7 Prophecies From The 'Game Of Thrones' Books You Should Probably Pay Attention To

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Between all the baby dragons, psychic trees, and magic snow zombie adventures, it's easy to lose track of all the prophecies at work in A Song of Ice and Fire. And I'll be real with you here: don't worry about tracking every last prophecy or weird dream in the books. If you try to do that, we'll be here all day. Plus, a lot of the prophetic dreams about the coming war or about good ol' Ned Stark kicking the bucket have already come true. But stick around, and I'll remind you of the prophecies that you should be keeping an eye on, because they just might pop up in the plot again in a major way.

To start with, let's remember that Maester George R.R. Martin doesn't like to give us any direct predictions. Almost all of the prophecies that have come true so far have been metaphorical in some way or another. Some of the prophecies are left intentionally vague, too. Fans have even been able to cobble together a very convincing theory that Sir Pounce the kitten is the Prince Who was Promised, using Martin's Azor Ahai prophecy as stated in the books (spoiler alert: he's probably not).

So here are the key prophecies to watch out for in A Song of Ice and Fire, and what they might mean:

1Azor Ahai

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"When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone."

Azor Ahai or the Prince That Was Promised is a prophesied savior who will arise once more to save the world from never-ending night. Azor Ahai supposedly lived once before, and defeated the icy Others during a winter that lasted for a generation. Melisandre frequently references this prophecy, initially claiming that the new Azor Ahai will be Stannis "Killjoy" Baratheon. But most fans agree that the prophecy is referring to Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow. Dany is the more obvious choice, what with being reborn in flame, under the red comet, and waking her dragon babies from stone eggs. But Jon might yet be reborn and do something fancy with stone dragons (or "wake dragons" by discovering his own Targaryen heritage). There's also that (possibly fake) Aegon kid kicking around, and he has proclaimed himself the fabled Prince as well.

2The Valonqar

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"Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds, she said. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you."

When Cersei was a kid, she and her friend went to have their futures told by the local witchlady, Maggy the Frog. Cersei was told that she would marry the king, but that a younger, hotter queen would show up to cast her down. She would have three kids, and all three would be crowned, but all three would also die before her. And then the "valonqar" would wrap his hands around her throat and choke her to death. Most of this prophecy is straightforward, and seems to be coming true, expect for the "valonqar" part. The word is High Valyrian for "little brother," so Cersei has always assumed that her baby brother Tyrion has it out for her. But, Cersei was also born before her twin brother Jaime, and given her current "mad queen" trajectory, it might be Jaime who chokes her with his golden hand (or the Hand of the King chain, which is made up of many, tiny hands).

3Dany's Children

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When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.

After Mirri Maz Duur "helps" Dany by "saving" Drogo, she makes this snide prophecy. It seems like she's just teasing Dany, since all of these things are impossible. But it's also maybe coming true: the so-called "Sun's son," Quentyn Martell, traveled from the west to the east to die. The Dothraki Sea is drying up in a drought. Two of Dany's dragons have burnt up two of Meereen's mountain-like pyramids, reducing them to ash. And Dany just got her period for the first time in a while, before running into a bunch of dudes from Drogo's old clique. So maybe Drogo will "return" to Dany in the form of his old Dothraki buds, and maybe Dany will be able to have a human baby after all.

4Quaithe's Advice

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"To go north, you must go south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow.
Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun's son and the mummer's dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal."

Quaithe is a weird, masked lady who seems very invested in giving Dany vague advice. First she seems to be telling Dany to go to Asshai by the Shadow, in the far east, but Dany doesn't feel like it. Then she warns Dany to beware of a bunch of random folks, including the Greyjoy uncles (the Kraken), Moqorro (the dark flame), Tyrion (the lion), Jon Connington (the griffin), Quentyn (the Sun's son) and the kid that Varys claims to be Aegon Targaryen (the mummer's dragon). The pale mare is a plague that has already struck near Meereen, and the perfumed seneschal could be Varys, Dany's own seneschal Reznak, or the ship that Tyrion calls the "Fragrant Steward."

5The Dragon Has Three Heads

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". . . three heads has the dragon . . . . . . three fires must you light . . . one for life and one for death and one to love . . . . . . three mounts must you ride . . . one to bed and one to dread and one to love . . . . . . three treasons will you know . . . once for blood and once for gold and once for love . . ."

When Dany has her wild trip in the House of the Undying, she sees a whole mess of prophetic visions. She sees her brother Rhaegar, and a blue flower growing out of an ice wall that seems to symbolize Jon Snow, and a bunch of other nonsense. But at the end of the ride, the Undying themselves keep telling her that she'll have three of everything, including three mounts, three fires, three treasons, etc. It seems like she's fulfilled the first fire, mount, and treason with that whole Mirri Maz Duur episode, and Drogon the dragon might be the mount to dread. But she's still waiting on her other fires, mounts, and betrayals.

6Tyrion Will Hang Out With Dragons

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"Dragons," Moqorro said in the Common Tongue of Westeros... "Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark. And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of all."

While sailing eat, Tyrion meets the red priest Moqorro, who tells him that he's about to get dragged into some Targaryen family drama. It looks like Tyrion is definitely going to get the chance to meet Dany and her dragons, and he might play a pivotal role in bringing dragons back to Westeros. It also seems like Tyrion might help to uncover who the "true" dragons are, since more and more Targaryens seem to be popping up all over the place.

7Whatever Is Going On With Patchface

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"Melisandre’s face darkened. "That creature is dangerous. Many a time I have glimpsed him in my flames. Sometimes there are skulls about him, and his lips are red with blood."

Look, yes, there are plenty of other prophecies about how Bran is destined to me a magical treeboy and Arya is a creepy Child of Blood and etc and so forth. But we know all that already. The real mystery is what is up with Patchface? Stannis' fool clearly has some kind of prophetic powers, after nearly drowning and losing his sanity. He's also mostly harmless, though, dancing around with little Shireen and predicting Joffrey's assassination. The weird thing is how much he freaks Melisandre out. She thinks that he's a harbinger of death... and we'll just have to wait and see whether or not Patchface is really th simple fool that he seems to be.