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Game of Thrones finally revealed Melisandre's big secret and everything you need to know about it



Before you start reading this post, I would like to warn you that this post contains spoilers from the 1st episode of season 6. So if you haven’t yet watched the episode, stop reading further.

Game of Thrones season 6 took off where season 5 ended. Jon Snow is dead and he stays dead throughout the episode and hardly has any screen time. The limelight is stolen by Melisandre after whom the episode was named: The Red Woman. However we were wrong in interpreting the meaning of the episode name.

Most of us believed that she would play an important part in resurrecting Jon Snow but we witnessed something unexpected. The Game of Thrones season 6 premiere showed us Melisandre’s big secret and that’s her real age.

We have been used to seeing the seductive, young red haired priestess of the Lord of Light who is always ready to drop her clothes and make love when she’s not looking into the fire and making predictions. However we had no idea (at least most of us) that it was just a facade and the latest episode revealed what some Game of Thrones fans have been speculating since years.

In an interview way back in 2012, Carice van Houten had this to say about Melisandre. “She definitely has certain powers. I don’t how old she is, but she’s way over 100 years, so she is a wiser spirit, in a way.“. Her co-actor Oliver Ford Davies, who had played the role of Cressen in season 2 had said something similar during an interview in 2013.

In season 2, there was a scene where Cressen and Melisandre drank the poison from the same cup and Melisandre seemed to be immune to the poison, while Cressen died. While talking about the scene, Davies had said this: “In between takes I said to her ‘I’m not quite up to speed on this, why don’t you die?’ And she said, ‘I’m 400 years old. And I thought, oh, well, fair enough, that’s a lesson learned. If you’re trying to poison somebody, check first that they’re not 400 years old.’

So both the actors had revealed this information almost 4 years ago but it went largely unnoticed. However, they weren’t alone in revealing the information about Melisandre’s age. During this week’s Inside the Episode segment, showrunner David Benioff revealed that, as per an early conversation with George R.R. Martin, Melisandre was “several centuries old.”

So that brings us to the big question.

How is Melisandre able to change her appearance?

We already know that Melisandre is able to perform magic and book readers might remember the part in A Dance with Dragons where Melisandre told Jon Snow that she used a form of magic know as “Glamour” to prevent Mance Rayder‘s execution. She had replaced Mance with another wildling by changing their appearance.

Call it what you will. Glamor, seeming, illusion. R’hllor is Lord of Light, Jon Snow, and it is given to his servants to weave with it, as others weave with thread.

This part was removed from the TV show as Stannis actually burned Mance Rayder but the book readers started speculating that even Melisandre might be using Glamour to change her appearance. The necklace seems to be the object that is helping her weave the magic and change her appearance.

However, there seems to be a continuity error as we have seen Melisandre in a bathtub without the necklace. In the scene, Melisandre was shown naked in the bathtub and was talking with Selyse about the Lord of Light. This scene might be an error or it might be possible that Selyse was so devoted to the Lord of Light that Melisandre didn’t need to change her appearance in front of her.

Time will tell us more about it but for now there’s just one thing in everybody’s mind and that’s the image of Melisandre’s true appearance which is hard to shake off.

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Founder at Wiki of Thrones and a full-time Game of Thrones fan who does other work when he has finished reading and writing about Game of Thrones and also dreams about playing a role in the show.