Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Xray the Enforcer

[ADWD SPOILERS] Melisandre 1

Recommended Posts

The only thing I did not enjoy that much was the Mance reveal. I liked Martin for not going down the cheap deus ex machina roots for getting his characters out of tough situations, but instead killed them off. It seems in this book that we have so many cases of characters who just pop out of nowhere and survive in situations where they should have been dead. It would have been much more interesting if it turned out that Rattleshirt was a grey character, that we were only seeing Jon's own biased view, and that Mance did die screaming in the end... A bad ending to an otherwise good chapter. I hope Martin does kill 'somebody' though, and that they'll stay dead.

I was torn. I was pretty disappointed with the way that Mance 'died.' It did seem out of character, but I was more upset at Jon for apparently not being upset. It's been a while since I read storm of swords but wasn't Mance sort of like a mentor to him for a while? Very respectable guy and he saved Jon, and Jon didn't seem to care much when he was supposedlyburned alive.

The other thing I wondered was, why didn't Rattleshirt yell out that he wasn't mance as he was being burned? How did he get forced into pretending he was a king even as he was dying?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh ye of little faith (in GRRM). Though I had no idea of the detail I knew Mel was being set up as being a one note aevil w(b)itch, which is totally not GRRM's style in this series, we've only see Mel from Davos' PoV and we know Davis has nothing good to say about Mel. So I knew Mel's chapter would change a lot of people's minds about her. Sure I don't expect many to be "converts" but I think most will agree that her motivations are good, only her methods and assumptions are a bit off sometimes. People fervently wanted to believe the worst of Mel in the face of stylistic evidence to the contrary. I also think there were bits of dialogue in past Davos chapters that showed Mel was not wicked witch of the east. I always though she respected Davos, and her inner monologue in this chapter confirms it. Actually it's Davos who comes of as one-eyed when it comes to respect.

I want to know more about the young slave girl she was, she's obviously vulnerable and she's wearing emotional armour. I'd like to see somone get through that armour. Jon perhaps? I don't see anyone else in Mel's life being able to reach her emotionally, though maybe Val could become like a sister to her.

Anyway I always liked Mel despite her character flaws (primarily being that of whipping up excessive religious fervour in others to achieve her own ends), mostly because I always thought her heart was in the right place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mmmm I don't know, I still have little love for Melisandre.

And I definitely don't like Jon getting too close to her.

And what was

Food. Yes, I should eat. Some days she forgot. R'hllor provided her with all the nourishment her body needed, but that was something best concealed from mortal men.

about? Suspicious...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally realized from reading this chapter and thread how Dany hatched her eggs.

Mel always said that she needed kings blood to wake the stone dragons, and she and us always assumed it was the dragon gargoyles at Dragonstone.

But, actually, wherever she got that information was referring to the stone dragon eggs!

Maybe someone actually came up with this theory before. I am not a heavy user of this site, so I'm sure I'm not the first to realize this, but Drogo was Khal (a king) and he was burned in the fire with the stone dragon(egg)s, which were then woken.

Of course, he wasn't alive at the time, so that may be a nick in my theory's armor, but I still think it is a good theory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other thing I wondered was, why didn't Rattleshirt yell out that he wasn't mance as he was being burned? How did he get forced into pretending he was a king even as he was dying?

In short? He did do that.

"[Mance Rayder] screamed incoherently of treachery and witchery, denying his kingship, denying his people, denying his name, denying all that he had ever been. He shrieked for mercy and cursed the red woman and began to laugh hysterically."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, it's great to finally get more insight into Mel but I'm still not completely ready to let her off the hook. I still always come back to the fundamental question: if she truly believes Stannis is AAR then why the need for the fake Lightbringer? Also, we see that Mel is quite the accomplished illusionist and, literally speaking, charmer (i.e. changes the way people appear and can control them with magic through those gems of hers). I've always thought Mel's very appearance had to be an illusion and I don't have the chapter in front of me but I thought I may have read something that suggested this when it was talking about her origins. I'll have to look for it again.

Finally, I think something that could explain much and more about Mel is that I think she has received the "kiss of fire" ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, it's great to finally get more insight into Mel but I'm still not completely ready to let her off the hook. I still always come back to the fundamental question: if she truly believes Stannis is AAR then why the need for the fake Lightbringer?

Think this goes back to her fixation with the trappings of power. She may believe Lightbringer is a myth.

You know, throughout most of the series I've thought of her as a really powerful figure - exactly her intention - but this one chapter really opened my eyes. She's just a Westeros version of an astrologer, and her flames are star-charts. And this wouldn't be a huge problem, except that Jon seems like he may be starting to base military strategy around her nonsense.

Well ok, I guess she can birth shadow-assassins too, but still. Ship her back off to wherever she came from and the realm would be safer for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it just me, or do some of these chapters seem more like episodes of Scooby Doo?

The body-swapping/reveals are getting a little stale.

And this chapter doesn't redeem Mel one bit for me. Almost all the evil in the world is done by people with good intentions. Only actions determine what's right and what's wrong; not intentions. This is still the same chick who tried to set Edric Storm on fire and killed Cortnay Penrose for not giving up the boy.

SHE IS EVIL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are some of you really ready to say that her intentions make her a good person? I liked this chapter too, but Melisande burns people alive. She uses the life force of the men she sleeps with to birth shadows that assassinate people. Whatever she may believe about Stannis and AAR, nothing can change her actions. Moreover, she sees nothing wrong with what she does - if what she thinks needs to happen requires burning someone alive, even a child, then she feels fully justified in doing it. I saw some compassion in her, but no hint of remorse or regret. She thinks of Stannis as someone she needs. Maybe she even cares about him a little - the way a lord would care about their favorite hunting hound, not the way we care about a person. If she did care about him as a person she wouldn't have been willing to use his life force to create the shadows that killed Cortnay Penrose and Renly. As I recall, after those two deaths people noted how muted and withdrawn Stannis was. Mel even said to Davos that his life force could not support another such shadow. She's burned off a part of Stannis himself to achieve these ends, and she'll do it again if she needs to. Probably with Jon, if she can manage it. She may think she's doing the right thing but that doesn't actually change what she's really done or intends to do. Melisandre is one of the few people in the series I find to be truly, truly evil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it just me, or do some of these chapters seem more like episodes of Scooby Doo?

That made me laugh out loud :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always thought Mel's very appearance had to be an illusion and I don't have the chapter in front of me but I thought I may have read something that suggested this when it was talking about her origins.

This is what occurred to me--if she was a temple slave, shouldn't she have flame tattoos on her face like the priests Tyrion saw?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something doesn't add up. If all the red priests/priestess are slaves, how come Mel and Thoros aren't slaves anymore/ever? I never noticed a slave mark on Thoros either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wondering about Mel's concern about Davos and his son. Seems to me that she might have future designs on using Davos in the future for her ends, rather than there being any real concern for them.

Looking back, I'm wondering if there was any opportunity for Mel to obtain Davos' fingerbone bag before he went off to the flaming battle at Knight's Landing -- possibly a substitution so that what he lost wasn't the real thing? Just so much has been written about that fingerbone bag that it leads me to think that it's going to be important later. Also have to look back to previous chapters to see if anybody has any mention of losing a pair of boots or hanks of hair??

Also thinking that her red eyes and hair and relative beauty might very well be just as much of a 'glamor' as what she's put onto other people.

Finally has she had any opportunity to impersonate other people? That ability really complicates all the possible plot outcomes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great chapter. One of my favorites in this book.

I don't think I've seen it mentioned yet and I'm very curious:

What do people think the deal is with Melisandre's ruby necklace? She never takes it off, not even when she's feeling intense pain like when the fake Mance was being burned. She made it seem like she feared she didn't know what would have happened if Jon hadn't given the command to have the archers take the guy out instead.

I think the ruby is somehow tied into her glamour in a similar way that the bracelet is tied into the glamouring of Mance. I wonder if this means that somebody else is controlling Mel and that she's perhaps technically still a slave only maybe a higher ranking one since those in charge at the temple in Asshai seem to think she's particularly good at being a red priestess. Maybe this is why we can't see her slave mark?

OTOH if she's being controlled or helped by some R'hllor follower in Asshai I do wonder why she thinks to her diminishing powders and materials as though she thinks it's possible that she won't be able to refill her supply? Why wouldn't she be able to send for supplies if she's working at their cause? Is it possible that she fled Asshai to become something of a rogue priestess? Could this be another reason why she's a little paranoid for her personal safety?

Whatever the case I definitely think that Mel is way older than she appears to be. Not needing to eat, barely needing to sleep, always attractive, always radiating heat, and referring to other men as "mortal"? I think she's old, very old, but I don't think she's immortal. She has shown too many doubts.

Finally, I thought this chapter made it clear that Stannis isn't only having sex with Melisandre in order to unleash shadowbabies on whoever it is who defies him. It's been awhile since we've seen or heard about a shadowbaby attacking anyone but she makes it seem like he's been sharing her bed all the same.

So much for Stannis being sexually uptight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I never noticed a slave mark on Thoros either.

He never was a slave. If I remember correctly (it must have been explained somewhere in ACOK, ASOS or AFFC) he was a spoiled kid from a rich family who became a priest so he didn't have to get a real job, and chose the Red God because wine stains don't show on red robes. Obviously, they're not gonna enslave people joining them voluntarily. Also, I'm not sure whether tattooing slaves on the cheeks isn't a Volantis-only thing.

When they burned "Mance", I wondered about the baby. Didn't Melisandre want to burn Mance and his child together for her blood magic? Did she know it's the wrong baby and decide that one king's blood would suffice? But then, why isn't she angry at Jon because of the switch? Now it all makes sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Finally, I think something that could explain much and more about Mel is that I think she has received the "kiss of fire"

But she also mentions that she sleeps and dreams. Granted, not very much, and she tries to avoid it, but I thought that it was pretty clear that Beric Dondarrion and UnCat neither ate nor slept. There's something queer about that line, for sure, but I'm not sure she's the same as Beric and Catelyn.

I'm wondering if she's Qartheen, and then sold as a slave in Asshai? In ACOK it's mentioned that her skin is incredibly pale, so that would make a lot of sense. I know the slave trade is globally reaching and everything, but I just find it incredibly unlikely a native Westerosi (where slavery is outlawed) would be enslaved and then end up at a red temple in Asshai. She's probably from a closer, eastern country.

I'm guessing that the towers by the sea being overcome by darkness with winged shadows above is Mereen?

Although she was pushing to have Mance burned, I think she understood that he wasn't a king, and just wanted to do it as a show of power for what king's blood could do (by making Lightbringer brighter with another spell) and to try to convert the wildlings to R'hollor (it would work in her own, fanatical mind). This also makes it completely unnecessary for Jon to have switched Gilly's and Dalla's babies, but I guess there's no way he could have known that.

I liked this chapter, except the ending, I agree that this switcharoo device is getting really stale. Let's see: first he does it with Bran/Rickon in ACOK (fair enough, it was the first time), then again with Davos in this book, the wildling baby switch in AFFC/ADWD, the Aegon baby switch and, of course, the Jeyne/Arya switch. Add all that to stuff like Wex hiding in the heart tree when Maester Luwin was dying (it was more believable the first time he used that retcon device with Mace sneaking into the feast at Winterfell -- two is just too much and this one is more out there) and all the deus ex mechania is really wearing down what is otherwise a good book (and excellent series) so far.

I'm surprised a lot of people were surprised by Mel's characterization or had her opinion changed of her by this chapter. She came off pretty much as I expected her to with the same motivations and manipulative tendencies and I really don't see how having her as a POV would reveal too much. It's a lot like the show Lost, you get flashbacks and POVs from people like Ben and Jacob later down the line but it turns out that they have no idea wtf is going on or what they're doing either, even if they have more superficial knowledge/glimpses of it. Same with Mel, as we saw in this chapter.

Oddly enough Mel reminds me of Varys (I think Varys clearly knows a lot more than Mel and is legitimately in the "knows too much" camp). She's fighitng for the greater good (against the Others) and trying to save innocent people's lives when she can, but in the process is doing some pretty nasty, horrific things. Granted, Mel's horrific things are even more unnecessary than Varys' because they're done for fanatical religious reasons (burning innocents alive, etc) but she THINKS they're necessary, just as Varys deems it necessary to have an innocent baby's head smashed against the wall in place of Aegon. They have good intentions but don't shy away from what they think they have to do for the greater good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But she also mentions that she sleeps and dreams. Granted, not very much, and she tries to avoid it, but I thought that it was pretty clear that Beric Dondarrion and UnCat neither ate nor slept. There's something queer about that line, for sure, but I'm not sure she's the same as Beric and Catelyn.

I honestly don't recall if it was ever said whether Donderrion or Stoneheart slept or not (maybe it was?) Also, whether or not they needed to eat and Mel seems to be just eating to keep up appearances. And seeing how much of an illusionist Mel is I don't think we can take anything about her appearance at face value. I've always thought her physical appearance is just too perfect for a supposed Red Priestess, too pat.

You also mention Aegon. My fundamental question is: does the phrase "Mummer's Dragon" from Dany's vision mean he's a fake or does the word "Mummer" in that phrase refer to Varys (as in, Aegon is Varys's "Dragon")? Hmm, either way I think she needs to "beware" him...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, death and guest rights really aren't what they used to be.

"It's me Mance!" was a jump the shark moment for me. Can't anybody stay dead?

Next I'm expecting a Ned POV. "Hi, everybody! It's me, Ned. You thought I was dead? Nah. Varys fit me with a phoney head on a spring to fool everybody. Payne was in on it too. Did we laugh! I've just been hanging out here with my friends, Gandalf and Spock and Harry."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×