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This is a listing of deities and religions that appear in the Fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. Visit here for the main character index.
The Faith of the Seven
This is the most popular religion in Westeros, having almost total sway over the six southron kingdoms and some foothold in the North as well. It was brought to Westeros by the Andals some six thousand years ago, and Aegon the Conqueror either converted to it or believed in it to begin with. Its militant wing was suppressed by Maegor the Cruel, but has lately reemerged.
Worship is done in "septs," and ordained ministers are called "septons" (men) or "septas" (women). A sept typically has seven altars in it, one for each of the seven faces of the god: Father, Mother, Warrior, Maiden, Smith, Crone and Stranger. Of particular note is the fact that knighthood can only be bestowed after a vigil in a sept; as such, the North may have lots of mounted lancers who wear shining armor, but technically speaking most of them are not "knights".
- Black Cloak / Grim Reaper: The Stranger
- The Blacksmith: The Smith
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Faith of the Seven strongly resembles medieval Catholic Christianity.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Stranger is not a Satan figure, just a representation of death and the unknown, that some pray to occasionally. The Silent Sisters, the traditional caretakers of the dead, are followers of the Stranger and are well-respected in Westeros.
- Everyone Hates Hades: Generally the case with The Stranger.
- The Ingenue: The Maid
- Knight in Shining Armor: The Warrior
- The Patriarch: The Father
- Physical God: The Faith believes the Seven appeared in human form in Andalos, in Essos, which inspired the Andals to invade Westeros.
- Proper Lady: The Mother
- Maiden Mother and Crone: The Maid, The Mother, and The Crone
- Speak of the Devil: It is considered bad luck to speak of the Stranger, well-illustrated by the fact that an in-universe religious nursery rhyme called "The Seven" is about the other six gods and doesn't mention The Stranger.
- Two-Faced: The descriptions of iconography of The Stranger suggest he's depicted this way.
He is also known as the "Lord of Light" and the "God of Flame and Shadow". Rh'llor is a popular deity in Essos, but relatively obscure in Westeros, with the notable exceptions of Stannis' court and the Brotherhood Without Banners. Rh'llor is believed to be opposed by a deity known as The Great Other, who is the opposite of Rh'llor in all respects. Ritual prayers include beseeching the Lord of Light to bring the dawn.
While Rh'llor is introduced later in the series and seems like a foreign import in comparison to the Seven, it should be noted that every red priest or priestess depicted "on-screen" has been shown to work supernatural feats, something no septa or septon has been seen to equal.
- The Antichrist / Satan: The Great Other
- Black and White Morality
- Casting a Shadow and Light'Em Up
- The Chosen One: Azor Ahai
- Evil Is Burning Hot/ Light Is Good / Light Is Not Good: Depends on who you ask.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: The Great Other is believed to be this.
- Kill It with Fire: Unsurprisingly, this is a means that Rh'llor's worshipers use to punish nonbelievers/honor their deity.
"R'hllor, give us light, for the night is dark and full of terrors."
A red-clad sorceress from the mysterious land of Asshai, Melisandre is an adviser to Stannis Baratheon and his wife. She is a priestess of R'hllor, the Lord of Light, and while various organisations claim (with varying degrees of probable truth,) to use "spells", (such as the Faceless Men, pyromancers and certain armourers,) she is one of the few indisputably magical characters in the entire series, apart from other worshippers of R'hllor, and (depending on how you define "magic") the skinchangers like Bran, and greenseers like Jojen Reed. Melisandre preaches a message of tolerance and peace... by having people burned alive for the greater good. Her goal is to prepare the world for the War for the Dawn to save humanity from the threat of the Others.
- Blood Magic: Melisandre's specialty.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: In ADWD, she uses Ygritte's "You know nothing, Jon Snow" toward Jon, which she must have learned of through supernatural means.
- Cannot Dream: Subverted in that she tries not to sleep, as she fears to dream.
- Creepy Sexy: Possibly. The same people who describe her as beautiful will describe her as creepy. Also, sex with her can spawn demonic Living Shadows at the cost of weakening the man's life-force, making it very creepy.
- Curtains Match the Window: Since her hair is a strange shade of red (explicitly differentiated from an ordinary redhead), the matching eyes are more than a little unsettling.
- Dark Messiah: Possibly.
- Elemental Hair: It's pretty obvious she's associated with fire just from the description of her hair.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: Evokes this more than a little, even though the Rh'llor religion is all about heat and flame representing good. Naturally, the opposing side fits Evil Is Deathly Cold like a glove.
- Evil Chancellor: Most people believe her to be this, as she urged Stannis to have a young boy sacrificed, although the truth is, like most of the series, more gray than that. After Davos Seaworth spirits one of her intended victims away, she asks, "Do you really think you've saved [that victim]? If we lose, he'll die anyway." That doesn't make human sacrifice any less horrific, but she does have a point. And winter is coming.
- Evil Redhead
- Fetus Terrible: The "shadow babies".
- Fiery Redhead: Averted. She is cold and calculating, and on the rare occasions when she is genuinely surprised her composure barely flickers.
- Forgets to Eat: R'hllor sustains her, so she doesn't actually need to, but she tries to remember to eat anyway so she doesn't freak anyone out.
- The Fundamentalist
- Hot Witch: Literally hotter to the touch than ordinary people, and also beautiful, and not at all averse to flirting with or openly propositioning men with a strong life-force she can use to make her Living Shadow assassin babies.
- The Insomniac: In ADWD, it is revealed Melisandre does not sleep much, often just an hour a night, as she is afraid of dreams.
- Kill It with Fire: Kills an eagle with her flames during the wildling battle.
- Knight Templar
- Lady in Red
- Lady of War: She rarely participates in battle, most notably the battle against the wildlings, during which she kills an eagle with her flames.
- Licked by the Dog: In ADWD, Ghost is immediately taken with her, although it's implied that something unnatural is going on to cause that reaction. This is especially jarring since, with his mental connection to Jon Snow, one would expect Ghost to share Jon's unease around her, so the fact that he liked her and then looked at Jon as if her were a stranger is very disconcerting for him.
- Light Is Not Good: Sometimes played straight, sometimes not. Melisandre insists that R'hllor is good and has humanity's best interest at heart, but her religious extremism and terrifying babies put those assertions in doubt.
- Living Shadow / Casting a Shadow: Her "children". When Davos questions whether shadow powers are appropriate given her beliefs, she replies that they are, since you can't have shadows without light.
- My Blood Runs Hot: Because it contains the flames of Rh'llor.
- Mysterious Backer: Definitely.
- Not So Omniscient After All: Her POV in A Dance With Dragons confirms this is the case. The visions that she sees in the fires will always come true, but her personal feelings (i.e. her trying to manipulate events to Stannis' advantage) sometimes cause her to mistake their meaning.
- Also, ignoring the matter of interpreting the visions, even receiving them is not consistent; she can miss things she is not actively looking for, which is why she fails to see Davos taking Edric Storm beyond her reach, and even when she is actively looking for something the visions might show her something completely unrelated.
- Older Than They Look: Has practised the art of watching the flames for "years beyond count" and yet appears to be no older than around 30
- Out with a Bang: When propositioning Davos to help her make some shadow babies, Melisandre implies that it would be the best sex ever, but it's also made clear that sex with Melisandre draws the life out of the other participant (it's heavily implied that this is why Stannis looks so haggard and prematurely aged after having created two shadows with her, to the point that she dares not try to make a third).
- Pet the Dog: In A Dance with Dragons, she has Devan Seaworth remain at the Wall so Davos won't lose another son. And while she mistrusts Davos himself because he refuses to worship R'hllor, she realizes that his loyalty to Stannis cannot be doubted and lets it go at that.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- Shout-Out: According to Word of God, Melisandre has not a few similarities to Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings.
- Statuesque Stunner: In addition to being beautiful, she is also taller than most men. However, when this height is noted it is not as a positive trait, and is one of the reasons she is considered an...
- Uncanny Valley Girl: Comes across this way in universe. While descriptions of her by other characters note her beauty, they invariably also note that something is "off" and unsettling about her. While this is possibly just the effect of her red eyes and very pale skin, it is also possible that people have an instinctive aversion to something else about her, and just don't know what it is.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Among the best examples in fantasy literature.
The Many-Faced God.
A deity worshiped in Braavos, particularly by the Faceless Men, he is a god of death that is believed to be the one true god, with all other deities (especially those connected with death) being aspects/avatars of him.
- Crossover Cosmology: The whole idea that all deities are his various "faces". However, the text suggests (and Martin has supported) that he's specifically a different take on the Stranger of The Seven- note how the Stranger's salient traits (e.g. cloak wearing and with something odd about his face) are reflected in the priests of the Many-Faced God
- Don't Fear the Reaper
- Shout-Out: One of his avatars is Bakkalon the Pale Child, a deity who appears in George RR Martin's earlier sci-fi stories.
The Drowned God.
The deity of the Ironborn, who is opposed by a harmful deity known as The Storm God. The Drowned God is characterized by a strong theme of death and rebirth, which in religious practice, has lead to a form of baptism in which initiates are briefly drowned and then resuscitated. He is believed to have created the Ironborn for the purpose of raping and pillaging other groups.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: As Aeron puts it; the Drowned God only aids bold men.
- Blue and Orange Morality:
- Crossover Cosmology: As has been noted by some Rh'llor worshipers, The Drowned God and his opposition to the Storm God mirrors the enmity between Rh'llor and The Great Other.
- Good Old Ways: "Pay the Iron Price" is this for the religion/culture (naturally, not really viewed as good by non-Ironborn)
- Shout-Out: The Drowned God is partially inspired by Cthulhu
- Even more so by Dagon.
- War God: Creating the Ironborn to 'reave and slay' and being generally pleased when they kill their enemies and wage war on other races makes him look like one of these.
- X Meets Y: Odin meets Poseidon meets C'thulhu.
The Gods of the North, aka The Old Gods.
A collection of nameless gods worshipped by the Children of the Forest, wildlings and the First Men. They were formerly worshipped throughout all Westeros before the arrival of the Andals and their "new" seven-faced god. They seem to be very informal in regards to worship, with very little in the way of ritual beyond silent meditative prayer before weirwood trees. Weirwoods themselves have white bark and red leaves, and are believed to be functionally immortal. In his Dance chapters, Bran becomes a "greenseer," accessing the memories of any weirwood tree still standing. How (or if) this relates to Faith of the Old Gods has not yet been revealed.
- Good Old Ways: Definitely seen as this by Northmen in-universe ("We keep the Old Gods").
- Sacred Hospitality: One of their tenets is that once a person has come into your home and eaten at your table, they are under your protection while they are staying with you, and breaking that trust is one of the vilest crimes one can commit. In the old legends, this pretty much guarantees the offender will meet a Fate Worse Than Death due to divine retribution.