One of the most popular theories in Game of Thrones suggests that Jon Snow is the reincarnation of a legendary hero, Azor Ahai. However, another theory posits that Jon isn't Azor Ahai reborn, the Prince That Was Promised, but is instead the embodiment of Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes.
As Game of Thrones season 8 quickly approaches, fans are anxiously awaiting anything which might provide some insight in what happens in these final episodes. And without a proper Game of Thrones season 8 trailer, episode synopses, or any material from the books (seeing as the Game of Thrones' narrative eclipsed the published novels seasons ago), what we're left with are attempts at predicting what comes next by analyzing popular theories based around prophecies found within the story.
The Prince That Was Promised, a prophecy which predicts the second coming of Azor Ahai by looking for specific telltale signs (smoke and salt, a bleeding star, etc.), is by far the most prevalent prophecy in Game of Thrones. But this particular interpretation from Reddit user luxurysedan3030 takes an interesting approach in that it argues the original legend surrounding Azor Ahai has been taken too literally. And if the legend is read more symbolically, then what the prophecy predicts about Azor Ahai reborn, wielding Lightbringer against the darkness, may not refer to a literal sword but something - or someone - else.
- This Page: Azor Ahai Explained & Why Jon is Lightbringer
- Page 2: How It Changes Game of Thrones Season 8 & Why Jon Isn't Lightbringer
The Legend of Azor Ahai & Lightbringer Explained
Azor Ahai is a legendary hero who is said to have led the fight against the darkness some 8,000 years, ending The Long Night. To accomplish this incredible feat, Azor Ahai forged a powerful, flaming sword - Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes. However, the forging of Lightbringer was an ordeal, and fitting with its mythic stature, a great sacrifice was necessary in order to create the sword.
As the legends goes, after being chosen as R'hollr's champion, Azor Ahai had to forge a mighty sword. For 30 days and 30 nights he worked, but when it came time to temper the steel in water, the blade broke. Undeterred, Azor Ahai began again, this time laboring for 50 days and 50 nights, and when it came to time to temper the steal, he drove the sword into a lion's heart - but again, the blade broke. Finally, Azor Ahai understood what he must do, and he again worked for another 100 days and nights at forging the sword. When he was finished and needed to temper the steal, he called for his wife, Nissa Nissa, and asked her to bare her breast to him. Azor Ahai then drove the sword in to Nissa Nissa's heart, killing her but also infusing the blade with her very soul. This sword was Lightbringer, and its blade would forever radiate its own heat and be as warm to the touch as Nissa Nissa had been.
The story of Azor Ahai and the forging of Lightbringer have since become synonymous with the prophecy of the Prince That Was Promised. As a part of the prophecy, it's said that Azor Ahai reborn will again wield Lightbringer against the darkness - but whether the sword needs to be rediscovered or reforged is unclear. Of course, that's also assuming that Lightbringer is an actual sword, because as prophecies and legends go, the language can be interpreted either literally or more symbolically. In which case, if the legend and prophecy surrounding Azor Ahai is approached more symbolically, then Lightbringer need not really be a sword at all.
Why Jon Snow is Lightbringer - Not Azor Ahai
Long before Melisandre declared Stannis Baratheon to be Azor Ahai reborn, the Prince That Was Promised, there was another person who many believed to be the prophesied savior - Rhaegar Targaryen. Of course, Rhaegar dies before Game of Thrones' story even begins, which makes him appear to be an unlikely savior. However, if we take a symbolic reading of the Azor Ahai legend - as Reddit user luxurysedan3030 does for this fan theory - then Rhaegar's role as the Prince That Was Promised begins to make sense.
In the legend, Azor Ahai tries three times to forge the sword, and it's only on his third attempt - when he sacrifices his true love, Nissa Nissa - that the sword doesn't break. By comparison, Rhaegar had a total of three children, but only his third child - Jon Snow, who Rhaegar had with Lyanna Stark - is still alive today. And when taken symbolically as opposed to literally, it becomes clear: the legend of Azor Ahai "tempering" a "sword" in the "heart" of the woman he loves isn't really about creating a weapon, it's about bearing a child. (Lyanna died in childbirth, after all.) So if Rhaegar was Azor Ahai reborn as many believed, then Lightbringer isn't a sword - it's Jon Snow.
Lightbringer was forged to drive back the darkness, and no one has committed themselves to fighting that battle more than Jon. The Night's Watch oath, which Jon recites, includes the lines: "I am the Sword in the darkness; the Fire that burns against the cold; the Light that brings the dawn," and by swearing that oath, Jon commits to fighting that darkness, the White Walkers. And when he is killed before he can carry out that duty, he is resurrected by R'hllor - the Lord of Light - so that he can fulfill his destiny.