A Song of Ice, Fire, and Comics, Featuring Many Versions of Melisandre


Lest you forget that there’s actually a comics version of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Clash of Kings will finally get the drawn treatment.

Understandably, quite a bit of the focus on the world of Westeros has to do with Game of Thrones lately. After all, the show’s just a few months away from finally starting its seventh season. As for the books themselves, The Winds of Winter might come out this year. George R.R. Martin thinks so, at least. But there are, in fact, comics, too!

Two years after the fourth graphic novel adapting A Game of Thrones dropped, A Clash of Kings will finally start. Per our sister site, Winter is Coming, the first issue will have a multitude of variant covers … and all of them have some combination of Melisandre and Stannis and Shireen Baratheon.

Let’s start with the many versions of Melisandre:

Where’s this white coming from in Marc Simonetti’s cover? Here’s an excerpt from the prologue of A Clash of Kings, using the 2012 regular-sized paperback edition, describing Melisandre when we meet her through Maester Cressen’s eyes:

"“As ever, she wore red head to heel, a long loose gown of flowing silk as bright as fire, with dagged sleeves and deep slashes in the bodice that showed glimpses of a darker bloodred fabric beneath. Around her throat was a red gold choker […], ornamented with a single great ruby” (17)."

That does not appear to say the word white anywhere, does it?

After so many years of seeing Carice van Houten’s take on the Red Woman, it’s hard to reconcile that image with the above from Mel Rubi. Something about the choker and hints of white take it into a territory that doesn’t seem to fit the priestess, Martin’s original description notwithstanding.

Mike S. Miller’s Melisandre has a red gold choker with a ruby in the middle, as well as an all-red gown. This seems more in line with George R.R. Martin’s description.

Finally, Magali Villeneuve avoided the Melisandre depiction controversy by not drawing her at all and opting for Stannis and his heiress, Shireen.

The subtlety of Shireen’s greyscale really works here; you can just spot it if you look closely at her face. This is probably yours truly’s favorite cover.

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Do you have a favorite variant, and will you pick up this first issue when it drops on June 7? Or will you content yourself with your imagination, tinged by Game of Thrones or otherwise?