Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7 episode 4: 'The Spoils of War'
At the midway point of Game of Thrones' seventh season, two things are clear: prophecies can be a product of mistranslation, and Cersei is increasingly unhinged. When she’s not detonating the Sept of Baelor or busy breaking Ellaria Sand’s spirit, she freely lets her aides see her own brother sharing her bed. With all that power, who cares what people think? However reckless Cersei may be, Jaime is not so cavalier.
No longer the arrogant, child-paralyzing swordsman of the first season, The Kingslayer has been humbled across one of the broadest emotional journeys of any George R. R. Martin character. He lost his most prized hand, all three of his children died, and he's currently heading towards the bottom of the Blackwater Rush. After months of seething rage against his little brother, he learned that Tyrion was innocent in the death of Joffrey. This is an undeniable blow to his trust in Cersei that's only compounded by the Lannisters' rear army destruction at the hand of Daenerys Targaryen.
Still, as Game of Thrones charges toward its finale, the new Jaime Lannister bears increasingly little resemblance to his old self. His incestuous relationship with Cersei remains the only connection to his past, and even then, it’s beginning to look less and less like his idea.
With evidence of a major Valyrian mistranslation of “The Lord of Light,” the impending prophecy of Cersei’s death, as well as the growing call for a new Azor Ahai, Jaime may well be forced to make a seismic sacrifice to save the Seven Kingdoms.
A Major Mistranslation
Red herrings are the oldest trick in the book, but flawed translations are a nifty way to disguise them. In both A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, calls to The Lord of Light have been a familiar refrain. We’ve seen Beric Dondarrion wield a flaming sword, The Hound witnessing visions in a furnace, and Melisandre bringing Jon Snow back from the dead. We’ve also seen the Red Priestess completely miss the mark with Stannis Baratheon, thus calling into question the legitimacy of the religion altogether.
Though GRRM admitted that he lacked J.R.R. Tolkien’s skills as a philologist, he and a professional linguist developed his High Valyrian vocabulary for the show to believably wield. Such vocabulary has been a point of contention in season seven, where Missandei recently noted that the correct translation of “The Prince That Was Promised” was gender neutral. Princesses could also be promised.
This begs the question: have we misinterpreted anything else? Take a quick look at the compiled High Valyrian lexicon and note the words for “Lord” and “Light,” “aeksio” and “onos.” According to this widely-praised theory, the words for “Hand of Gold” are “aeksio” and “ondos.” There’s just one letter of difference between “Lord of Light” and “Golden Hand” in High Valyrian. Note that these language discrepancies are used exclusively for the show, killing nearly all potential for coincidence. These striking similarities are seemingly by design.
Could the entire religion of The Lord of Light be built on a faulty translation? Is the entire faith a red herring in Game of Thrones? Considering GRRM’s iconoclastic and anti-religious sentiments, it wouldn’t be a shock to learn that The Lord of Light is just the stuff of semantics.
As for the “Golden Hand” translation, we can only think of the one man in all of Westeros with such a title: Jaime Lannister.
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