Melisandre believed Stannis to be Azor Ahai and did everything she could to make him fulfill the prophecy. He had a figurative rebirth amidst the salt of the ocean, and the smoke of the burning god statues. Stannis then pulled a sword from one of them and Melisandre proclaimed it Lightbringer. This was done beneath the red comet. But Stannis is not Targaryen. Also this argument really no longer holds water after “Mother’s Mercy,” the Season 5 finale. This episode proves Stannis is not Azor Ahai. He sacrifices his daughter to win at Winterfell and he fails utterly. His wife commits suicide. His army is destroyed. Melisandre leaves him to die. Like Macbeth Stannis finds himself fighting alone and friendless and when Brienne slashes him with her sword it is very clear this man is not the one who will end the second Long Night or defeat the White Walkers.
Dany is a Targaryen. She was reborn when she stepped into the fire and birthed her dragons, which takes care of the smoke portion, and it was done beneath the red comet. She was actually born during a storm on Dragonstone so this could account for the salt, salt of the sea. If Lightbringer, as Alt Shift X points out, can be a metaphorical sword, or sword is a mis-translation, her three dragons could be Lightbringer. They have an inner fire and could be used to destroy an army of wights. Also her dragons were born from the death of her child and Khal Drogo, a sacrifice. Only death can pay for life. So Dany has a very strong case for being Azor Ahai reborn.
If R+L=J is correct, and it probably is, Jon is a Targaryen. You can watch a video below explaining the theory if you haven’t heard it before.
In his video further up, Alt Shift X points out some details that could support Jon being Azor Ahai from clues during his stabbing scene. One of the men cries salty tears, the snow smokes from the hot blood, and there are fabric stars. Those really don’t seem like good indicators. But this is not the scene where Jon is reborn, this is the scene where he dies so these are probably just teasers. If Jon is resurrected it could easily have something to do with fire and therefore smoke. It would likely be outside, under the stars, where one could be a comet, and salt could somehow be a part of it.
Alt Shift X says the Night’s Watch could be his Lightbringer, and it could be. But it is also possible that they try to burn Jon’s body, with Long Claw, and that Jon is reborn like Dany in Season 1 and that Long Claw, already Valyrian Steel takes on the fiery quality of Lightbringer. At the moment Dany has a stronger case, but if Jon is resurrected using the magic of the Lord of Light, then he would also represent fire. Up to this point he has always represented ice, so Jon could be the embodiment of A Song of Ice and Fire the title of the book series. This doesn’t exactly fit the prophecy of Azor Ahai but it could still mean Jon is a very important person and hero in the War for the Dawn. But all this begs another serious question…
How did Azor Ahai Stop the White Walkers Before?
The truth is we really don’t know. We hear a lot about him using Lightbringer, and arming his men with dragon glass. But is that really enough to defeat them? We’ve seen the White Walkers massacre large groups of people. Even though we now know a few means of stopping them they still seem like an insurmountable force. Just look at “Hardhome,” again.
As Alt Shift X points out in the video above, it is very possible that Azor Ahai was the one who brokered a deal between the humans and the White Walkers and that then the White Walkers built the Wall to show the borders of what is their land and what belongs to the humans. It may also have involved some sort of human sacrifice using the hidden gate in the Nightfort, the largest castle along the Wall and now an empty ruin.
In the intervening eight thousand years this pact has been forgotten and violated by the humans causing the White Walkers to mobilize for war. If this is the case then Azor Ahai in the present could make a truce between the Others and the humans ending the War for the Dawn. It is also unclear whether the White Walkers caused the Long Night, the dark and cold precedes them where ever they go so it is possible they cause the natural winter to be longer or more intense. So a peace with the White Walkers could end the second Long Night and perhaps even put the seasons back into balance in Westeros. If Jon Snow is Azor Ahai then he would be in the perfect position to be intermediary between the humans and White Walkers.
There is a precedent for this. Humans and the Children of the Forest, (seen in the Season 4 finale, “The Children,”), fought a long war thousands of years ago but came to an agreement, giving the Children the forests and the humans the rest of Westeros. However, The World of Ice and Fire says that there is a Northern legend of a hero, (probably another form of the Azor Ahai legend), who made his way to the Children of the Forest, and asked for their help against the White Walkers. With the help of the Children of the Forest, (who took out wights with grenades if you’ll recall), it seems more likely humanity could have taken on the White Walkers and won. Also the conventional story of how the Wall was built was that the Children of the Forest helped the humans to build it. Then each generation of Night’s Watch built the Wall higher and higher to keep the Others out.
But let’s face it, even if this is how the War for the Dawn ends, there still needs to be some sort of large battle on the horizon or else all this set up is going to feel anti-climactic. We really know very little about the White Walkers and their motives. But we’ll be bringing you everything we know about them soon. Winter is coming after all…