TL;DR version: Jaime Lannister is the reincarnation of Azor Ahai.
“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.”
-Davos III, A Storm Of Swords
This is a little known but incredibly well thought-out theory from the website Game of Thrones & Norse Mythology. The theory claims that as the representation of the one-handed Norse God Tyr, Jaime is destined to become the saviour that Westeros needs, and deserves.
Who is Azor Ahai?
Azor Ahai was said to be R’hllor’s champion against the forces of darkness, bearing a magical sword of flame, Lightbringer. In an old prophecy from Asshai it states that he will return to be R’hllor’s champion once more. According to Melisandre:
“In ancient books of Asshai it is written that 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.”
-Davos I, A Clash Of Kings
In A Song Of Ice And Fire, there are two characters championed strongly as Azor Ahai: Daenerys and Stannis Baratheon. Jon Snow is another popular candidate among the fans. But there are strong hints that Jaime Lannister could be the dark horse in this heroic race.
A Song of Ice and Fire and Ragnarok:
A little knowledge of Norse mythology and how it relates to ASOIAF is needed for this theory. This article from the same website (Game of Thrones & Norse Mythology) gives Norse parallels to the most popular ASOIAF characters (e.g.):
- Bran is Fenrir, the monstrous wolf – he’s a warg, now working with the Children of the Forest and Bloodraven for an unknown purpose
- Daenerys is Jormungandr, the world-circling serpent – self-explanatory: she and her dragons are travelling a hell of a long way to get back to Westeros
- Robert Baratheon is Thor, the hammer-wielding king
So why does this mean that Jaime is destined to save mankind? As the original theory states:
“… if GRRM is indeed adhering to the Ragnarok mythology, then Jaime is the only possible candidate for “Azor Ahai”. Why is that? Because he represents Tyr — the one-handed god of war — the champion of mankind, who in the earliest tellings of Ragnarök, was said to prevail over Fenrir in his role as the Mighty One.”
Fitting this into ASOIAF, it looks like Jaime and Bran will face off once more (and this time Jaime won’t be able to dispose of him so easily).
The author of Game of Thrones & Norse Mythology focuses on this quote describing Azor Ahai:
“When the red star bleeds and darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt”
- “When the red star bleeds”: Most people tend to believe that the red comet first seen at the end of A Game Of Thrones is the red star. The author makes the very good point that comets are NOT stars. “House Martell of Sunspear: a red sun pierced by a golden spear.” Therefore, the red star bleeding refers to a member of House Martell bleeding. The author believes that Oberyn Martell is the person referred to here.
- “…and darkness gathers”: The author believes that Bran is the darkness, as Bloodraven says to him: “The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother’s milk. Darkness will make you strong.”
- “Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt”: The author believes that born again can also mean “a second chance at life.” Jaime is given this at the hands of Roose Bolton, who freed him after he lost his hand. “What happens before Jaime is freed? He takes a steam bath with Brienne, in which he finally comes clean to her about why he killed Aerys (i.e. to save humanity). And, when he does, there is so much steam coming off the bath, he ends up passing out from the heat. Steam represents smoke. He is then invited to dinner with Roose Bolton (which, in Westerosi culture, is called “sharing the salt”), and given his life back.”
To sum up: “When Oberyn Martell dies and Bran meets the Three-Eyed Crow, Jaime Lannister will be freed from prison after dinner and a bath.”
There’s more proof in the pudding (or the dinner, if you will). Remember Renly Baratheon mockingly asking if Azor Ahai was a ham after hearing the smoke and salt line? In the TV show, Jaime is served ham.
And that’s not all — and not just with regard to Norse mythology. In the books, Azor Ahai killed his own wife to create his legendary sword. Jaime never baulks from killing to achieve his own ends (remember his cousin who was imprisoned with him in the TV show) but he is also willing to do the dirty deeds that no-one else is, like killing the Mad King.
So is Jaime Lannister Azor Ahai?
Jaime’s got the character for being the saviour of humanity, and you can twist the prophecy to fit him. Don’t bet against him when the Long Night approaches!