R'hllor

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Red priestess performing the night ritual by Jen Zee©

R'hllor, also known as the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow,[1] is a prominent god in Essos, but has only a few followers in Westeros, where he is more commonly known as the red god.[2][3] His symbol is a fiery heart.[4]

Beliefs

The religion is based on a dualistic, manichean view of the world: R'hllor, the god of light, heat, and life, and R'hllor's antithesis the Great Other, the god of ice and death.[5] They are locked in an eternal struggle over the fate of the world; a struggle that, according the ancient prophecies from the books of Asshai, will only end when Azor Ahai, the messianic figure, returns wielding a flaming sword called Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and raises dragons from stone.[5] According to George R. R. Martin, this faith is roughly based upon the fire worship of Zoroastrianism. This religion's dualistic aspects of a good and an evil god are also inspired by Zoroastrianism, along with the Cathars of Medieval Europe who were annihilated during the Albigensian Crusade.[6]

Clergy

Worshippers asking R'hllor to bring back the dawn - by Magali Villeneuve. © Fantasy Flight Games

Clergy of the R'hllor religion are called red priests, due to the loose, crimson robes they wear. Red priests may be male or female. In the east, they are a common sight, where the faith of R'hllor's influence is more widespread and children are sometimes given to temples of R'hllor to be raised into the priesthood. The red temples also buy children as slaves; these slaves of R'hllor are raised as priests, temple prostitutes, or warriors. The warriors that protect the greater temples are called the Fiery Hand.

Known Red Temples

Known Red Priests

Rituals

Every evening, red priests light fires and sing prayers at their temples, asking R'hllor to bring back the dawn. Followers often gaze into flames in an effort to receive visions of the future. It is believed that R'hllor will occasionally answer the prayers of his followers by granting visions and abilities such as raising the dead.[Citation Needed] The priests of R'hllor also seem to be able to evoke fire with their bare hands and be able to control it to attack enemies or simply to impress common people. Some rites performed by the red priests include sacrificial immolation and administering the last kiss to the recently deceased. According to Melisandre, R'hllor speaks to his chosen ones through blessed fire, in a language of ash and cinder and twisting flame that only a god can truly grasp.[8]

Trials by combat are an accepted practice in the R'hllor faith;[Citation Needed] prayers before the combat ask R'hllor to give strength to the just party. "The night is dark and full of terrors" is a common phrase in prayers to R'hllor.

History

Melisandre came to Dragonstone because she believed Stannis Baratheon is Azor Ahai reborn and destined to defeat the Great Other - by Pojypojy ©

The worship of R'hllor is a religious tradition in the continent of Essos, but has not gained much popularity in Westeros. Recent efforts to spread the faith to Westeros include the red priests sending Thoros of Myr to King's Landing to convert the fire-obsessed Aerys II Targaryen. This attempt failed after Thoros was unable to impress Aerys with his fire magic.

Like other types of magic, the magic of R'hllor seems to have faded after the last Targaryen dragons died.[9]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Three dragons are hatched by Daenerys Targaryen.[10]

A Clash of Kings

At Dragonstone, Melisandre wields fire magic and convinces Stannis Baratheon to claim the mantle of Azor Ahai. Followers of R'hllor at Stannis's court are known as queen's men.

A Storm of Swords

Thoros of Myr explains to Arya Stark that he surprisingly resurrected Beric Dondarrion after performing the last kiss. Many of the brotherhood without banners now worship the Lord of Light.

A Feast for Crows

In Qohor, the followers of R'hllor try to burn the Black Goat.[11]

Ser Daven Lannister informs Ser Jaime Lannister that his scouts have spotted night fires in the high places and villages near the siege of Riverrun.[12]

A Dance with Dragons

In Volantis, Benerro preaches that Daenerys Targaryen is Azor Ahai reborn and encourages many to support her.[13]

Melisandre believes that her power is stronger at the Wall than it had been in Asshai.[8]

According to the High Sparrow, the new High Septon, Stannis has turned from the truth of the Seven to worship a red demon, and his false faith has no place in the Seven Kingdoms.[14]

Quotes by believers

R'hllor is the source of all good.[15]
Melisandre to Davos Seaworth


There are no gods but R'hllor and the Other, whose name may not be said.[16]
Moqorro to Victarion Greyjoy


Your Drowned God is a demon, he is no more than a thrall of the Other, the dark god whose name must not be spoken.[16]
Moqorro to Victarion Greyjoy

Quotes by non-believers

The red priests have a great temple on Lys. Always they are burning this and burning that, crying out to their R'hllor. They bore me with their fires. Soon they will bore King Stannis too, it is to be hoped.[17]
Salladhor Saan to Davos Seaworth


May the Others bugger your Lord of Light.[18]
Cortnay Penrose to Melisandre


Light our fire and protect us from the dark, blah, blah, light our way and keep us toasty warm, the night is full of terrors, save us from the scary thing, and blah blah blah some more.[19]
Tyrion Lannister's thoughts


Red Rahloo means nothing here.[20]
Hugo Wull to Godry Farring


Corliss: You northmen brought these snows upon us. You and your demon trees. R'hllor will save us.

Artos: R'hllor will doom us.[20]

Corliss Penny and Artos Flint


The red god's choir only knows a single song.[21]
Asha Greyjoy to Stannis Baratheon

See also

References and Notes

  1. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  2. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
  3. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  4. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III.
  6. Martin, George R.R. (July 28, 2011). Authors@Google presents George R. R. Martin in conversation with Dan Anthony. At GoogleTalks. Event occurs at 47:00. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  7. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 31, Melisandre I.
  9. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
  10. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 72, Daenerys X.
  11. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
  12. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
  13. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
  14. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
  15. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III, p 289.
  16. 16.0 16.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 63, Victarion I.
  17. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I, p 152.
  18. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III, p 607.
  19. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 33, Tyrion VIII.
  20. 20.0 20.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice.
  21. Theon I (The Winds of Winter)

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