Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones’ “The Bells.”
Most of what we know about The Prince That Was Promised prophecy comes from the books. We’ve been told that this great savior would be born amidst smoke and salt and would wake dragons from stone. The show was never bound by those parameters, even though they still pointed to certain characters being Azor Ahai, especially Jon and Daenerys. But one aspect of the prophecy has always felt relevant to Game of Thrones, even if it has never been spoken aloud on the show. It is said of the foretold prince that “his is the song of ice and fire,” which references George R.R. Martin’s book series the show is based on, A Song of Ice and Fire.
Jon Snow had always been the odds-on-favorite to be the prince because, as the son of ice (Lyanna Stark) and fire (Rhaegar Targaryen), “his song” combined both elements in a way no one else’s could. But since killing the Night King was the entire point of the prophecy, Arya sticking her dagger in his icy belly necessitated a change in reading. Perhaps the song of ice and fire was irrelevant to the prophecy, or maybe her action proved that the whole thing was always a lie. But maybe we simply hadn’t understood what a song of ice and fire really meant.
George R.R. Martin once said prophecies are a double-edge sword. “You have to handle them very carefully; I mean, they can add depth and interest to a book, but you don’t want to be too literal or too easy.” It’s a sentiment his own characters are aware of, as they often speak of how dangerous and foolhardy it can be trying to interpret them. Melisandre herself learned that lesson when Stannis died. By time she returned to Winterfell, she had stopped trying to understand them at all.
Fans looking for a character to unite ice and fire into one harmonious, world-saving song were taking the prophecy too literally. If Arya kills Daenerys Targaryen following her descent into tyranny, she will truly be the Prince That Was Promised in a way we hadn’t considered before. Arya’s will be a song of ice and fire; it will just be a song about destroying both instead of uniting them.
The tales the bards will sing of Arya Stark will be a story about how she saved the world from the darkness of both ice (White Walkers) and fire (the Dragon Queen). They are two sides of the same coin, as both bring death and destruction. A world engulfed in dragonflame is no better than a world covered in ice. King’s Landing was no safer from Daenerys than Winterfell was from the Night King. Maybe that’s why the he couldn’t be burned, because the Night King and the dragon were equals.
Even before Daenerys murdered almost a million people in King’s Landing, dragons had killed more people than the White Walkers ever did. The Valyrian Freehold, the greatest empire the world has ever known, was built in fire and blood long before House Targaryen came to Westeros. The world needed a hero to save it from dragons just as much as it needed a hero to save it from White Walkers.
We were told of the Prince That Was Promised “his is the song of ice and fire,” and Arya could still prove that to be true. The prophecy wasn’t wrong, we were just listening to the wrong notes.