'Game of Thrones' Season 8: Why Jon Snow May Use Greatsword Dawn to Slay the Night King
Many ancestral Valyrian steel swords will be present in The Great War, but magical sword Dawn may just be Jon Snow's Lightbringer.
From "Battle of the Bastards" to the "Loot Train Attack," Game of Thrones has never failed to up their ante when providing viewers with arguably the finest medieval battle scenes ever seen on television. And one of the key events in the HBO fantasy series' eighth and final season will be without question The Great War, the long-anticipated all-out war between the living and the dead. As seen in Season 7's finale, the 8-millenia-old Wall came tumbling down no thanks to The Night King and his newly reanimated, blue fire-breathing dragon (RIP Viserion), allowing his legions of White Walkers and army of the dead to enter Westeros.
Though Jon Snow managed to round up the lords of the north, the Free Folk, the Night's Watch, the Vale and the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, to fight the Long Night alongside him, there are many who feel that the Great War's endgame will ultimately come down to a one-to-one face-off between the King in the North and The Night King.
Jon Snow Needs More Than Dragonfire and Dragonglass To Take Down The Night King
Yes, Jon and his merry men now have tons of dragonglass to make weapons with, possess a handful of Valyrian steel weapons and even have Daenerys and her dragons. But for an epic duel to take place, it will take more than these to defeat the Night King, especially when it appears that neither fire nor dragonfire actually affect The Night King.
Ever since Jon Snow demolished a White Walker and its ice blade with his trusty Valyrian Steel sword, Longclaw, at the massacre at Hardhome, the Night King has been fixated on the Stark lad, judging by their epic stare-down at the harbor. Before they met eye-to-eye again in the episode "Beyond the Wall," Jon and his suicide squad discover that killing a White Walker will also kill off the wights that it turned.
Later, when surrounded by the dead on an ice lake, Beric Dondarrion points out to Jon that killing the Night King would kill the entire army of the dead as "he turned them all." The Lord of Light devotee also attests that considering Jon and him have been brought back to life—in Beric's case, six times—killing the Night King might just be their primary purpose in this lifetime. Jon seems inclined to believe that he, and only he, can take on the Night King.
In addition, now that it has been revealed that he is the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryan and Lyanna Stark, one of the most popular fan theories is that Jon (a.k.a Aegon Targaryen) IS the reincarnation of Azor Ahai (even though Aunt Daenerys technically ticks more boxes, but that's a debate for another article).
Thousands of years ago, the legendary hero is said to have defeated the darkness of the Great Other after forging the sword, Lightbringer. The feat was, however, only achieved after he plunged the sword into the heart of his loving wife, Nissa Nissa, to unleash its full fiery powers. If Jon is indeed the new Azor Ahai, or The Prince That Was Promised, his Lightbringer may need to be something more special than Longclaw (and hopefully one that doesn't need to be plunged into the bosom of a loved one).
Considering he's part Targaryen, we might just get to see him ride a dragon to tackle the Night King mid-air whilst wielding a formidable sword! It will be cool to see a dragon Vs. dragon duel scene a la Prince Daemon Targaryen who—during the civil war Dance of the Dragons in the Battle Above the Gods Eye—fatally stabbed his nephew, Prince Aemond. He did so by leaping from the back of his dragon and plunging Dark Sister, the famous Valyrian steel sword of Aegon the Conqueror's sister-queen Visenya into the prince's only good eye.
So, Which Sword Is Jon likely To Use As Lightbringer?
A couple of notable Valyrian steel swords are making their way to Winterfell, and one of these might just be what Jon needs to wield to defeat the archenemy of all humanity. Let's take a look at each candidate:
Jon's current sword was, for five centuries, the ancestral weapon of House Mormont. It was given to him by Jeor Mormont (albeit with a direwolf hilt) after Jon saved the old Lord Commander from a wight. When they went beyond the wall, Jon then tries to return it to Ser Jorah, who told Jon to keep it as "it serves you well... and your children after you."
However, as effective as it is, it's likely that Jon will be wielding another sword for the final conflict.
Samwell Tarly took the family's ancestral Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane, under his father's nose, so it's now at Winterfell. This two-handed greatsword has been with House Tarly for 500 years and it's posible that Sam will hand Heartsbane to Jon to strike into the "heart of winter," just as the sword's name suggests.
Some, however, feel that he might even use it to protect his family. Then again, it could also be loaned to a good swordsman (such as The Hound) for better use at the frontline.
This Valyrian steel longsword was one of two made from Ice, House Stark's ancestral greatsword last used by Ned Stark. It was initially given to Jaime Lannister by his father Lord Tywin but the Kingslayer never really took to it. After a series of adventures together, Jaime gave it to Brienne of Tarth. Christened "Oathkeeper" by the lady knight, she used it to beat the Hound and execute Stannis Baratheon, prior to rescuing Sansa from the Boltons. Which brings us to Oathkeeper's sister blade, Widow's Wail.
The second Valyrian steel longsword made from Ice was given as a wedding gift by Lord Tywin to his grandson, King Joffrey, who sarcastically named it Widow's Wail. After Joffrey died, we learnt from "The Queen's Justice" that Jaime Lannister has taken it on after Olenna Tyrell asks if Jaime will use "his son's sword" to kill her.
As we know, Jamie left Cersei and is on his way to Winterfell to keep his oath to fight alongside the North, so Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail will come together at some point. Some fans believed that Gendry will be called upon to reforge Ice from the two swords as Robert Baratheon's bastard is a blacksmith who knows how to work with Valyrian steel. Many would like to see Jon bringing Ice back to its old glory, but considering that the North will need as many Valyrian steel swords as possible, melding two swords into one just doesn't sound like a wise idea.
As one of the two Valyrian steel ancestral longswords of House Targaryen—the other being Blackfyre—Dark Sister was famously used by Queen Visenya Targaryen, who conquered Westeros alongside her brother Aegon and sister Rhaenys. The sword is said to be last used by Lord Brynden Rivers, a Targaryen bastard who became the Three-Eyed Raven whom Bran and Meera Reed met in the cave beyond the Wall. This is why some fans believed that the sword picked up by Meera at the cave entrance as she and the Children of the Forest attempt to escape from the Night King and his cronies could be Dark Sister.
If Meera and her family (including Howland Reed, who was at the Tower of Joy with Ned Stark) were to join Jon and fight against the Long Night, then Dark Sister may also make its way to Winterfell. However, Jon is unlikely to use it as the sword is believed to be forged for a woman's hand.
Being a true blue Targaryen, Daenerys should be the recipient. Then again, the best person to inherit Dark Sister would actually be Arya Stark. The baby-faced assassin has indicated her fascination with Queen Visenya during her tete-a-tete with Lord Tywin in Season 2, and being the Stark sister with a dark side, no Valyrian steel sword would be more apt for Arya (bar the Catspaw dagger).
Last but not least, another sword (albeit not made of Valyrian steel) comes into play as well.
"Only The Prince Who Was Promised Can Bring The Dawn" - Melisandre
This famous ancestral greatsword of House Dayne was first seen in one of Bran's visions, held by Ser Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy where Jon Snow was born. Regarded as Westeros' finest swordman, he was one of the Kingsguard of Aerys II Targaryen a.k.a The Mad King.
According to legend, Dawn is regarded as a magical sword as it was forged from the heart of a fallen star (possibly a meteorite) and has been with House Dayne for 10,000 years. Its blade is as pale as milkglass and just as strong and sharp as Valyrian steel.
Also in the same vision, after killing Arthur Dayne with his own sword, the young Ned brought Dawn up to the room where he finds his sister Lyanna and strategically placed the sword at the front of the bed. Some fan communities believe that as Jon is "The Prince Who Was Promised," then he would be the one to bring forth "the dawn" as the darkness of winter arrives.
Using Dawn may be very literal but many feel that it is significant as, in order to protect the North from the Others, Jon would be using the same sword that protected him and his mother at the Tower of Joy.
Only The Prince That Was Promised will bring the dawn...
Considering that it was never indicated on the TV show that Ned actually returned the sword to House Dayne, some fans believe Dawn is hidden in the Winterfell crypts, along with Rhaegar's silver-stringed harp, which will help prove Jon's true lineage.
Even though some fans counter argued that only a knight of House Dayne deemed worthy can wield Dawn, a few also pointed out that as a Targaryen, Jon—and even Daenerys, for that matter—is genetically related to House Dayne via their ancestor Maekar Targaryen, who was married to a Dyanna Dayne. As such, Jon is more than qualified to lay claim to Dawn since no other Dayne has done so.
"Only The Prince That Was Promised will bring the dawn," as Melisandre keeps saying. If Jon is indeed the Prince That Was Promised, could "Promise me, Ned" be another literal coincidence? If so, then Dawn could be the Lightbringer, which will bring down the Night King.
(Source: Talking Thrones)