Photo: HBO

What can we expect from the final season of Game Of Thrones? The Night King’s last stand, we’d bet. More nephew-fucking, definitely. And yeah, probably another Mastodon cameo. And, if an easy-to-overlook scene with Melisandre is any indication, a role for R’hllor, the Lord Of Light.

Near the end of the season, we saw a conversation between Melisandre and the clever Varys, wherein the red witch told her cohort that she was off to the city of Volantis. Before she left, however, she uttered these eerie words: “I will return, dear Spider, one last time. I have to die in this strange country, just like you.”


We’ve pontificated here about what kind of role the Lord Of Light might play in the story’s endgame and how either Daenerys Targaryen or Jon Snow could be The Prince That Was Promised in the faith’s lore. So how does Volantis fit in? Well, as Redditor Dr. Tibbles points out, A Dance With Dragons revealed that the city is home to the Fiery Hand, an army of a thousand warriors tasked with protecting the temples of the Lord Of Light. It’s very likely that Melisandre is off to recruit these soldiers for the series’ final battle, should she be able to convince the horde that they’d be fighting for that fabled prince (or princess).

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Is Melisandre going to Volantis to get the Fiery Hand? She told Varys last episode that she is heading to Volantis and also that she is going to die in Westeros. So she is obviously planning on returning from Volantis and I’m guessing it will be to bring a small army back with her. From one of Tyrion’s chapters in ADWD he travels to Volantis and sees the temple of R’hllor that is guarded by the Fiery Hand. We’re told that the Fiery Hand are the slave soldiers for R’hllor and number 1,000 never more never less. Melisandre, and other red priests, believe that Dany (and/or Jon) is the PTWP. I’m guessing the Temple of R’hllor would be ok with lending their soldiers to the PTWP. They could be used as a surprise addition at a very fortunate moment (like Aragorn with the army of the dead in Return of the King), especially after the huge blows she’s taken these last couple of episodes.

I know that D&D haven’t introduced anything about Volantis being the major city for R’hllor, let alone anything about the Fiery Hand. But I don’t think it would be very hard to give a brief introduction before they show up since show only fans are already familiar with faith militants and Volantis has been mentioned a few times in the show already.

Game Of Thrones has seen no shortage of armies swooping in at the last moment to save our heroes (see: Battle Of Castle Black and Battle Of The Bastards), so it’s certainly in the show’s playbook. And who wouldn’t want a thousand Beric Dondarrions on their side?

The questions remain, however: Why does Melisandre have to “die in this strange country?” And how will she go? Considering that those on Game Of Thrones tend to “get the death they deserve,” a public burning à la Shireen might be appropriate, no? Someone needs to pay for that.