The Faith Militant got governed by the High Septon and featured two separate military orders: the Warrior’s Sons and the Poor Fellows; these orders were also called the Swords and Stars. After an uprising against House Targaryen, King Maegor the Cruel outlawed the order. 300 years later, the High Sparrow convinces Cersei Lannister to reinstall the Faith Militant. After re-establishing the order, Cersei tries to plot with Qyburn to have Margaery Tyrell arrested for fornication. However, she gets arraigned after Ser Lancel testifies to aiding her in killing her husband, King Robert Baratheon.
Faith Militant Details
- Order Name: Faith Militant.
- Year Disbanded: 48 AC.
- Year Recreated: 300 AC.
- Religion: Faith of the Seven.
- Sub Orders: The Warrior’s Sons and The Poor Fellows.
- Predominant Culture: Andals.
- Region of Power: The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
- Leader: The High Sparrow/Septon.
- The Seat of Power: Starry Sept and the Great Sept of Baelor.
- Alias: The Swords and Stars.
The Faith Militant is a military order set out to complete the task of keeping Westeros free of immorality. It is ruled directly by the High Sparrow. There are two factions of the order. Members of the Faith Militant primarily wear rough-spun robes of dyed black wool.
The Warrior’s Sons
The Warrior’s Sons are the true military might of the Faith Militant. They comprise knights and noblemen who give up everything they own to join the fight against immorality. With their swords sworn to the High Sparrow, they obey orders from no one else.
The Warrior’s Sons clad themselves in inlaid silver armor worn over hair shirts. They wear rainbow cloaks, and their sword pommels feature star-shaped crystals signifying the seven-pointed star of the Faith. Because of their intense fanaticism, the Warrior’s sons are brutal in judgment and have no value for anything or anyone that brings dishonor to the Faith.
The Poor Fellows
The Poor Fellows are the second order of the Faith Militant. Unlike the Warrior’s sons, they have a lower rank of commoners. The Poor Fellows are a counterpart to the Begging Brothers, a group of people who wander throughout the Seven Kingdoms barefooted. They serve as escorts to pilgrims and wield light armor and weapons, often axes and cudgels. They also wear star banners or badges to signify their Faith.
The Faith Militant goes as far back as the original Andals invaders who landed on Westeros. On getting to the continent, many knights got seen with the seven-pointed star carved on their foreheads.
With the success of the Andal invasion throughout Westeros, the Faith of the Seven replaced the First Men’s Old Gods of the Forest as the predominant religion, and the Andal culture became the most popular on the continent. However, before becoming the main religion in Westeros, the First Men resisted the Septons of the Faith that had tried to convert them; this led to a military faction within the Faith to defend the Septons, marking the beginning of the Faith Militant.
The Era of the Targaryens
When Aegon I Targaryen began his conquest of Westeros, he violated rules encrusted into the Faith of the Seven, like the taboo of incest and polygamy. With the rising tension between the Faith and the Targaryens, Aegon the Conqueror promised to end the incestuous marriage tradition of the Targaryens.
During the time of King Aenys I Targaryen, the Faith Militant uprising began as a result of outrage when Aenys wedded his son Prince Aegon to his daughter Princess Rhaena. The open rebellion continued until King Maegor the Cruel’s era. During Maegor’s reign, all holy men became targets of the Iron Throne as Maegor Targaryen offered bounties for their heads.
The new King brutally killed anyone supporting the Faith Militant and outlawed them. During the reign of King Jaehaerys the Conciliator, the conflict ended after the military order got disbanded.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire Novels
After King Joffrey Baratheon kills Lord Eddard Stark, members of the Faith of the Seven get angry because of Ned getting killed on the stairway of the Great Sept of Baelor. With Ned’s death, the War of the Five Kings begins, and Westeros plunges into chaos. Arya Stark gets taken from King’s Landing by Yoren of the Night’s Watch.
With the intense bloodshed brought by the War of the Five Kings, the high Sparrow petitions Cersei to restore the Faith Militant to protect the clergy and prevent the sacking of septs and septries. With a desire to supplant Margaery Tyrell, King Tommen Baratheon’s wife, Cersei grants the go-ahead for the Faith Militant’s revival.
The reformed order bans noble lords from visiting prostitutes and starts harassing nobles with other idols, leading to financial issues for King’s Landing. Cersei frames Margaery for fornication, leading to the young queen’s arrest. However, when Ser Lancel, Cersei’s cousin, joins the Faith Militant, he accuses Cersei of having an adulterous affair with him, leading to her arrest. Cersei performs the walk of atonement to the Red Keep.
Relevance in Adaptations
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, the Faith Militant played a crucial role in the events in King’s Landing. They got revived by Cersei Lannister during the later stages of the War of the Five Kings. The Faith Militant grew to enormous power and shook the political nature of Westeros.
Though Cersei hoped that reinstating the Faith Militant would help her quest against the Tyrells, it backfires on her. On its reformation, the military order took on the red seven-pointed star, a variation of the seven-pointed star. After Cersei’s son King Tommen marries Margaery, he starts listening to his new wife; this heightens Cersei’s fears of getting replaced, and she frames Margaery and her brother, Ser Loras Tyrell.
Eventually, Cersei herself gets arrested by the Faith Militant. She gets tortured and travels to the Red Keep naked. During her walk of atonement, she gets scorned by people hurling her slurs. After the walk of shame, Cersei returns to the Red Keep. Before Margaery Tyrell begins her walk of shame, a force of soldiers, headed by Ser Jaime Lannister, confronts the High Sparrow. However, the High Sparrow reveals the cancellation of the walk, and King Tommen emerges from the sept with his guard; this makes Olenna Tyrell bitter.
When some brothers of the Faith Militant get sent to take Cersei back to the High Sparrow, she refuses, and her monstrous guar, Ser Gregor Clegane, prevents her from getting arrested. Tommen then bans trial by combat and states his mother and Ser Loras will get judged by the seven septons.
After Loras gets tried, Cersei goes missing. Margaery pleads with the High Sparrow to let the people leave, as Cersei was likely planning something. However, he refuses, and wildfire rips through the Great Sept after Lancel fails at stopping it. The wildfire kills everyone, including innocent bystanders.
The Faith Militant: The Dark Depths of Belief
A Song of Ice and Fire is a series that compares the real world with a fictional political world. A key element stressed over and over in the series is the impact of religion on civilizations. Throughout the novels, George R. R. Martin shows how religion affects society. The Faith Militant is the perfect example of the dark path religion could take. Though the order got formed to protect Septons, it became an anarchist faction that lacked regard for peace and stability. The Faith Militant’s inability to focus on anything other than itself and the Faith of the Seven showed just how fanatically dangerous a belief could get when left unchecked.
How would Tywin Lannister have dealt with the Faith Militant?
If Tywin Lannister were alive, he would have never agreed to the rearming of the Faith of the Seven. Tywin was a military genius who understood the consequence of giving suffering people power; this would have made him shut down any thought of the High Sparrow about arming the Faith.
Why did Cersei not stop the Faith Militant from taking her?
Even if she wanted to order her guards to stop the Faith Militant from arresting her, Cersei would have still gotten apprehended. She was surprisingly taken into custody and did not have enough time to counter the sudden attack.
Who are the Faith Militants?
The Faith Militant is the military order of the Faith of the Seven. During the reign of Maegor the Cruel, it got disarmed for inciting rebellion against the Iron Throne. Centuries later, Cersei Lannister allowed it into society because of the intense debt owed by the Iron Throne.
Was Cersei competent by arming the Faith?
Not at all. Cersei proved her incompetence and childishness by arming the Faith. Because she did so to have Margaery arrested, her decision got made based on childish emotions and paranoia.