Carice Van Houten Confirms That Theory About Melisandre's Necklace

And now it is known.

05/05/2016 6:11 AM AEST | Updated 05/05/2016 6:11 AM AEST
Behold The Red Woman, un-glamoured. 

WARNING: This post contains spoilers for "Game of Thrones" Season 6.

Nothing in the "Game of Thrones" Season 6 premiere was more shocking than its final scene: Melisandre, having learned about Jon Snow's death in addition to Stannis' recent demise, removes her clothes and ruby choker necklace to reveal her true self. Standing as an ancient woman with sparse white hair, she sadly folds herself into bed.

Questions were raised: How old is Melisandre, really? Who else knows her secret? Does her necklace give her the ability to appear youthful?

George R.R. Martin's books give us a little more information. We know that Melisandre has the power to use glamours, or illusions. In A Dance With Dragons, she tells Jon Snow: 

Call it what you will. Glamor, seeming, illusion. R'hllor is Lord of Light, Jon Snow, and it is given to his servants to weave with it, as others weave with thread.

Later on, Melisandre explains how objects with a strong connection to a person help create the strongest glamours. Objects like her very own ruby necklace, which fans speculated to be the key to her youthful appearance. Melisandre is not shown without it except for one Season 4 scene, in which she takes a bath in front of Selyse Baratheon.

The Huffington Post spoke with actress Carice van Houten, who plays the Red Woman on the show, to confirm that when Melisandre takes off the necklace, her glamour is gone, revealing her true age. 

So, is it the truth? "Well, yes," she replied. 

With that detail cleared up, we're still not sure whether the Season 4 scene was simply a mistake or if Selyse -- a devout follower of Melisandre and the Lord of Light -- really knew about the priestess' age.

There are three things, however, that make us think Selyse was definitely aware. One, van Houten gave an interview in 2012 suggesting her character was "way over 100 years" old, meaning the twist was likely in the works for a while. Two, series co-creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss suggested the show dropped "a few hints" as to Melisandre's age before the Season 6 premiere, further suggesting they knew well in advance. Three, Benioff and Weiss have always very carefully doled out details that would not become relevant until many episodes later.

But with Selyse dead on the show, only Bran could tell us for sure.

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