Editor’s Note: this post contains potential spoilers for Game of Thrones — particularly if you aren’t caught up with the show. It also mentions some book-related content so don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Most fans of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books have long speculated that Tyrion Lannister was not really a full Lannister at all, rather the bastard child of Joanna Lannister and Mad King Aerys Targaryen (who was long noted to be obsessed with Joanna and possibly/maybe raped her in the past, because Thrones). It’s a tantalizing theory that’s really only worth anything when taken into consideration with another. Namely, the fact that it has long been assumed that in order to ride a dragon — and in turn be one of the three heads to ride Dany’s kiddies into the future to save Westeros from the White Walkers — one must have Targaryen blood. What if that third head wasn’t the long-considered Tyrion, but actually someone else? It’s a theory oft-discussed without many credible alternative options—until now.
Has Game of Thrones been setting up the Kingslayer to be the ultimate hero after all? (I know!)
Though it has been posited before on Reddit (because of course), it wasn’t until Mashable‘s Alex Hazlett highlighted one of the new photos from season 7 as a possible confirmation that our interest was piqued. Flames fanned further, we decided to look into it ourselves and, well? We think it totally holds up, thanks to the sword he’s carrying—a sword that could kill his older twin sister/true love and sets him on a path to redemption and dragon-riding-hood. Let’s break it down.
On a Prophecy Level
Now, GRRM has stated many times that prophecies can be wrong and/or an amalgamation of the actual truth. In order to consider how Jaime plays into that, we have to look at the variations of the Prince That Was Promised (PTWP) and/or Azor Ahai prophecies themselves and assume that the PTWP and Azor Ahai are one in the same. According to the prophecy as recounted by Melisandre, the PTWP will be born “after a long summer, when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world” and born again “amidst smoke and salt,” waking “dragons out of stone. He will carry a burning sword called Lightbringer.
This mirrors what is said by Benerro (Kinvara on the show), the high priest of R’hllor at the Red Temple in the free city of Volantis. In this iteration, the prophecy also says that Azor Ahai was born from smoke and salt and was sent to make the world anew, triumphing over the dark to bring about a new long summer (one that may never end!). Benerro even goes on to assert that “Death itself will bend its knee, and all those who die fighting in Azor Ahai’s cause shall be reborn.”
So what if Jaime, sent to Dragonstone to parlay with Dany (in this case could be see as Death), finally triumphs over the dark (Cersei’s hold on him) to come to the hero’s side?
On a Personal Level
Looking at Azor Ahai’s journey as more of a template than a literal translation of what’s to come, it’s easy to see how it works on a thematic level. But what about a literal one, if Targaryen blood is so important? Well, it’s easy if you ask yourself the following question: what if Cersei and Jaime were actually the bastard kids of Joanna and Aerys?
As we mentioned above, Joanna was possibly-maybe raped by the Mad King Aerys (there are rumors) and birthed a child that was his and not Tywin’s. Most have assumed it was Tyrion given his impish stature, but Cersei and Jaime shouldn’t be discounted. Look at their golden hair, their love of, erm, loving each other (another Targaryen trait), and Cersei’s straight-up insanity. Taken separately they mean very little. But when considered together, it certainly looks a little more dragon-y in nature.
And then there’s that sword we mentioned before. In order for Lightbringer—the sword of Azor Ahai to be created—the following will take place:
To fight the darkness, Azor Ahai needed to forge a hero’s sword. He labored for thirty days and thirty nights until it was done. However, when he went to temper it in water, the sword broke. He was not one to give up easily, so he started over. The second time he took fifty days and fifty nights to make the sword, even better than the first. To temper it this time, he captured a lion and drove the sword into its heart, but once more the steel shattered. The third time, with a heavy heart, for he knew before hand what he must do to finish the blade, he worked for a hundred days and nights until it was finished. This time, he called for his wife, Nissa Nissa, and asked her to bare her breast. He drove his sword into her breast, her soul combining with the steel of the sword, creating Lightbringer, while her cry of anguish and ecstasy left a crack across the face of the moon.
Considering prophecy as a guideline and not literal, if Jaime were to drive the sword into the heart of his true love, Cersei, if we consider her to be half lion (Lannister) and half Targaryen (which would’ve made them husband and wife if they were raised in the family), Lightbringer could easily be wrought. And we know Cersei is supposed to die at the hand of the valonqer, a.k.a. a younger brother in Valyrian—and Jaime is younger by a few minutes. Take all of that into consideration and it’s not hard to see how such a huge theory leap is possible.
On a GRRM Level
I mean, c’mon… Think about Game of Thrones as a whole story. GRRM has worked his ass off to surprise his audience and upend our expectations about people, places, and things. Red herrings abound and prophecy is often only half true. So while it may feel more literal to see either Jon Snow or Dany or even Tyrion as the Prince That Was Promised, more figurative journeys have also proven themselves worthy of consideration. And that expectation is exactly the sort of thing GRRM loves to subvert.
What do you think of the theory? Let us know in the comments below!
Images and GIFs: HBO
Want More GoT goodness? Check out this theory from Nerdist News: