Theories have surrounded Alys Rivers being Melisandre for a long time. With Alys Rivers being a suspected character in House of the Dragon, let’s see if they have one too many similarities for it to be just a coincidence. For those who might not know who Alys Rivers (also known as the Witch Queen of Harrenhal) is, she is Aemond Targaryen’s bedmate. She was associated with dark magic, having visions and looking “younger than her years.”
What we know about Alys Rivers
The exact origins of Alys Rivers are not confirmed. She claims to be a bastard of Lord Lyonel but was never formally acknowledged as one. Quite similar to Melisandre’s origins being sold to a red temple at a very young age. We know nothing of her lineage before that.
During the Dance of Dragons, Alys was known to be at least forty years of age. She may be even older if we look at this passage from the book.
“Munken and Eustace tell us she was sired by Lord Lyonel Strong in his callow youth, making her a natural half-sister to his sons Harwin (Break Bones) and Larys (the Clubfoot). But mushroom insists that she was much older, that she was a wet nurse to both boys, perhaps to their father a generation earlier.”
We know from the books that Melisandre was also much older than she appeared. She was said to have “practiced her art for years beyond count, and she had paid the price.” Could the price in question be something that happened to her decades ago as Alys Rivers? If this is true, this would make Melisandre much older than 200 years old at the time of her death.
During one incident, when Daemon asked Aemond how he found him, Aemond replied, “My Lady, she saw you in a storm cloud, in a mountain pool at dusk, in the fire we lit to cook our suppers. She sees much and more, my Alys.”
Is Alys Rivers Melisandre?
Seeing visions in fires is a trait exhibited by some red priests, like Melisandre. Alys once choked a messenger to death with magic similar to the Red Woman’s shadow baby. Alys cursed the messenger to death if someone laughed while he retells the story of how he escaped Alys. People reported seeing the imprints of the hands of a woman on the messenger’s throat as he choked to death by seemingly nothing in the room after someone laughed. This could be the work of a shadow baby.
We know from the books that Alys gave birth to Aemond’s child. Alys claims the child was a boy, thus making him an heir to the throne. The actual gender of the baby is ambiguous at best. In the books, when Ser Regis visits Alys at Harrenhal, he is stated as seeing “a child”, not “a boy.” Since the hands of the shadow baby were said to look like a woman’s, the child could have been a girl since it is easy to conceal the gender of a toddler.
Another similarity between Melisandre and Alys is they are fiercely protective of the men they pledge their support to; Melisandre with Stannis and Alys with Aemond. We also notice that both men were quite enamored by them as well. Alys could also have been lying about the child being a boy since that would make him the heir to the throne. This would ensure their legacy in history.
Read more: Will House Of The Dragon have white walkers?
Could Melisandrebe Alys Rivers’ daughter?
We don’t find out what really happens to Alys in the books. She is said to have fled with her child as the forces at King’s Landing attempted to capture Harrenhal. Just as the first attempt was about to occur, a sickening disease known as Winter Fever spread throughout Westeros. With the disease racking the kingdom, it would have been significantly more accessible for Alys Rivers to flee via the ports. This leads us to believe that she could be behind this outbreak.
Harrenhal is said to be ill-omened but strong in magic since it is in close proximity to God’s Eye. Alys could have stationed herself in this place, brimming with old magic, strengthening herself and her own magic. This would explain why she thought escaping was the best idea before Harrenhal could be taken over, leaving her weakened.
These events took place around 170 years before Daenerys arrived at the King’s Landing. If we believe Melisandre was the child of Alys, it will make sense that she was about 170 years old. We see her shrivel and die under the pressure of living extraordinarily longer than an average human.
With dark magic and red priests involved, anything is possible. Alys Rivers could’ve changed her appearance and lived a new life as Melony/Melisandre. But then the question remains, what happened to her child? Having a dark magic-wielding mother who also saw visions in the fire can explain how Melisandre was much more powerful than most red priests. What do you think?