Everyone already loved Arya. Her extraordinary story then hit a new high when she casually went and killed the Night King single-handed. But is she really the one who was promised, the fulfilment of a five thousand year-prophecy who will save the entire world (again)? Fans are starting the think so. After all, it wasn’t Stannis and Melisandre dithered over Jon Snow when all the signs pointed to Daenerys. Luckily, there are plenty of clues in the original books.
An excited tweet ignited the debate: “According to the prophecy, Azor Ahai or ‘The Prince or Princess that who was promised’ is the saviour in the religion of light that would be born ‘amidst salt and smoke’ to combat an impending darkness. Arya Stark rose from ashes in #GOTS8E5. She is the one.”
It’s very thrilling and it could be argued the Stark warrior was metaphorically born anew in the smoking wreckage of King’s Landing, which is a port next to a salty sea – just like Dragonstone where Daenerys was born.
Martin’s novels describe the prophecy in ancient books of Asshai which say legendary hero Azor Ahai is to be reborn again as a champion sent by R’hllor, the Lord of Light. With the flaming sword Lightbringer, Azor Ahai will stand against the darkness and if he fails, the world fails with him.
But, do any of the following quotes from the novels actually point to Arya?
A CLASH OF KINGS: “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.”
This fits the coming winter, but the Night King has already been killed. The only possible remaining darkness appears to be newly mad Daenerys. It is entirely possible Arya could kill her, but where is her flaming sword? Melisandre and Thoros are gone and nobody else is around to ignite a blade.
In fact, many fans still think Jon Snow will ignite a blade by thrusting it into Daenerys.
All the other quotes about Azor Ahai come from unreliable sources like Melisandre or Daenery’s vision of Jon Snow’s own father Rhaegar, who thought his first child (not Jon) was this promised hero.
A Dance with Dragons, Melisandre to Jon Snow: “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.”
This surely sounds like Daenerys hatching the three stone eggs. Unless, somehow there are more dragon eggs hidden in the roots of King’s Landing, which will finally hatch in the inferno caused by Drogon?
A Dance with Dragons, Haldon to Tyrion Lannister: “Benerro has sent forth the word from Volantis. Her coming is the fulfilment of an ancient prophecy. From smoke and salt was she born to make the world anew. She is Azor Ahai returned … and her triumph over darkness will bring a summer that will never end … death itself will bend its knee, and all those who die fighting in her cause shall be reborn.”
Again, clearly about Daenerys, but from an excited regular informer, not a priest, maester or mystic so it is not a prophecy or any form of vision.
And let’s not forget the numerous times Melisandre proclaimed Stannis was Azor Ahai.
None of it points to Arya.
In fact, the most credible line is the one Melisandre says to herself, with no agenda and her frustration with what she sees make it far more likely to be true: “I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.”