Praise R'hllor! It seems there will be a new Red Priestess in Game of Thrones Season 6. Deadline reports Melanie Liburd ( The Grinder , CSI ) is joining the cast as the latest disciple of the God of Light. While initial rumors hinted that Liburd would play a younger version of Melisandre, it now seems that the character is unique unto herself and many, many miles away from The Wall where Melisandre is currently hanging out. Watchers on The Wall posted set pictures suggesting this Red Priestess will be stationed in Meereen — and she may not be fond of Dany's reign.
Season 5 ended with Tyrion, Varys, Grey Worm, and Missandei in charge of the city while Jorah and Daario Naharis went in search of Dany after her fantastic flight — but set photos hint at continued unrest in Meereen. The new Red Priestess is nameless so far, but underestimating her importance could be a big mistake. She has no book equivalent (yet) so it is hard to fully know what to expect from her, though: The best clue comes from the overall rise in religious devotion in Westeros and the cities beyond the Seven Kingdom's borders. From the High Sparrow to Melisandre, religious figures have grown in power in recent seasons to the point where their influence drives people to commit unthinkable acts (think the burning of Shireen). Desperate times create desperate people, and the religious leaders the show has introduced so far have seen desperation as a gateway to create new followers.
There are several roles this new Red Priestess could play in Season 6. If she sees Dany as a potential ally or a key to fulfilling one of those famed God of Light prophecies Melisandre is always going on about, then she could take on an advisory role. I could see her working closely with Tyrion trying to trade peacekeeping for help in spreading the word about R'hllor. Given Tyrion's feelings on religion, the two could make for an interesting duo.
The other option is the Red Priestess is leading a rebellion. With the people of Meereen growing weary of masters, including Dany, they need a figurehead to rally around. The Red Priestess could be the face of the opposition. This would make sense: Melisandre is good at selling the party line. Wherever it is these Red Priestesses go for training they must get stellar lessons on indoctrination — a mere whisper is all it takes to sway someone over to their way of thinking most of the time. If the Red Priestess is leading the opposition, then there is plenty of room for her to tangle with Tyrion, and maybe even mess with his head.
One thing that's not up for debate: magic is becoming a much larger part of Game of Thrones. Between talks of Jon Snow's resurrection, Sam's trip to Old Town, Arya's continued training with the Faceless Men, the zombie Mountain, and a new Red Priestess, magic is here to stay. This also means viewers can no longer trust their own eyes. Who knows what kind of power this Red Priestess holds? All I know for sure is Tyrion's job just go a whole lot harder.
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