Game of Thrones ended its 8 seasons run about three weeks ago to much derision. The problem with the show was evident back in season 6 but everyone was waiting for the big bad villain from the North to come down and give an epic battle. Night King was the one thing that could've saved the show but we digress. Still, Night King was one of the most interesting villains to ever come across the television screen and the characters itself was played by not one but two different actors.
Night Kings steps out of the dragon fire with a smile on his face.SOURCE: Thrillist
Richard Brake, a method actor with numerous acting jobs under his belt, was hired to play the role in the fourth season, where Night King made his first appearance in a vision of Bran Stark. The talented actor appeared again in season 5 at the end of one of the best battle sequences put on television. The menace, the scare was portrayed brilliantly by the actor and that was the last we saw of Richard Brake as Night King.
At the start of season 6, Richard was replaced by Vladimir Furdik, due to scheduling conflicts. Vladimir Furdik, a career stuntman and a stunt performer on the show, was tapped to play the role of his career, as the Night King. This was a reward for all his career hard work as a stuntman, all of which was coming to fruition on the sets of Game of Thrones.
Night King and his sword, during the final battle between the humans and wights.SOURCE: The Ringer
Vladimir continued the role till 'The Long Night' where he met his demise at the hand of Arya. For six episodes, Vladimir portrayed the role of the Night King, spanning 3 seasons. This got us thinking, we got to see both the actors play the character, so, who was the best to play the Night King?
A Case For Richard Brake
Richard Brake as the Night King in the episode 'Hardhome'.SOURCE: Nerdist
Richard Brake has been a method actor all his life, you will not see him in a generic role ever. His small role in Batman Begins is still in our brain, Richard played the role of 'Joe Chill', the guy who killed Bruce Wayne's parents. He did a fantastic job in a small role that lasted maybe 2 minutes on screen. The same goes for his role in 'Absentia', a thriller show with 'Castle' alum Stana Katic, where he plays 'Conrad Harlow' to perfection. And frankly, no one can forget his performance as 'Luther Shrike' in the hit horror show Supernatural.
Everything above proves that Richard Brake can play a villain, not just in a generic way, but to perfection. He has cut his teeth playing harsh characters in both movies and TV's, so if he was given the chance he would have brought a certain amount of harshness to the character of the Night King. Since the character doesn't speak, it is hard to do the villain a justice but we have seen enough from the actor to know he would've done the best.
Two episodes is a very small sample size but still, he was amazing in both of those episodes, we can't help but imagine what he might have been able to do if he was given the chance.
A Case For Vladimir Furdik
Vladimir Furdik as the Night King in 'The Long Night'.SOURCE: WhatCulture
Vladimir is a career stuntman, stunt performer and body double, he never had interest standing in front of the camera. He performed stunts in Robin Hood, Prometheus where is also played a character, Narnia, Prince of Persia, so we know he is experienced as a stuntman. Acting is a whole different thing though, and we had never seen him act out a role, Night King was our first experience.
Vladimir is an accomplished swordsman as we saw in his Instagram post, the problem here is we never see Night King fight, it was a wasted opportunity for the writers, having such a talented fighter and giving him nothing but a smile and a presence. He was still a menacing figure but the writers' incompetence cost him and his portrayal.
For six episodes he portrayed the character and he was dedicated to the role, to the point where he was sleeping in full Night King costume. This was one thing that made us fall in love with him even more, his dedication to the role. Waiting 4 hours to play out a 2-minute long scene and still doing it with a smile on his face and enthusiasm.
Both the actors were given very little to do on the show, though the presence of Night King was one of the major plot points, it was, as it turns out, not a priority for the writers. The character met its end in a very unceremonious fashion that was deserving of the role. So, we are just going to weigh this decision on what should have happened.
Richard Brake and Vladimir Furdik's portrayal of the Night King.SOURCE: WhatCulture
If the role was given a voice and a certain amount of development then Richard Brake would have killed the role. And if the character was given some fightings to do then Vladimir comes out on top without a doubt but as it stands, Vladimir was more dedicated to the role then Richard and also we got to see Vladimir in thrice as more episodes as we did Richard. So, we have to crown Vladimir as the best Night King.