You never know what’s going to happen next on Game of Thrones, especially now that the show has outpaced George R.R. Martin’s books. But Martin didn’t just build the world of Westeros up with several thousand years worth of detailed history, he also plotted a lot of things out into the future using prophecy. He’s on the record as a big fan of prophecy as a literary device, almost as big of a fan as he is of subverting traditional fantasy tropes like good vs. evil, heroes winning, and rightful heirs ending up on the throne. So while he has cooked a ton of prophecy into the Game of Thrones series, he’s made it very clear both in the books and in interviews that they rarely play out the way you think they will.
“Prophecy is like a half-trained mule,” Tyrion says in A Dance With Dragons. “It looks as though it might be useful, but the moment you trust in it, it kicks you in the head.”
That’s just as true on the show as it is in the books as we’ve seen prophecy misinterpreted over and over by many characters. Even Melisandre, who enjoys a flame-based direct line to R’hllor, has an atrocious batting record when it comes to accurately understanding the many visions she’s seeing. But there’s no doubt some force is giving people glimpses into a very real and inevitable future. Unfortunately, the practical outcomes of said prophecies have proven very difficult to deduct.
Unlike the people at the center of prophecy who tend to die in terrible and often ironic fashion, viewers get to appreciate the symbolism and twists cooked into a prophecy once it plays out. Bran saw the sea flowing over the walls of Winterfell, and soon after Theon Greyjoy sacked the castle with a force of Ironborn. Melisandre assured Stannis he’d defeat the Boltons because she had visions of flayed men banners being lowered to the ground. That exact thing happened … but only after Stannis died in battle and Jon Snow won back the North.
With only six episodes left before Game of Thrones ends, it’s definitely time for all the major prophecies to play out. Here are all the ones left that are set to shape the course of events in season eight.
The Prince That Was Promised
This is the big one that underpins the entire story of Game of Thrones. When evil stirs and threatens to destroy all life, a hero is born that will save the world. That’s the general gist of several conspicuously similar prophecies from the various corners of the world.
In Westeros, it’s the legend of the Last Hero, who drove the White Walkers back during the last Long Night. In Asshai he’s called Azor Ahai, and he defeated the darkness with Lightbringer, a magical sword he drove through the heart of his beloved wife Nissa Nissa. In Yi Ti it’s a woman with the tail of a monkey that saved us all. And there’s Yin Tar, Hyrkoon the Hero, Neferion, and Eldric Shadowchaser too.
So there’s evidence in the books that this battle between light and darkness has happened a number of times before in different parts of the world. In the show, things are kept a bit simpler, with things sticking primarily to the prophecy of Azor Ahai reborn. And what do we know about him? Well, he may not even be a ‘he’ because the prophecy of The Prince That Was Promised was written in High Valyrian, where the word ‘prince’ is gender neutral.
Past that, Melisandre has said, “When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt.” She said Ahai would draw Lightbringer from the flames to fight the darkness. The Prince That Was Promised would also “wake the stone dragons.”
Based on everything we’ve seen, it certainly seems like Daenerys fits that bill the best. She’s born amidst the salt of Dragonstone island, and was reborn in the smoke and fire of Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre, which also woke the stone dragons inside her petrified dragon eggs. Right after that goes down, a giant red comet shows up in the sky. That’s some pretty convincing evidence. But there’s also the argument that Jon Snow may be Azor Ahai. He’s of the same Targaryen blood as Daenerys. He was also born under a red star: the star sigil on Arthur Dayne’s sword, very visible in Bran’s vision of the event. His mother Lyanna made Ned promise to protect him – another hint he’s the Prince That Was Promised?
We hope so for his sake, because there’s just enough of the Lightbringer legend included in the show to make us think whoever of the two isn’t Azor Ahai could end up being Nissa Nissa.
The Prophecy of Maggy the Frog
At the start of season five, a flashback shows Cersei Lannister demanding to know her future from a woods witch known as Maggy the Frog. There was good news and bad news. The good: Cersei would indeed become the queen. The bad: But only “until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear.” Even worse: Maggy predicted the death of all three of Cersei’s children.
So far, Maggy is two for three. We still haven’t seen that younger, more beautiful other that’s supposed to cast Cersei down. When telling Jaime about the prophecy at the start of season six, Cersei attributed that bit to Margaery Tyrell, but a cache of wildfire under Baelor’s sept proved that theory wrong. For years it’s been generally accepted that this refers to Daenerys Targaryen, so maybe we have that to look forward to in season eight. But it’s worth noting that the prophecy doesn’t specifically state this has to be another queen, opening things up quite a bit.
There’s another part of Maggy the Frog’s prophecy in the books that was struck from the show completely. Why is unclear. At that point Game of Thrones showrunners knew they’d be wrapping up the series before George R.R. Martin ended the books. Perhaps they wanted to leave some wiggle room on what Cersei’s fate would be? Perhaps they’d already decided on going in a completely different direction. But we can’t bring up Maggy’s prophecy without mentioning the Valonqar.
“And when your tears have drowned you,” Maggy said (in the books), “The valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
Valonqar is Valyrian for ‘little brother.’ With Cersei beating Jaime out of the womb during their birth, that keeps him in the running with Tyrion for that designation. Or it could be anyone who happens to be a little brother. Euron Greyjoy is the little brother of former king Balon, and he certainly seems like a person who’d strangle Cersei given half an excuse. Sandor Clegane is little brother to The Mountain, he’d fit nicely too. But so would an endless number of characters, considering how fully formed the family trees of noble houses are in George R.R. Martin’s writings.
A slippery prophecy indeed, with the only certainty being a bad time for Cersei in season eight.
Mirri Maz Duur’s Prophecy
After sacrificing her unborn baby to save Khal Drogo’s life in season 1, he’s left a hollow shell of his former self. When Dany asked Mirri Maz Duur when he’d get better, she responded “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.”
So long answer short, he’s never getting better and P.S. you’re barren. But is this really a prophecy, or just more smug smack talk from a woman that just tricked Daenerys into trading her baby for a vegetable? This one is interesting because it’s been taken at face value as prophecy by Daenerys, and she’s repeatedly referenced her assumed inability to have children in season seven. But is it true?
The Dosh Khaleen’s Prophecy
Interestingly enough, there is a largely forgotten prophecy that comes from more reliable sources that contradicts Mirri Maz Duur. Back in season one, Daenerys visits Vaes Dothrak and eats the heart of a freshly slaughtered horse. The dosh khaleen read the omens and declare her child will be the Stallion Who Mounts the World.
“A prince is riding,” the Dosh Khaleen declared. “I’ve heard the thunder of his hooves, swift as the wind he rides. His enemies will cower before him and their wives will weep tears of blood. The Stallion Who Mounts the World! The Stallion is the Khal of Khals. He shall unite the people into a single khalisar, all the people of the world will be his herd.”
Now maybe Mirri Maz Duur killed the Stallion Who Mounts The World, but she’d be the first person in Game of Thrones history to successfully derail fate. What’s more likely is that Daenerys and Jon have a baby, and that child is the Stallion, playing a major role in the future of the world. What role, exactly? Some fans have theorized that the White Walkers’ end game revolves around claiming the baby, and wouldn’t that just be the ultimate twist to this story without a happy ending? Of course, that’s just complete speculation. Fortunately, season eight is finally here and about to give us some real answers.