Game of Thrones
has taken a
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turn. Melisandre, the seductive, witchy Red Woman showed her true, naked self to viewers and it was a lot prunier than usual.
As she was preparing for bed, the Red Woman disrobed in front of a mirror, which is nothing we haven't seen before. But as soon as she removed her necklace, with its glowing red amulet, she suddenly transformed into a bare-skinned little old lady.
Fans on Twitter reacted how you might expect. The "N for Nudity" warning at the beginning of just about every episode is usually a good indicator that a pair of perky breasts are about to appear on screen. Instead viewers got a body that's given in to gravity. The nerve!
Actress Carice Van Houten told People that what we see on screen is a digital mash-up of two performers - Van Houten after six hours of makeup and an 80-year-old body double. The actress estimates that her character is between 200 and 300 years old.
This is all very shocking - unless of course you've read the books, in which case you might have seen this coming. (Well, maybe not all of it.) Season six of GoT was supposed to be the point when book readers and show watchers ended up on even ground as the plot of this season jumps beyond George R.R. Martin's books. But readers still have the edge.
In A Dance With Dragons, Melisandre herself explains to Jon Snow that she has the ability to use "glamors." In other words, she can conjure up illusions, which is clearly what she's been doing with her appearance for centuries.
Without her necklace, Melisandre looks powerless - the antithesis of her usual stoic and scheming self. It's a little disheartening to see the woman who's supposed to revive Jon Snow - pretty please? - looking so sheepish before scampering over to bed and pulling the covers over her head. Is this a sign that she's just giving up? Or is going old and au natural part of her nightly ritual?
According to actor Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos, it's most likely the latter.
"What we've seen at the end of episode 1 is like, 'Whaaat?'" Cunningham told People. "It's an explosion of difference for Carice ... and me and her have somewhere to go with this bizarre relationship that Davos and Melisandre have."
If that's the case, seeing Melisandre's transformation should be only reassuring - at least for people who want to see Jon Snow alive again. The Red Woman hasn't had a great track record of late, what with the annihilation of Stannis's army and the needless sacrifice of Shireen. Melisandre is even starting to doubt herself. When she saw Jon dead, she admitted that she had seen him fighting at Winterfell in the flames.
But she still has the power to transform believably into a provocative enchantress whose hobbies include seducing men and giving birth to shadow babies. And that means we can't count her out yet.