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[[file:Faith by thegryph.jpg|thumb|350px|The Faith, Artwork by Nicole Cardiff ©]]
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[[File:Tully Septon.jpg|thumb|350px|right|A septon of [[House Tully]] by Nacho Molina © Fantasy Flight Games]]
[[File:Faith seven aspects.jpg|thumb|350px|The faith seven aspects of god, Seven pointed star in the middle]]
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The '''Faith of the Seven''', often simply referred to as '''the Faith''', is the dominant religion in most of the [[Seven Kingdoms]]. Followers of the Faith in the [[north]] are rare and are generally not found on the [[Iron Islands]], where the religions of the [[old gods]] of the [[First Men]] and of the [[Drowned God]] respectively are still strong. The gods of the Faith are sometimes known as the '''new gods''' to differentiate them from the old gods from the north.
[[File:The Seven by guad.jpg|thumb|350px|The faith seven aspects of god, Artrork by Guad ©]]
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{{TOC limit|3}}
  
The '''Faith of the Seven''' is the dominant religion of the Seven Kingdoms, and is often simply referred to as "the Faith". The only parts of [[Westeros]] where the Faith is not widespread is in the [[North]] and the [[Iron Islands]], where the practice of the [[Old Gods]] and the [[Drowned God]] are still strong.
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==The Seven==
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[[File:Faith seven aspects.jpg|thumb|350px|The seven aspects of God, with the seven-pointed star in the middle. Supplemental material from ''[[Game of Thrones]]''.]]
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Members of the Faith worship the Seven Who Are One, a single deity with seven aspects or faces.{{Ref|acok|10}}{{Ref|affc|25}}{{Ref|affc|28}}{{Ref|ACOK|33}}{{Ref|acok|57}}{{Ref|ASOS|71}} For the less educated, however, this concept is often difficult to grasp, causing them to often believe that there are indeed seven different gods.{{ref|AFFC|25}} Depending on their need, worshippers pray to specific faces of the Seven. The seven faces are:
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*'''[[Father (the Seven)|The Father]]''', also referred to as '''the Father Above''',{{Ref|asos|60}}{{Ref|asos|62}}{{Ref|asos|66}}{{Ref|asos|70}} is depicted as a bearded man,{{Ref|acok|33}} with a stern and strong face.{{Ref|asos|46}} Judgement is said to belong to the Father.{{Ref|affc|4}}{{Ref|asos|60}} Additionally, he protects “his children”.{{Ref|asos|5}} He is often prayed to for justice,{{Ref|acok|33}}{{Ref|asos|5}}{{Ref|asos|25}}{{Ref|asos|63}} and the phrase “may the Father judge [him/her/them/you] justly” is often said among followers of the Seven.{{Ref|asos|25}}{{Ref|asos|62}}{{Ref|asos|63}} Additionally, one might pray to the Father asking him to defend someone in battle,{{Ref|acok|57}} the strength to seek justice, and the wisdom to recognize it.{{Ref|acok|33}}
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*'''[[Mother (the Seven)|The Mother]]''', sometimes also called '''the Mother Above''',{{Ref|asos|16}}{{Ref|asos|18}} is a loving and protective{{Ref|acok|33}} aspect of the Seven. She is often asked for mercy,{{ref|asos|5}}{{Ref|acok|57}}{{Ref|asos|25}} and to keep loved ones safe.{{Ref|acok|57}}{{Ref|acok|33}}{{Ref|asos|63}} Offerings can be made to the Mother when a woman becomes pregnant,{{Ref|acok|10}} to praise the Mother for giving the gift of life.{{Ref|asos|46}}
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*'''[[Warrior (the Seven)|The Warrior]]''' is always depicted with his sword,{{Ref|acok|33}} and protects followers of the Seven from their foes.{{Ref|asos|46}}{{Ref|affc|4}} The Warrior is often prayed to for courage,{{Ref|acok|57}}{{Ref|acok|48}} as the septons teach.{{Ref|asos|63}} Most men make offerings to the Warrior before battle,{{Ref|acok|10}} while others might say a prayer.{{Ref|acok|57}} Additionally, people might beseech the Warrior for a favorable condition during battle,{{Ref|acok|58}} to watch over soldiers,{{Ref|acok|44}} give them strength,{{Ref|asos|55}}{{Ref|acok|33}}{{Ref|affc|25}} keep them safe, both in battle{{Ref|acok|45}}{{Ref|acok|33}} and outside of battle,{{Ref|affc|16}} and help warriors to victory.{{Ref|acok|45}} He might also be asked to bring peace to the souls of the slain and give comfort to those who are left behind.{{Ref|acok|45}} A septon might ask the Warrior to lend his strength to the arm of the man whose cause is just during a [[trial by battle]],{{Ref|asos|70}} The phrases “may the Warrior defend you”{{Ref|asos|63}} and “may the Warrior give strength to your sword arm”{{Ref|asos|2}} are frequently given.
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*'''[[Smith (the Seven)|The Smith]]''', depicted with his hammer, is the mender of broken things{{Ref|acok|33}} who puts the world of men to right.{{Ref|asos|46}} Septons teach to pray to the Smith for strength,{{Ref|asos|63}} and sailors might make offerings to the Smith prior to launching a ship, as to keep their ships safe.{{Ref|acok|10}} Others might pray to the Warrior for protection.{{Ref|acok|33}} Followers of the Seven can show their devotion to the Smith by wearing a small iron hammer about their neck.{{Ref|asos|39}}
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*'''[[Maiden (the Seven)|The Maiden]]''', also called '''the Maid''', is a beautiful,{{Ref|acok|33}} innocent looking{{Ref|affc|2}} young woman. People might pray to the Maiden to keep young women safe.{{Ref|affc|4}}{{Ref|affc|9}} [[Catelyn Stark]] prays to her to lend courage to her daughters and guard them in their innocence,{{Ref|acok|33}} while [[Arianne Martell]] lights candles to the Maid in thanks when a suitable marriage offer for her is made.{{Ref|affc|40}} [[Cersei Lannister]] asks the Maid for forgiveness when admitting to having used sex to convince men to do her bidding.{{Ref|adwd|54}}
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*'''[[Crone (the Seven)|The Crone]]''' is an old, wizened and wise woman,{{Ref|acok|33}}{{Ref|asos|46}} whose statues often show her with a raised lamp in one hand.{{Ref|acok|33}}{{Ref|affc|28}} People pray to the Crone for wisdom{{Ref|asos|63}}{{Ref|affc|16}} and guidance.{{Ref|acok|33}}{{Ref|affc|4}}{{Ref|affc|25}}
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*'''[[Stranger (the Seven)|The Stranger]]''' is neither male nor female, yet both at the same time. He is the outcast, the wanderer from far places, less and more than human, unknown and unknowable.{{Ref|acok|33}} His face is the face of death.{{Ref|asos|46}} He leads the newly deceased to the other world.{{Ref|asos|62}} Those who feel like outcasts might light a candle for the Stranger.{{Ref|acok|44}}
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==Organization==
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===Priests===
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The male and female godsworn of the Faith are called septons and septas, respectively. Upon taking their vows, they set aside their last names, even if they come from noble families.{{Ref|affc|28}} Septons often wear white robes, seven-stranded belts of different colors, and a crystal about their necks.{{ref|AFFC|8}} They lead worship with incense, censers, and songs.{{Ref|agot|2}} Septas, also typically dressed in white robes,{{ref|AFFC|8}}{{ref|adwd|61}} may serve as [[w:governesses|governesses]] in noble  households. Septa [[Mordane]], for example, serves [[House Stark]].{{ref|agot|7}}
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In villages which are too small to support a septon, a septon from a neighboring village might visit twice a year. Other times, a "wandering septon", a septon who travels from village to village without a specific sept at which he serves, might visit these small villages. These septons perform holy services, marriages, and forgive sins. While the septon is visiting the village, the people must provide him with food and a place to sleep.{{Ref|TSS}}{{Ref|affc|25}}
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===High Septon===
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[[File:HighSepton.jpg|thumb|250px|High Septon by Amok © Fantasy Flight Games]]
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The head of the Faith is the [[High Septon]], the Father of the Faithful, the voice of the new gods on earth.{{Ref|twoiaf| The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}} The [[Most Devout]], a council of the highest-ranking septons and septas, elect the High Septon, usually from among their own ranks,{{Ref|affc|28}} although there have been notable exceptions. The septon who is elected gives up his name, as the Faith believes that the High Septon no longer has any need of a man’s name, since he has become the avatar of the gods.{{Ref|AFFC|28}} Typically, the High Septon wears long white robes and a crown.{{ref|agot|65}}{{Ref|ACOK|41}} Septons and septas from the Most Devout wear robes of cloth-of-silver and crystal coronets.{{Ref|affc|8}}
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===Silent sisters===
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The [[silent sisters]] are tasked with preparing the deceased for the grave.{{Ref|agot|30}} They dress in grey robes, their faces hooded and shawled so only their eyes remain visible,{{Ref|agot|30}}{{Ref|acok|30}}{{Ref|affc|8}} as it is “ill fortune to look on the face of death”.{{Ref|agot|30}} The silent sisters do not speak to the living,{{Ref|acok|39}} and although some claim that the silent sisters have their tongues cut out,{{Ref|asos|65}} in truth the silent sisters have simply taken a vow of silence.{{Ref|affc|31}}
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The silent sisters remove the bowels and organs, and drain the blood from the corpses in their care. They may also stuff the body with fragrant herbs and salts to preserve it and hide the smell of decomposition.{{Ref|AFFC|17}} When the deceased is transported back home, one or more silent sisters might accompany the body.{{Ref|AFFC|16}}{{Ref|ACOK|39}}{{Ref|agot|30}} Due to their task, the silent sisters are also called “death's handmaidens”{{Ref|affc|8}} and “handmaidens of the Stranger”.{{Ref|affc|42}} Some even say that they are wives to the Stranger.{{Ref|affc|4}}
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===Holy brothers and sisters===
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[[File: Victor Garcia Begging Brother.jpg|thumb|A begging brother by Victor Garcia © Fantasy Flight Games]]
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Humbler members of the Faith include "holy brothers"{{Ref|affc|9}} and "holy sisters".{{ref|tsotd}} Many of the holy brothers wear tonsures, cutting the hair on their scalps as an act of humility and to show the Father that they have nothing to hide.{{Ref|affc|9}} Holy sisters can wear robes of white and grey.{{ref|ADWD|19}}
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Brothers can serve at [[septry|septries]],{{Ref|asos|39}}{{Ref|affc|31}} monastic communities of the Faith similar to [[w:monastery|monasteries]], and they often wear robes of brown, dun, or green.{{ref|AFFC|28}} Some holy brothers wear the iron hammer of the Smith about their neck.{{ref|AFFC|8}}{{ref|AFFC|9}} The brothers live in penitence, quiet contemplation, and prayer at these septries, and they often take vows of silence. The leader of the community, the [[Elder Brother]], is assisted by [[proctor]]s.{{ref|AFFC|31}} [[Motherhouse]]s are corresponding communities for women.{{ref|ASOS|22}}
  
==The Seven==
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Begging brothers travel from place to place, but are not to be confused with wandering septons, as the latter are one rank higher in the Faith's hierarchy.{{ref|AFFC|25}} The begging brothers are often dressed in threadbare or roughspun robes of undyed wool belted with hempen rope,{{ref|ACOK|25}} and some go about barefoot.{{ref|ACOK|44}} Some wear a bowl on a leather thong around their necks.{{ref|AFFC|8}}{{Ref|AFFC|25}} Wandering the realm as a begging brother might be done as a penance.{{Ref|asos|35}}
The Faith worships the Seven, a single deity with seven aspects or faces, each representing a different virtue. Worshipers pray to specific aspects of the Seven for help and guidance depending on their need. The aspects are:
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===Faith Militant===
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The [[Faith Militant]] was the military arm of the Faith of the Seven, under the command of the [[High Septon]]. It was composed of two military orders, the [[Warrior's Sons]], an order of knights who gave up their lands and gold, swearing their sword to the High Septon, and the [[Poor Fellows]], made up from [[smallfolk|common men]], hedge knights, and the like,{{Ref|awoiaf| Poor Fellows}} who guarded and escorted travelers.{{Ref|affc|28}} The two orders were also known as the "Swords" and the "Stars" for their respective symbols. The Faith Militant is therefore also known as the ''Swords and Stars''{{ref|AFFC|33}} or ''Stars and Swords''.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I}} The Faith Militant was outlawed during the reign of King [[Maegor I Targaryen]] and disbanded by the High Septon during the reign of King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]].
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==Rights and privileges==
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The Faith traditionally held several rights. Apart from the right to maintain its own military orders (i.e. the [[Faith Militant]] and its subdivisions, the [[Warrior's Sons]] and the [[Poor Fellows]]), the Faith also had the right to hold its own ecclesiastical courts to try servants of the Faith accused of wrongdoing, who were exempt from being tried in the lordly courts of local monarchs. In addition, the Faith's substantial wealth and properties were exempt from taxation.{{ref|tsotd}}
  
* '''Father''', or the Father Above, representing judgment. He is depicted as a bearded man who carries scales, and is prayed to for justice.
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King [[Aegon I Targaryen]] tread lightly with the Faith and upheld all of these rights during his reign. Aegon's second son, King [[Maegor I Targaryen]], outlawed the Faith Militant during the [[Faith Militant uprising]].{{ref|tsotd}} King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]] and his [[Hand of the King]], Septon [[Barth]], reconciliated the [[Iron Throne]] with the Faith. In exchange for the promise that the Iron Throne would always protect and defend the Faith, the last few Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows put down their weapons. Additionally, the Faith agreed to accept justice from the Iron Throne instead of being able to try the faithful themselves.{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I}}  Whether or not the Faith retained the tax-exemption on its wealth and properties after Jaehaerys I's time is unknown.
* '''Mother''', or the Mother Above, representing motherhood and nurturing. She is prayed to for fertility or compassion, and is depicted as smiling with love, embodying the concept of mercy.
 
* '''Warrior''', representing strength in battle. He is prayed to for courage and victory. He carries a sword.
 
* '''Maiden''', representing innocence and chastity. She is usually prayed to to protect a maiden's virtue.
 
* '''Smith''', representing crafts and labor. He is usually prayed to when work needs to be done, for strength. He carries a hammer.
 
* '''Crone''', representing wisdom. She carries a lantern and is prayed to for guidance.
 
* '''Stranger'''. An exception to the other aspects, the Stranger represents death and the unknown. Worshipers rarely seek favor from the Stranger, but outcasts sometimes associate themselves with this god.
 
  
 
==Practices==
 
==Practices==
The Faith of the Seven is the offical religion of the Seven Kingdoms and is heavily integrated into its [[Law and Justice|laws]] and culture. The Faith has a great many moral teachings. It frowns on gambling, preaches against bastardy, and curses things like incest and [[kinslaying]]. One of the central holy texts of the Faith is ''[[Seven-Pointed Star|The Seven-Pointed Star]]'', which is divided into gospel-like sections, such as the ''Maiden's Book,'' also called ''The Book of the Maiden.'' Presumably, each of the Seven has his or her own book. [[Maiden, Mother, and Crone]] is a song about the females of the seven. It was sung by [[Hamish|Hamish the Harper]] at the wedding of King [[Joffrey Baratheon|Joffrey I]] and [[Margaery Tyrell]].<ref>[[A Storm of Swords]], [[A Storm of Swords-Chapter 60|Chapter 60]], Tyrion</ref>
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The Faith of the Seven is the predominant religion of the [[Seven Kingdoms]]. It is practiced in [[Dorne]], the [[Reach]], the [[stormlands]], the [[crownlands]], most of the [[riverlands]], the [[westerlands]], and the [[Vale of Arryn]]. Only on the [[Iron Islands]] and the [[north]]{{Ref|AGOT|53}} are followers of the Faith of the Seven few. Although the [[Law and justice|laws]] of the [[Iron Throne]] and the gods are seen as separate,{{Ref|tss}} teachings of the Faith has a heavy influence on the law and justice of the Kingdoms. The Faith preaches against [[prostitution]],{{Ref|affc|36}} gambling,{{Ref|agot|28}} and [[bastardy]].{{Ref|TSS}} It holds [[slavery]] to be an abomination,{{Ref|asos|23}} and considers [[polygamy]]{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}}{{ref|TSOTD}} and incest{{Ref|acok|33}}{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}}—except for Targaryens, under the [[Doctrine of Exceptionalism]]{{ref|FAB|A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade}}—and prostitution{{Ref|affc|36}} as monstrous and vile sins. Followers of the Faith consider no man as accursed as the [[kinslayer]],{{Ref|asos|54}} although the degree of kin and circumstance of killing one's kin (e.g., in war) hold significant influence.<ref>[[So Spake Martin]]: [http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1162/ Kinslaying In Westeros (May 22, 2001)]</ref>
  
During [[w:Trial by combat|trials by combat]], the Seven are expected to intervene on the side of the just combatant. In order to become a knight, a squire must spend a nightlong vigil in a sept and become anointed in the name of the Seven. For this reason, there are few knights in areas where the Faith is not kept, such as the [[North]].
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In association with the seven aspects of their god, the number seven is considered holy.{{Ref|affc|36}} Septons speak of the seven aspects of grace during prayer,{{Ref|ASOS|53}} and the gods are said to have made seven wonders;{{ref|ADWD|8}} In the night sky, seven "wanderers", held sacred by the Faith, can be seen, each sacred to one of the Seven; the red wanderer is held to be sacred to the Smith.{{Ref|asos|26}} Seven oils are used during a child naming ceremony,{{Ref|AGOT|2}} as part of the knighting ceremony,{{Ref|AGOT|29}}{{Ref|AGOT|53}} and when anointing a king.{{Ref|AFFC|28}}{{Ref|twoiaf| The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}}
  
The number seven is considered holy to the Faith. It holds that there are seven hells as well as seven faces. The seven [[wanderer]]s in the sky are considered as sacred, and even grace is taught to have seven aspects. The number seven is used to invest rituals or objects with a holy significance. Adherents of the Faith use seven-pointed stars, crystal prisms, and rainbows as icons of the religion. Rites of worship heavily involve the use of light and crystals to represent the seven-in-one god.
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===Worship===
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[[file:Faith by thegryph.jpg|thumb|350px|The Faith by Nicole Cardiff © Fantasy Flight Games]]
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Religious worship is done in seven-walled buildings{{ref|ACOK|33}} called [[sept]]s.{{Ref|agot|2}}{{Ref|adwd|35}} The wealthier septs have statues and altars for each of the Seven, whereas poorer septs might use carved masks or crude charcoal drawings of the Seven.{{Ref|ACOK|33}} The altars are sometimes inlaid richly with mother-of-pearl, onyx, and lapis azuli.{{Ref|acok|18}} Windows are from leaded glass, depicting scenes and pictures,{{Ref|acok|18}} and a great crystal catches light, spreading it in a rainbow of colors.{{Ref|AGOT|48 }} Septs can be found across the Seven Kingdoms, although they are rare in the [[north]] and absent from the [[Iron Islands]]. Some lords might agree to have a sept build upon their lands. If such cases, the septs are the property of the lord in question.<ref>[[So Spake Martin]]: [http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1288/ Boskone (Boston, MA; February 14-16) (February 14, 2003)]</ref>
  
The places of worship of the Seven are called "septs", and every sept houses representational art portraying each of the seven aspects. In rural septs, they may merely be carved masks or simple charcoal drawings on a wall, while in wealthy septs, they may be statutes inlaid with precious metals and stones. Worshipers light candles before the altars of the symbolizing each of the seven aspects. Ceremonies are lead by the highest ranking male member of the clergy, and hymns are often sung. In the naming of a child, seven oils are used to anoint the infant. Weddings are conducted standing between the altars of the Father and the Mother. Rites of worship held in rich areas and during special occasions can feature embellishments such as choirs of seventy-seven septas.
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Prayer in a sept is done to each of the seven faces of the god that one wishes to ask for aid.{{ref|agot|10}}{{Ref|acok|45}} Holding hands{{Ref|acok|57}} and singing is often part of worship and prayer.{{ref|affc|8}} Candles can be lit to honor the gods,{{Ref|AGOT|20}} although the Stranger typically receives the fewest candles.{{ref|AFFC|22}} People may wear signs of devotion to a particular god, such as a small iron hammer on a thong for the Smith.{{Ref|ASOS|39}}{{Ref|AFFC|8}} Crystals and light are important elements in the Faith.{{Ref|AGOT|2}}
  
==Titles and Roles==
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The seven colors of the rainbow are important to the Faith. The [[Warrior's Sons]] wore rainbow cloaks,{{Ref|AFFC|28}} and the peace banner of the Faith is a rainbow-striped flag with seven long tails, on a staff topped by a seven-pointed star.{{Ref|ASOS|44}} Crystals in septs create rainbows of light.{{Ref|AGOT|48}}
[[Image:HighSepton.jpg|thumb|250px|High Septon by Amoka©]]
 
Priests in the Faith of the Seven are known as the godsworn: "septons: if male, "septas" if female,  primary servants of the Seven serving in a capacity similar to priests and priestesses of other religions. The septons and septas follow a system of vows, in serving the various orders devoted to aspect of the Seven.
 
  
===Leadership===
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The Faith has a number of holy books.{{Ref|adwd|5}} The most important one is ''[[The Seven-Pointed Star]]'', which contains the
:{{Main|High Septon|Most Devout}}
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Maiden’s Book.{{Ref|AFFC|25}} ''The Seven-Pointed Star'' tells, among others, about the history of the Faith.{{Ref|adwd|5}} Septons who cannot read or write memorize prayers, rituals, and ceremonies, and are able to recite long passages from ''The Seven-Pointed Star''.{{ref|affc|25}}
  
The Faith is ruled by a council of the highest ranking septons and septas, called the [[Most Devout]]. The Most Devout are led by the [[High Septon]], who dwells at the [[Great Sept of Baelor]] in the city of [[King's Landing]]. Whilst the High Septon is usually elected from among the Most Devout, this is not a requirement, as non-members of the Most Devout have been raised to the office in the past.
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Hymns for a particular god can be sung during prayer.{{Ref|ACOK|57}} There is also a children’s lullaby about the Seven, [[The Song of the Seven]], which honors all the gods except for the Stranger, as no one ever sings of him.{{Ref|asos|46}}
  
===Septons===
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===Holy days===
[[File:Tully Septon.jpg| A septon of [[House Tully]] - Fantasy Flight Games ©|thumb|350px|right]]
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The seventh day of the seventh moon is a day deemed sacred to the gods.{{Ref|fab|The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II}}
Male clergy of the Faith are called "septons," and there are various orders of devotion amongst them, each concentrating their devotion on one aspect of the Seven. For example, there are septons sworn the Smith, and they wear small metal hammers on a thong around their necks. Monastic orders of septons can live in '[[w:monastery|septries]]' (plural of 'septry'), self sustaining enclaves of sworn brothers who are called "Brown Brothers." Septons without a sept wander the countryside ministering to the smallfolk in exchange for food and shelter. They are sometimes disparaged as "begging brothers", and they wear a small metal bowl around their necks.
 
The figurehead of the Faith is known as the [[High Septon]].
 
  
===Septas===
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Each of the seven gods of the Faith have their own holy day.<ref>[[Not a Blog]]: [http://grrm.livejournal.com/451915.html?thread=22952267#t22952267 Books for Brains! (October 31, 2015)]</ref> Only three of them are currently known by name:
Female clergy are called "septas", and there are various orders of devotion amongst them. There are orders of septas, called white, grey or blue septas, but it is unrevealed to which aspect of the deity each of them is devoted. There are convents of septas called 'motherhouses,' including a large one in Oldtown. Septas often serve as [[w:governess|governesses]] in the households of the high nobility. A trial of a woman conducted by the Faith will have septas sitting among the seven judges. High ranking septas are counted as members of the "Most Devout", revealing that they have a voice in the selection of a High Septon.
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* [[Maiden's Day]], a day on which maidens of noble houses are required to go to the sept to light tall white candles at the Maiden's feet and hang parchment garlands about her neck. Mothers, prostitutes, widows, and men are barred from the sept. Those maidens who enter the sept sing songs of innocence.{{Ref|AFFC|39}}
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* [[Feast Day of Our Father Above]], considered to be the most propitious day for making judgements.{{Ref|FAB|Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows}}
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* [[Smith's Day]].{{Ref|FAB|The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency}}
  
==Orders==
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===Trials===
===Silent Sisters===
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Trials can be presided over by a septon. During a regular trial, the septon will begin with a prayer, beseeching the Father Above to guide them towards justice.{{Ref|asos|66}} During the trial the septon will swear a man to honesty before he is to give testimony.{{Ref|ASOS|66}} At the start of a [[trial by combat]], the septon will raise a crystal sphere above his head,{{Ref|agot|40}} He might ask the gods to look down and bear witness upon the trial, and help them find truth in the soul of the accused, granting the accused life and freedom if innocent and death if guilty,{{Ref|agot|40}} or beseech the Father to aid in judgement, and the Warrior to lend strength to the person whose cause is just.{{Ref|asos|70}}
'''Silent Sisters''', is a separate order of women sworn to the service of the Stranger, who have taken the vows of chastity and silence. They handle the bodies of the dead, preparing them for funerals. They are not regarded as septas. Silent Sisters are sometimes referred to as 'Wives of the Stranger.' They clothe themselves in grey and keep their faces cowled except for their eyes.{{Ref|aCoK|39}}
 
  
Silent sisters handling the bodies of the dead, include removing bowels and organs, as well as drain blood, from corpses. They may also stuff the body with fragrant herbs and salts to preserve it and hide the smell of decomposition.<!--(IV: 241)-->
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A special form of trial by combat, which is seldom used, is the [[trial of seven]]. The custom originates from the [[Andals]], who believed that the gods would be honored to see seven champions fight on each side, and therefore be more likely to see that justice was done. The accused is to find six others to stand with him in battle. If he is unable to do so, he is considered to be guilty.{{ref|THK}}
  
===Faith Militant===
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===Marriage customs===
:{{See also|Warrior's Sons|Poor Fellows}}
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A [[marriage]] ceremony takes place in a sept.{{Ref|agot|6}} The ceremony is presided over by a [[septon]] and involves prayers, vows, singing, and lighting of candles.{{ref|ASOS|28}} Thus far, all the wedding gowns that have been described during ceremonies performed following the customs of the Faith have been a shade of white, such as ivory samite{{Ref|ASOS|28}} and ivory silk.{{Ref|ASOS|60}}{{Ref|affc|12}} The bride also wears a cloak in the colors of her house, called the “maiden's cloak”.{{Ref|ASOS|28}}{{Ref|ASOS|60}} The bride's father, or the person standing in his place (usually kin or whoever else is closest to living kin), will escort the bride to the marriage altar, placed between the statues of the Mother and the Father, where the septon and groom await her.{{Ref|ASOS|28}}{{Ref|asos|60}}
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Seven vows are made, seven blessings are invocated, and seven promises are exchanged, after which a wedding song is sung. Next, a challenge is made to speak against the marriage, and if the challenge goes unanswered, the wedding cloaks are exchanged.{{Ref|ASOS|60}} The bride's father, or the person standing in his place, removes the cloak from the bride's shoulders, so that her husband can place a cloak of his own house colors about her shoulders. This signifies the bride passing from her father's protection into her husband's protection. The bride and groom speak the words “With this kiss I pledge my love”,{{Ref|ASOS|28}}{{Ref|ASOS|60}} potentially followed with an additional “… and take you for my lord and husband” and “ …and take you for my lady and wife” by the bride and groom respectively,{{Ref|ASOS|28}} after which the septon will declare them to be man and wife, stating they are “one flesh, one heart, one soul, now and forever”.{{ref|ASOS|28}}{{Ref|ASOS|60}}
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 +
The wedding ceremony is followed by a feast.{{Ref|ASOS|28}}{{Ref|ASOS|60}} A wedding pie will be presented during the feast, which is filled with living birds (e.g.,  doves, songbirds, bluejays, skylarks, pigeons, doves, mockingbirds, nightingales, sparrows, parrots). The bride and groom cut open the pie, allowing the birds to fly away.{{Ref|TMK}}{{Ref|ASOS|60}} After the feast follows the [[bedding]]. The bride is escorted to her bedroom, usually by the men from the feast, who will undress her along the way while making rude jokes.{{Ref|TMK}}{{Ref|ASOS|51}}{{Ref|ASOS|28}} The women at the feast will do the groom the same honors.{{Ref|asos|28}}{{Ref|TMK}} Usually, once the bride and groom are in the bedchamber they are left alone, though wedding guests might stand on the other side of the door, shouting suggestions.{{Ref|ASOS|28}} Nonetheless, in some cases, witnesses might be present for the bedding,{{Ref|ACOK|35}} though it is unknown how far this witness duty goes.
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 +
A marriage that has not been consummated can be set aside by the High Septon or a Council of Faith.{{Ref|asos|32}}{{Ref|affc|8}} Neither bride nor groom needs to be present for an annulment; However, it must be requested by at least one of the wedded pair.<ref>[[So Spake Martin]]: [http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Minisa_Tully_and_Sansa/ Minisa Tully and Sansa (September 08, 2000)]</ref> Divorce in [[Westeros]] is not common.<ref name=Asshai>[[So Spake Martin]]: [http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Asshai.com_Interview_in_Barcelona/ Asshai.com Interview in Barcelona (July 28, 2012)]</ref> Nonetheless, a king is able to put his queen aside—even if she has given birth to his children—and marry another.{{Ref|AGOT|8}}{{Ref|AGOT|32}}
  
Two military orders, collectively known as the Faith Militant, have existed at times in its history:
+
===Death===
* "[[Warrior's Sons]]", are an order of [[knight]]s who have renounced their lands and possessions to fight for the Seven. They wear inlaid silver armor over hair shirts, rainbow cloaks, and swords with star-shaped crystals in their pommels. They developed a reputation for fanaticism and implacable hatred for enemies of the Faith. They are the "sword" of the Sword and Stars.
+
====Afterlife====
* "[[Poor Fellows]]", are a more humble order for commoners and even women. Acting as a militant counterpart to begging brothers, Poor Fellows wander the realm and escort pilgrims between septs. They are lightly-armed footmen, who carry whatever weapons they can make or find, often axes or cudgels, and wear star badges, red on white. They are the "stars" of the Sword and Stars.
+
According to ''[[The Seven-Pointed Star]]'', lives are like candle flames, easily snuffed out by errant winds.{{Ref|AFFC|30}} The septons teach that afterlife is a sweet surcease, and sing of voyaging to a far sweet land where men and women may laugh and love and feast until the end of days in the Father’s golden hall.{{Ref|affc|26}}{{Ref|AFFC|35}} The Faith holds that there are seven heavens and seven hells.{{Ref|ADWD|52}}{{Ref|agot|29}}{{Ref|affc|27}}{{Ref|AFFC|28}} Each of the seven hells is deeper than the next.{{Ref|acok|55}} Sinners who do not repent their sins go to the seven hells;{{Ref|AFFC|30}} although ''The Seven-Pointed Star'' states that all sins may be forgiven, crimes must still be punished.{{Ref|AFFC|27}}{{Ref|affc|43}} People from throughout the Seven Kingdoms use "seven hells" as an expletive.{{ref|AGOT|19}}{{ref|ASOS|Prologue}}{{ref|AFFC|43}} The [[Lord of the Seven Hells]] is said to command demons and practice black arts.{{Ref|TSS}}
  
Historically, the orders made trouble for the nobles and royalty of the Seven Kingdoms and were brutally repressed by [[Maegor I|Maegor the Cruel]], who put a bounty on the heads of the members of the orders, a gold dragon for any scalp of a Warrior's Son and a silver stag for the scalp of a Poor Fellow, ultimately disbanding the orders and forbade holy men from ever taking up arms again until they were reinstated in the aftermath of the [[War of the Five Kings]] by Queen Regent, [[Cersei Lannister]].{{Ref|aFfC|28}}
+
====Funeral customs====
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[[File:Tristan Denecke Silent Sisters.png|thumb|300px|The [[silent sisters]] attend to the deceased. Art by Tristan Denecke © Fantasy Flight Games]]
 +
The bodies of the deceased are given over to the silent sisters for ritual cleansing.{{Ref|ACOK|3}} They remove the bowels and organs, and drain the blood from the corpses in their care. They may also stuff the body with fragrant herbs and salts to preserve it and hide the smell of decomposition.{{Ref|AFFC|17}} The body of the deceased, especially if it concerns a nobility of high importance, might be placed on a bier. The body of Lord [[Corlys Velaryon]], [[Hand of the King]] at the time of his death, was placed beneath the [[Iron Throne]], where it remained for seven days.{{Ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III}} The body of King [[Joffrey Baratheon|Joffrey I Baratheon]] was placed on a bier beneath the statue of the Stranger in the Great Sept of Baelor,{{Ref|asos|62}} and the body of [[Tywin Lannister]], both grandfather of the King and Hand of the King at the time of his death, was placed on a bier in the Great Sept as well, where he too was supposed to remain for seven days.{{Ref|affc|8}} During such a funeral service, lasting several days, prayers are held on three occasions; While the morning services are open only to nobility, the afternoon prayers are open to the smallfolk, and the evening prayers for all.{{Ref|AFFC|7}} People of lesser importance or status might be placed upon a bier elsewhere (e.g., Ser [[Hugh|Hugh of the Vale]]).{{Ref|agot|30}} A family member, friend, or even a concerned stranger stands last vigil.{{ref|agot|30}}{{Ref|affc|8}}
  
===Begging Brothers===
+
When a man is laid in his grave, a septon usually says some prayers for him.{{Ref|thk}} The prayer begins with, "Father Above, judge [person] justly".{{ref|asos|60}} A crystal might be placed upon the grave.{{ref|ACOK|1}}
Godsworn who choose to wander. They are clad in undyed brown robes, beg for alms and grant blessings to the faithful. They roam the roads of Westeros and preach.
 
  
===Contemplative Brothers===
+
When the deceased dies far from home, his body will usually be escorted back to his or her family. At least one, and often more, [[silent sisters]] will accompany the body.{{Ref|AFFC|16}}{{Ref|ACOK|39}}{{Ref|agot|30}}
They live and work in a monastic community known as a septry. The members of the septry often take a vow of silence. The septry is headed by the Elder Brother, who is often the only one who may speak at all times. The Elder Brother is assisted in running the septry by proctors. The brothers engage in contemplation, prayer and silence. The brother wear brown-and-dun robes with wide bell sleeves and pointed cowls. One such septry is on the [[Quiet Isle]].
 
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
 +
===Andals===
 +
The Faith of the Seven arose in [[Essos]] among the [[Andals]] who lived in the hills of [[Andalos]]. It is claimed that the Seven walked there in human form. According to ''[[The Seven-Pointed Star]]'', [[Father (the Seven)|the Father]] brought down seven stars from heaven and placed them on the brow of [[Hugor of the Hill]], the first king of the Andals, to form his crown. [[Maiden (the Seven)|The Maid]] brought forth a girl supple as a willow with eyes like deep blue pools that became Hugor's first wife. The Mother made her fertile, allowing the girl to bear Hugor him forty-four mighty sons as foretold by [[Crone (the Seven)|the Crone]]. [[Warrior (the Seven)|The Warrior]] gave each son strength of arms, and [[Smith (the Seven)|the Smith]] wrought each a suit of iron plate.{{ref|adwd|5}} It is said that when she peered through the door of death, the Crone let the first raven into the world.{{Ref|ASOS|2}}
  
The faith of the Seven arose in the [[Hills of Andalos]] among the [[Andals]]. It is claimed that the Seven walked among the Hills of Andolos in human form. According to ''The Seven-Pointed Star'': The Father brought down seven stars from heaven and placed them on the brow of  [[Hugor of the Hill]], the first king of the Andals, to form his crown and the Maid brought forth a girl supple as a willow with eyes like deep blue pools that became Hugor his first wife, the Mother made her fertile, who bore him forty-four mighty sons as foretold by the Crone. The Warrior gave each son strength of arms and the Smith wrought each a suit of iron plate.{{ref|adwd|5}}  
+
The Faith was brought to [[Westeros]] with the [[coming of the Andals]] thousands of years ago, and the Faith largely supplanted the local worship of the [[old gods]]. Some of the Andal warriors had the seven-pointed star of the Faith carved into their flesh to show their devotion.{{Ref|AFFC|4}} Although the Andals came late to the [[Reach]],{{Ref|twoiaf| The Reach: Andals in the Reach}} the [[House Hightower|Hightowers]] were among the first Westerosi lords to welcome the Andals, considering war bad for trade. Lord [[Damon Hightower]] was the first to accept the Faith. To honor the Seven, he constructed the first sept in [[Oldtown]], and six more elsewhere in his realm. Following his premature death, Septon [[Robeson]] became regent for Damon's newborn son, [[Triston Hightower|Triston]]. When Robeson eventually died, Triston had the [[Starry Sept]] raised in his honor.{{ref|twoiaf| The Reach: Oldtown}} Oldtown eventually became the center of the Faith, and the Starry Sept home to the High Septon.
  
The Faith was brought to Westeros by the [[Andal]]s who [[Andal Invasion|invaded]] from the [[Essos]], more than six thousand years ago. where it largely supplanted the local worship of the [[Old Gods]]. The city of [[Oldtown]] became the center of the Faith, and the [[Starry Sept]] in the city served as the seat of the High Septon for a thousand years until the Targaryens came.
+
[[Harmund II Hoare]], [[King of the Iron Islands]], accepted the Faith and spoke of the [[Drowned God]] as one of "the Eight Gods". After opposition from septons and priests of the Drowned God, however, Harmund relented and claimed the Drowned God was an aspect of the Stranger.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Iron Islands: The Black Blood}}
  
When [[Aegon I|Aegon the Conqueror]], invaded Westeros, he adopted the Seven and gained support of the High Septon, who proclaimed that the Faith Militant would not offer resistance to the Targaryen invasion. However, that changed upon Aegon's death and the passing of the Iron Throne to his son Aenys I. The Faith withdrew their allegiance and the Militant orders supported those [[lord]]s who opposed the Targaryens.  
+
===Aegon the Conqueror===
 +
[[File:MK Aegon I is crowned.jpg|thumb|350px|[[Aegon I Targaryen]] is crowned and anointed by the [[High Septon (Aegon's Conquest)|High Septon]] at the [[Starry Sept]] in [[Oldtown]]. Art by Michael Komarck]]
 +
When he learned that [[Aegon I Targaryen|Aegon the Conqueror]] had landed in Westeros at the start of [[Aegon's Conquest|the Conquest]], the [[High Septon (Aegon's Conquest)|High Septon]] locked himself in the [[Starry Sept]] for seven days and nights, seeking guidance from the gods. On the seventh day, the High Septon saw a vision given to him by the Crone, showing him that if Oldtown resisted Aegon, the Hightower, Citadel, and Starry Sept would burn. The High Septon warned Lord [[Manfred Hightower (Aegon's Conquest)|Manfred Hightower]] of what he had seen, after which the Lord of the [[Hightower]] decided to offer no resistance to [[House Targaryen]]. Aegon dated the start of his reign from the day the High Septon anointed him at the Starry Sept.{{Ref|twoiaf| The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}} Since then, it has been traditional for the High Septon to give their blessing to every new king.{{ref|affc|19}}{{Ref|affc|28}}
  
The resulting civil war raged through the reigns of [[Aenys I]] and Maegor the Cruel and into the start of the reign of [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen|Jaehaerys I]]. Maegor's brutal repression of the Faith caused tens of thousands of deaths. Eventually, Jaehaerys offered peace to the Faith and [[House Targaryen|House Targaryen's]] unwavering defense and support in return for the militant orders disbanding to which they agreed. Jaehaerys I appointed Septon [[Barth]] the [[Hand of the King]] and had forty years of peace and prosperity.
+
The Targaryens had converted to the Faith on [[Dragonstone]] before Aegon's day,{{Ref|acok|10}} and Aegon always treaded lightly with the Faith.{{Ref|affc|33}} The High Septon protested when a marriage was proposed between Prince [[Maegor I Targaryen|Maegor]], Aegon's younger son, and Princess [[Rhaena Targaryen (daughter of Aenys I)|Rhaena Targaryen]], the newborn daughter<ref group="N">''[[The World of Ice & Fire]]'' states that [[Ceryse Hightower]] "was advanced by her uncle, the [[High Septon (Aegon I)|High Septon]], after he protested the betrothal of the thirteen-year-old Prince [[Maegor I Targaryen|Maegor]] to Maegor's newborn niece, Princess [[Rhaena Targaryen (daughter of Aenys I)|Rhaena]]. Ceryse and Maegor were married in {{date|25}}." (''The World of Ice and Fire'', The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I) However, ''[[The Sons of the Dragon]]'' states that [[Visenya Targaryen]] suggested that Rhaena be betrothed to Maegor when the prince had just turned twelve, placing the attempt in {{Date|24}}.</ref> of Prince [[Aenys I Targaryen|Aenys]], Aegon's elder son.{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}} The High Septon suggested his own niece, Lady [[Ceryse Hightower]], as a bride for the young prince. Maegor and Ceryse were subsequently wed in {{Date|25}} at the Starry Sept, and matters calmed down.{{ref|TSOTD}}
  
The High Septon and the Most Devout moved the center of the faith to the new capital of [[King's Landing]]. Upon the death of King [[Daeron I]], [[Baelor I]], the septon king assured the [[Iron Throne]] and built the Great Sept of Baelor atop [[Visenya's hill]]. Baelor decided not to re-arm the faith, as Baelor was a man of peace who believed the only weapon the faithful should have is prayer.During his reign he had a stonemason named as the [[High Septon]], a man that could carve stonework so beautifully that Baelor believed him to be the Smith in human form. While a fantastic stonecarver, the new High Septon could not read, write or recite any prayers. Rumor spread that Baelor's Hand had him poisoned to end the embarrassment to the realm. Baelor then raised a boy of eight years to High Septon, who Baelor claimed worked miracles, although the boy could not save the king's life on his deathbed.{{Ref|aFfC|28}} History says Baelor starved himself to death by prolonged fasting to cleanse himself of lust.{{Ref|aSoS|59}}  
+
===Faith Militant uprising===
 +
{{Main|Faith Militant uprising}}
 +
Issues arose during the reign of Aegon I's successor, [[Aenys I Targaryen]], when the new king's younger brother, Prince [[Maegor I Targaryen|Maegor]] secretly took a second wife, [[Alys Harroway]], {{Date|39}}. The [[polygamy|polygamous]] marriage angered the Faith, and Aenys felt forced to exile his brother{{Ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}} when Maegor refused to set Alys aside.{{ref|TSOTD}} Although Maegor left for [[Pentos]],{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}} the High Septon was not satisfied. Aenys appointed Septon [[Murmison]] as his new [[Hand of the King]], but even Murmison could not heal the rift between the Iron Throne and the Faith.{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}}
  
In the aftermath of the [[War of the Five Kings]], religious fervor in the Seven Kingdoms saw an increase. Many pilgrims and refugees, often called "sparrows", took up the badges and arms of Poor Fellows to protect themselves and other homeless victims of the war. Groups of Poor Fellows took to guarding the Great Sept of Baelor and serving particularly pious nobles. Though common-born, the Poor Fellows showed no respect for secular rank or social position. During her reign as Queen Regent, [[Cersei Lannister]] officially reinstated both orders of the Faith Militant as a concession to the new High Septon. Many knights, including Cersei's own cousin [[Lancel Lannister]], joined the reformed Warrior's Sons in the aftermath.
+
When Aenys wed his children, Princess [[Rhaena Targaryen (daughter of Aenys I)|Rhaena]] and Prince [[Aegon Targaryen (son of Aenys I)|Aegon]], to one another in {{Date|41}}, the High Septon denounced him, calling him "King Abomination".{{ref|TSOTD}} This was the start of the [[Faith Militant uprising]], during which even the pious lords and [[smallfolk]] who had loved Aenys turned against the king.{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}}
  
==References and Notes==
+
The uprising lasted the remaining year of Aenys I's reign, as well as the reign of his brother and successor, Maegor I. Maegor the Cruel placed a bounty on the [[Faith Militant]]{{Ref|AFFC|33}} and put out a decree that prohibited the Faith from arming itself.{{ref|AFFC|28}}{{Ref|affc|30}} During Maegor’s campaigns against the Faith, thousands died. Although Maegor’s death resulted in the end of the campaigns, conflicts between the Crown and the Faith lasted until about a decade<ref group="N">Septon [[Barth]] served as [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]]'s Hand for forty years, until his death in {{Date|99}}. Jaehaerys’s reign began in {{Date|48}}, indicating that Barth became Hand about a decade after Jaehaerys ascended the Iron Throne.</ref> into the reign of Maegor's successor, King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen|Jaehaerys I]]. Jaehaerys the Conciliator eventually resolved the issues between the crown and the Faith by promising that the Crown would always protect and defend the Faith. In return, the last few Stars and Swords were to put down their weapons, and the Faith was to agree to accept justice from the Iron Throne from that moment onwards.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I}}
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 +
===Baelor the Blessed===
 +
[[File:Great septon of Baelor by MarcSimonetti.jpg|thumb|350px|The [[Great Sept of Baelor]] by Marc Simonetti © Fantasy Flight Games]]
 +
The septon-king [[Baelor I Targaryen]] assumed the [[Iron Throne]] in {{Date|161}}. The most pious of all Targaryen kings, Baelor the Blessed's interests were the Seven. He convinced the High Septon to dissolve his marriage to his sister, Princess [[Daena Targaryen]], arguing that the marriage had been contracted before he had become king, and in addition had never been consummated. Next, Baelor placed Daena and his other sisters, [[Rhaena Targaryen (daughter of Aegon III)|Rhaena]] and [[Elaena Targaryen|Elaena]], in what would become known as the [[Maidenvault]], where only maidens were allowed to join them. The king stated that he wished to preserve their innocence, but some wondered whether Baelor had done so to because he feared the temptation of their beauty.{{ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I}}
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 +
Baelor's edicts, increasingly concerned with spiritual matters, become more zealous and erratic as his reign continued. He took a septon's vows, preventing himself from marrying again. Meanwhile, the High Septon grew more and more influential. When he died, Baelor declared to the [[Most Devout]] that the Seven had revealed to him the identity of the new High Septon. The Most Devout elected Baelor's choice, [[High Septon (stonemason)|a stonemason]] who carved his stonework so beautifully that Baelor was convinced he was the [[Smith (the Seven)|Smith]] in human form. However, the illiterate man was unable to recall even the simplest of prayers. He died of illness after a year, at which point Baelor declared that [[High Septon (child)|an eight-year-old boy]], whom he claimed to have seen speaking to doves who answered him in the voices of the Seven, should become the new High Septon. The Most Devout once again did as Baelor desired.{{Ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I}}{{Ref|aFfC|28}}
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Baelor also ordered the construction of a new sept atop [[Visenya's Hill]]. Completed many years after Baelor's death,<ref group="N">Although it has not yet been stated when the Great Sept of Baelor was finished, it was completed at least by {{date|187}}, when King [[Daeron I Targaryen]] and Prince [[Maron Martell]] visited the sept.</ref> the [[Great Sept of Baelor]] eventually became the new seat of the High Septon and the [[Most Devout]], as well as a preeminent center of religious education in the realm.<ref>[[So Spake Martin]]: [http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Various_ASoIaF_Questions/ Various ASOIAF Questions (April 21, 2000)]</ref>
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 +
===Recent History===
 +
[[King's Landing]] was one of the areas most affected by the [[Great Spring Sickness]]. The High Septon, a third of the Most Devout, and nearly all the [[silent sisters]] died from the sickness.{{Ref|TSS}}
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Following the death of King [[Maekar I Targaryen]], a [[Great Council]] was called to settle the issue of succession. The crown was quietly offered to Maekar’s third son, [[Aemon Targaryen (son of Maekar I)|Aemon]], who had taken his [[maester]]'s vows years before. The High Septon offered to absolve Aemon from his vows, but Aemon refused{{Ref|ACOK|6}} and the [[Iron Throne]] passed to his younger brother, King [[Aegon V Targaryen]].{{ref|TWOIAF| The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I}}
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Although King [[Aerys II Targaryen]] left a treasury overflowing with gold upon his death in [[Robert's Rebellion]], King [[Robert I Baratheon]] emptied the treasury, leaving the Crown in debt. The Faith is among those of whom the Crown borrows gold.{{Ref|agot|20}}
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 +
==Recent Events==
 +
===''A Game of Thrones''===
 +
[[File: Mike S. Miller Ned'sdeath.jpg|thumb|Lord [[Eddard Stark]] is executed by Ser [[Ilyn Payne]] before the [[Great Sept of Baelor]]. Art by Mike S. Miller ©]]
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Lord [[Eddard Stark]], the new [[Hand of the King]], is informed during his first [[small council]] meeting that the Crown has had to borrow money from multiple factions, including the Faith.{{ref|AGOT|20}} Arrested following the death of King [[Robert I Baratheon]],{{ref|AGOT|49}} Eddard is eventually brought to the steps of the [[Great Sept of Baelor]] to falsely confess his crimes and [[take the black]]. King [[Joffrey Baratheon|Joffrey I Baratheon]] unexpectedly orders Eddard's execution, which is immediately performed upon the steps, to the distress of the [[High Septon (fat one)|High Septon]].{{ref|AGOT|65}}
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 +
===''A Clash of Kings''===
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After he has crowned himself king, [[Renly Baratheon]] creates the [[Rainbow Guard]], his form of the [[Kingsguard]],{{Ref|acok|Prologue}} to honor the Faith.<ref>[[So Spake Martin]]: [http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1316 To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; MAY 6-8) (May 06, 2005)]</ref>
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The High Septon believes that the Crown profaned the Great Sept by executing Lord Stark there, and he is convinced that the Lannisters lied about their intent.{{Ref|ACOK|3}}  As the dissatisfaction grows among the population of King's Landing, [[Tyrion Lannister]] observes a begging brother preaching that the High Septon has forgotten the gods.{{Ref|ACOK|20}}
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When [[Myrcella Baratheon]] leaves for [[Dorne]], the High Septon blesses her before ''[[Seaswift]]'' leaves. As the procession, including the High Septon, travels back to the [[Red Keep]], a [[riot of King's Landing|riot breaks out]] in which the High Septon is killed.{{ref|ACOK|41}} [[Tyrion Lannister]], the acting [[Hand of the King]], appoints the [[High Septon (Tyrion's)|new High Septon]].{{Ref|ACOK|49}} Tyrion tells him to tell the people that [[Stannis Baratheon]] has vowed to burn the Great Sept.{{Ref|ACOK|49}}
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Following the victory over Stannis at the [[Battle of the Blackwater]], the new High Septon proclaims to King Joffrey that the Faith permits him to break his betrothal to [[Sansa Stark]], arguing that her father Eddard's treason has made the contract invalid.{{Ref|ACOK|65}}
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===''A Storm of Swords''===
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During a meeting of the [[small council]], it is revealed that the previous High Septon's crown had been looted by rioters. Lord [[Tywin Lannister]], the [[Hand of the King]], tells the [[High Septon (Tyrion's)|new High Septon]] that he must wear a new crown for King [[Joffrey Baratheon|Joffrey I Baratheon]]'s wedding, and he orders his daughter, Queen Regent [[Cersei Lannister]], to place an order with her goldsmiths.{{Ref|asos|19}}
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[[Tyrion Lannister]] marries [[Sansa Stark]] in Baelor's Sept.{{Ref|ASOS|28}} King Joffrey later marries [[Margaery Tyrell]] in the Great Sept as well, with the High Septon officiating the wedding.{{Ref|ASOS|60}} Joffrey chokes to death during [[Purple Wedding|his wedding feast]].{{ref|ASOS|60}} The High Septon asks [[Father (the Seven)|the Father]] to lead them to justice when Tyrion's trial for Joffrey's murder begins.{{Ref|ASOS|66}}
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===''A Feast for Crows''===
 +
[[File: Marc Simonetti high sparrow.jpg|thumb|The [[High Sparrow]] by Marc Simonetti ©]]
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The death and destruction left behind by the [[War of the Five Kings]], as well as the increasing violence towards the [[smallfolk]], cause more and more people to turn towards the Faith. Thousands travel to King's Landing, calling themselves "[[sparrows]]" after the most common bird, as they are the most common men and women.{{ref|AFFC|4}}
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Queen Regent [[Cersei Lannister]] has the High Septon murdered by Ser [[Osney Kettleblack]], as she fears the man was a catspaw of Tyrion.{{ref|AFFC|17}}{{ref|AFFC|43}} During the elections of a new High Septon, the sparrows disgrace Septon [[Ollidor]] and prevent the selection of Septon [[Luceon]], leading to the rise of a new, pious High Septon, the so-called [[High Sparrow]].{{ref|AFFC|28}} The High Septon empties the vaults of the Great Sept of Baelor in order to provide for the poor.{{ref|AFFC|28}} The Faith is angered as the Crown refuses to pay off its loan, leading the High Sparrow to refuse to anoint King [[Tommen Baratheon|Tommen I Baratheon]].{{ref|AFFC|28}}
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In an attempt to alleviate the crown's debts, gain the Faith's blessing, and gain more protection from her purported enemies, Cersei allows the High Sparrow to revive the [[Faith Militant]], ignorant of its history of [[Faith Militant uprising|causing trouble]] for monarchs.{{Ref|aFfC|28}} Over a hundred knights pledge their swords and lives to the Warrior's Sons,{{ref|AFFC|36}} including Ser [[Lancel Lannister]], the newly-wed Lord of [[Darry]], who renounces his titles, land, and new bride, [[Amerei Frey]], in order to join the Warrior's Sons in King’s Landing.{{ref|AFFC|30}}
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Cersei plots to frame Tommen’s queen, [[Margaery Tyrell]], for adultery and treason. She seduces Osney Kettleblack and has him falsely confess to the High Sparrow that he had intercourse with Margaery and two of her three cousins, [[Megga Tyrell|Megga]] and [[Elinor Tyrell|Elinor]].{{ref|AFFC|39}} The High Sparrow acts on the information and has Margaery arrested when she visits the Great Sept. Cersei feigns concern publicly and visits the Great Sept in order to appear to the population that she wishes Margaery released. However, the High Sparrow, suspicious of Osney's enthusiastic confession, has had Osney tortured until he spoke the truth. Acting on Osney’s new confession, the High Sparrow has Cersei arrested during her visit for several crimes, including the murder of the previous High Septon.{{ref|AFFC|43}}
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===''A Dance with Dragons''===
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The Faith continues to keep Cersei a prisoner in a tower of the [[Great Sept of Baelor]], and has her placed under the care of three septas, [[Moelle]], [[Scolera]], and [[Unella]]. Cersei confesses to the [[High Sparrow]] that she had relations with her cousin, Ser [[Lancel Lannister]], and all three of the [[House Kettleblack|Kettleblack]] brothers, knowing that such sins would not earn her an execution. However, she continues to deny involvement in the death of the [[High Septon (Tyrion's)|previous High Septon]] and the death of her late husband, King [[Robert I Baratheon]].{{Ref|adwd|54}}
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Cersei's uncle, Ser [[Kevan Lannister]], arrives in King's Landing as Lord Regent and comes to an agreement with the High Septon. Intent on drawing “her fangs”,{{Ref|adwd|epilogue}} Kevan does not protest when the Faith demands Cersei to submit to a [[walk of atonement]] from the Great Sept to the [[Red Keep]], escorted by [[Warrior's Sons]], [[Poor Fellows]], and septas.{{Ref|ADWD|65}}
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 +
When [[Varys]] later murders Kevan, he states that one of the reasons why is because Kevan was trying to bind to Faith to Tommen's rule.{{ref|ADWD|Epilogue}}
 +
 
 +
==Behind the Scenes==
 +
[[George R. R. Martin]] based the Faith of the Seven on the medieval [[w:Catholic Church|Catholic Church]], although it borrows from other elements as well. The Faith's central doctrine that there is one god who has seven aspects—the Father, the Mother, the Maiden, the Crone, the Smith, the Warrior, and the Stranger—is based on the Catholic belief that there is one God who has three aspects: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.<ref>Bullseye: [http://www.maximumfun.org/sound-young-america/george-r-r-martin-author-song-ice-and-fire-series-interview-sound-young-america George R. R. Martin, Author of "A Song of Ice and Fire" Series: Interview on The Sound of Young America] {September 19, 2011}</ref><ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTTW8M_etko Google Talks: George R. R. Martin]</ref>
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 +
Martin has also stated that the amount of power the Faith has, similarly to the Catholic Church, in great part depends on who was chosen as High Septon or Pope.<ref name=ssm>[[So Spake Martin]]: [http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1185/ Direwolves and the Seven (October 29, 2001)]</ref> The Faith Militant is loosely based on crusading orders, e.g. [[w:Knights Templar|Knights Templar]] and [[w:Knights Hospitaller|Knights Hospitaller]].<ref>[[So Spake Martin]]: [http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/2765 Faith Militant’s Inspiration and Ice and Fire Dream Cast (April 15, 2008)]</ref>
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 +
==Quotes==
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{{Quote|Even [[Aegon I Targaryen|Aegon]] tread lightly where the Faith was concerned ... it was his son [[Maegor I Targaryen|Maegor]] who broke their power, but even then the Faith came back under kings like [[Baelor I Targaryen|Baelor the Blessed]].<ref name=ssm/>|[[George R. R. Martin]]}}
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{{Quote|The old [[High Septon]] told [[Maekar I Targaryen|my father]] that kings' laws are one thing, and the laws of the gods another.{{Ref|TSS}}|[[Aegon V Targaryen|Aegon Targaryen]] to [[Duncan the Tall]]}}
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{{quote|Catelyn had been anointed with the seven oils and named in the rainbow of light that filled the [[sept]] of [[Riverrun]]. She was of the Faith, like [[Hoster Tully|her father]] and grandfather and his father before him. Her gods had names, and their faces were as familiar as the faces of her parents. Worship was a [[septon]] with a censer, the smell of incense, a seven-sided crystal alive with light, voices raised in song. The [[House Tully|Tullys]] kept a [[godswood]], as all the great houses did, but it was only a place to walk or read or lie in the sun. Worship was for the sept.{{ref|agot|2}}|thoughts of [[Catelyn Stark]]}}
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{{Quote|'''Jaime''': Crippled or whole, a knight of the [[Kingsguard]] serves for life.<br>
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'''Tywin''': [[Cersei Lannister|Cersei]] ended that when she replaced Ser [[Barristan Selmy|Barristan]] on grounds of age. A suitable gift to the Faith will persuade the [[High Septon]] to release you from your vows.{{ref|ASOS|62}}|[[Jaime Lannister]] and [[Tywin Lannister]]}}
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{{Quote|One god with seven aspects. That's so my lady, and you are right to point it out, but the mystery of the Seven Who Are One is not easy for [[smallfolk|simple folk]] to grasp, and I am nothing if not simple, so I speak of seven gods.{{Ref|aFfC|25}}|[[Meribald]] to [[Brienne of Tarth]]}}
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{{Quote|'''Lancel''': My faith is all the nourishment I need.<br>
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'''Jaime''': Faith is like porridge. Better with milk and honey.{{Ref|affc|30}}|[[Lancel Lannister]] and [[Jaime Lannister]]}}
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{{Quote|Give me priests who are fat and corrupt and cynical, the sort who like to sit on soft satin cushions, nibble sweetmeats, and diddle little boys. It's the ones who believe in gods who make the trouble.{{ref|aDwD|27}}|[[Tyrion Lannister]] to [[Haldon]]}}
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{{Quote|Have you ever noticed that septas always look like prunes? That’s what a life of chastity will do to you.{{Ref|adwd|68}}|[[Gerris Drinkwater]] to [[Quentyn Martell]]}}
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==Notes==
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{{Notes}}
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==References==
 
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{{Members of the Faith of the Seven}}
 
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[[Category:Faith of the Seven| ]]
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[[Category:Andal culture]]
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Revision as of 20:21, 22 March 2019

A septon of House Tully by Nacho Molina © Fantasy Flight Games

The Faith of the Seven, often simply referred to as the Faith, is the dominant religion in most of the Seven Kingdoms. Followers of the Faith in the north are rare and are generally not found on the Iron Islands, where the religions of the old gods of the First Men and of the Drowned God respectively are still strong. The gods of the Faith are sometimes known as the new gods to differentiate them from the old gods from the north.

The Seven

The seven aspects of God, with the seven-pointed star in the middle. Supplemental material from Game of Thrones.

Members of the Faith worship the Seven Who Are One, a single deity with seven aspects or faces.[1][2][3][4][5][6] For the less educated, however, this concept is often difficult to grasp, causing them to often believe that there are indeed seven different gods.[2] Depending on their need, worshippers pray to specific faces of the Seven. The seven faces are:

  • The Father, also referred to as the Father Above,[7][8][9][10] is depicted as a bearded man,[4] with a stern and strong face.[11] Judgement is said to belong to the Father.[12][7] Additionally, he protects “his children”.[13] He is often prayed to for justice,[4][13][14][15] and the phrase “may the Father judge [him/her/them/you] justly” is often said among followers of the Seven.[14][8][15] Additionally, one might pray to the Father asking him to defend someone in battle,[5] the strength to seek justice, and the wisdom to recognize it.[4]
  • The Mother, sometimes also called the Mother Above,[16][17] is a loving and protective[4] aspect of the Seven. She is often asked for mercy,[13][5][14] and to keep loved ones safe.[5][4][15] Offerings can be made to the Mother when a woman becomes pregnant,[1] to praise the Mother for giving the gift of life.[11]
  • The Warrior is always depicted with his sword,[4] and protects followers of the Seven from their foes.[11][12] The Warrior is often prayed to for courage,[5][18] as the septons teach.[15] Most men make offerings to the Warrior before battle,[1] while others might say a prayer.[5] Additionally, people might beseech the Warrior for a favorable condition during battle,[19] to watch over soldiers,[20] give them strength,[21][4][2] keep them safe, both in battle[22][4] and outside of battle,[23] and help warriors to victory.[22] He might also be asked to bring peace to the souls of the slain and give comfort to those who are left behind.[22] A septon might ask the Warrior to lend his strength to the arm of the man whose cause is just during a trial by battle,[10] The phrases “may the Warrior defend you”[15] and “may the Warrior give strength to your sword arm”[24] are frequently given.
  • The Smith, depicted with his hammer, is the mender of broken things[4] who puts the world of men to right.[11] Septons teach to pray to the Smith for strength,[15] and sailors might make offerings to the Smith prior to launching a ship, as to keep their ships safe.[1] Others might pray to the Warrior for protection.[4] Followers of the Seven can show their devotion to the Smith by wearing a small iron hammer about their neck.[25]
  • The Maiden, also called the Maid, is a beautiful,[4] innocent looking[26] young woman. People might pray to the Maiden to keep young women safe.[12][27] Catelyn Stark prays to her to lend courage to her daughters and guard them in their innocence,[4] while Arianne Martell lights candles to the Maid in thanks when a suitable marriage offer for her is made.[28] Cersei Lannister asks the Maid for forgiveness when admitting to having used sex to convince men to do her bidding.[29]
  • The Crone is an old, wizened and wise woman,[4][11] whose statues often show her with a raised lamp in one hand.[4][3] People pray to the Crone for wisdom[15][23] and guidance.[4][12][2]
  • The Stranger is neither male nor female, yet both at the same time. He is the outcast, the wanderer from far places, less and more than human, unknown and unknowable.[4] His face is the face of death.[11] He leads the newly deceased to the other world.[8] Those who feel like outcasts might light a candle for the Stranger.[20]

Organization

Priests

The male and female godsworn of the Faith are called septons and septas, respectively. Upon taking their vows, they set aside their last names, even if they come from noble families.[3] Septons often wear white robes, seven-stranded belts of different colors, and a crystal about their necks.[30] They lead worship with incense, censers, and songs.[31] Septas, also typically dressed in white robes,[30][32] may serve as governesses in noble households. Septa Mordane, for example, serves House Stark.[33]

In villages which are too small to support a septon, a septon from a neighboring village might visit twice a year. Other times, a "wandering septon", a septon who travels from village to village without a specific sept at which he serves, might visit these small villages. These septons perform holy services, marriages, and forgive sins. While the septon is visiting the village, the people must provide him with food and a place to sleep.[34][2]

High Septon

High Septon by Amok © Fantasy Flight Games

The head of the Faith is the High Septon, the Father of the Faithful, the voice of the new gods on earth.[35] The Most Devout, a council of the highest-ranking septons and septas, elect the High Septon, usually from among their own ranks,[3] although there have been notable exceptions. The septon who is elected gives up his name, as the Faith believes that the High Septon no longer has any need of a man’s name, since he has become the avatar of the gods.[3] Typically, the High Septon wears long white robes and a crown.[36][37] Septons and septas from the Most Devout wear robes of cloth-of-silver and crystal coronets.[30]

Silent sisters

The silent sisters are tasked with preparing the deceased for the grave.[38] They dress in grey robes, their faces hooded and shawled so only their eyes remain visible,[38][39][30] as it is “ill fortune to look on the face of death”.[38] The silent sisters do not speak to the living,[40] and although some claim that the silent sisters have their tongues cut out,[41] in truth the silent sisters have simply taken a vow of silence.[42]

The silent sisters remove the bowels and organs, and drain the blood from the corpses in their care. They may also stuff the body with fragrant herbs and salts to preserve it and hide the smell of decomposition.[43] When the deceased is transported back home, one or more silent sisters might accompany the body.[23][40][38] Due to their task, the silent sisters are also called “death's handmaidens”[30] and “handmaidens of the Stranger”.[44] Some even say that they are wives to the Stranger.[12]

Holy brothers and sisters

A begging brother by Victor Garcia © Fantasy Flight Games

Humbler members of the Faith include "holy brothers"[27] and "holy sisters".[45] Many of the holy brothers wear tonsures, cutting the hair on their scalps as an act of humility and to show the Father that they have nothing to hide.[27] Holy sisters can wear robes of white and grey.[46]

Brothers can serve at septries,[25][42] monastic communities of the Faith similar to monasteries, and they often wear robes of brown, dun, or green.[3] Some holy brothers wear the iron hammer of the Smith about their neck.[30][27] The brothers live in penitence, quiet contemplation, and prayer at these septries, and they often take vows of silence. The leader of the community, the Elder Brother, is assisted by proctors.[42] Motherhouses are corresponding communities for women.[47]

Begging brothers travel from place to place, but are not to be confused with wandering septons, as the latter are one rank higher in the Faith's hierarchy.[2] The begging brothers are often dressed in threadbare or roughspun robes of undyed wool belted with hempen rope,[48] and some go about barefoot.[20] Some wear a bowl on a leather thong around their necks.[30][2] Wandering the realm as a begging brother might be done as a penance.[49]

Faith Militant

The Faith Militant was the military arm of the Faith of the Seven, under the command of the High Septon. It was composed of two military orders, the Warrior's Sons, an order of knights who gave up their lands and gold, swearing their sword to the High Septon, and the Poor Fellows, made up from common men, hedge knights, and the like,[50] who guarded and escorted travelers.[3] The two orders were also known as the "Swords" and the "Stars" for their respective symbols. The Faith Militant is therefore also known as the Swords and Stars[51] or Stars and Swords.[52] The Faith Militant was outlawed during the reign of King Maegor I Targaryen and disbanded by the High Septon during the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen.

Rights and privileges

The Faith traditionally held several rights. Apart from the right to maintain its own military orders (i.e. the Faith Militant and its subdivisions, the Warrior's Sons and the Poor Fellows), the Faith also had the right to hold its own ecclesiastical courts to try servants of the Faith accused of wrongdoing, who were exempt from being tried in the lordly courts of local monarchs. In addition, the Faith's substantial wealth and properties were exempt from taxation.[45]

King Aegon I Targaryen tread lightly with the Faith and upheld all of these rights during his reign. Aegon's second son, King Maegor I Targaryen, outlawed the Faith Militant during the Faith Militant uprising.[45] King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and his Hand of the King, Septon Barth, reconciliated the Iron Throne with the Faith. In exchange for the promise that the Iron Throne would always protect and defend the Faith, the last few Warrior's Sons and Poor Fellows put down their weapons. Additionally, the Faith agreed to accept justice from the Iron Throne instead of being able to try the faithful themselves.[53] Whether or not the Faith retained the tax-exemption on its wealth and properties after Jaehaerys I's time is unknown.

Practices

The Faith of the Seven is the predominant religion of the Seven Kingdoms. It is practiced in Dorne, the Reach, the stormlands, the crownlands, most of the riverlands, the westerlands, and the Vale of Arryn. Only on the Iron Islands and the north[54] are followers of the Faith of the Seven few. Although the laws of the Iron Throne and the gods are seen as separate,[34] teachings of the Faith has a heavy influence on the law and justice of the Kingdoms. The Faith preaches against prostitution,[55] gambling,[56] and bastardy.[34] It holds slavery to be an abomination,[57] and considers polygamy[58][45] and incest[4][58]—except for Targaryens, under the Doctrine of Exceptionalism[59]—and prostitution[55] as monstrous and vile sins. Followers of the Faith consider no man as accursed as the kinslayer,[60] although the degree of kin and circumstance of killing one's kin (e.g., in war) hold significant influence.[61]

In association with the seven aspects of their god, the number seven is considered holy.[55] Septons speak of the seven aspects of grace during prayer,[62] and the gods are said to have made seven wonders;[63] In the night sky, seven "wanderers", held sacred by the Faith, can be seen, each sacred to one of the Seven; the red wanderer is held to be sacred to the Smith.[64] Seven oils are used during a child naming ceremony,[31] as part of the knighting ceremony,[65][54] and when anointing a king.[3][35]

Worship

The Faith by Nicole Cardiff © Fantasy Flight Games

Religious worship is done in seven-walled buildings[4] called septs.[31][66] The wealthier septs have statues and altars for each of the Seven, whereas poorer septs might use carved masks or crude charcoal drawings of the Seven.[4] The altars are sometimes inlaid richly with mother-of-pearl, onyx, and lapis azuli.[67] Windows are from leaded glass, depicting scenes and pictures,[67] and a great crystal catches light, spreading it in a rainbow of colors.[68] Septs can be found across the Seven Kingdoms, although they are rare in the north and absent from the Iron Islands. Some lords might agree to have a sept build upon their lands. If such cases, the septs are the property of the lord in question.[69]

Prayer in a sept is done to each of the seven faces of the god that one wishes to ask for aid.[70][22] Holding hands[5] and singing is often part of worship and prayer.[30] Candles can be lit to honor the gods,[71] although the Stranger typically receives the fewest candles.[72] People may wear signs of devotion to a particular god, such as a small iron hammer on a thong for the Smith.[25][30] Crystals and light are important elements in the Faith.[31]

The seven colors of the rainbow are important to the Faith. The Warrior's Sons wore rainbow cloaks,[3] and the peace banner of the Faith is a rainbow-striped flag with seven long tails, on a staff topped by a seven-pointed star.[73] Crystals in septs create rainbows of light.[74]

The Faith has a number of holy books.[75] The most important one is The Seven-Pointed Star, which contains the Maiden’s Book.[2] The Seven-Pointed Star tells, among others, about the history of the Faith.[75] Septons who cannot read or write memorize prayers, rituals, and ceremonies, and are able to recite long passages from The Seven-Pointed Star.[2]

Hymns for a particular god can be sung during prayer.[5] There is also a children’s lullaby about the Seven, “The Song of the Seven”, which honors all the gods except for the Stranger, as no one ever sings of him.[11]

Holy days

The seventh day of the seventh moon is a day deemed sacred to the gods.[76]

Each of the seven gods of the Faith have their own holy day.[77] Only three of them are currently known by name:

  • Maiden's Day, a day on which maidens of noble houses are required to go to the sept to light tall white candles at the Maiden's feet and hang parchment garlands about her neck. Mothers, prostitutes, widows, and men are barred from the sept. Those maidens who enter the sept sing songs of innocence.[78]
  • Feast Day of Our Father Above, considered to be the most propitious day for making judgements.[79]
  • Smith's Day.[80]

Trials

Trials can be presided over by a septon. During a regular trial, the septon will begin with a prayer, beseeching the Father Above to guide them towards justice.[9] During the trial the septon will swear a man to honesty before he is to give testimony.[9] At the start of a trial by combat, the septon will raise a crystal sphere above his head,[81] He might ask the gods to look down and bear witness upon the trial, and help them find truth in the soul of the accused, granting the accused life and freedom if innocent and death if guilty,[81] or beseech the Father to aid in judgement, and the Warrior to lend strength to the person whose cause is just.[10]

A special form of trial by combat, which is seldom used, is the trial of seven. The custom originates from the Andals, who believed that the gods would be honored to see seven champions fight on each side, and therefore be more likely to see that justice was done. The accused is to find six others to stand with him in battle. If he is unable to do so, he is considered to be guilty.[82]

Marriage customs

A marriage ceremony takes place in a sept.[83] The ceremony is presided over by a septon and involves prayers, vows, singing, and lighting of candles.[84] Thus far, all the wedding gowns that have been described during ceremonies performed following the customs of the Faith have been a shade of white, such as ivory samite[84] and ivory silk.[7][85] The bride also wears a cloak in the colors of her house, called the “maiden's cloak”.[84][7] The bride's father, or the person standing in his place (usually kin or whoever else is closest to living kin), will escort the bride to the marriage altar, placed between the statues of the Mother and the Father, where the septon and groom await her.[84][7]

Seven vows are made, seven blessings are invocated, and seven promises are exchanged, after which a wedding song is sung. Next, a challenge is made to speak against the marriage, and if the challenge goes unanswered, the wedding cloaks are exchanged.[7] The bride's father, or the person standing in his place, removes the cloak from the bride's shoulders, so that her husband can place a cloak of his own house colors about her shoulders. This signifies the bride passing from her father's protection into her husband's protection. The bride and groom speak the words “With this kiss I pledge my love”,[84][7] potentially followed with an additional “… and take you for my lord and husband” and “ …and take you for my lady and wife” by the bride and groom respectively,[84] after which the septon will declare them to be man and wife, stating they are “one flesh, one heart, one soul, now and forever”.[84][7]

The wedding ceremony is followed by a feast.[84][7] A wedding pie will be presented during the feast, which is filled with living birds (e.g., doves, songbirds, bluejays, skylarks, pigeons, doves, mockingbirds, nightingales, sparrows, parrots). The bride and groom cut open the pie, allowing the birds to fly away.[86][7] After the feast follows the bedding. The bride is escorted to her bedroom, usually by the men from the feast, who will undress her along the way while making rude jokes.[86][87][84] The women at the feast will do the groom the same honors.[84][86] Usually, once the bride and groom are in the bedchamber they are left alone, though wedding guests might stand on the other side of the door, shouting suggestions.[84] Nonetheless, in some cases, witnesses might be present for the bedding,[88] though it is unknown how far this witness duty goes.

A marriage that has not been consummated can be set aside by the High Septon or a Council of Faith.[89][30] Neither bride nor groom needs to be present for an annulment; However, it must be requested by at least one of the wedded pair.[90] Divorce in Westeros is not common.[91] Nonetheless, a king is able to put his queen aside—even if she has given birth to his children—and marry another.[92][93]

Death

Afterlife

According to The Seven-Pointed Star, lives are like candle flames, easily snuffed out by errant winds.[94] The septons teach that afterlife is a sweet surcease, and sing of voyaging to a far sweet land where men and women may laugh and love and feast until the end of days in the Father’s golden hall.[95][96] The Faith holds that there are seven heavens and seven hells.[97][65][98][3] Each of the seven hells is deeper than the next.[99] Sinners who do not repent their sins go to the seven hells;[94] although The Seven-Pointed Star states that all sins may be forgiven, crimes must still be punished.[98][100] People from throughout the Seven Kingdoms use "seven hells" as an expletive.[101][102][100] The Lord of the Seven Hells is said to command demons and practice black arts.[34]

Funeral customs

The silent sisters attend to the deceased. Art by Tristan Denecke © Fantasy Flight Games

The bodies of the deceased are given over to the silent sisters for ritual cleansing.[103] They remove the bowels and organs, and drain the blood from the corpses in their care. They may also stuff the body with fragrant herbs and salts to preserve it and hide the smell of decomposition.[43] The body of the deceased, especially if it concerns a nobility of high importance, might be placed on a bier. The body of Lord Corlys Velaryon, Hand of the King at the time of his death, was placed beneath the Iron Throne, where it remained for seven days.[104] The body of King Joffrey I Baratheon was placed on a bier beneath the statue of the Stranger in the Great Sept of Baelor,[8] and the body of Tywin Lannister, both grandfather of the King and Hand of the King at the time of his death, was placed on a bier in the Great Sept as well, where he too was supposed to remain for seven days.[30] During such a funeral service, lasting several days, prayers are held on three occasions; While the morning services are open only to nobility, the afternoon prayers are open to the smallfolk, and the evening prayers for all.[105] People of lesser importance or status might be placed upon a bier elsewhere (e.g., Ser Hugh of the Vale).[38] A family member, friend, or even a concerned stranger stands last vigil.[38][30]

When a man is laid in his grave, a septon usually says some prayers for him.[82] The prayer begins with, "Father Above, judge [person] justly".[7] A crystal might be placed upon the grave.[106]

When the deceased dies far from home, his body will usually be escorted back to his or her family. At least one, and often more, silent sisters will accompany the body.[23][40][38]

History

Andals

The Faith of the Seven arose in Essos among the Andals who lived in the hills of Andalos. It is claimed that the Seven walked there in human form. According to The Seven-Pointed Star, the Father brought down seven stars from heaven and placed them on the brow of Hugor of the Hill, the first king of the Andals, to form his crown. The Maid brought forth a girl supple as a willow with eyes like deep blue pools that became Hugor's first wife. The Mother made her fertile, allowing the girl to bear Hugor him forty-four mighty sons as foretold by the Crone. The Warrior gave each son strength of arms, and the Smith wrought each a suit of iron plate.[75] It is said that when she peered through the door of death, the Crone let the first raven into the world.[24]

The Faith was brought to Westeros with the coming of the Andals thousands of years ago, and the Faith largely supplanted the local worship of the old gods. Some of the Andal warriors had the seven-pointed star of the Faith carved into their flesh to show their devotion.[12] Although the Andals came late to the Reach,[107] the Hightowers were among the first Westerosi lords to welcome the Andals, considering war bad for trade. Lord Damon Hightower was the first to accept the Faith. To honor the Seven, he constructed the first sept in Oldtown, and six more elsewhere in his realm. Following his premature death, Septon Robeson became regent for Damon's newborn son, Triston. When Robeson eventually died, Triston had the Starry Sept raised in his honor.[108] Oldtown eventually became the center of the Faith, and the Starry Sept home to the High Septon.

Harmund II Hoare, King of the Iron Islands, accepted the Faith and spoke of the Drowned God as one of "the Eight Gods". After opposition from septons and priests of the Drowned God, however, Harmund relented and claimed the Drowned God was an aspect of the Stranger.[109]

Aegon the Conqueror

Aegon I Targaryen is crowned and anointed by the High Septon at the Starry Sept in Oldtown. Art by Michael Komarck

When he learned that Aegon the Conqueror had landed in Westeros at the start of the Conquest, the High Septon locked himself in the Starry Sept for seven days and nights, seeking guidance from the gods. On the seventh day, the High Septon saw a vision given to him by the Crone, showing him that if Oldtown resisted Aegon, the Hightower, Citadel, and Starry Sept would burn. The High Septon warned Lord Manfred Hightower of what he had seen, after which the Lord of the Hightower decided to offer no resistance to House Targaryen. Aegon dated the start of his reign from the day the High Septon anointed him at the Starry Sept.[35] Since then, it has been traditional for the High Septon to give their blessing to every new king.[110][3]

The Targaryens had converted to the Faith on Dragonstone before Aegon's day,[1] and Aegon always treaded lightly with the Faith.[51] The High Septon protested when a marriage was proposed between Prince Maegor, Aegon's younger son, and Princess Rhaena Targaryen, the newborn daughter[N 1] of Prince Aenys, Aegon's elder son.[58] The High Septon suggested his own niece, Lady Ceryse Hightower, as a bride for the young prince. Maegor and Ceryse were subsequently wed in 25 AC at the Starry Sept, and matters calmed down.[45]

Faith Militant uprising

Issues arose during the reign of Aegon I's successor, Aenys I Targaryen, when the new king's younger brother, Prince Maegor secretly took a second wife, Alys Harroway, 39 AC. The polygamous marriage angered the Faith, and Aenys felt forced to exile his brother[58] when Maegor refused to set Alys aside.[45] Although Maegor left for Pentos,[58] the High Septon was not satisfied. Aenys appointed Septon Murmison as his new Hand of the King, but even Murmison could not heal the rift between the Iron Throne and the Faith.[58]

When Aenys wed his children, Princess Rhaena and Prince Aegon, to one another in 41 AC, the High Septon denounced him, calling him "King Abomination".[45] This was the start of the Faith Militant uprising, during which even the pious lords and smallfolk who had loved Aenys turned against the king.[58]

The uprising lasted the remaining year of Aenys I's reign, as well as the reign of his brother and successor, Maegor I. Maegor the Cruel placed a bounty on the Faith Militant[51] and put out a decree that prohibited the Faith from arming itself.[3][94] During Maegor’s campaigns against the Faith, thousands died. Although Maegor’s death resulted in the end of the campaigns, conflicts between the Crown and the Faith lasted until about a decade[N 2] into the reign of Maegor's successor, King Jaehaerys I. Jaehaerys the Conciliator eventually resolved the issues between the crown and the Faith by promising that the Crown would always protect and defend the Faith. In return, the last few Stars and Swords were to put down their weapons, and the Faith was to agree to accept justice from the Iron Throne from that moment onwards.[53]

Baelor the Blessed

The Great Sept of Baelor by Marc Simonetti © Fantasy Flight Games

The septon-king Baelor I Targaryen assumed the Iron Throne in 161 AC. The most pious of all Targaryen kings, Baelor the Blessed's interests were the Seven. He convinced the High Septon to dissolve his marriage to his sister, Princess Daena Targaryen, arguing that the marriage had been contracted before he had become king, and in addition had never been consummated. Next, Baelor placed Daena and his other sisters, Rhaena and Elaena, in what would become known as the Maidenvault, where only maidens were allowed to join them. The king stated that he wished to preserve their innocence, but some wondered whether Baelor had done so to because he feared the temptation of their beauty.[111]

Baelor's edicts, increasingly concerned with spiritual matters, become more zealous and erratic as his reign continued. He took a septon's vows, preventing himself from marrying again. Meanwhile, the High Septon grew more and more influential. When he died, Baelor declared to the Most Devout that the Seven had revealed to him the identity of the new High Septon. The Most Devout elected Baelor's choice, a stonemason who carved his stonework so beautifully that Baelor was convinced he was the Smith in human form. However, the illiterate man was unable to recall even the simplest of prayers. He died of illness after a year, at which point Baelor declared that an eight-year-old boy, whom he claimed to have seen speaking to doves who answered him in the voices of the Seven, should become the new High Septon. The Most Devout once again did as Baelor desired.[111][3]

Baelor also ordered the construction of a new sept atop Visenya's Hill. Completed many years after Baelor's death,[N 3] the Great Sept of Baelor eventually became the new seat of the High Septon and the Most Devout, as well as a preeminent center of religious education in the realm.[112]

Recent History

King's Landing was one of the areas most affected by the Great Spring Sickness. The High Septon, a third of the Most Devout, and nearly all the silent sisters died from the sickness.[34]

Following the death of King Maekar I Targaryen, a Great Council was called to settle the issue of succession. The crown was quietly offered to Maekar’s third son, Aemon, who had taken his maester's vows years before. The High Septon offered to absolve Aemon from his vows, but Aemon refused[113] and the Iron Throne passed to his younger brother, King Aegon V Targaryen.[114]

Although King Aerys II Targaryen left a treasury overflowing with gold upon his death in Robert's Rebellion, King Robert I Baratheon emptied the treasury, leaving the Crown in debt. The Faith is among those of whom the Crown borrows gold.[71]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Lord Eddard Stark is executed by Ser Ilyn Payne before the Great Sept of Baelor. Art by Mike S. Miller ©

Lord Eddard Stark, the new Hand of the King, is informed during his first small council meeting that the Crown has had to borrow money from multiple factions, including the Faith.[71] Arrested following the death of King Robert I Baratheon,[115] Eddard is eventually brought to the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor to falsely confess his crimes and take the black. King Joffrey I Baratheon unexpectedly orders Eddard's execution, which is immediately performed upon the steps, to the distress of the High Septon.[36]

A Clash of Kings

After he has crowned himself king, Renly Baratheon creates the Rainbow Guard, his form of the Kingsguard,[116] to honor the Faith.[117]

The High Septon believes that the Crown profaned the Great Sept by executing Lord Stark there, and he is convinced that the Lannisters lied about their intent.[103] As the dissatisfaction grows among the population of King's Landing, Tyrion Lannister observes a begging brother preaching that the High Septon has forgotten the gods.[118]

When Myrcella Baratheon leaves for Dorne, the High Septon blesses her before Seaswift leaves. As the procession, including the High Septon, travels back to the Red Keep, a riot breaks out in which the High Septon is killed.[37] Tyrion Lannister, the acting Hand of the King, appoints the new High Septon.[119] Tyrion tells him to tell the people that Stannis Baratheon has vowed to burn the Great Sept.[119]

Following the victory over Stannis at the Battle of the Blackwater, the new High Septon proclaims to King Joffrey that the Faith permits him to break his betrothal to Sansa Stark, arguing that her father Eddard's treason has made the contract invalid.[120]

A Storm of Swords

During a meeting of the small council, it is revealed that the previous High Septon's crown had been looted by rioters. Lord Tywin Lannister, the Hand of the King, tells the new High Septon that he must wear a new crown for King Joffrey I Baratheon's wedding, and he orders his daughter, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, to place an order with her goldsmiths.[121]

Tyrion Lannister marries Sansa Stark in Baelor's Sept.[84] King Joffrey later marries Margaery Tyrell in the Great Sept as well, with the High Septon officiating the wedding.[7] Joffrey chokes to death during his wedding feast.[7] The High Septon asks the Father to lead them to justice when Tyrion's trial for Joffrey's murder begins.[9]

A Feast for Crows

The High Sparrow by Marc Simonetti ©

The death and destruction left behind by the War of the Five Kings, as well as the increasing violence towards the smallfolk, cause more and more people to turn towards the Faith. Thousands travel to King's Landing, calling themselves "sparrows" after the most common bird, as they are the most common men and women.[12]

Queen Regent Cersei Lannister has the High Septon murdered by Ser Osney Kettleblack, as she fears the man was a catspaw of Tyrion.[43][100] During the elections of a new High Septon, the sparrows disgrace Septon Ollidor and prevent the selection of Septon Luceon, leading to the rise of a new, pious High Septon, the so-called High Sparrow.[3] The High Septon empties the vaults of the Great Sept of Baelor in order to provide for the poor.[3] The Faith is angered as the Crown refuses to pay off its loan, leading the High Sparrow to refuse to anoint King Tommen I Baratheon.[3]

In an attempt to alleviate the crown's debts, gain the Faith's blessing, and gain more protection from her purported enemies, Cersei allows the High Sparrow to revive the Faith Militant, ignorant of its history of causing trouble for monarchs.[3] Over a hundred knights pledge their swords and lives to the Warrior's Sons,[55] including Ser Lancel Lannister, the newly-wed Lord of Darry, who renounces his titles, land, and new bride, Amerei Frey, in order to join the Warrior's Sons in King’s Landing.[94]

Cersei plots to frame Tommen’s queen, Margaery Tyrell, for adultery and treason. She seduces Osney Kettleblack and has him falsely confess to the High Sparrow that he had intercourse with Margaery and two of her three cousins, Megga and Elinor.[78] The High Sparrow acts on the information and has Margaery arrested when she visits the Great Sept. Cersei feigns concern publicly and visits the Great Sept in order to appear to the population that she wishes Margaery released. However, the High Sparrow, suspicious of Osney's enthusiastic confession, has had Osney tortured until he spoke the truth. Acting on Osney’s new confession, the High Sparrow has Cersei arrested during her visit for several crimes, including the murder of the previous High Septon.[100]

A Dance with Dragons

The Faith continues to keep Cersei a prisoner in a tower of the Great Sept of Baelor, and has her placed under the care of three septas, Moelle, Scolera, and Unella. Cersei confesses to the High Sparrow that she had relations with her cousin, Ser Lancel Lannister, and all three of the Kettleblack brothers, knowing that such sins would not earn her an execution. However, she continues to deny involvement in the death of the previous High Septon and the death of her late husband, King Robert I Baratheon.[29]

Cersei's uncle, Ser Kevan Lannister, arrives in King's Landing as Lord Regent and comes to an agreement with the High Septon. Intent on drawing “her fangs”,[122] Kevan does not protest when the Faith demands Cersei to submit to a walk of atonement from the Great Sept to the Red Keep, escorted by Warrior's Sons, Poor Fellows, and septas.[123]

When Varys later murders Kevan, he states that one of the reasons why is because Kevan was trying to bind to Faith to Tommen's rule.[122]

Behind the Scenes

George R. R. Martin based the Faith of the Seven on the medieval Catholic Church, although it borrows from other elements as well. The Faith's central doctrine that there is one god who has seven aspects—the Father, the Mother, the Maiden, the Crone, the Smith, the Warrior, and the Stranger—is based on the Catholic belief that there is one God who has three aspects: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.[124][125]

Martin has also stated that the amount of power the Faith has, similarly to the Catholic Church, in great part depends on who was chosen as High Septon or Pope.[126] The Faith Militant is loosely based on crusading orders, e.g. Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller.[127]

Quotes

Even Aegon tread lightly where the Faith was concerned ... it was his son Maegor who broke their power, but even then the Faith came back under kings like Baelor the Blessed.[126]

The old High Septon told my father that kings' laws are one thing, and the laws of the gods another.[34]

Catelyn had been anointed with the seven oils and named in the rainbow of light that filled the sept of Riverrun. She was of the Faith, like her father and grandfather and his father before him. Her gods had names, and their faces were as familiar as the faces of her parents. Worship was a septon with a censer, the smell of incense, a seven-sided crystal alive with light, voices raised in song. The Tullys kept a godswood, as all the great houses did, but it was only a place to walk or read or lie in the sun. Worship was for the sept.[31]

—thoughts of Catelyn Stark

Jaime: Crippled or whole, a knight of the Kingsguard serves for life.
Tywin: Cersei ended that when she replaced Ser Barristan on grounds of age. A suitable gift to the Faith will persuade the High Septon to release you from your vows.[8]

One god with seven aspects. That's so my lady, and you are right to point it out, but the mystery of the Seven Who Are One is not easy for simple folk to grasp, and I am nothing if not simple, so I speak of seven gods.[2]

Lancel: My faith is all the nourishment I need.
Jaime: Faith is like porridge. Better with milk and honey.[94]

Give me priests who are fat and corrupt and cynical, the sort who like to sit on soft satin cushions, nibble sweetmeats, and diddle little boys. It's the ones who believe in gods who make the trouble.[128]

Have you ever noticed that septas always look like prunes? That’s what a life of chastity will do to you.[129]

Notes

  1. The World of Ice & Fire states that Ceryse Hightower "was advanced by her uncle, the High Septon, after he protested the betrothal of the thirteen-year-old Prince Maegor to Maegor's newborn niece, Princess Rhaena. Ceryse and Maegor were married in 25 AC." (The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I) However, The Sons of the Dragon states that Visenya Targaryen suggested that Rhaena be betrothed to Maegor when the prince had just turned twelve, placing the attempt in 24 AC.
  2. Septon Barth served as Jaehaerys I Targaryen's Hand for forty years, until his death in 99 AC. Jaehaerys’s reign began in 48 AC, indicating that Barth became Hand about a decade after Jaehaerys ascended the Iron Throne.
  3. Although it has not yet been stated when the Great Sept of Baelor was finished, it was completed at least by 187 AC, when King Daeron I Targaryen and Prince Maron Martell visited the sept.

References

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