Can Melisandre Really Resurrect Jon Snow?

by Rosie Narasaki

OK, so by now you've probably heard The Melisandre Resurrection Theory: It's currently one of the most popular theories surrounding Jon Snow's untimely demise — it's right up there with the Targaryen-style rebirth via flames. To sum it up, the theory basically cruxes on the fact that, with Stannis out of the picture, Melisandre might be on the lookout for a new Azor Ahai, and if you subscribe to the R + L = J theory, Jon looks like a pretty likely candidate for the position. Plus, we already know of another red priest who's brought people back to life (Thoros), and Melisandre's return to the Wall was nothing if not suspiciously timely.

Basically, things look like they're lining up nicely for Melisandre and Jon — especially when you consider the fact that as we get closer and closer to the start of production for Season 6, a resurrection is looking less like desperate speculation and more like... well, a real possibility. After all, Carice Van Houten herself recently gave the theory her stamp of approval, and everything from the length of Kit Harington's hair, to casting rumors hinting at a flashback to the Tower of Joy scene (AKA possibly the story of Jon's birth), to the fact that Emilia Clarke fully thinks he's got a 50/50 chance... it all adds up.

Here's the thing, though: Could she really pull it off? Melisandre's powers are certainly not infallible (see: Shireen Baratheon), so do we really think she has it in her to successfully bring Jon back to life?

Let's review her magical skills, and see if we can figure out if she can really swing a resurrection.

1. Blood Magic

Depending on how you look at it, Melisandre's success rate with her blood magic varies pretty drastically. If you want to take it on faith that the Lord of Light is legit, you can assume a few things:

  1. Gendry's leeched blood (remember when she seduced Gendry, leeched him, then proceeded to burn said leeches back in Season 3?) really did cause the deaths of "imposter" kings Joffrey and Robb (and in the books, Balon Greyjoy — though on the show, his life status is still murky).
  2. Shireen's sacrifice made all of the snow melt, and could maybe-possibly provide the power to bring Jon back to life.

Now, on the other hand, if you're not a follower of the Lord of Light, things get a lot chancier: The burned leeches might have had no real effect on the demises of the imposter kings, and Shireen's untimely death may have had nothing to do with the melting snow — it could all just be a big coincidence (or worse, a trick). Whether you believe, or find it bogus really just comes down to personal preference — and the real answer could be somewhere in the middle.

And if you really want to get into it? Some fans are quick to point out that Melisandre's blood magic is really closer to that of Mirri Maz Duur's, as opposed to the fire magic wielded by Thoros of Myr (a.k.a the only other red priest we really know).

2. Visions

While Melisandre definitely has some precognition (that "you know nothing, Jon Snow" sent collective shivers down the spines of GoT fans the world over), we also know that it can be faulty. After all, if her visions were really keeping her on the up and up, she might have forseen little things, like the fact that half of Stannis' army would desert him after he burned his own daughter at the stake (not to mention the fact that he was going to get executed by Brienne of Tarth).

As with the effectiveness of her blood magic, fans fall into a number of camps when it comes to dissecting Melisandre's foresight-skills — some believe that she's prone to seeing what she wants to see (hey, we all do that), while others believe that she's doing the best that she can with some very unclear visions, while still others think that she vastly overrates her own powers.

3. Shadow Binding

OK, here's one all of us (plus poor Ser Davos) have all witnessed first-hand: Melisandre can birth shadow baby assassins. It's not exactly the same thing as bringing someone back to life, but you've got to believe that someone who is capable of gestating a shadow demon can do some pretty crazy stuff.

That said, if you really want to get into the nitty-gritty, shadow binding is not explicitly related to followers of the Lord of Light — it's actually a practice that comes from Asshai. So, depending on how you look at it, it may or may not have anything to do with her red priestess powers (this is all starting to make my head spin).

4. Glamours

We all know Melisandre's glamorous (har-har), but as it turns out, she's also been known to use glamours quite frequently — some believe that she uses them to hide her true age (Carice van Houten has said that she's over a hundred years old), and in the books, she uses them to make it appear as if Stannis' sword is on fire (you know, to seal the deal on the whole Azor Ahai thing). Oh, and there's also the fact that she successfully disguised Rattleshirt as Mance Rayder during his supposed execution, which is no mean feat.

This seems like a pretty concrete skill of hers, but it still leaves room for suspicion — after all, it also acts as proof that Melisandre is very, very good at making believe the things she wants them to believe.

5. Immunity

One of the first things Melisandre did when we were first getting to know her, was show herself to be invulnerable to poison: She drank a very potent cup of poisoned wine, her ruby necklace flashed — and poof! She lived.

6. Fire Magic

This little detail is easy to forget, but apparently Melisandre caused Orell's eagle to burst into flames. Not bad, eh?

7. Kiss of Life?

If you asked Melisandre, she'd probably tell you that she's the most powerful red priestess in the Seven Kingdoms (though, of course, she's biased) — so if Thoros of Myr can restore Beric Dondarrion to life six times, and Catelyn Stark once, it would follow that Melisandre would at the very least be able to resurrect Jon... right? If you look back to the episode where she meets Thoros and Beric, you'll notice that raising the dead isn't exactly par for the course in R'Hllor-land (she seems almost offended by the idea), but it does set a good precedent: At least she (and we) know it can be done.

So, what do you think? Can she pull it off? I'm inclined to think yes, if it really comes down to it: After all, the Melisandre theory is one of the most solid ones out there, and we've got to believe something if we're going to make it to next April without going crazy. Plus, this thread detailing Melisandre's powers on A Wiki of Ice and Fire is pretty enlightening, if you want to read up on the topic a little more — after combing through the four pages of fan discourse, the pro-Melisandre commenters had me pretty much convinced of her sorcery skills.

That said, I fully admit to being gullible as all heck... if I lived in the Seven Kingdoms, I'd probably be following the Lord of Light myself — bleeding heart banners, ritual sacrifices, leeches and all, because as we all know...

Images: Helen Sloan/HBO; Giphy (8)