Spoilers ahead: Don’t read if you haven’t watched “The Long Night.”
After last night’s epic, feature-length battle episode, “The Long Night,” there are only three installments left in Game of Thrones‘ eighth and final season. We’ve now had 70 episodes—and more than seven long years—to ponder and predict the zillion ways the epic fantasy, with its zillion clues, could end. But this week, many of those hypotheses—so carefully crafted by fans and Reddit users—were made imminently less likely when Arya Stark plunged her dagger into the Night King’s gut. Suddenly, Arya, who was molded into an assassin by the Faceless Men of Braavos for two seasons (5 and 6) seems most likely to be Azor Ahai, aka “the Prince (or Princess) Who Was Promised.”
In GOT lore, Azor Ahai is the legendary figure in the religion of R’hllor who originally fought against the original darkness (the Night King and the Army of the Dead) with a red sword named Lightbringer. Melisandre and the other red priests and priestesses believe a reincarnated, reborn Azor Ahai, considered “the One True Savior,” is the hero who will bring an end to darkness.
Here’s what the prophecy says: “There will come a day 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 originally hung her red cape on Stannis Baratheon as the incarnation of Azor Ahai, believing him to be the Prince Who Was Promised for several seasons. We all know how that went. But when she was able to bring back Jon Snow from the dead, it seemed pretty clear that he, the once and future Aegon Targaryan, was most likely Azor Ahai.
Later, it was revealed by Missandei, translator of High Valyrian, that the word for “prince” is actually genderless and could therefore just as easily mean “princess.” So then Daenerys emerged as another possible contender.
Yes, Arya murdered the Night King and took down the Army of the Dead, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s Azor Ahai. That’s still up in the air, but last night’s episode put to bed some other popular fan theories. Rest now, Redditors—a good deal of your theory watch has ended.
Bran is the Night King. This might have been the most pervasive theory of all—Bran as a time traveler who got caught in a time warp with the Children of the Forest and their dragon glass through the heart. Let’s give it a rest now, shall we?
Bran will warg into a dragon—dead or alive. We know Bran can warg into animals (direwolf) or humans (Hodor), so it was always assumed he’d warg into the undead Viserion just as the Night King encroached. But no. Now Viserion’s really croaked and there’s no need for that. But the original Three Eyed Raven did predict: “You will never walk again, Brandon Stark. But you WILL fly.” So maybe he’ll warg to defeat Cersei and Euron one way or another? I mean, he’s got to fly—right?
Ned, Catelyn, and Robb Stark will rise in the crypts to terrorize their living relatives. Seems like the showrunners wisely decided that some long dead martyred good guys/gals should simply stay that way. Thanks for the intact memories, guys.
Dany will be the Night Queen. Good thing that didn’t happen. She’s pale enough as it is.
Cersei will be the Night Queen. Likewise, she’s evil enough as it is. But other prophecies of doom regarding Cersei were always much more likely. That was too easy a fate for her.
Melisandre and Kinvara will team up and bring an army to Winterfell. Nope, Melisandre just brought her choker. Though she certainly did help out a bit. And where’s Kinvara when you need her? Will the Red Priestess who appeared in a single episode (Season 6, episode 5) remain a one-hit wonder—or will she come back to plague Varys with her dark magic?
The Night King will destroy the Citadel before Winterfell. A popular Reddit theory in the last few weeks had the Night King skipping the Battle of Winterfell, since two dragons vs. a dead dragon didn’t make for good odds—and he could knock out the history of humanity in books, at least. Lucky for the Maesters, they’re all still standing.
The Night King will trash King’s Landing instead of Winterfell. The idea was that the Night King would easily take King’s Landing and make Cersei his queen. Guess he wasn’t as smart as we gave him credit for.
The magic will die. This end-game theory proposed that Bran would sacrifice himself to the Night King to keep the rest of Winterfell alive—which would kill the Weirwood Tree, the seat of all magic, therefore killing all the magical elements of the Game of Thrones universe: the dragons (alive and undead), the reincarnated Jon Snow, the power of dragon glass, the Red Priests, etc., etc.