Gendry might not be the most important character on Game of Thrones, but King Robert Baratheon’s bastard son could have a big role to play in Season 8. He’s already helped outfit an entire army with dragonglass weapons for the Great Battle of Winterfell and built a special White Walker-killing spear just for Arya Stark, but his biggest contribution may still be coming. Could Gendry be Azor Ahai (aka, the Prince Who Was Promised)? It might seem like a ridiculous theory (even by Game of Thrones standards), but when you look back at the many clues it actually makes a lot of sense.
Sorry, but Who/What Is Azor Ahai?
According to Game of Thrones lore, Azor Ahai was a legendary hero who led the charge against the White Walkers in the original fight between good and evil. He did it using Lightbringer, a flaming sword that he forged and then used to kill his wife, Nissa Nissa, imbuing it with magic powers. (Earlier attempts to make Lightbringer failed when the sword broke while being tempered in water and then when stabbed into the heart of a lion).
Subscribe for free to Multiverse and get Game of Thrones coverage delivered to your inbox the night the episode airs.
Throughout Game of Thrones, the Red Witch Melisandre has been hellbent on identifying the Prince Who Was Promised, basically a reincarnated version of Azor Ahai who can defeat the Night King. Originally, she thought this was Stannis Baratheon, but after he died she pivoted her focus to Jon Snow.
On the show, we’ve only heard the term “Prince Who Was Promised” (which could also refer to a “princess”), but in the books, Melisandre makes the connection more explicit with one particularly telling prophecy:
“When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone. The bleeding star has come and gone, and Dragonstone is the place of smoke and salt.”
So what does any of this have to do with Gendry? Well…
“Born again amidst smoke and salt…”
These poetic words can be applied to a lot of different characters, but Gendry matches them particularly well. Remember the first time we met him back in Season 1? As Hand of the King, Ned Stark was investigating the last Hand’s death, which led him to a blacksmith’s shop in Kings Landing where Gendry was hard at work making weapons and armor. So the first time we meet the character, he’s covered in sweat (salt) and smoke from working in the forge.
As for the “bleeding star,” that’s pretty much agreed to be the red comet that lit up the sky in Season 2. It’s timing sort of lines up with Cersei Lannister’s decree to have all her dead husband’s bastard children murdered. Gendry appears to be the only Baratheon bastard to survive that purge, which could be counted as a sort of rebirth or second chance.
Gendry Has Targaryen Blood (or, a Baratheon Family History Lesson)
Gendry might have Robert Baratheon’s blood coursing through his veins, but that also means he’s got Targaryens in his family tree. Orys, the man who founded house Baratheon, was rumored to be the bastard son of Aerion Targaryen.
Why does this matter? Well, it’s a popular theory that “smoke and salt” is a stand-in for Targaryen. That’s why most people assume either Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow (aka, Aegon Targaryen) is Azor Ahai. But this bit of history leaves the door open for Gendry.
It’s also possible that when Melisandre saw Stannis Baratheon’s face in the flames she was actually seeing Gendry. As the books make clear, most Baratheon men look similar thanks to strong genetics.
And to bring things back to Orys for a second. It’s worth noting that a bastard child essentially rebooting the Baratheons by becoming Azor Ahai would bring the great house’s history for circle (it was founded by a bastard, after all). That’s exactly the kind of cyclical story-telling that George R.R. Martin loves. So don’t be surprised if it happens several times in Game of Thrones Season 8
Gendry is the only Character Who Can Actually Make a Sword
Maybe we’re taking things too literally, but considering the legend of Azor Ahai and the sword he forged, it’s worth noting that Gendry is the only blacksmith in Westeros who also happens to be a recurring Game of Thrones character. So if someone is going to forge Lightbringer in Season 8 (or already has) it’s probably Gendry.
Speaking of which…
Gendry’s Story Matches the Legend of Azor Ahai
The Prince Who Was Promised is expected to mirror the legend of Azor Ahai (quick reminder: water, lion, Nissa Nissa). In Gendry’s case, you could argue that he’s already fulfilled the first two parts of that story.
Tempering the sword in the water could represent his voyage by boat. After Melisandre buys him, she brings him to Dragonstone by boat, revealing his true lineage on the way. Later on, he also escapes the Red Witch by rowboat. That’s a lot of water.
As for the lion, back in King’s Landing, Gendry essentially made a living building weapons for the Lannisters and their supporters. The Lannister sigil is a lion.
What about Nissa Nissa? Well, after Gendry and Arya had sex in Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2, you might assume that means he’ll have to kill Arya to activate Lightbringer. That’s possible, but it might not be the case.
Another option is that he could actually kill Melisandre to fulfill the prophecy since they did have a somewhat intimate relationship. However another fan theory argues that Game of Thrones could put a clever twist on the old prophecy. What if Gendry forges Lightbringer and gives it to Arya? (He may have already done just that by making her that spear.) Then, in Episode 3, Arya could die while killing the Night King, which would essentially match up with Azor Ahai sacrificing Nissa Nissa.
That might sound like a stretch, but remember, we’re dealing with ancient prophecies within a fictional TV show based on an unfinished series of books. Literally anything could happen. So why not make Gendry the Prince Who Was Promised?
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Easter on HBO.