With Game of Thrones' return just around the corner, every fan thinks they're Nostradamus reborn, sharing their predictions for what's to come in Season 7. But out of all the theories and alleged leaked spoilers, there's one prediction that has us more excited than any other: ice dragons.
George R.R. Martin first wrote about the creatures in a 1980 children's book The Ice Dragon, which was published 16 years before Game of Thrones. In the story, a young girl befriends an ice dragon who helps her fight off seven fire dragons. In the end, the ice dragon is victorious, but melts into a small, cold pond.
The fantasy world of The Ice Dragon bears a strong resemblance to the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, but Martin has refuted that they share a universe, so there's no saying with certainty about whether the rules for ice dragons in the short story and in ASOIAF are the same. One thing that seems clear, though, is that ice dragons are coming to Westeros.
Martin has sprinkled references to them throughout his ASOIAF novels, most notably in stories Old Nan told the Stark children growing up. And it's likely these bleak bedtime tales weren't just ways to entertain the rambunctious kids. Old Nan's stories of the past have proven to be prophetic of the future, such as her tales about the Night King, the Long Night and the Last Hero. (In the books, it was also Old Nan, not Osha, who knew that the Red Comet meant dragons would return to their world.)
Now, with winter finally here and the Night King's army heading south towards the Wall, it seems like the return of ice dragons is not only possible; it's inevitable. But this could mean seriously bad news for our heroes.
If you thought Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal were big, according to legend, ice dragons dwarf their fire-breathing cousins. Ice dragons are also said to be made out of living ice and have breath so cold it can instantly freeze people and objects solid. (Like we said, bad news bears.)
However, there are some optimistic fans that think the ice dragons will fight on the side of good. Some have speculated that, like in The Ice Dragon, the pond outside Winterfell is actually the dormant remains of an ice dragon. When called upon, the ice dragon will allegedly reform itself and fight with Jon, whose team-up with the ice dragon would have been foreshadowed by his multiple references to the creatures in the books.
But this isn't the only theory that puts Jon on the back of an ice dragon. Another prediction is that one of Daenerys' (Emilia Clarke) dragons will die and be resurrected as an ice dragon. But Jon (Kit Harington), who was also resurrected (though thankfully as a human), will be able to tame the ice dragon and ride it. He has always loved being the champion for the misunderstood, after all.
Either way, both these theories would help fulfill the prophecy from the books that "the dragon has three heads." Or to put it more simply, that there are three dragon riders: Daenerys, Jon and, as many fans guess, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage).
But let's be real: Westeros is ruled by Murphy's Law. If an ice dragon exists, it's not going to fight for the side of good. It's going to be all sorts of evil! That's where the alternate third head of the dragon theory comes in.
People have long-guessed that Tyrion would be the third rider because, like Jon, he'd also be revealed to have Targaryen blood (there's a rumor that the Mad King is actually his father). However, having one main character find out he's actually a long-lost prince is verging on soap opera already, but having two main characters would be straight-up bubbles.
So who would that leave to be the third dragon rider? If the ice dragon theory proves to be correct, there is one person who has displayed total control over all resurrected ice creatures: the goddamn Night King.
Many fans are predicting that one of Dany's dragons will fall in battle, allowing the Night King to revive it as an ice dragon. Then, leading his troops on the back of the ice dragon, the Night King would march his army of wights and white walkers into Westeros, ready to take on Jon, Dany and her two remaining dragons.
While this would definitely be terrible news for humanity, it would be amazing for the fans, who would get to see the ultimate high stakes dragon battle between fire and ice before the show bows out next season.
But to be honest, we don't really care who rides the ice dragon, as long as one appears.
Game of Thrones returns Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.