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Night King

Game of Thrones
by yo go re

Anybody have any ideas for a cool line we could use to open this review?

The Night King is the master and the first of the White Walkers, having existed since the age of the First Men. He also serves as the supreme leader of the Army of the Dead.

Note that that's "the first of the White Walkers" in a leadership sense, not in a chronological sense, unless the TV show was going in a completely different direction from the books: there, the White Walkers are known as "the Others," and they had existed long before the 13th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch fell in love with one of them and switched sides; they'd kind of have to: first came winter, then came the Long Night, then came the Others, then came the Night's Watch to guard against them, and you can't have a 13th commander without having 12 commanders before him. (The show shows someone being turned into a White Walker, but we don't know for sure that it was this White Walker.)

The Night King's "albino Darth Maul" look was created by makeup, not CGI, and the toy duplicates it well. Of course it does, this is McFarlane Toys - if you can't count on Todd to deliver a good sculpt, what can you count on him for? The face is drawn and puckered, like a mummy made in the cold, and an icy crown of spikes blossoms from his scalp. His skin is grayish, and his eyes are bright blue.

Book Walkers wear shimmering clothing that camouflages them by reflecting the environment around them; TV Walkers wear dark coats with small pieces of armor attached to them. The clothes still seem to be made of ice, as evidenced by their bursting into the stuff whenever the wearer is successfully killed - George "Rip-Roarin'" Martin has said that the Others know how to do exceptional things with ice, so apparently this is part of it. The detailing is good, with all the tiny square studs on the shoulders and breastplate delineated well and the parts that are meant to be cloth looking like cloth. The only exposed skin is on his face, hands, and (for some reason) shoulders.

The articulation is good enough. Kenny King, the King of the Night, has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge/swivel wrists, a swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel/hinge knees, and balljointed ankles. The fact that the biceps and elbows both swivel is superfluous, and the skirt keeps the hips from being of much use. But since the Night King's primary move (despite being played by stuntman Vladimir Furdik) is "lifting his arms slightly," he's got enough.

For times when raising an army of dead bodies isn't sufficient, the figure has two accessories: a spear and a sword. They're both molded from clear plastic, so they look like ice, then get tan paint on the handles to create the wraps/grips. There are bits of sculpted fringe that reveal the spear is meant to be held upright and the sword upside down, though there's no way for the figure to carry it on his back. The blade is curved like a panabas or kora blade, giving it a fairly unique look in pop culture.

McFarlane Toys' Game of Thrones line is disappointing. It's not Todd's fault that he got the license just as everyone's enthusiasm for the show dropped off - blame Funko, for getting the license and basically just sitting on it for years, or the producers, for rushing through the final season when HBO was perfectly willing to give them more episodes. But it is Todd's fault that all four figures are dark, unattractive pieces that don't stand out on the shelves. The Night King is worth getting as an addition to Funko's figures or as an iconic villain on his own, but one good toy out of a four-figure series is not a great ratio.

-- 12/05/19


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