Last night’s premiere of Game of Thrones had more meaningful glances than sword fights. As most loyal viewers likely expected, the inevitable fight with the White Walkers will probably be saved for later in the shortened six-episode season, giving us plenty of time to speculate about horny dragons and straight-out-of-Hannibal body spirals. Still, there’s a battle on the horizon, one that will require serious firepower if the human race wants to survive, and preparations need to be made. In her own small way, Arya Stark is getting ready for the war to come.
What exactly is she planning? It’s not entirely clear at the moment, but her interactions with Gendry, who is apparently back at work as a blacksmith after his heroic travels in the snow last season, give us a hint of where her head is at and what her larger goal might be. After facing off with the Hound, who called her a “cold little bitch” and reminisced about when she left him for dead, Arya had a far more pleasant exchange with Gendry. Along with her reunion with John Snow, it was one of the more tender and human moments in the premiere.
At the same time, she wasn’t there just to catch up with Gendry — no, she was placing an order. Specifically, she was looking for a new weapon partially made with dragonglass to go along with her Valyrian steel dagger. Let’s take a closer look at the (very nicely drawn!) sketch of the item.
First bit of analysis: it looks pointy, spear-like, and deadly — definitely not an object you’d use for non-violent tasks. It also looks like it can be split into two functioning weapons, a detail more or less confirmed by Game of Thrones weapons master Tommy Dunne in an interview with Vanity Fair when he referred to a “showstopper” weapon. “There is one creation in Season 8 that is absolutely phenomenal,” he said in the interview. “It was great to make, great to design in that it was able to be reverse-engineered and made into two different items.”
Right after Arya reveals the schematic to him, Gendry asks why she “needs” a weapon like this and she doesn’t really respond. It’s a good question, one of the many that the short scene inspires. It looks like a weapon best used for fending off White Walkers, like the Game of Thrones equivalent of Darth Maul’s double-sided lightsaber, and we know Arya has been trained with a staff. (RIP to the Waif.) Could Arya Stark be the character who kills the Night King? Or will this new piece of equipment be used to cross a name off her list? Or maybe she’s just going into doomsday-prepper mode and is looking for something to add to her arsenal?
We do know that Arya’s larger journey, her continued evolution from a brave child into a brilliant warrior, will be one of the main plot threads going forward into the series finale. (She also wasn’t the only character to receive a weapon last night: Bronn was presented with a crossbow to kill Tyrion Lannister with.) After all, the opening images of “Winterfell,” which tracked a young boy as he ran through the crowd to catch a glimpse of Daenerys and Jon Snow’s arrival on horseback, were a direct callback to the pilot, as creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explained in the behind-the-scenes making-of after the episode. She’s no longer an observer of history; she’s making it herself. All she needs is the proper tool.
Why Jaime Lannister Might Be The Linchpin To Peace With The White Walkers
As we wait for Season 8, one of the biggest questions left in Game of Thrones remains: Who is Azor Ahai? Fans spend countless hours poring over the very specific criteria of the prophecy, obsessing over who might be The Prince That Was Promised. The general consensus seems to be that Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow are tied for first place in the race to be the reborn Prince of Unspecified Gender. But, they are the more, shall we say, predictable choices. And when has Game of Thrones ever been predictable? This series loves a twist. One Redditor byrd82 has been working on a pretty solid Game of Thrones theory that posits Jaime Lannister might be the Champion of Light.
Byrd82 crunched the numbers, dug through the evidence, and came up with a pretty convincing argument that Jaime Lannister—one-handed, sister-loving, Kingslaying Jaime Lannister—is, in fact, the oft-promised Prince who will single-handedly save the Seven Kingdoms.
There’s a lot of evidence on the table, in fact, that suggests Jaime Lannister will forge a diplomatic peace with the White Walkers. At the end of this, you could come away thinking that Jaime Lannister is the hero of Game of Thrones—an unlikely hero who once shoved a child out of a tower window, but a hero nonetheless.
Everyone Talks About The Azor Ahai Prophecy
The Azor Ahai prophecy was brought up in Season 7, when Melisandre mentioned it to Daenerys in the second episode. Melisandre, who had previously put all her eggs in the Stannis Baratheon basket, hopped aboard the Dany bandwagon, because she is now certain that Dany is the Lord of Light. But what is the prophecy? And how does this relate to Jaime facing down the oncoming onslaught of White Walkers?
Way back when, during the Long Night, Azor Ahai made a huge sacrifice by killing his wife. With her blood, he forged himself the best sword in the world (named Lightbringer) and went around slaying the White Walkers. Now, rumor has it Azor Ahai is about to be reborn. But who will that vessel be? Dany and Jon Snow are in contention for the role of Prince Who Was Promised, but Jaime Lannister might be our best bet.
The Story Of Azor Ahai
So, who is Azor Ahai? Well, in the books there’s a lot of talk about a prophesied hero, destined to save mankind from the White Walkers. This hero is going to be a reborn Azor Ahai, a man who famously forged a sword called Lightbringer by making a great sacrifice. He knew he had to make a powerful tool to defeat the enemy, but it was an arduous process:
“He labored for thirty days and thirty nights until it was done. However, when he went to temper it in water, the sword broke. He was not one to give up easily, so he started over.
The second time he took fifty days and fifty nights to make the sword, even better than the first. To temper it this time, he captured a lion and drove the sword into its heart, but once more the steel shattered.
The third time, with a heavy heart, for he knew before hand what he must do to finish the blade, he worked for a hundred days and nights until it was finished. This time, he called for his wife, Nissa Nissa, and asked her to bare her breast.
He drove his sword into her breast, her soul combining with the steel of the sword, creating Lightbringer, while her cry of anguish and ecstasy left a crack across the face of the moon.”
It was an act of unimaginable sacrifice. It has been said time and again that Azor Ahai will be reborn to lead the current generation of Westerosi against the threat of the White Walkers. Someone, it seems, is destined to take up this tragic mantle.
Forging A Hero’s Sword
But, just who will fill that role in Game of Thrones is still up for debate. Jaime fits the bill pretty nicely, however. After several long seasons, he’s finally started to shed the identity of “Kingslayer” and begun the process of becoming The Prince Who Was Promised.
This rebirthing process began right after Jaime lost his hand. Just look at the scene he and Brienne share in the bath. If you look to Chapter 37 of A Storm of Swords, the text makes Jaime’s identity crisis fairly explicit:
“The water had grown cool. When Jaime opened his eyes, he found himself staring at the stump of his sword hand. The hand that made me Kingslayer. The goat had robbed him of his glory and his shame, both at once. Leaving what? Who am I now?”
Right after this passage, Jaime passed out. Brienne shouted for help, referring to Jaime as “Kingslayer,” but Jaime managed to correct her in his weakened state, saying “My name is Jaime.” This is especially interesting when compared to the first time Azor Ahai tried to forge Lightbringer. Azor Ahai made a great-looking sword, but as soon as he took it to the water to temper it, the steel broke. Jaime, similarly, broke down in the water.
The Second Attempt At Forging A Sword
The real Azor Ahai took a second crack at sword forging, this time finishing the process by plunging his blade into the heart of a lion. The second time, however, was not the charm. The steel shattered again, so Azor Ahai basically took down a lion for no reason. Reddit user byrd82 pointed out there are some parallels between Azor Ahai’s second attempt at making the ultimate sword and Jaime’s next attempt to shed the Kingslayer identity.
Shortly after Joffrey’s end at the Purple Wedding, Jaime tried to leave his past behind him by releasing Tyrion from prison. Tyrion then went up to the Tower of the Hand to confront their father, Tywin Lannister, shooting him with a crossbow.
There was a lot of lion imagery in this scene, and Shae calling Tywin “my lion” really hammered that home. Don’t forget, the Lannisters’ sigil is a roaring, golden lion, and their words are “Hear Me Roar.” So, Tyrion was, in effect, shooting a lion in the chest. Now, you may be thinking, “Well Tyrion did that, not Jaime, so who’s Azor Ahai now?” And that’s fair.
But Cersei linked the end of Tywin—the head lion of House Lannister—back to Jaime, saying, “Tyrion may be a monster, but at least he killed our father on purpose. You killed him by mistake with stupidity.” So Jaime indirectly plunged an arrow into the heart of a metaphorical lion, thus furthering his journey to rebirth as Azor Ahai.
The Valonqar Prophecy Predicts Cersei’s Future
Look, we’re talking about Game of Thrones, so of course there are a million and one prophesies flying around. It would be totally in keeping with the tone of the show for Jaime to fulfill not one, but two prophesies. Not only could Jaime be Azor Ahai, he could also be the valonqar, otherwise known as the top spot of Cersei’s “To Kill” list.
When Cersei was a child, she was told by Maggy the Frog (a fortune teller in Lannisport) that all her children would die, and Cersei herself would perish at the hands of the valonqar. In High Valaryian, valonqar means “little brother.”
As such, Cersei’s been gunning for Tyrion his entire life, convinced he’s the younger brother destined to take her life. But maybe she should have been keeping an eye on her twin. See, Jaime is younger than Cersei by a few moments. This has lead many fans to speculate that not Tyrion, but Jaime will kill Cersei, fulfilling the valonqar prophecy (and ending the reign of yet another megalomaniac).
The Nissa Nissa Prophecy Could Also Mean The End For Cersei
Nissa Nissa was Azor Ahai’s wife, and she got a pretty raw deal. For Azor Ahai to fully realize the power of his sword, Lightbringer, he had to sacrifice Nissa Nissa by plunging the blade into her heart, tempering the steel with her blood and soul. Nissa died with a cry of “anguish and ecstasy” that empowered Azor Ahai’s sword and left “a crack across the face of the moon.”
So, if Jaime’s destined to kill Cersei, as was prophesied by Maggy the Frog, and if Cersei is the only person he’s ever truly loved, then taking her out would mean he has made the ultimate sacrifice. Just like Azor Ahai sacrificed Nissa Nissa to make his blade Lightbringer, Jaime would sacrifice the only person he’s ever been in love with. So, he’s destined to kill Cersei, and in doing so make a chosen sword capable of slaying the White Walkers. Prophecy fulfilled.
Is Jaime’s Hand Lightbringer?
The Azor Ahai prophecy is especially concerned with Lightbringer, the sword destined to slaughter the White Walkers. But what if Lightbringer wasn’t exactly a sword? What if it was a bit more metaphorical than that?
Prophecies can be like a game of Telephone, where they get retold and retold, with details changing over time. Here’s something interesting Reddit user alexwebb2 noticed: the Valyrian words for “gold” and “hand” are aeksion and ondos, respectively. The words for “lord” and “light” are aeksio and onos. Azor Ahai, of course, is central to the mythology of the Lord of Light. It’s possible, then, somewhere down the line, there was a translation error, and people starting drawing their own conclusions. Maybe the “Lord of Light” isn’t going to show up and slay the White Walkers. Maybe a “Goldenhand” is.
Jamie’s Norse Mythology Parallels
One blogger, Dorian the Historian, posted about the parallels between Game of Thrones characters and figures from Norse mythology. The blogger drew comparisons between Jaime and Tyr, the one-handed God of War. One hand, right? Sounds familiar.
Tyr is the “champion for mankind”—and if Jaime is the Game of Thrones stand-in for Tyr, it looks like he’s going to be the champion for all the citizens of the Seven Kingdoms.
Jaime Might Bring About A Peaceful Resolution With The White Walkers
Jaime’s a little more chill than other contenders for the title of Prince (or Princess) That Was Promised. Dany and Jon are quicker to fight and burn things to the ground. These days, Jaime’s more about diplomacy these days. Take his actions at Riverrun as an example of his negotiation skills. Rather than resorting to violence and taking down Brynden Tully’s troops with his sheer numerical advantage, he broke it down for his enemy. Jaime didn’t immediately turn to violence; that part of his life is behind him. So, when it comes to the White Walkers, he might be able to take a more tactful approach, and it could result in less lives being lost to icy hands.
Remember, that’s not out of the realm of possibility. We know that White Walkers are capable of negotiation themselves; after all, Craster struck a deal with them to provide them with his male heirs in exchange for peaceful cohabitation. Maybe Jaime will be the one to strike a deal and broker peace with the frozen warriors. Peace and diplomacy just might be the answers to the problems in Westeros, not another epic war.