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A shadowbinder is a practitioner of magic who binds shadows to do their will.


It is unknown from where shadowbinders originate. However, shadowbinders Melisandre and Quaithe come from Asshai, near the Shadow Lands,[1] where shadowbinders are known to work their magic at night.[2] The shadowbinders of Asshai typically wear lacquered masks, hiding their faces.[3] One such example is Quaithe;[4][5] However, shadowbinder Melisandre, who is also a red priestess, does not wear such a mask. The shadowbinders of Asshai are considered to be the most sinister of all sorcerers of the city, and are the only ones who dare to go upriver, towards the Shadow Lands, although the stories claim that not even the shadowbinders dare pass the doors at the Stygai.[3]

Only shadowbinders and fools are willing to eat the twisted and deformed fish from the river Ash near Asshai.[3]

Archmaester Marwyn has studied with shadowbinders during his travels.[6]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Daenerys Targaryen recalls stories she has heard of shadowbinders working terrible sorceries at night.[2]

Mirri Maz Duur studied the arts of the shadowbinders during her time in Asshai.[7]

At the crossroads inn Lord Tywin Lannister tells his son Tyrion that, according to Lord Varys, Lord Stannis Baratheon is bringing to Dragonstone a shadowbinder from Asshai.[8]

A Clash of Kings

Stannis Baratheon enlists the aid of the red priestess and shadowbinder Melisandre,[9] who claims that shadows are the servants of light.[10] She gives birth to shadow assassins that kill Renly Baratheon[10] and Cortnay Penrose.[11]

Daenerys Targaryen meets Quaithe for the first time;[4] the shadowbinder proceeds to give the young queen cryptic information during her journeys.

A Dance with Dragons

Prince Quentyn Martell notes that there are masked shadowbinders from Asshai at the Merchant's House in Volantis.[12]