A Royal Targaryen Heirloom
In ‘King of the Narrow Sea’, Viserys was at loggerheads with his daughter Rhaenyra. She’d spent the episode experimenting with her sexuality and independence – two areas generally fenced off to unmarried royal women. To remind her of her ancestral responsibilities, Viserys summoned Rhaenyra to his chamber where she saw the ridged dragonbone hilt of her father’s dagger resting on the edge of a brazier. “That dagger once belonged to Aegon the Conqueror,” he told her. “It was Aenar’s before that and before that, well, it is difficult to know.”
Viserys took the blade from the flames and showed Rhaenyra its secret: runes only visible when the Valyrian steel blade was heated by fire. “Before Aegon’s death, the last of the Valyrian pyromancers hid his song in the steel,” he explained. Rhaenyra translated the words aloud, “From my blood comes the prince that was promised and his will be a song of ice and fire.”
A Song of Ice and Fire
‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ is, as we know, the name George R.R. Martin gave to his Game of Thrones novel series. It’s also the name Aegon the Conqueror gave to his prophetic dream of a terrible winter coming to destroy the world of the living, as Viserys told Rhaenyra when he named her heir in House of the Dragon episode one.
“Aegon saw absolute darkness riding on those winds and whatever dwells within will destroy the world of the living. When this great winter comes, Rhaenyra, all of Westeros must stand against it, and if the world of men is to survive, a Targaryen must be seated on the Iron Throne, a king or queen, strong enough to unite the realm against the cold and the dark. Aegon called his dream the song of ice and fire.”
King Viserys I, ‘Heirs of the Dragon’.
As Viserys says those final five words in ‘Heirs of the Dragon’ he clasps the dagger hanging from his belt, and now we know why. That dagger contains Aegon’s prophecy, the secret passed down from royal heir to royal heir.
Before Aegon, the blade was owned by the man whose belief in prophecy saved the House from destruction in the Doom of Valyria: Aenar Targaryen. He was the father of Daenys the Dreamer, who foresaw the destruction of Old Valyria. Aenar acted on his daughter’s warning and relocated the family away from Essos, to settle on Dragonstone in the Narrow Sea. That move meant House Targaryen survived when so many Essosi families perished in the volcanic eruptions that wiped out their cities. Little wonder that the Targaryens take prophecies very seriously indeed.
The Prince That Was Promised
In Game of Thrones, Red Priestess Melisandre sought the “prince that was promised” – a leader that worshippers of R’hllor believed was destined to defeat the darkness and save the world of the living. Many believers conflate said prince (who, as Missandei points out in Game of Thrones, could equally be a princess as the original word-in-translation has no gender) with the reincarnation of Azor Ahai, a legendary figure who forged a flaming sword named Lightbringer by sacrificing his beloved wife.