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The setting of A Song of Ice and Fire is one where there are many faiths, and many faithful. Belief in high powers and supernatural threats runs deep through the culture of the known world and influence most aspects of life. In the Seven Kingdoms nearly all children are raised praising either the new gods or the old. Across the narrow sea children are often given to be raised to priesthood of one of the many deities worshiped there. Little is known about the actual deities and their powers. So far, only followers of R'hllor have been shown to channel real powers that influence the world directly.


Relatively few religions have a significant following in Westeros. They include:

  • The old gods are nameless deities[1] of stream, forest, and stone.[2] They were worshiped across Westeros by the children of the forest, and eventually by the First Men, some time after signing the Pact.[3] Since the arrival of the Andals who brought with them their own religion, the old gods are no longer dominantly worshiped in the south of Westeros.[3] Only in the north does a majority of houses still worship the old gods. North of the Wall, the free folk continue to worship the old gods. Although some accounts state that there are clans who worship different gods (dark gods beneath the ground in the Frostfangs, gods of snow and ice on the Frozen Shore, or crab gods at Storrold's Point), there is no reliable confirmation off this.[4]
  • The Faith of the Seven is the dominant religion in the southern part of the Seven Kingdoms. The Faith worships the Seven Who Are One, a single deity with seven aspects or faces.[5][6][7][8][9][10] For the less educated, this concept is often difficult to grasp, leading to the common belief that there are indeed seven different gods.[6] The number seven is considered holy.[11]
  • The Drowned God, also called He Who Dwells Beneath the Waves,[12] is a sea deity worshiped by the ironborn of the Iron Islands. The religion of the Drowned God is old, predating the Andal invasion. All attempts of the Andal invaders to supplant it with the Seven have failed. The Drowned God's nemesis is the Storm God.
  • R'hllor, also known as the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, and the God of Flame and Shadow,[13] is a prominent god in Essos with a small but growing following in the Seven Kingdoms, where he is more commonly known as the red god.[14][15] Based on a dualistic, Manichean view of the world, R'hllor, the god of light, heat, and life, is eternally at war against the Great Other, also known as the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of Ice, and the God of Night and Terror, he is the god of darkness, cold, and death.[16]
  • Mother Rhoyne, the chief goddess of the Rhoynar, is still worshiped by the orphans of the Greenblood, descendants of the Rhoynar.[17] She has lesser gods under her like the Crab King and the Old Man of the River, both of whom are said to be among her many children whilst the Old man of the River is also said to be her consort.[17][18][19] The side rivers that flow into the river Rhoyne are called her daughters, but it is unknown at this time if they are also considered gods.[20]

Additionally, the Lady of the Waves and the Lord of the Skies were once worshiped on the Three Sisters before the Andals introduced the Seven.[21] There are also the sea god and the goddess of the wind from the legend of Durran Godsgrief.[22] In some tales the legendary figure Garth Greenhand is called a god.[23] The Merling King,[24][25][26] a deity worshiped by sailors in Essos was also worshiped in Westeros at least until the coming of the Andals.[27]


In Essos across the narrow sea, there are numerous different religions. In Braavos, one can find temples and shrines to almost every god one can imagine.[28] Named religions include:

Unnamed religions include:

  • A small household idol which looked like a pregnant woman with swollen breasts and a bat's head that was worshiped by Rego Draz.[37]
  • The Gardens of Gelenei is a temple on the Isle of the Gods in Braavos, Gelenei may possibly be the name of the god or goddess worshiped there but this not confirmed.[28]
  • The love goddess of Lys,[38] whose naked figure is on Lysene coinage;[39] it is at present unknown if she is the same as the Weeping Lady of Lys.
  • The Moonsingers,[30][40] it is unknown what the god or goddess of the Moonsingers is called but there is a Temple of the Moonsingers[41][30] in Braavos and at least two goddesses associated with the moon are worshiped in the city, so it may be the Moon Mother or the Moon-Pale Maiden.
  • The Fountain of the Drunken God may or may not be dedicated to a god.[29]
  • The many gods honored in the Holy Refuge also called The Warren, it is a temple in Braavos, within it the forgotten gods are honored.[30]
  • The Dothraki believe that the Sun and the Moon are a god and goddess and that they are husband and wife.[42]
  • The Temple of Memory is a temple in Qarth where petitioners seeking audience with the Pureborn must perform a traditional sacrifice. It is unknown which god or gods are worshiped there.[43]
  • The god of the Bearded priests of Norvos who's name is unknown, because the sect is so secretive the name of their god is revealed only to initiates.[44]


In Valyria they worshiped many gods the Targaryens named at least four of their Dragons after Valyrian gods:

Other regions

This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.

The Chainmaker is a Ghiscari deity in modern Slaver's Bay. There's a bronze statue of it in the plaza adjacent to the Slave Exchange of Meereen.[52]

Influences and Theology

Unlike J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire addresses religion in some detail and portrays several competing religions. More than any other novel in the series, A Dance with Dragons explores the different religions of Westeros and Essos. Each of the religions reflects its culture's temperament. George R. R. Martin based the series' faiths on real religions, tweaking or expanding them a little. However, no religion is presented as the true faith, although there are displays of power on many sides, nor do any have a monopoly on virtue.

Known influences include:

  • The old gods are "based on animism and traditional Pagan beliefs of Wicca and various other Celtic systems and Norse systems", melted into one construct.[53] They are nameless and numerous.[54]
  • The Faith of the Seven is based on the medieval Catholic Church, although it borrows other elements as well. The Faith's central doctrine of one God with seven aspects is partly based on the Christian Trinity: one God in the divine persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. In the Faith of the Seven, God has seven aspects: three males, the Father, the Smith, and the Warrior, three females, the Mother, the Maiden, and the Crone, and the Stranger who represents Death.[55][56] The Faith Militant, the Faith's military order, is loosely based on crusading orders such as the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller.[57]
  • Similarities between the religion of the Drowned God and the Norse mythology can be found. For example, the ironborn believe they will feast eternally in the Drowned God's watery halls after they die, similar to Norse warriors, who hoped to feast in Valhalla.
  • The Mother Rhoyne religion is a polytheistic worshiping of the Rhoyne and many lesser river-dwelling deities such as the Old Man of the River and the Crab King. The Rhoynar may be inspired by the Roma.[58]

Martin tries to slowly reveal how the many different kinds of magic in the Ice and Fire world may be manifestations of the same mysterious supernatural forces. This leaves readers free to wonder about the validity, teachings and supernatural power of the competing religions, allowing for a sense of wonder, for things that escape the net of explanation in terms of the physical sciences. Martin regards any religion's claim to truth with suspicion, as he does the claims of real religions. The series' gods, he said, are unlikely to appear deus-ex-machina in Westeros.[59]



  1. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 70, Jon IX.
  2. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Dawn Age.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  4. The World of Ice & Fire, The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings.
  5. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
  7. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  8. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 33, Catelyn IV.
  9. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
  11. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  12. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize.
  13. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  14. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
  15. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  16. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III.
  17. 17.0 17.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 21, The Queenmaker.
  18. 18.0 18.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Long Night.
  19. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships.
  20. 20.0 20.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  21. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
  22. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
  23. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach.
  24. 24.0 24.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  25. 25.0 25.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 5, Davos I.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
  27. The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 64, The Ugly Little Girl.
  29. 29.0 29.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 33, Tyrion VIII.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
  31. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  33. The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti.
  34. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 45, The Blind Girl.
  35. The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti.
  36. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
  37. Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under Jaehaerys I.
  38. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
  39. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  40. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 61, Daenerys VII.
  41. The Lands of Ice and Fire, Braavos.
  42. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  43. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 40, Daenerys III.
  44. 44.0 44.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Norvos.
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 57, Daenerys V.
  47. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
  48. The Rogue Prince.
  49. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Lorath.
  50. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Qohor.
  51. The World of Ice & Fire, Leng.
  52. Barristan I (The Winds of Winter)
  53. George R.R. Martin | Talks at Google (Published August 6, 2011)
  54. So Spake Martin: Gods of Westeros (November 18, 1998)
  55. Bullseye: George R. R. Martin, Author of "A Song of Ice and Fire" Series: Interview on The Sound of Young America {September 19, 2011}
  56. Google Talks: George R. R. Martin
  57. So Spake Martin: Faith Militant’s Inspiration and Ice and Fire Dream Cast (April 15, 2008)
  58. Many Gods & Dark Faiths article by Ran and Linda
  59. Anders, Charlie Jane (July 21, 2011). "George R.R. Martin explains why we'll never meet any gods in A Song of Ice and Fire". Retrieved 2012-02-13.