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I was always confused with Melisandre and was never sure about the purpose she was serving in Game of Thrones. It seems to me that she had been always serving the Lord Of Light. That's why she had so many visions in flames all this time and had some sort of superpowers. However, she made many mistakes in the past and took wrong decisions, by sacrificing innocent people when she was supporting Stannis.

How's that possible if she has been always serving a god's will?

In addition, in s08e03 we see her coming back in Winterfell to help defeat the dead. In the final scene of the episode, after the end of the fight, she walks in the snow, removes her necklace, changes shape into something else and then disappears.

What does this mean? Did she die? Did she serve her purpose?

As far as I remember, she changed shape in the past once again in Episode 1 of Season 6 when she turned into an old lady after removing her necklace and looked herself in the mirror.

  • While gods are supposedly infallible, humans aren't. Does making mistakes and screwing up mean she wasn't trying to serve her god's will? Didn't the Israelites, in the Bible, have to wander in the wilderness for decades because they, and Moses, kept screwing up? And God supposedly talked directly to him/them, and not just in cryptic hints. She definitely drops the facade of youth when she takes off the necklace, so she did turn old and drop dead, as you suspect. – PoloHoleSet Apr 29 at 22:06
  • Yeah she is indeed human and she can make mistakes. However, she wasn't taking most of the decisions by herself. She had multiple visions from the LordOfLight, as she has mentioned, which were supposed to guide her to take the right decisions. – MJ13 Apr 29 at 22:13
  • But, as she herself said, she wasn't told in any direct way. She was trying to interpret signs and hints. She had a vision, but had to figure out what it was supposed to mean. Watch a scene from a movie, show or foreign film with no sound or subtitles. Have a dozen other people watch the same one. Ask them all what happened and what was said in that scene and see how many different answers you come up with. Most of those decisions she did make herself, because they were her interpretations of what she thought she was being told, subject to her fallibility. – PoloHoleSet Apr 29 at 22:17
  • Yeah I have to agree with that, although It was never clear from the start what exactly her purpose was,her motivations and her role in the show. – MJ13 Apr 29 at 22:22
  • My impression was that it wasn't necessarily something she could articulate or even knew. Seems like their god is more of a "do this, and await further instructions" micromanaging god vs a "here's the big picture" kind of a god. Like when the Hound would ask Beric why the Lord of Light kept bringing him back, and Beric had no answer for that. – PoloHoleSet Apr 29 at 22:26
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Melissandre's main goal has always been to serve her god R'hllor, the god of light. That theology actually acknowledges two gods, the second being the antagonistic Great Other, also known as the god of darkness and cold (mentioned both by her and Thoros). It is very strongly hinted that the white walkers are his servants. By helping to defeat them she fulfilled a big service towards her own god.

Aside from that it is clear that she made many mistakes along the way, misinterpreting signs and going very long ways to make her interpretation come true, especially with Stannis. After his defeat we already saw her fierce will diminish very clearly in season 6 episode 1. She has a revival of faith after bringing back Jon but clearly is never her fierce, over-confident self again (e.g. she barely challenges her banishment).

Putting those two together my interpretation is that she decided herself that her role of servitude to her god was fulfilled and saw no reason to live beyond that. Though I have no direct quote from showrunners to confirm that interpretation.

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Mellisandre's goal, as has already been mentioned, was to serve the god of light against the god of darkness.

I think it might be fair to say that in the end, her mission as she saw it completed, she finally removed her amulet and allowed herself to die of old age in the snow, echoing the time we saw her true age at Castle Black.

It was long mooted that 'the god of darkness' was with or in league with the Night King, so with his demise her personal battle was won; her night had ended, her watch was over. (I see this 'watch is over' meme from the Night Watch oath being echoed in many of the characters' deaths this season.)

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