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Red Priestess (High Sparrow)

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FieryHeartoftheLordofLight
FieryHeartoftheLordofLight
"Lord cast your light upon us. For the night is dark and full of terrors. I was once as you are now. Bought and sold, scourged and branded. [...] The Lord of Light hears your voice. He hears the king as he hears the slave; he hears the Stone Men in their misery. [...] He has sent you a savior! From the fire she was reborn to remake the world! The Dragon Queen!"
―The Red Priestess preaches of Daenerys Targaryen to a group of slaves[src]

A Red Priestess is a minor character in the fifth season. She is portrayed by Rila Fukushima.[1]

BiographyEdit

BackgroundEdit

This woman was a slave of apparently eastern origin. According to the Volantene tattoo on her face, she was trained as a prostitute. It seems that she was eventually bought by the Red Temple in Volantis, or was freed by some other means and joined the Red Temple thereafter. She was eventually ordained as a Red Priest.

Season 5Edit

At the Long Bridge in Volantis, Essos, she preaches to the slaves gathered around her that Daenerys Targaryen is a prophesied savior sent by R'hllor. Tyrion Lannister and Varys watch and listen from a distance, with Tyrion mocking her until the priestess turns to him and stares at him intently, forcing the two to leave the scene.[2]

AppearancesEdit

Season Five appearances
The Wars to Come The House of Black and White High Sparrow Sons of the Harpy Kill the Boy
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken The Gift Hardhome The Dance of Dragons Mother’s Mercy

Behind the scenes Edit

The Red Priestess's necklace, belt and chest piece clearly displays a motif of elongated hexagons, a shape associated with Asshai and featuring prominently in the wardrobes of the Red Priestess's fellow missionary, Melisandre, the Asshai'i expatriate Quaithe, and the Red Priestess's own superior, Kinvara. See "Costumes: Essos - Asshai".[3]

Rila Fukushima is the first East Asian actor to appear as a character with speaking lines in the TV series. There are people in The Known World of the novels who are ethnically East Asian in appearance, but they live in the far east of Essos, far east of Qarth and the Dothraki Sea, in the great empire of Yi Ti (the narrative's analogue to ancient China). As George R.R. Martin has explained, Yi Ti is so far away from Westeros that encountering Yi Tish people in King's Landing is as unlikely as encountering people from China in Medieval England - medieval long-distance travel was quite limited. Further east in Essos, it becomes slightly more probable to encounter travelers from Yi Ti, though it is still quite rare (i.e., a missionary from the east preaching in Volantis would be rare, but not implausible). In the novels, the only time Yi Tish people ever appear is when Daenerys Targaryen is even further east at the Dothraki city Vaes Dothrak, and mentions in passing that several of the merchants at the city's market are from Yi Ti.

In the booksEdit

In the books, a male Red Priest in Selhorys, a town under Volantene rule, plays the same role. Benerro, the High Priest of R'hllor at the Red Temple in Volantis, preaches a similar message in Volantis itself, very much like the Red Priestess.

In the novels, all slaves bought by the Red Temple of Volantis are branded with tattoos in the shape of flames, be they Red Priests, temple guards (known as the Fiery Hand) or temple prostitutes. The Red Priestess implies that she was a conventional bed-slave rather than a temple prostitute, however.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. [1]
  2. High Sparrow (episode)
  3. "A Man Without Honor" HBO featurette

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