The Drowned God, also known as He Who Dwells Beneath the Waves, is a sea deity worshiped solely by the ironborn of the Iron Islands in Westeros. The religion of the Drowned God is old, dating back to before the Andal invasion. Most Andal invaders of the Iron Islands converted to the local religion rather than supplant it with the Seven as they did in the south of Westeros. The Drowned God religion supports the ironmen's naval, pirate culture.
Like the ironborn, the Drowned God is a harsh deity and goes hand in hand with the Old Way. It is said the Drowned God made the ironborn to reave and rape, to carve out kingdoms and to make their names known in fire and blood and song. The Drowned God himself is believed to have brought flame from the sea and sailed the world with fire and sword. The Drowned God's eternal enemy, the Storm God, resides in a hall within the clouds and ravens are his creatures. It is said the two deities have been in conflict for millennia and the sea roils in anger when they engage in battle. However, much like the Drowned God, no one aside from the ironborn believe in the Storm God.
When an ironman drowns, it is said that the Drowned God needed a strong oarsman, and the refrain "What is dead may never die" is used. It is believed he will be feasted in the Drowned God's watery halls, his every want satisfied by mermaids. Libations for those who have died can be poured into the sea by the living. Some ironmen believe that worthy adversaries, even if they do not worship the Drowned God, can go to the god's halls.
Drowning and resurrection feature prominently in the prayers and rituals of the Drowned God religion. Sacrificial drowning is the traditional method of execution for the ironmen, but it is also considered a holy act, and the most faithful have no fear of it. Newborns are "drowned" shortly after birth, being submerged into or anointed with saltwater. This is done as part of rites of the god, committing their bodies to the sea, so when they die they may find the Drowned God's halls. Both the method of execution and the newborn rite are referred to as being "given to the Drowned God".
During the anointment ritual, the priest has a person kneel. Using his skin of sea water, he pours a stream of it upon the person's head. As he does this he intones:
Priest: Let <person> your servant be born again from the sea, as you were. Bless him with salt, bless him with stone, bless him with steel.
Response: What is dead may never die.
Priest: What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger.
- Main article: Drowned men
Clergymen, called drowned men, are drowned a second time in earnest and brought back to life with a crude form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Not all men are successfully revived, however. Drowned men wear roughspun robes of mottled green, grey, and blue, the colours of the Drowned God. They carry driftwood cudgels to show their devotion in battle, as well as skins of saltwater to perform ritual anointment and occasionally drink from to strengthen their faith.
While priests of the Drowned God must not shed the blood of ironborn, they have no such reservation about other methods such as drowning.
In his Strange Stone Maester Theron suggests that the religion of the Drowned God originates from the undersea fathers of the Deep Ones. Worship of the old gods as practiced by other First Men of Westeros did not occur in the Iron Islands.
The dynasty of House Hoare, many of whom supported the Faith, was ill regarded by followers of the Drowned God. King Horgan Hoare become known as Horgan Priestkiller when he suppressed drowned men who had attacked followers of the Faith. King Harmund II Hoare worshipped both the Drowned God and the Seven, referring to "the Eight Gods". Opposed by adherents of both religions, Harmund eventually considered the Drowned God to be an aspect of the Stranger. The Shrike led the drowned men in renouncing the Faith and rebelling against Harmund III Hoare. Halleck Hoare, King of the Isles and the Rivers, spent most of his time in the riverlands and only nominally supported the Drowned God.
Following the death of Halleck's son, King Harren the Black, during House Targaryen's War of Conquest, the priest Lodos claimed to be the living son of the Drowned God. Lord Vickon Greyjoy allowed the Faith of the Seven to return to the Iron Islands in the aftermath of the Conquest. In return for the defeat of a second Lodos by Lord Goren Greyjoy, King Aenys I Targaryen allowed the ironborn to again expel the Faith from the lands of the Drowned God.
Lordsport had a sept of the Faith at the time of Greyjoy's Rebellion, but it was not rebuilt it after its destruction during the war. The Drowned God is again the predominant deity worshiped in the islands.
A Clash of Kings
A Feast for Crows
– Balon Greyjoy and Aeron Greyjoy
Balon: The lords have gone south with the pup. Those who remained behind are the cravens, old men, and green boys. They will yield or fall, one by one. Winterfell may defy us for a year, but what of it? The rest will shall be ours, forest and field and hall, and we shall make the folk our thralls and salt wives.
Aeron: And the waters of wrath will rise high, and the Drowned God will spread his dominion across the green lands!
– Aeron Greyjoy to his drowned men
The god took me deep beneath the waves and drowned the worthless thing I was. When he cast me forth again he gave me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a voice to spread his word, that I might be his prophet and teach his truth to those who have forgotten. For I was not made to sit upon the Seastone Chair ... no more than Euron Crow's Eye. For I have heard the god, who says, No godless man may sit my Seastone Chair!
– Victarion Greyjoy to Aeron Greyjoy, regarding Euron Greyjoy
The Drowned God raised him up. Let the Drowned God cast him down.
- thoughts of Asha Greyjoy
'God of my fathers, if you can hear me in your watery halls beneath the waves, grant me just one small throwing axe.' The Drowned God did not answer. He seldom did. That was the trouble with gods.
References and Notes
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 37, Theon III.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, Driftwood Crowns.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 24, Theon II.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, Oldtown.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, The Arrivals of the Andals.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, The Black Blood.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, The Greyjoys of Pyke.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 20, Brienne IV.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice.