The Actor Behind Melisandre Knows Why You Don’t Hate Her Anymore

By Mathew Jedeikin

If you watch HBO's mega-hit show Game of Thrones then you probably have a complicated love/hate relationship with Melisandre, the Lord of Light-worshipping Red Priestess. In a new interview with Elle magazine, Carice van Houten — who plays Melisandre on the series — spoke about some of her character's iconic moments, and perfectly summarized why Game of Thrones fans are now in love with Melisandre after despising her during seasons prior. Spoilers ahead if you aren't up-to-date on GoT.

Melisandre has been the source of a number of shocking moments on GoT. "I've had some really epic scenes," van Houten told Elle. "In fact, I'm spoiled because now I feel like, 'Where was my big, crazy scene this year?'"

In case you need a refresher, it was Melisandre (supposedly guided by the Lord of Light) who gave birth to the shadow monster that killed Renly Baratheon. Oh yeah, and there was also that time she told Stannis Baratheon that he needed to burn his daughter Shireen alive as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light. Yup, the centuries old Red Priestess definitely has a reputation among fans for her ruthless dedication. But then something happened that caused fans opinions of Melisandre to flip: She brought Jon Snow back to life after he died at the end of Season 5.

"There are people who take the show very seriously," van Houten told Elle about the negative opinions of her character that dominated social media after some of Melisandre's unpopular activities. "So it [convincing Stannis to sacrifice his daughter] definitely didn't get me any sympathy points, that's for sure." But then, when she resurrected Jon Snow in Season 6 everything changed. "Suddenly, I was a hero! All of a sudden it was 'Melisandre for President!' Before it was just, 'Die, b*tch, die!'"

Bringing Jon Snow back to life changed more than just fans opinions about Melisandre's intentions, it also reassured viewers that Melisandre's visions weren't entirely misguided after her predictions had proven to be incorrect a number of times. "She's learned from her mistakes," van Houten explained. "She's more careful. She's regained a little bit of her faith after bringing Jon Snow back from the dead."

True enough — us loyal GoT fans now definitely have a little more faith in Melisandre and her abilities. Sadly though, according to Elle, Melisandre only makes two brief appearances during Season 7. But you know what they say, it's always good to leave them wanting more.