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Sunday’s big 'Game of Thrones' twist has been planned for a long time

Tech Insider logo Tech Insider 25/04/2016 Kim Renfro

Melisandre Game of Thrones

Melisandre Game of Thrones
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Warning: Major spoilers ahead if you have not watched the season six premiere of "Game of Thrones."

The sixth season of "Game of Thrones" started with a huge reveal that many fans didn't see coming, . Melisandre, the red priestess who previously served Stannis Baratheon, removed all of her clothing and jewelry to reveal that she's actually a withered old woman.

HBO HBOThough some dedicated , many people were surprised to see Melisandre in her real form. Carice Van Houten (Melisandre) about this revelation and how she learned about it.

Though Van Houten had previously alluded to Melisandre's wizened state, that it wasn't until last year that she knew for certain. "I was really happy when I read that we were going to reveal that this year," Van Houten said. "I don’t think a lot of people will see that coming. It makes her immediately more vulnerable, but also more wise and even more mysterious. There’s also a vulnerability in her age."

The showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — who also wrote this episode's script — also spoke about the Melisandre twist in a .

"There have been a few hints before that Melisandre is much older than she appears," Benioff said. "Going back to a very early conversation with George R.R. Martin about her: she’s supposed to be several centuries old. We always wanted to show her true age and we’re waiting for the right moment and this was it for us."

The "right moment" seems to have coincided with Melisandre's realization that she was wrong about Stannis the whole time. He was not the hero the Lord of Light had shown her in the flames. 

HBO"Her appearance is a lie just as the Lord of Light’s supposed promises and messages to her were lies," Weiss explained. "At the end of episode one, she’s in a place where she really needs to look her real self in the eye and comes to terms with where she stands now."

Van Houten expanded on this idea of Melisandre's changing attitude in season six. "We see her from a really different side of her now," . "We see somebody whose whole belief system is tumbling down. She’s completely confused, and I really like to play that. After all the security and strength and pride, now we see something completely different. I’ve been really waiting for this moment."

Since Benioff and Weiss have strategically positioned this reveal, viewers can infer some meaning behind the sudden shift in Melisandre's personality.

Her loss of faith is a result of realizing that she misinterpreted signs from the Lord of Light. We've seen her magic — surviving being poisoned, birthing a shadow baby, concealing her true appearance — so clearly not everything was a lie. 

HBO In Sunday's episode, Melisandre stands over Jon Snow's dead body and says "I saw him in the flames, fighting at Winterfell." She looks horrified, at a loss for understanding how her vision was wrong. But here's the thing — .

Based on running fan theories, and go on to be a leader in the North. We know from leaked set photos that , probably participating in a battle against the Boltons. Melisandre's vision of Jon Snow fighting at Winterfell is almost certainly going to happen.

Her faith in the Lord of Light just needs a little stoking. Perhaps she will be granted a new vision? A stroke of magical inspiration to revive Jon Snow? We'll have to wait until next Sunday to find out.

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