By Jess Joho
With only one more episode of Game of Thrones left, you’d think there wouldn’t be many relevant prophecies to think about. But George R.R. Martin’s cryptic predictions continue to be the gift that keeps on giving, to the very end.
Several prophecies got direct callouts on episode 5, “The Bells.” The prophecy shoutouts ranged from the obvious to the more obscure, with some fan interpretations shedding a completely new light on what they might mean within the context of the final season.
Dragon wings over King’s Landing
The most straightforward prophetic moment in episode 5 finally saw the reoccurring vision of dragon wings over King’s Landing come true. We first saw that vision back in Season 4, when Bran touched the heart tree before finding the Three-Eyed Raven.
This prophecy we though we understood takes on a much darker meaning now, after the cataclysmic events of the penultimate episode.
It’s eerie to remember that, for many seasons, we longed for the day when our liberating khaleesi’s children would spread their wings over King’s Landing. Then there was the realization of the the Queen of Ashes prophecy from Season 2, which had Daenerys walking through the Throne Room she’d later destroy.
Arya Stark as the grey girl
One clever Redditor made the connection to a much deeper cut from the books — a prophecy that sounds hauntingly similar to Arya’s gorgeous moment at the end of “The Bells”:
We’ll probably never know if this pretty obscure reference to the book was intentional. But we do know that the bloodied white horse Arya rode out of the wreckage was a reference to a reoccurring symbol from earlier in the episode: The little girl in King’s Landing we saw throughout was clutching a toy version of the horse, even as she was burned alive in her mom’s arms despite Arya’s attempts to save her.
Jon Snow as Azor Ahai
Another theory found a way to make the Azor Ahai prophecy from the books fit the show’s version of events.
Though we all thought that prophecy was negated by the death of the Night King and his Long Night, this Redditor argues that Daenerys’ reign could actually be interpreted as a period of darkness for the realm. And Jon would be the ultimate savior Azor Ahai if he winds up killing the woman he loves (referred to as Nissa Nissa in the prophecy) and restoring metaphorical light to the world in the form of peace.
The stallion that mounts the world
Another fascinating reinterpretation goes back to a Dothraki prophecy from the very first season. If you’ll remember, their wise women predicted that Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s baby would be “The Stallion Who Mounts The World.” We all thought that destiny died along with Drogo and Dany’s unborn child.
But if you think about the prophecy in terms of the child that Dany did use to mount the world, it fits perfectly with Drogon.
Cersei and the valonqar
One of the most debated prophecies also arguably came true in episode 5, though with a tragic twist. In the book version of the prophecy Cersei receives in Season 5, the witch foretells that, “When your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”
Valonqar means “little brother” in Valyrian, so Cersei always assumed that meant Tyrion. Theorists were dead set in the belief that it would actually be her younger twin Jaime. The theories were wrong there, since Jaime did everything to try and save her.
And actually, so did Tyrion. But by telling Jaime and Cersei to go through the Red Keep’s dungeon to escape on a boat, Tyrion inadvertently fulfilled the valonqar prophecy. He didn’t wrap his hands around her and choke her, but he indirectly lead to the suffocating death of his brother and sister in the collapsed dungeons.
But what does it all mean?
Ultimately, it could just be that Martin has a natural gift for creating prophecies that are specific enough to seem destined in retrospect, but vague enough to fit so many different events. Or maybe this end was there all along, right under our noses. In a way it could even be a meta commentary. Martin is known for making it so characters like Cersei basically manifest their own doom in their desperate attempts to avoid their prophesied downfalls.
One things is for sure, though: Never underestimate the sprawling nature of Game of Thrones to surprise you with unrealized meaning.