Game of Thrones: How Old is Melisandre?

(Photo: HBO)

[Warning: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for tonight's episode of Game of Thrones. Do not read on unless you're caught up on the series or don't care about spoilers.]

Tonight's episode of Game of Thrones, entitled "The Red Woman", revealed of Melisandre's biggest secrets. While the Red Priestess, played by Carice van Houten, presents herself as a beautiful and seductive woman, the last scene of the episode revealed that she uses a glamour spell to hide her significantly older age. Although it was a pretty surprising scene, some Game of Thrones fans had suspected that Melisandre might be hiding her true age, as she wore a necklace with a distinctive red ruby at all times, even while bathing.

So how old is Melisandre? Well, a 2013 interview with actor Oliver Ford Davies might provide an answer. Davies played Maester Cressen in Game of Thrones, Stannis's Maester who unsuccessfully tried to poison both himself and Melisandre. Melisandre drank the poisoned wine, but showed no effect even as Cressen succumbed to disease. In an interview with "Flicks and the City", Davies recalls asking van Houten why her character survived the poison while he succumbed and she replied that Melisandre was four hundred years old. "Lesson learned," Davies joked. "If you're trying to poison someone, check first that they're not four hundred years old."

Since Melisandre is clearly older than she originally appears, what could this mean for Game of Thrones? Well, for one thing, this makes her possibly the oldest character in Westeros, even older than the Three-Eyed Raven who took in Bran Stark in Season 4. It also hints that she's practically immortal, as neither old age nor poison can kill her. In the A Song of Ice and Fire series, Melisandre mentions that she needs neither to eat nor sleep, as the Lord of Light provides her with all the nourishment she needs.

Melisandre's age also provides some additional proof that she's indeed has real magic, even if her prophecies aren't always accurate. Since she possesses at least some of the R'hllor's magic, she might also be the key to resurrecting Jon Snow, as Davos claims. As we saw way back in Season 3, Red Priests have the ability to bring the dead back to life, although not entirely without consequence. What that could mean for Melisandre is unclear, although it's likely fans will see plenty more of Melisandre and her magical abilities later this season.


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