Melisandre: Flames, Fates, and Finales

Melisandre

The days are getting shorter and shorter (at least they are here in the northern hemisphere), leading us to the Winter Solstice and the longest night of the year. It’ll be a Long Night.

Possibly because of the extra-long darkness, December has multiple traditions that celebrate with light. Maybe lighting candles is one’s thing, maybe tossing a Yule log on the fire … maybe some have glowing, decorated trees indoors or have jazzed up the neighborhood with dazzling illumination on houses.

With the month’s focus on lighting up the night defiantly in the face of the longest seasonal darkness, December is an appropriate month to check in on Melisandre of Asshai. Game of Thrones‘ fiery red witch would be the first to tell us about things being dark and full of terrors.

Melisandre: And that’s just the shopping mall parking lots.

Most of the prophetic and vision-adjacent characters from A Song of Ice and Fire either haven’t made it into the show or have had a limited role, but Melisandre is easily the show’s stand-out prognosticator as well as the show’s primary source of arcane exposition. She gives us context on legendary figures like Azor Ahai and his flaming sword Lightbringer, as well as details on the prophesied Prince (or Princess) that was Promised. Her expertise all but guarantees that she’ll be important in the coming fight with the White Walkers and the falling of another Long Night on Westeros.

Melisandre will definitely be back in Season Eight.

We know this, because Melisandre has told us so while chatting with Varys in Season Seven.

Melisandre: I would only be a distraction if I stayed.
Varys: Where would you go?
Melisandre: Volantis.
Varys: Good. If you don’t mind my saying, I don’t think you should return to Westeros. I’m not sure you’ll be safe here.
Melisandre: I will return, dear spider. One last time. I have to die in this strange country. Just like you.
Varys: 😐

game-of-thrones-queens-justice-daenerys-melisandre

Straight up, it’s fair to be skeptical of Melisandre when she plays the role of fortune teller. She picked the wrong candidate for Azor Ahai reborn in supporting Stannis Baratheon, which had disastrous consequences including convincing Stannis to sacrifice his daughter in hopes of a magical advantage against the Boltons.

But much of that was due to faulty extrapolation from incomplete data. Melisandre legitimately saw the Bolton banners struck down at Winterfell. But it wasn’t Stannis and his Stormlanders doing that. It was Jon’s northern coalition and the Knight of the Vale, who eventually defeated the Baratheon-routing Boltons.

But if Melisandre has seen in her flames that she’ll be returning to Westeros and never leaving the land alive, we might as well believe her. She’s done this trick before.

Melisandre: Death by fire is the purest death.
Matthos: Uh, thanks?
Davos: DON’T TALK TO HER!

Anyone predicting that Melisandre will die in Season Eight isn’t making all that crazy a statement. At this point it’s hard to predict who might live with absolute certainty. The show is rough on its cast of characters, and being an interesting or compelling character doesn’t provide much plot armor.

karsi-got

There have even been memorable characters who were introduced and killed off in the same episode.

A harder challenge than predicting if Melisandre will die in Season Eight or not (she will) is in deciding who will be complicit in her death, like a game of Westerosi Clue. It’s not that it’s hard to find potential suspects – it’s that there are so many candidates who might want her dead.

In the North…

At the end of the sixth season, Melisandre found herself exiled from the kingdom of the North. Davos Seaworth accused Melisandre of sacrificing his beloved princess Shireen to the bloodthirsty god R’hllor. Davos had demanded justice be done in Winterfell, but large-and-in-charge Jon Snow was reluctant to sentence Melisandre to death.

Possibly Jon felt like he owed Melisandre for bringing him back to life.

Or maybe this is just more evidence that Jon can’t execute beautiful red-heads.

Ygritte: Hey! I thought I was his one and only commuted sentence!

But Jon decreed that if she returned to the North, she would be hung.

Stannis: Hanged. She’s not a tapestry.
Me: Fine.

Davos accepted Jon’s judgment with good grace, but if he encountered Melisandre again, regardless of geography, he might take matters into his not-complete hands.

Besides Jon and Davos, there are more characters in the North who have no love for Melisandre.

Arya Stark didn’t quite have Melisandre’s name on her list, but she had her description.

The Red Woman

Arya had put Melisandre on the murder list for her part in taking Gendry a prisoner with permission from the Brotherhood without Banners. Although “the Red Woman” was on the list for several seasons, that particular entry seems to have been omitted recently. But that omission can be just as easily corrected if Arya comes across Melisandre again. And those two should cross paths in the upcoming season. Melisandre has predicted this happening.

Arya

I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes. Blue eyes. Green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever. We’ll meet again.

Melisandre seemed rather shook when talking to Arya – maybe that’s when she got her first insight on her ultimate fate, and has been just living with that fatalistic knowledge ever since. But I don’t want to just fall into some assumption, to commit to an extrapolation from incomplate data. That’s the kind of fallacy that Melisandre falls prey to.

Arya had Melisandre on her list because of Gendry, and our handsome blacksmithing bastard has even more of a reason to have a grudge against the Red Woman. She not only kidnapped him, but she then lobbied Gendry’s uncle Stannis to burn his baseborn nephew alive, so as to reap the magic of a blood sacrifice.

Melisandre: He didn’t complain when I bedded him.
Gendry: The leech on my penis kind of ruined that. I reserve the right to complain.
Roose Bolton: Penis-leeching? Tell me more.

But even though Gendry has a right to hold a grudge, he has been pretty level-headed when face to face with Beric Dondarrion, who sold him out to Melisandre. Gendry set aside any animosity and found common cause with the Lightning Lord against the threat of the White Walkers. Gendry might be willing to let bygones be bygones if he met Melisandre again.

Gendry: I reserve the right to complain.
Arya: Me too! (That could be a hashtag.)
Brienne: Me too!

Brienne of Tarth avenged the death of her liege King Renly Baratheon by executing the fratricidal Stannis. Brienne knows that Renly was slain by shadowy sorcery, and it doesn’t take too much detective work to deduce that Stannis’s shadowbinder from Asshai might have made that happen. Despite that, Brienne took no action against Melisandre, other than looming in an intimidating fashion over the red witch and announcing that she’d personally killed King Stannis.

I’m not saying that Brienne woud seek to murder Melisandre, but she wouldn’t hesitate to act if she felt the Red Woman was a danger to those she’d sworn to serve and protect.

One of those whom Brienne has sworn to protect is Sansa Stark, the Lady of Winterfell. Unlike Arya, Sansa has had no direct dealings with Melisandre, but Sansa’s experiences over the years have forged her into someone very different from the little lady who eagerly went to King’s Landing in the hopes of marrying a prince and having his babies.

“My skin has turned to porcelain, to ivory, to steel.”
A Storm of Swords, Sansa V

Sansa Stark had just dealt with a major problem in Littlefinger trying to worm his way into power and influence at Winterfell. Melisandre is no Littlefinger, being one who speaks plainly and openly. Maybe a bit too plainly.

Melisandre: I one-hundred-percent am suggesting you murderize Princess Shireen with fire. This is not a metaphor.
Stannis: Holy [expletive]!
Melisandre: Did you literally say “bracket expletive bracket” just now?
Stannis: What if I did?

But Melisandre’s attraction to power is clear, as is trying to get the powerful to follow her agenda. A death-sentence in the North would cramp the Red Woman’s style in fighting the White Walkers, and she might misread tension between Sansa and Jon (and Daenerys) as an opening for her to curry favor and push her agenda. Sansa has many reasons to be mistrustful, and Melisandre’s actions might bring her to meet the business-like ways of either of Sansa’s fighting cadre: Arya or Brienne.

But why would Melisandre even be in the North, risking lethal consequences?

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It would be reckless for Melisandre to endanger herself by breaking exile and returning to the snowy kingdom, but frankly that’s exactly where she’s needed with her esoteric knowledge and command of fire magic, against the threat of the icy White Walkers.

But her violating border security of the North might not be all that risky for her. The show has established that Melisandre’s youthful and attractive appearance is from a magic glamour that she employs to conceal her true, ancient form.

(Unless her crone aspect is also from a glamour, but that doesn’t change the point being made…)

No one in the North (or south, one supposes) knows about Melisandre’s glamours. She could even come to Jon’s court and offer magical assistance incognito.

But she might hit an unexpected snag when crossing paths with Arya.

Arya: You did say we’d meet again.
Melisandre: *gulp* I … I’m not sure what you mean.
Arya: Brown eyes. Blue eyes. Green eyes. Your eyes.

Arya’s training at the House of Black and White, playing the Game of Faces that relied on supernatural awareness of hidden truths might be the end of any clandestine operation from Melisandre.

Melisandre: I would have gotten away with it too. If not for that meddling kid.

But maybe Melisandre will safely stay out of the North. There still places to die in Westeros further south.

The South…

Even though almost all of the action (and the actors) can be found in the North, there’s storied opportunities for Melisandre further south (at least south of the swampy Neck.)

Melisandre told Varys that she was going to go to Volantis before she returns. There’s someone else on the show who we know will be crossing the Narrow Sea between Westeros and Essos and returning: Cersei Lannister’s pirate admiral Euron Greyjoy.

Euron on the show has significant differences from his book counterpart, but is still largely cut from the same narrative sailcloth. One element missing from the show’s Euron is his supernatural focus. Should Euron encounter Melisandre, either in Volantis when he’s picking the Golden Company or coming across her while being on the waters, some of the magical elements from the books might come back into play.

Euron

There is no Victarion Greyjoy on the show, and the less-mystical Euron has a Victarion feel. Victarion in the books has a captive Red Priest, so Euron taking Melisandre captive would hit on the Victarion cylinders as well, similar to how Jorah Mormont took on characteristics of the kingmaking exile Hand Jon Connington.

One shouldn’t rule out Melisandre actively seeking Euron Greyjoy out. With her hopes dashed by Stannis not being Azor Ahai reborn, and hedging her bets that either Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen could be the Prince(ss) that was Promised, Melisandre might be casting as wide a net as possible and want to determine if the Ironborn Pirate King might be the prophesied one. A case can be made that seafaring raider Euron was figuratively born of salt and smoke.

Melisandre’s actions in doing so aren’t as crazy as they might seem. One feature of a character motivated by magical visions is that it’s hard to complain when they do things for the convenience of plot. Which might supply a different reason for Melisandre coming into contact with Euron. Theon Greyjoy is on his way to intercept his murderous uncle in hopes of rescuing the captive Yara Greyjoy. If Melisandre believes Theon and Yara are important in the fight against the White Walkers (why not?) she could provide assistance to Theon, bringing her to Euron.

However Melisandre might come into Euron’s orbit, whether as a friend, foe, or fated encounter, she’d be in danger. It’s not as explicit on the show as it is in the books, but Euron is a monster. One’s life expectancy is inversely proportional to how close one is to him. But Melisandre expects to die in Westeros – this strange land – and not on the sea where it would be more likely with the Greyjoy king. But maybe Euron would bring the Red Woman to Cersei as a gift, as he did with Ellaria and Tyene Sand.

Cersei might have less of a beef with Melisandre than she did with Ellaria and Tyene, but Melisandre did support the usurper Stannis Baratheon in the uncorroborated slander that Joffrey and her other children were illegitimate. And Cersei has had an unpleasant run-in with witchy prophets before. It’s not hard to imagine Cersei blaming Maggy the Frog for the prediction foretelling the death of her children, and her fate of losing all to a younger, beautiful queen.

Melisandre might come to Cersei’s court, with full knowledge of the danger she’s in in dealing with the volatile Lannister, and offer magical assistance to Cersei with the intent of sabotage, in an echo of Mirri Maz Duur’s treacherous outreach to Daenerys in the first season. If Melisandre wants to serve the Prince(ss) who was Promised, but can’t be in the North, manipulating Cersei into a position of weakness might be an admirable move.

An admirable move, and a bold one since Cersei does not play well with others, particularly with other women.

Cersei

Cersei: You’re so beautiful. Are you, by chance, younger than me?
Melisandre: I guarantee that you are far more youthful than I am, your Grace.

But one shouldn’t be too quick to assign honorable intentions to Melisandre. She might come back from Volantis with a mission to provide legitimate aid to Cersei’s faction, because it might align with her own mysterious purposes. Although this might be unexpected, it wouldn’t be all that atypical for Cersei. If Cersei has a superpower, it would be consistently managing to fail upwards.

  • Ned Stark discovers her dark secret, and she’s in danger of being exposed? A boar takes out King Robert.
  • The Faith Militant is going to put her on trial? The Great Sept is wired to explode, thanks to Mad King Aerys.
  • Dany has overwhelming forces and is going to besiege King’s Landing? King Euron’s magic pirate ships save the day.

No matter how many elephants the Golden Company brings with them from Essos, those pachyderms aren’t fire-proof. Dany will be coming back south with dragons. Cersei will need a magical arsenal, not just a conventional army.

But if Melisandre sides with Cersei, her affinity for fire will be put to the test. Melisandre has predicted that she’ll die in Westeros, and if she’s not careful, it’ll be from dragonfire.

Davos: She did tell my son Matthos that “death by fire is the purest death.”

The Dragon’s Lair …

Of all the factions vying for control of Westeros (even if they don’t know that they’re vying for control, because they know nothing) Melisandre probably has the least amount of ill will with Daenerys. When Dany was absent from Meereen, it was emissaries from Melisandre’s religion who  helped restore peace – and laid down some pretty solid Public Relations work for Dany as the Mhysa Messiah. Melisandre personally brought Daenerys the gospel of her being the Princess that was Promised.

Dany

Dany has no reason (yet) to regret listening to Melisandre’s diplomatic counsel about King in the North Jon Snow. The alliance between Starks and Targaryens is certainly a good move in acting to counter the otherwise overwhelming forces of the Night King. But at some point, Jon’s secret Targaryen status will be revealed, which might make Daenerys experience the classic George RR Martin “heart in conflict with itself.” If there ends up tensions between Dany and Jon (even if those tensions are all in Dany’s head) – Melisandre needs to play it carefully.

Daenerys has no reason to be distrustful of Melisandre’s loyalties, but she has no reason to trust anyone. And she has the example of Mirri Maz Duur of a witch bearing magical promises.

If the show had done more with the masked seer Quaithe and her prophecies and dream visitations to Dany, Melisandre might have more of a positive association with the Targaryen queen.

Daenerys: Quaithe was the only person during my time in Qarth that wasn’t trying to rip me off somehow.
Ser Jorah: I wasn’t trying to rip you off, Khaleesi.
Daenerys: Simmer down, man.

Melisandre spending time with Daenerys might even be a way to bring in some mystical content analogous to Quaithe’s vision-visits in the books.

But Melisandre has a vulnerability that she might not even realize. She’s totally Team Jon. Even though he banned her from his kingdom on pain of death, Melisandre brought Jon back to life. He’s a miracle in her personal mythology and if he’s revealed to be a legitimate Targaryen with an arguably better claim to the Iron Throne than Dany, she’s going to be elated. That might have lethal consequences depending on which Targaryen she’s spending time with.

Of course, if Melisandre realizes just how much magic blood there is among the people she’s associating with, it might be hard for her not to fall into some old, bad habits.

Melisandre: Wait, you both are Targaryens? Praise be to R’hllor! I’ll be able to harness incredible magical powers if we sacrifice either one of you to the Lord of Light in a bonfire ceremony! Which one of you two should we burn alive and screaming?
Jon: Uh…
Dany: I’m open to the idea that someone here is about to be set on fire.

It’s possible that Melisandre can stay on Daenerys’s good side (as well as Jon’s if she stays out of the North.) But there’s another person on the Dragon team that she should be worried about.

Varys: I don’t think you should return to Westeros. I’m not sure you’ll be safe here.

Melisandre didn’t only predict her own death, she predicted Varys the Spider’s death as well. It had just a hint of threat from her to him, in response to an almost nakedly unveiled veiled threat from Varys.

Varys

There’s nothing more ironic than someone ensuring a prophecy comes to be by trying to short-circuit it.

If Melisandre is welcomed to Daenerys’s court, Varys might consider her the motivating force in whatever form his demise might take, and he’d proceed to step into the classic “kill the prophet to kill the prophecy” strategy. (That never works, kids.)

Imagine Daenerys considers Melisandre an ally and asset, and Varys kills the Red Woman. Dany already gave Varys a “one strike and you’re out” speech in Season Seven. Varys might seal his own fate in harming Melisandre.

Varys: Typical Varys.
Melisandre: Self-fulfilling prophecies for the win!

I’m fond of the idea of Varys killing Melisandre and dooming himself. There’s appropriate groundwork laid, not only with Varys and Melisandre’s cliffside chat, but Varys’s interactions with the red priestess Kinvara in Meereen. Kinvara had given Varys quite a start by discussing the spooky details of his castration.

Melisandre: For the record, that wasn’t me.
Varys: Don’t care. All you buxom red priestesses look alike to me.

One should also consider the possibility that none of these fatal fates befall Melisandre. No being hung hanged for enterting the Northern forbidden zone, no vengeful killing by Davos, and no execution brought on by the paranoid concerns of queens.

It’s possible No One kills Melisandre.

No One …

I’m not insinuating that the Faceless Men assassinate her. (But that would be badass.)

Melisandre is old. Super old. I wouldn’t be surprised if after helping the plucky and flawed heroes stop the White Walker apocalypse, an exhausted and ancient Melisandre removes her glamour and lets time catch up with her. The fight to end the night and bring the dawn might require all of her supernatural reserves.

Old Mel

Gendry: Wait, she wasn’t really amazingly beautiful? I’m glad I reserved the right to complain.
Sandor Clegane: You nailed that? Har har.

If Melisandre were to expire in such a way, she’d join the ranks of a very exclusive set of characters in Game of Thrones who didn’t die by violence.

(Or from complications of giving birth. Please, no more shadow assassin birthings.)

We’ll just have to wait for Season Eight to see what happens.

Waiting and getting to the end…

Although this feature was largely an incomplete examination of how Melisandre could potentially impact the plot on a character basis in Season Eight, from knowing that she’s fated to die, I hope the feature can also speak to a larger point that is brought up by fans of the show and fans of the books.

Season Eight will complete Game of Thrones, exposing major plot points and character beats that will eventually be in the conclusion of George RR Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire.

Not everyone is happy that the conclusion of the book series will be previewed by the television show. Particularly because people boycotting the show will not be able to escape these details that will be widely disseminated through all kinds of avenues. I respect their feelings in this matter, and recognize the feelings are valid. I think it’s safe to say that nearly everyone, including the show runners, would have preferred that the final book A Dream of Spring had been published and made available for adaptation, instead of HBO having to create original parallel content to what GRRM has in his head.

Reportedly, George RR Martin shared the endpoints of each character’s journey to Weiss and Benioff, so they could plan accordingly not only in their adaptation (what has to remain in, what can safely be excised) but also if they had to continue on without materials to adapt. Watching the show, we’re going to learn those end points.

Will that ruin The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring for us, when they come out?

Has knowing that Melisandre is going to die ruined Season Eight? I don’t think so.

Melisandre is an important character, if not a major one, and the potential of her interactions with the other characters in the story is complex and deep. Knowing that she’s going to die builds in suspense on how that’s going to come about. It’s engaging.

When the show concludes, we’ll have some insight in how the books will handle the story, but even if the books cleave strictly to the plot points of the show (which it can’t – there’s already been too many divergances and unadapted material to deal with) the execution of the writing will bring a level of satisfaction that can’t be ruined by spoilers.

George’s writing in the first four books of A Song of Ice and Fire led to the show being greenlit. I have faith that George will bring us something great in the final books, regardless of what we see in the show.

I think we should temper our expectations on what influence the show will have on the books.

Because watching Game of Thrones is like Melisandre staring into the flames. We’ll see things, we’ll know things. But if we’re making guesses on the books, we’re still extrapolating from incomplete data. Just like Melisandre, who proved to be taken by surprise when her interpretations of the available data were flawed.

Be careful about that.

Melisandre2

Melisandre: Whatever. I’m still going to be dead in Season Eight.
Me: Do you know how you’ll die?
Melisandre: Of course.
Me: How?
Melisandre: That would be telling.
Me: Fine.

32 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. She is going to be nissa nissa for the Azor Ahai [Jon/Danny or their son] so he or she[Prince or Princess] to be reborn and to receive Lightbringer..She has the real magic fire inside her and her blood is not normal ..is so hot like she has fever ..She will offer herself sacrificed for the Lightbringer so the prophesy she believes too much to be fulfilled ..If she wants to redeem herself for what she did to Stannis and his family ..she will have to do it that ..otherwise she always will be faced as cruel witch that murdered an innocent child for her dark god ..There is no other choice..Her fate as Nissa Nissa is delivered .

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    2. You’re in fine form today, Patrick! I just woke up, I’m only 1/3 through your article and 1/2 way through my pre-lucidity cup of coffee, and I’ve already got caffeine snorted up into my sinuses thanks to you, e.g.

      But Jon decreed that if she returned to the North, she would be hung.

      Stannis: Hanged. She’s not a tapestry.
      Me: Fine.

      …………

      Melisandre: He didn’t complain when I bedded him.
      Gendry: The leech on my penis kind of ruined that. I reserve the right to complain.
      Roose Bolton: Penis-leeching? Tell me more.

      ………..

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    3. Thanks, Patrick!
      __________
      I’m still leaning a bit toward the NK himself killing her because of what she is. As I and some others wrote in our last heavy Mel conversation, I think she can get forgiveness from Gendry, and him being alive will keep ASNAWP from doing her harm. The only one that really wants specifically her dead and won’t forgive is Davos. She may have to talk her way into a deal, a halting of punishment, by providing something they need against the NK. I’m still hoping she comes back with an entourage of Red Priestesses and Priests and a brigade of the Fiery Hand.

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    4. It’s Jon vs the Red Witch, for sure. He’s been plagued by red-haired women from the start. She’ll tell him to do something horrible, and he’ll kill her this time. He could never kill a girl before, but this time he will.

      Second choice is Dany. She’ll slay the Red Witch for doing something awful despite feeling grateful to the Red Witches for political support in Mereen; after all, it was a witch that killed her family. Melisandre doesn’t know who she’s dealing with, but she gon find out.

      As for Varys, I think we all expected him to die in Westeros. Mel didn’t say if he’d die soon and violently, or die a very old man in his bed. He better not let her psyche him out.

      What’s that hexagonal pattern on Mel’s necklace? She’s also worn that pattern in her dresses early in the series. I’ve seen the same pattern on Quaithe’s mask and gown. What the hell is going on.

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    5. Medusa:
      She is going to be nissa nissa for the Azor Ahai [Jon/Danny or their son] so he or she[Prince or Princess] to be reborn and to receive Lightbringer..She has the realmagic fire inside her and her blood is not normal ..is so hot like she has fever ..She will offer herself sacrificed for the Lightbringer so the prophesy she believes too muchto be fulfilled ..If she wants to redeem herself for what she did to Stannis and his family ..she will have to do it that ..otherwise she always will be faced as cruel witch that murdered an innocentchild for her dark god ..There is no other choice..Her fate as Nissa Nissa is delivered .

      Medusa, I like this. I appreciate you outlining a nice redemption (sort of) ending for Melisandre.

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    6. Ten Bears,

      Ten Bears, I’m sorry about the coffee. Thank you for the feedback, I’m glad you found my feature amusing (albeit dangerous to your sinuses.)

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    7. James Rivers:
      Very nice and thorough analysis! The “Varys does it, dooming himself” scenario is intriguing!

      Thank you for your kind words! And we only have to wait 4 months or so to see what might happen to our red lady.

      Varys: I better start my plans…

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    8. Clob:
      Thanks, Patrick!
      __________
      I’m still leaning a bit toward the NK himself killing her because of what she is.As I and some others wrote in our last heavy Mel conversation, I think she can get forgiveness from Gendry, and him being alive will keep ASNAWP from doing her harm.The only one that really wants specifically her dead and won’t forgive is Davos.She may have to talk her way into a deal, a halting of punishment, by providing something they need against the NK.I’m still hoping she comes back with an entourage of Red Priestesses and Priests and a brigade of the Fiery Hand.

      The idea that reinforcements by way of the Volantene church is interesting, I know that’s something that my fave podcaster Joanna R. has written about on Vanity Fair. I’m not ruling that out, of course. I just think Mel’s ending should be more personal than killed by the Night King, who certainly has a reason to eliminate any magical fire-based competitors, but we have less of an emotional stake from shared experience.

      Night King: Hey man, Melisandre might be as old as me. You don’t know what naked shenanigans old Toddrick Stark got up to before the Children of the Forest turned him into me.
      Me: Quiet, Bran.

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    9. Anon:

      What’s that hexagonal pattern on Mel’s necklace? She’s also worn that pattern in her dresses early in the series.I’ve seen the same pattern on Quaithe’s mask and gown.What the hell is going on.

      We’ve seen that on Kinvara and on the priestess preaching in Volantis that Tyrion was observing back when. (I assume the priest we saw at the beginning of Season Six in Meereen also had the hex pattern, it seems to be a visual shorthand used by the show to identify R’hllorists.)

      The fact that Quaithe’s mask had the same hex pattern is interesting. I think everyone assumes they’ve written Quaithe out, but I would still love to have her show up. (Although, to be honest, her mask didn’t match what I envisioned from the books, but that’s a weak criticism on my part.)

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    10. How about Gendry forge Our Heroes some new Valerian Steel by plunging a flaming-hot ordinary-steel sword into Mel’s chest? That would bring the Nissa Nissa story into the show.

      All: They can’t Deux Ex Machina that!
      Me: Just because they haven’t explicitly mentioned something from the books doesn’t mean they can’t use the idea in the show.

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    11. Great article as always Patrick. I fully agree Melisandre is going to die in S8 and I have a sneaky she will only be back for one or two episodes. In short I feel her most likely fate is death vs the White Walkers and I’ll be as bold as state it will come in either episode 3 or 4 depending upon how the fight plays out. A big part of me sees a Lord of the Rings comparison with Mel and her lord of light group turning up in E3 just before it kicks off just like the Elves reaching Helms Deep. I figure Mel helps the humans escape using magic but I hope it doesn’t over stretch the boundaries given how little magic she’s used so far in the show. We may even get some sort of self-sacrifice in fire which could be a nice way for her arc to conclude.

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    12. Tensor the Mage, Who Likes Playing with Rhetorical Fire:
      How about Gendry forge Our Heroes some new Valerian Steel by plunging a flaming-hot ordinary-steel sword into Mel’s chest? That would bring the Nissa Nissa story into the show.

      All: They can’t Deux Ex Machina that!
      Me: Just because they haven’t explicitly mentioned something from the books doesn’t mean they can’t use the idea in the show.

      There’d be some poetic echoes if Gendry did that, getting to stab Melisandre a second time.

      Gendry: I reserved my right to complain!

      But adding a Valyrian sword to the mix wouldn’t be enough. It would have to be a super-weapon. But I’m game for that.

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    13. Jon Snowed:
      Great article as always Patrick. I fully agree Melisandre is going to die in S8 and I have a sneaky she will only be back for one or two episodes. In short I feel her most likely fate is death vs the White Walkers and I’ll be as bold as state it will come in either episode 3 or 4 depending upon how the fight plays out.A big part of me sees a Lord of the Rings comparison with Mel and her lord of light group turning up in E3 just before it kicks off just like the Elves reaching Helms Deep.I figure Mel helps the humans escape using magic but I hope it doesn’t over stretch the boundaries given how little magic she’s used so far in the show.We may even get some sort of self-sacrifice in fire which could be a nice way for her arc to conclude.

      Thanks for the comment, Jon. It would be interesting if Melisandre sacrificed herself for some magical advantage. She’s almost be Azor Ahai and Nissa Nissa all rolled into one.

      The Gandalf at Helm’s Deep analog could be cinematic and compelling. I won’t argue against that.

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    14. As for the other suspects Davos certainly has the motive but he’s also pragmatic and knows the threat from the White Walkers is more important. He will be angry to see Mel but I cannot see him rushing to execute her if the Army of the Dead approach Winterfell. There is also something about ending his arc on retribution and revenge that doesn’t quite sit right to me.

      The other proposed suspect of Arya also doesn’t quite make sense, sure she has the tools but the motive is low and she’s not a killing machine that will do it without good reason. Yes she wronged Gendry but equally so I cannot imagine him wanting Arya to do it either.

      I don’t really see any of the other potential candidates killing her so I’m nailed on either self-sacrifice or the Army of the Dead.

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    15. Fantastic article! I’d love to see Mel die sacrificing herself to save someone she had wronged such as Gendry, or even better, Davos. That would get her a little bit of redemption. And notice that you can’t have REDemption without RED!

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    16. I really enjoyed this article, Patrick, and I want to tell you again, I also really love your dialogue snippets. Them and Pigeon’s “some very angry dust” comment in the teaser thread gave me some of my only smiles in days! <3

      Super interesting points about Melisandre and it's giving me so much food for thought! And I also think Dany finding out about Jon's Targaryen heritage. On one hand, he has a better claim to the family dynasty she's been working all this series to reclaim but on the other hand, I think she'll also feel such joy to find family, her older brother's son. You know, even if it's her, erm…. boyfriend… Dany might be okay with it but Jon…? It reminds me of this Mean Girls exchange in a way… XD:

      Karen: You know who’s looking fine tonight? Seth Mosakowski.

      Gretchen: Okay, you did not just say that.

      Karen: What? He’s a good kisser.

      Gretchen: He’s your cousin.

      Karen: Yeah, but he’s my first cousin.

      Gretchen: Right.

      Karen: So, you have your cousins, and then you have your first cousins, and then you have your second cousins…

      Gretchen: No, honey, uh-uh.

      Karen: That’s not right, is it?

      Human heart in conflict with itself ;D

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    17. Thoughtful article, Patrick, thank you!

      I can imagine a scenario with a self-sacrificial death for Melisandre. I picture her standing on the ramparts of Riverrun, with the Living in the grasp of certain defeat and annihilation, then allowing herself to be consumed as metaphorical kindling for one last, and ultimately victorious, spark of Fire.

      Or, she’s wrong again and Cersei throws her down in the dungeon with Septa Unella!

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    18. Roberta Baratheon:
      Fantastic article!I’d love to see Mel die sacrificing herself to save someone she had wronged such as Gendry, or even better, Davos.That would get her a little bit of redemption. And notice that you can’t have REDemption without RED!

      Thank you, Roberta! Love the RED observation ❤️

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    19. Adrianacandle:
      I really enjoyed this article, Patrick, and I want to tell you again, I also really love your dialogue snippets. Them and Pigeon’s “some very angry dust” comment in the teaser thread gave me some of my only smiles in days! <3

      Human heart in conflict with itself ;D

      Thank you Adriana, for the comments and the Mean Girl re-enactment

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    20. LadyGoodman:
      Thoughtful article,Patrick, thank you!

      I can imagine a scenario with a self-sacrificial death for Melisandre.I picture her standing on the ramparts of Riverrun, with the Living in the grasp of certain defeat and annihilation, then allowing herself to be consumed as metaphorical kindling for one last, and ultimately victorious, spark ofFire.

      Or, she’s wrong again andCersei throws her downin the dungeon with Septa Unella!

      Poor Septa Unella! I had forgotten about her. She doesn’t need Melisandre as a roommate.

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    21. …Okay, why’s my full name on that last comment? It is not attached to my account at all. Not really a big deal, but weird, and I don’t go using it freely; can I delete & repost that? 8/

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    22. Shelle:
      …Okay, why’s my full name on that last comment? It is not attached to my account at all. Not really a big deal, but weird, and I don’t go using it freely; can I delete & repost that? 8/

      Please? I’m just weirded out ‘cause I can’t figure out where it pulled the full name from.

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    23. Shelle,

      Oh wow, that is weird and also, a little unnerving. It makes me wary too. I hope you get an answer, Shelle, that is unsettling 🙁 Have you tried contacting Gravatar if you are signed up with them? I think Gravatar is the service WotW uses for avatars/profile recognition when commenters input their associated email address but I could be totally wrong on that. I hope you get this resolved, Shelle 🙁

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    24. Shelle: Please? I’m just weirded out ‘cause I can’t figure out where it pulled the full name from.

      Shelle,

      It looks like either you or someone with mod powers deleted the original comment that had your full name. I am sorry that that happened in the first place. Would you mind reposting the content that got deleted? I didn’t respond initially, since you were worried about your full name being on it, and I didn’t want to preserve the name by quote replying.

      Pat

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    25. Patrick Sponaugle: Poor Septa Unella! I had forgotten about her. She doesn’t need Melisandre as a roommate.

      Hmmm… Why did my addled brain just make a mental connection to a news story about Osha & Talisa (Natalia Tena & Oona Chaplin) co-starring in a same-sex romance?

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    26. Patrick Sponaugle: Shelle,

      It looks like either you or someone with mod powers deleted the original comment that had your full name. I am sorry that that happened in the first place. Would you mind reposting the content that got deleted? I didn’t respond initially, since you were worried about your full name being on it, and I didn’t want to preserve the name by quote replying.

      Pat

      Oh, thanks. ^^ It’s not really a problem on this site, of course; I just got rather annoyed that they’d somehow pull an actual name from some connected account or something when I was pretty sure I’d only used nicknames/screennames on these forms. Anyways.

      The comment:

      Mel’s been one of my favorite characters for a long time now. I expect big things from her in the final season, and that the show hasn’t given us the real extent of her powers yet (nor some of the book details which might make her easier for many people to like.) I can’t imagine her not being tremendously important to the endgame and victory of the living, if that is indeed to be. Of course there’s a number of people who’ve had understandable beef with her…but the only way I can see her dying is through sacrifice, striving to try and make up for her horrific mistakes and also fulfill her overall loooonng-term help-save-the-world mission. Even if certain people see her only as a valuable weapon, her simply dying as punishment for things she’d done earlier or because someone dislikes her would feel completely anticlimactic and pointless to me.

      I’m not sure, of course, how exactly things’ll go…it feels as though Varys and maybe Arya especially may somehow tie into her ultimate fate. I do love the idea of her triumphantly returning with an entourage of red priest[esse]s (perhaps even, as suggested by Vanity Fair, on the backs of more dragons.) I also loved the theory that she could have been “the princess who was promised” all along but never considered herself as a candidate, and likely assumed she was looking for a man. (Someone also put forth the notion of the NK transforming her into an “ice priestess” and joining his side against her will, which would be capital-B Bad.)

      Some details may necessarily differ from the series to the books, but I would at the very least expect the big-deal plot points to remain what George has had planned–assuming the last books ever see the light of day.

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    27. I think Jon having her killed can be safely ruled out here. Both of them owe their lives to one another. His mercy and gratitude to her for his new life are the only reasons she’s still alive and wasn’t executed the instant Davos exposed her for Shireen’s death, and I’m pretty sure he knows (or at least suspects) that he has a deep connection to her and the Lord of Light, especially now that he’s back from the dead. This is foreshadowed all the way back when she first tried to seduce him, seemingly recognizing something special in him, but has become much more evident ever since she realized her grievous mistake with Stannis and resurrected Jon. Her conversation with him before the Battle of the Bastards and Jon’s conversation with Beric about the Lord of Light in Beyond the Wall aren’t just for show.

      Though he doesn’t understand it and has complicated existential feelings about it, he knows that it’s the mysterious will of her god keeping him around at all, at least until he fulfills whatever his ultimate purpose may be. It was Rh’llor bringing him back that enabled him to reunite with his family and retake Winterfell. He owes everything since his resurrection to the Lord of Light now, he’s aware of it, but it does scare him. After all, he knows his resurrection wasn’t natural, and explicitly instructed Melisandre to not revive him if he falls again. Of course, she refused to promise him that and said she would do as the Lord willed, but this was of course operating on the assumption that she would still be alive…and we know now that at some point she won’t be.

      Whatever’s going on here, I think their fates are too closely connected for him to be responsible for her death–unless she wills him to do it–and I’m not sure how likely that really is. It always seemed like too obvious a reading of the Nissa Nissa prophecy to me. But we’ll see soon enough!

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    28. Shelle,

      I’m glad you could repost your comment, Shelle.

      My own hesitation on expecting Melisandre to come back leading dragon-riding priests of R’hllor – in season 8 Westeros would be facing two apocalypses: the hinted-at return of the White Walkers, and an out of the blue religious crusade from Essos – burning the septs of the Seven and weirwoods alike. And unbelievers.

      The Faith Militant were intolerant and bad, but at least they didn’t have dragons.

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    29. Patrick Sponaugle:
      Shelle,

      I’m glad you could repost your comment, Shelle.

      My own hesitation on expecting Melisandre to come back leading dragon-riding priests of R’hllor – in season 8 Westeros would be facing two apocalypses: the hinted-at return of the White Walkers, and an out of the blue religious crusade from Essos – burning the septs of the Seven and weirwoods alike. And unbelievers.

      The Faith Militant were intolerant and bad, but at least they didn’t have dragons.

      Y’know, I hadn’t even considered that! Only envisioned them joining the battle against the dead–I suppose giving them the benefit of the doubt and hoping they’d be wise enough to at least put that ahead of religious crusading, if they still wanted to do that. Hrrmm. (Yikes, thank George the FM didn’t have dragons!)

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