I just rewatched S5:E7 (The Gift), and in light of certain recent filming news, Stannis and Melisandre’s conversation jumped out at me. Around 17:10, this is their exchange:
Stannis: “I’ve trusted in your visions and your prophecies for years.”
Mel: “You saw it yourself, my king, when you stared into the flames. A great battle in the snow.”
Stannis: “I don’t know what I saw.”
Mel: “You do know. Trust yourself.”
Stannis: “And you? Do you trust yourself?”
Mel: “I trust in the Lord.”
Stannis: “Are you sure?”
Mel: “I have seen myself walk along the battlements of Winterfell. I have seen the flayed man banners lowered to the ground.”
*Stannis presses his hand into Mel’s back, leans in to kiss her*
Mel: “But sometimes sacrifices must be made to ensure victory.”
*Stannis leans back*
Mel: “I have shown you the power of king’s blood. The usurper Robb Stark. The usurper Joffrey Baratheon.”
Stannis: “We don’t have Robert’s bastard here.”
Mel: “No, we have someone better. And your blood runs through her veins.”
Stannis: “Have you lost your mind?”
Mel: “Do you doubt me? Still? After all that you’ve seen.”
Stannis: “There must be another way. Leeches or—”
Mel: “There is only one way.”
*Stannis begins to turn away, Mel takes his head in her hands*
Mel: “You must become king before the Long Night begins. Only you can lead the living against the dead. All your life has led us to this moment. To this decision.”
Stannis: “She’s my daughter.”
*Mel strokes his face, Stannis flinches away*
Stannis: “Get out.”
I’m really impressed by Melisandre’s gifts as a manipulator. She knows that her visions do not involve Stannis, and now she’s convincing him to sacrifice his only child. She’s convinced him that he needs to do this because he’s destined to save the world, whereas she really needs him to get himself and his daughter out of the way so Jon Snow can take over. And he’s still trying to fuck her. That probably has more to do with him seeking comfort than with her intentionally seducing him.
She’s seen a great battle in the snow. She lets Stannis think that battle is his march on Winterfell, but she knows, and we know now, that the battle is much bigger than his pathetic little army against that massive host fighting for the Boltons.
We know now, that great battle in the snow will involve the Umbers, Karstarks, sellswords, wildlings, and Jon Snow wearing Stark gear. And some more Northern allies that haven’t quite been enumerated yet. Probably Mormonts, Hornwoods, maybe Manderlys. I’m still waiting to hear if/how the Vale soldiers will be involved.
“I have seen myself walk along the battlements of Winterfell. I have seen the flayed man banners lowered to the ground.”
We don’t quite know how many Houses will be on the winning side…but we know who’s gonna lose.