Who Is Vladimír Furdík, the Actor Behind 'Game of Thrones' Villain the Night King?

He's...kind of hot??

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(Image credit: HBO)

Warning: Game of Thrones season 8 spoilers lie ahead. Vladimír Furdík, the stuntman-turned-Biggest Big Bad of Game of Thrones (except for Cersei, that is) is now free to take off allllll that makeup and speak freely about his role throughout the show and particularly in season 8. "For me, when he died on the TV, I said, 'Now I am free,'" he says. And a good thing, too. Fans are fascinated with the character—mostly mute and terrifying, but with the occasional evil smirk thrown in to keep things interesting—and the man who plays him, who is entirely hot.

So what do we know about the Slovakian actor/stuntman/choreographer? Other than his rugged handsomeness, I mean.

He's a crazy-good stuntman.

Furdík has been in the movie business for a long time: He most notably worked on SkyfallRobin Hood (2010)and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, but it looks like he's been working since the 1990s. 

I mean, just look at the skill:

There's a zero percent chance I wouldn't stab myself right in the eyeball, which is (clearly the only reason) why I'm not a stuntwoman.

He actually replaced the original Night King actor.

The Night King was played by Richard Brake in seasons 4 and 5. Furdík is the White Walker that Jon Snow kills with his Valyrian steel sword in season 5. (Remember that guy—the look of shock when his weapon makes contact with Jon's sword before he's exploded into a million pieces of ice? That guy.)

Furdík says he isn't totally sure why he was replaced, but he says he loved playing the Night King and even gave him an internal life—saying his motivation is, purely and simply, revenge on the people who made him.

His makeup took six HOURS every day of shooting.

The costuming only took a half hour to put on, but to get that full face-and-crown situation happening, as well as the hands, took foreeeeever apparently. Honestly, I just wouldn't take it off, were I in that situation.

He's friends with the other GoT actors.

Considering how awful his character is on the show, the fact that he clearly gets along with and is beloved by the people who work with him just warms my heart.

Love from Podrick!

This particular shot from the pivotal battle scene just makes me giggle, and I love that alternative ending:

And this is a little look at him and Arya/Maisie Williams, who definitely worked with him a lot to get that final sequence:

Huge fan. 

The Arya-Night King scene was tough for him.

Furdik admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that the long, grueling, 55-day shoot for the big Night King battle was exhausting, particularly the pivotal scene in which Arya jumps at him, he catches her, and then she stabs him.

"She was on a wire, in a harness, jumping many times. It wasn’t just the one time; it was maybe 15 times. When I have to hold her under the jaw and it looks like she dies, we had to spend a lot of energy on that particular scene.

"It was very, very difficult. We are very good friends. We know each other. It wasn’t easy for me to [pretend to] hurt her. When I grabbed her under the jaw, it wasn’t easy [on a practical level].

"If you make a bad move—if you don’t grab her well—she could have an injury. So I was under pressure and she was under pressure. It was not an easy day."

He doesn't speak in this featurette, but you can see how they got the shot using multiple sets and setups (it's towards the end):

His method for the Night King-Bran scene was hilarious.

Speaking to Vulture, Furdik said that director Miguel Sapochnik told him, "Bran, he is not man. He is a cake. And you would like to eat this cake. And I would like to see you acting, you’re walking to him, you’re walking like you’re looking for that cake, which is waiting for you under the tree."

He added, "When I walk, you can see what Miguel said: 'Don’t be a soldier. No. Just walk, confident. There’s a cake.'" I love it. BRB, going back to re-watch the scene with that in mind.

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Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.