“Prophecies are dangerous things”, Red Priestess Melisandre (Carice Van Houten) tells Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) upon meeting the khaleesi-queen in Game Of Thrones’ seventh season. But, Westeros is a dangerous place. So, it makes sense prophecies, visions, and mystical foretellings are practically in the GoT air.
As everyone in Westeros’ destiny comes to a head with Thrones’ eighth and final season, it seems we’re finally going to find out how all those enigmatic predications all turn out. That means these prophecies will have an even greater influence on HBO’s fantasy drama than before.
Here, we digest the most urgent prophecies hanging over GoT season 8, whom they could apply to, and even which episode you need to watch to really understand them. All men must die, but do the ancient texts have a few spoilers?
The Azor Ahai Prophecy
What is the prophecy?: “Darkness will fall heavy on the world. Stars will bleed. The cold breath of winter will freeze the seas, and the dead shall rise in the North,” Melisandre announces in her 2012 Thrones debut. “In the ancient books it is written that a warrior will draw a burning sword from the fire. And that sword will be Lightbringer.”
We’re attributing this quote to the Azor Ahai prophecy — rather than the soon-to-come Prince Who Was Promised prophecy — because Lightbringer was invoked. The mythological figure Azor Ahai is the one who forged the sword Lightbringer.
According to the oldest texts, Azor is destined to be reborn in order to fight back the apocalyptic, freezing darkness, aka the White Walkers. Between Thrones and the book series it is inspired by, George R.R. Martin’s A Song Of Ice And Fire series, we get a few tidbits on their identity. Azor 2.0 must be “born of salt and smoke,” as this hilarious video reminds us, signalled by the appearance of a “bleeding star,” and “wake dragons from stone.” Also, the original Azor murdered his soulmate to forge Lightbringer, so that doesn’t bode well for the new hero’s partner.
What episode should you watch to understand the prophecy?: Start with Melisandre's season 2 premiere introduction, “The North Remembers.” From there, pay close attention to her more enigmatic phrasing throughout Thrones.
Who could it apply to?: Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are the leading contenders. While Jon wasn’t exactly born amidst salt and smoke in Dorne’s Tower Of Joy, many fans have pointed out he did arrive in the world under a bleeding star. As “Winds Of Winter” confirms, Young Ned (Sean Bean) arrived in Jon’s birthing room holding the bloody sword of fallen knight Arthur Dayne. The warrior’s weapon both has a star design on it and was made from a fallen star.
Dany easily checks off all the gimmicky Azor qualifiers. She was born on the salty, smoky island of Dragonstone. A red comet was seen after she stepped out of Khal Drogo’s (Jason Momoa) season 1 “Fire And Blood” funeral pyre. And, she woke dragons from literal stone that same day, since her “children” were previously rocky dragon eggs.
The Prince Who Was Promised Prophecy
What is the prophecy?: As Melisandre tells Dany upon meeting her in season 7, “The Long Night is coming. Only the Prince Who Was Promised can bring the dawn.” Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) interjects, revealing the noun for “prince” in the prophecy’s native High Valyrian has no gender. So, the “Prince or Princess” can bring the dawn.
This POPWWP prophecy is separated from Azor Ahai because different people use different phrases, they have different backstories, and the jury is split on whether these two legends speak of the same person or two entirely separate heroes. However, like Azor Ahai, the POPWWP is also destined to save humanity.
The ASOIAF series suggests Jon’s true father, Rhaegar Targaryen (Wilf Scolding), was obsessed with this prophecy.
What episode should you watch to understand the prophecy?: Melissndre directly mentions the prophecy twice in memorable ways. The first instance arrives in season 6’s “Oathbreaker,” after she resurrects Jon. “The Lord Of Light let you back for a reason,” the priestess tell him. “Stannis was not the Prince Who Was Promised, but someone has to be.”
Then there is Melissandre’s previously noted first conversation with Dany in season 7’s second episode, “Stormborn.”
Who could it apply to?: Melissandre probably has it most right in “Stormborn” when she predicts Dany and Jon both have a role to play in this prophecy. However, the very pointed reminder this prophecy isn’t gender specific does give Dany the narrative edge.
The Valonqar Prophecy
What is the prophecy?: In the Song Of Ice And Fire book series, young Cersei visits a wood witch named Maggy The Frog, who predicts the future queen’s destiny. Nearly all of the prophecies have come true save for the terrifying final line, which promises, “When your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands around your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
“Valonqar” means “little brother” in High Valyrian.
What episode should you watch to understand the prophecy?: Season 5 premiere, “The Wars To Come.” This is where Thrones gives its sole flashback cold open, where Maggy (Jodhi May) cackles the prophecies at a tween Cersei (Nell Williams). However, the scene ends before Maggy shares the haunting “valonqar” portion. It’s possible TV Cersei did hear the “Valonqar” prophecy, and the moment is simply left out, because Cersei looks absolutely terrified when the flashback dissolves into the present day.
Who could it apply to?: Both Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) qualify as “little brother” to Cersei. Since that moment in the woods, it’s likely Cersei believed Tyrion would grow up to be her murderer, especially since she has seen him as much since the day of his birth (the Lannister siblings’ mother Joanna died in childbirth).
Yet, considering Cersei and Jaime’s newfound enmity, and Jaime’s status as the King Slayer, it’s far more likely Cersei’s twin will soon be known as the Queen Slayer.
The “Dragon Has Three Heads” Prophecy
What is the prophecy?: It’s a fairly basic, deeply Targaryen prediction from the ASOIAF series. During Dany’s in-book trip to the house of Quarth’s House Of The Undying, she hallucinates a vision of her big brother Rhaegar speaking to a woman nursing a baby (we can now assume it’s Rhaegar and Lyanna with Jon/Aegon). At one point during the illusion, Rhaegar turns to Dany and says, "There must be one more. The dragon has three heads."
The Targaryen sigil is a three-headed dragon. As Thrones obsessives know, the first Targaryen conquerors were King Aegon, the OG king of Westeros, and his two sister-wives Visenya and Rheanna. In terms of Dany’s desire to conquer Westeros, the question is: Who are the other two heads of her dragon? Do all three represent the dragon riders who will bring Westeros under Targaryen rule once again?
What episode should you watch to understand the prophecy?: There is no episode around the Three Heads prophecy. But you should watch season 2 finale “Valar Morghulis” to understand the dreamlike quality of Dany’s House Of The Undying vision (In fact, more on that episode in a second).
Who could it apply to?: Jon Snow, son of Rhaegar and named for Aegon Targaryen, is all but promised to be one of the dragon “Heads.” It’s the third so-called “Dragon” that is a mystery. One possibility is Dany’s right hand man Tyrion, who dreamed of dragons as a boy. Another smart bet would be on any child Dany could have with Jon, sealing the Targaryen bloodline for the future.
The House Of The Undying Prophecies
What is the prophecy?: This dreamlike season 2 sequence isn’t a strict prophecy, but can be viewed as metaphors for Dany's future. The first scene shows snow falling in the Red Keep’s throne room. The ceiling has been absolutely destroyed. Dany leaves a wintery King’s Landing and walks through a passageway to the Wall — remember, this is magic — and finds a tent outside the boundary. The late Khal Drogo (Jason Mamoa) is in the now-sunny tent with a baby, whom we’re meant to believe is the son Dany lost a season prior.
While Dany’s loves this warm fantasy, she leaves it all to find her baby dragons, which Quarth’s warlocks have stolen.
What episode should you watch to understand the prophecy?: All of this occurs in the previously mentioned season 2 finale, “Valar Morghulis.”
What could it apply to?: The winter hellscape in the Red Keep could either foretell Jon Snow winning the Iron Throne or the Night King’s inevitable seizure of Westeros. That really depends on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist.
Dany’s trip through the wall and back towards her Sun And Stars could mean a few things. It’s possible the warlocks believed such a vision would seduce Dany into forgetting about her dragons (therefore keeping them, and their powerful mother, in the House forever). Or, it could hint Dany has to symbolically go through the Wall, a place deeply connected to Jon Snow, to return to Khal Drogo and her son.
Mirri Maz Duur’s Prophecies
What is the prophecy?: When Dany shows up to Drogo’s imaginary “Valar Morghulis” tent, she refers to a few words that explain why she must leave him. They are, “When the sun rises in the west, sets in the east. When the seas go dry, when the mountains blow in the wind like leaves.” That is when Khal Drogo will return to Dany, according to Lhazareen healer-sorceress Mirri Maz Duur (Mia Soteriou). In season 1, Miri manipulated the Targaryen princess into sacrificing her unborn son’s life and turning her husband into a comatose husk after a Dothraki Khallasar devastated the midwife’s village.
A heartbroken Dany repeats Mirri’s words to catatonic Drogo before suffocating him in the season 1 finale.
What episode should you watch to understand the prophecy?: All of this upsetting drama unfolds over season 1’s “Fire And Blood.” It also pushes Dany into that infamous funeral pyre, which she steps out of as the mother of three dragons.
What could it apply to?: While Jonerys fans may not want their Khaleesi back with Drogo, just know if the weather patterns get really, really wild — that’s exactly what you’ll be seeing.
The eighth and final season of Game of Thrones starts on Monday 15th April at 1am on Sky Atlantic in the UK