Theories are the fire that keep us warm through the long night that is the Game of Thrones offseason. Some are fun, and some are sad. This one could be either, depending on how you look at it.
It’s weird, I know. Check out the video evidence:
Lightbringer is a legendary sword used by Azor Ahai, a fabled hero, to defeat the White Walkers the first time they rose thousands of years ago. Azor Ahai tempered the sword three times, once using water to cool the sword (it broke), once using the heart of a lion (it broke), and finally plunging it through his own wife’s heart (all good). The show hasn’t featured this legend, although we do see Melisandre prompt Stannis to draw a flaming sword from a statue, a sword she dubs “Lightbringer,” back in season 2.
So how do we get from there to the idea that Winterfell, a building, is Lightbringer? Pivotal to this theory is another legendary figure: Bran the Builder, who is the namesake of Bran Stark. This Bran is purported to have built Winterfell and other structures such as the Wall, Storm’s End and the Hightower of Oldtown. According to Thomas’ theory, the names of these structures describe their functions — Storm’s End holds up in harsh weather (so it’s the end of the storm), the Hightower is…a high tower, and Winterfell may be where winter fell; in other words, where the White Walkers were defeated the last time they went on a roundabout.
Thomas follows this metaphor and outlines how Winterfell, like the Lightbringer of legend, was tempered three times and broke twice. Winterfell was first tempered when Theon Greyjoy sacked it during season 2. As an Iron Islander, Theon represents water. As Lightbringer first broke when Azor Ahai tempered it in water, so did Winterfell when Theon, an Iron Islander, took and failed to hold it. Pretty spot on.
Winterfell is tempered and broken again when when the Boltons, under under a royal decree from the Lannisters, occupy Winterfell. The second time around, Azor Ahai tempered Lightbringer with the heart of a lion, here represented by the Lannisters. And again, Lightbringer broke.
Now we have Jon Snow as the King in the North, ruling from Winterfell, and Daenerys Targaryen on her way there. Depending on who you ask, either of these characters could be Azor Ahai reborn, and they’ve just started a romantic relationship. (They’re not married like Azor Ahai was to his wife, but this is Game of Thrones — give it time and a wedding could be in the cards.) If we keep following this rabbit down the hole, the final forging could require one to kill the other. George R.R. Martin has said that his story will have a “bittersweet” ending. This would certainly fit the bill.
Obviously, this theory leaves a lot of questions unanswered. What exactly would Jon or Dany accomplish by killing the other? And while it’s easy to say that Winterfell is Lightbringer, we have no idea what that would mean in context. Under this theory, Winterfell itself would be of some use in defeating the White Walkers. Perhaps there’s a dragon underneath it? Or some hidden knowledge buried in the crypts that could help end the war?
What say you? Is Winterfell the Lightbringer of legend? Will Jon or Dany sacrifice the other? Does any of this make the slightest bit of sense? Sound off!