George R.R. Martin offers “another explanation” for Melisandre’s powers


Melisandre clearly had power, but when was it real and when was she just putting on a light show? George R.R. Martin digs into it.

Melisandre was always an enigmatic character, whether on Game of Thrones or in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books. She was the only character who had genuine magical powers, but they didn’t always work — seemed like she burned Shireen at the stake for nothing — and she once admitted to Stannis’ wife Selyse that a lot of what she did was for show, to get people to believe in her so she could better lead them.

And sometimes her actions seemed to straddle the line between magic spell and smart political maneuver. For example, take the scene where she uses leeches to drains Gendry (Edric Storm in the books) of blood, and then has Stannis toss the leeches into a firepit, saying the name of each of the kings trying to usurp him — Balon Greyjoy, Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon — as he does.

All three of the usurping died not long after. Was it the leeches that did it? Speaking to James Hibberd for his new book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon: Game of Thrones and the Official Untold Story of the Epic Series, George R.R. Martin muddied the waters:

"Melisandre wanted everyone to think that the deaths would happen because of the spell she made with the leeches, but there is another explanation. Her ability to see the future through flames showed her that kings were going to die due to the machinations of other characters. Seeing their deaths arrive, she orchestrated that exhibition to take credit for their deaths."

Game of Thrones may be over, but Melisandre is still kicking in A Song of Ice and Fire. How else might she blend the magical and the ordinary before all is said and done?

That’s far from the only interesting tidbit in Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon. Natalie Dormer reveals that, before landing the role as Margaery Tyrell, she initially auditioned for the Red Priestess.

“I’ve never spoken about this previously: I didn’t audition for Margaery Tyrell originally. I auditioned for Melisandre,” Dormer said. “Then I got a call from my agents saying, ‘They loved you but want you to audition for another role.'”

"And I’m like, ‘Damn, this Melisandre role looks f**king cool!’ Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff] said, ‘There’s this character Margaery, and we’re still exploring what we’re going to do with her.’ You look back and realize Melisandre couldn’t have been anyone else, Carice [van Houten] did an amazing job, but I always had a chuckle on the couch when a Melisandre scene came on."

Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon is available now.

Next. The time Ian McShane kicked his lunch at the Hound on the set of Game of Thrones. dark

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Get HBO, Starz, Showtime and MORE for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels

h/t Los Siete Reinos