Are you ready for Season 7 this Sunday, July 16th!? I am over-the-moon excited, mixed with the slightly nauseous feeling of dread that always comes with a new season/book… Please don’t kill off my favorite characters! Please don’t be terrible now that we’re really past the books!
I have a bit of an obsessive love affair with Game of Thrones. I’m a book reader and show lover, and for the last year my daily work commute has been consumed by A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones themed podcasts that make me so happy I could talk about them for hours (Radio Westeros is the best, check them out!). And unfortunately for my inner circle- and random acquaintances and strangers I’ve just met- I do.
I’ve never been this deep into a fandom before, so lately I’ve been channeling this love into some of my new work up in the Ash & Elm Books store. With all the good writing in the books and the show, I just had to incorporate them into some quotes necklaces. Obviously, I can’t not talk about some of the theories out there in the Game of Thrones universe, so read on to see some of the more juicy and realistic fan theories circulating out there that I personally would love to see this coming season
*Warning! Fan Theory Spoilers ahead*
Fun Fan Theory: Melisandre will willingly sacrifice herself, as she is the “red star” that must bleed to bring forth Azor Ahai reborn.
Many people believe the ‘red star bleeding’ refers to the meteor that streaks the sky when the dragons are reborn in A Game of Thrones. But what if that is just what George wanted us to believe?
“There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.” -Meslisandre, A Clash of Kings
Melisandre wrongly believed this to be Stannis, but popular theories hold that Daenerys or Jon Snow will be Azor Ahai reborn- and right now, the best bet is Jon. What most show watchers don’t know, is that the original forging of Lightbringer was attempted three times by the first Azor Ahai. The first two times the blade shattered when he tempered it first in water, and then in a lion’s beating heart. Only when Azor Ahai plunged the blade into the heart of his wife Nissa Nissa, by her willing sacrifice, was Lightbringer successfully forged.
“When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.” Melisandre, A Dance with Dragons
Melisandre is known as “the red woman”, and everyone knows she is not squeamish in sacrificing anyone, even Stannis’ own daughter, to the fires in the name of her god. In the books, Melisandre is described as wearing “red head to heel… her hair was not the orange or strawberry color of common red-haired men, but a deep burnished copper that shone in the light of the torches. Even her eyes were red… but her skin was smooth and white, unblemished, pale as cream… Many called her beautiful. She was not beautiful. She was red, and terrible, and red” (Clash of Kings). Jon Snow meets her later in the books and thinks “she even smells red.” As for being a star…
Her eyes were two red stars, shining in the dark. At her throat, her ruby gleamed, a third eye glowing brighter than the others” -Jon Snow, A Dance with Dragons
Would Melisandre be willing to sacrifice herself to the fires if it means defeating The Others, the enemy of her god R’hllor? Season 6 has her banished from the North upon pain of death should she return. Yet she was sentenced by Jon Snow, who follows Ned’s teaching that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. At her death, the Red Woman may become the Red Sword, as her life essence gives strength to a new Lightbringer- just as Nissa Nissa’s did the original. When she bleeds, will Jon finally be able to defeat the Others as Azor Ahai reborn? (and then wake up some sick dragons just like Dany did!?)
Almost everyone’s favorite character, in the books and the show. A tragic figure who is only trying to do the right thing and be a good person (despite pretending otherwise), but is always maligned because of his looks and his Lannister name. Anyone else dying to see Tyrion finally live out his childhood dreams and ride a dragon?
Fun Fan Theory: Tyrion will bond with one of Dany’s dragons and become a dragon rider.
Some fans believe (and others roll their eyes at) a theory that Tyrion is the son of the Mad King Aerys and Joanna Lannister (Tywin’s wife), and thus another secret Targaryen. His birth ‘defects’ (having a tail when born, stunted growth, etc.) are very similar to those of Targaryen still-births that had been occurring for decades. Furthermore, The World of Ice and Fire book tells us that King Aerys had more than a passing crush on Joanna, and it’s hinted that a relationship with Aerys, willingly or unwillingly, is what caused her to dismissed from the Queen’s service. Also keep in mind the book’s description of Tyrion: “One green eye and one black one peered out from under a lank of hair so blonde it seemed white.” While the Lannisters are well known for being ‘golden,’ Tyrion’s hair is a white blonde, like the Targaryens. His one black eye, some argue, could actually be an incredibly dark purple, as the ‘indigo purple’ shade of past Targaryens were sometimes described as black.
“In the dimness of the lamplit cellar they looked black, but in better light their true colour could be seen: deep and dark and purple. Valyrian eyes.” -Ser Duncan the Tall, Legends II: Dragon, Sword, and King
One green and one black/purple eye could be symbolizing his true parentage. Tyrion’s quip to Jon Snow that “all dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes” may be an ironic statement hinting at this possibility- in the quote, Tyrion is misinterpreting Tywin’s anger and disappointment in him by attributing it to his dwarfism alone. But it could be that Tywin hates Tyrion’s condition because it is physical evidence that he could be Aerys’ son, and not his. Tywin is obsessed with the future of the Lannister name, and his suspicions may be the real reason he refuses to let Tyrion be Lord of Casterly Rock- his heirs would not be true Lannisters. Considering that Tywin is a very proud man, and was said by many to have truly loved Joanna, it is strange to think that he actually suspected she could have cuckolded him and bore another man’s son… unless it was by the Mad King.
Tyrion’s ability to approach, calm, and free the remaining dragons is usually attributed to his vast knowledge of dragon lore, and his ability to talk to them and treat them as intelligent. But it is far more likely that it is his Targaryen blood that allowed him to control them, and avoid being burned to a crisp. A rider can only bond with one dragon, and Daenerys has clearly bonded with Drogon. She needs to find two more riders for her remaining dragons, in a world where supposedly the Targaryen line is largely extinct. Season 6 left us with Dany and Tyrion sailing to Westeros, so he is in the right place at the right time- perhaps Dany will see his interactions with her dragons and realize he could be a rider. After all, she is one of the few people in Game of Thrones who recognizes his worth.
Khal Drogo & Daenerys
*Swoon* One of the most tragic ‘what ifs’ for me in this story is what might have become of the fierce love blossoming between the Khal and his Khaleesi. The scene in the show when Dany is tempted by a vision of an alive and happy Drogo holding their now alive and healthy baby still stops my heart. What better way to profess your love than to exchange Moon of My Life and My Sun and Stars charms? In English or Dothraki!
Fun Fan Theory: Dany will get pregnant and have a baby.
One of the problems I’ve always had with Daenerys getting the Iron Throne is that she supposedly can’t have children after her horrific miscarriage/stillbirth of Rhaego. So Dany would win the Iron Throne and… then what? She’s supposedly the last Targaryen- who would she leave the throne to? Well, Mirri Maz Duur, the woman who tricked Dany into killing her unborn child in exchange for a zombified Drogo, tells her that
“When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, When the seas go dry and the mountains blow in the wind like leaves, when your womb quickens again and you bear a living child, then he [Drogo] will return, and not before.” -Mirri Maz Duur, A Game of Thrones
At face value, it looks like she’s telling Dany it’s impossible for Drogo to come back to her. But what if it wasn’t a taunt, but a prophecy? Fans speculate that the “sun” rising in the west and setting in the east is the Prince of Dorne, whose house sigil is the un and spear. While left out of the show, in the books Prince Quentyn Martell ‘rose’ from the west to travel east on a quest to marry Dany- only to die once there, symbolically ‘setting’ in the east. Next, Dany notices when she is flying Drogon that the Dothraki Sea, a huge expanse of grass plains, is dying from a drought- the ‘sea’ has gone dry. The mountain could be the pyramids her two escaped dragons burst apart, or something to do with a Gregor Clegane (The Mountain the Rides) fate, or the Wall falling, or something else coming soon the story. And finally, Dany may not be barren, because if this is truly a prophecy, she will bear a living child before this is all over. And maybe Drogo will come back in some way- who knows? Before this is all over, the dead will rise…
Jon Snow is back and looking as fierce and Stark as ever! Did you notice in Season 6 that he began to look and act more like Ned Stark and less like a Black Brother- hair pulled back in a bun, brown furs instead of black, his Valyrian steel sword at the ready… and the cloak Sansa made for him, modeled after their father’s. Even his attitudes have become more Ned-like- he just wants peace, but he fights the Boltons because it is his duty and the honorable thing to do (remember, he died, so he is not longer bound by his vows!). He fights not just for his family and Rickon, but to protect the Wildlings he brought through the Wall and the rest of the North. In an homage to Jon, and the honor he brought to the Night’s Watch, you can get the vows for yourself to wear proudly here.
Fun Fan Theory: Jon is a legitimate Targaryen heir because Rhaegar and Lyanna had married- and Bran might know.
Everyone now knows about Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon, and the show basically confirmed it… but is Jon bastard born or legitimate? While on the surface it appears to be an easy ‘no,’ clues point to yes, he is legitimate- making him the heir to the Iron Throne (even before Daenerys, who is his Aunt. Sorry guys!).
(1) When Rhaegar, his wife Elia and their two children are murdered, the three Kingsguard guarding Lyanna in Dorne should have left and traveled to protect Viserys, the new heir, but they stayed to protect the pregnant Lyanna. Unless all three forsook their Kinsguard vows, they must have considered Lyanna’s baby to be Rhaegar’s legitimate heir (and if they had married, Lyanna the new Queen). Remember, Viserys was the second son of the Mad King, the younger brother of Rhaegar, and so he could only be the heir if Rhaegar left no legitimate heirs of his own.
(2) Rhaegar’s wife, Elia, was a Princess of Dorne… why would Rhaegar bring Lyanna to Dorne, home to his wife’s people, to keep her safe unless Elia knew about and sanctioned the union? Otherwise, wouldn’t her people’s anger at Rhaegar’s betrayal and abandonment of their princess put Lyanna in even more danger? Keep in mind that the Dornish have a much more open view on sex and sexuality than the other kingdoms of Westeros. In Dorne, it is acceptable and commonplace for noblemen to have a wife and a paramour. Children of these lovers were still considered bastards and not legitimate heirs, but it explains why Elia, who had difficulty bearing Rhaegar’s two children and was cautioned not to bear another lest she die, may have consented to Rhaegar taking another wife/lover to fulfill the ‘dragon must have three heads’ prophecy (read more about Rhaegar and the prophecy here). Rhaegar discussed the prophecy with Elia, and his belief that he needed to have 3 children to fulfill it. Despite King Robert’s hatred of Rhaegar coloring our early perception of him, everyone else remembers him as an honorable man- even Ned! It’s completely out of character for him to take a lover (or kidnap and force himself on a woman), and shame his wife without her consent and knowledge.
And finally, (3) The earliest Targaryen kings, and other ancient rulers of Westerosi kingdoms, practiced polygamy. An ancient Storm King of Storm’s End (the Baratheon seat) was said to have had 23 wives. In old Valyria, dragonlords and sorcerer princes took more than one wife whenever they wanted to. Lord Aenar Tergaryen (ancestor of the Targaryens who invaded Westeros) took many wives with him when he left Valyria for Dragonstone before The Doom. His son, Aegon I and future conqueror of the 7 Kingdoms of Westeros, married both of his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. His son, Maegor the Cruel, had multiple wives as well- and was the last to do so, as the Faith of the Seven in Westeros strongly opposed polygamy. It is possible that Rhaegar, following ancient prophecies, took Lyanna as a second wife, with the knowledge and blessing of his first wife Elia, to fulfill the prophecy- making Jon Snow not a Snow, but a legitimate Targayen. Mind blown?
The character we loved to hate, and now hate to love. Sansa has changed from a self-centered, naive girl to a strong, smart woman. For those interested, there is an amazing resource called Pawn to Player that follows Sansa’s development throughout the Song of Ice and Fire books, with the belief that Sansa is going to develop from the ‘pawn’ in the Game of Thrones (being used by other players because of her status as heir to the North) to a major player in the Game. And what happens when a pawn makes it to the other side of a chessboard…? One of the defining moments of Season 6 was when Sansa executed Ramsey… and did not look away. Ned always told his children that the man who passes the sentence must swing the sword, and Sansa watches her sentence for Ramsey as it is carried out. She is back in the North, in Winterfell, right when the Stark words are proven true: Winter comes.
Fun Fan Theory: Jon Snow and Sansa Stark will wed and be King and Queen of the North.
My personal favorite theory- Jon Snow/Targaryen and Sansa Stark will have to wed to consolidate the North and prevent further civil war (and wishfully thinking, also for love!). Remember, since Jon is Lyanna’s son, they are not siblings or even half-siblings; they are first cousins. And while that still weirds us out in modern times, it was common practice in actual medieval history, not just Westeros- there were only so many nobles of equal birth to choose from. Tywin Lannister and and his wife, Joanna, were first cousins, and were one of the most respected and powerful couples in the Seven Kingdoms. Sansa and Jon were also never close, and never had a close relationship such as those Jon had with the other Stark children. Sansa followed her mother’s lead in snubbing him and treating him horribly, so there was never even the shadow of a brother/sister relationship between the two.
The theory is that the people of the Vale and the North will split on who they want to follow, either out of loyalty or selfish grabs for power. The Wildlings and most of the Northern lords will want to follow Jon because he is believed to be Ned’s son, and has proven himself to be an excellent leader and military commander. However, those who want power for themselves, like Littlefinger, will support Sansa as the true ruler of Winterfell because she is the last legitimate child of Ned Stark (that they know of), and bears the name Stark, not Snow (except not really- read on!). In this, she is a pawn- whoever marries and controls her, controls the North. However, remember that Sansa was married to a Lannister, and then a Bolton (in the show). In the minds of the Northerners who marched with Robb, she is no longer a Stark- she married and (in their minds) bedded not one, but two mortal enemies of her own family. And it’s still to early to know if she is or isn’t pregnant from her time with Ramsey. To the Northerners, Jon has been living and serving in the North, understands the Wall and the culture, and is a proven leader and fighter- all qualities that matter most to northerners- while Sansa has been south and in enemy hands, and wrote letters to Robb pleading him to bend the knee to the Lannisters during the war. Not something that would inspire confidence in her leadership…
The North needs the Vale because they have an army untouched by war, unlike the ravaged North and Southern armies from the War of the Five Kings. But, if Bran reveals that Jon is in fact a Targaryen, and only the son of Lyanna Stark, not Ned, Stark, it can cause further problems as the major ‘selling point’ of Jon being King was his status as Ned’s last remaining son (I believe Bran will relinquish his rights to Winterfell since he is now the Three Eyed Raven). To further complicate manners, it’s believed that King Robb left Jon as his heir and let this be known to trusted Northern lords who are still alive. In the event that Robb died without issue, he would declare Jon free from his vows and name him King of the North- Robb’s own reasoning being that Sansa was married to a Lannister at the time, so Robb did not want her to have a claim to Winterfell. Imagine if he had lived to then see her married to a Bolton, the one Northern family that turned on him and caused the near destruction of their house?! In turn, this strengthens the argument against Sansa inheriting.
The problem is that even if Jon or Sansa decide not to pursue a claim to Winterfell against the other, as in the likely scenario that Sansa decides to support Jon and forsake her claim, lords in the Vale and/or the North could continue to oppose Jon in Sansa’s name despite her protests. The only way to truly neutralize the threat, short of one of them dying (no!), would be if they wed and became a package deal. In all honesty, I think the reunion of Jon and Sansa in the show was filled with romantic undertones. Jon is the honorable, true knight Sansa has always dreamed of (despite not being a knight). And Sansa has red hair, a rare trait conveniently shared by the two other women in the show that Jon has had romantic arcs with- Ygritte and Melisandre. Given that Sansa always treated Jon with disdain growing up, following her mother’s example, Sansa’s final acceptance of him would mean more to Jon on a personal level. Sansa has the power to accept Jon in a way Catelyn never would, and heal the hurt he grew up with by accepting him as her equal.
Jon + Sansa = Love
I can’t even. I’m so excited… don’t let us down Season 7!
For more information on these theories, and to discover new ones, check out the podcasts Radio Westeros, History of Westeros, and Mythical Astonomy of Ice and Fire. For those who would rather read, look at Pawn to Player, Westeros.org, and the ASOIAF Reddit.
What theory are you shipping for in Season 7? Something with Daenerys? Cersei? Littlefinger? Let me know in the comments!