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This "Game Of Thrones" Fan Theory About Melisandre Is Very Interesting

This explains that continuity error.

This post contains spoilers for the Season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones.


The big twist at the end of "The Red Woman" was not that the episode's titular character was bringing Jon Snow back to life, as many hoped, but that she is actually much older than she appears.


When she removed her choker (which glowed red as she did so), she appeared elderly and frail, suggesting the necklace has the power to mask her true form.

But some fans have pointed out that in this scene in Season 4, Melisandre was taking a bath without her choker and still looked young and flawless.

So, how do you explain this, @GameOfThrones ? #GameofThrones

While many dismissed this as a continuity error, others have suggested this could have been a deliberate move.

Selyse has this strange expression the entire time. Like she cannot look directly at Melisandre yet also cannot look away. At first you think it is that of a religious "uptight" person seeing a naked and very sexual woman. But if you rewatch the scene, and "pretend" to yourself that Selyse is seeing Melisandre as she actually appears, it actually fits better. WE still see the seductress, Selyse sees the hag. She is horrified yet fascinated and not at all shocked.

The theory makes a lot of sense considering Melisandre is discussing the tricks and lies she uses to convert people in this scene, emphasising that Selyse doesn't need these because "you are strong enough to look into the Lord's light and see his truth for yourself. However harsh it is."


As Brashendeavors points out, this indicates that not only did Selyse know Melisandre's real form, she also knew what was going to happen to her daughter after seeing the "truth" in the flames. Watch the whole scene here.

Still, this doesn't really explain why we as viewers see young Melisandre in this scene.


It could be simply to avoid spoiling the big reveal in Season 6, but that's not entirely satisfying. Brashendeavors has pulled up some evidence from the books that indicates that the use of a "glamour" to mask the appearance of something is tied in with someone's expectations of what they're looking at – and that the necklace is just a tool in building that glamour and creating those initial expectations. So we as the viewers expect to see Melisandre as young and beautiful, and are therefore still seeing the glamour – and it's not until Melisandre has lost faith in her abilities and completely dropped all her "tricks" that we finally see the ~real~ version of her.

Not convinced? OK, OK, this theory might suit you better:

Reddit user I_Hate_Nerds comes to a different conclusion from the idea that Selyse is a "true believer" – that she (and therefore the viewer) is actually seeing Melisandre's ideal young and beautiful form even without the necklace due to the strength of her faith. If this is the case, it still ties in nicely with the idea that the big reveal happens at the moment when Melisandre's faith is lost.

Others still have speculated that the potion Melisandre pours into the bath is not your regular Lush concoction: It's part of the magic she uses to keep looking fresh.


Only time will tell if any of these theories are right, but the implications around the truth about Melisandre's faith and abilities could be huge for the fate of a certain bastard we all love.

  1. What do you think?

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What do you think?
    vote votes
    The necklace controls the glamour, but Selyse was seeing Melisandre's true form.
    vote votes
    The necklace enhances the glamour, but doesn't control it.
    vote votes
    The potion is what keeps Melisandre looking young.
    vote votes
    The show creators just flat-out fucked up the continuity.
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    I have another theory! (I'll share in the comments.)

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