In the fifth season episode "Sons of the Harpy", Melisandre

tries to seduce Jon Snow.

In the past, she's done this specifically to men with "king's blood". So does the fact that she did this suggest that

Jon is a true heir of the throne? And, if so, how is this possible?

  • 1
    I don't watch the series, and this even did not occur AFAICR in the books. There's a part perhaps played by the fact that Melisandre knows deep inside as she has seen in the flames that the hero is Jon in fact and not Stannis. She tries to shake that feeling but it keeps coming back, perhaps that's the series way of saying it. May 9, 2015 at 23:39
  • 6
    We don't know because this doesn't happen in the books, and the latest episode of the TV show doesn't explain Meli's motives. But one thing has been mentioned in the books: Meli only needs people with "king's blood" (i.e. related to a king, but not necessarily kings themselves) in order to do her magic -- like, for example, birthing shadow babies. I think this is the TV show's evidence that J=R+L, if you know what I mean. But the truth is that we simply don't know.
    – Andres F.
    May 9, 2015 at 23:47
  • 4
    @AndresF. It does happen in the books, but much less subtle. Melisandre recognizes "power" in Jon Snow, and that she could birth powerful shadows by their joining.
    – TLP
    May 10, 2015 at 7:16
  • I agree with what everyone else is saying, but I want to remind you of one thing. Melisandre over hears Stanis's conversation with his wife about Jon's parentage. Specifically the part when Stanis says "Perhaps, but that wasn't Ned Stark's way. All of Westeros knows what happened to Lylanna, they don't know the exact details, but they do know that she was :kidnapped" presumably raped, and then died.
    – Robert
    May 10, 2015 at 16:07
  • They also know that Ned returned from the war with a child that seemingly appeared out of nowhere and whom Ned claimed as his own, even though the story Ned told was completely out of character for him. So I would assume that Melisandre made an assumption about Jon. She could have assumed that he's part Targeryan based on what she's heard.
    – Robert
    May 10, 2015 at 16:12

3 Answers 3


As I've pointed out in a similar post on Movies&TV:

We do not know; it is not explained... yet.

She wants him bad
In the books Melisandre is very interested in Jon Snow, believing that there is some power in him:

[from A Dance With Dragons]

“You think so?” She knelt and scratched Ghost behind his ear. “Your Wall is a queer place, but there is power here, if you will use it. Power in you, and in this beast. You resist it, and that is your mistake. Embrace it. Use it.”
I am not a wolf, he thought. “And how would I do that?”
-A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5 - A Dance With Dragons, Chapter 29 (Jon VI).

She does not explain exactly where she believes his source of 'power' to be from, but she definitely feels it. Jon, though, immediately assumes that it's because she thinks he's a "Wolf" (Starks are often referred to as "Wolves").

She then goes on to say the whole "power to make shadows" line:

“I can show you.” Melisandre draped one slender arm over Ghost, and the direwolf licked her face. “The Lord of Light in his wisdom made us male and female, two parts of a greater whole. In our joining there is power. Power to make life. Power to make light. Power to cast shadows.”
-A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5 - A Dance With Dragons, Chapter 29 (Jon VI).

She's also interested in Mance Rayder and his son with Dalla, for the same "King's Blood" reasons; but that's a different point.

If you believe that King's Blood is what carries power, then theoretically; yes, Melisandre wants Jon Snow's blood.

Bastard or not
This is why Melisandre was interested in Gendry (or Edric Storm in the books). Even though Gendry is a 'bastard', she still believes that the Blood (and power which comes with it) of the King runs in him.

Stark contrast
You see, historically, the Starks were Kings In The North, it wouldn't have mattered per se that Jon is Robb's brother, it matters that Jon is of Stark descent; so, yes, Jon has the blood of Kings running through him as he is a Stark.

Whether R+L=J, or not; since L is in fact a Stark.

So let's break-down the possible reasons Melisandre could want Jon:

1. King's Blood

  • She wants his blood, because of R+L = J.
  • She wants his blood, because he is a Stark, and the Starks were Kings in the North.

2. Red Blooded Woman

  • She is feeling, lonely and needs some attention.

3. Unknown

  • She doesn't even know. There are hints at Jon Snow actually being the one she is looking for instead of her assumed Stannis:

    There was no one, even in her order, who had her skill at seeing the secrets half-revealed and half-concealed within the sacred flames.
    Yet now she could not even seem to find her king. I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.
    -A Song of Ice and Fire: Book 5 - A Dance With Dragons, Chapter 31 (Melisandre I).

  • Couple this with the fact that Melisandre is a little bit of a rogue; "she is on her own mission and has her own agenda"

  • Something is telling her that she is in the right place and on the right track


If we assume that certain (spoilerish) theories about Jon Snow are correct, Melisandre may be able to sense that he does in fact have the power of king's blood, and not from Ned Stark.

  • 6
    I also suspect it's not coincidence that the TV show reminded its viewers of a certain two characters from the past in the episode before this one and cast doubt on the 'official' story of what they did... May 10, 2015 at 8:57

All of these reasons are very good, but I was simply under the impression that she wanted Jon Snow to break his vows.

In the same (earlier?) episode, it is shown that Stannis wants Jon to leave the Night's Watch, be legitimized as a Stark and claim Winterfell.

As Melisandre is (at least for the moment) supporting Stannis and his goals, surely she would want him also to leave the Night's Watch.

Jon was clearly tempted to break his vows and become head of the Stark house, so perhaps Melisandre thought showing him what he was missing by remaining a brother would be that final encouragement he needed.

If I remember correctly, she tries to rationalize the act by saying that his oath is to father no children, rather than not have sex at all.

Unless she is trying to put him in a honeytrap, and get pregnant without his knowledge. But I feel that this is out of character for her, she tends to be quite forthcoming with her intentions. She doesn't always tell the whole truth, but she also doesn't tend to try to get things through deceit and lies.

  • I don't think getting him to break his vows by having sex would have been a sound strategy, considering Jon Snow already had sex with a hot redhead and wasn't expelled or executed. It's even implied that the Night's Watch is used to turning a blind eye when a watchmen occasionally gets laid. Melisandre is a perceptive woman and probably knows this.
    – Andres F.
    May 13, 2015 at 23:19
  • @AndresF. But she also knows how honorable Jon Snow is. Whilst he did love Ygritte, he mostly did it to fit in with the Wildlings, so as to not arouse suspicion as he was spying. I wasn't thinking about the Night's Watch kicking him out if he had sex with her, but rather he would be more likely to leave voluntarily. If he broke one vow, his guilt might make him feel like leaving is the best option. May 14, 2015 at 9:07

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