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Originally from the city of Asshai, located in the far east of Essos, Melisandre was raised by her mother, a slave,[1] living in poverty. She claimed to know nothing but hunger as a child,[2] and as a young woman she subsisted on a single bowl of unpalatable stew a day.[3] Eventually becoming a Red Priestess of the Lord of Light, she claims to wield powerful magical abilities, particularly the power of prophecy by looking into the flames of fire. Melisandre wears a large ruby necklace that seems to glow whenever she performs her magic. This same necklace also hides her ageing, prolonging her life in the process. At some point before (or right at the start of) the War of the Five Kings, she crossed the Narrow Sea and came to the court of Lord Stannis Baratheon on the island stronghold of Dragonstone, to preach her faith. Stannis and the majority of his household converted to her religion, and she became a close adviser to Stannis himself, believing him to be the the Prince that was Promised of ancient prophecy; the reincarnation of Azor Ahai.[4]




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Cressen stands and offers an apology for his actions on the beach before inviting Melisandre to share his wine. He draws from the cup before handing it to Melisandre. Cressen steadies himself on the table and his nose begins to bleed: he had poisoned the drink. Melisandre drinks from the cup anyway and then watches the Maester collapse, his blood spreading on the stone floor beneath him. She says that the fire burns the terrors of the night away and the jewel in her choker pulsates with light.[5]


Stannis orders Davos to smuggle Melisandre ashore and into a cove below the cliffs of the coast. She asks him if he is afraid, calling him Onion Knight, and he retorts that he has been told that the night is dark and full of terrors. She says that he has carried more unpleasant cargo in his time. She asks if he is a good man and he says that he is a mixture of good and bad. She counters that if half an onion is black with rot then it is a rotten onion and asserts that good and evil are absolutes. Davos asks which she is and she says that she is good. She says that she is a champion of light and life. They beach their rowboat and Melisandre asks Davos if he loves his wife and he says that he does. She asks him about other women and he asks her not to talk about his wife. She says that she is speaking of other women like herself and asserts that he wants her. She tells him that he wants to see what is beneath her robe and that he will.[7]


She leaves Dragonstone for the Riverlands, despite Stannis wanting her to stay and be with him. She insists there is something they must find.[12] When she arrives, she meets Thoros of Myr of the Brotherhood Without Banners. She at first demands to know what happened to Thoros's mission to convert Robert Baratheon. After bluntly telling her he failed, Thoros asks that she be more open about her needs and that she refrain from speaking High Valyrian. Thoros shows her Beric Dondarrion and explains his many resurrections. Melisandre is astonished, noting that even if it were possible, Thoros shouldn't have that kind of power.[13]


Stannis sends for Jon through Melisandre, and on the way from Castle Black to the top of the Wall, she shows him how she is never cold by allowing him to touch her cheek. She also asks if Jon is a virgin. Jon replies that he is not and Melisandre replies that is a good thing. Later, she oversees the burning of Mance Rayder, personally lighting the pyre and denouncing him as a "King of Lies", while proclaiming Stannis the only true king. However, Mance is mercifully shot with an arrow by Jon before he can catch fire.[17]


Melisandre departs Castle Black along with the rest of Stannis's army, riding next to him.[19] During the march, the weather turns for the worse and a snow storm delays his army. The Stormcrows have also fled in the night. Davos thinks that they should go back to Castle Black and wait out the weather since they do not have enough food, but Stannis stubbornly tells him that they will not retreat to Castle Black because he will not risk being known as "the King who Ran." As winter will soon arrive, they also run the risk of being stuck at Castle Black for years, during which the Boltons will regain their strength.[20]


Melisandre speaks alone with Stannis and reminds him that they may need to sacrifice more King's blood in order to better their chances of winning the upcoming battle in the snow which they both saw in the flames, citing the deaths of Robb Stark and Joffrey as examples. When Stannis says that they have no chance of locating Gendry, Melisandre suggests that they sacrifice Shireen. Stannis is visibly shocked and disgusted by the suggestion, asking her if she has lost her mind. She tries to convince him by saying that Stannis must be the undisputed king when the Long Night comes, but he rebuffs her and orders her to leave his presence.[20]


The next day, the temperature climbs and the snow melts rapidly, enough that the army can march at last. Melisandre tells Stannis that the Lord was true to His word and soon, Stannis will take Winterfell. Stannis gruffly pulls away from Melisandre's attempt to embrace him. When a soldier reports to Stannis that half of his army has deserted in the night, a result of Shireen's execution, and Melisandre's composure begins to waver. Immediately after, another soldier reports the discovery of Selyse's body. Her faith all but shattered (and probably fearing Stannis's wrath), Melisandre abandons Stannis, steals a horse and flees back to Castle Black. As she arrives, Jon and Davos intercept her, Jon asking after Stannis and Davos after Shireen. Melisandre does not answer, her blank, regretful expression being enough to confirm Jon and Davos's fears. Stannis is later killed during the Battle of Winterfell.[22]


After Davos brings Jon's corpse into a room, Melisandre is called. She tells the few men loyal to Jon that she saw Jon fighting in Winterfell in the flames, but chalks it up to another vision that will not come true. Later that evening in her chambers at Castle Black, Melisandre undresses for the evening. Looking forlorn at herself in the mirror, she takes off her necklace and her illusion of beauty disappears, revealing her true form: a frail old woman, many centuries old. She climbs slowly into bed.[23]


The night before the Jon goes to battle with Ramsay Bolton, he enters Melisandre's tent and remarks that he did not see her at the war council. He asks her not to bring him back from the dead a second time if he falls during the next day's battle. She implies that it is not her decision and she must do as the Lord of Light commands. After Jon's victory at the battle, Melisandre walks along the battlements of Winterfell, as she once saw in the flames. She is unaware that Davos is watching her from below, having discovered that she had Shireen killed.[28]


Melisandre's presence inspires Arya to slay the Night King, destroying all the White Walkers and laying the dead to rest. With her destiny fulfilled, she strides out of the gates of Winterfell and discards her cloak and Asshai'i necklace. Her true form revealed, Melisandre ages rapidly, the power of R'hllor no longer maintaining her youth. Walking placidly into the frigid air, she is watched by Davos as she collapses into dust before the sun rises - fulfilling her promise to him that she will die before dawn.[32]


Melisandre had the knowledge and power to perform blood magic, as shown when she prepared a blood magic ritual involving drawing blood from Gendry with leeches, and then having Stannis curse the names of his rival kings into the fire, hoping to cause their imminent dooms. This curse may have even worked, given how the names of every rival King cursed eventually died a violent death.


Melisandre had the power to cast glamours, magical illusions which alter the physical perception and appearance of people and objects. She had enchanted her ruby necklace with a powerful glamour, and she wore her necklace to give her a beautiful and youthful appearance, as opposed to her ancient and withered true self.


Melisandre had somehow managed to stay alive for over three hundred years, as shown when she removed her enchanted ruby necklace and revealed herself to be an old and withered crone. This was a power most likely bestowed to her by the R'hllor, in order for her to fulfill her great and divine purpose in the world.


Melisandre had a habit of being exceptionally changeable in spite of her absolute faith in R'hllor, which was demonstrated several times. When she first met Stannis Baratheon, she convinced him that he will win the war with great ease on the basis that he is the one true king, and went to extremely great lengths to ensure that this victory was carried out (to the point of using Shadowbinder magic to murder Renly Baratheon, which proved to be a wasteful move since Stannis ended up losing the Battle of Blackwater Bay anyway). When Stannis brooded over losing at Blackwater Bay, he actually threatened her and she still remained faithful to R'hllor, although she did not willingly admit that her god wronged both her and Stannis by causing the loss at Blackwater Bay - a suggestion which Melisandre ought to believe because she was convinced that the Lord of Light decides all destinies, and seemed to have protected the usurping lords who stood against Stannis. She defended herself by assuring Stannis that the war between Stannis and his enemies would be long and costly, but eventually he would succeed.


Melisandre was a woman who was completely aware of her own enigma - in fact, her enigma was something that she relished. Very little is truly known about her past other than generalizations that she gave to other people; she claimed that she had been fighting for far longer than Stannis ever had (something which is strongly supported by how old she was revealed to be), and was revealed to actually be a ferocious opponent in her own right, as she subdued Stannis when he attacked her by reminding him of how he needed her alongside him. She also frightened Davos with her own powers, especially by alluring him in anticipation for what he was about to see. One prime example was when Davos returned to Dragonstone, and Melisandre maintained control over Stannis by provoking Davos into attacking her, which led to him being arrested. In spite of her animosity, Melisandre was not above realizing that Davos was still of use to Stannis and that he would be needed in the coming war. Melisandre was also completely able, and adept, at using her own sex to her advantage, seducing Gendry into being a part of her ritual for Stannis - however, when Robb Stark was killed as a result of this ritual, Melisandre scorned Davos for wanting to see the Lord's power, since the ritual still has not brought Stannis closer to the Iron Throne, even though Melisandre performed the ritual herself. 041b061a72


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