Carice Van Houten Featured Game of Thrones Interview Melisandre

Is Melisandre’s crisis of faith over? Carice van Houten weighs in.

Game of Thrones

It’s an interesting time to be playing the Red Woman Melisandre. It wasn’t too long ago that Carice van Houten, who has that honor, was receiving death threats on behalf of her character. After all, Melisandre did burn a young girl alive towards the end of Season 5.

Then, in the Season 6 premiere, it was revealed that Melisandre is actually very, very old, and decrepit. That inspired a bit of sympathy for the character. And then, in the last episode, she brought Jon Snow back from the dead. According to Van Houten, public opinion has changed overnight. “I quickly went from most hated woman to most loved one, almost,” she said. “People all of the sudden are like, “I want to marry you! You’re my favorite character! Melisandre for President!””

That’s from an interview in The Hollywood Reporter. Van Houten touched on a number of subjects, including whether her successful resurrection of a dead man will restore Melisnadre’s faith in her own abilities. She’s been pretty down since Stannis Baratheon, the man she had pegged as the savior of all mankind, died a muted death outside the walls of Winterfell. Has she bounced back?

A little bit, yeah, but she has to come from far. We saw her in a true identity crisis in the beginning [of the season]. She really has to recover from that. The fact that she made Jon Snow [come back from the dead] means there’s still some power in the Lord of Light left. I don’t think she believes it’s her doing it. She’s a vessel. I don’t think she per se believes she has magical powers. She believes she’s a servant, you know? It regained some of her faith in the Lord of Light, definitely, but she’s not there yet. She’s not yet back to where we met Melisandre in the first episode.

That’s probably good news for people who want to keep liking the character. A more down-to-earth, vulnerable Melisandre should make her easier to relate to. A tentative friendship with Davos Seaworth couldn’t hurt, either. Van Houten said that relations between the Red Woman and the Onion Knight will be less tense than before. “They’re closer to each other, in the sense that they’re in the same situation…It’s easier for Davos to come to me because I’m more open and vulnerable. Conversation is possible now, whereas before, it was always a smirk or a stare.” Still, there may be no coming back from what she did to Shireen.

But once you touch a child? It’s hard to forgive that. Even though you’re bringing some hot guy back to life, the innocence of a child always weighs heavier, I think. But a lot of people have seemed to forget it for now, now that Jon Snow’s no longer dead. But they’ll hate me again at some point. [Laughs]

We’ll reserve judgment until we see the rest of the season. Hopefully Melisandre doesn’t get up to too many of her old tricks.

Melisandre in The Dance of Dragons (cropped)--Official HBO

Melisandre 1.0

But now that Jon Snow is back (Van Houten learned that Melisandre would be bringing him back around July of last year), he’s the one everyone is paying attention to. Melisandre was drawn to Jon Snow in Season 5, but according to Van Houten, even she might not realize why.

I keep saying to people that it’s almost like looking into the flames are like static radio; it’s not always clear. She picks up on stuff. She knows that things are important, but sometimes she doesn’t know why yet. She doesn’t know why, but she has to keep an eye on him. The Lord of Light will tell her, but she doesn’t always get all the information. And she’s been wrong before.

What does the future hold for these crazy kids? Look into the flames.


  • The show is setting us up to think Davos and Mel are OK but when Davos finds out about Shireen, he is going to end her.

    • Davos isn’t going to kill Melisandre. He’ll be angry yes but he won’t end her.

      I believe she will be right beside Jon until the very end as he’ll need her guidance and counsel. I think she will lay down and die peacefully once the great other is defeated. Her mission will be completed.

  • Idk I think Davos understands her more than we think. Everyone makes mistakes! She brought Jon Back he saw her broken. I think he’s going to let her live.

  • Stannis would burn his own daughter but he wouldn’t sleep with Melisandre in her true form? If he always knew her true form, then he would really truly deserve to be King.

  • I think Davos will violently confront Melisandre but won’t kill her because he knows they will need her for the endgame. It’s going to be an amazingly emotional moment for both Liam and Carice and I can’t wait to see if Mel will try to justify burning Shireen or admit to Davos that she made a terrible, inhumane mistake. Perhaps Mel will then reveal her true age to Davos and he will see that this 400 year old is living in a kind of purgatory anyway, so revenge is fruitless. What I do think is that Davos and Mel are currently as cordial as they are ever going to be. It’s a fascinating crossroads for these two characters. I don’t want to lose either of them.

  • I always hate fanatic religious characters in fiction and in real life but, I have to say that Mel has a huge role to play in asoiaf and GOT. I don’t think she is done suprising readers or show fans yet.

  • Am I the only one who thinks it’s odd that Melisandre, even as just a vessel of the Lord of Light, performed perhaps the biggest miracle in her life by ressurecting Jon Snow, yet for reasons unknown, no one had to burn in order to make this miracle possible. Why is that? We’re talking about a woman who burned a little girl just to get favorable weather for Stannis and yet no one had to burn to bring Jon Snow back to life? Odd. Could it be that all that stuff about burning people alive had nothing to do with the Lord of Light?

    • What if burning Shireen was the price for bringing back Jon Snow? Melisandre thought she is doing it for Stannis because she interpreted R’hllor’s visions wrong. Yet, in truth, it was to resurrect Jon.

      • Your guess is as good as mine. But, to me, what you’re saying is just trying to make excuses after the fact. Previously, it seems to me that Mel jumped at every opportunity to burn someone as a sacrifice for various reasons, and so it just seems odd that she didn’t feel compelled to burn someone in order to resurrect a dead body. Hopefully we’ll get some kind of explanation from Mel.

      • This^^^. The Gods in the show work in a weird ways (obviously). What if the burning of Shireen was just another step along the path.. Yes, the immediate impact of it was the melting of the snow so that Stannis could march on Winterfell.. but what if the end goal of Shireen’s sacrifice (from the perspective of the LoL) was to get Mel to this point so that she could perform Jon’s resurrection? I think it makes a lot of sense.

    • That’s what I was thinking. The Lord of light seems to be a life giver, resurrecting people from death. I don’t know what influenced her to do all the burning of innocents but it seems she was under a different influence and that’s why things weren’t working out for her up until now.

    • Arthur, that’s potentially mind-blowing news and the best nod yet to her actual inclusion (based on more than one remark, actually, or to be specific – about four: the day in Iceland, a clue in the new series, confirming that she denied it ‘at that point’ in the story as opposed to never, or just her sudden knowledge of the character she didn’t seem to have before, etc, etc…)

      They should also probably headline this on the front page. But to be sure for myself this is legit: can you verify the magazine source and date of interview asap, please?

      (i.e: you’ll be aware how much mock ups of everything from Twitter pages to interviews re: this particular character have been ‘shopped in the past.)

      • No reply to back this story up then? Can’t find any kind of magazine or online link beyond imgur, so how do we know the scan is real & not doctored, and where did you get it?

        No offence, but can’t be too careful where stories about this one particular character are concerned. :/

        • I reposted this after seeing it on WOTW.

          It looks like it’s from a Belfast drama special, I’m guessing something to do with Performing Arts there. They do monthly interviews. But I looked and they have no online publications.

          • Okay dude, thanks.

            Just that there have been copious bogus Twitter accounts and fake reportage in the past re: LSH.

            If the source of the screencap is not one we can actually verify? Hmmm. Remain unsure, but thanks!

        • I just did a search on the Web and couldn’t find anything resembling this interview but without details on what mag it was or what she was promoting I didn’t have much to go on.

  • Davos can’t kill Melisandre. Not yet anyway. Remember Mel said to Arya in Season 3 that they will meet again. D&D wouldn’t have put that in if they didn’t intend to pay it off. My money is on Arya returning to Westeros, and just as we’ve decided that Mel’s not so bad after all, Arya will kill her for taking Gendry away from her. Remember, Mel was on Arya’s list for a time.

    • I think they could be setting Arya up to kill Jon. He is the one of her siblings she felt deepest connection with and if he’s the LoL’s champion, and Arya is serving the god of death I can see that her last test to becoming “no one” is to kill her beloved brother. It would play into the supernatural struggle aspect of the story :( Then again, what is dead may never die right?

  • They have opened a new chapter in their lives i cant wait how Mel and Davos will interact on screen withiout bickering as they had been doing when Stannis was alive