Ah, prophecies. In A Feast For Crows George RR Martin memorably compares peering into the future to a “treacherous woman” performing oral sex: “You moan with the pleasure of it and think, how sweet, how fine, how good this is… and then her teeth snap shut and your moans turn to screams.” Basically, prophecies are untrustworthy, as are those who dispense them. However, much of Melisandre’s gazing into the flames was done for her own information, seeking to understand the will of R’hillor, and she was burned as much as those she sought to influence. Deceived or not, Melisandre’s determination to get Stannis to the Wall saved Jon and the Night’s Watch. But she finally had clear reassurance her visions were true in another powerful moment.
The HBO adaptation makes it very clear in a clever sequence of shots after the Starks and their Vale allies finally retake Winterfell.
The camera shows Jon looking down at Ramsay Bolton, bloody and beaten on the snowy ground. It cuts to a shot of Bolton banners being hurled from the walls as a grand Stark banner unfurls and retakes its rightful place.
The shot cuts directly to a close-up of Melisandre, who has a self-satisfied look on her face – although when does she not? – and then back again to the banner.
Why focus on her face and not one of the Starks? What has it got to do with her?
Quora user Apurva Nandan explains it all: “Flashback to season 5, when Stannis was planning to attack Winterfell, he was slightly worried. Melisandre tells him not to, for she has seen (in the flames) the Bolton banners being lowered to the ground.
“Also, she tries to convince Jon to fight for Stannis because she had seen him fighting at Winterfell. Remember when Jon dies, she says (in shock) “’ saw him in the flames, fighting at Winterfell'”
Even the smirking and self-satisfied Melisandre had huge moments of self-doubt. Especially when things she had seen did not come to pass. Most notably, her entire mistake over Stannis.
Seeing the Bolton banners lowered and Jon fighting at Winterfell was a huge moment for the Red Priestess. The camerawork in the show reminds us (and her) of that.
As for the whole Prince Who was Promised, it’s debatable whether the show ever really tackled it.
Technically Arya is the one who ended the war and defeated the Night King. But then Daenerys also proved to be a major threat to Westeros and was killed by Jon. Was either of them the prophecised prince? Or is there still an even bigger threat coming one day?
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