What exactly was the deal with the white horse that Arya saw at the end of Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5? Read on for details and theories. This post will have MAJOR spoilers for Season 8 Episode 5.
At the very end of Game of Thrones tonight, Arya survived one of the toughest battles in the show’s history. As she’s surveying the destruction in King’s Landing and walking around in shock, a white horse appears. Arya gets on the horse and slowly rides away.
What was the white horse’s meaning and where did it come from?
At first I thought the white horse was the same white horse that Harry Strickland was riding at the beginning of the battle. To me that summed everything up nicely. It miraculously survived, the end. But NO. Harry’s horse was killed and they showed the horse’s death earlier in the episode.
Here’s Harry’s horse.
And here is a photo of Harry’s horse dead on the battlefield.
Here are more photos of the horse that Arya saw:
It’s tough to see, but the markings on its nose make it appear that this horse really is the same horse that Harry Strickland rode, raised from the dead. So this leaves us with quite a few questions. Obviously this is important, since they showed multiple shots of Harry on the horse, then showed the horse clearly dead, and then focused back on the horse at the end.
I believe the horse was raised by the Lord of Light. Notice the use of light in the shot where Arya is approaching the horse. When Jon Snow was raised from the dead by Melisandre, she said it was the Lord of Light who raised him. For people this always requires an intermediary of some sort. But I’m going to guess that in this case, the Lord of Light himself raised the horse to help Arya leave King’s Landing. Perhaps this is because somehow, Arya really is Azor Ahai. Or she is somehow Lightbringer, and will ultimately be the one to bring light after all this darkness.
Another theory that some fans are suggesting is the Bran warged into the dead horse and took it over to help Arya. I personally think the horse’s eyes do not look like they are white and warged, but others think they are.
There’s definitely a deeper meaning to the horse, and it was prophesied once before. Do you remember Season 2 when Quaithe spoke to Jorah about Daenerys’ future? She’s a shadowbinder prophet from Essos who was quite mysterious. However, she never actually said the pale mare comment in the TV series, just in the books when she told Dany:
“The glass candles are burning. Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying. Beware the perfumed seneschal.” According to the Game of Thrones wiki, the pale mare referred to “fatal disease known as the bloody flux, carried to Meereen by refugees from Astapor.”
Here’s when Quaithe spoke to Jorah, but did not mention a pale mare:
So I’m going to say that Quaithe’s prophecy had nothing to do with the horse that Arya rode.
Some people say the horse reminds them of Ned’s white horse.
And sure, that could be a thing. But where does it end? Arya had a white horse of her own at one point, although it was a little different:
Even Jaime had a white horse at one point.
The best parallel is Lyanna Stark’s white horse.
If I’m going to draw any parallels it would be that one, since the show has already shown parallels between Robert Baratheon and Lyanna and Gendry and Arya.
But I think the parallels are just icing on the cake. In the end, we’re supposed to realize that the Lord of Light himself raised a horse for Arya. Perhaps in thanks for the role she played as Azor Ahai. Perhaps indicating her role isn’t over yet. Maybe she will kill Daenerys, who on the show has “green eyes.” Or perhaps the horse indicates that she is some type of godlike figure herself.
Of course, it could also just be a coincidence and not the same horse that was killed in battle earlier. (“While D&D kind of forgot about the white horse that was killed a few minutes earlier, the viewers did not…”) In fact, this is a very real possibility because near the end of the episode, we see a Dothraki riding on a white horse near Arya:
So this provides evidence that Strickland’s white horse wasn’t the only one.
Perhaps the white horse is symbolic of one of the horsemen of the apocalypse. In Revelation in the Bible, the rider of the pale horse is Death. But since that is certainly not relevant to Game of Thrones mythology, that’s not an interpretation I’d go with.
D&D may leave it up to the viewers to decide for themselves what the horse means. You could guess that because it looks so similar to the Golden Company’s killed horse that the Lord of Light resurrected the horse for Arya. Or you could guess that it’s simply a Dothraki horse (or someone else’s) that survived and is merely meant as symbolism of Arya’s new purpose (perhaps a new purpose of putting Daenerys on her list.) From what we know so far, either interpretation seems valid.