Almost every culture has an Azor Ahai, and take some claim to them being from their lands. It's often believed that he's from Asshai, but who's really to say, since he's known by many names from many lands. Warrior/Son of Light/Fire seems to be the name given by R'hllor followers, but the other names he's known by, Hyrkoon the Hero, Yin Tar, Neferion, Eldric Shadowchaser, and whatever else he might be konwn as, are from all over. Hyrkoon, Yi Ti, Nefer/N'ghai, possibly even Andalos with Eldric, claim that the legendary hero who wielded a sword of fire came from their lands. It's hard to say, but Lightbringer shares a lot of possible similarities with Valyrian steel, namely that they're both known for essentially deleting Others on contact.
I'm surprised people don't talk about this more often. After the Long Night, at some unspecified point, came the rise of Valyria, which probably has the most relation to fire out of any other nation. They rode dragons, their lands eventually became prominently R'hllor, the religion of fire, there were fourteen of the fifteen known volcanoes right on their peninsula--they also owned the fifteenth and built a castle on it. Their rising as a prominent world power practically bought the light during the Long Night--this is a side crackpot idea, but perhaps Azor Ahai is just the personification of Valyria, like Columbia with the US or Roma with Rome. Regardless, though, only 400 years (basically right on the dot) after the Doom of Valyria was the return of the Others, which had become mythical in that no one had dealt with them in some 1,000 Lord Commanders' terms (it gets hazy around then, I think they've been gone for longer, but I forget/am not sure). To me it seems like the presence of Valyria, its swords, its dragons, and possibly its people, kept away the Others and the Long Night. GRRM has referenced Lovecraft's work in city names and such, but I like the idea that he's gone a step further with Lovecraftian influence and portrayed Lovecraftian gods in his own works.
This is getting extremely off topic, but there's an ongoing theory (one that I thought on a lot) that Cthulhu and Hastur, step-brothers and worst enemies (AEGOR AND BRYNDEN
) are both secretly influencing the world and battling it out. The theory generally goes that ASOIAF's Cthulhu is residing in Stygai in Asshai, which is why Asshai has so many dark sorcerers there: Melisandre mentioned that there are places in the world that magic is more powerful, more on that in a bit. When Bran saw the world in his visions, if I remember correctly, he saw Asshai, then the lands north of it, and north if it, and north of it, until he saw what was basically the Land of Always Winter, and I'm pretty sure that was the end of the vision. So, essentially, he saw what was south of where he was, then far, far east of that, and then north again, and that connected with where he was. So, perhaps Asshai and North of the Wall aren't very far after all. If you've noticed in the mod, White Walker invasions will happen in Yi Ti, which is sort of canon, and the Five Forts are kind of protecting Yi Ti similarly to the Wall in Westeros. So, if Asshai and the Land of Always Winter is sort of connected, ASOIAF's Cthulhu could essentially be the "god of cold," in a simple sense. And if Cthulhu and Hastur are opposites, sort of tug-of-warring via the world, ASOIAF's Hastur would naturally be in Valyria, which had its greatest period of activity when the Others were gone. Now, my take on the theory goes even more nonsensical. I personally believe that, if this theory is at all on track, that ASOIAF's Cthulhu had other Others. Asshai is described as a city basically too big to sustain, containing millions and millions of citizens, and only a small portion of the city is actually being used for anything. Asshai is also described as being made primarily of oily black stone, which is something we see all over: the Seastone Chair, the Toads in the Isle of Toads, Yeen, even (sort of) at Battle Isle and the Five Forts, but those could be different. The two prominent things to keep in mind though are the Seastone Chair and Isle of Toads. The Seastone Chair is pretty simple: it's in the shape of a kraken and it washed up on the shores of the Iron Islands. In the case of the Isle of Toads, however, the population of the island, who are basically a fish people, claim their descendance from the people who built the toads. So, in theory, they also descended from the people who built Asshai, and Yeen, which implies both cities were part of the same nation, which also reached not far from the Iron Islands. Which is weird, right? How would a throne end up that far away? In A Feast for Crows, Dick Crabb warns Brienne and Podrick to avoid the squishers of Crackclaw Point. In the Prologue of A Clash of Kings(?), Patchface is described as being witty, before drowning, and essentially turning super creepy, and he spends a lot of his time talking about bringing Shireen to the sea. In the Thousand Islands, the almost fish-like people there, who are oddly terrified of the water, worship and make sacrifice to fish-headed gods, who are carved into the stone under the water, which has suggested to a civilization submerged in water. I, however, disagree. My wingnut theory is that there was once a great empire of fish people, "squishers," who lived from Asshai to Yeen to the Sunset Sea, even to the Thousand Isles up north. Perhaps, given the situations of Yeen and the Thousand Islands, civilization there wasn't submerged and ruined, but instead once submerged much more, but the water had since gone down (potentially connected with the Children of the Forest smashing the Arm of Dorne and Neck of Westeros, flooding both). The connection with Patchface could be that he became a servant of ASOIAF's Cthulhu (the Drowned God?) and tried to get the dragonblood of Shireen for some dark ritual. So, if this is the case, it's possible that ASOIAF's Cthulhu, which lives in Stygai (named after Robert Howard's Stygia, which is just a generally pretty sinister place), once had an amphibious empire of followers, who primarily huddled around him in Asshai, but something had happened (perhaps CotF unintentionally screwing them over), and they had since gone into seclusion. This theory also kind of explains the question of how Asshai managed to be so big, because the fish people could have access to ocean life that is otherwise impossible to fish for. With the rise of man in more inland areas like Yi Ti and Westeros, perhaps ASOIAF's Cthulhu had to gain new followers, and employed the Others. There's another theory out there that the Others were simply Children of the Forest who grew spiteful of man and made a dark pact to gain the powers of ice magic, which could have possibly been granted by this entity. On the flip side, ASOIAF's Hastur isn't as necessarily supported in details, but it's possible that it tried things like creating storms (Storm God? Eh?), but nothing quite worked, until the rise of Valyria/when Azor Ahai could defeat the Great Other. A minor detail that I really like as supporting "evidence" for this is that Valyria, before dragons, were simply shepherds, and Hastur is the "benign god of shepherds." Man, I feel crazy every time I dive back into this theory to explain it, because it's ridiculously expansive and yet has zero real impact on the actual story of ASOIAF, but damn is it cool.
Anyway, uh, swords! Yeah!