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April 09, 2019 at 08:15 AM EDT
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A fitting subtitle for Game of Thrones could be this warning from Red Priestess Melisandre: “Prophecies are dangerous things.” Just ask Melisandre’s previous chosen one, Stannis. From greensight to visions in the flame, plenty of portents have come and gone on the show, and fans — as desperate for vindication of their various theories as any would-be monarch for the throne — have picked each cryptic message apart. Ahead of Thrones’ eighth and final season, here’s a review of the two biggest prophecies that are still driving the show and its characters.

The Prince That Was Promised

“After the long summer, darkness will fall heavy on the world. Stars will bleed.… The cold breath of winter will freeze the seas.… And the dead shall rise in the north.… A warrior will draw a burning sword from the fire, and that sword shall be Lightbringer.”
—Melisandre

Status: Summer has ended, and the dead have risen, but the identity of the prophesied savior who will wield Lightbringer against the darkness is still open to interpretation, as is the nature of the legendary weapon itself. Melisandre explains that the one who ends the war will be “the prince that was promised,” but Daenerys’ adviser Missandei has pointed out that this phrase, translated from High Valyrian, could mean either “prince” or “princess.” The two frontrunners under this gender-neutral interpretation are Dany and Jon Snow, whom the Lord of Light resurrected. Prophecies in George R.R. Martin’s books include additional information about the conditions surrounding the birth of the prince who was promised, also known as Azor Ahai reborn, but the show has de-emphasized some of the criteria outlined in print.

As for the bleeding stars mentioned in the speech above, they may refer to Dany and the red comet that heralded the birth of her dragons. Or they could refer to Dawn, the fallen-star-forged sword that Arthur Dayne used to protect Jon’s mother, Lyanna Stark, as she gave birth to her Targaryen heir at the Tower of Joy, as seen in Bran’s vision. There’s also a chance that Dawn could be Lightbringer, and some speculate that Jon will find it buried with his mother in the Winterfell crypts.

Helen Sloan/HBO

Gold Will Be Their Shrouds

“You will never wed the prince, you will wed the king.… You will be queen, for a time. Then comes another — younger, more beautiful — to cast you down and take all you hold dear.… The king will have 20 children, and you will have three. Gold will be their crowns, gold their shrouds.”
—Maggy the Frog, to young Cersei Lannister

Status: Much of this blood-magic-infused prophecy has come true. Cersei married King Robert Baratheon instead of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen after the Lannisters sided with the new ruler, and against the Targaryens, during Robert’s Rebellion. The younger, more beautiful queen set to replace Cersei might’ve been Margaery Tyrell, but since her vaporization in the Great Sept of Baelor, it’s more likely that Daenerys will become the queen to cast the ruthless Lannister from power. King Robert had numerous children out of wedlock (the only known survivor on the show being Gendry); Cersei had three doomed, golden-haired royals, Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella, with her brother Jaime. One thing that could impugn this prophecy’s accuracy: if Cersei’s current (alleged?) pregnancy comes to term.

Game of Thrones returns April 14 on HBO.

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HBO’s epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.
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seasons
  • 8
episodes
  • 73
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  • 04/17/11-05/19/19
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