We’re working on halfway through Game of Thrones season 3, and I keep seeing these great scenes that they’ve had to create after the book came out – scenes based on moments that we don’t see in the books. They can write these scenes with the full knowledge of the later books, and, if the rumors are true, some knowledge of the books to come.
One of my favorites, though, was a scene at the end of season 2 – a prophecy given that was based on all of this combined knowledge, from characters we don’t get to see directly in the books.
Okay, I’m dancing around spoilers. However, I think I can say that, because the prophecy has not been fulfilled, both readers of the books and watchers of the show ought to be able to read on – if you’re willing to consider the question: Who is Azor Ahai?
Who is Azor Ahai?
Alright, so episode ten, season two, Melisandre gives a prophecy to Stannis – in a scene that is not taken from the book. And Melisandre gives a prophecy that plays right into all of the Azor Ahai theorizing going on out there.
What theorizing? Well, Azor Ahai is the champion of The Lord of Light, and is a foretold leader, and fights with fire, and is opponent of death and the White Walkers. In other words, Azor Ahai is exactly what Westeros needs.
So, although Melisandre reads the prophecies as relating to Stannis, there are many others that they could relate to.
For instance, Daenerys has dragons, and thus fire, and is theoretically working her way towards Westeros to be their leader – and, depending on timing, savior from the White Walkers. Really, the conclusion to the series, as assumed by the folks I have talked to, is just that Daenerys needs to get to the wall with some dragons, and burn up all the bad guys. Science!
But something new to my thinking was Melisandre’s prophecy. It seemed like some new observations on the Azor Ahai mythos. She is applying them to Stannis, but they apply to a number of other characters as well. She mentions…
- Betraying his men
- Betraying his family
- Betraying his beliefs
Check out some notes on this episode here: http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Valar_Morghulis
These attributes are very common attributes in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. What is most interesting about this prophecy is that, although it is new, it does not actually cross anyone off the list of suspects for being Azor Ahai – and them still being valid just increases the intrigue! Let’s consider a few:
Okay, so I’ve mentioned Dany. In some ways, this is worrisome to consider: betrayal of her friends, family, and beliefs. Although we like Dany for being Azor Ahai, if these attributes apply to her, it seems there are far more bad times to come for her.
However, Dany also has a swirl of prophecies around her that have been told to her by various players: by another Red Woman (http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Quaithe), by the warlocks of the House of the Undying (http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/House_of_the_Undying). None of these make her future sound very fun. While she has had some family betrayal and all sorts of relationships with her followers, men, slaves… turning away from Westeros, making hard decisions… it still is not enough. There will be more pain and loss in Dany’s future for this new prophecy of Melisandre’s to apply to Dany.
Until then, trust no one, Dany.
Jon Snow is well placed to fight the White Walkers: I mean, the Wall is where the action is. If you have only been watching the show, and are into season 3, you know there are plenty of opportunities to consider Jon Snow and turning on his men, turning on his beliefs. More to come. Or is there? Anything is possible. Also, I should mention: Azor Ahai could definitely end up dead, because the people of Westeros are really good at throwing off all the best-laid plans. So I’m not saying Jon Snow lives. Nor am I saying he dies.
(Well, I suppose this also probably means I AM saying Dany probably does live; but really, who else has dragons? Besides, she’s not in Westeros, so the rule that Westerosi people could die at a moment’s notice doesn’t apply, right?)
One thing that is tough is that it’s hard to think of Jon Snow betraying his family. However… we don’t know who his full family is. With a mystery mother, it’s entirely possible that Jon could betray his mystery mother’s family, rather than his Stark family – and then he would totally feel beat up about it if he finally figured out who that family is.
You know nothing, Jon Snow.
The Lannister Family. They betray each other all the time. Betray their beliefs. The people around them. They’re untrusting of people. Could one of the Lannisters be Azor Ahai? Tyrion would be a badass savior, but isn’t much of the fighter. Jaime makes up for that with the fighting, but lacks some of the leadership qualities we might wants. We’ve written about both of these characters, and find them both fascinating. But are they the heroes of the tale?
Arya Stark. She’s unstoppable. People have tried. She’s lived on the run, come up against all sorts of villains and killers and is fine. She’s a killer herself. She’s turned and run from family, beliefs, even self. Problem is, she doesn’t really necessarily have men or followers at all really to betray. She would need a more central stage to be a stronger candidate for Azor Ahai. Also, we’ve written about her as well.
The Greyjoy Family. Betrayal is also kind of their thing. To get something, you must pay the iron price. Betraying the family? Sure, you get some power. Betray your men? Whatever, they were just going to betray you later on. And beliefs? Well, they’re easy enough beliefs to betray. Kind of hard to live peaceably by, after all. Is Theon Greyjoy Azor Ahai? Hmmm, we should do a blog post about Theon Greyjoy… But I think we’ll let the current season wind down first. Too easy to spoil his story – which we feel like has been expanded upon and shown more in the show than in the book. Which means… he’s important, right?
There are other great characters who probably aren’t candidates. Like Bran Stark, who is really more of another prophet character himself. Or Sam Tarly, who is a view into many events and parts of the world. Beric Dondarrion and his crew don’t seem like the betrayal type: they are instead still holding strong to orders given by dead men, for the sake of the small folk. Savior in a different, and also good, way.
And it would just be too ironic for the Hound, with his fear of fire, to be Azor Ahai.
I could say a lot more about prophecy in Game of Thrones, but I think I will conclude by just saying they are well done. Five books, three seasons of TV, and I don’t feel like anyone out there has the answers. Actually, someone might have the answers, but they don’t know that they are right, and won’t until the books are done.
And I really hold, it is entirely possible that George R.R. Martin will kill-off Azor Ahai: because the plot twists that would create are amazing. Of course, the world might also end then.
So what do you think? Who do you like for Azor Ahai?