There has been much debate on whether Jon Snow is The Prince That Was Promised since it was first prophesized in Game of Thrones. And following the season 8 finale, fans were even more confused when the Prince was not revealed. This led to fans concluding Jon Snow to be the Prince that was Promised as the show’s storyline favours him for the role. And most people would argue that Jon did not do anything that would allow him to be worthy of the title. But those same people forget that the prophecy had nothing to do with defeating the Night King but everything to do with saving the realm. And while it can be argued that Jon fulfilled the prophecy by saving Westeros, why was there no confirmation that he was the saviour Azor Ahai?
There are many reasons that make it safe to conclude that Jon is the prophesized saviour, the reincarnation of Azor Ahai, and The Prince That Was Promised. One is that he is a Targaryen male, and he was able to take back Winterfell, join forces with Daenerys and her army, and then lead the battle to defeat the Night King and the White Walkers. But there were many factors that were dismissed when considering the identity of the saviour. If you want to know why Jon Snow is potentially not the Prince That Was Promised, read ahead.
The Words Used Within the Prophecy Are Gender-Neutral
This is one of the most essential elements of the prophecy that gets constantly overlooked within the tv show. The prophecy originated from the Valyrian language and was created with the Valyrian word for ‘dragon’, which is gender neutral. This detail was either lost in translation or simply overlooked, as it was assumed that only a man could fill this role. Either way, this creates room to suggest that it could be the Princess That Was Promised as much as it is the ‘Prince’. And this puts things into perspective, as now the prophecy can be viewed through a new lens, which means Jon is no longer the only qualifying contender. One recurring theme in Game of Thrones was the powerful women who tried to make a change.
The prophecy reads as follows per Melisandre’s words in A Clash Of Kings:
“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.”
Furthermore, it is stated that Azor Ahai was “born again amidst smoke and salt and shall wake dragons out of stone. He shall draw from the fire a burning sword, Lightbringer.”
Arya Stark as the Azor Ahai is one of the more prominent fan theories for the show. Arya being the one to fulfil the prophecy would fit her character, specifically her mission to break free of tradition and stereotypes for high-born girls. And three key events in the show led fans to believe that she may have been the prophesized saviour of Westeros.
First, there was Melisandre’s prophecy of the significant people Arya would assassinate. This was a small scene back in season 3 wherein Melisandre, a red priestess of R’hllor, met Arya Stark for the first time. Upon meeting her, she cups Arya’s face and informs her that she will forever shut three pairs of eyes. She specifically says, “I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me: brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever.” When this prophecy was foretold, everyone assumed the blue eyes she would shut belonged to one of the Lannisters on her list.
The second reason ties into the first with Arya’s defeat of the Night King. The two big adversaries she defeats throughout the series are Walder Frey, who has brown eyes, and the Night King, who has blue eyes. By destroying the leader of the White Walkers, she fulfils the prophecy of ending the ‘Long Night’ and bringing her people back into the light. And while this does not fit the prophecy word for word, it does fit the overall objective.
Third, there is the intense training Arya had to endure to become a Faceless Man. She had to say goodbye to her life as Arya Stark and be reborn again as No One. The prophecy places a lot of emphasis on being reborn, and Arya does this twice when she joins the Faceless Men and once more when she returns to Winterfell. Finally, she reprises her title of Arya Stark of Winterfell.
Lastly, there are the numerous times Beric Dondarrion is brought back from the dead by the Lord of Light. Only for him to finally fall at the hands of White Walkers at the Battle of Winterfell. Why did he sacrifice himself, though? To save Arya. It only makes sense that the Lord of Light would keep someone alive if they had a greater purpose, and it would seem that Beric’s goal was to ensure Arya stayed alive to defeat the Night King and save the people of Westeros. So again, Arya fits the script better than Jon does. However, there is one more person who is probably the best contender thus far.
Why Daenerys Targaryen is The Prince(ss) That Was Promised
This makes the most sense, especially if one looks at the origins of how Azor Ahai is born. The prophecy states that they were born amidst salt and smoke, a testament to Daenerys’ birth at Dragonstone and rebirth once again during Khal Drogo’s funeral. Dragonstone is an island of the narrow sea and would explain the ‘salt’ part of the prophecy. She then further fulfils this prophecy by climbing into Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre and emerging from the ashes unscathed. She is reborn as the Mother of Dragons, similar to how Arya was reborn as a Faceless Man.
Secondly is the part of the prophecy that mentions how the Prince That Was Promised would hatch dragons out of stone. Again, this is another feat that Daenerys achieved when she climbed into the burning pyre with her petrified dragon eggs. They were basically stone before she was able to hatch them in the fire and bring dragons back to the world for the first time in over a century. The fact that she is the only fireproof Targaryen so far should also hint at her true calling as the Lord of Light’s Azor Ahai (let’s ignore the fact that she isn’t actually fireproof in the books, or else this will become unnecessarily complicated).
Third, on multiple occasions and in numerous locations, Daenerys is considered to be a saviour. In her attempt to grow an army, so she can cross the seven seas and take the Iron Throne, Khaleesi liberates many of the cities she conquered. She is the ruler of Astapor, Yunkai, and Mereen by the time she is captured by the Dothraki Khal and taken to Vaes Dothrak. She also effectively takes over the Dothraki and further grows her army while liberating them. And on each occasion, it is seen that she genuinely cares about the well-being of her people despite the sheer number of them.
Third, although Daenerys is not welcomed in Westeros, she still brings an impenetrable army that can easily take out the Lannister forces holding the throne. This is where the creators of the show kind of blurred the lines with her character, but she does end up breaking the wheel. She assists Jon Snow in defeating the Night King and essentially helps to save the kingdom from being overrun. She stays true to her nature as a saviour, leader, and Queen despite her ‘descent into madness’.
If there were a comparison between the three contending characters, then Daenerys and Jon would most likely fulfil the prophecy. However, this is all speculation with no real answer to the question until George RR Martin decides to finish the novel series. But for argument’s sake (and putting aside D&D’s terrible character arc for her in the final season), the most likely person would be Daenerys Targaryen. Why emphasize the fact that the prophecy is gender-neutral, and why focus so heavily on her storyline if she was not meant for something extraordinary? Again, she could have seen numerous other destinies, but this one perfectly coincides with her character arc.
Furthermore, George has already confirmed that the ending of the novels will not be similar to the end of the tv series. So, there might be hope that the Azor Ahai will be revealed.