In the final season of “Game of Thrones,” Carice van Houten finally said goodbye to her character Melisandre, but the last scene she shot wasn’t actually her death scene at the end of “The Long Night.” Her last day on set was praying to the Lord of Light to set the trenches on fire earlier in the episode. That wasn’t an emotional moment for the character, per se, but it was emotional for the actress. “Saying goodbye has never been my favorite thing in the world,” she admits. “A lot of tension had to come out after I had done that scene and I just started crying like a baby. I didn’t really see that coming.” Watch our exclusive video interview with van Houten above.
Van Houten introduced Melisandre, a priestess to the Lord of Light, in season two, when she was allied with Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) in his quest for the Iron Throne. She was a morally ambiguous character to say the least, burning Stannis’s innocent daughter at the stake as a sacrifice to her Lord, but later resurrecting Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and helping the North defeat the Night King. She was often “confused” about where Melisandre stood given how tight-lipped the writers were, but she believes her character was ultimately “in it for the greater good … It was not about her own personal gain,” but rather about serving the Lord of Light for the good of humanity.
And serve humanity she did, aiding in the defense of the North and guiding Arya (Maisie Williams) towards her destiny of killing the Night King. “The Long Night” was a hell of an episode to go out on, an extended 82-minute battle that van Houten describes as “a big, bombastic symphony that has beautiful dynamics, and at the end of the last piano notes is Melisandre walking away … I was so grateful and so happy with that elegant ending.” And she was determined to savor those moments even though she was “f*cking freezing” during the shoot because she knew, “I will never ever experience again in my life to be on a set of this scale. It was amazing.”
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