What Will "The Winds of Winter" Bring For Melisandre?
Warning: Spoilers Lie Ahead
The Winds of Winter is the sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. This article will take a look back at the previous five installments as well as make predictions on the next chapter in the series. The reader has been warned that spoilers lie ahead.
Red Priestess of the One True God
Seeing futuristic visions in flames, birthing murderous shadow babies or raising people from the dead, just another day in the life of the beautiful red priestess Melisandre. She is a religious servant to who she calls the One True God, R'hllor. Coming from the mysterious city far in the east, Asshai, she is able to perform many magical practices in service to her fire god.
When we first meet this priestess, she is in direct service to Stannis Baratheon, believing him to be Azor Ahai, the prince of her religion whose fate it is to defeat the ultimate evil. Melisandre worships fire as it is cleansing and shadows cannot hide in the dark. The night is dark and full of terrors, is basically her tagline through the series.
She sees visions in her fire foretelling her that Stannis Baratheon is the one she seeks and travels to Dragonstone to enter his service. There, she turns his lady wife Selyse and several members of his household away from the Westerosi religion that worships The Seven to her own red god, R'hllor. Stannis is initially very reluctant and fancies her belief for his wife. She is introduced in the second book by a priest of the old religion who mistrusts her and decides to poison her. He drinks the poisoned wine and offers it to her but as he is dying she drinks the substance that does not affect her. The red gem around her neck glows as she works her magic.
In seeing this, Stannis slightly begins to accept her religion and partakes in a ritual to prove he is the foretold prince by pulling a flaming sword from an idol. Stannis' most trusted adviser, his Onion Knight, Ser Davos Seaworth, disagrees with the red priestess but sees her value.
Lord Stannis has made a claim for the Iron Throne and must defeat the other claimants if he wants to take his rightful place, one of which being his younger brother Renly Baratheon. They arrive and takes Stannis' birthplace, Storm's End, and Melisandre convinces Stannis that Renly needs to be killed for him to take the throne and she knows just the way. Creepy, magical sex is implied and Davos witnesses Melisandre birth a shadow assassin that travels to Renly's camp and kills him. This confirms all suspicion that she can actually work magic through her religion instead of tricks.
Davos seeing this reports to Stannis that if he takes the red woman with him to the impending battle of the Blackwater where Stannis plans to take the throne, the victory will be Melisandre's and not his own. Stannis is convinced and sends the priestess back to Dragonstone to wait until the battle is over.
King Stannis is defeated, primarily through fire, and must retreat back to Dragonstone without the throne, his army and having lost much of his pride. Melisandre gloats that she should've been there to control the fires. Ser Davos has come to the conclusion that she actually worked her magic against their armies to further ensnare Stannis in her beliefs and formulates a plan to kill her. Just as the priest had tried, Davos fails when Melisandre sees his plan in her flames and has him arrested before he can complete his quest.
With Davos removed from his side, her influence tightens around Stannis and she pleads for him to give the late King Robert's, Stannis' older brother, bastard to her so she can sacrifice him in her fires because he has king's blood flowing through his veins. Stannis refuses but allows her to leech him for his blood. She sacrifices the leeches to the fire and asks for the false kings, including Joffrey Baratheon, Robb Stark and Balon Greyjoy, to be killed. Surprise, surprise, each of the claimants to the Iron Throne experiences death soon after one way or the other.
Stannis, who has visited Davos, decides to sail North and deal with a threat at The Wall before he claims the throne to win himself a new army and this time decides to take his Red Woman with him as well as Davos. As they arrive, the defenders of The Wall, the Night's Watch, are in full war against the northern Wildlings and Stannis' forces sway the battle. Melisandre makes the eagle they use to scout burst into flames and the Wildlings are slaughtered.
Stannis makes demands of Jon Snow, the Night's Watch's Lord Commander, one being that they need king's blood. The King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder, has a Wildling baby son and Melisandre is demanding the babe for her fires. Jon Snow develops a plan to switch babies and spirits the true son of Mance away before the red woman can get her hands on him.
The whole North is pulled into a war instigated by the Bolton's backstabbing their liege lords, the Starks. Stannis believes if he can defeat the Bolton's then the North will rally for him and his army will be reborn so he can wage assault on the capital once more. He leaves and Melisandre stays behind at The Wall with Jon Snow.
Melisandre's powers seem to grow in this time and when looking into her flames for visions asks to see where her foretold prince is, she is alarmed to see Jon Snow surrounded by daggers. She also see his sister, Arya Stark, in grave danger. She informs the Lord Commander of her visions which he initially dismisses just like Stannis.
She concocts a plan to disguise Mance Rayder magically before his execution and have him go to Winterfell to save Arya to gain his trust. She also predicts his men will be killed systematically, which happens and sways his beliefs. She tells him a giant battle is coming and he is torn between helping save his sister or saving his men in the Night's Watch. By now, Melisandre truly believes he is her foretold savior and unexpectedly sees him killed by his own men, confirming her previous visions.
What Will The Winds Bring?
Melisandre seems to have reaffirmed her belief on who she is searching for with Jon Snow stepping into the picture. Her religion has been shown to be able to resurrect people from the dead in other areas of the world so I believe she will bring Jon Snow back and he will be a harder man than usual.
There seems to be many battles that could constitute Ice and Fire throughout the series with the eventual buildup to book seven and I think one of these battles will be Melisandre representing fire against Bran Stark, who has been raised to an elevated children with the Children of the Forest, who represents ice. The Children worship the Old Gods and that directly conflicts with Melisandre's views so I think Bran will be made aware of the threat she poses and use his omniscient qualities to lead an offensive against her, eventually killing her along the way and setting Jon's path to joining Danaerys Targaryen.
Within the series there are many villains and mysterious magical characters but how could you not enjoy a beautiful, ambitious red head who is willing to sacrifice anyone for her own needs. Melisandre seems destined to die but I will enjoy all the moments she inevitably has left.