Faith of the Seven
The Faith of the Seven, also referred to as the Holy Faith or simply the Faith, is the dominant religion in most of the Seven Kingdoms. Followers of the Faith are rare in the north and on the Iron Islands, where the religions of the old gods and 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 of the First Men.
- 1 The Seven
- 2 Organization
- 3 Rights and privileges
- 4 Practices
- 5 History
- 6 Recent Events
- 7 Behind the Scenes
- 8 Quotes
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
Members of the Faith worship the Seven Who Are One, a single deity with seven aspects or faces. For the less educated, however, this concept is often difficult to grasp, causing them to often believe that there are indeed seven different gods. Depending on their need, worshipers pray to specific faces of the Seven. The seven faces are:
- The Father, also referred to as the Father Above, is depicted as a bearded man, with a stern and strong face. Judgement is said to belong to the Father. Additionally, he protects “his children”. He is often prayed to for justice, and the phrase “may the Father judge [him/her/them/you] justly” is often said among followers of the Seven. Additionally, one might pray to the Father asking him to defend someone in battle, the strength to seek justice, and the wisdom to recognize it.
- The Mother, sometimes also called the Mother Above, is a loving and protective aspect of the Seven. She is often asked for mercy, and to keep loved ones safe. Offerings can be made to the Mother when a woman becomes pregnant, to praise the Mother for giving the gift of life.
- The Warrior is always depicted with his sword, and protects followers of the Seven from their foes. The Warrior is often prayed to for courage, as the septons teach. Most men make offerings to the Warrior before battle, while others might say a prayer. Additionally, people might beseech the Warrior for a favorable condition during battle, to watch over soldiers, give them strength, keep them safe, both in battle and outside of battle, and help warriors to victory. He might also be asked to bring peace to the souls of the slain and give comfort to those who are left behind. 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, The phrases “may the Warrior defend you” and “may the Warrior give strength to your sword arm” are frequently given.
- The Smith, depicted with his hammer, is the mender of broken things who puts the world of men to right. Septons teach to pray to the Smith for strength, and sailors might make offerings to the Smith prior to launching a ship, as to keep their ships safe. Others might pray to the Warrior for protection. Followers of the Seven can show their devotion to the Smith by wearing a small iron hammer about their neck.
- The Maiden, also called the Maid, is a beautiful, innocent looking young woman. People might pray to the Maiden to keep young women safe. A mother can pray to the Maiden to lend courage to her daughters and guard them in their innocence, while a bride might light candles in thanks if a suitable marriage offer is made. A woman may ask the Maid for forgiveness when admitting to having used sex to convince men to do her bidding.
- The Crone is an old, wizened and wise woman, whose statues often show her with a raised lamp in one hand. People pray to the Crone for wisdom and guidance.
- 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. His face is the face of death. He leads the newly deceased to the other world. Those who feel like outcasts might light a candle for the Stranger.
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. Septons often wear white robes, seven-stranded belts of different colors, and a crystal about their necks. They lead worship with incense, censers, and songs. Septas typically dress in white robes with woven seven-color belts. They sometimes wear hoods, but not always, and their hair can be seen. Septas may serve as governesses in noble households. Septa Mordane, for example, serves House Stark.
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.
The head of the Faith is the High Septon, the Father of the Faithful, the voice of the new gods on earth. The Most Devout, a council of the highest-ranking septons, elect the High Septon, usually from among their own ranks, 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. Typically, the High Septon wears long white robes and a crown. Septons from the Most Devout wear robes of cloth-of-silver and crystal coronets.
The silent sisters are tasked with preparing the deceased for the grave. They dress in grey robes, their faces hooded and shawled so only their eyes remain visible, as it is "ill fortune to look on the face of death." The silent sisters do not speak to the living, and although some claim that the silent sisters have their tongues cut out, in truth the silent sisters have simply taken a vow of silence.
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. When the deceased is transported back home, one or more silent sisters might accompany the body. Due to their task, the silent sisters are also called “death's handmaidens” and “handmaidens of the Stranger”. Some even say that they are wives to the Stranger.
Holy brothers and sisters
Humbler members of the Faith include "holy brothers" and "holy sisters". 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. Holy brothers often wear robes of brown, dun, or green.Holy sisters can wear robes of white, blue, or grey.
Brothers can serve at septries, monastic communities of the Faith similar to monasteries. Some holy brothers wear the iron hammer of the Smith about their neck. 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. Motherhouses are corresponding communities for women.
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. The begging brothers are often dressed in threadbare or roughspun robes of undyed wool belted with hempen rope, and some go about barefoot. Some wear a bowl on a leather thong around their necks. Wandering the realm as a begging brother might be done as a penance.
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, who guarded and escorted travelers. 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 or Stars and Swords. 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.
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. King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and his Hand of the King, Septon Barth, reconciled 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. Whether or not the Faith retained the tax-exemption on its wealth and properties after Jaehaerys I's time is unknown.
The Faith of the Seven is the predominant religion of the Seven Kingdoms. It is practiced in Dorne, the Reach, the stormlands, the crownlands, the riverlands, the westerlands, and the Vale of Arryn. Only on the Iron Islands and in the north are followers of the Faith few. Although the laws of the Iron Throne and the gods are seen as separate, teachings of the Faith have a heavy influence on the law and justice of the realm. The Faith preaches against prostitution, gambling, and bastardy. It holds slavery to be an abomination, and considers polygamy and incest—except for Targaryens, under the Doctrine of Exceptionalism—and prostitution as monstrous and vile sins. Followers of the Faith consider no man as accursed as the kinslayer, although the degree of kin and circumstance of killing one's kin (e.g., in war) hold significant influence.
In association with the seven aspects of their god, the number seven is considered holy. Septons speak of the seven aspects of grace during prayer, and the gods are said to have made seven wonders; 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. Seven oils are used during a child naming ceremony, as part of the knighting ceremony, and when anointing a king.
Religious worship is done in seven-walled buildings called septs. 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. The altars are sometimes inlaid richly with mother-of-pearl, onyx, and lapis azuli. Windows are from leaded glass, depicting scenes and pictures, and a great crystal catches light, spreading it in a rainbow of colors. 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.
Prayer in a sept is done to each of the seven faces of the god that one wishes to ask for aid. Holding hands and singing is often part of worship and prayer. Candles can be lit to honor the gods, although the Stranger typically receives the fewest candles. People may wear signs of devotion to a particular god, such as a small iron hammer on a thong for the Smith. Crystals and light are important elements in the Faith.
The seven colors of the rainbow are important to the Faith. The Warrior's Sons wore rainbow cloaks, 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. Crystals in septs create rainbows of light.
The Faith has a number of holy books. The most important one is The Seven-Pointed Star, which contains the Maiden’s Book. The Seven-Pointed Star tells, among others, about the history of the Faith. Septons who cannot read or write memorize prayers, rituals, and ceremonies, and are able to recite long passages from The Seven-Pointed Star.
Hymns for a particular god can be sung during prayer. 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.
The seventh day of the seventh moon is a day deemed sacred to the gods.
The seventh day of the week may be a time to gather in a sept for prayers.
Each of the seven gods of the Faith has their own holy day. 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.
- Feast Day of Our Father Above, considered to be the most propitious day for making judgments.
- Smith's Day.
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. During the trial the septon will swear a man to honesty before he is to give testimony. At the start of a trial by combat, the septon will raise a crystal sphere above his head, 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, or beseech the Father to aid in judgement, and the Warrior to lend strength to the person whose cause is just.
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.
A marriage ceremony takes place in a sept. The ceremony is presided over by a septon and involves prayers, vows, singing, and lighting of candles. 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 and ivory silk. The bride also wears a cloak in the colors of her house, called the “maiden's cloak”. 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.
Seven vows are made, seven blessings are invoked, 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. 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”, 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, after which the septon will declare them to be man and wife, stating they are “one flesh, one heart, one soul, now and forever”.
The wedding ceremony is followed by a feast. 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. 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. The women at the feast will do the groom the same honors. 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. Nonetheless, in some cases, witnesses might be present for the bedding, 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. Neither bride nor groom needs to be present for an annulment. However, it must be requested by at least one of the wedded pair. Divorce in Westeros is not common. Nonetheless, a king is able to put his queen aside—even if she has given birth to his children—and marry another.
According to The Seven-Pointed Star, lives are like candle flames, easily snuffed out by errant winds. 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. The Faith holds that there are seven heavens and seven hells. Each of the seven hells is deeper than the next. Sinners who do not repent their sins go to the seven hells; although The Seven-Pointed Star states that all sins may be forgiven, crimes must still be punished. The Lord of the Seven Hells is said to command demons and practice black arts.
The bodies of the deceased are given over to the silent sisters for ritual cleansing. 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. 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. During funerals for such dignitaries, which can last 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 are available for all. People of lesser importance or status might be placed upon a bier elsewhere. A family member, friend, or even a concerned stranger stands last vigil.
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. It is said that when she peered through the door of death, the Crone let the first raven into the world.
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. Although the Andals came late to the Reach, 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. 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.
Aegon the Conqueror
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. Since then, it has been traditional for the High Septon to give their blessing to every new king.
The Targaryens had converted to the Faith on Dragonstone before Aegon's day, and Aegon always trod lightly with the Faith. 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. 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.
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 when Maegor refused to set Alys aside. Although Maegor left for Pentos, 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.
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". 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.
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 and put out a decree that prohibited the Faith from arming itself. 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.
Baelor the Blessed
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.
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.
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.
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 and the Iron Throne passed to his younger brother, King Aegon V Targaryen.
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.
A Game of Thrones
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. Arrested following the death of King Robert I Baratheon, 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.
A Clash of Kings
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. 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.
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. Tyrion Lannister, the acting Hand of the King, appoints the new High Septon. Tyrion tells him to tell the people that Stannis Baratheon has vowed to burn the Great Sept.
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.
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.
Tyrion Lannister marries Sansa Stark in Baelor's Sept. King Joffrey later marries Margaery Tyrell in the Great Sept as well, with the High Septon officiating the wedding. Joffrey chokes to death during his wedding feast. The body of Joffrey is placed on a bier beneath the statue of the Stranger in the Great Sept. The High Septon asks the Father to lead them to justice when Tyrion's trial for Joffrey's murder begins.
A Feast for Crows
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.
The body of Lord Tywin Lannister is placed on a bier in the Great Sept for seven days. Queen Regent Cersei Lannister has the High Septon murdered by Ser Osney Kettleblack, as she fears the man was a catspaw of Tyrion. 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. The High Septon empties the vaults of the Great Sept of Baelor in order to provide for the poor. 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.
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. Over a hundred knights pledge their swords and lives to the Warrior's Sons, 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.
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. 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.
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.
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”, 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.
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.
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. The Faith Militant is loosely based on crusading orders, e.g. Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller.
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.—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.
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.
Lancel: My faith is all the nourishment I need.
Jaime: Faith is like porridge. Better with milk and honey.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 33, Catelyn IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 70, Tyrion X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 46, Samwell III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 4, Brienne I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 5, Davos I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25, Davos III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 63, Davos VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 16, Sansa II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 18, Samwell I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 48, Daenerys IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 58, Davos III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 45, Catelyn VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 9, Brienne II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
- So Spake Martin: Various ASOIAF Questions, April 21, 2000
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- The Sworn Sword.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 30, Arya VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 65, Arya XII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 42, Brienne VIII.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Sons of the Dragon.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 22, Arya IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Poor Fellows.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
- So Spake Martin: Kinslaying in Westeros, May 22, 2001
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 26, Jon III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 35, Jon VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 18, Sansa II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48 , Jon VI.
- So Spake Martin: Boskone (Boston, MA; February 14-16), February 14, 2003
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 10, Jon II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 44, Jaime VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 48, Jon VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
- Not A Blog: Books for Brains!, October 31, 2015
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
- The Hedge Knight.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 28, Sansa III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
- The Mystery Knight.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 35, Bran V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 32, Tyrion IV.
- So Spake Martin: Minisa Tully and Sansa, September 08, 2000
- So Spake Martin: Asshai.com Interview in Barcelona, July 28, 2012
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 32, Arya III.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: The Gardener Kings.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 26, Samwell III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 1, Arya I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Andals in the Reach.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- So Spake Martin: To Be Continued (Chicago, IL; May 6-8), May 06, 2005
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei II.
- George R R Martin visiting SF-Bokhandeln, June 23, 2015
- Bullseye: George R. R. Martin, Author of "A Song of Ice and Fire" Series: Interview on The Sound of Young America, September 19, 2011
- Google Talks: George R. R. Martin
- So Spake Martin: Direwolves and the Seven, October 29, 2001
- So Spake Martin: Faith Militant's Inspiration and Ice and Fire Dream Cast, April 15, 2008