The Prince That Was Promised (aka Azor Ahai reborn) is the prophesied hero who’s expected to save Westeros from the Night King and his undead army in Game of Thrones Season 8. Most fans assume that prophecy refers to either Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen, but there’s reason to believe it could be someone else: Jaime Lannister.
After showing up in Winterfell at the end of the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere, Jaime is about to face the wrath of Dany for killing her father (at least, that’s what the Episode 2 trailer suggests), but assuming he survives, could the Kingslayer have a bigger role to play? Is that why Bran cryptically referred to Jaime as an “old friend”?
Let’s break down all the evidence for Jaime Lannister’s claim to the title of Azor Ahai.
Wait, What Is Azor Ahai?
Azor Ahai refers to a mythical hero who led the charge against the original war against the White Walkers way back when. That term comes from the books, but in the HBO show, we’ve often heard the phrase “The Prince That Was Promised,” which presumably refers to the reincarnation of Azor Ahai meant to defeat to new White Walker threat. The Red Witch Melisandre has spent much of Game of Thrones looking for the Prince That Was Promised, and she seems to think it’s Jon Snow.
Thanks to the books, we also know some key details about Azor Ahai. These stories read like myths, but they may provide a template for identifying the Prince That Was Promised. First, they were “born amidst salt and smoke, under a bleeding star.” It’s also worth noting that in the language of these legends, High Valyrian, “prince” is a non-gendered word, so it could refer to a male or female character.
Azor Ahai also had a flaming sword, Lightbringer, which comes with a backstory of its own. The first time they forged the sword, it broke apart while being tempered in water. The second time, it broke after being stabbed into the heart of a lion. The third time, Azor Ahai drove the sword into his wife’s heart and it took on the power of her soul, becoming Lightbringer.
This is all basically allegory, so take it with a grain of salt even within the context of Game of Thrones. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind as we consider the case of Jaime Lannister as the Azor Ahai reborn.
Jaime’s Journey Parallels the Legend of Lightbringer
Each step in the story of Azor Ahai has an equivalent in Jaime’s Game of Thrones arc. Remember that scene in the baths with Brienne after Jaime’s hand was chopped off? He had a total mental and physical breakdown while floating in the water, just like the first sword that broke.
Then, at the end of Season 7, Jaime abandons his sister and sides with Jon and Daenerys over his family. The Lannister House crest is a lion, so it’s a bit like he’s stabbing a lion in the heart.
As for the third part of the story, Jaime doesn’t have a wife to kill, but he’s been romantically involved with Cersei since before the show even began. Killing Cersei would not only fulfill the Azor Ahai prophecy, it would also make him the valonqar (the “little brother” prophesied to kill Cersei). That’s two prophecies with one stab.
Jaime’s Gold Hand Could Be a Huge Clue
Last year, a fan theory from redditor u/byrd82 basically broke the internet by suggesting that a mistranslation of the original Valyrian the Azor Ahai story was written in could make Jaime the Prince That Was Promised.
The premise here is surprisingly simple. “Valyrian words for gold and hand are aeksion and ondos,” they write. “Valyrian words for lord and light are aeksio and onos. Will the true savior be the ‘Gold Hand?’”
Jaime’s been sporting a gold hand to replace the right hand he lost for a while now. Could that be the key to his rise as the Prince That Was Promised?
A Clue in the Cave Paintings
While Jon was digging up dragonstone during Game of Thrones Season 7, he found some old cave paintings depicting the original struggle between the first humans, the Children of the Forest, and the White Walkers. One image in particular showed three early humans, and one of them looked surprisingly like Jaime.
It’s not a perfect likeness, but take a look at the guy on the far left. He’s holding a sword in his left hand while his right hand appears to be cuffed at the wrist. It’s almost as if he’s wearing a prosthetic hand…
Jojen Reed’s Big Hint
Back in Season 4 when Jojen Reed was still alive (remember him?), the young Greenseer was asked when the coming Long Night would end. In response, he simply said, “You’ll know” while his hand suddenly became consumed with magical flames that didn’t harm him.
That could simply be a reference to Azor Ahai and Lightbringer in general, but it might also be a direct nod to Jaime and his gold hand…
What About the Whole “Salt and Smoke” Thing?
To be honest, we’re not sure. Some have speculated this could just mean “a Targaryen.” In that case, you could argue that the Lannisters have styled themselves after the Targaryens (the whole incest thing). Jaime also made a name for himself by killing Aerys Targaryen (aka the Mad King), so there’s a connect there, too.
As for the “bleeding star,” that’s pretty much accepted to be a reference to the bright red comet that was visible from both Westeros and Essos at the start of Game of Thrones Season 2. Jaime clearly wasn’t born then, but Season 2 did mark the beginning of an emotional journey for the character after he was captured by the Starks. So in a way, he really was born “under a bleeding star.”
Of course, there’s just as much evidence (if not more) for Dany or Jon to be the Prince That Was Promised, but we’re not willing to rule out Jaime’s chances just yet. And the fact that he’s already been confirmed to appear in all six episodes of Game of Thrones Season 8 only makes us more confident that this theory could be right.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.