This article is dark and full of spoilers.
With an air of melancholy surrounding her, Melisandre stripped off her clothes, looked at her gorgeous body in a mirror, and then took off her gold-and-red jeweled necklace. Once the latter came off, we get to see Melisandre's true form: an elderly woman. Yup, the necklace — which we always see her wearing — is magical and has the ability to make the wearer appear MUCH more youthful than they truly are.
"I was really happy when I read that we were going to reveal that this year," Houten told Entertainment Weekly. "I don't think a lot of people will see that coming. It makes her immediately more vulnerable, but also more wise and even more mysterious. There's also a vulnerability in her age."
Now that viewers know Melisandre has lived long enough to see countless wars, they can better understand the decisions she has made throughout the course of the show, like sacrificing Princess Shireen with the belief it would help Stannis and his army.
"That's why she was able to say, 'This is just a small war, it's all relative compared to the big war were going to face,'" van Houten said. "[Her age] makes everything even more meta. Definitely, that's where all that stuff comes from."
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.