The first episode of Game of Thrones’s sixth season aired on Sunday and while it light on shocking revelations overall, the episode’s final scene gave viewers quite a bit to chew on (let’s just say that the episode’s title, “The Red Woman,” was more than justified).
As you’re surely aware by now, the episode ended with Melisandre taking off her clothes, as she is wont to do; only this time, she also took off magic necklace, revealing herself to actually be a centuries-old crone. The implication here is that the necklace allows Melisandre to look much younger while she’s wearing it. However, as pointed out by some observant fans, this actually isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Red Woman sans necklace, which throws the theory that it’s the necklace alone keeping her young into question.
The Season 4 episode “Mockingbird” features a scene in which we see Melisandre take a bath, which doesn’t seem all that peculiar until you notice that she’s not wearing her necklace and yet still retains her youthful appearance. If we’re to believe that Melisandre’s ability to disguise her age is tied to the necklace, than this is either a massive continuity error on the show’s part … or it could be deliberate, as explained by a Redditor named “brashendeavors.”
Of course, this makes all the more fascinating the show episode (S4E7) where Melisandre is taking a bath without her ruby choker. This scene was not in the books, many wondered if D&D had messed up, but I think the omission was quite deliberate.
The only person to see her like this is Stannis wife Selyse. Selyse has this strange expression the entire time. Like she cannot look directly at Melisandre yet also cannot look away. At first you think it is that of a religious “uptight” person seeing a naked and very sexual woman. But if you rewatch the scene, and “pretend” to yourself that Selyse is seeing Melisandre as she actually appears, it actually fits better. WE still see the seductress, Selyse sees the hag. She is horrified yet fascinated and not at all shocked. She knew all along (just like she knows the true fate of her daughter), Melisandre explains she does not need to use her “tricks” on the true convert (Stannis is NOT a true convert but his wife is).
Whether or not this actually turns out to be a continuity error (and if it is, it’s a pretty substantial one), it will interesting to see if the show addresses how Melisandre disguises herself. Who knows; the necklace could be the real “smoke and mirror” in all of this and Melisandre is able to project a youthful visage whether she wears it or not. At any rate, we’re itching to get more details about the character’s fancy parlor trick!