At the end of Garden of Bones (Season 2 episode 4) Melisandre (the red woman/priestess) gives birth:

At night, Stannis orders Davos (Liam Cunningham) to take Melisandre to shore, and to be sure they are not seen. Once ashore, Melisandre reveals she is, impossibly, in late-stage pregnancy, and gives birth to a horrific, shadowy figure, which disappears in a cloud of smoke.

What was that? Two episodes earlier, she promised a son to Stannis before they had sex. Was this the product of their union?

  • @TLP My nail source is depleted, could I borrow some?
    – DavRob60
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 12:14
  • 8
    She gives birth to the Lost smoke monster. Sorry, I miss Lost...
    – MPelletier
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 14:13
  • 6
    Sorry - I don't see how this is all that constructive a question when this should be easily answered in the subsequent episode. It's almost like getting to the end of a chapter in a book and asking "does Frodo make it to Rivendell?"
    – HorusKol
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 14:39
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    @DavRob60 - actually, your example serves my argument than the (admittedly precocious) one I gave - the user asking about Saruman's ring is asking after having completed the book and finding no further reference. Similarly, if your question isn't answered by the end of the series (possibly even within the next episode), then your question is valid - otherwise, I think your question is premature, spoiler-prompting, and too localised in time
    – HorusKol
    Commented Apr 26, 2012 at 0:34
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    @HorusKol even after seeing the next episode, it's still not clear (at least not without the book) what it was. What it's purpose is, and what it does, sure - but what is it?
    – AviD
    Commented May 7, 2012 at 15:16

3 Answers 3


Disclaimer: I have not yet seen that episode of the show, but, in general, the show is remarkably faithful to the books, so I will provide a book answer.

Melisandre's pregnancy is the result of the magic she (purportedly) draws from her god, R'hllor.

Warning: Spoilers ahead:

The shadowy figure is a magical assassin. It is implied in the books that she draws the energy to create it from Stannis through sexual intercourse.

I don't recall mention of a son from the books, but I rather doubt that this is what Melisandre was referring to.

  • 3
    I don't recall any chapters from the viewpoint of Melisandre or Stannis in A Clash of Kings, and in the books the sexual relationship is merely implied, so I'd guess any scenes where they're about to have sex are specific to the show. Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 15:45
  • Yes, it was. There's some people saying that this didn't happen in the book, but it did. It was just very subtle in the book and we never saw them actually have sex, though it is heavily implied that was what they did to create the shadow.
    – user6042
    Commented Apr 27, 2012 at 17:27
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    Yes, as I said, I haven't seen the show. The sex between Stannis and Melissandre is definitely implied throughout the books (most strongly in the scene where Davos meets with Melissandre in her room, and Melissandre attempts to seduce him).
    – Beofett
    Commented Apr 27, 2012 at 19:43

Seems that it's some kind of demon created by Stannis and the priestess that is channeling the lord of light and that's why it's born full grown and is made of smoke. It's like the same kind of fire and sex ritual to give them powerful new babies as Daenerys did with the dragons.

  • Welcome to Science Fiction and Fantasy! I had to edit your answer to remove some unnecessary vulgarity. Feel free to edit it back with a more appropriate language.
    – DavRob60
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 18:02


The Game of Thrones wikia simply refers to it as Shadow. In an interview with Carice Van Houten (Melisandre) and Liam Cunningham (Davos) Carice refers to it as a "Shadow Baby".

Can you single out your weirdest or most challening scene?
Carice: Giving birth to the shadow baby would be the answer for both of us. We were there together.
Liam: Yeah, I had a few pains… I felt your pain, darlin’.

If your character meets an ending like Ned Stark… what memory would you best remember from your time on Game of Thrones?
Carice: The shadow baby! But mostly just being around Stephen [Dillane] and Liam. They couldn’t be more different as actors, and as people. You could see a sitcom about these two guys. It’s a very funny threesome, I would say.

Bryan Cogman one of the writers of the show has also referred to it as a "Shadow Monster".

When was it decided that they were finally going to appear? Well, you had a stand-in for Selyse in the opening of S2, and I think Melisandre makes a passing reference to her, but this is quite a bump up in visibility.
“It was an evolving thing. Season 2, as ever, we had to be judicious about how many characters to introduce. It was decided that, dramatically, it made sense for the S2 Stannis scenes to involve this triangle of characters, if you will—Davos on one side, Melisandre on the other, Stannis being pulled between the two. In the book, you have Selyse on the Mel side but we decided to pull her out of the political discussion, at least for now. But when the decision was made to dramatize the conception of the shadow monster…”

Davos seems to refer to the monster as "Shadow" or "a horror" in his POV chapters from the books too.

He could not behold the fiery heart without thinking of the shadow Melisandre had birthed in the gloom beneath Storm's End.
A Clash of Kings, Davos III

"The Mother. She blessed me with seven sons, and yet I let them burn her. She spoke to me. We called the fire, she said. We called the shadows too. I rowed Melisandre into the bowels of Storm's End and watched her birth a horror." He saw it still in his nightmares, the gaunt black hands pushing against her thighs as it wriggled free of her swollen womb. "She killed Cressen and Lord Renly and a brave man named Cortnay Penrose, and she killed my sons as well. Now it is time someone killed her."
A Storm of Swords, Davos II

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