* Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones. Loads of them. So unless you're up to date with Season 6 of the show, and you don't mind some speculation to future events, look away now.*
Such is the beautiful delicacy of life, all good things come to an end. As much as we'd all love for Game of Thrones to continue until, well, forever, we're now heading into the home straight. With a mere 15 hours left to go, we're so much closer to the end than the start. It's sad, but it's true.
When adapting the vast fantastical realm of George R. R. Martin's series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, HBO showrunners David Benioff and D.B Weiss had always planned to tell one grand, interconnected narrative. Basically, they knew the end of the narrative from day one. But where will things end up? How could they possibly draw such a beloved show to an end, and satisfy the fervent fanbase?
An Epic Reddit Theory Could Predict The Ending
Reddit is the source of some inspired fan theories and speculation, especially when it comes to a subject so dense as GoT. A theory by user OneEyedCheshire, almost as epic as the show itself, could be on course to reveal the ending to the show. Written three years ago, it speculates on an overarching theory, a zombified elephant sitting in the corner of Westeros: when darkness falls, will Azor Ahai save the day?
Those unfamiliar with the prophecy of Azor Ahai, can check out some in-depth background reading here, as well as speculation on who that character could be. Go read, enjoy, digest, and come back. You're back? Great, let's continue.
The prophecy suggests, to save the world from impending doom in the form of White Walkers, a second coming of the mythical figure, Azor Ahai, will have to forge a special sword (Lightbringer) and temper it by driving it through the heart of the one he loves.
This is a bit of a beast to break down, so I'll start off by chopping things down into small, easily chewable chunks (a bit like Walder Frey's sons in that meat pie...). The theory goes as follows:
- The prophecy is a metaphor
Bran the Builder (the founder of House Stark and creator of Winterfell and The Wall) was the original Azor Ahai
Winterfell is Lightbringer
Jon Snow is the second coming of Azor Ahai
- The ending is going to break our hearts (more on that later)
The Prophecy Is A Metaphor And Winterfell Is Lightbringer
Let's throw the literal meaning of Lightbringer being a sword out of the window, Jaime Lannister style. Many theories suggest the prophecy is a metaphor, and this one is no different.
OneEyedCheshire suggests that Winterfell itself is actually Lightbringer. How? Well, for this to be true it hinges on Bran the Builder (a.k.a Brandon Stark) being the original Azor Ahai; which is entirely feasible, as he was alive 8,000 years ago, around the same time of the mythological figure.
This was a man clearly to keep the Others away, having helped to construct the wall itself. The theory suggests he built Winterfell as a weapon to repel and eventually conquer the Walkers. More evidence lies in the fact the Castle was built on hot springs, which would prevent the ice-dwelling Walkers from attacking the base. Also, the Lightbringer is described as "giving off heat," which the hot springs would do. They are hot springs after all.
A Sword Forged Three Times
Now things are really getting interesting. For the theory to stand, it must fulfil the three forging criteria (forged three times, breaking twice) from the prophecy. These are:
- Tempered in water. It broke.
- Tempered by driving the blade into a lion's heart. It broke.
- Tempered by driving the blade into the heart and soul of Azor's most beloved, Nissa Nissa. Yay! (Sorta).
So how does the apply to Winterfell? We enter the land of metaphor again. Firstly, Winterfell/Lightbringer was forged by water when Theon Greyjoy attempted to wield its power, twice, but it shattered. The second, the lion's heart, comes in the form of Jon Snow defeating Ramsay Bolton, working under the joint Bolton/Lannister's rule. The house symbol for the Lannisters? A lion.
Please note: the theory was produced before we knew the fate of the Bolton/Lannister rule of Winterfell.
This leaves us at the third and final stage. We now enter the land of speculation, and these are murky waters, so brace yourself...
The Ending Is Going To Break Our Hearts
Considering the solid foundation of this theory, it's worth hearing out OneEyedCheshire, no matter how much we don't really want to believe the following could be true. In his own words:
"Now the third forging. I think this leads to the ‘bittersweet’ ending GRRM has promised, and Dany’s third betrayal. After Dany makes it to Westeros, I believe J = R+L will be revealed, and Jon and Dany will fall in love. This will be in the middle of the fight against the Others.
"I believe two of Dany’s dragons will have died by this point of the invasion and she will be left with only Drogon, the last child she will ever have (since she is barren): Drogon = her soul. Dany will be Nissa Nissa and Jon Snow must bind her soul (Drogon) to Lightbringer (Winterfell) in order to fight back the Others."
To deconstruct this a little:
- The third betrayal links to Dany's Three Treason Prophecy, you can read more on that here.
- If Jon and Dany fall in love, this'll fulfil the criteria the third forging, making Dany Nissa Nissa.
- That means Jon will have to sacrifice Drogon and bind him to Winterfell, betraying Dany in the process, but saving Westeros from the Others.
The show will end with Dany being betrayed by love, or possibly even being sacrificed by Jon herself. Yikes!
Now, before you go and lie down in a darkened room, bear in mind this is merely a Reddit theory, and it could be way wide of the mark. But with Season 6 ending with Dany on her way to Westeros, Jon now King of the North, and the White Walker's invasion imminent, my money is on OneEyedCheshire being correct.
At least we have eight months to prepare ourselves for the turmoil that is about to unfold. That's enough time to prepare... Right?
Do you believe in this theory? Could Winterfell be Lightbringer?
Source: Reddit (All images credited to HBO)