Game of Thrones didn't waste a single ounce of its competition-crushing season premiere on Sunday, wisely giving the women of Thrones the platform they deserve. While a handful of Thrones fans were treated to a party-crashing Maisie Williams armed with snacks, everyone else was forced to ingest the heavily hyped premiere without the comforting presence of one of the show's stars. Thankfully, some authoritative Thrones voices decided to open up (with POTENTIAL SPOILERS) to Entertainment Weekly about one crucial component of Sunday's premiere: Melisandre's new (old) look.
"We were limited by choosing to use a real person rather than a complete CG creation," director Jeremy Podeswa told EW of the moment Melisandre took off her necklace and revealed her hidden (i.e. possibly ancient) self. "Because what does a 400-year-old person look like? We don't know. So if you try to create that, then you're creating something that looks beyond our known reality." Instead, Podeswa decided to avoid a specific age reference by utilizing the magic of modern filmmaking.
To pull off the reveal, the Thrones team had star Carice van Houten done some prosthetic makeup for the face and hair. Melisandre's body, however, was achieved by using an older body double and later combining the two in post-production. "I think the performance of both actresses helps making her look ageless," Podeswa added. According to the Emmy-winning director, Sunday's big reveal was Melisandre's "most vulnerable" moment in the show's history.
Houten, in a separate interview with EW, praised the decision to reveal Melisandre's potentially limited powers and echoed Podeswa's vulnerability theory. "I was really happy when I read that we were going to reveal that this year," Houten said. "I don't think a lot of people will see that coming." Adding that the reveal makes the character "immediately more vulnerable," Houten points to Melisandre's age (100? 400?) as the source of both her resolve and her turmoil. "[Her age] makes everything even more meta," she said. "That's where all that stuff comes from." So what happens now? No clue. Ask Obama.