Only one person died during the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “The Long Night” who didn’t actually fight in the battle. Melisandre has said she would die at Winterfell, so she knew what she was getting into the second she showed up at Winterfell. By the end of the hour and a half, her own prophecy had come true. Though she survived the siege on Winterfell, following that she walked out of the gates, took off her magical choker, rapidly aged into an old woman, and dusted herself out in the snow.
We’ve known for two seasons what was really going on with the red witch/woman because at the beginning of Season 6 she Melisandre removed her necklace and revealed her true self. But, no one in the world of the show has learned about it, until now. Ser Davos (who, remember, is still furious with her for killing Shireen and said he’d kill her if he ever saw her again) watches her walk out of Winterfell and to her death.
Thankfully, before she died she managed to help the northern army out tremendously. First, she lit the barricade around Winterfell on fire so the white walkers couldn’t pass through, and later she reminded Arya about how she’s destined to kill people with “blue eyes,” aka the white walkers. Clearly feeling her work, and purpose, was finally completed, she dies. She even hinted at this when she first showed up at Winterfell, telling Davos that she already knew she wouldn’t survive the night.
It this was a shock to you for more reasons than one — Season 6 was a long time ago, after all — here’s what you need to know about Melisandre’s life, and then death.
Melisandre & The Lord of Light
Melisandre was a priestess of R'hllor and had prophetic visions that she’s shared with many of the characters on the snow, from Jon Snow to Stannis Baratheon, and now even Arya Stark. Because of many of these visions that she’s had over the years, she’s used her magical powers to help those she’s serving one way or another. Believing Stannis to be the “prince that was promised,” he had him burn his daughter at the stake so his army would survive. She also brought Jon back from the dead and knew he needed to live because she had a vision of him fighting at Winterfell.
However, when Davos learns that Melisandre was the reason Shireen died, he and Jon have her exiled from Winterfell. That’s why he was so frosty to her when she returned.
Melisandre's Powers & Magical Necklace
All along, Melisandre has worn a choker with a giant red stone in the middle of it. The origins of the choker have never been fully revealed on the show, in the books whenever she’s performing her “magic” the stone in the middle of it glows (we’ve seen it glow on the show a few times, too, and it’s actually always glowing as we’ll later learn in the episode). Just what the choker is and how exactly it works is unclear, but we do know it’s able to grant her young age and beauty while she’s wearing it. Melisandre is incredibly vain and relied heavily on glamor to get whatever she wanted. The choker helps her do that because it often lowered the guard of men who she’d trying to influence or overpower (but it doesn’t always work — Jon rejects her advances).
Without The Choker, Melisandre Is Hundreds of Years Old
Melisandre’s age isn’t exact, and it was once hinted that she’s over 100 years old, and also closer to 400. The choker she wears is able to mask her true age, which is why she’s literally never without it (even though she is a few times, but that’s a mistake). When Melisandre shows up at Winterfell, she’s clearly had a vision about what’s to come, and also that she won’t survive to see the morning. It’s pretty ominous and her statement suggests that she dies in battle. When she doesn’t, she takes her own life.
How Melisandre Died
Before morning, she walks out of Winterfell slowly shedding her worldly possessions. First, it’s her red cloak, and then it’s her choker with the red jewel — it glows for a few seconds after she removes it before it flickers out. As Melisandre keeps walking, her steps become staggered until finally she can’t walk anymore and collapses turning to dust. Ser Davos watches this happen, and he’s now the only person on the show who is on this secret. Obviously, the fact that she aged so quickly to death suggests she is well over 100 years old and now the Lord of Light has one less person to do their bidding.