One of the most amazing things about George R R Martin’s books is the sheer volume of detail that goes into his world building. His fictional history of Westeros doesn’t just go back a generation or two. Instead, he has fleshed out the history of his world for thousands of years… and a lot of it is directly related to the final seasons of Game of Thrones, which can’t get here soon enough!
There have already been a vast number of callouts to ancient Westerosi history in the show so far – some obvious, some less so. Just in case you can’t think of many (we know, there’s lots of gratuitous sex and violence, and that can be distracting), here are some of the biggest and best to refresh your memory.
Arya’s Son-Flavored Pie: Arya is back in Winterfell, and her first act is to take revenge on the Freys by butchering Walder Frey’s sons – literally. She bakes them into a pie, serves them to him, then slits his throat. This is connected to the idea of the Guest Right – safety guaranteed in a home once you have broken bread with the host – and the fact that the Freys ignored that to slaughter her brother and mother at the Red Wedding. However, it’s also a reference to one of the legends of the Nightfort; the Rat Cook, who was a man of the Night’s Watch who did this same thing to a visiting king and was turned into a giant rat for his trouble.
So Many Prophecies: Ancient (and recent) prophecy are a huge part of the mythology of Game of Thrones. From speculation over the Prince Who Was Promised to Cersei’s future death at the hands of “the valonqar”, many of the characters dance around prophecy and fate throughout the series.
Joramun’s Horn: This magical horn has been mentioned throughout the series, and legend has it that it has the power to bring down the Wall when blown. The Wildlings claimed to have found it, and many thought that the men of the Night’s Watch found it at the Fist of the First Men. We learned this season that the White Walkers cannot go South while the Wall still stands, which means that the horn is most likely going to come into play very soon.
The Children of the Forest: Bran’s time travelling this season has been deeply linked to the history of Westeros, both modern and ancient. We saw how the Night’s King was created – although the show didn’t reference some of the legends from the books, this is another element that is being woven in from George RR Martin’s complex world.
Rumors of Wildfire: The history of King’s Landing told us that the Targaryen Kings had stockpiled Wildfire (and that one even attempted to drink it to become a dragon!) – a seemingly minor detail, until this season. Cersei, knowing her history, discovered the caches of wildfire, using it to destroy her enemies and the Sept of Balor.
The King in the North and the Mother of Dragons
Of course, there is a lot of history that hasn’t become important in the grand scheme of things (yet!), and there are so many legends and stories that it can be hard to decide which are important.
However, there is one pact in particular that points toward a wedding in the next two seasons – between Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow!
In the Season 6 finale, we learned that Jon Snow is not actually Ned Stark’s son. On one of his time-jaunts through a Heart Tree, Bran saw Ned’s “rescue” of his sister Lyanna at the Tower of Joy – a rescue that ended with her death in childbirth, and his promise to care for her newborn son. We also saw Jon raised from bastard of Winterfell and Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch – all the way to King in the North, with the support of all the northern houses. (Thanks, Lady Lyanna Mormont!) He is poised to take on Cersei, and potentially to aid Daenerys in her bid to take back the Iron Throne.
Daenerys herself has finally left Meereen, and is headed to Westeros with her dragons, her armies, and her advisers. The Mother of Dragons has left her lover behind, however. Daario has been ordered to remain in Meereen, as Daenerys plans to marry when she reaches Westeros to cement her power there (after she wins, of course). She has aid coming from Dorne and Highgarden, and the only area left that is not allied to her or Cersei is the North.
The Pact of Ice And Fire
It would make a lot of sense for Jon and Daenerys to join forces, but there is more than logic leading to a marriage between these two rulers.
This pact was made during the Dance of Dragons, a civil war to determine the succession to the throne. Viserys I was dead, and while he had named the daughter of his first marriage (Rhaenyra) heir to the throne, Queen Alicent (his second wife) declared that she would be crowing their first born son Prince Aegon II. The two Targaryen heirs embarked on a long civil war, at the end of which both of them would lose their lives. Rhaenyra’s son, Aegon III was crowned king after their deaths, and unified both sides of the conflict.
The Starks were on Rhaenyra’s side, and rode into battle against Aegon II. Lord Cregan Stark, the head of House Stark, made a pack with Rhaenyra – a Targaryen princess would marry into his house, and he would lend his men to her cause. After her death, he briefly served as the King’s Hand to her son, before returning to the North. No Targaryen princess was ever married into the family.
A New Union of Ice And Fire
Now, we are reaching the perfect time for the Pact of Ice and Fire to be fulfilled. Most Houses have thrown in their lot with either Daenerys or Jon Snow, with both sides wishing to see House Lannister thrown down. Jon Snow also knows that the White Walkers are coming – and that they cannot allow more civil war to distract them from a greater enemy. An alliance between these two would be an ideal way to unify the Kingdom, destroy house Lannister, and focus on beating back the White Walkers, as they did eight thousand years ago at the end of the Long Night.
A marriage between Jon and Daenerys would also, finally, fulfill the Pact of Ice and Fire – marrying a Targaryen Princess (or Queen!) to a Stark. It can be no coincidence that the series title and the pact are almost identical – Ice and Fire, whether promise or song, are the heart of the Game of Thrones. Finally, this marriage would also continue the Targaryen traditions that say the line should be continued with intermarriage. The Tower of Joy scene didn’t just reveal Jon’s mother, but that his father’s name is Rhaegar Targaryen.
All of which brings us to the conclusion that when Jon Snow meets the Mother of Dragons, they will not be joined in battle – but in marriage.
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Writer, cosplayer and all around nerd. @RoseMooreWrites