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One Woman All in Red


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A user from reddit visited the Cushing Library and checked the early drafts of AFfC dating to 2004 June. At this moment in the manuscript, there were still chapters belonging to Jon and the other POV characters that were later removed to ADwD after the split. In one of these early Jon drafts, there is a discarded vision of Mel as posted below with a mysterious woman all in red.


“The fires show me much and more,” murmured Melisandre. “faces and shapes, the morrow and the day after, the path ahead and the path not taken. I have seen your rangers riding through the storm, Jon Snow, with pale shadows all around them. It is you who leads the riders, with your beast beside you. Behind come twenty men in black… and one woman all in red.”

The rest of the draft chapters reveal that at this moment, Jon was planning to lead a ranging party to deal with the mutineers at Crasters and at the same time, find out what happened to the rest of wildlings that were scattered to the Haunted Forest after Stannis defeated Mance. The question is, obviously, who is this red woman?

This woman cannot be Mel. She saw it in a vision. If it was herself, she would know it as it was made clear in her POV later. It is possible that GRRM might have wanted the readers to think that this red woman might be Mel at first glance, only to reveal that she was someone else he set up earlier. That is similar to how he played the grey girl on a dying horse in the published version.

But if not Mel, who else might this red woman be? I think I know the answer, especially after considering the possibility that she might be someone else he set up earlier.

A Storm of Swords - Jon I


“One day on a ranging we brought down a fine big elk. We were skinning it when the smell of blood drew a shadow-cat out of its lair. I drove it off, but not before it shredded my cloak to ribbons. Do you see? Here, here, and here?” He chuckled. “It shredded my arm and back as well, and I bled worse than the elk. My brothers feared I might die before they got me back to Maester Mullin at the Shadow Tower, so they carried me to a wildling village where we knew an old wisewoman did some healing. She was dead, as it happened, but her daughter saw to me. Cleaned my wounds, sewed me up, and fed me porridge and potions until I was strong enough to ride again. And she sewed up the rents in my cloak as well, with some scarlet silk from Asshai that her grandmother had pulled from the wreck of a cog washed up on the Frozen Shore. It was the greatest treasure she had, and her gift to me.”

> Grandmother, found the scarlet silk from Asshai, dead

>> her daughter, old wisewoman, dead

>>> her daughter, healed Mance and patched up his cloak with scarlet silk, unknown status


I think the woman all in red in the vision was either the one who healed Mance or an unrevealed daughter of her (i.e. >>>>). I am leaning towards the unrevealed daughter being the one. But I don’t think we will see her in TWoW since GRRM removed this part from the published version. However, I believe GRRM introduced a replacement for this character to play a similar role in ADwD and she is none other than Morna White Mask, who is a warrior witch wearing a weirwood mask.


The daughter of the old wisewoman healed Mance from a fatal wound that would have bled him to death. The last we saw Jon, he was bleeding to death just like Mance after getting shredded by the shadowcat. This connection is not a coincidence IMO. 


I think Jon is mortally wounded and needs supernatural healing before long. After being thrown to an ice cell as foreshadowed, the extreme cold will make Jon’s blood congeal and freeze, preventing fatal blood loss. Jon’s connection to Ghost will allow him to draw strength from his wolf and survive longer than what should normally be possible, just like Bran did while he was in a coma back in AGoT. Before it is too late, his body will be somehow taken to Morna White Mask and she will do the magic, most probably by a blood sacrifice.


In the original scenario from the draft, I think the assassination would take place during the ranging beyond the Wall and the red woman would do the magic there and then.


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