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The soothsayer’s “Beware the ides of March” from Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar is one of the most famous lines of prophesy in Western literature. Aside from Oedipus and Macbeth, there are tons of ominous warnings, especially in the fantasy genre where prophecies are the reigning method of foreshadowing. While the prophecies themselves might be well-known to even casual fantasy fans, you might not know the fan theories that percolate from them. So, soothsay, I say, and let’s do this thing.

(Warning: spoiler warnings and conspiracy theories ahead!)

 

Harry Potter

When push comes to shove, basically all of Trelawney’s predictions came true or cannot be proven to not have come true (you still with us?) 

The ominous warning: "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..." (OotP pg 841/741)

What it could mean: We should focus on "born as the seventh month dies" just as much as "Born to those who have thrice defied him." Why? Because Neville Longbottom. Facts: Neville also had the power to defeat Voldemort as he was born at the end of July to parents who also "thrice defied" Lord Voldemort. Neville, our favorite little herbology wiz kid, plays a huge role in Voldemort's downfall, detroying Nagini after retrieving the sword of Gryffindor. By murdering Frank and Alice Longbottom, Voldemort marked Neville as an orphan making him an equal to Voldemort. But ultimately, what distinguishes him from Harry is that Voldemort chose Harry.

 

 

The Lord of the Rings

Ah, the most celebrated lines in all of the fantasy genre.

The ominous warning: One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

What it could mean: These words, inscribed on the One Ring in Dark Speech, pertains to the Ring’s power to control the other magical rings of Middle Earth. The words only appear on the Ring in the heat of fire and are physically painful to any Elf who hears them. Our favorite fan theory for the Ring is that the Gollum entity that exists as a separate identity that inhabits the ring and binds itself to whoever wears it. For example, both Isildur, Bilbo and Smeagol devolve into similar behaviors, including using the same words (“precious”). Possession, maybe? 

 

Game of Thrones

In A Clash of Kings, Daenerys Targaryen sees her oldest brother Prince Rhaegar in a vision talking to his wife Elia about what to name their son.

The ominous warning:  “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.”

What it could mean: The promised prince is referenced again and again and is to be the cornerstone of who will be the true and ultimate ascendant of the Iron Throne. The problem is that the series isn’t over yet, so we don’t really know for sure, but Game of Thrones fans are just crazy enough to think that they may have cracked this riddle. We did warn about potential spoilers... 

The near-mythic R+L=J theory: Many have surmised that Jon Snow is the prince that was promised. The theory follows the idea that Ned claimed his sister Lyanna’s son with Prince Rhaegar as his own. Lyanna, thought to have been kidnapped by Rhaegar, was in actuality in love with the prince and begged her brother to protect the child as she died from complications after delivery. The books say that she died in a “bed of blood” and her last words were “promise me, Ned.” To add fuel to this fire, there are a number of references fans have construed to support this theory. Here are some from Cracked.com

“Daenerys has a vision of Lyanna's favorite flower blooming on a wall of ice (Jon Snow on The Wall); Ned is said to have "lived lies" for 14 years (Jon is 14 when the story begins); Ned always calls Jon his blood, rather than his son; Lyanna's chamber was guarded by Kingsguard, who would only have been there to protect royal blood (as Rhaegar's child would be).”

Considering Jon went out Julius Ceasar-style (haha, see what we did there!) at the end of season five and somewhere in the middle of A Dance with Dragons, we have to wonder...where is your fan theory now?!