During Game of Thrones episodes three and four – “Oathbreaker” and “Book of the Stranger” – Melisandre calls Jon the Prince that was Promised. Is she right? What is the Prince that was Promised anyway?
In the A Song of Ice and Fire books, there are two saviors that are referenced – Azor Ahai Reborn and the Prince that was Promised. There are many overlapping qualities, and many people suspect they refer to the same person. There are prophecies associated with both, and they both concern saving the world from the Long Night/the darkness/the Others (White Walkers).
According to followers of R’hllor (The Lord of Light), Azor Ahai was a legendary hero who wielded a burning sword and fought the darkness that lay over the world. He may be connected to the Last Hero, who fought the Others during the Long Night with a blade of dragonsteel. Azor Ahai is prophesied to be reborn “after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. 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.”
Melisandre also states “When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.” She seems to believe the dragons will be made out of stone, because she later tells Stannis that “only a king’s blood can wake the stone dragon.” Melisandre wants him to sacrifice his nephew Edric Storm (a bastard sired by Robert Baratheon – replaced by Gendry on the show) and his “dragon shall awaken and spread his stony wings.”
Melisandre uses the Prince that was Promised interchangeably with Azor Azai Reborn, so she obviously believes they are one and the same. We get very little information about the Prince that was Promised, other than that he will be instrumental in the war for the dawn (presumably the fight against the Others), will be born from the line of Aerys (the Mad King) and Rhaella, and that his song is the song of ice and fire.
Since there are many similarities between the two prophecies, for the sake of argument let’s assume they are about the same person. Is Melisandre right in thinking it’s Jon? She first believed it was Stannis which was obviously incorrect (and appears to be the case in the books as well), and on the surface Daenerys seems to be a better fit.
Daenerys was born (literally) amidst salt (the sea) when she was born on the island fortress of Dragonstone. She was born again (figuratively) amidst smoke when she walked unburnt out of the fire of Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre. The bleeding red star (comet) also appeared at this time, while the darkness (Others) were gathering beyond the Wall. She woke dragons out of stone when she hatched the stony eggs in the pyre (using the Khal’s blood), and the dragons could be metaphorical swords.
Melisandre may have believed that Stannis was The Prince that was Promised if she saw Dragonstone in hear flames. He was the current Lord of Dragonstone, so it would make sense for her to seek him out. She believed in this vision so strongly that she tried to force the prophecy to fit him, giving him an illusory “burning” sword. However, he is not from the line of Aerys and Rhaella (although he does have Targaryen ancestry). Daenerys is both from their line – their daughter – and was born on Dragonstone.
Everything seems to point to Daenerys, but George R. R. Martin is quoted as saying that prophecies shouldn’t be “too literal or too easy,” and that they should “come true in unexpected ways.” With that in mind, how could this be applied to Jon Snow?
If you believe he is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, then he would be the grandson of Aerys and Rhaella and potentially the heir to the Iron Throne (if legitimate). That would make him the Prince of Dragonstone as his father was before him, so if Dragonstone was the key to Melisandre’s vision – and she assumed it was associated with the Prince that was Promised – it could have been pointing toward Jon.
We don’t know much of the circumstances of his birth, but likely there were tears (salt). His resurrection hasn’t happened in A Song of Ice and Fire, but on Game of Thrones he was resurrected amidst smoke (Melisandre burning his hair). There has also been speculation that salt and smoke were used to describe snow and steamy breath in cold air by people that had never seen it. Additionally as Jon was stabbed in the books, Bowen Marsh was crying, and his wounds were “smoking.”
There are theories in the books about the red star bleeding – that it could be the knight with the star sigil who was torn apart by Wun Wun right before Jon’s murder, or that it could refer to Melisandre (the theory for that is detailed here). We haven’t seen much evidence for this in the show, but they could be simplifying it for television.
Regarding “waking dragons out of stone,” this is where is gets tricky. Since Jon is unlikely to find dragon eggs or a literal stone dragon, some believe that Shireen’s burning is what leads to Jon’s rebirth. Greyscale looks like the skin turning to stone, so using magic caused by burning her (releasing her king’s blood) would be waking a dragon (Targaryens are frequently referred to as dragons in both the books and the show) from stone.
My personal belief is that there is proof of Jon’s Targaryen lineage in Lyanna’s crypt. One very convincing theory is that it is Rhaegar’s harp. Discovery of this proof would be a metaphorical way of waking a dragon from stone. Blood is used many times to refer to a relative – not actual blood – so perhaps the king’s blood of the prophecy means a relative of the king. Perhaps you don’t need this person’s actual blood, but just their presence. Jon is a king’s “blood” so he may find the evidence himself, or Bran (related to King Robb Stark) could discover this proof in a vision.
Finally, Lyanna asks Ned to promise her something before she dies. Most likely she asks him to protect Jon, or preserve his heritage by burying evidence with her, or both. Assuming Jon truly is a prince (not bastard born), then he is literally a promised prince.
Do you think Jon will be the savior of Westeros? If not, who do you predict it will be?