Is there any reasoning or explanation as to why Melisandre would birth a shadow if she was a follower of the Lord of the Light religion? It seems somewhat contradictive that a Light worshiper would birth a form of darkness...

Follow up question: why did the shadow disappear immediately after killing Renly? Why not stay around longer to perform other tasks for Stannis?

  • 14
    I mean, logically, if you control light you in effect control darkness - since darkness is just the absence of light, you can create darkness by controlling the light to not be where you want darkness to be... same way if I control a flash light I can cast a shadow with my hand, doesn't mean I don't have a flash light.
    – James T
    Apr 3, 2019 at 8:08
  • 2
    Related: Use of “shadows” as servants of light/good
    – Skooba
    Apr 3, 2019 at 11:31
  • "The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes."
    – xDaizu
    Apr 23, 2019 at 10:11

1 Answer 1



Ser Davos asked the same thing of Melisandre when he was taking her to slay Ser Cortnay Penrose, Renly's Castellan for Storm's End.

“There was no need,” she said. “He was unprotected. But here... this Storm’s End is an old place. There are spells woven into the stones. Dark walls that no shadow can pass-ancient, forgotten, yet still in place.”

“Shadow?” Davos felt his flesh prickling. “A shadow is a thing of darkness.”

“You are more ignorant than a child, ser knight. There are no shadows in the dark. Shadows are the servants of light, the children of fire. The brightest flame casts the darkest shadows.”
ACOK - Davos II


In the show the dialogue went differently but the essence was same:

Davos: Strange that this Lord of Light asks you to work in the shadows.

Melisandre: Shadows cannot live in the dark, Ser Davos. They are servants of light, the children of fire. And the brighter the flame, the darker they are.
Garden of Bones- S02E04

As to why didn't the Shadow linger around to perform more tasks, there is no information available on that. But my speculation would be that they are a single-use disposable sort of weapon. We see that the Shadow which opened Renly's throat disappeared immediately after his job. And the Shadow which killed Ser Cortnay Penrose vanished as well. Afterwards we see Melisandre asking Ser Davos to make a shadow-baby with her (Since the King's fires were burning low and Melisandre was afraid that another attempt might kill him), Ser Davos refused her.

  • 9
    She conveniently ignores that the darkness of night is just planetos' shadow.
    – JAD
    Apr 3, 2019 at 13:57
  • @JAD, wait a minute. Is Planetos canon for the planet that Westeros exists on? Because that's great.
    – JPhi1618
    Apr 3, 2019 at 17:49
  • N.B.: In the show, the shadow stabs Renly, it doesn't cut his throat. Apr 3, 2019 at 18:39
  • 4
    @JPhi1618 No, it's not scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/17093/…
    – Mithoron
    Apr 3, 2019 at 18:48
  • Also, she was a shadowbinder, and when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
    – user28434
    Apr 4, 2019 at 9:02

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