Warning: This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.
As Season 7 of Game of Thrones continues to propel us into the nightmarish depths of a war-ravaged Westeros, it's only a matter of time before our predictions regarding a few choice theories are come to fruition. And in particular, we've all been losing our minds over one particular thing: Who will turn out to be the Azor Ahai the Seven Kingdoms have been waiting for?
For years, fans of George R. R. Martin's fantasy spectacle have been deliberating that very question, with two contenders in particular stepping up to the mark — King of North aka our best man Jon Snow and our beloved Mother of Dragons, Daenaerys Targaryen. If you need a brief introduction to why some think these two could be the real deal, watch our "The Legend of Azor Ahai" explanation below:
By now, most of us have succumbed to the idea that either Dany or Jon (or both) will turn out to be the Azor Ahai. However, an incredibly detailed theory making its rounds on Reddit has chosen to focus on another candidate and quite frankly, it could not be more perfect.
Bear with me as we dissect the #GameOfThrones theory behemoth below:
Could The True Savior Be The 'Gold Hand?'
Reddit user byrd82 begins by suggesting that the term "The Lord of Light" is the result of a Valyrian mistranslation:
"The Lord of Light is a farce. Valyrian words for gold and hand are 'aeksion' and 'ondos.' Valyrian words for lord and light are 'aeksio' and 'onos.' Could a translation error have led to the erroneous creation of a religion? Will the true savior be the 'Gold Hand?' Artifacts point to the mistranslation — for instance, the Lord of Light's army is called the 'Fiery Hand.' These kinds of misinterpretations and mistranslations are discussed by Aemon to alert us to look for them. But,
So, who is it that we know to have a golden hand? Well, Jaimie Lannister of course. And according to this particular theory, the infamous Kingslayer isn't just the Azor Ahai, but The Prince That Was Promised and the Valonqar. A 3-for-1 deal, if you will.
'To Fight The Darkness, Azor Ahai Needed To Forge A Hero's Sword'
Essentially, if you peel apart Jaimie's GoT journey up to Season 7, his nature and drastic, redemptive transformation signals that he's got what it takes. And it all essentially begins with the loss of his hand, a harrowing chapter that basically turns him from a detested Lannister to someone we actually don't hate too much. To explain this further, here are the first lines of the Azor Ahai legend:
"Darkness lay over the world and a hero, Azor Ahai, was chosen to fight against it. To fight the darkness, Azor Ahai needed to forge a hero's sword."
For Redditor byrd8, it is Jaimie who forges his hero's sword, metaphorically by shedding himself of his notorious Kingslayer reputation. Ultimately, he loses the thing that represents his soul's corruption (his killing hand), making him depart from his former self. At one point, he even laments to Brienne that he is no longer the person that he used to be — "I was that hand."
Later, Qyburn talks of "cutting away" the infection when he tends to Jaimie's bloody stump and in Season 3, Episode 7, he's finally happy to see that he's "stymied the corruption." Repeating the former maester's words under his breath, it's almost as if the Lannister confirms that his character is now also free of this rot internally:
Once Jaimie loses his hand, his sister Cersei also comments that he's a different man now. Exclaiming that "everything's changed" now that he's back "with no apologies and one hand," she reiterates that he's lost a "rather important part" of himself. For a woman who revels in revenge and the corruption of her brother, the fact that he's been transformed for the better is undesirable. However, for Jaimie, the path for redemption has been set in stone and he is well on his way to being reborn.
The Redditor then zones in on the fact that, according to the Azor Ahai prophesy, the hero must forge his sword three times, adding:
"I believe this is because with each attempt, his connection to Cersei corrupts him, necessitating multiple 'forgings.' This cycle will eventually lead to the fulfilment of the Valonqar and Nissa Nissa/Azor Ahai prophecies in the same act — the death of Cersei at the hand of Jaime."
'When He Went To Temper It In Water, The Sword Broke'
With Jaimie having begun his transformative journey, the next portion of the legend reads as follows:
"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 theory heavily suggests that when he shares a bath with Brienne — telling her the Mad King Aerys story — he also symbolically leaves his former self behind. Essentially, in confessing the Kingslayer tale, he is "tempering" with his own character and his choice words entering the bathhouse ("not so hard, you'll run the skin off) is another subtle reference to the shedding of his own skin.
Later, he passes out in the bath after staring at the stump of his sword hand, deeming him physically "broken." When Brienne calls for help for the "Kingslayer," he bites back with, "My name is Jaimie!" He's no longer the man we all thought he was.
'He Captured A Lion And Drove The Sword Into Its Heart'
Moving swiftly on to Jaimie's second act of redemption, let's look over the next part of the Azor Ahai prophesy, which reads:
"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."
Ultimately, he continues this transformation when he defies Tywin and Cersei by freeing Tyrion from his cell after Joffrey's delicious death. As soon as he says goodbye to Jaimie however, Tyrion ascends the Tower of the Hand to confront his father, shooting him in the heart and signalling the death of a "lion." As we all know, the Lannisters' crest bears the image of his majestic creature.
And despite the fact that Jaimie isn't directly responsible for shooting Tyrion, he is still blamed by Cersei for it. She later says that his moral responsibility caused it:
"Tyrion may be a monster, but at least he killed our father on purpose. You killed him by mistake with stupidity."
Side note: In the scene above, as he navigates the dark corridors of the castle with a torch in hand, Jaimie is quite literally the Lightbringer — but more on that later.
'He Drove A Sword Into Her Living Heart'
The theory notes that Cersei's influence means that Jaimie slips back into his Kingslayer persona for a while, telling Edmure Tully in Season 6 that he would launch his "baby into Riverrun" for his sister. He also has an interaction with Walder Frey, who tells him "we are the same," setting the stage for the final steps in this Azor Ahai prophesy:
"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."
Following his return to King's Landing at the end of Season 6, Jaime finds Cersei on the Iron Throne and the Great Sept of Baelor a pile of ashes. It is at that point — the theory argues — that he realizes that he must destroy her. By killing her with his blade, it will be the final blow to the inner corruption still running through his veins. The thing that has been holding him back all along (his love for her) will no longer exist, allowing him to complete the redemptive phase.
At this point, byrd82 also argues that the "bleeding red star" is a direct reference to the mass murder of the Faith Militant, each of whom is marked with such a symbol.
Going back to the Azor Ahai legend, however, the theory goes on to say that out of all of the relationships in Game of Thrones, Jaimie and Cersei's is the only one that fits perfectly with the prophesy. For starters, their deep and meaningful connection has been the main focus of the entire series, a fact that swiftly eliminates Brienne from the equation. After all, his relationship with the House of Tarth warrior is based on "respect and admiration" and at the best of times, she's merely a catalyst for Jaimie's actions. Redditor byrd82 concludes that:
"The only character that consistently fights and kills for another, all while remaining physically attached to that character for the whole series and refusing to leave their side, is Jaime in regard to his dedication to Cersei."
And despite various other prophesies seeming to interfere with the Azor Ahai legend, they all fall slightly short. For example, throughout the books there are many references to the Lannister twins dying together. However, while yes, the Kingslayer could die with Cersei, Jaimie will not. As mentioned numerous times already, he will be reborn.
Then, comes the Valonqar prophesy, with Maggy the Frog telling Cersei that all her children would die and she would too at the hands of a "little brother." But while Tyrion is her youngest sibling, after sharing the womb with her twin Jaimie, she was still technically born first.
Following this trajectory, upon realizing that Jaimie is the Valonqar, she will die in both "anguish and ecstasy" with the knowledge that — in them being destined for death — she could have never saved her beloved children anyway. She'd realize that it wasn't her fault because their fates were marked out from the start.
Consequently, it appears that Cersei is both Nissa, Nissa and will meet her end via Maggy the Frog's prophesy.
So, Is Jaimie Also The Lightbringer?
In short, yes, but it's a little trickier than that. The Reddit theory explains:
"Lightbringer will not be a sword itself, but the return of Jaime’s sword hand ablaze. The return of Jaimie's sword hand ablaze. What was once Jaime’s corruption embodied is reborn, the mark of a prophesized hero. Once the best swordsman in Westeros, Jaime will be whole once again."
In Season 4, Game of Thrones provides a particularly strong visual to accompany this idea, with Jojen's hand bursting into flames:
Finally, recall when Tyrion says to Cersei:
"The day will come when you feel safe and happy, but your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth."
If Tyrion ends up dying before his sister, she will naturally believe that she is "safe" because she thinks he's the Valonqar. It is then that Jaimie is likely to step in with his fiery hand, strangling her until her mouth is quite literally turned to "ashes."
Jaimie Lannister Will Save The Seven Kingdoms
Thus, Jaimie is the savior the Seven Kingdoms needs. Throughout the series, he's been a true hero, from the moment he saved King's Landing from the Mad King, all the way to his reluctance to be motivated by greed and power.
As a result, when he fully transforms into Azor Ahai, the theory claims that "he will resolve the conflict with the White Walkers through diplomacy." Shedding his former self in a pure act of redemption, he will also commit the ultimate sacrifice in the killing of a loved one — an individual that essentially makes up a part of his soul, Cersei. And only then, with his fiery hand finally ablaze, will he save Westeros from the true enemies beyond the Wall.
And only just a few months back, discussing his role in Game of Thrones, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau dropped this tiny bombshell:
"If he had to go, I think, you know, it seems to me that, if you look at the whole show, fire is a big part of Jaime’s story."
Have you ever read a theory more perfect?
Do you think Jaimie Lannister is the Azor Ahai?