The Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones was jam-packed with twists and turns. All of the major players in Westeros came together at the Dragonpit in King’s Landing to seemingly call a truce — too bad Cersei Lannister is traitorous and murderous and only cares about herself.
The massive meeting wasn’t even the most mind-blowing event from “The Dragon and the Wolf.” The Wall came tumbling down, and the Night King led his fellow White Walkers and their Army of the Dead into Westeros. Sansa and Arya Stark also put aside their differences and came together as sisters (RIP Littlefinger). Meanwhile, the Lannister brothers may have switched sides, and finally, after major speculation, Jon Snow’s true lineage was revealed in a spectacular sequence that involved his little brother, Bran Stark aka the Three-Eyed Raven, and his BFF, Sam Tarley.
If you know anything about George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic, then you probably already knew about the infamous R+L=J theory. To break it down, Jon is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned Stark’s sister, Lyanna Stark. As one of our favorite Free Folk, Gilly, tried to tell us earlier in the season, Rhaegar annulled his first marriage to Elia Martell (Oberlin Martell’s sister) so that he could marry Lyanna, meaning Jon is legitimate and actually the rightful heir to the Iron Throne — ahead of his aunt and new love, Daenerys Targaryen. And yet, that’s not even the most important detail the season finale unveiled.
Jon’s given name — which we now know is Aegon Targaryen — is actually the one detail that reveals the biggest storyline of Season 8. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes, including why the worst war might be on the horizon (No. 4).
1. What’s in a name?
Aegon is a super popular Targaryen name. In fact, Rhaegar’s first son, who was slain by the Mountain, was also named Aegon. Rhaegar loved a good prophecy, and he did everything that he could to make sure that those prophecies were fulfilled. If you recall, Rhaegar’s father was the Mad King who lived to wreak havoc on all of Westeros. Since the Targaryen sigil is a three-headed dragon, Rhaegar believed he would need to have three children (or three different dragon riders) to unite the Seven Kingdoms.
If you read Martin’s A Clash of Kings, you might recall this passage of Rhaegar, Elia, and the first baby Aegon:
“There must be one more,” he said, though whether he was speaking to her or the woman in bed she could not say. “The dragon has three heads.” He went to the window seat, picked up a harp, and ran his fingers lightly over its silvery strings. Sweet sadness filled the room as man and wife and babe faded like the morning mist, only the music lingering behind to speed her on her way.
Next: He was pretty much the George Washington of Westeros.
2. Aegon the Conqueror
Jon and Dany’s ancestor is perhaps the most famous Westerosi of all time. He flew in from Essos on his three dragons, conquered all of Westeros, and united the Seven Kingdoms. Aegon I was the first of the Targaryens and the first to sit upon the Iron Throne. If you want to break it down, he was pretty much the George Washington of Westeros.
Aegon I was a lot like Dany: They had the same golden-silver hair, and he was feared just like she is — though not in the way the Mad King was. Aegon I had an older sister, Visenya, and a younger sister, Rhaenys, and in true Targaryen fashion, he married them both.
Next: The true heir
3. The true heir
Though Dany certainly shares some similarities with Aegon I, Jon does as well. A just and true leader as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and then as King of the North, Jon has proven that if given the opportunity he could rule over the Seven Kingdoms fairly. Though he doesn’t have the same lust for power as Dany, he could still turn his back on her and take the Throne for himself.
The revelation of Jon’s true parentage will surely throw a wrench in any plans that Dany saw for herself as the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. The duo could potentially decide to get married, but something tells us Dany might not be down to share her reign.
Next: Winter is just the beginning.
4. More than one war is brewing
Winter has come. While Jon and Dany prepare their troops to stand against the White Walkers, the Army of Dead, and eventually, the Lannister army, we already know that a massive war is on its way.
Jon has bent the knee and pledged his allegiance to Dany, but that all might change once Bran reveals to him what he knows about Jon’s parents. If Dany and Jon don’t stick together and instead go against each other, this might be the worst war Westeros has ever seen.
Next: A special connection with firepower
5. A dragon for Jon?
Targaryens have a magical connection with dragons. This is why losing Viserion was so difficult for Dany.
Earlier this season, we watched Jon approach (though timidly) one of Dany’s dragons, and it seemed to recognize something in him — or at least, it didn’t light him on fire. With the Night King riding around on the reanimated corpse of Viserion, Jon is going to need as much firepower behind him as he can get to make it through the Long Night.
Next: The prophecies are talked about interchangeably, but they do have some slight differences.
6. ‘The Prince (or Princess) That Was Promised’
Like Jon’s birth father Rhaegar, Martin loves a good prophecy, and his books are full of them. Two of them, The Prince That Was Promised and Azor Ahai, might be very relevant to what we’ll see in Season 8. At times, the prophecies are talked about interchangeably, but they do have some slight differences.
The Prince That Was Promised is said to be a descendant of the Mad King and his sister and wife, Rhaella Targaryen. In A Clash of Kings, Dany has a vision of her slain brother, Elia, checking in on his nephew Aegon (not Jon, but Jon’s dead big brother).
The man had her brother’s hair, but he was taller, and his eyes were a dark indigo rather than lilac. “Aegon,” he said to a woman nursing a newborn babe in a great wooden bed. “What better name for a king?” “Will you make a song for him?” the woman asked. “He has a song,” the man replied. “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.” He looked up when he said it and his eyes met Dany, and it seemed as if he saw her standing there beyond the door.
This song of ice and fire would be better suited to Jon, who was born of both ice (a Stark mother) and fire (a Targaryen father). And yet, in Valyrian, the word prince does not signify a gender, so this Prince That Was Promised could also be referring to someone we haven’t met yet. Might it even refer to a new life born of a Targaryen mother and a Stark-Targaryen father?
Next: The original Azor Ahai forged the greatest sword known to man.
7. Azor Ahai
There is a bit more detail in the books of Azor Ahai. During the first Long Night, which happened some 8,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones, the original Azor Ahai forged the greatest sword known to man. It was called the Lightbringer. There aren’t too many details about how Azor beat back the White Walkers but, according to legend, Azor drove the Lightbringer into the White Walker’s heart, and it burst into flames. (Killing a White Walker also kills all the wights he sired.)
In A Clash Of Kings, we learn that Azor Ahai will be reborn:
After a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world, and in this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.
Next: Why the Lightbringer is so important
8. The Lightbringer sword
So let’s talk about this Lightbringer and why it’s so significant. To forge this insanely strong sword, Azor tempered it in his beloved wife Nissa’s heart. Apparently, Nissa’s soul became one with the steel, and when Azor went into battle, the sword was lit aflame. In order to end the Long Night and defeat the Whites, Azor had to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Next: An unthinkable end
9. An unthinkable end
So if Jon, aka Aegon Targareon, is actually Azor Ahai reborn, what does that mean for Season 8 of GoT? From where we’re sitting, it seems we’re headed toward a pretty catastrophic ending — especially where Dany and Jon are concerned. It’s very unlikely that they both will survive the Great War.
In fact, if Jon is destined to fashion his own Lightbringer and drive it through the heart of the woman that he loves, what does that mean for Dany? As Maester Aemon Targaryen once told Jon, “Love is the death of duty.”
Follow Aramide on Twitter @midnightrami.
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