The prince that was promised, Azor Ahai, the bringer of light and savior of Westeros … is dead. And he — or she — has been dead for quite some time. This premise is at the heart of the latest, and perhaps best, fan theory regarding the identity of the messianic figure in Game of Thrones.

Pretty much everybody in Game of Thrones has had their name bandied about as a candidate for this cryptic prophecy. Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are the most common subjects, but even the likes of Jaime Lannister, the Hound, and Gendry have been thrown into the mix.

Nobody knows the truth, but the prophecy involves a lot of cryptic symbolism, with imagery like “born again amidst smoke and salt” and waking “dragons out of stone.” There’s also mention of a “burning sword.”

This latest theory revisits a popular candidate and posits that the long-dead Rhaegar Targaryen — Jon’s biological father — was the true Azor Ahai. Many fans have thought this in the past (and Rhaegar himself thought he was the promised prince when he was alive), but this latest iteration puts a sharp twist on the prophecy by naming Jon, instead of some magical sword, into Lightbringer, the fire-powered magical weapon.

But hear this out.

An official artist's rendering of Rhaegar Targaryen
An official artist's rendering of Rhaegar Targaryen

The redditor who submitted the theory to the r/ASOIAF community credits “The Spaniard” for coming up with the idea.

The main thrust of the theory is this:

“Rhaegar was born at Summerhall on the same day as when it burned down, meaning he was born amidst salt and smoke. Well, if Rhaegar is Azor Ahai, then that could mean Jon Snow is Lightbringer. Think about it. The original Azor Ahai finally tempered the sword that defeated the darkness by driving it into the heart of his lover Nissa Nissa, killing her. Rhaegar put Jon Snow (Lightbringer) into Lyanna, and when he was born, it killed her. Nissa Nissa died with a cry of anguish and ecstasy, much like Lyanna might have when birthing her only son, but knowing she would perish shortly thereafter. Now, Jon is the guy who has already been fighting the Others, and he is now in cahoots with Dany to hopefully bring her dragons (dragon fire = light) to fight the wights.”

Most assume the bit about Lightbringer means that the original Azor Ahai killed his lover with an actual sword, and the sacrifice then imbued the sword with enough magical power that it could drive back the darkness. Here, Azor Ahai kills his lover with, uhhh, his other “sword.”

By wielding the power of that “sword,” Rhaeger ultimately creates a new weapon “forged with a loving wife’s heart,” as Thoros of Myr says in the books. The end product is a superweapon capable of destroying the Night King for good. Instead of a magical flaming sword, this “weapon” is Jon himself.

Through discussion on the forums, the theory was further refined to fit a lot of the generic nouns used in the prophecy’s imagery. The oft-mentioned line “the dragon has three heads” — which could otherwise break this theory — is explained by Jon as being Rhaegar’s third child: “This further aligns with the ancient Azor Ahai story where he tempered the sword perfectly on the third try when killing Nissa Nissa. Ergo, Rhaegar’s third kid killed the love of his life as well.”

Furthermore, “Just as Lightbringer was a flaming sword, Jon is a reanimated human powered by the fires of the Lord of Light.” If Jon is the weapon Lightbringer, then it fits because this makes him the fire-powered weapon, literally living through the Lord of Light’s fire.

No matter what, we have a feeling that the King in the North could care less about these kinds of prophecies and his royal blood, because he has more important things on his plate in the next Game of Thrones episode north of the Wall.


Game of Thrones Season 7 continues Sundays on HBO at 9 p.m. Eastern.