Silent sisters

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Silent sisters attend to the dead. © Fantasy Flight Games
The silent sisters escorting the dead. © Fantasy Flight Games

The silent sisters, also referred to as the Stranger's wives[1], death's handmaidens[2] or the handmaidens of the Stranger,[3] is an order of women belonging to the Faith of the Seven. They are sworn to the service of the Stranger and have taken vows of chastity and silence. The silent sisters attend to the dead.[4] They are not to be confused with septas.


Silent sisters are shrouded in grey and keep their faces cowled except for their eyes.[5] It is said that theirs is a serene life, a life of prayer and contemplation and good works. They bring solace to the living and peace to the dead.[6]

Girls and women are sometimes sent to become silent sisters as a punishment.[7] It is said that the silent sisters are always glad to welcome widows.[6] People of Westeros are uneasy about and wary of the silent sisters. The silent sisters prepare men for the grave, and it is considered ill fortune to look on the face of death.[8] The belief that their tongues are removed is a myth; silent sisters are silent because of piety.[9]

One of the silent sisters' main functions is the collection and handling of the bodies of the dead, preparing them for funerals. More frequently flesh is stripped from a deceased's bones with beetles or boiling. Sometimes the sisters remove the bowels and organs and drain a body of blood, stuffing it with salts and fragrant herbs.[10]


Marla Sunderland rebelled against House Arryn during Aegon's Conquest but became a sister after the war.[11]

Maris Baratheon became a silent sister during the Regency of Aegon III.[9]

During the reign of Aegon IV Targaryen, the king promised Ser Quentyn Ball a place in the Kingsguard, so Quentyn made his wife join the silent sisters in order to facilitate this.[12]

Alysanne Osgrey was sent to the order because her father, Ser Eustace, rebelled during the First Blackfyre Rebellion.[7] During the Great Spring Sickness nearly all of the silent sisters in King's Landing died of the plague.[7]

According to a semi-canon source,[13] Lord Tywin Lannister forced Rohanne and Cyrelle Tarbeck to join the silent sisters after the Reyne-Tarbeck rebellion.

A daughter of Ser Elys Waynwood was seduced by a sellsword, lost her bastard child by him, and joined the silent sisters.[14]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

A silent sister attends to the body of Ser Hugh of the Vale.[8]

A Clash of Kings

Arya Stark sees silent sisters remove the body of Lord Medger Cerwyn from Harrenhal.[15]

Silent sisters present Eddard Stark's bones to Catelyn Stark at Riverrun, as arranged by Tyrion Lannister. Catelyn requests the silent sisters to take Eddard's bones to Winterfell so that he may be buried in the crypt beneath the castle in accordance with the tradition of House Stark. They are to be escorted by Hal Mollen.[5]

A Storm of Swords

After the Red Wedding Sandor Clegane threatens to give Arya to the silent sisters.[16]

A Feast for Crows

Travelling to Duskendale, Brienne of Tarth comes across a band of silent sisters. She asks them if they have seen her sister but they shake their heads.[1] Later Brienne, Ser Illifer, and Ser Creighton Longbough come across some poor fellows marching to King's Landing, who tell them that even silent sisters have been molested.[1][17]

During Ser Jaime Lannister's vigil over his father's Tywin's body the silent sisters come single file down the Stranger's Steps of the Great Sept of Baelor. They and the other devout make a circuit of the sept, worshipping at each of the seven altars to honor the seven aspects of the deity. To each god they make a sacrifice and sing a hymn. [2] When the funeral procession departs King's Landing six silent sisters ride attendance on Tywin's bones.[18] At Riverrun Jaime dreams of a woman all in grey, a silent sister. A hood and veil conceal her features but he can see the candles burning in the green pools of her eyes; it is his mother, Joanna Lannister.[19]

Cersei Lannister suggests to Falyse Stokeworth that she join the silent sisters after Bronn ordered her gone from Stokeworth. Cersei then thinks of a better way to get rid of her and gives Falyse to Qyburn.[6] During Cersei's imprisonment three silent sisters hold her down as Septa Scolera strips her bare.[20]

A Dance with Dragons

Ser Wylis Manderly threatens to send his daughter, Wylla, to the silent sisters if she does not speak her wedding vows to Walder Frey on the appointed day. [21]

Tyrion Lannister recalls that there is supposed to be a female dwarf amongst the silent sisters.[22]

Before Cersei's walk of atonement from the Great Sept of Baelor to the Red Keep, two silent sisters shave her head and body.[4]

In Meereen Ser Barristan Selmy considers what is to be done with Quentyn Martell's body. He thinks that the silent sisters would have seen to it at home, but this is Slaver's Bay and the nearest silent sister is 10,000 leagues away.[23]


Wylla, every time you open your mouth you make me want to send you to the silent sisters.[21]

If I had any sense I'd give you to the silent sisters. They cut the tongues out of girls who talk too much.[16]

A man would need to be a fool to rape a silent sister. Even to lay hands upon one … it's said they are the Stranger's wives, and their female parts are cold and wet as ice.[1]

Podrick: The silent sisters never speak. I heard they don't have tongues.
Meribald: Mothers have been cowing their daughters with that tale since I was your age. There was no truth to it then and there is none now. A vow of silence is an act of contrition, a sacrifice by which we prove our devotion to the Seven Above.[24]