*Warning: This article contains potential spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 7*
Such is the level of depth with Game of Thrones, often the significant is contained in the innocuous. That's the case with HBO's recent release of official photos for Season 7; while not appearing to give anything away, they did, in fact, hint at a long-awaited, overarching mythology that'll have huge repercussions for the eventual ending.
In an impressive discovery within a community full of eagle-eyed and passionate fans, Reddit user itsjayrr noted familiar text in a photo of Samwell Tarly and Gilly. The two lovebirds sit in candlelight, sharing a tender moment of knowledge consumption. Upon close inspection, the excerpt Gilly is reading from taken from The World of Ice & Fire verbatim, reading as follows:
It is also written that there are annals in Asshai of such a darkness, and of a hero who fought against it with a red sword. His deeds are said to have been performed before the rise of Valyria, in the earliest age when Old Ghis was first forming its empire. This legend has spread west from Asshai, and the followers of R'hllor claim that this hero was named Azor Ahai, and prophesy his return.
In the Jade Compendium, Colloquo Votar recounts a curious legend from Yi Ti, which states that the sun hid its face from the earth for a lifetime, ashamed at something none could discover, and that disaster was averted only by the deeds of a woman with a monkey's tail.
In particular, there are two words that stand out like Drogon in a Pet Store — Azor Ahai. Those two words form a name, a name of great significance in Game of Thrones folklore. #AzorAhai, also known as The Prince That Was Promised, a legendary hero who saved The Known World from #WhiteWalkers the last time they descended from the North, some 8,000 years ago.
- Azor Ahai 101: Who Is The Prince That Was Promised?
- Which 'Game Of Thrones' Character Could Be The Second Coming Of The Legendary Warrior, Azor Ahai?
- Will Melisandre Appear In 'Game Of Thrones' Season 7? The Lord Of Light Has Sent Some Evidence
The Legend Of Azor Ahai In 'Game Of Thrones' Season 7
Up until now, the legend of Azor Ahai — who was said to forge a special sword known as #lightbringer — has mainly stayed within the remit of George R. R. Martin's novels series, as well as the untold history in The World of Ice & Fire. In the show, Melisandre has been the main believer, once speculating that Stannis Baratheon was Azor 2.0. Spoilers: She was wrong.
Away from the show, plenty of theories have made suggestions on who the Prince That Was Promised could be. The most popular choice is Jon Snow, with one particular theory on the Game of Thrones ending suggesting the whole thing is an elaborate metaphor. Regardless of who the chosen one is, this photo from Season 7 could foreshadow Samwell Tarly as the real hero.
Jon Snow's BFF has so far split opinion within the fanbase. Some love him. Some see him as, well, a bit pointless. But that is set to change. In Season 5, Jon Snow asked Samwell to travel to Old Town to study to become the new Maester of the Watch, replacing the recently deceased Maester Aemon. Toward the end of #GameOfThrones Season 6, Samwell arrives at the Citadel, ready to embark on his journey of wisdom.
Will Samwell Tarley Be The True Hero?
Considering GRRM himself stated he was most like Tarly, there's a growing sense he's following a hero's journey. A neat link between the Citadel and the opening credits led to a popular #theory suggesting that the entirety of the show is historic, with events being "narrated" by an elderly Samwell as he absorbs information in the Citadel.
Whether that becomes true or not, it looks likely he'll discover a way to defeat the biggest threat approaching Westeros — White Walkers. The Game of Thrones Season 7 photograph itself is a nice link to the mythology, and suggests Samwell will set the wheels in motion.
Another small, heartwarming detail is the fact that Samwell taught Gilly how to read, and it'd be fitting if thanks to her newly learned talent, she brings the the legend of Azor Ahai to Samwell's attention, leading to him becoming a hero, the boy who could't fight becoming the man who saved the world.
Will Samwell become a Game of Thrones hero? Or is this a red herring?