Introduced in Season 2, Melisandre, the mysterious red woman, has intrigued fans of Game of Thrones ever since. From burning statues of the Seven to burning an actual human chid, there's no doubt that Melisandre is one dedicated follower of R'hllor, the Lord of Light.
Despite Melisandre being on the show for years (and around for much longer than that!), she's still somewhat of an enigma, and much of her past is unexplained. Even though she was sent away from Winterfell in the Season 6 finale, she's already made a return Season 7, when she arrived at Dragonstone. With Melisandre's return to the series it seems like she's destined to play some sort of role in the remaining episodes, so before then let's take a look over her long and interesting history, and truly get to know the Red Woman.
Born In Shackles
Melisandre (then possibly known as Melony) was born a slave in the far eastern city of Asshai, on the continent of Essos. She was sold to a Red Temple at a young age, eventually becoming a member of the clergy, a.k.a a Red Priestess. Red Temples are where people worship the religion of R'hllor, the Lord of Light, and are found throughout the Free Cities in Essos, but the religion is rarely followed at all in Westeros.
What Does Melisandre's Religion Believe?
As Melisandre explained in Season 5, followers of the Lord of Light believe in two Gods, "a god of light and love and joy, and a god of darkness, evil, and fear, eternally at war." R'hllor, as the God of fire and therefore light, is that first god, while The Great Other is the second.
Followers of the Lord of Light idolize fire, light, and shadows (which cannot live in the dark and are servants of the light), and claim to receive visions through the flames of fire. The religion also believes in the coming of a chosen warrior called Azor Ahai, or The Prince/Princess That Was Promised. This figure is prophesied to be reborn "amidst salt and smoke," and carry a powerful sword called Lightbringer which will help them combat the coming darkness.
Spreading The Word From Essos To Westeros
At some point Melisandre crossed the Narrow Sea to the island of Dragonstone to preach the Lord of Light to the court of Lord Stannis Baratheon. Soon, first thanks to Stannis' wife, Lady Selyse, the majority of the household converted and she became a trusted advisor to him, believing him to be Azor Ahai reborn.
During her time with Stannis, Melisandre murders his brother Renly with a shadow baby she birthed, and sacrifices his daughter, Shireen (and other followers who speak out against her) and Mance Rayder by burning them. Following the fall out from Shireen's death, Melisandre fled to Castle Black.
A New Azor Ahai
Shortly after she went to Castle Black, Jon Snow is killed, and Melisandre's true form is revealed: An old and frail woman, hundreds of years old. The day after his death, she reluctantly agrees to try and bring Jon Snow back from the dead and is successful. After his revival she now considers him The Prince That Was Promised, and is at his command.
However, following the reveal that Shireen Baratheon was killed at Melisandre's behest, Jon Snow has no choice but to exile her for her crimes, and she left Winterfell making her way south.
What's Next For The Red Woman?
Even though Melisandre has been exiled from the North and is now south, this will certainly not be the last time we see her, and it's likely that in Season 7 she'll meet up with another member of the Stark family.
Back in Season 3 Melisandre briefly met Arya Stark while she was looking for Gendry (needing his king's blood). After looking into Arya's eyes, Melisandre not only saw all the pairs of eyes that Arya "would shut forever," but also saw that the two would meet again one day. Given that Arya is now currently back at Winterfell, having dispensed with many members of the Frey family, it seems likely the two will meet again in Season 7.
What are you hoping to see Melisandre do in Season 7?
Source: Game of Thrones wikia