Sparrows are the lowest members of society sworn to the Faith of the Seven. They rose during the time of the War of the Five Kings. Fed up with being killed during the war, a group of smallfolk worshipers of the Seven took on the name of the common bird Sparrow and began serving to protect septs and clergies from the pillage of the war and preach the word of the Faith.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
As the War of the Five Kings ravages Westeros, many septs get destroyed, and people sword to the Faith of the Seven get killed. As Brienne of Tarth travels to Duskendale, she sees some begging brothers, who call themselves sparrows, traveling to King’s Landing with the bones of the dead to plead with King Tommen I Baratheon for protection.
Meanwhile, in the capital city, Ser Harys Swyft draws the small council’s attention to the growing epidemic of sparrows. He tells them that there are over two thousand begging brothers in the capital, who are mad because of the Red Wedding, as the event violated one of the most sacred laws of men in the Seven Kingdoms.
As Ser Jaime Lannister travels through King’s Landing, he notices some sparrows preaching to smallfolk at Cobbler’s Square. When Septon Ollidor gets put in as a candidate for becoming the High Septon, some sparrows find him in a brothel and drag him out. They then take one of their high-ranking officials into the Great Sept of Baelor, and Moon Boy, a fool, proclaims the High Septon has become a High Sparrow.
Queen Regent Cersei Lannister sees many sparrows in the gardens of the Great Sept of Baelor, and after getting convinced that the Faith will forgive some of the Crown’s debt, she agrees for the High Sparrow to reawaken the Faith Militant. With the rise of the military order, the sparrows get absorbed into the order of the Poor Fellows.
Jaime leaves King’s Landing and travels to Castle Darry, where he meets his cousin Lord Lancel Lannister. Stricken with guilt, Lancel joins the Warrior’s Sons, the mightier military arm of the Faith Militant. He then confesses his sins with Cersei Lannister, leading to the Queen’s arrest.
Relevance in Adaptation
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, the sparrows become a formidable force in the politics of King’s Landing. After Lord Tywin Lannister’s death, the sparrows appear in King’s Landing and would eventually lead a revolt that shocks the political atmosphere of the capital city.
Ser Kevan Lannister tells Cersei that his son Lancel has joined the new order of fighters for the Faith of the Seven. The new soldiers of the Faith burst into a brothel to find the High Septon. They chase away the prostitutes he is with and strip him naked before leading him on the streets of King’s Landing. After the humiliating incident, the High Septon complains to the small council, stating they should kill the High Sparrow, the leader of the new order. However, Cersei visits the High Sparrow in Flea Bottom and tells him about her plans to reunite the Faith with the Crown. She then appoints him as the new High Septon and establishes the Faith Militant.
Armed to deliver the justice of the Faith, the new order break into brothels and harass both the prostitutes and their clients. Ser Lancel Lannister leads a group of soldiers to arrest Loras Tyrell for having illicit affairs with men. Queen Margaery Tyrell steps in to testify for her brother, but the Faith Militant brings in Olyvar, who confesses to sleeping with Loras.
Margaery and her brother get arrested, and Cersei smirks at the event. She gets detained after Lancel confesses they had an affair while she was married to King Robert Baratheon. The sparrows arrest Cersei, and she gets forced to take a walk of shame.
Upon returning to the Red Keep to await her trial by combat, Olenna Tyrell and Kevan Lannister rule King’s Landing. Jaime Lannister meets the High Sparrow, who proposes they work together. Jaime then plots to use a Tyrell army to force the High Sparrow to surrender. However, on reaching the Great Sept of Baelor, he learns that Tommen has agreed to support the Faith.
The King outlaws trial by combat, and Cersei and Ser Loras get scheduled to stand before judges. However, Cersei prevents her son from leaving his room on the day of the event, and as the trial goes on the Great Sept, a young boy Arthur goes beneath the Sept. He proceeds to light the wildfire beneath, killing everyone in the Sept.
Sparrows: The Unseen Terror
The sparrows’ existence showed religion can be a massively political weapon when placed in the wrong hands. The sparrows were a creation of war and desperation, and they had nothing else to lose. They became one of the most significant forces the Iron Throne ever foresaw as a contender for power.
What did the Sparrows do in Game of Thrones?
After Tywin Lannister’s death, the Sparrows formed a fanatical faction and began harassing prostitutes and people in brothels. Cersei makes the High Sparrow the leader of the Faith, and he arrests her for adultery.
Where was Tyrion Lannister when the High Sparrow arrested Cersei?
What happened to the previous High Septons?
The one Tyrion chose got torn apart by the crowd during the riot in King’s Landing. He never made waves like the previously corrupt High Septon, but Cersei hated him.