Send the Ravens: The Sword of the Morning and the Three Headed Dragon

In the latest Send the Ravens column, we answer your Game of Thrones questions about Sam and Gilly and the Three Headed Dragon…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

This past week on Game of Thrones, a very famous incident took place during one of Bran’s greenseer missions where he “traveled” to a certain point in the past to witness a great event in Westerosi history.

This particular vision took Bran back to the Tower of Joy at the tail end of Robert Baratheon’s rebellion to overthrow the Targaryen dynasty. This story takes place approximately 17 years before the events that started Game of Thrones back in season one.

Ned Stark and his banner men go to the Tower of Joy — located in the northern mountains of Dorne — to rescue his sister Lyanna, who was allegedly kidnapped and held there by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. To guard Lyanna, Rhaegar left behind a garrison of his finest Kingsguard members including Ser Arthur Dayne — aka “The Sword of the Morning”.

Dayne was known as the finest swordsman in all of Westeros and the best friend to prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Dayne is responsible for giving Jamie Lannister his knighthood before he eventually joined the Kingsguard as well.

Dayne also defeated Rhaegar Targaryen at a famous jousting tournament in honor of Viserys Targaryen’s birth, but then lost to his best friend on two latter occasions — the second of which ended with Rhaegar handing a winter rose over to Lyanna Stark, which immediately sparked tension with Robert Baratheon, who was her betrothed future husband.

When the War of the Usurper broke out, Dayne should have been by Rhaegar’s side, but instead he was sent to Dorne to look over Lyanna and most believe it had nothing to do with keeping her captive. Dayne’s place should have been by his future king as Ned notes when he first runs into the knight after they come face to face outside the Tower of Joy. Dayne’s presence there only lends to the theory that Lyanna and Rhaegar were really in love but they both knew they could never be together because she was already promised to another man and he was married to Elia Martell.

Dayne’s death at the hands of Howland Reed isn’t described in detail throughout Westerosi lore mostly because it makes it appear as if he didn’t die with honor while battling another man with his sword. So when Dayne was stabbed to death in the back of the neck, Ned Stark walked away victorious but he knows that in one on one combat, he stood no chance against the “Sword of the Morning”. Ned did manage to return Dayne’s sword called “Dawn” back to his house after he was died as a way to honor the great warrior.

As far as Game of Thrones goes, we haven’t seen any mention of House Dayne outside of this lone appearance of Ser Arthur Dayne, but they do have a prominent role in several stories in the books. Whether that changes in the show now that we’ve met Ser Arthur (ever so briefly) is unknown but now you can see why he was such an important character to meet even if it was for one battle scene where he later died.

Now with that said, let’s get into your Game of Thrones questions this week

Well there are a few reasons why Sam and Gilly’s story is still important although I highly doubt we’re going to see a lot of them as the season moves forward.

For one — Gilly is being dropped off at Horn Hill, the home of House Tarly where Sam grew up. The Tarly family has long standing ties to the Tyrells and they supported Renly Baratheon when he made a claim to the Iron Throne after the death of his brother Robert Baratheon.

During the War of the Usurper, Randyll Tarly actually defeated Robert Baratheon’s army in open combat and forced him to retreat, which stood as one of the future king’s only losses during his attack to tear down the Targaryen dynasty. Randyll Tarly is known as a gruff and rigid man and he was the one who told Sam to either join the Night’s Watch or die because he wanted his second born son Dickon.

It’s impossible to say just how much of an influence the Tarly family will have on this particular season of the show, but given their allegiance to House Tyrell and the ongoing war brewing between the Tyrell family and the Faith Militant in King’s Landing, it’s easy to see why this family being introduced right now makes a lot of sense.

As far a Samwell goes, he’s about to train to become a maester and he currently stands as only one of two living men to defeat and destroy a White Walker. His knowledge base is already vast when stepping into the Citadel, but given his friendship with Jon Snow and his relationship with the Night’s Watch, he could play a critical part in the war to come.

Once again, it’s tough to say how much of Sam we’ll see this season — chances are we might see more of Gilly living with the Tarly family than her Night’s Watch sweetheart.

This all depends on who you ask.

What we know from these last two weeks on the show is that two powerful houses from the North are now aligned with Ramsay Bolton. House Karstark — who abandoned Robb Stark after he beheaded their king for killing two Lannister children being held captive by the King in the North. The new Lord Karstark was in the room when Ramsay stabbed and murdered his father Roose a couple of episodes back.

The other is House Umber, which is one of the most powerful families in the North and definitely a blow to the Stark family if they are ever going to regain the region. The Umbers have always been fiercely loyal to the Starks so that’s why it’s hard to believe (at least based on the books) why they were turn on them and then hand Rickon Stark over to Ramsay as a gift.

Some have theorized that House Umber is playing a trick on the Boltons to spring a trap on them eventually and that’s obviously possible.

The other major house in the North that could still align with Jon Snow or any of the Stark children is House Manderly.

They are the richest family in the North and also fiercely loyal to the Stark family.

In the books, the Manderlys pledge loyalty to House Bolton but it’s all a ruse to gain their trust while they are secretly plotting against them. We haven’t been introduced to any Manderlys since season three when one of their men was killed alongside Robb Stark at the Red Wedding.

Ramsay Bolton has noted on the show that if Houses Umber, Karstark and Manderly come to his side, they can control the entire north because those three houses together have more men than all of the other houses combined. If House Umber and House Karstark are truly allies of Ramsay Bolton now, then it’s going to be up to House Manderly to show support to Jon Snow, Sansa Stark or whoever else might show up to reclaim the North from the Boltons.

There is a famous prophecy that is connected all the way back to season two when Daenerys is locked inside the House of the Undying while searching for her dragons. In the book, Daenerys walks across one room in the temple where she encounters her brother Rhaegar Targaryen and his wife Elia Martell. In the dream sequence, Rhaegar calls his son Aegon “the prince that was promised” while also telling her that there must be one more — the dragon has three heads.

This prophecy has led to a lot of theories being tossed around in fan circles about “the prince that was promised” as well as who could be the three-headed dragon.

Now last week when Jon Snow was resurrected, Melisandre called him the prince that was promised after several visions she saw in the flames. Without going too deep cuts, Melisandre once believed that Stannis Baratheon was the prince that was promised, but clearly that was wrong.

The prince that was promised is another long running prophecy in Westeros about a great warrior who will battle against the forces of darkness and save the Seven Kingdoms from falling into eternal night — in other words a great warrior who will battle against the White Walkers when they finally launch an attack on the south. Melisandre believes Jon Snow is the prince that was promised after he died and was resurrected.

Many believe Jon Snow is also one of the people meant to be part of the three-headed dragon prophecy because he’s actually a Targaryen (if you don’t know that full theory, go here to read that story). So that means Jon Snow is one head of the dragon, Daenerys would make two but who could be the third?

Well the most popular theory is that it could be Bran Stark because he is a very powerful warg (a person who can control animals) and when he first arrived to train with the Three-Eyed Raven, he told the boy that he would never walk again — but he would fly.

Now that could just mean Bran is going to inhabit a bird of some kind, but the idea of him controlling a dragon is much, much cooler. Will see see more about the three-headed dragon prophecy in days and weeks to come? It’s unknown but with “the prince that was promised” already introduced into the Game of Thrones mythology, anything is possible.

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