Things are getting pretty dire for the humans of Westeros, and it’s about time a hero swooped in to save the day. As such, it feels like we’ve reached the point in Game of Thrones Season 8 where we’ll finally get confirmation on which character will become Azor Ahai and defeat the White Walkers for good.
On the show, there has been no mention of Azor Ahai. Instead, references to the “Prince That Was Promised” have been made by characters like Melisandre, referring to a reborn Azor Ahai who will defeat the White Walkers, save Westeros from the Long Night, and make Death itself bend the knee, thus conquering it and bringing an eternal summer back to the land.
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There are many theories about who the Prince That Was Promised might actually be, but the more we think about it, we’re starting to think that Daenerys Targaryen fits the bill.
What Does It Take to Be the Prince That Was Promised?
So, what are the requirements to be the Prince That Was Promised?
- They must be born around or amidst the elements of salt and smoke.
- They must also have been born after a long summer when the stars bleed and darkness gathers.
- They must be able to awaken dragons.
- They must be a descendant of Aerys II and Rhaella Targaryen.
- Rhaegar Targaryen has said that the Prince That Was Promised will be “the song of ice and fire.”
- In High Valyrian, “prince” is a gender neutral word, so the next Azor Ahai doesn’t necessarily have to be a man.
So, why is Daenerys one of the primary candidates to assume the Azor Ahai mantle?
She Was Born Under the Right Conditions
One of the key components of the prophecy about Azor Ahai’s rebirth is that the Prince That Was Promised (the alternate name for Azor Ahai most commonly used in the show) would be “born amidst salt and smoke.” The conditions Daenerys was born under match this perfectly, as the Targaryen home of Dragonstone sits on volcanic land (smoke) and is located on an island surrounded by the sea (salt). Other salt and smoke imagery tied to her birth can be found in the funeral of her mother, who died in childbirth, and was burned on a funeral pyre (smoke). It’s possible that the tears of the people who mourned her loss, including Daenerys’ family, would be another salt element.
Also, Daenerys is only in her 20s, and with winter finally arriving in Westeros, it means she was born at the end of a long summer. She is also clearly a descendant of Aerys II and Rhaella, which ticks off another requirement to be the Prince That Was Promised.
She Has Awoken Dragons (Just Not From Stone)
Azor Ahai isn’t the only one who has given life to dragons; Daenerys ticks that box pretty easily, too. One of the earliest indicators of Daenerys’ true potential was her ability to awaken her dragons — Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion — from their eggs. It was initially believed that the eggs, a wedding gift to Daenerys, were dormant and that the dragons would never emerge. As such, they were placed on Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre and burned alongside his body. Daenerys entered the fire, seemingly unburnt and unaffected. The next morning, it was discovered that for the first time in decades, Daenerys had helped birth dragons.
She’s Already Comfortable Leading an Army
Azor Ahai led the First Men and the Children of the Forest into battle against the first wave of White Walkers. Although it’s not an explicitly stated aspect of the prophecy, one would imagine that the Prince That Was Promised would need to feel comfortable leading an integrated army of various races, all coming together to combat one seemingly unconquerable enemy. This, dear friends, is Daenerys to a T.
In Season 8, Daenerys is leading a massive army comprised of Dothraki, Unsullied, and Westerosi men and women. In previous seasons, we saw her lead two-thirds of this army across Essos, conquering cities like Meereen and Astapor. Daenerys was a born leader and has no problem going into battle alongside her soldiers — just like Azor Ahai.
About That Whole Forging a Sword Thing…
A key component of the Azor Ahai reborn prophecy is that the person meant to be his second coming will pull Lightbringer out of a fire and wield the burning sword (much like Beric Dondarrion’s flaming sword). It’s also believed, although not explicitly stated, that the Prince That Was Promised will forge the new version of Azor Ahai’s sword, Lightbringer, and will have to go through the same painful trial-and-error process of testing its strength. The one noticeable flaw in the whole “Daenerys is the Prince That Was Promised” argument is that Daenerys has never been much of a blacksmith; that’s all Gendry. Add to this the fact that Daenerys’ weapon of choice has never been a sword (it’s always been her dragons) and confidence in the theory begins to waver.
In the legend, the first time Azor Ahai makes the sword, he spends 30 days and 30 nights crafting it and goes to temper the steel in water, but the sword shatters. The second time around, he spends 50 days and 50 nights forging the sword and drives it through the heart of a lion, but once again, the steel shatters. Finally, Azor Ahai spends 100 days and 100 nights creating the sword but realizes the only way to test its strength is to drive it through the heart of his beloved wife, Nissa Nissa. Upon doing so, Nissa Nissa’s soul becomes bound to the sword and it is set on fire.
Although she has never forged an actual sword, the image of shattered or broken metal is particularly relevant to Daenerys. Remember, one of Daenerys’ royal titles is “Breaker of Chains” and, crucially, those chains were forged in fire. Similarly, through the might of her army, Daenerys has broken all kinds of weapons, including swords. Listen, I know it’s a bit of a stretch since there’s no blatant connection here, but hey, when it comes to fulfilling a prophecy, you have to consider all the options.
She Loves Someone Who Has Already Taken a Sword to the Heart
Even though Daenerys may not actually forge Lightbringer, there is one part of the forging process that most blatantly applies to her: driving the sword through the heart of someone she loves to ensure Lightbringer reaches its full potential.
Before Daenerys fell in love with her nephew (she didn’t know it at the time!), Jon Snow, it was easy to think that maybe the Nissa Nissa analogue in her life was her first husband, Khal Drogo. Daenerys isn’t responsible for Drogo’s death but it’s easy to connect the dots between the unexpected death of a loved one helping Azor Ahai and Daenerys realizing their full potential.
Now that Daenerys and Jon are an item, it’s more believable that she will become Azor Ahai. Why? Because Jon has already been stabbed multiple times, including in his heart, and he’s a legitimately good dude who would definitely sacrifice himself for the good of Westeros.
It’s not hard to envision a scenario where Jon offers to die so Daenerys can bring peace to Westeros by becoming Azor Ahai, especially since he doesn’t seem too eager to lay claim to the Iron Throne — despite being a Targaryen — and ruin all of Daenerys’ plans. He’d absolutely do whatever it took to ensure Daenerys wins, including becoming the next Nissa Nissa.