How Melisandre Came Through For The Battle Of Winterfell On 'Game Of Thrones'

by Rebecca Patton
Helen Sloan/HBO

In a much-anticipated third episode, the Game of Thrones Battle of Winterfell episode finally premiered on April 28. And while the first 10 minutes were both tense and quiet, an unexpected character reemerged before the fighting started. Melisandre returned on Game of Thrones, but she soon made it clear that she would be dead before the battle was said and done.

Audiences will recall that the disciple for the Lord of Light fled Westeros in Season 7 — but before she did, Melisandre predicted her own death. While several groups were gathered in Dragonstone — including Dany, Jon, and Tyrion — the witch told Varys, "I have to die in this strange country, just like you." She foreshadowed her death again in Season 8, Episode 3. "There's no need to execute me, Ser Davos," she told the Onion Knight, who eyed her suspiciously. "I'll be dead before the dawn."

It was understandable for Davos to be wary of Melisandre — after all, she was the reason that Shireen was burned at the stake. Not to mention the fact that both Stannis and Renly Baratheon were arguably dead by her hand, whether purposefully (as in Renly's case) or not (RIP, Stannis).

But while Melisandre has long-been a controversial figure in both the books and HBO series, she finally used her powers for good at the Battle of Winterfell, lighting first the Dothraki's swords like torches, then setting the trenches on fire. In this sense, it was clear that this fight was bigger than any egos, religious beliefs, or personal vendettas — this was for the survival of humanity. And the Red Woman reinforced the blockade in the nick of time — right as a wight flew at her face, in fact, before he was lit up like a Christmas tree.

Unfortunately, the Dothraki's fire swords didn't seem to help too much, as Daenerys's troops were soon wiped out by the Night King's army. This was understandably hard for viewers to take, although they'd been steeling themselves for the inevitable slaughter all week.

That said, Melisandre was still a key component to the Battle of Winterfell. You need fire to counteract ice, after all, and who better to fan the flames than the Lord of Light and his disciples? And while the fire didn't hold the wights back forever, her party trick held them back long enough for the troops to catch their breath and brace themselves for the inevitable onslaught.

While audiences were introduced to the Lord of Light, a.k.a. R'hllor, through the Red Woman back in Season 2, he also has other followers. These include Beric Dondarrion and even The Hound. And it seems like the deity had one more assignment for her to complete before she lay down to die, as she predicted. Arya saw Melisandre and told her, "You said I'd shut many eyes forever. You were right about that, too." The Red Woman responded, "Brown eyes, green eyes, and blue eyes."

Although she was clearly referring to White Walkers, audiences understood the significance of her words when Arya stabbed the Night King toward the end of the episode, shocking audiences. But while it was a triumphant ending to a nail-biting episode, the casualties were quite literally countless — including Melisandre, who calmly walked into a clearing, took off her necklace, and died. And although the night is dark and full of terrors, as the Red Woman is so fond of saying, hopefully she found some peace in the end.