WARNING: The following contains spoilers for "The Rightful Queen," the second episode of Game of Thrones, Season 8, now streaming.
Of all the revelations in the latest episode of Game of Thrones, the biggest lies with the ultimate motivation of the Night King and his fellow White Walkers. As Jon Snow lays out his strategy to defend Winterfell from the White Walkers and their army of the dead, Bran Stark reveals that the Night King is seeking him out specifically.
With the other assembled defenders astounded by Bran's claim, the young Stark explains that the White Walker have long hunted down Three-Eyed Ravens throughout history. The mystical, all-seeing figures are able to view and visit key moments through humanity's history, serving as the living memory for the entire species.
The White Walkers have long served as death incarnate in Westeros and beyond the Wall and, by killing the Three-Eyed Ravens, they ensure no one is left to witness and remember mankind; the ultimate endgame for their final victory.
Unfortunately for Bran, the Night King knows exactly where he is at all times. During Season 6, as Bran trained to become the next Three-Eyed Raven, he encountered the Night King and the other White Walkers in a vision. Surprised, the Night King grasps Bran's wrist and leaves a mark that allows him to track Bran and enter a magically protected tree. There, the Night King relentlessly wipes out the Children of the Forest as Bran barely escapes with his life.
As such, the Night King knows that Bran is in Winterfell and marches his undead army to eliminate the last Three-Eyed Raven. While this may prove to be the defenders' undoing, Jon and Samwell Tarly realize that they may be able to use this connection to their advantage. As the only hope to withstand the White Walkers' overwhelming number of undead wights is tied to the Night King, Jon develops a strategy to draw out the White Walker commander directly and destroy him, believing that this would immediately cause the rest of his army to dissipate.
While Sansa is incredulous at the idea of using her brother as live bait, Bran agrees to the plan, deciding to remain by the Weirwood Tree inside Winterfell, while the recently arrived Theon Greyjoy and his men pledge themselves to stay at Bran's side. Ser Davos vows to buy Jon's team as much time as he can with the main defensive force as they hold back the army of the dead outside the castle's walls while the others seek the Night King out; presumably making himself vulnerable to hunt down the Three-Eyed Raven.
The White Walkers' specific vendetta against the Three-Eyed Ravens explains why they were so intent on attacking Bran earlier.
In addition to getting their final revenge on the Children of the Forest who created them in the first place, the White Walkers look to eradicate any trace of humanity from Westeros, both in life and in the memory of those who are dedicated to preserve its extensive history. Bran Stark may be the Night King's ultimate target but his single-minded obsession in killing the last Three-Eyed Raven may very well prove to be his own undoing.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, Game of Thrones stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.