We're in the homestretch ahead of Game of Thrones Season 7, and HBO continues to keep everything under wraps.
But that doesn't mean there aren't details leaking out the from around the edges of production. Every picture we get for the upcoming season is a hint of things to come. And one picture might have given away a major plot point for this upcoming year.
If you don't want to know, consult your maps and turn back. Spoilers are coming.
While the trailers and promotional images most of us have been poring over this past month have featured the Starks or Team Targ, a few pics here and there have included Jon Snow and Co's far-flung members Sam and Gilly.
Far to the south, sequestered away in the Citadel, Sam and his Wildling love seem to be spending most of their time away from the dangers of winter comfortably reading.
But it's what Gilly is reading that has everyone's attention.
Sam's efforts to teach Gilly to read over the years have been a source of pride, as she's picked up the skill quite well. While Sam is reading deep tomes that slog along about ancient Westerosi history, or subjects that will help him pass parts 1 and 2 of the WMLE (Westerosi Maester Licensing Examination) and forge a maester's chain, Gilly is reading... George R.R. Martin's The World of Ice and Fire.
Well if that's not product placement, I don't know what is.
Redditors helpfully translated the text in this image:
It is also written that there are annals in Asshai of such a darkness, and of a hero who fought against it with a red sword. His deeds are said to have been performed before the rise of Valyria, in the earliest age when Old Ghis was first forming its empire. This legend has spread west from Asshai, and the followers of *the Lord of the Light* claim that this hero was named Azor Ahai, and prophesy his return. In the Jade Compendium, Colloquo Votar recounts a curious legend from Yi Ti, which states that the sun hid its face from the earth for a lifetime, ashamed at something none could discover, and that disaster was averted only by the deeds of a woman with a monkey's tail. - TWOIAF Ancient History: The Long Night
*The original text from TWOIAF, uses "R'hllor" instead of "The Lord of the Light". Doubtlessly the show changed it because they haven't used R'hllor's name that much.
So what does this mean?
The prophecy of "The Lord of the Light," as Melisandre has told us before, is the story of a hero. "The Lord of the Light" is Azor Ahai reborn; he will be able to defeat the White Walkers invasion when the Long Night comes. As viewers will recall, Melisandre once believed her god lead her to Stannis because he was Ahai. Upon discovering she was very wrong, she has now switched that belief to Jon Snow.
Azor Ahai, for the record, is believed to be of the Targaryen bloodline -- which we now know Jon Snow to be.
There's only one small issue. Ahai is also believed to wield a flaming sword called Lightbringer. Melisandre made a fake one for Stannis. Jon doesn't wield a flaming sword, currently. Instead, his is made of Valyrian Steel, which is believed to be metal originally forged with dragon fire. That could be what the prophecy means. (After all, prophecies are not exactly straightforward.) Except we already know of another character who does wield a sword made of fire -- our other resurrected character, Beric Dondarrion.
Will the real Azor Ahai please stand up?
Hopefully he will once Game of Thrones Season 7 starts, on July 16.