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Pyromancy is telling the future from flames. And we can now predict with confidence that (in spite of the storyline in the books), Mance Rayder won’t be coming back from the dead now that Melisandre has roasted him over a crackling fire.


The final portrait of Mance Rayder, looking very Sitting Bull. Source: HBO.

Why not? Because in both the book and the TV show, the characters have multiplied to the point that they are unmanageable. In order to wrap up the storylines, Benioff and Weiss need to kill off as many characters as possible. After all, new characters are constantly being introduced, and each show is only an hour. Tell Melisandre to get her torches ready..


Carice van Houten as Melisandre.

In the meantime, my requiem for Mance includes a few favorite quotes from Mr. H.’s interviews on the occasion of his demise…

Q: How does burning someone alive work from a production standpoint? What’s required?

A: Well, a) don’t panic, b) make sure they’ve doused you in nonflammable liquid, and c) make sure you’re a good two feet from the first flame. But when you have someone as elegant and luscious as Melisandre, sometimes you just surrender: “Oh, go on.”

Yes, now we know the real reason Mance refused to bend the knee. The prospect of the red-hot redhead Lighting his Fire was just too tempting to resist. And remember Mance’s promise to light the biggest fire the North had ever seen? Clearly, he and the pyromaniac Melisandre (who puts the “bust” in combustion) were made for each other.

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Mance accepts the invitation to his own barbecue. Click for the video.

I could be wrong, of course. Maybe Mance’s Desire for Fire was the result of too much time spent filming in Iceland living in the frozen North beyond the Wall. I quote his interview with EW:

Q: What was your best memory of working on the show?

A: It certainly wasn’t freezing my nuts off in Iceland! Those were bitter days. The people I worked with were so great. The technical people, the camera, the sound, the costume people. It was huge, actually, the work they did behind the scenes in Iceland, to make it bearable for us to do our work.

And then there is this little gem from Esquire:

Q: Most of your scenes are with Kit. How did you two find a rapport? And what did that relationship have to be to make the show work?

A: You do have to connect with the other actor. It reads if you don’t. You know, I have a goddaughter, and there was a moment where she was telling me about the Mance pieces [in the books]. I kept saying, “Don’t tell me, don’t tell me.” But they couldn’t help it because they were in love with the story. That was, until I convinced my goddaughter that we were going off piece and Jon Snow was my lover. I don’t know what she had read, because I didn’t read the books, but I told her HBO had taken it another step further [laughs].

Mr. H., it seems, has the makings of a True Fan, since he has succumbed to the temptation to rewrite the show, shipping Manly Mance and the Beauteous Jon. This would have been a brilliant master stroke (heh heh) in the writing of the show, and I’m thinking of starting a Change.org petition to convince Benioff and Weiss to do a few flashbacks showing the REAL nature of their relationship.

After all, look what he told the New York Times:

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I could not agree more that the show needs an injection of sexy roMANCE. Not the constant titty and booty calls which at this point seem obligatory and perfunctory, but something with real heat. Maybe they could base it on Mance’s memoirs.

So what do the flames predict for Mr. H.’s future? For one thing, he’ll be starring as the wicked seducer Claudius opposite Ben Cumberbatch in the National’s production of the original game of thrones, Hamlet. I think it’s safe to say he’ll be getting some action.

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O Gertrude, come away!

For more on Mance’s Barbecue, check the calendar for April 12-14 at ciaranhinds.eu.