WARNING! WARNING! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FIRST EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES SEASON 6 DO NOT READ ON!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
I realise Game Of Thrones has a renowned tendency to surprise viewers/readers, but this is one of the strangest? We’ve experienced the death of *insert favourite dead character here*, discovered the much maligned rowing skills of the elusive Gendry, who by now has probably sailed through the Shire and into the undying lands, just past Huckleberry Finn. We’ve chortled hysterically at the lingering, chocking on his own hubris death of King Joffrey. Gasped in horror at Brans incredibly tedious dialogue. And get continually distracted by any boobs necessary for the deep plot points. Seriously, boobs are always a necessity! But season 6 first episode conclusion is the most shocking thing I’ve experienced since I discovered that Knuckles is actually a guy?! Melisandre it seems isn’t entirely who we thought she was? She was Stannis Baratheon’s most defiant muse, contributing umm, well not much really. She had always been the theoretical advisor, instilling false hope to a man corrupted by jealousy. She was akin to an irate fan at a football match whose only words of encouragement are “come on, you can do it!” As such Melisandre was almost always someone that provided very persuasive context to allure Stannis, as well as being spread as often as a tub of Flora. But she never backed up her prophetic appraisals with any discerning practical results. She was like a meteorologist predicting the weather with vague definition. She’s kind of a charlatan, but a convincing one. She is also, and I don’t wish to trivialise such a talented actress, but I will when I say that she is my Game Of Thrones crush. So imagine my shock, dismay and, just….urgh when she revealed herself to be none other than the daughter of Gollum and one of those water hags from the Witcher?!
“To think, Stannis slept with her?!”
It was like discovering that Kat Dennings breasts were in fact two very small, bald men nestling in her bra?! I actually recoiled a little as this withered body replaced the anatomical perfection that is Carice Van Houten. This reveal that she has been concealing her true form with a magical amulet (one that was worth every penny!) is one of the first true instances of magic in the realm of Westoros. Artifice, magic that conceals a person’s true appearance is hinted at in the novels, and it is established that Melisandre could in fact be over 100 years old, but this is still a shocking image. This deceptive façade was rather gratuitous yet saddening. I felt pity for her and shame for myself in the way I reacted with such vigorous disgust. Before her deteriorating physique she came across as measured, very perceptive and calculating women who used others rather than directly influencing events, utilising her assets to influence others. This was the first time she seemed vulnerable, genuinely deflated, like a priest suffering a loss of faith. And this was before she revealed her true identity. The death of Stannis Baratheon and indeed the interim demise of Jon Snow have clearly wounded her emotionally causing this literal reflection of despondency and loss of identity. In her eyes she has failed, worse still what she was entirely convinced of Stannis Baratheons legitimacy as the incarnate of the great warrior Azor Ahai. As I watched her hunched, wilting frame diminish under the bedsheets I found there were distinguishing characteristics associated with another literary character; Dorian Gray. The parallels are there, reflecting Melisandre’s own personal demons.
If you’re unaware of the novel by Oscar Wilde, Dorian Gray is a man so besotted with vanity, specifically his own immaculate appearance that he looks to extend the longevity of his youth by inadvertently giving up his soul to remain as young and beautiful as his portrait. Envious of his own painting he soon begins to realise that his own excesses and consumptions affect the portrait, leaving not a wrinkle on himself. Immortality became his curse, as the people he loved and cared about withered and died while he continued to live without a blemish. His portrait of course bared the brunt of his excesses, ageing rapidly into a twisted aberration of himself, an image he could never again gaze upon. And of course it all ends as happily as a Game Of Thrones wedding. “Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic” is an excerpt that is emblematic of the Dorian Gray/Melisandre symbolism. She casts these Dark incantations, burning leaches, utilising the divination of an ambivalent deity (the Lord of light) to impregnate herself with Stannis Baratheons demonic child. She consumed poison without the substance causing any of the afflictions typically associated with it such as vomiting, convulsions, anal bleeding or you know, death?! Perhaps then Melisandre is also cursed with immortality, with the amulet acting as her moral recompense the way Dorian Gray’s portrait depicted the true effects of his lustful consumptions.
“Oh dear. Now how did this picture get in here?”
There has always been a pretence to her, a nagging doubt that events around her were in anyway related to her “powers”, so it shouldn’t be shocking to discover that her physical form is fraudulent. In my opinion there has never been any malcontent from the Red Witch, as I’ve always considered her to be a deeply misunderstood character. Her aged appearance could be evidence of someone who has sacrificed her virility, perhaps even her soul to benefit her cause, to provide assistance to the one man/women that could potentially foil the invasion of “The Others”. She’s certainly no saint, but she is one of the few people that acknowledges the white walkers as a legitimate threat, vindicating her often extreme means of persuasion. She will utilise any means necessary to ensure that the great Other, the opposing force to the Lord of light is vanquished. She may at times be misguided by blind faith, yet maintains a will to succeed despite her motivations remaining largely elusive. There are too many conjectural inferences to authenticate anything I’ve been saying, but speculation is what defines the Game Of Thrones community. Concocting ever more elaborate theories to substantiate some convoluted plot point they wish to make. To seek answers where there are no questions. To conduct vague, metaphorical statements with no reasonable credibility to them other than the unwavering conviction of those that distribute it. And any work of fiction that can generate this level of creative speculation deserves tremendous respect.
Also while I’m guessing plot points why don’t I apply a little convenience to my notions. Didn’t anyone else feel that this particular reveal could perfectly coincide with the resurrection of someone who knows nothing? Just a thought.
What did you Guys think of the first episode? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.