- "Stars don't fall for men. But the comet means one thing, boy. Dragons."
The Red Comet, also called the Red Messenger or Red Sword, is an astronomical phenomenon. It appeared in the skies over both Westeros and Essos shortly after the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings and the hatching of the dragons of Daenerys Targaryen.
The Red Comet was seen in the skies over most of the two continents, bright enough to be seen during the day. Its significance is discussed by the people of Winterfell, who seem divided on it being an omen of King Robb Stark's victory or if its red color indicates a triumph for the forces of House Lannister. Still others consider the red color to represent the blood of Eddard Stark. However, the wildling woman Osha dismisses all of these suggestions: she maintains that the comet signifies nothing more or less than the return of dragons.
In the Books
The Red Comet is first seen in the books by Jhogo, before Khal Drogo's funeral pyre. It is used as a symbol to light the pyre on fire, as it is believed the brighter the star, the fiercer a man burned in life.
In the books, the Red Comet is seen throughout the known world and interpreted in different manners by different people. Some see it as harbinger of their victory - or their enemies' victory - in the War of the Five Kings, or as an omen of vengeance, while to many more it signifies the onset of war and the bloodshed that is to come. The comet is also interpreted by Daenerys as a sign that she must venture into the Red Waste. Old Nan was the only character to interpret it as dragons. In the TV continuity, Old Nan is considered to have died between seasons 1 and 2, so it is Osha who postulates that connection.
It also receives different names. In King's Landing it is referred to as "King Joffrey's comet" at court and the "Red Messenger" in the streets. Soldiers in the Riverlands also call it the Red Messenger. The members of the Night's Watch that take part in the Great Ranging refer to it as "Mormont's Torch", while Gendry calls it the "Red Sword" on account of its shape. The Dothraki of Daenerys' khalasar call it "shierak qiya", meaning "bleeding star".