Game of Thrones is approaching its end in Season 8, and some of the elements that have been in play since the beginning are finally starting to wrap up. Among those are Jon Snow’s parentage, the prophecy that Daenerys heard in her travels across the Narrow Sea, and other mystical things that look to be important to the final battle of the Night King.
One giant hanging thread is the question of the Prince That Was Promised, a longstanding prophecy about the hero who will appear to kill the Night King with the help of the Lord of Light. Also known as Azor Ahai, the question of who will fill the role of the Prince That Was Promised has been teased since Season 2 and the introduction of the Red Witch Melisandre and Stannis Baratheon. The premiere of Season 8 might have given a new hint as to who Azor Ahai is, and could be answering a question fans of both the show and the books on which they’re based have had for years.
It starts in Season 7, when Jon had a bonding moment with Drogon, touching the dragon and seemingly gaining his trust. In the Season 8 premiere, Jon actually rides Rhaegal, Daenerys’ other surviving dragon. It’s an extension of that moment Season 7, solidifying Jon’s bond with both Daenerys and the dragons. We saw in Season 7 what might be the reason for Drogon trusting Jon: he’s actually the son of Daenerys’ brother, Prince Rhaegar. He’s member of the royal family of dragon riders who consider themselves to be “blood of the dragon.” (It’s also worth noting that Rhaegal is named for Rhaegar, Jon’s father–a fact Jon will likely find very meaningful.)
Jon riding a dragon seemingly answers a question fans have been wondering about for years, thanks to a prophecy that doesn’t appear in the show, but is in George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books on which Game of Thrones is based. In that book, Daenerys had a vision of Rhaegar when she was in the House of the Undying in Qarth, in which Rhaegar said his son Aegon was the Prince That Was Promised. He also told Daenerys “the dragon has three heads.” (In the show, Daenerys sees the Red Keep in ruins and the Iron Throne frozen, and is visited briefly by the ghosts of her husband Drogo and their baby, Rhaego.)
First off, we now know that Jon is, in fact, Rhaegar’s son Aegon. That might mean that he’s the returned Azor Ahai–the hero the red priests of the Lord of Light have been expecting to show up and defeat the Night King, using a flaming sword called Lightbringer.
The second part of the vision is still an open question, though, if the show is going to address it. Fans have interpreted “the dragon has three heads” to suggest there will be three key people who will ride Daenerys’ dragons–and maybe even three Targaryens. That tracks with the revelation that Jon is a Targaryen, and now seeing him riding a dragon.
The question is whether “the dragon has three heads” will actually be born out by the show now that the Night King has turned Daenerys’ third dragon, Viserion, into an undead wight. Fans have been expecting a third dragon rider, but now the third dragon rider is the Night King himself.
But there’s still room for another hidden Targaryen to appear. As fans have theorized who might be the third of the dragon’s three heads, a lot of speculation has fallen to Tyrion Lannister. There’s a rumor in Westeros that Tyrion isn’t really the son of Tywin Lannister, but that the Mad King Aerys Targaryen raped Tyrion’s mother, Joanna Lannister. That might be part of the reason why Tywin was so awful to Tyrion his whole life, and fulfill Daenerys’ vision. Tyrion also had his moment with the dragons under the pyramid of Meereen, which makes him one of the few people they seem cool with.
In any event, it seems the dragon has two heads, at least. And if Game of Thrones doesn’t address Rhaegar’s words through the rest of Season 8, it seems there might still be a few tidbits for fans of the novels to look forward to–if Martin ever finishes the series.
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Author: Phil Hornshaw