Melisandre is such a pivotal character in the story that takes place in game of thrones and while fans of the TV show already know its ending, there are plenty of details surrounding the Red Woman that only readers of the books will know. These facts include general information about his origins, general ideology, and even his relationship with characters that don’t exist on screen.
Fans of the series should also check out the books, now that the series is over. It will continue to paint a richer picture of an incredibly complex and perhaps misunderstood character in the past. There is no denying the power of the witch, granted to her by the Lord of Light.
She saves Mance Rayder
The series’ Mance Rayder met a dark fate. Burned to be a Wildling and proclaiming himself king, Mance fell in love with his beliefs, partly at Melisandre’s behest. The events of the book, however, played out slightly differently, with Rayder living a bit longer.
Melisandre had no concerns for this Wildling’s life on screen, but in the books she felt there was more for him to do. She knew Rayder’s fate meant he would have a higher purpose and during her burning ceremony, she extinguished it at the last minute, burning the Lord of Bones instead.
She marries Alys Karstark and Sigorn Thenn
It’s quite common to omit minor characters from a TV show adaptation. Because game of thrones had so much to cover, it couldn’t involve every character the audience might have read on the page. It also meant that minor subplots were also left out.
In the books, Selyse Florent decides to create a new marriage to secure the allied homes, while protecting Alys Karstark who was going to be forced to marry her cousin. Melisandre therefore marries the Karstark to Sigorn of the Thenns, in a marriage which she believes will help the greater good. But his motivations do not always make sense!
She’s obsessed with the king’s blood
the game of thrones The series only briefly portrayed Melisandre’s obsession with King’s blood. She felt that it could secure Stannis’ throne and that it was a powerful substance. She tried to frame Gendry and use him for this purpose, though ultimately her plans failed.
The books saw the Red Witch go deeper into this madness, constantly searching for those who might possess an essence of Robert Baratheon’s blood. This included close members of the Baratheon family, whom Stannis was willing to sacrifice if need be. This plotline did not fully unfold on the HBO show.
She’s not on Arya’s list
Many significant events like Arya meeting Melisandre happened at very different times in the series compared to the books. Although the source material looks like a starting roadmap to follow, not all of the narrative beats are actually used to their fullest. In the series, a different plotline emerged, with Melisandre arriving at a version of Arya’s list.
Young Stark’s kill list is quite iconic, and few survived or were taken off the list without being murdered. However, in the books, Melisandre is never on this list, with Arya only being slightly annoyed and scared of the priestess.
She demands Davos at the court of Stannis
Stannis and Davos are old allies and there is a lot of trust between them. However, even those inside the supposed king’s court are at risk given the warmonger’s paranoia. In the series, Melisandre and Davos continue to fight, with the witch never trusting the Onion Knight, especially when he tries to kill her.
While the general themes of the books are exactly the same, Melisandre understands more about the value of Davos on the page. She actually asks him to continue serving alongside Stannis even after his supposed betrayal, as she can see that his honesty is exactly what is needed. She also sees a future that demonstrates Davos’ long-term value.
She protects the son of Davos
Davos has a few sons on the show although his family is rarely seen. Most of them are killed in battles on behalf of Stannis, and the series shifts to his relationship with young Shireen, whom he sees as a daughter. Melisandre interferes with all this loss in the books, however.
Understanding that Davos’ health must be protected so that he can serve his king as best he can, she saves her son from certain death, preventing the Onion Knight from ever descending down this dark path of mourning. It’s a moment of tactical wisdom and genuine empathy not often seen on the show.
She has a strong belief in Stannis
Melisandre’s motivations in the book and TV show are quite varied. For the series, she’s obsessed with the bigger picture, assuming Stannis is the hero the Lord of Light has brought down. This is not because she believes in the potential king, but because he could help serve her larger cause.
In the books, Melisandre feels much more passionate about Stannis’ right to sit on the Iron Throne. Her fate surprises her every time, but her decisions on the page aren’t cruel or always for the benefit of a much bigger idea. Many of them are actually emotionally charged, with a less callous attitude and greater trust in the people around them.
She was formerly known as Melony
Most fans have always hated Melsiandre for some of the terrible atrocities she committed. In the series, very little is known about his backstory. It is briefly mentioned that she was a slave, but not much thought is given to the priestess’ past.
In the books, further information is given to the audience regarding his upbringing. It was easy to feel sorry for her here as she was a slave at a young age and was previously known as Melony. She would lose this captivity name when she joined the various cults that led her to the Lord of Light.
She arranged the death of other kings
Melisandre was truly determined to bring Stannis to power so he could become the promised hero and save Westeros from darkness. In the series and the book, she killed King Renly in order to achieve this goal. She even tried to get rid of the other kings by pretending that they were the rightful rulers.
However, when some of the shocking deaths occurred on the page, Melisandre claimed she was in fact responsible for them. Sure, she may have just been praying for them to get their way, but events like the Red Wedding were almost seen as the result of Melisandre working to kill the competition. That’s not how it’s played on screen at all. Is she just bigoted or is it the truth?
She has a magical connection with Asshai
Asshai is featured a few times in Game of thrones. The context in which it is depicted, however, suggests that it is a mystical place, even if it is not really seen much. It is usually mentioned in relation to specific characters who traveled from there or found their magical origins in the region.
The books really push the idea that Asshai is actually connected to the mythology of the saga. Melisandre was actually taken there as a young child to learn the ways of the Red Witches. Other characters such as Quaithe, who hardly appeared in the series, also came from Asshai, with the place becoming a catalyst for those who wielded amazing powers.
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