Just where the heck is Melisandre, and how will she return?


We’re two episodes into the final season of Game of Thrones, and Melisandre, the Red Woman, is nowhere to be seen. We know we’ll see her again before the season ends — she got her own season 8 character poster, for heaven’s sake — but we’re wondering when and how and where it will happen. Is she still in Volantis? Is she on the move somewhere in Westeros? Have we already seen her and just don’t know it? The possibilities are many. Let’s work through some of the more plausible ones, and maybe a few crazy ones for fun.

Where did we last see Melisandre?

We last saw the Red Woman in season 7, episode 3, “The Queen’s Justice,” where she had a cryptic conversation with Varys on the cliffs above Dragonstone. After bringing together ice and fire, her job was complete. According to her, she’d only be a distraction if she stuck around. so she was making for Volantis.

Varys was pleased to hear she was making herself scarce, and advised her to stay on Essos. She responded with words that have been ringing in our ears for almost two years:

"I will return, dear spider. One more time. I have to die in this strange country. Just like you."

So not only is Melisandre coming back, but she’s probably going to get a death scene, as will Varys. Either that or she was ticked he tried to tell her what to do and decided to freak him out. Mission accomplished, if so.


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When and where will we see her next? 

Melisandre could pop up at any moment. She’s a mysterious women who comes and goes as she pleases according to desires that are often hard to understand. It’s even possible she only turns up at the very end of the show, but we’re hoping it’ll be sooner than that.

One possibility is that she’ll turn up bearing gifts for the living. In the Song of Ice and Fire novels, there’s a slave army in service to the Red Temple of Volantis. They are the Fiery Hand, and they number 1000 soldiers, no more, no less. Could Melisandre come barreling over the horizon with the Fiery Hand at her back during the Battle of Winterfell, either saving the day or getting killed and fulfilling her prophecy about dying in this strange country? Or maybe both?

Another possibility is that Melisandre is already at Winterfell but in disguise. We know that the face she presents to the world isn’t her true one; she’s much older, and looks it. The last time she saw Jon Snow, he told her that if she ever returned to the North, he’d hang for an oathbreaker. True, she has more favor with Daenerys Targaryen, Jon’s queen, but even if Dany vetoed Jon on the execution, Davos Seaworth might make like Mossador and take matters into his own hands. Either way, it’d behoove her to keep a low profile.

So under this theory, Melisandre is at Winterfell but either not wearing her necklace or applying another glamour to herself to avoid detection, waiting for the right moment to reveal herself and open up a can of magical whoop-ass on the Night King and his army. Stranger things have happened. Probably.

That brings us to another death prediction. What if Melisandre simply dies of old age? Like, really old age? It wouldn’t be the coolest way to go, and probably more peaceful than she deserves, but it’s something to think about.

Fulfilling the prophecy

Melisandre serves the Lord of Light, and everything she has done has been to serve him. That includes killing Stannis Baratheon’s daughter Shireen in a scene that still haunts me to this day—a disturbing memory that came back after seeing the girl with the facial scarring.

All this time, Melisandre has been hoping to serve the Lord of Light by finding “the Prince Who Was Promised,” a messianic figure destined to save the world from a great calamity. So as far as we know, she left Westeros believing Jon was the real deal…or possibly Daenerys. It’s unclear. Either way, her mission demands that she return.


Arya and Melisandre

Back in the season 3 episode “The Climb”, Arya and Melisandre meet in the Riverlands. Melisandre takes Gendry so she can use his kingsblood to perform dark rituals, and Arya is none too pleased. Before they part, the Red Woman takes note of the little wolf. “I see a darkness in you,” she says. “And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes sealed shut forever. We will meet again.”

That was a while ago, but we’re still expecting this setup to pay off. In the books, Melisandre’s eyes are red, because everything about Melisandre is red. Actor Carice van Houten’s are more traditional blue eyes, but we probably shouldn’t get hung up on eye color. The point is that Arya and Melisandre are destined to meet, and that the Red Woman was at one time on Arya’s list. Could Arya be the one to kill her?

At this point, anything is possible. For all we know, Melisandre thinks Cersei is the Prince That Was Promised and is in King’s Landing right now trying to gain her favor. We doubt it, though. Here’s hoping that she pops up this Sunday.

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