The latest episode of Game of Thrones shocked audiences when it seemingly ended one of the show’s greatest conflicts and dashed hopes about a prophecy that’s been in place since the beginning. But we still have three episodes left, and the return of Azor Ahai and Lightbringer could still be fulfilled. But it would come at a cost that would change Westeros forever.
Game of Thrones’ “The Long Night” was surprising in that it changed what we thought was the status quo well before the big finish. As Daenerys fought wights and Jon Snow cowered behind a rock, Arya Stark, First of Her Name, stabbed the Night King and stopped the White Walker invasion of Westeros.
Some have claimed that this means Arya was the reborn spirit of Azor Ahai all along, but support for this is pretty lacking. You can read all about the prophecy here, but I’ll give a brief summary below.
What is the legend of Azor Ahai? In short, it’s the story of a legendary hero in Essos who rose up to fight the darkness using a flaming sword named Lightbringer, which Azor created, on the third attempt, by sacrificing his beloved (which possibly turned her into a White Walker).
Followers of the Lord of Light, including Melisandre, have long prophesied the legendary hero’s return, and it’s been an ongoing thread throughout the series. For example, we saw Gilly looking over the story in Oldtown last season. There’s evidence to suggest it could be Jon or Daenerys, but I’m more inclined to believe it’s Jon. Here’s why.
Right now, one of the show’s biggest dangling threads is Daenerys’ relationship with Jon. Sure, the two of them have fallen in “love,” but she was none too happy when she found out he was the true heir to the Iron Throne.
Her lifelong desire has been to sit on the famous throne of Westeros, of course. She’s fought her entire life for it. But she’s come into a country that doesn’t want her ruling them and hasn’t really given them a good reason why she deserves to. If Westeros is forced to choose between Jon and Dany, they’re not picking Dany.
Then, there’s the other thread: Daenerys’ vision at the House of the Undying in season two. As Daenerys pursued the cries of her dragons, she saw the Red Keep destroyed and covered in snow, and spent time with Khal Drogo and their unborn son Rhaego in a wintry landscape that looked like it was beyond the wall.
We originally took this to mean that Daenerys was seeing the threat of the Night King and his undead army, promising doom if she ignored it. That’s true, but there’s another way of seeing it: The visions were tempting Daenerys with everything she wanted, including life after death for the people she truly cares about. And it was covered in ice.
Anything could happen in the final three episodes, and I really doubt it’s all going to be spent fighting a pregnant woman and a pirate. Once Queen Cersei has been dethroned, there’s going to be a reckoning. Will Jon and Daenerys marry, securing an alliance for the good of Westeros? It seems like the most logical option, but at this point, given how she’d have to submit to Jon’s rule, I don’t see Daenerys willing to accept that.
It’s possible that we could see Daenerys turn against Jon, only to have most of Westeros throw their support and armies behind him, instead of her. Most of her armies were decimated at Winterfell, she doesn’t have nearly enough support in Westeros to rebuild, and Jon has earned the respect of one of her dragons. Daenerys would likely lose that fight.
Picture this: After losing the battle, Daenerys is brought before King Jon Snow (or King Aegon Targaryen) at the Dragonpit and sentenced to die for treason.
Ned Stark, the only father Jon knew, taught him that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword, so he chooses to be the one to execute her. Luckily for Jon, he’s recently been given a gift. The reforged sword of Ned Stark — crafted from Oathkeeper and Longclaw (unless Widow’s Wail somehow shows up). That would make it the third iteration of this sword. And remember: Its name is Ice.
Face-to-face with the woman he loves, Jon finds he cannot behead Daenerys. Instead, he stabs her through the heart. The sword emerges from her chest coated in flames, as Jon brings back Lightbringer through sacrificing his true love. But the magic of the Valyrian steel, combined with Daenerys’ internal fire, has a side effect. It doesn’t just kill her, it transforms her into something else, something...Other.
The prophecy of Azor Ahai has been fulfilled, with Lightbringer arriving to stop the darkness, but it has also created the very problem it was designed to save the world from.
The long summer has truly ended, and a Long Night is ahead. A winter to last a generation. Daenerys Targaryen has become the Night Queen: Born in both ice and flame. A Song of Ice and Fire.