The prince that was promised
The prince that was promised is a prophesied leader or saviour. The prince may be part of an ancient prophecy, a prophecy that foretells the coming of a hero to deliver the world from darkness. A "bleeding star" is supposed to herald the coming of the prince. The prince is said to have "a song" - the song of ice and fire.
It is not known from where the prophecy originates, as information on the prince that was promised is scant. Based on the fact that Maester Aemon mentions “a thousand years” to Samwell Tarly it should be safe to say the prince that was promised prophecy is at least 1,000 years old. According to Melisandre the prince that was promised coming was prophesied 5,000 years ago. She does not mention who made the prophecy.
Melisandre has mentioned the prince that was promised and Azor Ahai interchangeably but she tends to use the name Azor Ahai far more often. Aemon only mentions the prince that was promised, never the name Azor Ahai.
It appears as if the Targaryen family had been awaiting the arrival of the prince so the prophecy may come from Old Valyria, but that is conjecture. There is not as much clear information on the prince as, for example, Azor Ahai.
Thus far there has been no mention of the prince wielding a sword, unlike the last hero and Azor Ahai. However, at one point Prince Rhaegar Targaryen believed that he might be the prince that was promised. According to a tale told of Rhaegar, one day he found something in his scrolls that changed him and he decided to become a knight. He said to Ser Willem Darry, the master-at-arms,
I will require a sword and armor. It seems I must be a warrior.
Therefore, the prince may be a warrior who wields a sword.
Rhaegar looks up as he says those words, his eyes meeting Daenerys's, and it seems to her as if he sees her standing there.
When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt.
Much later in Braavos, when talking of the prince to Samwell Tarly, Maester Aemon mentions smoke and salt as being part of the heralding of the prince that was promised coming. The mention of smoke and salt brings to mind Melisandre’s above mentioned statement. However, Tyrion Lannister has stated that:
Azor Ahai and the prince that was promised may be two distinct prophecies, or they may be one in the same in a prophecy that has the potential to turn out to be about two separate people. The prince may not even be male; the prince may have been referred to as male erroneously for centuries. Aemon firmly believes that the prince is not a prince but a princess, as High Valyrian is a language in which nouns are gender neutral.
Aemon also says to Samwell that the dragon must have three heads. He wakes up weeping, wailing:
It may be that the three-headed dragon is a part of the prince that was promised prophecy, and there are two other people whom the prince will need to have by his side to show him the way.
Signs of the coming of the prince that was promised
- The birth of a male child - a prince. (erroneous according to Maester Aemon, as High Valyrian is a gender-neutral language)
- The prince is of the blood of the dragon.
- Born amidst smoke.
- Born amidst salt.
- A bleeding star in the skies. (also mentioned is being born beneath a bleeding star)
- Possibly the return of dragons (when he was a boy, Aegon V Targaryen recalled that King Aerys I read about the return of dragons in a prophecy.)
- The dark eye falls upon the prince?
The prince that was promised theories
A Clash of Kings
Daenerys Targaryen's eldest brother, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, appears in one of her visions in the House of the Undying in Qarth. She sees him talking to his wife, Elia Martell, discussing what he shall name his son (Aegon) and his destiny. He states,
Rhaegar looks up when he says those words and his eyes meet Daenerys’s, though whether he is speaking to her or the woman in the bed she cannot say.
Later, when at the port of Qarth with Ser Jorah Mormont, Daenerys discusses the vision with him. She mentions her brother said that the babe was the prince that was promised. Jorah observes that if he was this prince that was promised, the promise was broken along with his skull when the Lannisters dashed his head against a wall during the Sack of King's Landing. Daenerys seems to accept this notion and goes on to ask what is the song of ice and fire but Jorah has never heard it.
A Storm of Swords
On Dragonstone Melisandre tells Stannis Baratheon that he is "he who must stand against the Other". She tells him that he is the one whose coming was prophesied 5,000 years ago, the red comet was his herald and that he is the prince that was promised and that if he fails the world fails with him.
Melisandre tells him that he is Stannis Baratheon, Azor Ahai come again, and that in him the prophecies are fulfilled. Of note is that Melisandre does not reply that Stannis is the prince that was promised, she answers he is Azor Ahai.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
In Meereen Ser Barristan Selmy talks to Daenerys about her mother, Rhaella, and father, Aerys II. He mentions that her grandsire, Jaehaerys II, commanded that they be wed after a woods witch had foretold that the prince who was promised would be born of their line. Daenerys is astonished by the fact that her grandsire listened to a woods witch and asks Barristan about her; when Barristan mentions Summerhall she sighs and tells him to leave. Daenerys does not ask him about the prince who was promised or make mention of her vision in the House of the Undying to Barristan.
No one ever looked for a girl ... It was a prince that was promised, not a princess.
- Maester Aemon
She talks of prophecies...a hero reborn in the sea, living dragons hatched from dead stone ... she speaks of signs and swears they point to me. I never asked for this, no more than I asked to be king. Yet dare I disregard her?
References and Notes
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V, p 711.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 40, Tyrion IX, page 534.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
- The Mystery Knight, Warriors 1.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 63, Daenerys V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 23, Daenerys IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V, p 601.