Melisandre of Asshai - by Carrie Best ©
|Alias|| The Red Priestess|
The Red Woman
The King's Red Shadow
|Allegiance||Faith of R'hllor|
|Book(s)|| A Clash of Kings (appears)|
A Storm of Swords (appears)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (POV)
|Played by||Carice van Houten|
|TV series||Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5|
Melisandre is a priestess of R'hllor and a shadowbinder, hailing from the eastern city of Asshai. She has joined the entourage of Stannis Baratheon, believing him to be Azor Ahai reborn, a hero destined to defeat the Great Other. She has become an influential advisor to him and his family. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones she is portrayed by Carice van Houten.
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Melisandre
Melisandre is a great beauty, with long hair the color of burnished copper and pale, unblemished skin. She is slender and graceful, and taller than most knights. She has full breasts, a narrow waist, and a heart-shaped face. Her voice is sonorous, with an exotic accent. As is the custom of the red priests of her faith, she wears red or crimson clothing, usually long gowns of silk. She is never without the red gold choker that fits snuggly around her neck. When she works magic, the ruby setting glows with power. It can burn her if the magic worked is particularly demanding. It is possible that the birth of Daenerys Targaryen's dragons has increased her powers.
Melisandre is a mysterious woman who trusts completely in the power of her god and the visions he grants her in the flames. She calmly rebuts all those who doubt her and scoffs at the followers of other gods as deluded. Unlike many others with prescient abilities, she has complete faith in her ability to correctly interpret visions. She is careful to present herself as mysterious, serene and powerful, wearing cool clothing even in the cold of the Wall, for example. Although she is genuinely skilled with magic, she enhances this with various smokes and powders that she keeps concealed in her robes. Melisandre says she has practiced her art for "years beyond count" and may be very old. She has the ability to invoke a deadly shadow assassin against her enemies.
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
Melisandre came to Dragonstone because she believed Stannis Baratheon is Azor Ahai reborn and destined to defeat the Great Other the antithesis of her god. She turns Stannis' wife, Lady Selyse Florent, and several other members of Stannis’s court from the Faith of the Seven to her red god. Fearing Melisandre's influence and her unnatural power, Stannis' maester, Cressen, tried to poison her but failed. After seeing her ability to resist the poison, Stannis is convinced by Melisandre to embrace her god and burn all the statues of the Seven on Dragonstone, although he remains a less committed follower than his wife and some others in his court. Melisandre proclaims Stannis Azor Ahai reborn and has him pull a burning sword from the idols, declaring it to be the legendary Lightbringer.
Stannis's brother Renly Baratheon has also made a claim for the Iron Throne and has a huge army on the march, so Stannis moves against their family's ancient seat at Storm's End. Drawing on the strength of Stannis, Melisandre conjures a shadow assassin which she uses to murder Renly after he refuses to bend the knee to his older brother. Even after Renly's death, forces loyal to him continue to hold Storm's End in his name. After Ser Cortnay Penrose, who was left charge of the castle, refuses to yield, Melisandre has Davos Seaworth sail her under the stronghold. There she births another shadow assassin which she releases to slay Penrose. Melisandre is then sent back to Dragonstone and is not present during the Battle of the Blackwater. This is done so no one could say Stannis won his throne via sorcery.
A Storm of Swords
After the failed attack on King's Landing, Stannis retreats to Dragonstone. It is there that Davos hatches a plan to kill Melisandre, believing her to be responsible for the defeat on the Blackwater. Melisandre claims to have learned of this plan through the flames, and has Davos arrested. She also pleads for Stannis to give her Edric Storm, bastard son of Robert Baratheon, as there is power in king's blood and he can be sacrificed to "wake the stone dragon." Stannis refuses; however she is able to leech some of Edric's blood. Stannis casts the leeches into the flames while stating the names of the "three false kings:" Balon Greyjoy, Robb Stark, and Joffrey Baratheon. In time, each of the three perish.
Stannis next moves his forces to the Wall, after hearing of their plight through a letter sent by the Night's Watch brought to his attention by Davos. Melisandre accompanies him and is a part of the battle that sees the wildling forces crushed and Mance Rayder captured. During the battle, Melisandre kills the eagle that was once Orell's with flames.
A Feast for Crows
Following the battle of the Blackwater, Melisandre urges Stannis to let her have Mance Rayder's son since she was unable to get Edric Storm, who had been smuggled away from Dragonstone by Davos to keep him safe from Melisandre. Before she can get to Mance's son, however, Lord Commander, Jon Snow, secretly switches Mance's child with the son of Gilly, a wildling girl befriended by Samwell Tarly. Thus the wilding prince is safely spirited to Oldtown and out of the reach of Melisandre.
A Dance with Dragons
Melisandre remains at the Wall when Stannis marches south to face the Boltons. Her powers are much stronger at the Wall. She constantly searches her fires for visions. When she looks into the flames, she sees a “wooden face, corpse white” with a thousand red eyes, accompanied by a boy with a wolf’s face. She assumes that they are servants of the Great Other. She asks to see Azor Ahai, hoping for Stannis, but sees only Jon Snow surrounded by skulls, his face changing between that of a man and that of a wolf. When she sees Jon, she also sees enemies surrounding him, and warns him of daggers in the dark. She also tells him that she sees his sister, Arya Stark, as a girl in grey on a dying horse, fleeing from her marriage toward Castle Black. She continually tries to warn him of these visions, but he refuses to listen. The vision of the girl on the horse comes to pass, but the girl is Alys Karstark, not Arya.
When Mance Rayder is to be burned as a deserter, Melisandre places a glamour over him, making him appear as the wildling, Rattleshirt. Rattleshirt in turn was glamoured made to look like Mance, and killed in his place. She eventually reveals Rattleshirt’s true identity to Jon Snow, and sends him to Winterfell to rescue "Arya" (not knowing that it is actually Jeyne Poole) in an attempt to win his trust. She also predicts the deaths of three rangers of the Watch. When they are returned by the Weeper to the Wall as eye-less heads atop spears as she predicted, Jon Snow begins to take her visions more seriously, but is still wary of her.
Melisandre then tells Lord Snow that the wildlings will next attack at Eastwatch, as she has seen in the flames towers by the sea engulfed in a black and bloody tide. She acknowledges, however, that the towers of her vision did not look like those at Eastwatch. When Snow plans to send men to Hardhome on a rescue mission, she urges him not to, claiming it is a lost cause and that she has seen that none of the ships he sent there will return.
|“||These little wars are no more than a scuffle of children before what is to come. The one whose name may not be spoken is marshaling his power ... a power fell and evil and strong beyond measure. Soon comes the cold, and the night that never ends ... Unless true men find the courage to fight it. Men whose hearts are fire.||”|
– Melisandre, to Davos Seaworth
|“||When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone.||”|
|“||We all must choose. Man or woman, young or old, lord or peasant, our choices are the same. We choose light or we choose darkness. ||”|
|“||One realm, one god, one king ||”|
|“||It is not the foes who curse you to your face that you must fear, but those who smile when you are looking and sharpen their knives when you turn your back. You would do well to keep your wolf close beside you. Ice, I see, and daggers in the dark. Blood frozen red and hard, and naked steel. It was very cold.||”|
|“||Alone we are born and alone we die, but as we walk through this black vale we draw strength from one another...||”|
|“||I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R'hllor shows me only Snow.||”|
Quotes about Melisandre
|“||Melisandre has gone to Stannis entirely on her own, and has her own agenda.||”|
|“||I know little and care less of gods, but the red priestess has power.||”|
|“||Half my knights are afraid to even say her name, did you know?||”|
|“||Many called her beautiful. She was not beautiful. She was red, and terrible, and red.||”|
|“||Melisandre, whose madness must not be allowed to spread beyond Dragonstone. ||”|
|“||She won’t let our gods be.||”|
|“||That red bitch.||”|
|“||Lady Melisandre wore no crown, but every man there knew that she was Stannis Baratheon’s real queen.||”|
References and Notes
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 17, Jon IV.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 31, Melisandre I.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX, p 768.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 33, Catelyn IV.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 42, Davos II.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 10, Davos II.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 63, Davos VI.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 76, Jon XI.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 45, Samwell V.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 28, Jon VI.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III.
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 10, Jon III.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.
- ↑ So Spake Martin. Asshai.com Interview in Barcelona July 28, 2012.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 78, Samwell V.
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