This 'Game of Thrones' Theory About Melisandre Could Explain How the Living Ultimately Win

But not without a lot of deaths first.

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Spoilers for Game of Thrones season eight ahead. There are as many theories about how the big battle of Game of Thrones season eight will shake out as there are GoT fans. Since we haven't seen any footage from the last three episodes of the show (and that is very much by design, I'm guessing), the creators have managed to keep the result shrouded in mystery. Given that there are three episodes after this big one, though, there's still plenty of story left to tell—and I suspect that the Night King won't be finished by the end of the episode. So, of the various theories, which do fans think is the most likely?

Well, there's one beloved theory (it's been around for a while), and it all centers around the red priestess Melisandre. After bringing Dany and Jon (fire and ice) together, she disappeared to the city of Volantis in her home of Essos in season 7. Before she did, she gave the magic-hating Varys a cryptic warning about she has to come back to Westeros one last time to die (just like Varys, apparently, yikes). She didn't say why, but it's kind of a big clue about a future plotline, so take a look to refresh your memory on the scene:

The idea is this: In Volantis, there is a huge army called the Fiery Hand, which would come in reeeaaaaal handy right about now, as well as that other red priestess from the show, Kinvara, and one of the biggest Red Temples serving the Lord of Light. So, just in the same way as the Battle of the Bastards gave us a surprise assist from Sansa, Littlefinger, and the army of the Vale, Melisandre could come could come sweeping in with extra soldiers and magic to save the day, or at least give some much-needed aid.

Here's the problem I see with the simplicity of this theory, though. First, it's a bit TOO similar to the Battle of the Bastards, and the creators tend to try and make every single battle unique (seriously, there's months of planning that goes into a battle episode). This one will already look and feel different because of the thoroughly magical and high-stakes aspects of the fight—the Night King putting an icy fog over Winterfell, the battle of the living vs. dead dragons, the fact that this is literally what every character is playing for, so I kind of doubt that such an easy fix will come and "save the day."

So what I think is a little more likely to happen is one of a couple things: Either Melisandre comes and provides aid but it doesn't end up helping, or the main characters must have an initial loss, pull back farther South/the Iron Islands, and then boom! Magical army. Or, as a third option, they do defeat the dead but suffer heavy losses, and Melisandre can help them defeat Cersei. I'm ignoring the fact that Melisandre has magical powers (see also: smoke monster baby), so that may factor in as well. I was always confused about her powers, so TBD on how they manifest.

In previous GoT seasons, the biggest battle is usually in the last or second to last episode, so I think there's still some fighting left to do. Plus, there's still Cersei, and she is a big problem with a big army. My point is, this fight in episode three is not going to go the way any character expects, and I bet Melisandre is waiting in the wings for the big reveal once that happens. (I look forward to being proven wrong if she does save the day, of course!)

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Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.