Game of Thrones is less than 50 days away, which, if you're watching an episode a day until the premiere, means you're already through Season 1 and 2. The early seasons of Game of Thrones were a more innocent time when the series stuck closer to the novels, and fans didn't have information like Jon Snow's real name or he the fact isn't a bastard. It was also a time when most believed Jon Snow's destiny was to be the Prince That Was Promised, Azor Ahai Reborn. But watch with new eyes. Is Sam Tarly Azor Ahai instead?
It sounds like an absurd theory. Coming during this period, where HBO still hasn't released a full-length trailer for the final season, one would assume this is an idea pulled from Reddit's Wild Theory Land. However, if one considers what fans and viewers have learned about Westeros, and what the show has taught about how history never goes the way one expects, this theory becomes far more interesting.
Currently, Sam is a sideline character, the scribe. If anything, most fans believe his role is that of the historian. The A Song of Ice & Fire novels are telling the history of Westeros, and Sam is the one who sat down and put the events of the age to paper. Ahai, on the other hand, is a warrior, a man who forged a sword three times, the last of which he used the blood of his wife as part of the forge. Sam wouldn't do that to Gilly if his life depended on it.
There are theories, most of them book based, claiming the first Aegon was smuggled out of Westeros via the Tarly family. They believed him to be the rightful heir, as Rhaegar's wedding to Lyanna Stark was a secret, as was his disinheritance of his children with Elia. These theorists suspect Sam is Baby Aegon, and the real Sam was killed by The Mountain in Aegon's stead. Lord Tarly raised the child in secret. This explains why Sam's father was so angry at how his "son" turned out and sent him to the Wall.
Sam and Jon as half-brothers would be a lovely turn of events, but there's more proof Sam is braver than anyone thinks. After all, he's the first to kill a White Walker. He's the one who figures out the dragonglass connection to killing the Army of the Dead. Ahai was supposed to be extraordinarily intelligent. What if he was more scholarly than history recorded?
In the end, that's really where this theory shines. Author George R.R. Martin has said history is never what you think it is, and prophecies never work the way one expects. One of the reasons the Game of Thrones prequel is so highly anticipated is it will show just how badly the histories got it wrong when it comes to the origins of the Seven Kingdoms. Sam is the last person anyone would expect to be Ahai reborn, from reading the histories. But what if the histories were wrong?
What if it's Sam's destiny to kill the Night King instead of Jon's? That would be a shocking twist no one saw coming.
Game of Thrones Season 8 arrives on HBO on Sunday, April 14, 2019.