Each week, Fawkes’ resident Maester, Matt Atwell, will be taking all of your Game of Thrones’ questions and answering them in a weekly mailbag. You can ask your questions in the comments section below, at our Facebook page, via email at FawkesDotCom@gmail.com or through twitter @FawkesCulture & @Matwellsays. You could also catch up with all of Fawkes’ GAME OF THRONES coverage here.
“Why does Thoros keep bringing back Beric and why does he have Lightbringer?”
I’m afraid we may be as clueless to the first part of the question as Beric was when he was asked by Sandor Clegane on Sunday. I think we have to take his response as true – that he has some higher purpose. I’d assume this has to do with the ranging North of The Wall we see him undertaking with Clegane and Jon in the trailers. Here, the books also offer no help because Beric is no longer among the living in ASOIAF. But a recent interview with George R.R. Martin himself may indicate that he hasn’t been among the living in quite some time.
Speaking with Time before the Season 7 premier, Martin shared some interesting comments:
This is obviously very interesting, as it indicates Beric, and now Jon, are mirror opposites of the White Walkers. What this signifies, I am not sure at this moment. But to me, it may mean that resurrecting the dead can happen much more often than it is, if fire wights are as easily created as ice wights. But as we are dealing with two different canons at this point, it’s hard to draw any conclusions for the show from this. But it is certainly something interesting to reflect on.
The second question here necessitates a bit of a history lesson on what Lightbringer is (or was).
Lightbringer was the mythical blade of Azor Ahai, or the Prince that was Promised. As legend tells it, a terrible darkness lay over the world. Azor Ahai was chosen to fight against it, but first he needed to forge a hero’s blade. He labored for 30 days and nights to create such a blade but when he tried to temper it in water, the blade broke. Next, he labored for 50 days and 50 nights and tried to temper the blade through the heart of a lion, but once again the sword broke. Finally, Azor Ahai labored for 100 days and 100 nights and to temper the blade and thrust it through the heart of his wife, Nissa Nissa. In doing so, her soul forged with the blade, creating Lightbringer.
Now, according to ancient prophesies in Asshai (where Melisandre comes from), a burning comet will foretell Azor Ahai coming again following a long summer to fight a cold darkness descending on the world. Wielding Lightbringer, Azor Ahai will then defeat The Others once more.
Melisandre believed Stannis to be Azor Ahai. She declared that his sword was Lightbringer, after he retrieved the sword from a pyre burning statues of The Seven. Well, if Stannis was Azor Ahai, the world is in trouble now that he was killed at the hand of Brienne.
It is important to now remember what Maester Aemon said of Stannis’ sword in the books as he laid dying: “The sword is wrong, she has to know that… light without heat… an empty glamour… the sword is wrong and the false light can only lead us deeper into darkness (A Feast for Crows, p. 648).”
So, what we know is that Lightbringer will be wielded by Azor Ahai reborn, will shine red like fire, and emit heat. Are there any blades that currently do this?
The only that comes to mind is, as Mike points out, Beric’s burning blade. While it is possible that Beric’s greater purpose is that he is in fact Azor Ahai, I doubt that and I doubt that his blade is Lightbringer. I do not think Lightbringer will simply be a burning sword. Beric’s blade also burns simply due to a glimmer cast by Thoros’ just as Stannis’ blade shined thanks to Mel.
There are significant theories out there about what – or even who – Lightbringer is (SPOILER WARNING: clicking the link will lead to a book source so possible spoilers). My guess is that we have not seen Lightbringer yet. After all, it takes a personal sacrifice for the sword to be truly forged and we haven’t necessarily seen anything of that sory.
Mike asks, “How does Arya’s face changing work?”
As I touched on in this week’s recap, the show never explained how or why The Faceless Men were able to change their faces. All we really know is that for someone to shift into someone else’s face, the face they are taking on must be from someone who is dead.
The book provides some more information. The Faceless Men cure the faces of those who come to die in The House of Black and White, and then hang their faces in vaults. They are then used essentially as masks, but they are more powerful in that the wearer takes on the true form of whoever’s face they wear. For this to happen, the wearer must apply the face using a tribute of their own blood.
Obviously, this would seem to indicate that Arya would have had to do some considerable work to take on the face’s of Walder and the Frey serving girl and also may indicate that the faces must first be in the House of Black and White. In the show, however, it appears anyone with training at the House of Black and White has the know-how and tools to change their face anywhere they please as long as the person is dead.
Last season, thanks to Bran’s Greenseeing ability, we learned that Jon is actually the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. This was the first we learned of this news, although many book-readers had theorized this since A Game of Thrones was first released over 20 years ago.
Jake brings up a good point. This is obviously significant, as Jon would have the stronger claim to the Throne than Daenerys. Logically, it would also follow that Jon is meant to be the rider of either Viserion or Rhaegal. Yet, how will the rest of the world learn this if Bran is the only one who knows?
Well, I think we can assume that Bran would share this knowledge with Meera but there is also one other person who has been holding onto this secret since Jon’s birth: Howland Reed, the father of Meera and Jojen. Remember, he was there at the Tower of Joy with Ned and saved Ned’s life by thrusting a spear into Arthur Dayne’s back.
Howland Reed was Ned’s closest and most trusted friends. Will we finally meet him this season?
Mike asks, “Can Bran pass through The Wall after being touched by The Night’s King?”
The obvious answer to this question is “yes.” We just saw Bran pass through The Wall at Castle Black without The Wall collapsing.
However, when The Night’s King touched Bran during one of his visions, there were obviously some serious side effects. Most notably that we’ve witnessed, whatever protections the lair of the Three Eyed Raven had against the White Walkers was destroyed. Last season, when we met the undead Benjen Stark, he reiterated that The Wall has magical protections against those trying to breach it, in addition to its already imposing physical size. for that reason, Benjen, AKA “Cold Hands,” was not able to pass through The Wall. This raises the concern that Bran passing through The Wall may remove its magical protections in the same way his presence did in the Three Eyed Ravens’ cave.
My belief is that this is probably the case, and that now Walkers may be able to cross through The Wall. However, I also believe that at some point this season, The Wall will come down, so a lack of magical prowess may be the least of The Nights Watch’s problem.