From military culture to events like weddings and death ceremonies, the Faith of the Seven governs the religious atmosphere and even seeps into the politics of Westeros. Sometimes referred to as the New Gods, the deities of the Faith became crucial to various aspects of Andal culture. After the Andals migrated to Westeros, they began a conquest, spreading their culture and the religion of the Seven-Pointed Star. After successfully subduing all enemies, they became the rulers of Westeros. However, Aegon I Targaryen, the Conqueror, invaded the region, placing them under his rule; this led to the beginning of the reign of the Iron Throne.
The Seven Deities of the Faith
The Faith of the Seven got its name from having seven deities. Though each entity of the seven deities represents an aspect of Andal culture, they are all equal and are called the Seven Who Are One. The even deities of the Faith are:
He is the primary patriarchal figure of the Faith. As all judgment resides with him, he is associated with war and justice. Most people pray to him when their sons and husbands march to war.
The Mother also called the Mother Above, is the matriarchal figure of the Faith. She is a loving and protective deity who loves all her children equally. Often associated with mercy, love, and women, the Mother is the figure for pregnant women.
The Warrior is the battle deity of the Seven. He got depicted as a man wielding his sword. He is called upon when battles are at hand. Because of his affiliation with war, the Warrior is the primary figure of soldiers. Sometimes a Septon calls on him to guide the hands of warriors about to partake in a trial by combat.
The Smith is the mender, the builder, and the fixer. He got depicted as a man with a hammer responsible for building, construction, and development. He is called upon by sailors and builders who wish for their work to remain intact and unshaken by the elements.
The Maiden got represented by a young beautiful, and innocent woman. She is in charge of young women, and mothers pray to her to guide their daughters in innocence. She is associated with young brides and unmarried women.
The Crone is the wise deity of the Seven. He is depicted as either a frail man or a woman and is called upon by those who seek wisdom in many academic endeavors.
The Stranger is the most awkward deity of the Seven. He is unknown and is neither male nor female but is still referred to by a male pronoun. He is the messenger of death who leads the deceased to the afterlife.
Many aspects of the Faith of the Seven got embedded in Andal culture. Like an organization, the Faith uses a hierarchical model with the highest authority being the High Septoin and the lowest being ordinary people.
There are many levels of power in the Faith of the Seven. The highest authority is usually the High Septon, a man chosen by the Devout, a group of the highest-ranking Septas and Septons. The High Septon is the head of the Faith and is similar to the medieval catholic church. He has no name except his title; this is because he transcended the needs of mortals as he is the official mouthpiece of the Seven. Typically, he dresses in long white robes and wears a crown.
After the High Septon are the most Devout. They comprised the highest authorities in the Faith of the Seven and got made of Septas and Septons who have served the Seven throughout their lives. They mostly wear crystal coronets and robes of cloth of silver.
Beneath the Devout and the Hight Septon are the priests. With the males called Septons and the females called Septas, the priests take vows to serve the Seven for the rest of their lives. They wear white robes and seven stranded belts, signifying the deities of the Faith. Septas can also work in noble houses and serve as governesses. There are also wandering septons who have no specific sept. The wandering septons hold marriage ceremonies for villages too small to have a sept.
The Silent Sisters are women specially trained to handle dead bodies. They are the people who prepare the deceased to get buried. The Silent Sisters never speak to anyone alive. However, rumors have it that their tongues got cut. The Silent Sisters prepare a corpse for burial by taking out its organs and draining all blood. They also accompany a body back to its resting place. Because of their job, they are called death’s handmaidens and handmaidens of the Stranger.
Holy Brothers and Sisters
On the lower levels of the Faith are the Holy Brothers and Sisters. The Holy Brothers are not Septons but serve in septries. They wear an iron hammer showing their servitude to the Smith. In reverence of the High Septons, the Holy Brothers wear tonsures and cut their hair. They live in prayer and silence. The leader of the Holy Brothers is called the Elder Brother.
Besides the Holy Brothers, there are the Begging Brothers. They travel from one place to another, like wandering septs. The begging brothers travel barefoot and are associated with those making atonement for their transgressions.
The Faith Militant is an extinct military order of the Faith of the Seven. It got commanded by the High Septon and comprised the Warrior’s Sons and Poor Fellows. The Warrior’s Sons comprised knights who gave up their titles to join the Faith, and the Poor Fellows were those from poorer backgrounds. The orders also got called the Swords and the Stars. Though the order was outlawed, the High Sparrow restored it after convincing Queen Cersei Lannister.
Many laws govern the followers of the Faith of the Seven. Incest, adultery, fornication, prostitution, polygamy, gambling, and slavery got prohibited in the central doctrine. However, some of the rules of the Faith do not apply to the Targaryens, especially that of incest. One of the highest crimes under the Faith is Kinslaying. Because the Seven are the deities of the Faith, the number seven was considered a holy number.
Places of Worship
The Faith conducted prayers and ceremonies in a seven-walled building called a Sept. A Sept can get fitted with seven statues depicting the deities of the Faith. Septs got scattered throughout the Seven Kingdoms except for the North and the Iron Islands. The most popular Sept in King’s Landing is the Great Sept of Baelor.
Though it has many holy books, the Seven-Pointed Star is the most popular book of the Faith. The book comprises the history of the Faith. There are also other books like the Song of the Seven, which honors each deity of the Seven except the Stranger.
There are many days the Faith considers sacred. The seventh day of the seventh moon is the holiest of days. Though each deity of the seven has its time, only three are known. Maiden’s day occurs when the maidens of noble houses carry white candles and place them at the feet of the maid. Other days include the Feast Day of Our Father Above and Smith’s Day.
The Faith of the Seven believes when all die, they go to the seven heavens or seven hells. Each level of the seven hells is worse than its predecessor, and The Lord of the Seven Hells is said to be a demon who practices black arts.
The Faith of the Seven arrived in Westeros when the Andals invaded the continent. Upon arriving, the Andals attacked the First Men for the worship of the Old Gods. Because of their poorer technology, the First Men got overpowered, and the Andals became the Kings of the continent. Later, Aegon I Targaryen invaded Westeros and began a conquest.
After locking himself for seven days in the Starry Sept, the High Septon decided to give in to Aegon, and he became a practitioner of the Faith. When Maegor the Cruel tried outlawing the Faith Militant, an uprising began against the Iron Throne. The rebellion lasted for years, and after succeeding him, King Jaehaerys came to a settlement and disbanded the Faith Militants.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones
After King Robert Baratheon dies from an accident planned by Lancel Lannister, Lord Eddard Stark tries to take over to hand the Seven Kingdoms to its rightful King, Stannis Baratheon. However, he gets arrested by Cersei Lannister, and his daughter, Sansa Stark, is taken into custody. After getting persuaded, Ned admits to treason and gets sentenced to death on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor. Arya Stark almost watches her father get killed but is whisked away by Yoren.
A Clash of Kings
After Eddard’s death, the High Septon gets angry at how Lord Eddard got killed on the steps of the Sept. When Myrcella Baratheon leaves for Dorne, a riot ensues, and the High Septon gets killed. Tyrion Lannister appoints a new High Septon and tells him to tell the people that Stannis plans on burning the Great Sept . Tywin Lannister aids Tyrion in the Battle of the Blackwater; this leads to Stannis’s defeat.
A Feast for Crows
After Lord Tywin Lannister gets killed, the War of the Five Kings ends. Cersei Lannister orchestrates the assassination of the High Septon. With King’s Landing in massive debt to the Faith, Cersei gets convinced by the new High Sparrow and allows the return of the Faith Militant. The new military order of sparrows becomes a thorn in Cersei’s flash as she gets arrested on charges of adultery.
A Dance of Dragons
Cersei’s uncle, Ser Kevan Lannister, makes her perform the Walk of Atonement. As he becomes the Lord Regent for King Tommen Baratheon, he begins fixing the terrible policies Cersei enacted. However, his excellent work leads to Varys killing him.
Appearance in Adaptations
In HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, the Faith of the Seven play a crucial role in events in Westeros. In Game of Thrones, the High Sparrow changes the power dynamics of King’s Landing and ultimately results in Cersei’s rise to power.
The Faith and House Hightower had similar goals in House of the Dragon. Because Hightower was one of the first houses in Westeros, it wanted centralized governance reliant on the Faith. King Viserys fell under the influence of his Hand, Otto Hightower, a man who was motivated to save his daughter, Alicent, and place her children on the Iron Throne. However, Visery’s daughter, Rhaenyra, held her stance on her birthright; this led to a struggle for the Iron Throne.
Faith of the Seven: A Reflection
The Faith of the Seven is a religion that draws influence from the Christianity of the middle ages. The Faith was strict and tried to control how people lived their lives. However, the highest leader of the Faith were corrupt men who wanted power for their gain. The Faith of the Seven showed the double-edginess that resides with religion.
What religion is Faith of the Seven related to in the real world?
The Faith of the Seven reflects Catholic belief. Its rules revolve around the idea of a heaven-like paradise and hell. Like Christianity, the Faith has seven deities who are considered one.
How did the Faith get so rich to borrow the Iron Throne money?
The Faith of the Seven was one of the wealthiest institutions in the Seven Kingdoms. It had so much money that the Iron Throne borrowed money from it. However, there is no explanation stating how the organization got its money. The best is the donation from its members.
Why did the Faith become weak?
By allowing politics to seep into its ranks, the Faith became a puppet to the Iron Throne. Before politics, the Faith was so powerful that it championed the Andal invasion.
Why does the Stranger have no gender but is called a ‘he’?
The Stranger is the most mysterious of the Seven. It got referred to as he because of the patriarchial nature of Westeros. As he was associated with death and outcasts, most people automatically assumed he was a ‘he.’