The residents of Yelets in western Russia have celebrated the beginning of spring by… torching an effigy of Game of Thrones villain, the Night King from the Lands of Always Winter.

The Night King dummy, representing winter, was built and then set on fire as part of Maslenitsa festivities, marking the arrival of spring. Every year, Russians in all across the country build effigies from straw and rags, while some creative people add new twists and pop culture references to the ancient tradition.

Maslenitsa festival in Yelets © Svyatoslav Seleznev

Though the Night King – the supreme leader of the zombie-like Army of the Dead – was fireproof in the HBO show, his dummy in Yelets burned to the ground. As the eighth season of the show will be aired not before April, maybe hardcore fans could look to the old Russian custom for clues and spoilers.

Maslenitsa festival in Yelets © Svyatoslav Seleznev

According to the organizers, the Night King has been set on fire at Maslenitsa festival in Yelets every year since 2017. They said that not everyone was happy with idea of a Game of Thrones’ character on the bonfire, as some people consider it a “Western” influence. But they are eager to continue the tradition and have promised to burn “a dragon with Daenerys Stormborn or Count Dracula if we wish.”


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