Why Melisandre's ruby necklace in Game of Thrones is so important

29 April 2019, 16:58

Emma Clarke

By Emma Clarke

Some buy expensive creams to keep their youthful glow, but our girl Melisandre relies on her mysterious ruby necklace.

It's fair to say that Melisandre, AKA the Red Woman, has remained an enigma for pretty much the entirety of Game of Thrones.

She first graced our screens back in season 2, when she was backing Stannis Baratheon's claim to the Iron Throne, but after a series of pretty BIG mistakes (it was Melisandre who sentenced little Shireen Baratheon to death in the name of the Lord of Light, and it was her who placed a load of leeches on Gendry's naked body after seducing him), she then lost favour with most of Westeros...

That was, until she rocked up in last night's episode and brought. it. home.

One thing fans still aren't 100% sure on, however, is how that ruby red, hexagonal necklace of hers fits into it all. Let's have a look...


What does the Red Woman do in season 8, episode 3?

Always one to do things her own way, The Red Woman (played by Carice van Houten) made a very unexpected appearance in last night's Game of Thrones.

As the Dothraki and Unsullied lined up outside Winterfell, protecting the Starks' stronghold against the White Walkers and the Night King, Melisandre rocked up on horseback.

Not only did she step in for the show's lighting department, who were clearly on their hols, she lit up the Dothraki's blades, set the trenches on fire when Dany couldn't see the signal and was generally pretty awesome.

Sadly, at the end of the episode, we saw Melisandre meet her maker, as she had apparently fulfilled the Lord of Light's purpose for her.

Before she died, however, she took off that necklace and discarded it in the snow, as Ser Davos watched her leave Winterfell one final time.

READ MORE: Melisandre's "Prince Who Was Promised" prophecy was actually about Arya

Melisandre hasn't always been a crowd-pleaser, but last night she brought it HOME.
Melisandre hasn't always been a crowd-pleaser, but last night she brought it HOME. Picture: HBO

What powers does Melisandre's necklace have?

We first caught a glimpse of Melisandre's bejewelled neck back in season 2, when a bright red comet was hurtling top speed over Westeros, marking the birth of Dany's dragons.

Donning a red dress, naturally, the sorceress was chilling on the beach with Stannis and Ser Davos, after torching old statues of the Seven, all in the name of the Lord of Light.

But it wasn't until the premiere of season 6 that we discovered why she wears that necklace all the time.

As Melisandre was getting ready for some much-needed kip, she disrobed and drew herself a bath. Like any woman would, she removed her favourite piece of jewellery before sinking into the water, but as she did so, her visage went from red-headed beauty, to ancient old priestess.

Speaking to Elle back in 2017, actress Carice van Houten shed some light on the ruby choker. Carice said: "You could sense [Melisandre's frailty] from her costumes. I was always freezing cold while shooting [outside] in my regular costume.

"Because Melisandre is never cold. But in the sixth season, she actually wears a fur draped around her in front of the fire. She's cold. She's depressed. She knows she's made a mistake."

So, the logical conclusion to draw is that the secret to Melisandre's youthful glow is not anti-aging creams, but the necklace. And that kinda makes sense, because the red jewell in the middle glows whenever Melisandre is feeling powerful, but it dims when she's been blacklisted by the Seven Kingdoms.

However, we've seen her take a dip before in season 4 without the jewellery - and her appearance was the same as ever.

When asked about the plot hole, van Houten simply replied: "That was an oops moment."

How old is Melisandre supposed to be and what else do we know about her identity?

Melisandre is ancient

Back in 2012, Carice van Houten divulged: "I don’t know how old she is, but she’s way over 100 years, so she is a wiser spirit, in a way, but it’s difficult for me to say too much because A — we want it to at least stay sort of a mystery and B — I didn’t read the books."

Show-runner David Benioff then said Melisandre was "several centuries old."

Then Carice had another go at guessing her character's age, stating she was "400".

She was a slave

Despite the fact she tells Gendry she was "bought and sold, scourged and branded" as a slave, she doesn't actually have any marks on her body. While another red priestess by the name of Volantis (who appeared in the show many moons ago) has a tear-shaped tattoo.

She's hella religious

The Red Priestess follows the religion of R'hllor, and gives her entire life to the Lord of Light.

She can bring people back from the dead

She brought Jon Snow back from the dead after Olly and the Night's Watch mercilessly stabbed him to death.

She gave birth to a shadow baby

While trying to convince Stannis that he needed her assistance to secure the Iron Throne, Melisandre gave birth to a shadow baby in one of Ser Davos' pirate caves (no, that's not a euphemism).

It is the shadow baby that assassinates Stannis' younger brother, Renly, who's hanging out with our old pal Margery and her brother Loras.

The Red Woman is actually ancient
The Red Woman is actually ancient. Picture: HBO