'Game Of Thrones' Season 8 Theory: Melisandre's Death Will Bring The Light
The Red Woman still has a part to play in the Great War.
Editor's note: 'Game of Thrones' will return in 2019 for its final season on HBO. To help fill the void in all our lives now, when the series usually airs, we thought it would help to theorize how the show will end. Over the coming weeks, we'll run a series of "'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Theory" articles for your consideration. This is the first article in the series:
"There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him."
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I
Ages ago, the Known World was covered in blackness. A lone hero, Azor Ahai, was chosen to battle for the light and he worked endlessly to forge a sword worthy of the task. For 30 days, Azor Ahai labored on the steel, but when he tempered it, the sword broke and he was forced to begin again.
He vowed his second sword would be stronger and Azor Ahai spent 50 days crafting it. To temper the sword this time, he captured a lion and drove the steel into its heart, but again the sword crumbled.
Anguished, the hero knew what he must do. For 100 days, Azor Ahai folded and shaped the metal, creating his strongest weapon yet. When he was done, he called for his wife, Nissa Nissa. She bore her breast for him and Azor Ahai plunged his sword into her heart, fusing the metal with her soul, courage, and strength. Her scream left a crack across the face of the moon, and she died as her love removed the sword, Lightbringer, from her body.
Game of Thrones fans far and wide know the prophecy of Azor Ahai, also known as The Prince Who Was Promised. The HBO series hasn't revealed much about him, but the books say plenty. The Nissa Nissa story is relayed by Salladhor Saan to Ser Davos in George R.R. Martin's novels, and it's likely to play a role in Season 8 next year.
The Prince, the one prophesied to save the world from darkness in the religion of R'hllor, is often mentioned by the Red Woman Melisandre. She initially declares Stannis Baratheon The Prince Who Was Promised, but he's defeated at Winterfell in Season 5. She then says Jon Snow is The Prince when she returns to Castle Black.
We aren't sure who The Prince Who Was Promised is, but it has to be someone. Melisandre has been talking about the prophecy for years now. Now, with Jon and Daenerys in love heading into the final season, many fans are wondering if Daenerys is Jon's Nissa Nissa. Could Jon be forced to sacrifice the Mother of Dragons in order to create a weapon powerful enough to defeat the Night King? It would be a tragic, beautiful way for the show to end.
However, there's another scenario that seems more likely. Assuming Jon is The Prince Who Was Promised (here are the cases for the top candidates), how else could he forge Lightbringer? Well, here's a theory:
Perhaps Jon won't necessarily have to forge his sword in the heart of his true love. Perhaps all he needs is a true believer in the Lord of Light. If so, Melisandre is the likely candidate to be sacrificed for the Lord's cause.
Throughout the series, and in addition to The Prince Who Was Promised, Melisandre is associated with fire, blood, and hearts. Stannis changes his banners to include a flaming heart — the symbol of R'hllor — after he meets her. She's associated with fire from her introduction. R'hllor is centered on the belief in two deities: "A god of light and love and joy, and a god of darkness, evil, and fear, eternally at war." Melisandre makes sacrifices to her Lord by burning people alive — the "purest death," she says. It's all to help The Prince Who Was Promised bring the dawn. She mentions Lightbringer specifically in her very first scene (2.1).
The Red Woman was wrong about Stannis, but she could be right about Jon. Consider how they first see one another, with flames between them (4.10). The show would not waste time on a sequence like this unless it held importance.
When they ride the elevator to the top of the Wall (5.1), Jon asks her if she's cold. Melisandre says, "Never. The Lord's fire lives within me."
Melisandre soon attempts to seduce Jon, and he refuses her, but think about the scene in the context of Azor Ahai and Nissa Nissa. Melisandre approaches Jon, bares her breast, and asks him, "Can you feel my heart beating?" He nods and she continues, "There's power in you. You resist it and that's your mistake. Embrace it. The Lord of Light made us male and female — two parts of a greater whole. In our joining there's power — power to make life, power to make light, and power to cast shadows."
If Jon and Melisandre have the power to make light together, that could equal Lightbringer. She urges him to embrace his power and even bares her breast to make him feel her heart beating. This entire scene could be foreshadowing Melisandre's eventual Nissa Nissa-like sacrifice. When she's banished by Jon for murdering Shireen (6.10), she tells the King in the North he knows she can help him win the Great War. She's currently in Volantis, but she tells Varys before leaving she'll return to Westeros to die.
Melisandre will be executed if she returns to the North. Imagine Jon carrying out the execution with Longclaw and imagine the Valyrian steel sword igniting when it's removed from the Red Woman and she falls lifeless. This could be how Jon is anointed The Prince Who Was Promised. It could be how he unites the living for the final battle against the dead. And it could be how he obtains the weapon needed to cut the Night King down. Melisandre still has a part to play, and it may be one of the most important parts of all.