If anyone here has read the books out so far from A Song of Ice and Fire, then you're definitely aware that there are tons of legends in these stories. There are great mythical characters and places. In the show, it's not quite as detailed or extensive. But they can only fit so much in an episode of the show, I suppose.
But never mind that. There are some legends that you just need to know as a fan of Game of Thrones. Some of them are pretty heavily touched on in the show. The White Walkers have been featuring heavily recently. We know a little bit about the Faceless Men, as Arya becomes "No One". We've heard plenty about Azor Ahai, though we have no sure idea about who he/she is.
But there are others like Lann The Clever, or The Grey King who you might not know so well. There are items like the Hell Horn and the Horn of Winter that you may not know about. And there are places like The Dawn Empire, and Asshai and the Shadowlands that you might not have explored yet. So start digging into some legends that you should know about as a fan!
Asshai, and the Shadowlands are not surprisingly very secretive. They are kept very well hidden from the world. "Asshai and its few people have an ominous reputation in other lands. Asshai'i are described as having a dark and solemn appearance. The Dothraki believe that Asshai'i are "spawn of shadows". Bran Stark has a vision of many lands, including Asshai, where he sees dragons stirring." And hey, that's not a bad vision. After all, Daenerys got her dragon egg gifts from Asshai. And now, she has three massive dragons. Well, she has two thanks to the Night King. But that's not all Asshai is known for. From this shadow came Missendei. She's the very fiery priestess of the Lord of Light. And she can produce shadow babies seemingly at will. There is a reason why people are afraid of the Shadowlands.
"It's my father's sword, and his father before him. The Mormonts have carried it for five centuries. It was meant for my son, Jorah. He brought dishonor to our House... but he had the grace to leave the sword before he fled from Westeros." Longclaw was given to Jon Snow by the previous commander of the Night's Watch. It's one hell of an old sword made of Valyrian steel. It's ultimately not that exciting. At least not until recently. Although the director of the latest episode has said that Longclaw did not blink, there are now a thousand new fan theories about the magic of the sword. "That is so funny, somebody else mentioned that to me and I haven't got a clue what they're talking about. So either this sword is magic and it's doing stuff on its own or something happened. [...] I can say that there was no intention for that to be the case."
13 The Dawn Empire
"According to legend, the Golden Empire's first ruler was the God-on-Earth, the only son of the Lion of Night and the Maiden-Made-of-Light. He ruled for ten thousand years. Dominion then passed to his eldest son, the Pearl Emperor, who ruled for a thousand years. Power then passed to the Jade Emperor, the Tourmaline Emperor, the Onyx Emperor, the Topaz Emperor, and the Opal Emperor. Each reigning for a shorter and more troubled time" Eventually the Bloodstone Emperor murdered his sister and ruled through slavery and death. He feasted on human flesh and he ushered in the Long Night. The Maiden-Made-of-Light turned away from the world, but the Lion of Night decided to punish people. Eventually, a warrior came to dispel the night. Who was it? Azor Ahai of course!
12 The Horn Of Winter And The Hell Horn
The legend of the Horn of Winter is pretty simple. The idea is that Joramun, King-beyond-the-Wall many centuries ago created a magical horn. What does the horn do? Well, when he used it, he allegedly woke an army of sleeping giants. But the free folk believe that the horn has the power to bring down the Wall! Though they hardly touch on it in the show (thus far) Sam found a horn beyond the Wall along with some dragon glass shards. Could it be the Horn of Winter? And speaking of horns, the proposed cover art for the sixth book of A Song of Ice and Fire features a horn. Now is this the Horn of Winter? Or the dreaded Hell Horn that Euron Greyjoy has tracked down? The Hell Horn apparently has the power to enslave and control dragons!
11 Lann The Clever
I think that it's unlikely that Tyrion Lannister is the famed Lann The Clever. I know that time doesn't quite seem to work in normal ways in the world of Westeros, but there are those who think that Tyrion is somehow also the man who founded House Lannister. Unless he can also warg like Bran Stark, and could hide the fact that he was a dwarf all that time ago, I think it's impossible. Either way, Lann The Clever is the man from whom the Lannisters take their name. And he's the reason that the Lannisters managed to get their hands on Casterly Rock. "Lann the Clever is the first of the Lannisters, best known for outsmarting the Lords of Casterly Rock." And how did he do it? He acted like a ghost in the walls of the castle, drove the family to murder each other, took the throne for himself, and nailed Lord Casterly's wife.
10 Azor Ahai
This name has been thrown around all of the books, the show, and the internet. And still, no one knows who the hell Azor Ahai is yet. He is one of many big question marks in the show. People have been theorizing just who it could be for years. Dany, Jon, Jaime, Jorah, Stannis, Berric, Thoros...the list goes on. But what about the original story of Azor Ahai?
"Azor Ahai is a legendary figure in the faith of R'hllor, the Lord of Light. Thousands of years ago, he forged the sword Lightbringer which he used to defeat the darkness of the Great Other." But he was kind of a horrible person, all things considered. He went through a gruelling process to forge his fancy sword. It took him hundreds of days, and three different blades to finally get the finished product. Oh, and it also cost him the living heart of his loved one.
9 The Others
Well, the origin story of these creatures is different depending on where you get your sources from. In the books, there is no back story as to where the Others came from. In the show, it is the Children of the Forest who created the Others (or White Walkers) by stabbing a guy with a dragon glass dagger (some people think this guy is Bran Stark). Personally, I think it's scarier not knowing exactly where they came from. Either way, the White Walkers are a huge part of the current story arc in the show, and they have been given plenty of back story. Including how the second White Walker was made from a little baby boy (and people also theorize that this was Bran Stark). Either way, it seems only fire and, Valyrian steel, and dragon glass (depending on the book or the show) can kill these creatures. And they are very closely connected to Bran. Keep that in mind.
Greyscale has appeared in the show on a few different people. It's more prominent in the books, but the show skips over a lot of important stuff. Everyone pretty well understands that greyscale is manageable for a time, but eventually turns the victim's body into stone. Which could make it a little difficult to get around in life. Now, thanks to the show, we've seen that people can make full recoveries, but no one quite knows if or why someone will. And do you know where the disease came from? "The Rhoynar Prince Garin the Great went to war against Volantis and Valyria. He was captured and hung in a cage to see the enslavement of his people. The prince called down a curse upon the conquerors, and that night the Rhoyne flooded out of season and a thick fog fell upon the river, and the Valyrian conquerors began to die of greyscale."
7 The Faceless Men
So, try not to focus at all on Arya's run-in with the Faceless Men in the show. It's explained far better in the books (and she's still there in the books too). It seems silly that a professional assassin wouldn't be able to actually kill Arya, and then get killed by her own target later on. Anyway, the Faceless Men, and becoming No One is a pretty big deal in the story. "Faceless Men are trained to relinquish their former identities and become "no one", which allows them to become entirely different people, all in service to the Many-Faced God. They also believe that, as servants of death, they must serve above all else and that they must deliver upon certain people the "gift" of death." The show does not do them justice. "'Valar Dohaeris'. All men must serve. Faceless Men most of all."
6 Children Of The Forest
"In the Dawn Age of Westeros, before the coming of man and the raising of castles and cities, there were only the Children of the Forest." Of course, everyone thought that these little guys were nothing but myths. They are certainly legendary. But not necessarily for a good reason. Depending on whether you take the word of the show or of the books, the Children of the Forest are pretty horrible creatures. They are the reason that the White Walkers exist in the show. They generally preferred to live in the depths of the forests in hidden villages, in crannogs of the swamps, or in caves. Thus they came to be known as "the Children of the Forest"." There are several families and peoples who keep away from the forest for the express reason that they wish to respect the Children, and avoid their possible wrath.
5 Ice Dragons
Now, the ice dragons in the books are mentioned mostly in passing. But everyone who has either read the books or has been watching the show has been waiting for one to show up. And now that Viserion has been turned into a zombie dragon, we've gotten our ice dragon. It's strange that suddenly he can spit ice since the only thing that's changed about him is that he's now a zombie, but the show has done away with a lot of details anyway. It would be awesome if ice dragons beyond the Wall could be woken up because they were said to be many times larger than their fire-breathing brothers. Now that would be a truly wicked weapon for the White Walkers to have on their side. Instead, they have a rip-off ice dragon in Viserion.
4 Bran The Builder
"The Great Wall just above the north of Winterfell couldn’t have been made possible without Brandon “Bran The Builder.” Bran lived during the Age of Heroes, at a time when the First Men made peace with the children of the forest." Of course, if you're a big fan theorist you might think that Bran Stark is also Bran The Builder. There's a theory that Bran wargs into the body of a man, builds the Wall, and lives out the rest of his life. Only to be born by Catelyn Stark, have his legs broken by Jaime, and then find his way into warging all over again to go back in time to build the Wall. Time travel is definitely a confusing process. So, is Bran The Builder just a legend? A real person of the past? Or Bran Stark, gone back in time to protect the realm (until letting the Night King brand him in the future).
3 The Grey King
"The Grey King is a legendary monarch of the Iron Islands who is said to have ruled for 1,007 years. All of the great houses of the islands claim descent from the Grey King, including House Greyjoy, with the exception of House Goodbrother, who claim descent from the Grey King's loyal eldest brother." The Grey King is the man who began the Ironborn's method of fighting for the throne. It's pretty clear, at least in the books, that prospective rulers can be pitted against each other in battle to claim the throne at Pyke. The Grey King allegedly slayed a sea dragon, built his castle from its bones, and then married a mermaid...so maybe Varys is related to him in some way. If you believe that Varys is a merman anyway.
2 Ancient Valyria
"Valyria, also called Old Valyria, is a ruined city in Essos. It is a long-dead city of wonderment, and was once the capital of a great empire called the Valyrian Freehold. It was destroyed by a cataclysmic event known as the Doom of Valyria a century before Aegon's Landing. It is the ancestral home of House Targaryen" This famed place is where Valyrian steel was forged. If you're not sure just what that is, then you need to actually watch an episode or read a few pages of this series. Such metal is no longer created, but Valyrian blades still abound, and sometimes are melted down to fashion into new weapons. Like Jaime Lannister's Oathkeeper, for example. "It was reforged from Ned Stark's sword. You'll use it to defend Ned Stark's daughter."
1 The Winged Knight
"The Winged Knight is the founder of the Vale of Arryn, and is best known for battling the Griffin King. Like Bran the Builder and Lann the Clever, he, too, was a legendary hero who accomplished deeds in Westeros. The Knight befriended the giants and merlings, and was said to have an army of giant falcons." This guy's history is significant to Littlefinger. And I mean Littlefinger from back when he was doing at least some good things. "Peter Baelish eventually takes the Lady Alayne Stone’s advice and forms the Brotherhood of Winged Knights, who go on to protect Lord Robert Arryn." This might be something you're not aware of if you haven't read the books. But all you need to know is that Littlefinger at least spent some time defending someone other than himself.