Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, and dragons Rhaegal and Viserion

Although Game of Thrones is brimming with theories and prophecies, it’s hard to distinguish which are relevant and which are smoke and mirrors. But Season 7’s “Beyond the Wall” just debunked a major theory about dragons and Tyrion.

Spoilers below for Game of Thrones Season 7 episode 6, “Beyond the Wall.”

In “Beyond the Wall,” the sixth and penultimate episode of Season 7, the Night King kills Daenerys’s dragon Viserion. With one well-aimed throw of his icy lance, he takes the dragon out of the sky and sends him plunging into a watery grave. It’s a brutal, emotional scene that shocks the whole grumpy bearded Avengers gang.

It’s also shocking to Game of Thrones fans who previously thought the show would feature three dragon riders, in accordance with “the dragon has three heads” prophecy.

Show-watchers might not be familiar with the prophecy, since it wasn’t included in the show’s adaptation of Daenerys’s visit to the House of the Undying back in Season 2. In the Song of Ice and Fire books, though, Dany has a vision of her brother (and Jon’s father) Rhaegar saying, “There must be one more. The dragon has three heads.”

The most common fan interpretation of this is that there will eventually be three dragonriders — one for each of Daenerys’s three dragons. Obviously Daenerys is one, and Jon Snow is another since he’s secretly a Targaryen.

Many fans theorized that Tyrion could be the third. The Mad King held a candle for Tyrion’s mother, so Tyrion being the product of an affair could help explain why Tywin Lannister hated Tyrion so much. He’s also more silvery-blond in the books, where the Lannisters are typically golden-blond. Season 6 even seemed to nod to it, when Tyrion had a brief bonding moment with Dany’s dragons.

Now that one dragon is undead, however, this theory is also dead and buried. There can now only be two dragon riders, and Season 7 has heavily foreshadowed that dragon-riding is in Jon’s future.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in  'Game of Thrones' Season 7
Jon and Drogon in 'Game of Thrones' Season 7

It doesn’t mean that Tyrion can’t still be a secret Targaryen — he could still be one without having a dragon to ride. But the likelihood that he is one is diminished, since it would now be less important to the plot. Not to mention that the show has offered up almost zero evidence to support this specific theory.

It’s also unlikely that he could ride this undead version of Viserion. In “Beyond the Wall,” when Jon pulls himself out of the lake after nearly drowning, the Army of the Dead is leaving the scene. Hearing him breath, they pivot and return to kill him. It seems the dead have no tolerance for the living — so this new version of Viserion will only accept a dead rider. And, well, the Night King shouldn’t really count.

RIP Viserion, and RIP the theory about three dragonriders.


The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale airs on Sunday, August 27 at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.