In A Storm of Swords Stannis says this to Davos:

“I know the cost! Last night, gazing into that hearth, I saw things in the flames as well. I saw a king, a crown of fire on his brows, burning... burning, Davos. His own crown consumed his flesh and turned him into ash. Do you think I need Melisandre to tell me what that means? Or you?”
-A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords, Davos.

He seems to imply that he thinks it is him who will burn because of his own crown. Stannis the Mannis has always taken his responsibility strongly [gritting intensifies], and clearly believes that he must see it through to the end, no matter what it costs himself. But we've already seen this exact scene happen with Viserys III.

So, does Stannis see himself in the flames or Viserys?

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    With the way GRRM handles prophecies, who knows? Dec 11, 2014 at 21:53
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    I think we simply do not know yet. If I had to bet, I'd say Stannis is mistaken about his role in this story, more than likely misled by Melisandre (and in turn, it's unclear whether Melisandre truly believes everything she says).
    – Andres F.
    Dec 11, 2014 at 22:18
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    @AndresF. From her POV chapters it would seem that Mel truly believes (correctly or not) that Stannis is AA reborn. Dec 11, 2014 at 23:22
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    Problem is we never see what's in the flames besides what Melisandre says she sees. Possible plot twist for both mediums.
    – Virusboy
    Dec 12, 2014 at 0:00

2 Answers 2


NOTE: Since it is not possible to give a concrete answer to this as we do not know how this prophecy will unfold yet, this is only my own inference based on canon references.

It cannot be Viserys because he had already died in AGOT. We did not know about this vision until ASOS as you mention. And Stannis saw it a long time after Viserys had died. As far as I recall, Fire does not let you see the past like Greenseers can (Joff's death is kinda complex. I can't recall if Mel saw his death in future or in present at nightfire).

It is unlikely that he was misled into reading the fire that way by Melisandre because Stannis saw this on his own. Besides, Viserys did not turn to ashes. He did not even had a finger set on fire. Only his silken clothes burnt.

From AGOT:

The sound Viserys Targaryen made when that hideous iron helmet covered his face was like nothing human. His feet hammered a frantic beat against the dirt floor, slowed, stopped. Thick globs of molten gold dripped down onto his chest, setting the scarlet silk to smoldering... yet no drop of blood was spilled.

Also by the time of ACOK, Iron Throne knew Viserys Targaryen had died.

"Sit," Joff commanded, gesturing her to the empty seat beside his own. "Have you heard? The Beggar King is dead."

"Who?" For a moment Sansa was afraid he meant Robb.

"Viserys. The last son of Mad King Aerys. He's been going about the Free Cities since before I was born, calling himself a king. Well, Mother says the Dothraki finally crowned him. With molten gold."

We can assume that word must have passed at least in the nobles so in all probability, Stannis knew about it as well. So he might have also thought that he was looking at fate of Viserys unless he was convinced that he wasn't.

Nevertheless, by ADWD, it was a common knowledge even in lands as far as White Harbor in North. If they knew, we can assume that Dragonstone must have known before them seeing as Dragonstone is the closest Westerosi land in vicinity of Essos. From Davos Chapter 15, ADWD:

"You're bloody mad", said an oarsman off Storm Dancer. "The begger King's been dead for years. Some Dothraki horselord cut his head off."

Nightfire only shows you present, future and possible future. It does not show you the past so I could not have been recap of Viserys' death. As Stannis said to Mel in ASOS:

“In the nightfire.” Stannis and Melisandre came through the door together. “The flames are full of tricks. What is, what will be, what may be. You cannot tell me for a certainty...”

The crown Stannis wears is described as:

A crown of red gold wrought with points that look like flames.

I believe he saw himself in the vision and it shows that his quest to gain the throne will ultimately be failed, no matter before gaining the throne or afterwards, because his own acts and powers will destroy him. The quest is already taking a toll on him as Mel noted that she could not make another shadow baby with Stannis because his Fire were burning too low & it might kill him. He has started looking gaunt and weak with everyday passing. Anyhow, I believe it predicts his own death.

He is Robert's heir and thus a King. But it is quite possible that Stannis just saw some other unknown King. He never said that the King was himself. Nevertheless, It was not Viserys. But It could be Stannis.


It - being an almost-certainly prophetic dream sequence in ASOIAF - is unclear.

However, as a subscriber of the Battle of Ice theory, I strongly suspect it was neither. Instead, I believe it was a generic king (similar to how in dreams you just "know" certain things are true), because I believe the thing the dream-king represents is not a person.

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