On the subject of the historical past of HBO’s Recreation of Thrones and George R.R. Martin‘s A Track of Ice and Hearth novel collection, some followers are clever previous maesters and others are know-nothing Jon Snow varieties. So whether or not you’re as versed prior to now as Maester Luwin or as clueless as Gilly in a fort for the primary time, we’re calling your banner to hitch us on this march to the ultimate season. Both approach, be warned: there are main spoilers for the collection on this submit.
The Lengthy Night time
The rationale we are saying that the historical past of Westeros is controversial is as a result of no one began writing something down till the Andals invaded round 6,000 BC (Earlier than the Conquest of Aegon). There’s nothing recorded from earlier than the First Males arrived in about 12,000, or once they signed their pact with the Youngsters of the Forest in 10,000 BC—not to mention something from the Age of Heroes that started at the moment.
(Keep in mind, these time durations are all guesses, however they’re the most effective we’ve got so we’ll use them).
So in fact something that happened in eight,000 BC wasn’t written down for two,000 years. This may be like somebody writing concerning the lifetime of Julius Caesar for the primary time—ever—at the moment. Besides in Westeros circa eight,000 BC, crucial battle of all-time occurred throughout an occasion referred to as The Lengthy Night time, when White Walkers (within the books often known as the Others) virtually ended the realm of the dwelling.
The Lengthy Night time is a curious piece of historical past in that we all know extra about it proper now than anybody that lived in Westeros for eight,000 years. But to most of mankind the White Walkers are a fable: one thing individuals not often consider existed, or lived so way back they’re gone from the Realm—just like the Youngsters of the Forest (oops). It’s why the kingdoms ignore the alarms of White Walkers to struggle over an Iron Throne; too dangerous all of that bickering will imply nothing if The Lengthy Night time descends upon the Realm once more.
So right here’s what we all know from the legends (that we will in all probability settle for now that we, as readers and viewers, know they’re very actual and really harmful): The Lengthy Night time befell throughout a winter that’s stated to have lasted a whole era, killing kings of their castles and bringing a chilly that has by no means been seen earlier than or since. Throughout this time, a military of blue-eyed, pasty milk-white beings driving lifeless animals and big ice spiders—referred to as the Others, creatures able to elevating the lifeless to battle for them (these pseudo-zombies are generally known as Wights)—invaded Westeros and really possible the remainder of the recognized world, provided that comparable tales about a military of the lifeless coming beneath the duvet of an extended night time fill the legends of Essos, too.
In what is called The Battle of the Daybreak, the final hero (extra to return on him later) managed to push again the White Walkers, who have been believed to have returned to the Lands of All the time Winter, a spot so north of the place The Wall now stands that’s is unexplored and considered utterly uninhabitable by man. Mankind was capable of defeat them solely after studying the White Walkers could possibly be defeated with obsidian (a.okay.a. dragonglass) and Valyrian metal (a.okay.a. dragonsteel).
We all know each of these are undoubtedly true.
Followers of the Lord of Mild, R’hllor—particularly these of Asshai the place Melisandre is from—consider the Others are the “chilly youngsters” of the Nice Different, the god who cannot be named, who battles with R’hollor for all eternity over the world. The Nice Different is considered the god of chilly, darkness, and demise.
We’re going to return again to this too, as a result of it may be far more essential than you understand.
Did the lengthy winter deliver concerning the Others, or did their arrival convey concerning the lengthy winter? Nobody is aware of, however as soon as they have been defeated, The Wall was erected (probably with magic, a subject for our subsequent installment) to maintain them out and shield the realm of the dwelling.
The one rumored sighting of a White Walker since they retreated after The Lengthy Night time is the legend of the Night time’s King, the 13th Lord Commander (Jon was the 998th, for comparability’s sake) who was stated to have fallen in love with—and bedded, ow ow—a feminine White Walker. He then dominated because the Night time’s King on the Nightfort, together with her at his aspect, till he was defeated by a military comprised of Northmen and Wildlings.
Whereas by no means noticed within the books, the Night time’s King was revealed to be the White Walker from the present with the spiky head crown—the one who raised the lifeless at Hardhome and stared down Jon Snow. In truth, we’ve seen extra concerning the White Walkers on the present than within the books, together with how they reworked Craster’s sons into one among them at what’s ostensibly their house.
For nearly eight,000 years they by no means attacked or have been seen. Now they’re again—and we all know a lot extra about them (together with from the books that the lifeless they increase as wights appear to retain some reminiscence of who they have been, fairly than simply being senseless zombies, which is far scarier)—what does this inform us going ahead?
Azor Ahai, the Final Hero, and the Prince That Was Promised
If a solitary hero saved the world as soon as earlier than, will that occur once more? And who’s he (or she)?
The previous right here stays murky, as a result of there are three legends which might be all related not directly, they usually may be referring to at least one individual, or not be associated in any respect. However one factor is for certain: historical past tends to repeat itself ’spherical these elements.
First, there’s Azor Ahai, who carried Lightbringer, a famed sword; there’s additionally the legend of “the final hero” from The Lengthy Night time fantasy that isn’t named; and eventually there’s the prophecy of the “prince that was promised,” who would save the world from darkness, a prince that may primarily be “the music of ice and hearth.”
Melisandre thinks this prince shall be Azor Ahai reborn, however that’s not what all consider. She additionally thought that was Stannis was that prince/Azor Ahai, and based mostly on the present that doesn’t appear to be panning out all that properly.
Now the large principle we already coated is that Jon Snow is that very prince (being the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark that might cowl the “prince” facet and the “track of ice and hearth” half). Jon is/was additionally the one individual in Westeros taking them significantly—even his personal brothers in black, who know they’re actual, couldn’t appear to grasp probably the most urgent hazard to get previous their hatred of the Wildlings. They killed Jon for making an attempt to ensure the Wildlings joined them in preventing for the dwelling, as an alternative of turning into members within the military of the lifeless. Penny clever/pound of flesh silly.
Jon being the good hero is at present muddled by him being lifeless, however that doesn’t should be a barrier in Westeros, and we’re betting on him returning (although I’ve already identified which may not be an excellent factor). In fact, others nonetheless have made the declare that it could possibly be Daenerys or Brienne of Tarth that’s this so-called last savior, however nothing holds up fairly so nicely as Jon Snow.
True to GRRM-based tragedy, although, there’s additionally very scary prospect that the prince that was promised was truly Rhaegar Targaryen himself—one thing that Rhaegar himself might have truly believed. Which signifies that when Robert killed him, he doomed mankind to everlasting darkness. Nicely, they are all the time saying there isn’t a such factor as a cheerful ending!
So that is the apparent stuff: the White Walkers are actual, the legends turned out to be true (and provides far more credence to the prince that was promised additionally being true), and—oh yeah—they will solely be defeated by dragon-related issues and Jon’s potential aunt simply so occurs to have three dragons precisely when the world wants them.
However What Concerning the Dragons?
Dragons. Oh these dragons, full of fireside (mild) positive appear to be the antithesis of the Others (darkness): life vs. demise, good vs. dangerous, the Lord of Mild and man battling the Nice Different and the White Walkers.
The one drawback is that dragons type of suck, too. I don’t imply they suck as an element of the story (they’re superior), however they suck for the individuals in the story. Dragons have killed simply as many males, if not an entire lot extra, than the Others ever did. (To not point out the followers of R’hllor are also keen on burning individuals alive, which is an disagreeable option to deal with the dwelling.) Dragons aredeath, and their “mom” can’t even management them. They’re wild beasts, and although the other of chilly, actually are simply the other aspect of the very same coin.
So in case you can’t management them you’ll be able to’t use them, or be shielded from them. Which brings us to Bran Stark.
You may keep in mind Bran and his companions from means again in season 4, once they lastly reached the Three-Eyed Raven and found the Youngsters of the Forest have been no legend and had not died out.
Bran is a strong warg, and as such he may be capable of warg right into a dragon someday and defeat the White Walkers, saving mankind. Would this make him the prince that was promised? Perhaps, perhaps not. His case isn’t as robust as Jon’s, since there isn’t any debate Bran was born of Ned and Catelyn Stark. Some don’t even assume the “prince” will probably be a person.
The present’s creators have already stated that following his season 5 absence we’ll see a way more highly effective Bran (equal to Luke’s bounce in talents from The Empire Strikes Again to Return of the Jedi), so all the things—previous, current, and future—shall be at his disposal to study from, and his talents to warg could possibly be the one factor that saves mankind from each the Others and dragons.
Perhaps you assume I’m being harsh on dragons and the followers of R’hollor, however Melisandre doesn’t see Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven as heroes of the dwelling. In her fires, she sees a imaginative and prescient that’s 100% the 2 of them, and thinks they have to be the champions of the Nice Different. And whereas we should be skeptical of the strategies of the Three-Eyed Raven and the Youngsters (hmm, that’s good paste), provided that all of the legends of The Lengthy Night time have more-or-less been confirmed true, we will belief that the Youngsters fought them as soon as and aren’t on their aspect (plus the Three-Eyed Raven is virtually undoubtedly a Targaryen).
So, if they don’t seem to be the enemy of the White Walkers, what to make of this quote from the Three-Eyed Raven to Bran in A Dance With Dragons then?
“By no means worry the darkness, Bran.” The lord’s phrases have been accompanied by a faint rustling of wooden and leaf, a slight twisting of his head. “The strongest timber are rooted in the dead of night locations of the earth. Darkness shall be your cloak, your defend, your mom’s milk. Darkness will make you robust.”
Darkness is only dangerous, isn’t it? No, not more than the sunshine of R’hollor is wholly good, identical to dragons can deliver each salvation for mankind and demise.
The Lengthy Night time occurred eight,000 years in the past, and it apparently was all true. Westeros seems to wish a hero as soon as extra to save lots of the realm of the dwelling, it’s simply that people who would stand beside him (or her, I hear you screaming Khaleesi followers) could be simply as harmful, and he/she is going to want the assistance of a wheelchair-bound boy to fly.
So what do you consider the approaching Lengthy Night time? Inform us within the feedback under.