Throughout the first seven seasons of HBO’s Game of Thrones, we’ve been hearing about this Prince or Princess that was Promised. With the final season just around the corner, Geek Girl Authority wanted to explore this prophecy and the fan theories that answer the question: Who is the Prince that was Promised? Let’s take a look at the history involved.
WARNING: BIG SPOILERS: Please Be Aware That This Post Contains Spoilers for ALL Seasons of Game of Thrones. Research is from the HBO television series, the books written by George R. R. Martin, and AWiki of Ice and Fire.
“When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.” – Melisandre, A Storm of Swords
The origin of the prophecy is never really mentioned but the Red Priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten) has spoken it often. She often refers to the prince by the name Azor Ahai. Who is Azor Ahai? According to A Wiki of Ice and Fire, Azor Ahai is a legendary hero best known for forging the sword Lightbringer. Azor Ahai had to forge the sword three times before it would remain intact. He drove the sword through the heart of his wife, combining her soul with the sword.
Some say Lightbringer is alive with fire. It’s possible that Azor used the sword to kill the Others (white walkers), burning their bodies with the flame of the sword. According to Melisandre, Azor Ahai is the chosen hero of the Lord of Light. He will return when darkness threatens the world. Could the darkness be the Night King and his Army of the Dead?
The Long Night
“Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels. Women smothered their children rather than see them starve, and cried, and felt their tears freeze on their cheeks.” – Old Nan, A Game of Thrones
This prophecy also refers to the Long Night, something we’ve heard many people talk about before. Old Nan (Margaret John) told Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) a story about the Long Night in season one. The Long Night refers to a great winter that covered the known lands in darkness. The Long Night lasted a generation and many people died from famine and fear of the Others.
The Others appeared during the Long Night, from the far North where it was always winter. A group of the First men were sent out to find the Children of the Forest to ask for assistance. They all died but one, known as the “last hero.” The Children of the Forest and the First Men teamed up and discovered they could use dragon glass to kill them. At the Battle of the Dawn, they fought off the Others, driving them back to the North. Those who survived in the battle formed the Night’s Watch and built the Great Wall.
People of Essos believe the ‘last hero’ to be Azor Ahai, but no one knows for sure. Melisandre believes there is another Long Night coming. Winter has arrived and the Night King is on the move with his army. This has also led the Red Priestess to believe that Azor Ahai will be reborn again.
“When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.” – Melisandre, A Dance with Dragons
There are some signs or omens that will signal the return of Azor Ahai. The first is a “bleeding star” which is to herald the coming of the prince. There is also something about being “born amidst smoke and salt” and he will “wake dragons out of stone.” Melisandre has mentioned that the Prince will have to make a great sacrifice and will appear when darkness covers the world. This savior will also pull the flaming sword Lightbringer from a fire.
Obviously this means the Prince or Princess is a Tarygaryen, right? In the book, A Dance with Dragons, Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) tells Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) about a wood witch that old her grandfather Jaehaerys II that the savior would be a Targaryen. He arranged the marriage of his children Aerys II and Rhaella to ensure the prophecy would come to pass.
Throughout most of the series, Melisandre is only looking for a Prince. It’s in season seven, episode two when the prophecy changes for viewers. Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) points out to Daenerys that the Valyrian translation of the word ‘prince’ is actually gender-neutral. So the prophecy could be a prince or a princess.
Who is the Prince or Princess that was Promised?
“No one ever looked for a girl. It was a prince that was promised… Rhaegar, I thought… The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female…” – Aemon Targaryen, A Feast for Crows
Some people believed Rhaegar Targaryen was the Prince that was Promised. Even Rhaegar believed this for some time. Then his first son with Elia Martell was born. His name was Aegon. In A Clash of Kings, Daenerys has a vision while visiting the House of the Undying. She sees her brother Rhaegar telling Elia that Aegon is “…the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.”
Rhaegar then says, “There must be one more. The dragon has three heads.” Rhaegar had two children with Elia, daughter Rhaenys and son Aegon. And another son revealed in season seven that he had with his second wife, Lyanna Stark. That child’s name was also Aegon Targaryen, but fans know him simply as Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Hmmm…
If you recall Melisandre set up bonfires on the beaches of Dragonstone, so Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) could pull the burning sword from a fire. As much as they both wanted to believe Stannis was the second coming of Azor Ahai, they quickly learned he was not.
Taking into consideration everything that the prophecy says, the best bet would be either Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow.
Jon Snow aka Aegon Targaryen
Melisandre turned her focus to Jon after resurrecting him from the dead. Jon does meet some of the criteria that could make him the foretold savior. For starters, he is a Targaryen.
- Born of smoke and salt – In the books, some of the Night’s Watch brothers kill Jon by stabbing him. As he lay dying in the snow, the book describes steam (smoke) rising from the knife wounds. And the salt comes from the tears of another brother who found him.
- Wake dragons out of stone – Up until season seven, Jon didn’t believe dragons would return. There’s always the chance that he may accomplish this sign in season 8. How? I don’t know.
- Born under a bleeding red star – Lyanna Stark bled to death when Jon was born, but there is no mention of a star.
- Make a great sacrifice – His sacrifice could be his own life. He gave his life for the Night’s Watch…sort of.
- Darkness must fall upon the earth – Darkness is about to fall upon the earth as the Night King leads his army to Winterfell.
Jon is a great candidate for the Prince that was Promised, but so is Daenerys.
- Born of smoke and salt – It’s been mentioned that the night of Daenerys’ birth was a dark and stormy one…so there’s the salt. As for the smoke, some theories consider her rebirth from the flames of Khal Drogo’s (Jason Momoa) funeral pyre fits the criteria.
- Must wake dragons out of stone – Drogo’s funeral pyre was not only the rebirth of Daenerys Targaryen, but also the rebirth of Dragons. The fire brought life to the petrified dragon eggs.
- Born under a bleeding red star – The bleeding star could be the red comet that flew over the world that same day the dragons and Daenerys were reborn.
- Make a great sacrifice – In away, Daenerys has already made a great sacrifice, when she unknowingly sacrificed her son to save the life of her husband. And when the dragon Viserion died to save Jon Snow and his company from the Night’s King at the end of season seven.
- Darkness must fall upon the earth – Again, Darkness is about to fall upon the earth as the Night King leads his army to Winterfell.
Daenerys may have a stronger case than Jon. Of course the writers for the show could pull a fast one and throw a stronger contender into the ring, but I’m pretty sure we would have heard about them by now. Other theories have named Bran Stark, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), The Night’s King and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) as possible Princes. (Interesting fact, according the wiki, the Baratheons are descendants of the Targaryens.)
There’s always the possibility that we never find out who is the Prince that was Promised. If that’s the case, maybe we’ll get a sequel solely about this prophecy. And the prince will end up being the son or daughter of Jon and Dany. It could happen.
Who do you think is the Prince that was Promised? Let us know in the comments.
The Game of Thrones final season airs Sundays on HBO beginning April 14.