High Sparrow

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High Septon
Marc Fishman High Sparrow.jpg
- The High Sparrow - by Marc Fishman ©

Alias The High Sparrow
Title High Septon
His High Holiness
Father of the Faithful
Voice of the Seven on Earth
Allegiance Faith of the Seven
Faith Militant
Book(s) A Feast for Crows (appears)
A Dance with Dragons (appears)

Played by Jonathan Pryce
TV series Season 5 | Season 6

The High Sparrow is the current High Septon of the Faith of the Seven. His real name is unknown as High Septons abandon their names once elected to office. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones he is portrayed by Jonathan Pryce.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of the High Sparrow

He is a small, thin, hard-eyed, grey-haired man with a heavily lined face. Unlike previous High Septons, he does not wear rich robes or elaborate crowns of crystal and spun gold. Instead, he wears a simple white wool tunic that goes to his ankles. The man is truly devout to his faith and has an iron will.


Little is known of the history of the current High Septon. He claims to have been a septon who walked all over the realm. His heavily callused feet support this claim; they are black, gnarled and hard as tree roots. He often came upon villages that were too small to have their own septs and performed the traditional duties of a septon, such as naming newborn children, absolving sins and performing marriages.

Recent Events

A Feast for Crows

On the Rosby road, Brienne of Tarth spots a group of sparrows led by a septon with feet that are "bare and black, gnarled and hard as tree roots", a lean face, and grey-and-brown hair, who is going to King's Landing with bones of septons killed in the Riverlands. This septon is probably the High Sparrow.[1]

After the previous High Septon is slain, the Most Devout begin the selection process to see who of them will become the new High Septon.[2] According to Qyburn, the sparrows forcibly took over the selection process. They burst into the chambers with axes in hand and with their leader, the small septon, on their shoulders. The Most Devout relent in fear and name him the new High Septon.[3]

The new High Septon begins his term by selling all of the golden crowns, including his own, and robes of cloth and gold. The money earned from this is used to buy food for the sparrows and the poor. He clads himself in a humble wool robe and other Most Devout are forced to follow suit. Cersei Lannister, in order to secure the Faith's blessing for her son and cancel the near one million dragons the crown owed the Faith, allows the High Septon to restore the Faith Militant. This military arm of the Faith has not existed in the realm since it was disbanded by Jaehaerys I Targaryen. His army of sparrows become Poor Fellows of old and soon over a hundred knights join the Warrior's Sons. The new High Septon becomes commonly known as the High Sparrow after a jape of Moon Boy.[4]

The Faith, emboldened by their new power, arrests Margaery Tyrell and her cousins when Osney Kettleblack falsely confesses to bedding the girls. The High Septon is suspicious of Osney's confession, as he had never heard a confession from a man so pleased to be guilty, and has Osney scourged. Osney confesses the actual truth that Cersei had him lie and he killed the previous High Septon under her orders.

When Cersei Lannister visits the Great Sept of Baelor, the High Septon has her arrested and imprisoned on similar, but accurate, charges.[5]

A Dance with Dragons

Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, tasks Tyene Sand with befriending the High Sparrow.[6]

Since the evidence against Margaery and her cousins is quite weak, the High Septon releases them into the custody of Randyll Tarly. The High Septon requires Tarly to swear a holy oath to return them for trial.

The High Septon then sees Cersei when she says she wishes to confess. To try and gain access to visitors, Cersei decides to confess many of her crimes to him. She confesses she did have relations with her cousin Lancel and the Kettleblack brothers. She knows such sins would not earn her an execution, but denies the sins that would earn her death - ordering Osney to kill the previous High Septon and her involvement in Robert's death. The High Septon agrees to allow her one visitor a day.[7]

The High Septon agrees to free Cersei on the condition that she performs a penance walk through King's Landing. Cersei reluctantly agrees. Cersei and Margaery are still to be put on trial. Cersei chose trial by combat with Ser Robert Strong as her champion. Margaery chose trial by the Faith.

Lord Regent Kevan Lannister, Master of Laws Randyll Tarly and Hand of the King Mace Tyrell are frustrated by having to give in to the demands of the "High Sparrow". With so many rebellious subjects in the Seven Kingdoms, however, they dare not be seen to go against the Faith, lest it drive the pious into the armies of another claimant to the Iron Throne.[8] The High Septon disapproves of Stannis Baratheon, believing that Stannis has turned from the truth of the Seven to worship a red demon and that his false faith has no place in the Seven Kingdoms.

Quotes by the High Sparrow

I seldom feel so close to god as when I am being whipped for mine own wickedness, though my darkest sins are no wise near as black as his.[5]
- the High Sparrow to Cersei Lannister

Quotes about the High Sparrow

The Swords and Stars have been re-formed, and this new High Septon is not the puppet that the others were. Try and get close to him.[6]
Doran Martell to Tyene Sand

This man is implacable.[7]
– thoughts of Cersei Lannister

What have we become, when kings and high lords must dance to the twittering of Sparrows.[8]
Randyll Tarly to Kevan Lannister

References and Notes

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