Throughout the final episodes of Game of Thrones, the showrunners have brought back characters to wrap up their storylines. Let no character be left as a dangling plot thread. From Hot Pie, a survivor at the Inn at the Crossroads, to Osha, who didn't last five minutes with Ramsay Bolton, everyone has been accounted for. That's why, when Melisandre was sent away at the top of Season 7, fans assumed she'd be back before too long. And tonight, April 28, she finally came back. Melisandre returned for the Battle of Winterfell, and it's about damn time. Warning: Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, episode 3 follow.
Melisandre wasn't a deus ex machina arriving at the tail end of Game of Thrones' longest episode, either. She came back early, ready to fight. Her first act? Add a little fire to those Dothraki weapons. She came back to make sure the fight went well, and both Beric and Jon lived to see their purpose through. After all, the Lord of the Light needs to make sure there's a return on investments.
But did Melisandre believe herself to be one of the Night King's victims? She certainly seemed sure of her fate. Would a self-sacrificing moment be in the cards?
Melisandre certainly seemed to know what was to come. She immediately told Davos upon arriving he could stay his executioner's hand. "I'll be dead before the dawn," she told him. Was that a threat or a promise?
Her arrival wasn't a moment too soon either, as hot on her heels, or cold rather, was the Army of the Dead and the White Walker hordes. The army charged, lit by her fire, but then one by one the lights went out.
Melisandre, however, wasn't done yet. Her job in this fight was fire. When Daenerys and Jon were off flying and couldn't see their way back to light the trench, she marched out to the battlefield, protected by a phalanx of Unsullied and lit the damn thing herself, creating a ring of fire around the castle walls.
In the end, the battle did turn, and it was on Melisandre's word, too. It was she who reminded Arya she would close eyes forever, brown, black, and, most importantly, blue. She has served her purpose. When the battle was done, she walked out of Winterfell. She took off the necklace that had held her together for so many years.
Davos followed her. A promise is a promise, after all, and he planned to take Melisandre down for killing Shireen. But he was too late. As Melisandre told him, there was no need. Her time had come. The Night King had been conquered, the dead had fallen, Arya had been saved by Beric to complete the task, and Melisandre had seen her through to have done it.
Now she could finally rest. As Davos looked on in shock, Melisandre once again took on the true form of a woman who has been forced to live nearly 500 years to get to this moment. And then she laid down in the snow and died.