Melisandre has tremendous talent at seeing things in her fires, visions of events to come. She’s not perfect however—she predicted that Stannis could preemptively alter fate and avoid being crushed by Renly at that Blackwater, only to be instead crushed by Garlan Tyrell (in Renly’s armor) at the Blackwater.
At the Wall, Melisandre’s penchant for ‘misintepretation’ endures. She predicted Arya’s rescue, ‘a grey girl on a dying horse’, yet Alys Karstark appeared instead.
But there are underlying insights in her visions which cannot be ignored. Melisandre did predict Stannis’s defeat by a man in Renly’s armor, and that was correct. She also predicted the arrival of the grey girl, and that was correct.
By all appearances, Melisandre’s powerful visions are most vulnerable to error when she takes that extra step to apply proper names to the objects in her visions—to find their applicability. The ‘grey girl’ became Arya. The man in green armor became Renly. Towers by the sea became Eastwatch. In her obsessive quest to match vision to reality, she errs—a lot.
It seems obvious then that Melisandre’s visions do possess great value, but we must be wary of her attempts to apply them. We must look at all of the possible interpretations in the books.
When you do so however, an extremely bizarre pattern emerges: all of the visions that Melisandre has had since arriving at the Wall have more than one manifestation. In the case of Renly’s green armor, the resulting scenario where Garlan Tyrell wore the armor is the only observed manifestation of Melisandre’s visions. Compare that to her ‘grey girl’ vision, where there are perhaps a half-dozen candidates, all of extreme viability.
With that out of the way, here is what I want to do with this essay:
Reveal the errors in Melisandre’s recent predictions and identify other manifestations of the predicted outcomes.
Identify the failures of other seers and perhaps a root cause.
Analyze a vision Melisandre experiences but does not interpret.
Speculate on a major prediction from A Dance with Dragons.