d easily give him a good 5/7 as the evil leader who wants to destroy everything.