Theory Corner: Is Melisandre going to Volantis to fetch the Fiery Hand?


Melisandre briefly appeared in Game of Thrones season 7 to facilitate the meeting of Ice and Fire: Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. Then an episode later, she vanished, not to be heard from again for the rest of the season.

But before she left, the Red Priestess had a conversation with Varys the Spider that hinted at where she was going, and what may happen after that. Here’s a refresher:

Melisandre tells Varys she will go to Volantis, the biggest of the Free Cities on Essos. Varys, never a fan of the magic arts, says that she should probably stay there. But Melisandre is not one to be cowed, and gives Varys a case of the willies before departing:

"I will return, dear Spider, one last time. I have to die in this strange country, just like you."

That should give Varys something to chew on for a while.

Anyway, why would Melisandre want to travel across the Narrow Sea to Volantis? Sure, she’s not eager to run into Jon Snow and Davos Seaworth again, but Westeros is a big place, and it’s ground zero for the war she’s always claimed to be fighting, the one between the living and the dead. Redditor Dr_Tibbles has a theory: Might the Red Woman be heading homeward to fetch back the Fiery Hand for Daenerys Targaryen?

The Fiery Hand is a group of slave soldiers charged with guarding the Red Temple in Volantis, the seat of the Lord of Light’s religion on Essos. They number 1000, never more and never less. They wear ornate armor over their orange robes, and wield spears with points shapes like writhing flames. You’ll remember that Tyron passed through Volantis in season 5 and got an up-close look at a Red Priestess preaching to a group of slaves about the coming of Daenerys — he didn’t see the Red Temple or the Fiery Hand, but if the show follows the books, they weren’t far.

So we know that the followers of the Lord of Light stand behind Daenerys. We got another indication of that when, during season 6, Tyrion summoned the High Priestess of the Red Temple — a woman named Kinvara — to help shore up support for the Dragon Queen among the common people. Kinvara (Ania Bukstein) was all in on the idea that Daenerys was “the one who was promised,” saying that she had “been sent to lead the people against the darkness, in this war and in the great war still to come.” She needed no convincing.

Melisandre started off believing Stannis Baratheon was this messianic figure, but it looks like she’s come around to the idea that it’s either Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow, or possibly both. As she knows Westeros better than any Red Priest or Priestess save Thoros of Myr (who’s no longer in a position to help, being dead), she may be on a mission to collect the Fiery Hand and lead them back to Westeros, where they will aid Jon and Dany in their fight against the army of the dead.

As a bonus, if followers of the Lord of Light like Thoros and Beric Dondarrion can light their swords on fire, might the Fiery Hand be able to do the same thing with their spears? Seeing as they’re fighting an army of flammable ice zombies, that could be useful — after all, as Davos Seaworth of House Obvious reminded us this season, fire melts ice. In any case, after watching the army of the dead march through that gaping hole in the Wall, a thousand fire-wielding soldiers could be just what the doctor ordered for Westeros.

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There’s a wrinkle to this theory: in the books, the Fiery Hand is made up of slaves. High-ranking priestesses like Kinvara seem down on slavery, a good move if they want to work with Daenerys Targaryen, Breaker of Chains. If Melisandre is indeed heading back to Volantis to pick up some kind of holy army to fight alongside Daenerys in the Great War, it’ll probably be an army of free men. Otherwise, Daenerys will have a problem.

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h/t Mashable, Pop Culture Media