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As the title states, why does Melisandre believe that Stannis is Azor Ahai?

Because he wields a shining sword? Thoros of Myr swings a burning sword at tournaments...
The sword was even created by her own ceremony at Dragonstone and given to Stannis. This ceremony also provided the smoke and salt. A ceremony everyone could create by burning septs and plunging a sword in one of them, not exclusive to Stannis really. Did I miss something? I've looked at Is the Red Woman confusing Stannis for Daenerys? but the answers there doesn't really explain her original belief.

She creates all the signs of Azor Ahai herself and although she may be ambitious and can misread signs, something must have sparked the original belief that Stannis is him.

Answers from book canon with some logic speculation is accepted.

  • I've also removed the religion tag, because this question is not really about religion, but about Melisandre's motivation – Edlothiad Aug 18 '17 at 7:36
  • @Edlothiad I've considered that question and it's a bit thin i think. She believes what she want to believe and therefore helps the truth a little. And she misreads the signs (maybe from her own ambition) but there stills needs to be something that the belief comes from. She created all signs herself. And fair enough regarding the tag. – Mainstroke Aug 18 '17 at 7:41
  • With regards to the duplicate, I wasn't sure hence why I only linked it and didn't Vote to Close. I recommend you edit the above comment into your post so people understand your views and leave your question open. I think from what I've seen there's nothing explicitly said why she thinks it's Stannis. There are theories. But I'll keep looking, and otherwise one of the more knowledgeable will come along. – Edlothiad Aug 18 '17 at 7:46
  • Ok, thanks, have edited the question for clarification. – Mainstroke Aug 18 '17 at 7:53
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She believes Stannis is Azor Ahai because she has seen it in her flames (believes she has, at least) and because she interpreted an ancient prophecy to mean it was him. In aSoS, Davos III, she tells Davos:

He is the Lord's chosen, the warrior of fire. I have seen him leading the fight against the dark, I have seen it in the flames. [...] It is written in prophecy as well. When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone. The bleeding star has come and gone, and Dragonstone is the place of smoke and salt. Stannis Baratheon is Azor Ahai reborn!

Her interpretation of the prophecy has logic behind it - Dragonstone is an island in the middle of the sea (salt) and it also has volcanic activity (there's smoke coming from the crater). There's a stone castle there with towers and turrets shaped like dragons (dragons out of stone). In addition, at the time he lays claim to the Iron Throne there's a red comet in the sky (the red star bleeds) and the White Walkers start marching (presumably Melisandre has seen that in her flames), therefore darkness gathers.

  • The connection to Dragonstone makes sense. Maybe she interpreted "born" to mean "crowned King" or "start following the Red God". What confuses me is "leading the fight against the dark". What did she see? – Llewellyn Aug 19 '17 at 10:55
  • As far as I'm aware she never says in the books. – NyaNya Aug 19 '17 at 14:38
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The Prince That Was Promised needs to be a Targaryen. Assuming that Azor Ahai Reborn and The Prince That Was Promised are the same person (disputed), this would mean that Azor Ahai Reborn must be a Targaryen. She only knows of four living Targaryens at that point:

  1. Daenerys Targaryen.
  2. Renly Baratheon.
  3. Stannis Baratheon.
  4. Maester Aemon.

We may know now that Jon Snow is a Targaryen, but she presumably did not know that then.

Some speculate that Tyrion is actually the bastard child of Aerys II, making him a half brother of Daenerys. That would explain why Tywin was so adamant that Tyrion not inherit Casterly Rock.

Maester Aemon is old and hardly anyone's idea of a princely hero.

The original Azor Ahai was a man, so it seems likely that the reborn one would be as well. That would leave out Daenerys. Note that the word used for Prince was the same as the word for Princess, so we can't go by the translated title.

In addition to that, as already posted, she had seen Stannis in her visions, not Renly.

  • While Robert's ascension to the throne was superficially justified with his (and consequently his brothers) being distantly related to the Targaryens, I doubt Melisandre was following that reason. If she had already decided that Azor Ahai need to have Targaryen blood, it would have made more sense to seek out Viserys (or Daenerys) instead. – Llewellyn Aug 19 '17 at 10:53
  • Viserys was already dead by the time that she was going around proclaiming Stannis as Azor Ahai reborn. – Brythan Aug 19 '17 at 13:05

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