Game of Thrones: Who plays Red Priestess Melisandre, and how did she give birth to a shadow baby?

Last week’s Game of Thrones cliffhanger showed Stannis’ red priestess Melisandre suddenly get heavily pregnant, and give birth to a creepy shadow.

The scene was a jaw-dropper that featured a wriggling prosthetic belly, and a super creepy dark shadow monster. It definitely gives new meaning to Melisandre’s mantra “The night is dark and full of terrors.”

In the scene Melisandre was traveling with Davos Seaworth (played by Irish actor Liam Cunningham.)

Liam told em>Access Hollywood that the movements in the belly were caused by a process called pneumatics (which uses pressurized gas to create movement) operated by Conor O’Sullivan, who has worked on special effects for Clash of Titans and The Dark Knight.

Liam also talked about getting in character for the scene:

“When I do turn around — you have to get your head around this as an actor — to turn around and see the red priestess dropping the robe and [she’s] nine months pregnant, and two second before, she wasn’t pregnant at all? And for my character, who’s very real, he’s very human, and to see this thing crawl along the ground… this CGI-ed monster, is very, very scary and it’s an amazing end shot.”

Dutch actress Carice van Houten plays Red Priestess Melisandre, and has worked with Liam before in indie film Black Butterflies. She’s also been in U.S. films Valkyrie and Repo Man. She’s the daughter of Margje Stasse, who’s on the board for Dutch educational TV, and author and broadcaster Theodore van Houten.

Neither Carice nor Liam have read the books (Liam was absolutely shocked when he first read last week’s episode script.) (Is is okay for key actors in a big series like this based off of books to have not read them? Both Carice and Liam’s characters don’t even show up until season/book 2, when Stannis Baratheon’s story becomes more prominent. Carice’s character Melisandre of Asshai is a red priestess of light who survived being poisoned, and is connected with some very strange supernatural phenomena, including the shadow birth.

Follow Carice on Twitter!

Be our BFFs on Twitter, Facebook!, and Google +