Game of Thrones Theory Corner: Samwell Tarly is the Prince That Was Promised


When she’s not burning children and making shadow babies, Melisandre spends her time searching for a mythical hero destined to save the world from darkness: the Prince that was Promised (who might also be Azor Ahai). She thought it was Stannis Baratheon, but that didn’t work out. She specifically called Jon Snow “the Prince That Was Promised” after his resurrection…

…and also threw around the phrase when she meant Daenerys.

But who is it really? That question has fascinated Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire fans for years. In George R.R. Martin’s novels, it’s said that the Prince That Was Promised (let’s just abbreviate that to PTWP) will be “born amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons from stone.” It could be Jon, it could be Daenerys, and fans have suggested no small number of other options during the long waits between books.

One popular theory is that the TPWP will be borne from the line of Rhaegar Targaryen, which brings us to a fun, extremely detailed new theory from Redditor MrSilenceT, part of which posits that TPWP is none other than Samwell Tarly.

The gist of the theory is that, before the sack of King’s Landing, Varys smuggles Aegon Targaryen, the first born son of Elia Martell and Rhaegar Targaryen, out of the city. In his place, Varys substitutes a random peasant boy, whom the Mountain kills. In the novels, we’re told that Varys sends Aegon across the Narrow Sea, where he’s renamed Young Griff and raised in secret by Rhaegar’s friend Jon Connington in preparation for him to eventually retake the Iron Throne. Instead, MrSilenceT posits that young Aegon is sent to be fostered by Randyll Tarly, the Tarlys being loyal supporters of the Targaryens.

So who is Young Griff, then? According to MrSilenceT, he’s the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, the one born in the Tower of Joy. Varys, the theory goes, wanted two potential heirs in case something happened to one, so he smuggled Rhaegar’s son by Lyanna across the Narrow Sea and sent his son by Elia to be fostered at Horn Hill.

Now, obviously, this is a book-only theory, because on the show, we know that Rhaegar and Lyanna’s son grew up to be Jon Snow. In MrSilenceT’s theory, Jon is the son of Ned Stark and Ashara Dayne. It’s twisty.

Nothing confusing going on here.
Nothing confusing going on here. /

Anyway, we all know the rest of the story: an overly martial Randyll cannot stand his new “son,” who loves books (something he shared with Rhaegar) more than warfare. Per MrSilenceT, Varys sees how shabbily Aegon-Sam is shaping up and decides to focus all his attention on Young Griff. Randyll, who expected Aegon-Sam to eventually take the Iron Throne, allowing him to pass on his estate to his son Dickon, is now left in a lurch, and sends Sam away on threat of death to make room for his actual son.

Does any of this hold water? We doubt it, but working through a complicated fan theory is a great way to knock the cobwebs from your brain, and we appreciate all the thought piece your way through a fan theory to knock the cobwebs off your brain, and we appreciate all the thought MrSilenceT put into it. And really, even if Sam doesn’t have a greater destiny, he’s already played an important role in the fight against the White Walkers, having discovered their weakness to dragonglass and contributing a Valyrian steel sword to the fight. What do you guys make of all of this?

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h/t Esquire