March 31, 2019
Bran discovers forgotten history.
EXT. GODSWOOD - HEART TREE - DAY
We fade up on the red leaves of the heart tree, and the sound of a whetstone scraping along a blade.
NED STARK sits with Ice propped against one knee, running a whetstone meditatively down its length. It's summer, and his reflection is clear in the still water beneath the tree's branches.
We hear the muffled approach of footsteps on the soft forest floor, but Ned does not look up.
BRAN STARK halts a few steps away from his father. He stands watching Ned in silence. We go close on Ice's blade as Ned's hands continue their work.
Bran shifts his gaze from Ice to the face in the heart tree. It stares out from the white trunk, full of mysterious and ominous knowledge.
Moving slowly, Bran walks up to the weirwood, hand outstretched. He pauses a moment, his palm hovering an inch from the carved trunk. Then presses his hand against it.
Instantly, time begins to fly backward.
Ned gets up and disappears backward out of the godswood. Light fades as the sun sets in the east. Stars wheel across the night sky, and the sun rises again in the west.
Time accelerates and snow spreads across the ground like a flood of water, before falling upward into the sky, sucking away from the ground to reveal autumn grass. Summer flowers close up into buds and retreat into the ground. Rotting logs stand up to become proud sentinel pines, then shrink down into saplings, then shoots, then nothing.
Time rushes faster and faster until it's an incoherent blur. Bran turns his gaze eastward, toward the backward-sunrise. The eastern horizon rushes toward him. He is a still point while the world rushes past beneath his feet. East, and east, and over the sea. East, and east, until he's under the Shadow, in the land of Asshai.
INT. ASSHAI'I BLACKSMITH WORKSHOP - DAY
The ringing of a hammer echoes against the walls of a blacksmith's workshop, dimly lit by the glow of a forge.
An ASSISTANT BLACKSMITH is holding a hot blade against an anvil, gripping it with locked tongs as a MUSCULAR MAN beats on it with a hammer. The blade is very large, clearly meant for a two-handed greatsword.
[N.B.: the man is AZOR AHAI himself, though this is not immediately apparent.]
Azor Ahai stops hammering and dons a set of thick blacksmith mitts. He takes the blade from his assistant, gripping it by the tongs, and carries it to the forge. He moves it back and forth in the flames as the assistant works the bellows, the fire glaring white with each puff. The blade takes on a fiery red glow.
(in Asshai'i, subtitled)
We see NISSA NISSA for the first time -- she had been standing out of frame in the shadows. She is tall and striking, dressed and armored like a warrior.
The assistant nods to her and departs. Azor Ahai sets the blade down in the fire, staring broodily into its red glow, not looking at her.
[N.B.: All dialogue is subtitled. They are speaking an ancient Asshai'i language.]
No reply. She starts taking off her armor, watching him all the while.
What if you're wrong?
The dreams are never wrong.
He doesn't move.
Look at me.
Nissa Nissa goes to him and kisses him. She holds his face, making him look at her. His eyes are full of dread and doubt and grief.
We are prophesied to bring the dawn. You and I. It's alright, love.
He shakes his head at her, too choked to speak.
I'll be with you. Every foe, every battle. We will strike them down together. I will drink death into my steel, and the darkness shall flee before us.
Tears are welling in his eyes. He pulls her in for another kiss, a long one, full of desperate passion. At last, she pulls out of it, gently, and takes off the last of her armor. She lays it aside and kneels on the ground, gazing up at him with heroic calm.
Tears are streaming unchecked down Azor Ahai's face. He grips the blade by the tongs and draws it from the fire. It's red-hot, and its glow illuminates Nissa Nissa's face as he brings it near.
With a strangled sob, he drives the point down and into her chest.
Nissa Nissa cries out. Her back arches as the hot blade enters her, sending up a great cloud of white smoke. She starts to fall. Azor Ahai catches her by the shoulders, holding her in place as he drives the steel all the way through her body. It flares up in flame, throwing light up into his face -- crumpled and devastated by tears.
He draws the steel out of her and puts it aside on the ground, almost thoughtlessly. He gathers Nissa Nissa into his arms.
Her wound gapes raw and red and black, burnt and bleeding. Her eyes are glassy and unfocused, and her body trembles weakly.
Azor Ahai supports Nissa Nissa's head in one hand and looks into her face.
Her eyes find focus on his face, with difficulty. His face contorts into a bittersweet smile. She can still see him.
A faint smile from her. Then her eyes start to drift and lose focus again.
Stay with me now. Look at me.
Her eyes refocus on his face.
I'm right here, love. I'm with you. I'm with you.
Her mouth opens, as though to speak.
Then her face goes still and her body stops trembling and relaxes. Her eyes stop moving, and her pupils go wide and dark as she dies.
I'm with you...
It's not true anymore.
Azor Ahai collapses in on himself. He clutches her body, shaking and gasping with grief.
Bran walks over to the freshly-quenched blade, still smoking on the floor. Nissa Nissa's blood is black upon it -- Bran watches as it absorbs into the steel, which takes on the distinctive rippled pattern of Valyrian steel.
A sudden look of surprise and recognition comes over Bran's face. He turns his head and stands over it, eyes traveling up along its length.
Bran's POV: slow pan from the point of the sword up its length. As we pan up along it, the shot transitions to:
INT. CRYPT - NED'S STATUE - DAY
Slow pan up the blade of another sword, identical in form and shape to the one we just saw being forged. Keep panning to reveal:
Ned Stark's crypt statue, grasping a replica of Ice -- Lightbringer, its true name and history lost to the ages, until now.
JON SNOW steps up into frame and leans Oathkeeper up against the Ice replica, balancing the sword on its point -- Lightbringer, reforged.
"And he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him."
Jon takes a step back and looks at Oathkeeper. Bran sits beside him in his wheeled chair, holding the triangular scrap of paper on which Sam had copied the Azor Ahai prophecy.
You should take it.
Prophecies don't win wars.
Leaders win wars.
Any fool could tell you that.
You don't believe in prophecy.
Stannis Baratheon did. What good has prophecy ever done for anyone?
You were born because of this prophecy.
Jon looks to Bran for an explanation.
Rhaegar was convinced that the one who was promised would come from his line. He was convinced that he must father three children, for the three heads of the dragon. His wife Elia was too frail to bear a third child. So she told him to take a second wife, as Aegon the Conquerer had once done.
Jon stares at Bran. His gaze shifts to Lyanna's statue, one grave over from Ned's.
You're saying they started a war so that I could be born.
They didn't mean to.
I'm sure that's a great comfort to the tens of thousands (of people who died--)
Lyanna left a note.
Jon looks at him.
The night she left, she wrote a letter to her family, explaining everything. That same night, Robert Baratheon came to her chambers. He'd meant to surprise her before their wedding. He found the letter on Lyanna's pillow. He read it. Then he destroyed the letter and half the room in his anger.
When our grandfather came and found Lyanna missing and the room in ruins, Robert declared that Lyanna had been raped and kidnapped.
Jon has been listening to all of this with mounting horror.
Bran just gazes back at him, matter-of-fact.
How could he...
Our grandfather and uncle burned alive trying to get her back.
Robert didn't mean for it to go that far. But by then it was too late.
Too late for what?
To tell the truth.
It was wrong!
Jon is really quite angry now, but there's nowhere to put his anger, here in this lonely crypt, decades after the fact. He takes a moment to calm himself. It's not easy.
(bitter, re: Robert)
He should never have been king.
No one knew that he lied. Not until now.
They share a somber silence. Jon is brooding at Lyanna's statue.
A slight frown creases Jon's face. He returns his gaze to Ned's statue. He can't quite put his finger on it yet. But something is not right.
You told me that father knew my name.
If he knew my name, then he knew Lyanna and Rhaegar had married.
He slowly turns to look at Bran, with the dread of realizing something he'd rather not.
He knew Rhaegar hadn't raped her.
She might have married against her will.
Jon's eyes travel once again to Lyanna's statue. He stares at her, remembering his conversation with Arya.
No. No, she would have never said the words. She would have died before she said the words.
His eyes travel back to Ned's statue. There's something wounded and accusing in his gaze now.
Bran absorbs this. He thinks for a moment.
Robert was his friend. Perhaps he thought it was an honest mistake.
Then why didn't he tell him? Why didn't he tell anyone?
I don't know.
It was wrong. He knew it was wrong! He knew my father never raped--
He stops, suddenly realizing what he just said. He'd said "my father", and this time he'd meant Rhaegar Targaryen. A deep confusion comes over his face.
Bran looks at Jon. Bran's not really the most emotionally attuned person these days, but even he can tell that Jon is not well.
Jon. My father risked everything to (protect you--)
Protect me from being murdered in my crib by his own best friend. Yes, it was very kind of him to spare a baby's life. They took away my family, my throne, my name, but they left me that much, and named me the Bastard of Winterfell.
EXT. WINTERFELL - BROKEN TOWER - LATER
The godswood is full of fresh snowfall. It's picturesque, like a medieval Christmas card.
Jon appears, striding briskly toward the broken tower. He's full of cold anger. RHAEGAL flaps down for a landing. Somehow, the dragon knows he's needed.
Without breaking stride, Jon mounts up and takes off into the air. No hesitation or nervousness this time. Jon looks like he was born to ride dragons.
Together they climb for altitude.
EXT. WINTERFELL LANDSCAPE - CONTINUOUS
They soar over a beautiful wintry landscape, north of Winterfell. Rhaegal's shadow skims over an open, deserted plain -- smooth and white and pristine with fresh snowfall.
A terrible column of flame materializes between Rhaegal's mouth and the ground below. It draws a line across the field, like a laser cutter, leaving ugly muddy scars across the beautiful landscape. The snow hisses as it erupts into steam.
The fire's orange light reflects off the white ground. It flickers against Jon's face, which is hard with fury. In this moment, he is not Jon Snow anymore. He's Aegon Targaryen. He's fire and blood.
INT. CRYPT - LATER
A stone wolf stares solemnly from a Stark grave.
Jon walks alone down the crypt corridor, toward Ned and Lyanna's statues. He doesn't look angry anymore. Now he just looks tired.
He reaches their statues and stands halfway between them, looking from one stone face to the other. Who is he really? Stark or Targaryen?
Jon's eyes fall upon Oathkeeper, still standing where he'd left it, leaning up against the replica of Ned Stark's sword. The sword of destiny. He broods at it for a time. Then goes and picks it up. He does a practice swing, feeling its weight and balance.
He picks up its scabbard from the floor and slides Oathkeeper into it. He puts it on. Then turns to go.
Stark, Targaryen, it doesn't matter. He's the Prince That Was Promised, and he has work to do.