Season 7 of Game of Thrones may have ended a few weeks ago, but I, for one, am still not over it. Last week I shared my theory as to how Daenerys Targeryen and/or Jon Snow’s demise will be less related to Jon’s relation to Dany and claim to the Iron Throne, and more related to the role one or both of them may play in the Prince(ss) that was Promised prophecy. This week, lets dive deeper into what that prophecy is, and what it could mean.
Azor Ahai is the big hero of R’hllor, the Lord of Light’s religion. Approximately 8000 years before Aegon the Conqueror conquered Westeros, Azor Ahai was said to have forged a burning sword called Lightbringer which he used to defeat the Great Other and cast out the darkness. In the A Song of Ice and Fire series, the “Others” are icy humanoid creatures from the Land of Always Winter that the Wildlings refer to as “White Walkers.”
That said, the Great Other must be our good friend and javelin champion, the Night King. Azor Ahai is said to be reborn as the Prince that was Promised during the next long night to defeat the Night King.
Now, if Lightbringer sounds familiar, it’s because that was the same name as the sword Stannis Baratheon used before his untimely death. Melisandra believed that Stannis was the Prince that was Promised. Although he’s still alive and kicking in the books, his quick death on the show leads us to believe that Mel was dead wrong, and Azor Ahai reborn must be someone else.
What we know about Azor Ahai is that he tried to forge his sword three times before he was able to create Lightbringer. The first time he labored for thirty days and thirty nights, but when he went to temper it in water, the sword broke. The second time he took fifty days and fifty nights, and captured a lion and drove a sword through his heart, but the steel shattered.
The third time he recognized that he would need to make a huge sacrifice, and drove it through the heart of his wife, Nissa Nissa. forging the Red Sword of Heroes. The prince that was promised is said to come from the line of Aerys II and Rhaella Targaryen (the mad king and his sister/wife), and may be male or female. (S)he will be reborn in salt and smoke, will wake dragons from stone, and will be signaled by a bleeding star.
Since the internet is dark and full of terrors, there are dozens of fan theories claiming any character could be Azor Ahai, from undead Stannis to Jaime Lannister to Khal Drogo (please!!) to Ser Pounce, Tommen’s pet cat (double please!!). For the sake of this article, I will focus on three theories in particular that I believe may hold some truth.
Daenerys is Azor Ahai
Daenerys as Azor Ahai is probably the fan theory that makes the most sense. She is directly from the line of Aerys II and Rhaella Targaryen (they’re her parents!) and she’s already killed her husband. She also has literally woke dragons from stone, and we see a red comet after the birth of her dragons that signals the return of magic and dragons to the world.
On the show, Melisandre and Missandei made a point to introduce the idea that the word that is translated to “Prince” is actually gender neutral in High Valyrian, so the Prince that was Promised could be a female. In the books, it is Maester Aemon who suggests it could be Dany. As he dies in A Feast for Crows, his final words are “No one ever looked for a girl.
It was a prince that was promised, not a princess. Rhaegar, I thought…What fools we were, who thought ourselves so wise! The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female, Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame. Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke. The dragons prove it.”
One theory states that Daenerys’ dragons are “Lightbringer,” as they are a weapon that is made from fire, and can be used to fight the Others. Daenerys had to sacrifice Khal Drogo, her true love, in order to hatch her dragons. The language GRRM uses to describe the hatching of the dragons in a very similar way to the death of Nissa Nissa. Nissa Nissa’s “cry of anguish and ecstasy left a crack across the face of the moon” while when Dany’s dragons hatched, “the third crack was as loud as sharp as the breaking of the world.” Fans have suggested that this implies a connection.
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Fans have also noticed similarities between the way Lightbringer’s power is described, and the way the dragons’ attacks are described. In A Dance with Dragons, Jon’s chapter reads “Once Azor Ahai fought a monster. When he thrust his sword through the belly of the beast its blood began to boil.
Smoke and steam poured from its mouth, its eyes melted and dribbled down its cheeks and its body burst into flame.” Similarly, when Dany attacks Astapor, “A lance of swirling dark flame took Kraznys full in his face. His eyes melted and ran down his cheeks.”
The major problem with this theory, however, is that if Daenerys is already Azor Ahai and has already forged her heroes sword, then she should have been able to defeat the Night King when she traveled beyond the wall to save Snow & Co. Instead, the Night King was able to deal a huge blow to her by killing one of her dragons.
But what if only ONE dragon is Lightbringer, Drogon? Perhaps Viserion represents the first time Azor Ahai tried to forge lightbringer. It was tempered in water and broke. Viserion was killed with a spear made of ice (frozen water) and then was submerged in water. Perhaps the next dragon that will die (God help me!) will be Rheagal, killed fighting and defeating Lannister forces (driving a sword through the lion’s heart). Cersei shared at the end of Season 7 that she plans to go back on her word to join forces with Jon and Daenerys, so it could certainly happen.
But if this is the case, then who is Nissa Nissa? It would make sense for it to be Khal Drogo, as Drogon is literally named for him and Daenerys had to kill him in order to hatch her dragons. But this already happened, and Daenerys isn’t an unstoppable red hero yet. It could be Jon Snow, who Daenerys has fallen in love with. Could it be that the Lord of Light brought Jon back to life so that he may be sacrificed for Daenerys to become Azor Ahai reborn?
I will admit that the gender swapping here is fun. Davos’ comment about “taking a knife in the heart for his people” that Dany can’t seem to get out of her mind could be foreshadowing, although finding out your new crush is a zombie is admittedly kind of a big deal on its own. Daenerys did already kill one of her husbands though, and it does seem a little extra that she would then have to lose another man she loves to become a magical hero.
Perhaps the most tragic theory, however, is that Nissa Nissa is the child of Jon Snow and Daenerys. Dany learned when she lost her first child that only death can pay for life. This may also link to the prophecy told by Mirri maz Durr. Mirri maz Durr claims that when Daenerys’ womb quickens and she bared a living child, then Drogo will return, and not before. Drogo returning signifying Drogon becoming Lightbringer IS a bit of a stretch, but that could be what she means here.
Dany would need to again sacrifice her child to use blood magic to defeat the Night King. This does seem like a bigger sacrifice for Dany than killing Jon, as she has repeatedly believed that she cannot have any more children. To have the chance for an heir and to lose that to protect all life would be the ultimate sacrifice. Not to mention, R’hollor has not been shy about sacrificing children in the past. RIP Shireen.
The problem most people have with any theory involving Daenerys as Azor Ahai is that it seems too obvious, and GRRM’s writing is anything but straightforward. It also doesn’t have Jon Snow playing a big role, although he seems incredibly important on the show and in the books. This leads me to the next theory:
Jon Snow is Azor Ahai
Probably the most popular fan theory out there is that Jon Snow is Azor Ahai. The Season 7 finale confirmed what most fans had already deduced: Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, thereby making him a descendant of the line of Rhaella & Aerys II, and a candidate for the prince that was promised. His Stark + Targaryen origin leads many fans to believe that he is the Song of Ice and Fire, and the whole series has actually been about him.
In the books, Melisandra keeps looking into the flames and asking the red god to show her the prince that was promised, but all she can see is Snow. Of course, we are supposed to believe that she is blinded by an impending blizzard, but “Snow” is capitalized here, as it would be in a proper name.
Then, of course, there is that whole deal where he was literally reborn. He died and was brought back to life by R’hllor. Even more, since his resurrection, Jon seems almost invincible. In the past two seasons we’ve seen Jon narrowly miss a second death in ridiculous ways. Remember that scene from the battle of the bastards where he takes on an entire army of armed cavalry by himself on foot, and somehow every horse and sword misses him?
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Or when he was smothered under a pile of dead bodies and somehow pulled himself to the top? Or how about in this season, when he came out from underwater to be rescued by Benjen “Cold Hands” Stark and then survived the ride back to the wall? It does appear that Jon may be magic in some way, or at least has some power protecting him.
In the books, Daenerys sees a vision in the house of the undying of her brother Rhaegar and a young woman nursing a newborn baby. Rhaegar remarked “Aegon, what better name for a king?” The woman asked, “Will you make a song for him?” and Rhaegar responds, “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.” Fans had previously believed that this scene was a memory from the past of Rhaegar & Elia of Dorne holding Aegon VII, Jon’s half brother.
However, now that we know Jon’s real name is also Aegon, the young woman may have been Lyanna and the baby could have, in fact, been Jon. Of course, Rhaegar was dead before Jon was born, so this could have never happened, but this was simply a vision. It is possible that Dany was able to see days that never were, especially since she sees other references to Jon in these visions as well.
So, what about that whole “wake dragons from stone” thing? Some believe that there are literal stone dragons- in the Wall, Dragonstone, and Winterfell that Jon may be able to wake. Others, however, believe that this is a reference to Jon’s ability to get Daenerys pregnant. She believes she is unable to have children, and the unprotected sex she had with Daario for years with no bastard offspring to show for it appears to confirm her beliefs, but the show has foreshadowed again and again that Dany and Jon will conceive. Since they are both Targaryens, their offspring would be “dragons.”
As much as I sort of hate a woman’s uterus being referred to as “stone,” this definitely is a cool Game of Thrones theory that makes sense with the foreshadowing we’ve seen this season.
Actually, it is possible that Mirri maz Duur’s prophecy contains a hidden reference to this theory as well. Mirri maz Duur tells Daenerys, “When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.” Of course in the moment, it appears that she is referring to Drogo- and that this phrase is not a prophecy at all, just a long winded way of saying “your husband will come back to life when hell freezes over.” But what if by “he,” Mirri maz Duur is referring to the prince that was promised?
This would also play into the whole Nissa Nissa part of the story. If Daenerys was to die in childbirth, Jon would have indirectly killed her by getting her pregnant, thereby becoming the great red hero. This would be sort of poetic, as the show has already shown parallels between Rhaegar and Lyanna and Jon and Dany, and that is exactly how Lyanna died. Keep in mind, I hate this theory.
Daenerys has defied gender stereotypes throughout, and to have her die a stereotypical female death in order to advance the plot of her male love interest would be such an insult to her character development. Daenerys deserves better. Let’s hope George agrees.
Another way Jon could kill Daenerys is outright, by plunging Longclaw into her heart, true to the Azor Ahai myth. While in Quarth, Dany is told that she will know three betrayls. Fans have speculated that Jon will be one of these, and will murder Daenerys to defeat the Night King. Jon did betray Ygritte for his duty to the Night’s Watch, so its not unlike him to choose honor over love. This theory also underestimates Daenerys though. Dany is way more clever and hypervigilant that Jon ever was, and is likely to see it coming.
What if, instead, Daenerys and Jon decide together what must be done, and Daenerys willingly sacrifices herself to save her people. This would be beautiful in her character development. Her entire purpose is to be a benevolent ruler, but at the end of the day she is also extremely power hungry and fights for her life. To give up her claim to the throne and her life for the good of humanity would make her the ultimate benevolent ruler. Then, Jon will become Azor Ahai and be able to defeat the Night King.
The dragon has three heads
The dragon has three heads theory is sort of a collection of different theories, revolving around the idea that Azor Ahai is actually three people. The root of this theory comes from that same scene in the house of the undying mentioned earlier, when Rhaegar is standing over a son named Aegon. At the end of the scene, Rhaegar looks directly at Dany and says “There must be one more. The dragon has three heads.”
Rhaegar was originally thought to be the prince that was promised, but he later decided s(he) would come from his offspring. He set out to have three children named for Aegon the Conquerer and his two sister/wives. He has two children with Elia of Dorne, named Aegon and Rhaenys, but then Elia falls sick and is not able to have more children.
The scene could simply be foreshadowing the existence and heritage of Jon. If the woman in the vision is Elia of Dorne and the Aegon in question is Jon’s half brother, hallucinated Rhaegar could just be letting Dany know that he has one more child. However, if the child in the vision is Jon, it could mean much more.
It is worth noting that the three-headed dragon occurs a few times in general. There is the obvious connection to the three dragon riders that conquered Westeros, which Rhaegar clearly picked up on in naming his children. The Targaryen sigil has a three headed dragon, created to represent those three conquerors. Danerys hatches exactly three dragons as well, the only dragons alive in modern Westeros time. Although only two are technically living these days….
It is pretty much accepted that two of the heads of the dragon are Daenerys and Jon, but who is the third head? Some fans believed that the three-headed dragon that would be Dany and the two riders she would eventually choose for her dragons. However, Viserys is dead now, so this theory is out, unless the Night King is the third head of the dragon, which would be a shocking twist.
In reading the books, I’d believed Young Grif was the head, a young man believed to be Aegon VI Targaryen, the son of Rhaegar and Elia Martell. Others believed that he was a fraud, and since he has not been included on the show at all, I now agree.
Tyrion is thought to be another head, with the assumption that the Mad King had sex with Joanna Lannister, with whom he was infatuated. Tyrion was also unharmed by the dragons, two qualities we’ve only seen so far in Daenerys and Jon (although no one else has had the guts to get close to the dragons). Still, Tyrion then wouldnt be from the line of Aerys II and Rhaella, and doesn’t fit the rest of the bill- reborn, dragons from stone, ect. It would also undercut Tyrion’s father issues, which has been a really important part of his character.
There really doesn’t seem to be any other characters of Targaryen origin that could be the third dragon, unless of course, it was the child of Daenerys and Jon. This would be a really cool ending, although I don’t think they really have time to wait for an infant to grow up to defeat the Night King, as the army of the dead is already past the wall. They probably don’t even have time for Daenerys to give birth before a major battle occurs.
Alternatively, the dragon only has two heads. This looks more like where we’re headed (heh), but lacks the poetic references to prophecy. Daenerys also only has two literal living dragons left, so two riders may be enough. Maybe Viserys was originally the third head, but he turned to evil and madness instead much like the dragon with his namesake.
What are your thoughts on these Azor Ahai fan theories? Share your opinions with us in the comments below, and stay tuned to Nerd Much? for more Game of Thrones related content.