George R.R. Martin recently published… no, it’s not The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. Sorry. But it’s something nearly as good: Fire & Blood, which is like The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, if Edward Gibbon wrote about dragons. To promote the detailed history of the Targaryens, Martin filmed a video discussing the dragon Balerion and Aegon the Conqueror, and in the process, may have confirmed a long-standing fan theory.
Before we get to Martin’s comments, some (overly simplified) history: 8,000 years ago, the White Walkers tried to wipe out humanity during the Long Night, but they were thwarted by Azor Ahai, known as “The Last Hero,” who some (including Melisandre) believe will be reborn as The Prince That Was Promised. Fast forward to 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, when Aegon the Conqueror united the Seven Kingdoms (the North, the Riverlands, the Crownlands, etc.). This brings us back to Martin says in the video above.
“Aegon finally decided to take over Westeros and unify the Seven Kingdoms that existed at the time under one rule. There is a lot of speculation that in some sense he saw what was coming 300 years later, and wanted to unify the Seven Kingdoms to be better prepared for the threat that he eventually saw coming from the north — the threat that we are dealing with in A Song of Ice and Fire.”
Martin seems to be implying that Aegon knew that hundreds of years later, the White Walkers would rise again. And they did! Why does this matter? Well, as Polygon explains, “It’s possible Aegon thought himself to be Azor Ahai reborn and that the [White Walkers] could return at any time and so it was best to be prepared.” Or, more likely, “Maybe he assumed that if he installed himself as king, his heirs, who would go on to rule Westeros, would be strong enough to defend the country themselves.” Guess who’s also a Targaryen named Aegon trying to unite the Seven Kingdoms against a threat from the north?
Is Jon Snow the Prince That Was Promised? We’ll find out in April 2019, when Game of Thrones returns for its eighth and final season.