Azor Ahai is a legend from the faith of R'hllor, the Lord of Light
Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7, episode 2 follow.
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In Stormborn, the second episode of Game of Thrones season 7, it was revealed to Daenerys by her translator and advisor Missandei that the translation of a commonly known prophecy was wrong. The prophecy involves Azor Ahai, a legendary figure prophesied in the religion of R’hllor to return to defeat the ‘Great Other’ with the sword ‘Lightbringer’.
Melisandre originally believed Stannis was the reborn Azor Ahai; then it appeared she thought it would be Jon Snow, whom she helped resurrect. But now, thanks to Missandei, viewers know that the ‘Prince that was Promised’ – i.e. Azor Ahai reborn – could just as easily be a woman as a man, because the High Valyrian word for ‘Prince’ is genderless. This means Daenerys Targaryen could be our Princess that was Promised. So does it fit with the prophecy?
Who is the Prince that was Promised?
Let’s look at the books Game of Thrones is based on. In here, two prophecies we see include the following nuggets of info:
1. “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.”
The ‘red star bleeds’ bit is generally understood to refer to a comet. Darkness gathering, meanwhile, is the arrival of a long winter. Smoke and salt is a more contested phrase: Melisandre believed Stannis’ ‘rebirth’ on the volcanic, sea-struck island of Dragonstone meant it was him. But Daenerys’ pyre in the desert – where she burned Khal Drogo’s body and hatched three rock-hard dragon eggs – makes more sense with the phrases ‘born again in smoke and salt’ and ‘wake dragons out of stone’. You may also remember that a comet was traversing the sky during this scene.
2. “There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.”
This one also refers to ‘bleeding stars’ – probably comets – and again refers to the arrival of the ‘cold breath of darkness’ (probably the White Walkers). The ‘burning sword’ of this one is generally held to be the one we’ve seen – Beric Dondarrion’s – which muddies the issue of whether Azor Ahai is in fact Daenerys, Jon Snow, or one of the Brotherhood without Banners. In the show, Melisandre now seems to believe that Daenerys or Jon Snow is the promised one: she says “I believe you have a role to play – as does another”, going on to recommend that Dany get in touch with Jon Snow.
The obvious candidates for the Prince right now are:
- Jon Snow, who was literally reborn
- Daenerys, who ‘woke dragons out of stone’, amidst ‘smoke and salt’
- Beric Dondarrion, who has a flaming sword that he can set aflame (with his own blood).
Assuming one of them is Azor Ahai reborn – what will they achieve?
What will the Prince that was Promised do?
According to the final line of the second prophecy – ‘the darkness shall flee before him’ – the Prince that was Promised will wield the flaming sword Lightbringer and use it to help defeat the Night King and his White Walkers. That’s pretty much all we can say.
What do you reckon: who is the Prince that was Promised? Let us know in the comments.