Feature article/56

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A priest of R'hllor leading a prayer in front of a fire.

R'hllor is a god worshipped prominently in Essos. He is called by a variety of names, including the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow. In Westeros, where his followers are few, he is more commonly known as the red god. The red priests of R'hllor serve at red temples found in numerous locations, including Braavos, Lys, Myr, Pentos, Qohor, Tyrosh, Volantis, Selhorys, Dorne, and Oldtown. The largest of the temples is located in Volantis, where the High Priest resides. His temple guard, known as the Fiery Hand, always numbers one thousand men.

The priests of R'hllor associate fire with life, and associate darkness with the enemy. They pray every evening before a nightfire (pictured), and again light a fire each morning at first light, welcoming the sun. The priests train to see visions in the flames of their fires. According to the priestess Melisandre, the visions are never wrong, although the interpretation of it can err.

R'hllor is locked in an eternal struggle with the Great Other, the Lord of Darkness, over the fate of the world, or so the red priests say. Ancient prophecies from Asshai claim that the struggle will end when Azor Ahai returns wielding Lightbringer and raises dragons from stone. During the reign of the Westerosi King Robert I Baratheon, the red priestess Melisandre travels to Dragonstone in search of the prophesied prince. Feeling that Dragonstone meets the requirements stated in the prophecy, Melisandre comes to believe that Lord Stannis Baratheon is Azor Ahai reborn. She rises to power on the island by first becoming a close confidant to Stannis's wife and later Stannis himself, playing a prominent part in the War of the Five Kings. Read more...