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This Game of Thrones Theory May Reveal How Daenerys Will Discover Jon Snow’s True Identity

4 minute read

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen finally came face to face in the third episode of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season. But while the season six finale seemed to confirm the fan-favorite R+L=J theory — Jon is not the illegitimate son of Ned Stark but rather the child of Ned’s sister Lyanna and Daenerys’ brother Rhaegar — this meeting did nothing to make either realize they may be related to one another.

However, some fans believe a detail from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series — the books on which Thrones is based — may predict how at least one of them will discover their shared heritage.

In A Dance With Dragons, Quaithe — the prophetic shadowbinder from Asshai who made a brief appearance in season two — shared the following exchange with Dany in a vision:

‘To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward, you must go back. To touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.’

‘Quaithe?’ Dany called. “Where are you, Quaithe?’

Then she saw. Her mask is made of starlight.

‘Remember who you are, Daenerys,’ the stars whispered in a woman’s voice. ‘The dragons know. Do you?’


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While some predicted the final line of this prophecy meant Dany would have to journey into the Shadow Lands of Asshai before crossing the Narrow Sea to Westeros, Reddit user Novastrider recently proposed a different theory about ‘the shadow’ that plays into Daenerys’ decision to allow Jon to mine the dragonglass at Dragonstone.

There have been many theories about the meaning of this prophecy. While the first parts were generally pretty clear (it’s Dany’s journey), the latter was always interpreted as being about Asshai. Even Daenerys says so in the books:

Asshai, Dany thought. She would have me go to Asshai. “Will the Asshai’i give me an army?” she demanded. “Will there be gold for me in Asshai? Will there be ships? What is there in Asshai that I will not find in Qarth?” “Truth,” said the woman in the mask.’

But as we all now know, years later, Asshai will extremely likely never be visited in the show or in the books. It would’ve been cool to see, but likely this mention in the books has been a smart misdirect by George R.R. Martin. By rule, characters never ever predict their own prophecies correctly, so Asshai-by-the-shadow is off the table. So let’s look back at the prophecy with what we know now:

-‘To go north, you must journey south.’ — Clearly her journey to the very southern city of Qarth and back.

-‘To reach the west, you must go east.’ — Dany picked up her army in the east, needing it to invade the west.

-‘To go forward, you must go back.’ — This is where it gets interesting. This was generally interpreted as going back to Westeros or going back to Mereen or the Dorthraki, but it’s likely way more specific and further along [in] her storyline. It’s about going back to Dragonstone, her birthplace. We get a lot more clarification about this in the bonus hint by Quaithe.

-‘”Remember who you are, Daenerys,” the stars whispered in a woman’s voice. “The dragons know. Do you?”‘ — She is a lot of things, but first and above all, she’s Daenerys Stormborn, born during a storm on Dragonstone, favorite hangout of the dragons. But why Dragonstone specifically of all places in Westeros? That’s where the unsolved last hint and the next episode come into play.

-‘To touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.’ — Now we know there’s an abandoned dragonglass mine on Dragonstone. What will she find when she goes underground, beneath the castle of Stannis the Shadow?

-‘”Truth,” said the woman in the mask.’

An old promo appeared to show Jon and Daenerys exploring the caves beneath Dragonstone, lending more credence to the theory that this will be a significant moment. Will the “truth” that Daenerys is meant to discover be the truth about Jon’s real parents?


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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com