Episode two of Game of Thrones’ final season saw almost all of the show’s main characters share some peace, deep dialogue and unpleasant sex before the upcoming Battle of Winterfell. The episode ends with the White Walkers standing before Winterfell, meaning episode three is going to be all about epic fight sequences and the brutal killings of some of your favorite characters.
But amidst all the upcoming gloom, there is definitely hope, since we expect the White Walkers to be defeated. But how? This is where the Azor Ahai comes in. Also known as the ‘Prince that was promised’, Azor Ahai is a legendary figure in the Game of Thrones world, a prophecy mentioned several times throughout the show. So who is this hero, and how is he or she important to the upcoming showdown with the Night King?
For your knowledge, the original Azor Ahai was a legendary figure in the R’hllor faith who lived thousands of years ago. R’hllor, also known as the Lord of Light, is a god worshipped in the show. According to the stories, eons ago, a period of darkness and bitter cold descended upon Westeros. It was called “The Long Night” and with it came the White Walkers, who sought to end all life. Azor Ahai was a hero who forged Lightbringer, a sword made of fire that radiated heat, burning whoever touched it. It took him three tries to successfully forge the sword; he sacrificed his wife on the third attempt and it was her soul that brought Lightbringer to life. Ahai used Lightbringer to defeat the invading White Walkers and the Great Other – a god of darkness, evil, and fear.
Once all returned to normal, there was a prophecy, which claimed that the Azor Ahai will be reborn and defeat the darkness in the future. Word of this prophecy was first revealed in the show by the red priestess Melisandre: “Here 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.”
She again mentions the prophecy in season 3, stating, “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.” In the same season, she also says that the Azor Ahai will be the ‘prince that was promised’. Now, this becomes a little confusing. For the show’s avid viewers, Melisandre’s words – to wake dragons out of stone – point towards Daenerys Targaryen, but the fact she says a ‘prince’, means that the Azor Ahai will be a male.
There are a lot of plots going about online, but the one being most backed by fans regarding the Azor Ahai states that the ‘prince that was promised’ will be the one to pull Lightbringer from the fire, but then give the sword to someone else, who will be Azor Ahai reborn. This theory might be right too, but the books by George R.R. Martin also showcase that the Azor Ahai and the prince are one person.
In all likeliness, it does seem that there are only two possible candidates for the fabled Azor Ahai spot in the show; Jon Snow and Daenerys.
After Stannis died and Jon Snow was brought back from the dead in Season 6, the red priestess Melisandre changed her tune and confessed to Davos that she now believed Jon to be humanity’s prophesied savior. Since Jon is no longer a bastard, as we know for certain that he is the offspring of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, which now makes him a Targaryen prince. Plus, he has shown a talent for dealing with White Walkers. Finally, in A Dance with Dragons (the book), Melisandre has a vision where she prays for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows [her] only Snow. Snow is capitalized, which can’t be a coincidence. So perhaps Azor and the Prince are the same people and that person is Jon Snow.
There are others who believe Daenerys is the “Prince,” most notably Maester Aemon, who used his dying words in A Feast for Crows (the book) to point out that in High Valyrian the word for “Prince” is actually gender neutral meaning that the “prince that was promised” could be female. Plus, Melisandre tells Davos in A Storm of Swords (book) that Azor Ahai “shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.” If that doesn’t sound like Daenerys, then I have no idea what does.
Some fans also think that Jon is Azor Ahai and Daenerys is his wife, the one he sacrificed to bring Lightbringer to life. Some Game of Thrones viewers believes that Jon will ultimately have to sacrifice Daenerys in order to forge the sword that will defeat the Night King – HOPE NOT!
All in all, even if the ‘Prince’ and Azor Ahai are two separate people, both point towards our two main leads – Jon and Daenerys. Now that they are in love with each other, maybe they will team-up to finish off the Night King.