A Novel Theory on Lightbringer, Azor Ahai, and the Prince who was Promised – as related by Archmaester Drew, The Citadel of Oldtown, 314 AC
“It was a time when darkness lay heavy on the world. To oppose it, the hero must have a hero’s blade, oh, like none that had ever been.” –Salladhor Saan (ASOS: Davos 10)
The original Lightbringer, The Red Sword of Heroes, was forged by the original Azor Ahai. Legend describes it as glowing red and fiery in battle, and forged of steel. Lightbringer was said to have been forged three times. It was tempered first by water (and broke); then by a lion’s heart (and shattered); and then by Nissa Nissa's, “heart and soul and strength and courage,” which infused the blade – where upon it became The Red Sword of Heroes.
If it was indeed used over 8,000 years ago in The Long Night by the Last Hero and the First Men to defeat The Others, this was long before the Andals brought iron and steel to Westeros. The Last Hero was said in one account to have wielded a “dragonsteel” sword, which Jon Snow muses may mean Valyrian steel. But Valyria itself was said to have been founded 3,000 years after The Long Night, so there were no steel blades at that time – let alone Valyrian steel blades. The history was not written down until the Andals arrived. The legend may have been adapted to then current standards or the story embellished. It may have been made of bronze, which the First Men brought to Westeros, Although the blade was certainly effective against The Others, so it must have been no ordinary sword...
However, the legend and prophecy of Azor Ahai is from the far east of Essos, as documented in the Jade Compendium, by the Volantine scholar, Colloquo Votar.
"The pages told of Azor Ahai. Lightbringer was his sword. Tempered with his wife’s blood if Votar can be believed. Thereafter Lightbringer was never cold to the touch, but warm as Nissa Nissa had been warm. In battle the blade burned fiery hot. Once Azor Ahai fought a monster. When he thrust the sword through the belly of the beast, its blood began to boil. Smoke and steam poured from its mouth, its eyes melted and dribbled down its cheeks, and its body burst into flame." –Jon Snow (ADWD: Jon 10)
This account does not describe an encounter with The Others, but with “a monster.” Although fire is effective against them, The Others are made of ice and would not burn, rather melt or vaporize. Perhaps the “darkness” that fell upon the world at this time was of a different nature?...and in Essos? Therefore, it would seem that the Last Hero was not Azor Ahai.
There is no mention in the Azor Ahai or Lightbringer in Westerosi legend, nor is there a Westerosi prophesy of the return of the Last Hero. The prophesy of The Prince who was Promised is known to Maester Aemon and to Melisandre, and to Rhaegar, and seems to have been originated in Essos, possibly Old Valyria. Maester Aemon says it is 1,000 years old, and Melisandre says 5,000. In Daenerys’ vision in the House of the Undying, she witnesses the birth of her nephew Aegon. Rhaegar proclaims, ”He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire." Both Rhaegar, and later Aemon, state that “the dragon must have three heads.” This is probably reflecting Aegon the Conquerer (aka, the Dragon) and his sister-wives, and their three dragons. As Daenerys also has three dragons this would suggest that this refers to three dragon riders.
If we accept that Jon Snow is the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, and the Prince who was Promised, then he will be one of the heads (Rhaegar was mistaken when he names Aegon the Prince who was Promised, which he possibly latter discovers, leading him to pursue Lyanna, and thus begat Jon). Daenerys is obviously another head. But who is the third?
Perhaps the heir of the Last Hero: The Sword of the Morning?
The Sword of the Morning is the most worthy member of House Dayne, as selected by the family, to wield the ancestral sword Dawn. Dawn was forged of the heart of fallen star thousands of years ago in Dorne, giving rise to Starfall and House Dayne. If none are worthy it remains at Starfall awaiting one who is. House Dayne is likely of First Man descent, thus Dawn could be truly ancient – even before the Andals brought steel. This may have been the ‘dragonsteel’ of the Last Hero, thus the Sword of the Morning his heir. There is not prophesy of his return, because he figuratively never left, but stood guard over Westeros since the Long Night.
Therefore, to fulfill the prophesy of the Prince who was Promised, Jon, Daenerys and the Sword of the Morning (Edric “Ned” Dayne?) will mount the dragons to battle the Great Other. Jon and Daenerys will fall in love and marry, and they will battle through the winter. But to no avail, The Great Other is too strong – and Jon knows what he must do...
We know that GRRM often follows Mark Twain's aphorism: "History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes" in his trope twisting. Therefore, it seems likely that to create a new Lightbringer, the sword must also be forged thrice. The reforging of the sword may not follow the same exact process -- but it 'rhymes'. Dawn (which is often suggested to be Lightbringer) does not need to be reforged – and it would have to be reforged twice to fit the pattern. It has a separate history, and purpose (besides being a red herring for Lightbringer).
Ice was forged of Valyrian steel – a sword for a hero – tempered in water (or ice, figuratively); reforged by Lions (Lannisters) and split into two red blades... Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail. The prophesy of Asshai related by Melisandre states that Lightbringer shall be drawn from the fire. It is possible that to forge the new Lightbringer, Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail must be reforged into a new single sword and tempered with the heart and soul of the beloved of Azor Ahai...*
*Credit must be given to Don Tony Teflon of House Teflon (“We Pull the Strings”), CHEAH! for the theory that J and D are AA and NN, reborn, which inspired this theory. J
Note: I re-posted this under a new title to make the subject of the thread more clear. I didn't get much feedback the first time.