Lightbringer, also called the Red Sword of Heroes, is a magical burning sword associated with Azor Ahai, a messianic warrior figure for the worshippers of R’hllor. It was a weapon the legendary last hero used to end the Great Night that overshadowed the world. According to many believers, Azor Ahai will someday return wielding Lightbringer to lead the final battle against the Great Other, the antithesis of R’hllor. Melisandre of Asshai, believing the prophecy of the last hero who would rise amidst salt and smoke to wake the dragons from the stone, travels to Westeros. She meets Stannis Baratheon and gets convinced his sword is Lightbringer. However, Salladhor Saan tells Ser Davos Seaworth that Stannis’s so-called Lightbringer is fake.
Legend and History
The tale of Lightbringer began when a great night overshadowed the world. In what was known as the Long Night in Westeros, the night covered the world, and humanity suffered intensely. Then a hero called Azor Ahai arose. For thirty days and nights, he labored to forge a hero’s sword to use in a confrontation against the Great Other. However, it broke when he tried to temper the blade in water. The hero restarted but took fifty days to make the sword the second time. Instead of tempering in water, he caught a lion and drove it into its heart. However, the steel shattered again.
Azor Ahai started forging the steel for the third time. However, before finishing the weapon, he knew what had to happen. With a heavy heart, he called his wife, Nissa Nissa, and asked her to open her breast. He then drove the sword into her heart, and her soul fused with the sword. Her cry of anguish and pleasure created a crack across the face of the moon. Nissa Nissa’s soul gave Lightbringer life, and according to the Jade Compendium by Colloquo Votar, the sword became warm to touch, and while in battle, it burned red-hot. It could also boil the blood of any being when it got thrust into it.
In books from Asshai, some prophecies have stated that in the cold breath of darkness, when the stars bleed and, the cold wind blows, Azor Ahai will be reborn at the dread hour and draw Lightbringer from a fire.
Relevance In A Song of Ice and Fire
On converting Stannis Baratheon to the ways of R’hllor, Melisandre, a red priestess, burns the Sevens’ statues at Dragonstone in a ceremony. Her ruby glows red as she claims Stannis is the Azor Ahai reborn. She instructs him to pull out a longsword from the Mother’s statue, and the blade glisters with jade-green flames. After the ceremony, Devan Seaworth and Bryen Farring cover the blackened sword. Salladhor Saan tells Ser Davos Seaworth that the sword is fake.
When Stannis besieged Storm’s End, a meeting between him and his brother, Renly Baratheon, gets arranged. At the meeting, he brings out his sword, which glows in blazing white, red, and yellow. Renly gets assassinated by a shadow, and word begins spreading that Stannis used his magic sword to perpetrate kingslaying.
When news of Stannis’s alleged Lightbringer spreads throughout Westeros, Lord Tywin Lannister decides to create a weapon for his grandson, King Joffrey Baratheon. he uses the Valyrian steel sword of House Stark, Ice, to craft two weapons. When Joffrey gets his blade, he names it Widow’s Wail.
Davos, who narrowly escapes death after the Battle of the Blackwater, gets arrested upon reaching Dragonstone for plotting to kill Melisandre. When Ser Axell Florent tries betraying Stannis, he gets arrested, and Davos gets made the new Hand of the King. During the ceremony, Davos touches Stannis’s sword and sees it shimmer in many colors. However, he does not feel the heat.
When Stannis agrees to sacrifice Edric Storm, Davois smuggles him out of Dragonstone. Furious, Stannis draws his blade out, but Davos reads a letter from the Night’s Watch asking for assistance. He travels to the Wall and saves Castle Black from Mance Rayder. After the battle beneath the Wall, Samwell Tarly describes the blade to Maester Aemon, and Melisandre tells the people that Stannis is the Promised Prince.
When Jon Snow, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, refuses to give Stannis more castles along the Wall, he draws out his blade. As Melisandre burns Mance Rayder and the Horn of Jarumun, Stannis draws out his sword for the Free Folk to see it glow. Later, Melisandre reveals she did not kill Mance, and he gets sent to Winterfell to rescue Arya Stark from Ramsay Bolton.
Relevance in Adaptations
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Melisadre says that Stannis is the Azor Ahai reborn and tells him to draw out a sword from one of the statues of the Seven. However, it gets revealed that Stannis is not the last hero, as he gets killed.
Lightbringer: A Tale in the Wind
Though there are elements of truth in the prophecies of the Azor Ahai, Lightbringer seems to be a fictional rather than realistic weapon. It stood as a symbol of light for the followers of R’hllor, meaning that the story might have gotten mistranslated or misunderstood.
What happened to the real Lightbringer?
No one knows what happened to the real Lightbringer after the Last Hero fought against the night, but it got prophesied he would return wielding his sword for a final battle against the Great Other.
Did Stannis have Lightbringer?
No. Stannis’ sword was an ordinary weapon that got glamorized by Melisandre of Asshai to make it look like it was special. The blade had no spectacular properties.
How was Lightbringer created?
According to legend, the Last Hero labored for thirty days to create a weapon. When he tried dipping it in water, it shattered. He went at it again and sunk the sword in a lion’s heart, but it broke. He used his wife as a sacrifice the last time, and Lightbringer got forged.
What properties does Lightbringer have?
Lightbringer is a weapon that can kill any creature. It glows red hot when its wielder marches into battle.