Warning: this post contains spoilers through Season 6. Proceed at your own risk.
And like everything else on Game of Thrones, each religion is well-developed, with its own iconography and belief systems and lore. If you’re unfamiliar, it might be tough to make a decision about which religion you’d believe in if you found yourself in Westeros and had to make a choice. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a guide to help you make an informed decision about what Game of Thrones religion is right for you. Happy worshipping! On Game of Thrones, like in the real world, different groups have different religions.
The Faith of the Seven:
The dominant religion in Westeros, The Faith of the Seven is by far the most-practiced religion in the South. There are seven parts to the deity, each representing and prayed to for different reasons: the Father (judgement); the Mother (kindness and mercy); the Warrior (strength); the Maiden (innocence); the Smith (labor); the Crone (wisdom); and the Stranger (death). Its symbol is a seven-pointed star, which can be seen hanging behind the Iron Throne. Its priests are called septons if they’re male, and septas if female.
The Sparrows who have taken over King’s Landing are a radical fundamentalist sect of the Faith that sprung out of the common people’s dissatisfaction with the ruling class. The Faith Militant is the paramilitary wing that reformed after a long hiatus with the blessing of Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), and quickly got out of the crown’s control. The leader of the Sparrows, the commander-in-chief of the Faith Militant and the official high priest of the Faith is the High Septon (Jonathan Pryce).
Should You Follow This Religion? If you were a Christian who somehow found him or herself in Westeros, the Seven wouldn’t seem overly unfamiliar — there are just a few more parts than the Trinity. It’s a pretty straightforward, meat-and-potatoes religion that’s open to varying levels of devotion. If you want to pick a religion that will give you a sense of belonging, the Seven would be a good fit for you. And if you’re very rigid and dogmatic in your beliefs, the Sparrows are definitely right for you.
The Lord of Light
This mysterious, fiery religion comes from Essos and revolves around R’hllor, also known as the Lord of Light. R’hllor’s worshippers, led by Red Priests like Melisandre (Carice van Houten), revere fire and light, and believe that R’hllor is leading them in eternal war against the forces of darkness and death embodied by the Great Other.
R’hllor’s emissary is the Prince Who Was Promised, a Christlike figure who will wield a sword called Lightbringer and fight back the encroaching darkness. Melisandre believed Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) was the Prince Who Was Promised. He wasn’t, but Jon Snow (Kit Harington) might be. Another Red Priest, Kinvara (Ania Bukstein), believes Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is TPWWP. Maybe she’s wrong too. Who knows?
Followers of R’hllor have magic powers that other priests do not, like the power of prophecy and the ability to resurrect the dead. If any of the gods worshipped on Game of Thrones are real, it’s the Lord of Light, in our humble opinion.
Almost no one in Westeros worships the Lord of Light, especially now that Stannis Baratheon is dead, but there are followers in locations in Essos like Meereen.
Should You Follow This Religion? If you’ve ever conducted a seance or burnt sage to ward off bad spirits or run naked through the woods while wearing a flower crown, you may already believe in R’hllor.
The Old Gods of the Forest
Worshipped by the stubborn folks in the North and beyond the Wall, they’re “old” because they’re the gods of the Children of the Forest, who lived in what is now Westeros and the northlands thousands of years ago (and still do, as Bran Stark [Isaac Hempstead-Wright] found out). They were adopted by the First Men, the first humans who came to the region. The faith was passed down through oral tradition and survived a crusade by the Andals, a group who spread the Faith of the Seven and whose descendants mostly live in South.
The Old Gods are unnamed and innumerable spirits of nature. They are worshipped through quiet contemplation in wooded areas, often in front of heart woods — sacred trees with ancient faces carved into them by the Children of the Forest. Devout worshippers believe that the gods speak through the rustle of the wind through the leaves.
Should You Follow This Religion? You should pray to the Old Gods if you consider yourself spiritual but not religious. Or love trees.
The Drowned God
Iron Islanders resisted assimilating to the Seven, and continue to worship the god they believe created them and gave them a divine mandate to kill and plunder. It’s unknown who the Drowned God was before he drowned, but he’s dead now, and “what is dead may never die,” as the Iron Islanders are fond of saying, “but rises again, harder and stronger.”
The Drowned God is locked in eternal battle with the Storm God. The Drowned God lives beneath the sea, and the Storm God lives above the thunderclouds and tries to sink Ironborn ships. The Drowned God’s priests — who are only men — are known as Drowned Men, and most of their rituals involve drowning. Infants are baptized in a simulated drowning, and kings are anointed by being drowned and revived, like the Drowned God himself was.
Should You Follow This Religion? The Drowned God is perfect for you if you ever wished you could be a Viking/spend most of your time in the bathtub.
The Great Stallion
Horses are sacred to the Dothraki people of Essos, and so their great spirit is a giant celestial stallion. The “Stallion Who Mounts the World” is a prophesied leader who will unite all the Dothraki tribes and conquer the world. It might be Daenerys Targaryen, even though she’s a mare.
The Dothraki acknowledge that other gods exist, it’s just that the Great Stallion is the most powerful. The stars in the sky are the Great Stallion’s followers. When Dothraki die, their bodies are burned and their spirits are carried by the smoke up to the heavens where they join the Great Stallion’s horde.
Should You Follow This Religion? If you were somehow transported from Old Testament times to Essos, you would feel right at home worshipping the Great Stallion. This is also great religion for the very superstitious, or people who are into astrology, or if you feel Lisa Frank folders would be better if they were just a little more violent.
The Many-Faced God
The Faceless Men of Braavos are also cool with all other religions, because to them, all other gods are manifestations of the one true god: the Many Faced-God, who is Death. Valar dohaeris — all men must serve him — because Valar morghulis — all men must die.
Should You Follow This Religion? If you’re a nihilist in search of something to believe in, the Many-Faced God is here for you!