HBO’s Game of Thrones has exorcised quite a few of the more mystical elements from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire in its adaptation of the story, opting for a more grounded depiction. Yet one big prophecy has remained, the idea of the Prince That Was Promised. Though not nearly as prominent as it is in the text, the Prince Who Was Promised (or Azor Ahai) is very much a part of the lore of Game of Thrones.
There are several different translations of the prophecy foretelling Azor Ahai in the books, but in the season 3 Blu-ray’s special features, the show’s version of the mythical hero was laid out in full. Azor Ahai is a hero of myth who will be reborn to stand against “The Great Other,” AKA the Night’s King and his forces of darkness. This being will wake “stone dragons” and wield the mythical weapon, the fiery sword known as Lightbringer. Yet George R.R. Martin has always been clear about his prophecies not always being what they seem, so take all that with a side of skepticism.
In essence, then the only real requirement for being Azor Ahai (in the small screen adaptation, anyway) is that this person must save the world against the White Walkers, so nearly every character on Game of Thrones may in fact be the legendary savior figure. Of course, there are some characters who are more likely than others. So here are 15 Characters Who Could be Azor Ahai.
15. Khal Drogo
He’s the longest of long shots, as Khal Drogo has been dead for a very long time. Drogo’s death was not as central to the narrative as Ned Stark’s, but he has been six feet under for nearly as long. But if Game of Thrones were to break all its rules and bring back a character who has been departed for years, Drogo could fit the Prince Who Was Promised build.
It’s also only after their marriage that Dany came into her own as a character and leader. Drogo did wake the dragon within her and is indirectly responsible for her becoming the great ruler she is today. As for everything else involved, it’s hard to argue Drogo’s prowess as a warrior. Before his death, he was planning on invading Westeros and that invasion would likely include ending the darkness that will envelope the country. He doesn’t have a fiery sword, but he does a dragon that is named after him, Drogon. Fire-breathing dragon beats fiery sword in GoT rock paper scissors, last time we checked.
14. Stannis Baratheon
Though Stannis is alive in the books, he is very much dead in the show, and his chances of revival are slim. Stannis likely won’t come back to life, but it would be a perfect Game of Thrones/George R.R. Martin twist if the savior of mankind was killed before he could actually save anyone.
There is nothing in the prophecy that says Azor Ahai is immortal. When Brienne killed Stannis for his role in the death of Renly, she might have been doing far more than just achieving vengeance and doing her duty. Brienne beheading Stannis could have huge ramifications for Westeros, which is fitting with the themes of the show. The apple of Tormund’s eye could have doomed the world by killing a man because of her personal sense of justice. It’s a dark thought, but one that would feel pretty at home in Westeros.
Melisandre might have abandoned Stannis as Azor Ahai shortly before his death, but there were reasons that she thought he was Azor Ahai to start. Stannis did live on Dragonstone and he did have a sword called Lightbringer. If it’s plausible that Melisandre was wrong about Stannis being Azor Ahai, it is equally possible that she was just as mistaken about him not being the Prince Who was Promised.
13. Samwell Tarly
The assumption of fans, and the characters, is that Azor Ahai will be a warrior or leadership figure. Azor Ahai driving back the darkness sounds like a very aggressive activity. This is a very traditional view of a savior figure, though, and Game of Thrones is anything but traditional. There’s nothing to say that the driving back of the darkness couldn’t be more metaphorical, and that’s where everyone’s favorite book-loving nerd, Samwell Tarly, could enter the picture.
Sam is off at the Citadel training to be a maester and working on a way for the people of Westeros to stand against the White Walkers. Sam also was the first character to go digging through the history books to learn that these undead nightmares are vulnerable to things like Valyrian steel and dragonglass. While it’s easy to think that the stone dragons Azor Ahai will wake will be physical dragons, it could easily refer to the nickname of the weapons that are supposed to defeat the Night’s King.
Sam has already been on quite the emotional journey on Game of Thrones, starting out as a self-proclaimed coward and slowly growing in confidence. Could it all be leading up to him becoming the person that saves Westeros from a never-ending winter?
12. Theon Greyjoy
Like Sam, Theon Greyjoy is another character who’s had a rocky road thus far but appears to be on path to personal redemption. There have been a fair share of rebirths for Theon, though few of them pleasant, along the way. Theon has been neutered physically and mentally, but he’s still ticking.
You have to imagine that Theon has been kept alive for a reason. Now that he and his sister have aligned with Dany, he’s poised to be a major figure in the war to come. Game of Thrones being Game of Thrones, it is unlikely that Azor Ahai will get a happy ending. It’s very easy to imagine a scenario for Theon where he sacrifices himself to make up for his past sins. There would be no more fulfilling sacrifice for him than to save all of Westeros from the Night’s King.
Theon might be the most unexpected character to do anything particularly heroic on Game of Thrones, but this is precisely why he should be considered for Azor Ahai. The show loves shocking moments more than almost anything, and Theon going from Reek to the savior of the living would make for quite a twist.
11. Yara Greyjoy
Though Azor Ahai has also been called the Prince that was Promised, in the books, it’s firmly established that the “prince” bit is an incorrect translation. The word that is translated as prince in the original prophecy is a gender-neutral term, so the “prince” could just as well be a “princess.”
If Theon could possibly be the liberator of Westeros, it’s even more likely that his passionate sister, Yara, could be the one to stand against the darkness. Yara, like her brother, is also paired up with Dany. Yara is the exact the same position as Theon, but with a much stronger warrior spirit than her emotionally shattered brother.
Yara’s go and get it attitude is what will probably make her a great asset to Dany’s army, but it could also lead to her to vanquishing the White Walkers. We haven’t really seen much in a way of Yara’s fighting skills. She has mostly been presented as a leader and a sailor, but that doesn’t mean as much when the chips are down on the battlefield. Though Lightbringer is a sword in the original legend, could the new Lightbringer be a ship that Yara has command over and somehow uses to defeat the Walkers?
10. The Hound
Since Azor Ahai is meant to defeat the never-ending winter, there are a lot of motifs surrounding him that involve fire, and there might not be a character on Game of Thrones who’s more associated with that than Sandor Clegane. The Hound is deathly afraid of fire, since it’s the reason that half of his face is burned. Still, there is a story to be told with The Hound conquering his fears and wielding fire to defeat the White Walkers.
The Hound is also a figure who should be long dead on Game of Thrones. He was assumed to be dead for quite some time before he was brought back in season 6 to meet Ian McShane’s character (before the latter was quickly killed off). The Hound likely has some purpose to play in the grander scheme of Game of Thrones, and that might very well be filling the role of Azor Ahai.
The Hound doesn’t have much of a connection to dragons, stone, or otherwise, but that could easily change in the endgame of the series. The youngest Clegane also is well-known for his prowess in a fight, for what that’s worth. It’s a long shot, but The Hound is a character to keep an eye on as the story reaches its end.
9. Sansa Stark
Fans have been waiting for Sansa to have her moment for years now. Season 6 made important strides in the right direction with her reclaiming Winterfell from Ramsay, but Sansa isn’t quite the powerful queen (literally or figuratively) that fans want to see just yet.
Sansa’s story has always been one about the long game. It would fit then that the eldest living legitimate Stark really won’t come into her own until the very end of Game of Thrones. Sansa’s long journey of victimization could be leading to her being the ultimate victor.
Sansa is probably never going to pick up a weapon and head into battle. But just because she doesn’t physically wield the weapon that brings down the White Walkers doesn’t mean that she couldn’t command the force that defeats them. Jon Snow could be the one to actually defeat the Night’s King but it would be Sansa standing behind him, telling him what to do (because as we saw in “Battle of the Bastards”, he’s not much of a strategist). In the most basic terms, Sansa could be Azor Ahai and Jon could be her Lightbringer. Sansa already galvanized Jon to take back Winterfell. Whether she realizes it or not, Sansa has been waking a stone dragon in her brother/cousin.
8. Arya Stark
Arya might lack the qualities of a leader that is implied by the Azor Ahai role, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t play a huge part in turning back the tide of the White Walkers. Arya is nothing if not scrappy and determined. These are two qualities that are incredibly necessary in defeating a threat that has been centuries in the making.
In addition, Arya’s closest sibling was her brother that’s actually from another mother, Jon Snow. Though Arya and Jon haven’t been together for quite some time, a reunion is more possible than ever as Arya travels further north and Jon ventures further south. It is therefore quite conceivable that she could somehow further awaken the stone dragon within Jon, using her special connection to him and her resemblance to his biological mother. Similar to Sansa, Arya could “wield” her brother/cousin to stop the White Walker invasion.
Arya is lacking a Lightbringer, with her own significant weapon being her tiny sword Needle. Yet since Needle was gifted to her by Jon, a “dragon,” it could be seen as a fiery weapon. It’s a stretch, but then, so are most prophecies in fiction.
7. Beric Dondarrion
The prophecy of Azor Ahai comes from the order of the Lord of Light; it’s essentially the monotheistic religion’s version of Jesus Christ. Melisandre backed Stannis, and later Jon, as that chosen one. Meanwhile, Thoros of Myr, the other prominent priest of the Lord of Light running around Westeros, has seemingly put all his chips on Beric Dondarrion.
It’s hard to blame Thoros, either. Beric has been brought back to life several times by the Lord of Light, and he has all the hallmarks of a crusading hero. Beric roams the country side looking to right wrongs, and there is no bigger wrong coming for the countryside than the White Walkers. In the season 7 trailer, Beric can even be seen wielding a sword that magically lights aflame, a la the original Lightbringer. (He’s using less-than-magical methods to do so, as we saw back in his season 3 fight against the Hound, but still…)
Beric does lack any kind of dragon association, however, and it is not likely he will ever get one. Yet Beric does stand for the common people of Westeros. His “stone dragon” might have no connection the Targaryen family or dragonglass, but might refer to the heart of the commoners.
6. Jaime Lannister
In the myth of the original Azor Ahai, Lightbringer was forged from the hero plunging his blade into his wife’s heart. If anyone on Game of Thrones is on a track to kill their one true love, it is Jaime Lannister. It’s a widely held fan theory that Jaime is going to put his twin Cersei out of her crazy misery by plunging his sword into her chest, similar to what he did to the Mad Kings Aerys. It’s a theory that has even been backed up by the actor who plays Jaime.
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to take that theory one step further and suggest that he might be Azor Ahai. Jaime has been on a redemption arc since season 3 of the show. It would certainly fit thematically if he became the ultimate hero of the tale.
As for the stone dragons, there is some ground for that part of the prophecy as well. There’s another fan theory flying around that Jaime and Cersei might be secret Targaryens themselves, after their mother was supposedly raped by the Mad King. Waking the stone dragon could refer to Jaime discovering this lineage and claiming his destiny.
5. Jorah Mormont
It’s nothing short of a miracle that Jorah Mormont has not yet been killed on Game of Thrones. While Jorah served his purpose in setting Dany off on her path to reclaiming her throne, he hasn’t done much since the first few seasons. He’s even come down with a nasty case of greyscale, but he’s still puttering around nonetheless.
There must be a reason for Jorah’s continued existence. Could this be that he will shock everyone by becoming the fulfillment of the Azor Ahai prophecy? It sounds crazy, but there is some basis for it.
Jorah didn’t walk into the fire with Dany that cracked open her dragon eggs, but he certainly gave her some direction that guided her to that point. In fact, most of Dany’s actions have their roots in Jorah’s guidance. Similar to how Jon could be Sansa’s Lightbringer, Dany could be Jorah’s Lightbringer. The greyscale calls into question whether Mormont will even be alive to stop the White Walkers, but if he miraculously survives to the end, the pieces are all there for him to become Azor Ahai.
4. Bran Stark
There is arguably no character in Game of Thrones who is more powerful than Bran Stark. His powers, which initially seemed to be on the weaker end of the spectrum, have since risen to god-like omnipotence. Bran can control man and beast alike with his mind, he can travel through time, and even directly affect it. As of the season 6 finale, where he witnessed Jon’s birth, Bran can also confirm fan theories that have been decades in the making. Bran may even be capable of stopping the entire White Walker army dead in their tracks.
If Jon is to find out that he is a Targaryen, it’s probably going to come from Bran. Even if that doesn’t happen, there are other avenues for him to wake a stone dragon. A popular fan theory posits that Bran will warg into Dany’s dragons and use it to help lay waste to the White Walker horde.
It might be a cheap ending if Bran solves everyone’s problems with his superpowers. It would take away the element of free will that has made Game of Thrones so exciting, but Bran is simply too powerful to not play some role in saving the day. Otherwise, all those years of watching his training will feel like wasted time.
3. Tyrion Lannister
Some fans believe that Jaime and Cersei are secretly Targaryens, but even more believe that Tyrion is the true offspring of Aerys Targaryen and Johanna Lannister. There have been some anvil sized hints dropped about Tyrion and his possible Targaryen lineage. As a boy, he used to dream of dragons, Tywin always resented him as a son, and Tyrion is one of the few have been able to tame Dany’s dragons. All the elements are there for Tyrion to be confirmed as a “stone dragon.”
Tyrion is also one of the few characters who is both aware of the White Walker problem (to a degree) and in a position to do something about it. Tyrion has the smarts of Sam, the will of Arya, and even the possible Targaryen lineage. Tyrion might not wield swords all that often, but given his connection to the dragons, he could eventually ride one. Again, the new Lightbringer being a dragon is way more possible (and awesome) than a fiery sword.
2. Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys is of course one of two most popular candidates for Azor Ahai. Before he died in the books, Aemon Targaryen even became convinced that Dany was Azor Ahai, and he has a point. Dany does tick off all the boxes. She did literally birth dragons from stone, and she’s on a crash course to conquer Westeros from human and inhuman threats alike. Time and time again, Daenerys has pulled off remarkable feats when put up against equally remarkable odds. Defeating the White Walkers could be her crowning achievement, aside from potentially being crowned as Queen of Westeros.
Dany might not be known for wielding a fiery sword, or any sword whatsoever. Yet it’s hard to argue that she needs any traditional weapon when she can command fire itself. Dany can not only withstand the flames, she can direct it with the use of her dragons. Dany’s Lightbringer can be any of her dragons, as she has proved to have command over them all.
Frankly, the only thing standing in Dany’s way from becoming Azor Ahai reborn is, well, she may be just be too obvious for it. Everything is lining up for her to claim the mantle of savior, but Game of Thrones rarely takes such linear paths.
1. Jon Snow
Jon Snow is such a popular choice to be Azor Ahai that it would almost be disappointing if everyone was right. At the same time, it’s impossible to deny how perfectly he fits the mold. From the very beginning of Game of Thrones, Jon’s whole story has revolved around the White Walkers. If his story ends with them too, it would be bizarrely straightforward.
As the only confirmed secret Targaryen on Game of Thrones, Jon is the perfect example of a stone dragon being awakened. Jon may not have the flaming sword of Lightbringer, but he does wield the similarly named Longclaw, which happens to be the only fully forged Valyrian steel sword that has been used to defeat a White Walker in battle. (Sam used dragonglass to slay his icy foe.)
Then there’s the whole resurrection thing to consider. Beric Dondarrion has come back several times because of the Lord of Light, but none of his resurrections were quite as big a deal as Jon Snow’s revival. In any ordinary story, Jon would be an easy lock for the Prince That Was Promised, but then, Game of Thrones is not an ordinary story.
Who is your number one choice to be Azor Ahai on Game of Thrones? Sound off in the comments!
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