One of the many revelations that shocked the Game of Thrones fans this season was the one involving the Red Woman, aka Lady Melisandre. The glamorous witch, played by 39-year-old Carice van Houten, let her guard down and revealed her true self in season six —a frail lady who is a few centuries old. This happened after she removed a magical necklace that she has worn since season two, when she entered as the powerful counsellor to Lord of Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon.
Now, as the latest season draws to a close, Houten tells us about the big moment. “You’ve never seen Melisandre in a state of vulnerability. So as an actor, it was a great opportunity to show a different side to her after building up all this aura of self-belief,” says the Dutch star, continuing, “Melisandre almost felt like a different character at some moments this year. As an actor, I felt like ‘Where’s she gone?’, ‘What am I going to hold on to?’ The Lord of Light has left me alone, Stannis Baratheon and Jon Snow had died. ”
Unpredictability s the biggest draw of this epic-fantasy series, says her co-star Liam Cunningham, who appears as Ser Davos Seaworth. “You (viewers) are not being put on the sofa and told you’ll be safe here, the good guy is going to do well, and the girl’s going to be saved,” says the Irish actor. To which, Houten nods, “Everyone’s going to die, is more how it (the current season) feels.”
She tells us about ‘the scene’, which took six hours of makeup to turn her into an old lady. “You saw me looking at myself in the mirror. Then you saw me put the necklace down and the hand that puts it down is already an old hand. I think I played a 250-year-old (laughs). People couldn’t believe it was me, I couldn’t really either. What was great though is it was just one short moment. You didn’t see her talk, you didn’t see her move; you just got to know a little background information about her. Then, we (the makers) went straight back to what she normally looks like.”