With only 4 episodes left before Game of Thrones ends, fans of the show are wondering when and where Melisandre will turn up. When we saw her last, she strongly suggested that she still has a role to play in the Great War, and will be back before the story concludes.
Beware of spoilers for all seasons of Game of Thrones below.
Melisandre, a Red Priestess who worships the Lord of Light, has used magic at several key points in the series. She birthed a shadow with Stannis’s face that murdered Renly Baratheon, burned leeches full of Gendry’s blood to curse Rob Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Joffrey Baratheon (all of whom are now dead), controversially burned Shireen Baratheon to benefit Stannis’s army, and, most notably, brought Jon Snow back from the dead after the Night’s Watch mutiny.
After bringing Jon Snow back to life, Melisandre stayed with his camp until Davos discovered that Melisandre was responsible for Shireen’s death. After telling Jon about what she did and asking for her to be sentenced to death, Jon instead banished her and warned that she would be executed if she returned.
Melisandre was last seen with Varys in Dragonstone; he pointed out that she was keeping out of sight of Jon Snow and Davos and should get out of there quickly, and she revealed that she was heading to Volantis next. She said “I’ve done my part. I’ve brought ice and fire together… my time whispering in the ears of kings has come to an end.” Then, without elaborating further, she cryptically told Varys that she would be returning to Westeros again: “Oh, I will return dear Spider. One last time. I have to die in this strange country, just like you.” That episode (season 7 episode 3) is the last time Melisandre appeared on screen, but Varys is currently in Winterfell waiting for the battle against the army of the dead to begin.
Now that Thoros is dead, Melisandre is the only character we know of who is capable of bringing people back from the dead (not including the Night King, of course).
Carice Van Houten, the actress who plays Melisandre on the show, did press for the eighth and final season, and Melisandre was even featured on one of the Entertainment Weekly “Game Over” covers released as part of season 8 promo. On IMDb, Episode 8.3 is one of the 29 episodes she is credited with appearing in (and the only episode for season 8). While this is interesting, especially since HBO has been so tight-lipped about who is expected to appear in each episode, it should also be noted that IMDb is not always accurate when crediting actors on projects.
Some fans have theorized that Melisandre actually has returned, under the guise of the little girl that reminded Davos of Shireen in Winterfell (season 8 episode 2). The theory is based on the knowledge that Melisandre has glamour capabilities, revealed when Melisandre transformed into an extremely old woman after taking off her necklace in the season 6 premiere episode. GamesRadar.com reports that the theory says Melisandre glamoured into the little girl and will be in the crypts to prevent the dead from entering and protect those who are seeking safety within them during the battle. While there is no concrete proof that this theory is true, it would be poetic for Melisandre to take a form resembling the little girl she was banished for sacrificing, especially if she were to sacrifice herself for the greater good.
So will Melisandre show up and save the day during the Battle of Winterfell (she did tell Arya they would meet in Winterfell again, after all), or will fans be left waiting for a Melisandre reappearance until the very end of the final season? Or, with so much left to tie up before the series ends, maybe she is gone for good? Episode 8 airs tonight at 9pm, and the series will be over on May 19, so it’s only a matter of time until we know what role Melisandre has yet to play in the fight between the living and the dead.