By Ned Ehrbar
(CBS NEWS) – The Season 6 opener of “Game of Thrones” ended with something of a head-scratcher, leaving many fans mystified. But what does it mean?
The usual spoiler warnings apply if you haven’t watched the season premiere yet, but if you have you know that at the end of the episode, the mysterious Melisandre (Carice van Houten) retired to her guest chambers at Castle Black, began getting ready for bed, removed an ornate necklace containing a large red jewel and … transformed into an ancient-looking woman.
Fans of the show were shocked and confused, especially since this is the first season that takes place after the end of the currently published novels by George R.R. Martin. Truly, “Game of Thrones” is in uncharted territory.
But what exactly does this revelation mean for Melisandre and the story of the show at large? And exactly how old is she? On that note, the episode’s director, Jeremy Podeswa, isn’t going into specifics.
“The idea is there’s an indefinite indeterminate quality that she could be ancient,” Podeswa said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “We were limited by choosing to use a real person rather than a complete CG creation. Because what does a 400-year-old person look like? We don’t know. So if you try to create that, then you’re creating something that looks beyond our known reality. Here you feel like she’s very old without putting a number on it.”
But the fact that Melisandre is revealing her true self now is important, given what’s happened to her character on the show — following last season’s resounding defeat and death of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) after he followed all of her instructions, including burning his young daughter at the stake.
“At that moment, it’s a telling gestural thing to do,” Podeswa said. “She’s questioning her power and ability to prosthelytize. She’s at her lowest point, looking at the mirror and her true self. It’s a sign of her frailty. You’re seeing her at her most vulnerable moment.”
Some celebrities were at least looking to make light of the mystical revelation:
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