Azor Ahai was a figure that existed in many religions and cultures throughout Essos and Westeros. Though the red priestess Melisandre used Azor Ahai and the Prince Promised overlappingly, it is unknown if the legendary hero is the same as the last hero that fought the Others during the Long Night. Also called Yin Tar, Neferion, Eldric Snowchaser, and Hrykoon the Hero in many cultures, Azor Ahai was a legend who defeated the great darkness that overshadowed the entire world. He fought and endured many hardships, including thrusting his blade into his wife, Nissa Nissa, to save humanity. According to prophecy, he would return and help the world against a great calamity.
The Rise of the Hero
According to tales from the Far East, the Azor Ahai was a great warrior that rose in a time of great need. After the Opal Emperor of the Great Empire of the Dawn got succeeded by his daughter, the Amethyst Empress, his younger son became envious and cast his sister away, slaying her.
Upon becoming the Bloodstone Emperor, he abandoned the great gods and turned to worship a black fallen stone; this led to heinous acts like necromancy, cannibalism, and slavery.
Because of the terrible things he did, the Maiden-Made-of-Light, the Opal Emperor’s mother, turned her back on the world, allowing the Lion of the Night to come forward; this turned the world into a black night.
In the darkness, a great warrior rose to fight; this earned him the name Azor Ahai and many others in different religions and cultures. Knowing he would need a sword worthy enough to conquer the evil overshadowing the world, the hero spent thirty days and nights forging the blade at the sacred fires of a temple. However, on the thirtieth day, it broke. He went fifty days again.
On completing the weapon, he caught a lion and drove the sword into its heart. However, the steel broke again. The third time, with a heavy heart, the hero asked his wife, Nissa Nissa, to open her breast to him, and when he passed the blade through her heart, her soul merged with the steel of the sword creating Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes.
With an invincible weapon, the Last Hero gathered brave men and marched into battle, leading them to victory. According to the prophecy of Azor Ahai, the hero will get reborn when the cold breath of darkness comes upon the world after a long summer.
Throughout Westeros’s history, there have been many references to the Prince Promised, also known as Azor Ahai. According to legend, the Last Hero was a figure who appeared during the Long Night and traveled to meet the Children of the Forest to seek help against the Others, mysterious creatures that came from the far North. After his passing, a prophecy got made of him returning when the world plunged into darkness again.
When Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the heir to the Iron Throne, was born, Maester Aemon believed he was the Prince Promised. However, Rhaegar believed his son Aegon fit the prophecy as he was born when a red comet flew above King’s Landing.
Being so obsessed with the Prince Promised, Rhaegar allegedly kidnapped Lyanna Stark in hopes of having a third child; this led to Robert’s Rebellion. After Rhaegar’s death, Ned Stark traveled to the Tower of Joy, where he found his sister in a bed of blood. Before she died, Lyanna made Ned swear a secret promise.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones
When King Robert Baratheon makes Lord Eddard Stark the Hand of the King, his brother, Stannis Baratheon, travels to Dragonstone, angry at his brother’s decisions. Later, Ned discovers that Queen Cersei Lannister’s children are illegitimate and try to stop her from crowning her son King. However, he gets arrested and gets executed on charges of treason.
Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen loses her husband after his wounds fester. She walks into his funeral pyre after placing her dragon eggs in it and comes out with three dragons.
A Clash of Kings
After learning of his brother’s death, Stannis Baratheon claims the Iron Throne and gets introduced to R’hllor by his wife, Selyse Baratheon. As a red comet flies throughout the known world, Melisandre, the red priestess of R’hllor, burns the Seven statues and claims Stannis is the Azor Ahai reborn. She then publicly puts Stannis’s blade into the flames and claims it is Lightbringer. However, Salladhor Saan tells Ser Davos Seaworth the sword is a fake.
A Feast for Crows
After Jon Snow becomes the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, he sends Samwell Tarly, Gilly, Maester Aemon, and some black brothers to the Citadel in Oldtown. Along the way, Aemon asks Sam about Dany, as he believes she is the one promised because she was born amidst salt and smoke.
Aemon tells Sam that the prophecy was wrong and that it was the Princess Promised. He states Daenerys will save everyone at its dread hour, and he passes away. Later, Benerro of Volantis says that Daenerys is the Azor Ahai reborn.
Relevance in Adaptations
In HBO’s Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, the Azor Ahai is deeply rooted in events in the known world. Though Game of Thrones shunned the depth of the Azor Ahai’s rebirth, The House of the Dragon rekindled fans’ interest as King Viserys, portrayed by Paddy Considine, revealed that when Aegon I Targaryen’s blade got heated up, a writing in High Valyrian appeared stating:
From my blood come the Prince that was Promised, and his will be the song of ice and fire.
Azor Ahai: The Mysterious Legend
Though many legends in A Song of Ice and Fire have turned out false, the Azor Ahai is one tale with an intricate value in George R. R. Martin’s world. Though a mysterious figure with vague description, the Azor Ahai, Last Hero, or other names he is known by, is a legend that will undoubtedly influence Martin’s upcoming novels. However, before any revelation, the fans can only speculate and formulate different theories on how the Last Hero, Daenerys, Jon, and Aegon Targaryen are related.
Are Azor Ahai and the Prince Promised the same?
Yes, they are. However, each legend belongs to a different cultural group. According to the Targaryens, the Prince Promised would be a Targaryen who would save humanity at its worst hour.
Is Jon Snow the true Azor Ahai?
As of now, it is unclear if Jon snow is the Azor Ahai. According to Melidsandre, Stannis Baratheon was the Azor Ahai, but it was a lie. The people who are the Azor Ahai are Daenerys Targaryen, Aegon VI Targaryen, and Jon Snow.
Could Jaime Lannister be the Azor Ahai?
Jaime cannot be the Azor Ahai. His birth and life have no connection to dragons or saving the world.
What would happen if the Azor Ahai returned?
Before the Azor Ahai returns, the world will plunge into chaos. Then the hero will save everyone and restore peace to humankind.