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What is the reason the Night King from Game of Thrones would create his generals (I don't know a better name for the icy guys that are not wights).

If they are killed, the wights they created are also killed. So, more generals means higher chance of a general being killed, meaning higher risk of losing wights.

It is also not about spreading the risk. As all wights (and all generals) are defeated if the Night King is killed.

Finally, in all episodes I saw maybe two or three generals were joining in a fight. (at Hardhome, S6E8)

It feels as no added value, as they don't join the fight at all. Even if a general dies, the Night King can resurrect the wights easily, as we have seen multiple times.

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    Inconsequent (i.e. bad) writing? – Joachim May 7 at 22:31
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    It seems that they were created for operating on NK's behalf as he cannot be in multiple places at the same time. Mostly for creating more wights and commanding them I guess, but they were also doing other things, like getting children from Craster. It's also possible that he wanted company of someone else then mindless wights ;-) This is of course in the TV reality as the NK doesn't exist in the books and there are only WW there. – Chanandler Bong May 8 at 5:29
  • May as well ask what is the purpose of the NK himself. Answer seems to be none. – Darren May 8 at 13:14
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What is the reason the Night King from Game of Thrones would create his generals (?)

The Night King's "generals" perform specific tasks for him, as well as aid and potentially protect him during battle.

To explain how there's purpose/value to the Night King's generals, it's first necessary to separate the generals from the rest of the Night King's army in two major ways.

1. The generals appear intelligent, whereas the wights are basically mindless zombies that run rampant trying to kill anything and everything that's alive.

2. The generals have unique weapons and are quite skilled in using them. The wights on the other hand all have more rudimentary weapons and are, for the most part, easily defeated in [one-on-one] combat.

That being said, the generals are able to support the Night King in ways that the rest of the wights simply aren't able to.

Evidence:

  • S07E06 ("Beyond the Wall"), just after the Night King spears down Viserion, one of the generals immediately anticipates the Night King targeting the second dragon so they fetch him another ice spear without needing command.

  • S06E08 ("Hardhome"), when one of the generals specifically seeks out Jon Snow. Not only did this appear to be an order from the Night King (since he was shown watching from above after the fight was over) but also the general was extremely skilled in combat having easily taken out a Thenn and [arguably] almost defeating Jon Snow (if the general wouldn't have been surprised that Jon Snow stopped his sword).

  • Lastly, aside from when he's riding a dragon, basically every time the Night King is shown he's surrounded by 3-4 of the generals. So, given that they're intelligent acting and fairly skilled in combat, they at least serve the immediate purpose of being bodyguards for their King during battle.

If they are killed, the wights they created are also killed. So, more generals means higher chance of a general being killed, meaning higher risk of losing wights.

Since the generals mostly serve to protect the Night King through proximity, it's very likely the case that they don't kill many people, and thus don't have a large number of wights "tied" to them. If their main purpose is protecting their King, they simply wouldn't have the opportunity to kill so many living humans.

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If you think about it, it makes more sense to risk the generals being killed because their deaths will only affect the dead that they themselves raised. If the Night King dies then the entire army dies, so he needs to be protected.

Which of course raises the question as to why he gets so involved in battles and risks himself when he could just have a general do the work for him. Perhaps only he is powerful enough to raise a dragon or ride one.

  • I was initially thinking the same thing - more generals will increase the risk, like the OP says, but also decrease the percentage of wights killed: divide and rule - but then remembered that they're almost always together. – Joachim May 8 at 8:56

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