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The Faith of the Seven

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/faithoftheseven_symbol.png

The dominant religion of the Seven Kingdoms, save for the North and the Iron Islands, where the Old Gods and the Drowned God are respectively dominant. It worships a single god with seven faces or aspects: the Father, the Mother, the Warrior, the Maiden, the Smith, the Crone, and the Stranger. Since the concept of a single god with seven faces is complicated, the God of Seven is usually referred to in plural as "the new gods" or "the Seven".

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    In General 
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The Sparrows are changed from an uprising of smallfolk sick of the state of Westeros and a union of the faithful to a Fundamentalist movement implied to be on a power trip. There's also the lack of the book's good priest characters such as Septon Meribald and the Elder Brother who ministered to Shell Shocked Veterans. Combine this with having the show's only good septon be of questionable piety (he says he can't even remember the names of all Seven gods) and a naive Suicidal Pacifist to boot and the Faith looks fairly unsympathetic on the whole note .
    • The Faith is never stated to have any particular stigma against homosexuality in the books, but it definitely has it in the show. That said, in the books, the Faith (or at least just the High Sparrow and his Sparrows) were highly misogynistic and had a huge Stay in the Kitchen mentality, though it is far less extreme than the show's homosexuality stigma.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. The Warrior's Sons (Knight Templars wearing inlaid silver armor over hair shirts, rainbow cloaks, swords with star-shaped crystals in their pommels and their badge was a rainbow crystal sword shining in darkness) were left out of the show. Furthermore, in the books only the most extreme among the Poor Fellows carved a seven-pointed star into their flesh. Most had the seven-pointed star embroiled or painted on clothing or shields. In the show every member of the Poor Fellows has the star carved into their foreheads.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: The Great Sept of Baelor is a giant, pompous church building constructed around a much older, more humble chapel, very much like the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Their morality is in line with the tenets of their religion. As such, while they perform some very reprehensible acts against the Tyrells and the kingdom at large, they also turn on Cersei herself and have numerous Pet the Dog moments with Margaery.
  • Corrupt Church: They are generally shown as pawns of the Crown. The first High Septon was fat and well-fed in a time of poverty and starvation, the second High Septon seemed amiable enough until Season 5 shows him to be a regular at Littlefinger's brothel and a total hypocrite. They are so bad that a fundamentalist movement comprised of the Sparrows rises against the Faith.
    • According to the Sparrows, the Sept under the Targaryens were entirely subservient to the Crown, forced (by dragonfire) to disband their Church Militant, curtail their laws to make it more "tolerant" as well as severely restrict their abilities to enforce them, and the Targaryen yoke even led to a gaudy Church to be built over a Sept that was more in keeping with their aesthetic. Once Cersei reverses all the checks-and-balances to keep them back, everyone in King's Landing and eventually Cersei herself realize that the Targaryens had a point.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: This is quasi-historical medieval fantasy after all.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: It is clearly based on the medieval Catholic Church, except with their God having seven aspects instead of the Holy Trinity. The Faith's subservient role to the Crown is quite different from that of the European monarchs to the Church. It's closest historical parallel in terms of socio-political structure is the Avignon Papacy, where the French King essentially made the Church a French vassal and made it shift bases from the Vatican to Avignon where the King could keep an eye on it. The Avignon Papacy is also the subject of The Accursed Kings, a confirmed influence on the series by George R. R. Martin.
  • The Fundamentalist: The Sparrows.
  • Grim Reaper: The Stranger.
  • Maiden Mother And Crone: Three of the Seven Aspects.
  • Monument of Humiliation and Defeat: As per the High Sparrow, Baelor built his Great Sept over a smaller and far more modest Sept that pre-existed the Targaryens. To him the Great Sept, regardless of Baelor's piety, is a symbol of the Targaryen imposition over the Faith's traditions which Baelor, in his few moments of intelligence, never upended. The Sparrow generally prefers to occupy the few surviving older chambers in the Sept which come from the older era and its quite clear that he plans to redecorate and restore the Sept to its former stature.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: Baelor the Blessed gifted a High Septon with a fancy robe and a crystal crown which all High Septons have worn since. The High Sparrow refuses to wear this "uniform" and compares it to a fool's motley.
  • The Speechless: The Silent Sisters, followers of the Stranger that swear off words and tend to the dead and dying.

The Sparrows/Faith Militant

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/faith_militant_main_shield.png

The High Sparrow: Wars teach people to obey the sword, not the Gods.
Cersei Lannister: Perhaps the Gods need a sword of their own.

A fundamentalist splinter movement within the Faith that was formed during the War of the Five Kings. Later becomes the Faith Militant once Cersei authorizes their re-armament and has their leader, the "High Sparrow", made High Septon.

    In General 

  • Adaptational Ugliness: They undergo this with their Obviously Evil facial scars, which are an exaggeration of the Poor Fellows (in the books, a single member has a Carved Mark on his chest, the rest are only This Means Warpaint) with none of the appeal of the rainbow cloaks, silvery armour, and crystal-pommelled swords of the Warrior's Sons.
  • Adaptational Villainy: They never go on a violent raid through the streets in the books. The High Sparrow retains some of his piety, but some of their more charitable aspects, such as selling all the High Septon's finery to raise money to feed the poor, have been erased. Alongside this, the context of the devastation of the war is not touched upon to the same extent in the show. Many of the Sparrows in the books were Shell Shocked Veterans or the survivors of massacres and they gain popularity largely because the Royal Court has failed to protect anyone from terrible violence that was still tearing up the kingdom, and in some cases they were the instigators of violence.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: All sinners are equal before the gods. Bearing false witness before the gods is as grave a sin as any, as Queen Margaery can attest to from a cell.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: Much of the philosophical and political underpinnings of the Sparrow faction, as it appears in-show, could be read as an exaggeration of criticisms (both by conservative Catholics and hardline secularists/atheists) of Liberation theology. This being a movement within the global Catholic Church (but more specifically in the developing world Churches since the 20th century) that pushes for social justice and equality—even to the extent of political engagement. While popular to many liberal-thinking peoples, some branches' non-compromising stance on certain Church doctrine (especially sexuality) tends to alienate potential allies.
  • Animal Motifs: They use a sparrow motif, as they are common folk, there are many of them, and they enforce their will in groups, much like real sparrows do.
  • Ax-Crazy: Once they get their hands on weapons.
  • The Brute: They are used by Cersei as muscle in her political schemes. At least until they no longer have any use for her.
  • Carved Mark: They carve the symbol of the Faith of the Seven into their foreheads.
  • Church Militant: After becoming the Faith Militant, though they're even rebelling against the official Faith as well.
  • Creepy Catholicism: The Faith is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to medieval Catholicism, and the Sparrows seem to embody everything that is ominous, imposing and foreboding about medieval Catholicism. Just take a listen to their theme
  • Dry Crusader: The Faith Militant start their war on sin by staving in barrels of ale with axes and hammers.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: They start out as nothing more than a tiny cult of fanatics. Shortly after their introduction they quickly rise to become a something of religious police force with brutal enforcement methods. After locking up both Queens, Margaery and Cersei, they have essentially taken over the capital and quickly convert it to a theocracy.
  • Failed a Spot Check: For all the work done around the the Great Sept of Baelor (the High Sparrow even enjoyed the basement where the old chapel remained) no Sparrows ever found the wildfire cache.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Sparrows remain so-called even after the Faith Militant reforms itself, and where earlier people used the word as a mocking nickname, they gradually make everyone terrified of them.
  • The Fundamentalist: Fanatically so. They're fervent believers who willingly submit themselves to poverty and self-mutilation in the name of their faith. Their doctrine rests on literal interpretation of their Holy Text and they yearn to return to the Glory Days of the pre-Targaryen era (even goody-two-shoes Baelor the Blessed, most pious King ever, is not to their liking).
  • Gray and Grey Morality: The Faith Militant are misogynistic, violently homophobic, and enforce prohibition with extreme prejudice. But they have been shown to feed the poor and care for the commoners. Their primary enemy — the small council and the rest of the noble class — are evil at worst and self-interested at best. All the lord paramounts and their bannermen have so far shown they see no wrong in starting massively destructive continental wide wars at the slightest provocation. The Holy Inquest is a case in point. Yes they are accusing a man for homosexuality which is Deliberate Values Dissonance and absolutely not a crime by 21st century standards, but the Tyrells' defense is essentially that they are royalty and so above the law, and the poor male prostitute is obviously a total liar. The Sparrows would be the only authority in Westeros that takes the word of someone powerless over that of someone in power. It's the nearest thing Westeros has to equality before the law, which isn't saying much.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: The High Sparrow and Septa Unella like this routine.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: They murder homosexuals, apparently considering homosexuality the worst sin of all.
  • Kill 'Em All: With the Sept of Baelor blown up by wildfire in the Season 6 finale, it can be well assumed that most of their personnel have turned to ashes—and if any survived, they're likely to be hunted down to the last man by the now-Queen Cersei.
  • Knight Templar: When they become the Faith Militant, they enact their justice with violence and massive detentions.
  • Obviously Evil: The standard outfit of the Faith Militant consists of a black robe criss-crossed with chains and a seven-sided star carved into their foreheads (in a way that's eerily reminiscent of inverted pentagrams).
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Their theme features some unspecific chanting that is quite foreboding.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The Sparrows are seen as this by everyone.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Jaime throws this accusation at them when reminding the High Sparrow he's committed all manner of crimes, kingslaying and oathbreaking among them, yet no-one has dared to judge him. Cersei also points out they seem awful keen on pointing out her adultery but not that of men like her husband. Whether this is simply the inherent hypocrisy born of Westerosi values, or the Sparrows simply picking their battles, remains to be seen.
  • Slut-Shaming: They raid Littlefinger's brothel, viciously attacking all the whores inside for selling sex. Later they force Queen Cersei to walk through the city naked and shaved because she had extra-marital sex, including with her brother and cousin (though a trial is being held to prove the former).
  • The Theocracy: They want to convert Westeros into this, or in their view, revert Westeros back into this. The Sparrows have successfully restored the Faith to a powerful religious institution, restarted the Faith Militant and as of Season 6, eliminated Trial by Combat in favor of a Jury of 7 Septons. As per their partnership with the Crown, they have been elevated into one of two pillars of the Faith, essentially having a status equal to the Royal Court. It all comes to a halt when Cersei blows up the Great Sept, killing their leader as well as most, if not all Sparrows inside it, leading to her usurping control from their grasp.
  • Would Hit a Girl: They don't care about gender at all, as long as you're a sinner you get beaten all the same.
    High Sparrow: All sinners are equal before the gods.

    The High Sparrow 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/high_sparrow_9.png

Played By: Jonathan Pryce

"We have no names, no family. Everyone of us is poor, and powerless. And yet together, we can overthrow an Empire."

A rising religious head in the Faith of the Seven, set to make a splash in Season Five.


  • Adaptational Badass: In the books he has to back down in front of the Tyrell's army and release Margaery, in the show he has Tommen's trust and so the King's army and his Sparrows backing him and takes over the capital fast.
  • Adaptational Villainy: His Faith Militant are more chaotic and murderous than their book counterparts. The role the apocalyptic devastation of Westeros plays in their anti-monarchism, witnessed firsthand by Brienne, is given a few perfunctory lines before they come on full force and start murdering gay people, which wasn't really done in the book.
  • Affably Evil: He maintains his charming, sincere monkish self-effacement even as he engages in political warfare against the crown, imprisons several members of the royal family, and leads the murderous Knight Templar Sparrows.
  • Ambiguously Evil: It's vague if he really is loyal to the Faith and their ideals and is keen on taking the Iron Throne down a peg after all the chaos that's happened, or if he's just trying to seize power from the royalty and is using the Faith to do it. If he's the former, he has no problem with the latter happening; if he's the latter, he's very good at pretending to be the former.
  • Anti-Villain: He's a religious fanatic, a homophobe and a misogynist, but the High Sparrow is sincere and legitimate in his attempt to fight for the poor and downtrodden against the corruption of the highborn, making him arguably morally superior to Cersei who is both homophobic and doesn't care about the poor.
  • Appropriated Appelation: The enemies of the Sparrows gave him his title, which he finds quite silly but still uses to build on his sect.
  • Badass Boast: "We have no names, no family. Every one of us is poor and powerless. And yet together, we can overthrow an empire."
  • Badass Bookworm: The High Sparrow has keen knowledge of history, sociology, philosophy, theology and several other subjects, and he often lectures people on them.
  • Badass Preacher: A preacher of the Faith who can match the likes of Olenna Tyrell in sheer cunning.
  • Badass Grandpa: Probably the most influential man in King's Landing. He manages to intimidate Jaime Lannister with words and bravery alone.
  • Bait the Dog: In his first episode, he appears to be a Cool Old Guy who only seeks to protect the poor and depose corrupt authorities like the High Septon. In his second episode, he has the Faith Militant go on a rampage through King's Landing, destroying all wine caskets, throwing out all female prostitutes onto the streets, and killing as many gay men as they can get their hands on.
  • Barefoot Poverty: Ironic since he used to be a shoemaker.
  • Batman Gambit / Kansas City Shuffle: He specially told Tommen, that Margaery make her own walk, just as Cersei did because he knows that Tommen eventually tell about this Cersei which in turn will tell about it Tyrell and it will force them to unite to thwart his plan. But in fact, his original plan was to use Margaery, to convince Tommen to joining him and the Lannister-Tyrell army play right into his arms, as he manages to usurp public support by the populace from the Crown to the Faith.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He complained to Cersei in Season 5, about the gaudiness of the Great Sept of Baelor and how he would like to return it to how it was originally. Cersei finally makes his dream come true, when she unleashes wildfire and explodes the entire Sept, with the High Sparrow and the other Sparrows inside it.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Totally averted. The High Sparrow is as pious as he is cold and ruthless and something of The Social Expert in using his charisma and politeness to manipulate people around him.
  • Beneath the Mask: In "The Gift", the High Sparrow declares it his intention to strip away the "finery" of the great houses and see them judged for what they truly are. More subtly, the same episode removes the High Sparrow's own mask: he is still a man of simple conviction and extreme piety, but his affable humility diminishes through his conversation with Olenna culminating in an implied threat and when he arrests Cersei his posture, expression, and eye contact become much more confrontational, revealing the fanatic zeal that lets the apparently gentle old man command the violent Faith Militant.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: He doesn't seem to have any ulterior motives. He's just a pious man who wants to serve the Seven. And that's what makes him so dangerous.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The High Sparrow is humble, soft-spoken, pious and gentle...but his brand of fanaticism is not to be underestimated.
  • Big Bad: He's the main antagonist in the King's Landing storyline in Season 5 and 6, providing a Big-Bad Ensemble with the Sand Snakes in Season 5 and then being the primary enemy in Season 6.
  • Blunt "Yes": When Olenna incredulously asks the High Sparrow if he intends to punish Loras for merely "shagging some perfumed ponce" and Margaery for defending her brother, this is the Sparrow's response.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The High Sparrow knows that Cersei has power, especially as the mother of the King. Without a guarantee that he'd be able to turn Tommen to his side, he bullies her anyway. Played With in that Cersei is not a powerful officially as the King himself is, so assuming he'd be able to outmanouvre Cersei is actually pretty reasonable. He did turned Tommen to his side but he didn't know about the wildfire cache.
  • The Chessmaster: Although he feigns otherwise, the High Sparrow has proven to be the master of the long term gambit. The show implies that he had dirt to implicate Cersei long before he came to power, and he uses Cersei's grudge against Tyrells to install himself as the High Faith. It's only after he consolidates his power does he make his move on Cersei. However, it's clear his own self-righteousness gets in the way of his chess skills in the end.
  • Church Militant: He seeks to reforge the Faith of the Seven to its older, martial form with the power to enforce the Faith's tenets by force of arms.
  • Church Police: The Sparrows basically serve as this for the Faith.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's an older fellow with a dry wit and down-to-earth attitude. Until Cersei installs him as High Septon and gives him permission to recreate the Faith Militant.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: In the end he strikes this pose as the Wildfire consumes him, possibly intentionally as a way of embracing his demise.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Ends up burning to death in the destroyed Sept, along with almost all of his Sparrows, Loras, Margaery, and Mace Tyrell.
  • Dark Messiah: He is the leader a cult of fanatics who tired of order that the Faith of the Seven became a corrupt puppet to the Crown and that the Faith no longer fights for the good of the common people. His ultimate goal is establishing the theocracy in Westeros or in his view, revert Westeros back into this in order to everyone was equal before the gods.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Of the self-inflicted-Barefoot Poverty-variety, as he claims he gave up his shoes to a man he felt needed them more than he. It certainly helps with the whole humility-angle; in fact, it was the first thing Cersei noticed about him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a sense of humor that comes in gentle self-deprecation.
  • Defector from Decadence: What he views himself as, he once had enough money to have a taste of a noble lifestyle and ended up hating it.
  • Didn't See That Coming: The High Sparrow was confident that Cersei had no moves left. Whether she attended the trial or not, justice would be served and she would be punished. He refuses to heed Margaery's warnings that Cersei would not be absent unless she had a plan, and because of it everyone dies. Granted, death by wildfire is rather hard to predict, and he probably felt his Sparrows would be adequate to defend him. In his last moments when the rumble of the explosion shakes the sept, he realizes his error.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: At least from his perspective. He seems quite entertained that Olenna (or every single other nobleman he crosses paths with for that matter) can't figure out his motivations. The idea that he's legitimately fighting for the poor just does not fit.
  • Evil vs. Evil: His confrontation with Cersei can be regarded as this (though he is more Anti-Villain in comparison with her).
  • Face Death with Dignity: Every time he's threatened with death, the High Sparrow is ready to face it with open arms, such is his piousness. In his actual demise, while he panicks at first, when the Wildfire consumes him, he seems to embrace it with grim determination.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The High Sparrow was just one unimportant preacher in Westeros. Come Season 5 and he's become a very influential figure in King's Landing, capable of commanding even Cersei's respect. His increased popularity could be attributed to the actions of Cersei and Joffrey, whose poor leadership created the horrible conditions in King's Landing that drove people into the arms of the Sparrows, who tend to the poor and are largely a charitable organization prior to being given special powers by Cersei herself.
  • The Fundamentalist: The Sparrows are a particularly fanatic branch of the Faith, who everyone else tends to be unnerved by.
  • Hate Sink: Despite the High Sparrow's Anti-Villain nature and Blue and Orange Morality, he firmly cements himself as this trope when he refuses to listen to Margaery and allow the people to escape the Sept due to his typical narrow-mindedness and religious zealotry, making him an Unwitting Instigator of Doom and allowing Cersei to go through with her mass murder.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Discussed both in-universe and out. None of the Great Houses in King's Landing believe he is interested in anything other than power and his own self interest. However no-one can bribe him or even threaten him into submission. The most scary aspect of the High Sparrow may be that there really is no ulterior motive. He's just a zealot who wants to increase the Faith Militant's power to spread their religion's influence and reach.
  • High Priest: He's the leader of the Faith of the Seven sub-sect called "the Sparrows" (a humble mendicating order), thus "the High Sparrow".
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The High Sparrow only dies as he does because he went to great pains to make sure Cersei had absolutely no other option. Her defeat was assured when he got Trial by Combat abolished, and Cersei had nothing left to lose.
  • Holier Than Thou: The High Sparrow even mocks Baelor the Blessed, the Targaryen King loved (and criticized) for his piety. He is dismissive of the ornate Sept he built and favors the simpler, austere and anonymous architecture that preceded it. note  Notably averted when interacting with other characters: he recognizes that he shares many of their sins and vices, such as jealousy and a suppressed fondness for luxuries.
  • Humble Hero: The reason for his popularity. He's down to earth, pious, personally feeds the poor and doesn't hold himself above anyone else.
  • Implied Death Threat: The High Sparrow not-so-subtly tells Margaery that Lady Olenna is his next target, speaking in that same grandfatherly way he always does.
    High Sparrow: You must teach her the New Way as she taught you the old, or I fear for her safety. Body and soul
  • In-Series Nickname: "The High Sparrow"
  • Ironic Death: The High Sparrow rose to power in the first place due to Cersei underestimating his zealotry and competence, so it's only fitting that the High Sparrow's own underestimation of Cersei's ruthlessness, insanity, and stupidity leads to his downfall and demise.
  • Jerkass Has a Point
    • The High Sparrow is a devious schemer and a remorseless zealot, and his lecture towards Margery regarding her "Duty" as a woman just drips with misogyny. Still, as seen both in the show and in real life, whenever the king dies without an obvious heir, the resulting political instability can wreak havoc throughout the entire realm. Just the mere question of Joffrey's legitimacy touched off the War of the Five Kings. For Westeros to have any hope of recovering from the recent devastation, the King needs to have a legitimate heir standing by, if not several just to hedge his bets.
    • The High Sparrow manipulates Tommen into abolishing trial by combat so Cersei's unbeatable champion won't influence the outcome. Tommen rationalizes the decision by deeming the process a way for the guilty to cheat justice, which is exactly what Cersei intended to do (it was also a historical criticism of the practice). Not that the alternative trial is more balanced, mind you, being a Kangaroo Court stacked against Cersei.
    • As fanatic as he is, he does have a point that it is fairly absurd how the Faith of the Seven was a corrupt puppet to the Crown and how the Faith no longer fights for the good of the common people.
  • Just the First Citizen: And he claims that even that is too much. See Appropriated Appelation.
    The High Sparrow: Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Like Lord Duckling, or King Turtle. We're often stuck with the names our enemies give to us. The notion that we are all equal in the eyes of the Seven doesn't sit well with some so they belittle me. It's only a name, quite an easy burden to wear.
  • Karmic Death: Despite the High Sparrow acting extremely humble and pious, he's ultimately done in by his own hubris when he dismisses Margaery's warnings about Cersei's dangerous machinations in the Sept of Baelor during the Green Trial thinking he has already won the Game.
    • In addition, the High Sparrow's misogyny and homophobia are what create the circumstances for the Green Trial to even be possible. If he hadn't arrested Loras or released him sooner, the Tyrells would be free to aid him in eliminating Cersei more efficiently (rather than focused on protecting their own) His misogynistic treatment of Margaery leaves her as an utterly powerless puppet queen who is scrambling to hold onto the little power she still has, making it impossible for Margaery to act on her concerns or create her own safeguards against Cersei beforehand. Finally, Cersei's walk of shame plays an enormous role in her deteriorating mental state and feelings of being backed into a corner with no other option, which are the primary reasons why she instigated the Green Trial in the first place.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The treatment of the High Septon is harsh, but doesn't seem particularly over-the-top considering the depth of his hypocrisy. Then there's his arrest of Cersei.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: The High Sparrow gives Margaery this advice when she expresses reluctance at sharing the king's bed. In his Straw Misogynist view, it is irrelevant for wives to desire or enjoy sex, only their compliance and resignation. As noted in Jerkass Has a Point, his intent is for the king to have an heir as soon as possible, so he's not wrong on a practical level.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The High Sparrow has shown to be equally manipulative as his rivals in Kings Landing.
    • After convincing Cersei to restore the Faith Militant, he arrests Ser Loras for engaging in homosexuality. Then uses Loras' confinement to have Margaery imprisoned for bearing false witness, as she would almost certainly deny his crimes, ensnaring not one but two Tyrell children.
    • Then he deals with Cersei long after having profited from her empowering his followers and making sure not to pursue her for her crimes until he no longer needed her. Eventually forcing her to make a Walk of Atonement, displaying his power whilst undermining her own.
    • Queen Margaery looks set to make her own walk, just as Cersei did, but the Lannisters and Tyrells make it clear this will not happen and are willing to kill anyone who stands in their way. Faced with being massacred or handing over the Tyrell children, the High Sparrow instead Took a Third Option and reveals that the Queen has already atoned when she brought King Tommen into their ranks.
    • When Cersei refusing to meet with the High Sparrow and after the Mountain tears the head off of one of his Faith Militant, the High Sparrow talks Tommen into abolishing trial by combat to take that advantage from her.
  • Muggle Power: Doesn't have magic or dragons or giants on his side and yet he can bring a kingdom to its knees while anyone who had those failed. All thanks to the people who are tired of living and dying under the whims of lords and his belief in the strength of the commoners. What he needed was someone to let them arm themselves which Cersei did and the Sparrows can now arrest any nobles.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Compared to his book appearance (which was gaunt and thickly bearded), the High Sparrow seems nearly tailored to match Pope Francis (an acknowledged inspiration for the character) in appearance. True enough, High Sparrow has similarities with Pope Francis, with both being popular religious reformists with humble and down-to-earth personalities and focus on helping the poor.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • To Girolamo Savonarola, as a politically savvy pseudo-Catholic fundamentalist who preaches austerity and commanded a band of disaffected young men called "Weepers", which like the Sparrows was an Appropriated Appelation from the people who despised them. Much like Savonarola, he ends up being burned alive.
    • Also to Thomas Becket the "troublesome priest" who clashed with the English King Henry II. Both the High Sparrow and Becket were installed by the crown to increase the crown's hold over the common people, and both rejected the yoke that the crown tried to place on them. The High Sparrow wears nothing but an old wool robe to show his piety and humility; Becket wore an extremely uncomfortable hairshirt under his robes as a form of penance and humility.
  • No Need for Names: The High Sparrow's real name is unknown, and he states that his faction has no need for names.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Played with. He claims to welcome death, as it would make him a a martyr for the gods, yet he's always had a way out.
    • When confronted and alone with Jaime in the sept, he admits that he is afraid of the other world and does seem to be sincere about it. However, when faced with his possible death, he encourages Jaime to cut him down, claiming his ideology and movement will still live on. But then it's made abundantly clear Jaime will not survive killing him, as the place is conveniently surrounded with Sparrows.
    • When Jaime states the Tyrell army will not hesitate to massacre them all, unless they hand over their Tyrell captives, the High Sparrow claims they welcome being martyrs for the gods. However, the High Sparrow is preparing to unveil his new alliance with the crown and knows full well there will be no violence, so (in this instance at least) his words are little more than posturing.
    • Subverted when he's finally killed. He manages a look of horror before he's incinerated by wildfire. Though anyone would have the same reaction if the the ground below started shaking and fire came out of it. Even so he recomposes himself fast enough to get a Crucified Hero Shot.
  • No-Sell: As a man with no vice to exploit, he is above bribery. He can't be threatened, as many of his enemies' supporters could become his own: the poor lower classes. He knows that even if he died he is just one priest and his movement will live on.
  • Not So Above It All: In "Blood of my Blood", he visibly smirks with pride when he reveals that Tommen has become a Sparrow. The worst part is that he uses it to his advantage, saying that he has his flaws like everyone else, which is how he knocks down the Holier Than Thou appearance when needed.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He clearly plays to the belief of most highborn elites that Belief Makes You Stupid when he is actually shrewd, cunning and quite cold.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Extremely subtle (to the point of being a Freeze-Frame Bonus), but the High Sparrow seems to resign himself to his fate in his final moments.
  • Oh, Crap!: Suffers a subdued but very noticeable one when he realizes something just ignited below the Baelor Sept shortly before he's incinerated.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name is unclear, as he just calls himself "a Sparrow" or, as per Appropriated Appelation, "The High Sparrow".
  • Out-Gambitted:
    • He's good at inflicting this on his enemies, who have trouble dealing with a man who doesn't play politics as they do. He manages to form an alliance between the Faith and the crown without anyone realizing it until his enemies overplayed their hand.
    • He winds up the victim of it in the season 6 finale. Just when it seems like everything has gone his way, Cersei wipes the whole board clean by detonating a wildfire cache underneath the Great Sept of Baelor, killing the High Sparrow, all his followers, Mace Tyrell, and Queen Margaery.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Ultimately, the only thing that can defeat him. The High Sparrow is a brilliant political player who can talk himself out of any situation and can exploit the flaws in any plan with surgical precision, so the only manner to beat him is to blindside him entirely. Cersei does this by bringing in the Wildfire. The High Sparrow (and everyone else in King's Landing) had absolutely no idea there were caches of Wildfire underneath the city, ergo he had no way to counter-plan for it, and this leads to his death at the Great Sept of Baelor.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: As in keeping with his religion, he considers homosexuality to be an abomination and thus the homosexuals of King's Landing have become targets for arrest. Unlike his followers, however, he does not display any particular hatred or contempt for them, only targeting them because his gods demand it of him. And though he would vehemently argue against it, there is a noticeable misogynistic streak in his brand of religion, as well, as becomes evident when Jamie questions why the Queen's unfaithfulness calls for a giant humiliating spectacle, while no such thing is demanded of men's cruelties in the war. Furthermore, he gives Margaery grief for not sharing the king's bed, as wives have a duty to provide their husbands with heirs. When she claims that such desires no longer drive her, he counters that providing the king an heir requires no such desire.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He gives one to Lady Olenna.
    The High Sparrow: Have you ever sowed the field, Lady Olenna? Have you ever reaped the grain? Has anyone in House Tyrell? A lifetime of wealth and power has left you blind in one eye. You are the few, we are the many. And when the many stop fearing the few...
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Olenna tries to bribe him into releasing her grandchildren. Unfortunately for her, the High Sparrow has no interest in material wealth and would never betray the tenets of the Seven. This makes him a bit of a Rules Lawyer during the trial of Loras, upholding the sanctity of the trial by not allowing anyone to leave, costing the lives of all those assembled.
  • Smug Snake: At the end of the day he is a little too caught up in his pet quest of humiliating the nobles and dismisses his opponents a little too early. Had he been less focused on showing his dominance to the Tyrells and more on contemplating why Cersei hasn't shown up to her trial, maybe he - and everyone else in the sept - wouldn't have been blown up (though to be fair he really couldn't know about the wildfire cache hidden under the Great Sept of Baelor and also if take into account the explosion radius and at what point Margaery beginning her warning... they have died in any case).
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: The Queen of Thorns and the High Sparrow engage in one that includes a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from the High Sparrow to Olenna and some Shut Up, Hannibal! from her to him.
  • The Social Expert: He's very good at manipulating people with his words. Every conversation he's had with other characters has turned out the way he wanted. He's even able to convince someone namely, Tommen who previously wanted to kill him into joining him! The scary part is that he manages this while still being more or less honest.
  • Spanner in the Works: The power struggle between Lannisters and Tyrells gives him the opportunity to rise to power and to screw their houses.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: He does this to people. He has King Tommen politically trapped, but his patient and avuncular personality wins Tommen over into thinking of him as a beloved authority figure. Margaery acts this way, but she's just faking it and warns her grandmother Olenna to flee the city for fear of the High Sparrow's machinations. Loras, for his part, seems to have been broken under torture and welcomes the High Sparrow's judgment.
  • Straw Misogynist: It's debatable for a while if he targets women having extramarital affairs more than (heterosexual) men — he has additional political reasons, after all — telling Margaery that the marital act is not about desires on woman's part, but patience, places him firmly in this category.
  • Suddenly Significant Rule: The Sparrow's modus operandi involves reviving and following on laws and traditions that have gone unenforced for more than two centuries, that many of the characters have themselves forgotten have ever existed. The Targaryens, by disbanding the Faith Militant, took away their ability to enforce those laws but never paid any attention to reforming it altogether, which means the rules existed on paper all along, waiting for the right Rules Lawyer to come and cash in.
  • The Teetotaler: Is revealed to be one when he refuses Cersei's offer of wine. When Cersei notes that his predecessor would have asked the vintage, the High Sparrow admits he could cite some religious tenet to justify it, but admits he simply doesn't care for it.
    High Sparrow: I could say that our minds are temples to the Seven and should be kept pure...but the truth is, I don't like the taste.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Both Cersei and Olenna briefly mistake him for a random Sparrow, given his appearance is so non-descript.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Just as his plans are finally coming to fruition, Margaery tries to warn him that Cersei likely has something planned to escape justice and the trial should be postponed. He refuses to listen, even preventing anyone from leaving the Sept of Baelor. He and everyone else dies. If he had listened to Margaery, there's a slight chance he might have survived (the wildfire spread well beyond the sept, so they would have needed to cover a lot of ground really quickly).
  • Turbulent Priest: The High Sparrow uses his religious rhetoric to shake the foundations of Westerosi politics.
  • Villainous Underdog: He has no dragons, direwolves, or wealth, yet he takes over the capital with cunning, charisma and zeal.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: His goals are admirable, even if they come with a side serving of violence and prejudice. He's no hypocrite, and desires strongly to see the poor attended to while considering everybody to be equal in the eyes of the Gods.
  • Wham Line: He gives one to Cersei, when she instantly realizes what a horrible mistake she's made by giving him so much power.
    The High Sparrow: The Tyrells' finery will be stripped away. Their lies knocked down. Their true hearts laid bare for all to see. And so it will be for all of us. High and low alike. What will we find when we strip away your finery?
  • Working-Class Hero: He is a son of a cobbler and styles himself as a "hero".
  • Wild Card: As he notes to Olenna Tyrell, he is possibly unique among the people she has met, and all the other players of the Game of Thrones. He has no ulterior motives, he simply and honestly wishes to serve the Gods and the common people.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: He observes the Faith is not the Sparrows or the Septons, and killing them will do nothing to stop the Faith.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Given that Lancel has confessed everything to the Faith before they were given power, it's likely that the High Sparrow was aware of all the dirt on Cersei from the beginning. Now that the Faith Militant's power is secure and they no longer need her, they can arrest her for all her wrongdoings.
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    Brother Lancel 

Lancel Lannister

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/brother_lancel_4.png
Click here  to see Lancel Lannister.

Played By: Eugene Simon

Lancel Lannister is the eldest son of Kevan Lannister and cousin to Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion. Initially Robert's squire, he's elevated to knighthood after the King's death. After the Battle of Blackwater, he undergoes a religious conversion, takes holy orders and joins the Faith Militant as Brother Lancel.


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Following his injury in the Battle of the Blackwater, Lancel makes a full recovery and even puts on some muscle. However in the books he's left looking sickly, painfully thin, and prematurely aged.
  • Adaptational Badass: His book counterpart remains meek and has yet to show any of the bravado of the tv Lancel
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the show he becomes the point man of the Faith's violent crackdown instead of the humble, pious, and infirm boy who is constantly fasting, praying, and begging forgiveness in the novels.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In the end, while he did enable some horrible fanatism, it's hard not to feel sorry for him as he drags himself through the sewers in King's Landing, desperately trying to stop the Wildfire from blowing up a good chunk of the city and himself.
  • Alliterative Name: Lampshaded by Robert, who asks (in his usual "sensitive" manner) if Lancel was named by a halfwit with a stutter. Robert's line also works as a Take That! to Sir Lancelot du Lac of Arthurian Legend, of which Lancel is a clear spoof.
  • The Atoner: In Season 5 he joins the Sparrows and visits Cersei to apologize for all his misdeeds, including acting as if he was the one who coerced her into bed.
    Lancel: I led you into the darkness.
    Cersei: I doubt you've ever led anyone anywhere.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • He's Robert's squire, which makes him a professional Butt Monkey.
    • Tyrion quickly shoots down any possibility Lancel might've had to use use his position with Cersei to gain power, instead using the relationship as blackmail to essentially make Lancel his bitch and spy on Cersei for him.
    • Even Cersei gets to punch him... right after she was lamenting that nobody ever taught her how to fight!
    • In Season 4, while not even appearing Jaime uses the idea of him inheriting the Lannister name to scare his father into sparing Tyrion's life in his trial for poisoning Joffrey.
    • His Heel–Faith Turn in Season 5 is met with mockery from Cersei and disapproval by his - up to this point in the show - kind father Kevan, who considers the Sparrows "bloody fanatics". However, given who he works for, this is far more downplayed than his other examples, as he has effectively gone From Nobody to Nightmare.
  • The Bus Came Back: He returns in Season 5, corresponding to his return in the books at the same time.
  • Camp Straight: His appearance and demeanor are noticeably more effeminate than Ser Loras Tyrell's, but Lancel is heterosexual. He loses his camp characteristics at the beginning of Season 5, though.
  • Cowardly Lion: Surprisingly averted. He fights well at the Battle of the Blackwater until taking an arrow wound, and even after that he's still the only Lannister commander save Tyrion and Bronn who still seems to care more about winning the battle then saving his own skin right up to the end - or at least, who has the presence of mind to realize that his best chance for survival is if they win the overall battle, not just flee to the Red Keep. He also tries to oppose Cersei's disastrous decision to withdraw Joffrey from the battlefield, but she shuts him up by punching his arrow wound.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • He doesn't seem smart enough to have come up with it on his own, but Robert's treatment of him probably made serving him the wine that made him groggy enough for a boar to take him down a lot easier.
    • His attempt to stop Cersei withdrawing Joffrey from the field during the Battle of Blackwater has elements of this, as his tone suggests that even if it wasn't necessary for their survival to oppose Cersei on this, he has gotten fed up with taking crap from her and everyone else.
    • His actor implies that Lancel's religious conversion is partly driven by this. Now that he's a scary religious bruiser, he gets in the face of all the people who dismissed him as Just a Kid and can even give Littlefinger a scary Death Glare. Then he finally gets back at Cersei by ratting her out to the Sparrow.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": He's very insistent of people not calling him by his family name anymore.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: It's unclear whether Cersei slept with him because he looks like Jaime or because he looks like Cersei. Probably both: in the novels it is suggested that one of the reasons Cersei is so attracted to Jaime is that her fraternal twin looks like herself. He looks a lot less effeminate when he reappears in Season 5. He cut off his long, flowing locks and his actor appears to have matured in the face a bit and put on some muscle.
  • Dumb Blond: Or Jumpy And Easily Terrified Blond, but it doesn't seem to occur to him that a breastplate stretcher isn't a real thing.
  • The Dragon: To the High Sparrow, since he's the most-seen of the Faith Militant besides the High Sparrow himself.
  • Foil: To Ser Loras Tyrell as of Season 2. They're both Pretty Boy knights who once served as a squire to a Baratheon, but Lancel is nowhere near as badass, brave or skilled as the Knight of Flowers. The determined Loras cuts down many of Stannis' soldiers at the Battle of Blackwater without getting a scratch, whereas the fearful Lancel only manages to kill one foe before he is seriously wounded by an arrow. When it comes to their illicit affairs, Loras is shown to be the emotionally dominant partner in his long-term romance with Renly, while Lancel is practically a doormat in his dalliance with Cersei. Lancel is straight, yet he defies the expected stereotypes because his personality and looks are less masculine than the gay Loras.
  • The Fundamentalist: Some of the Poor Fellows and Faith Militant became Sparrows because they are jobless, unemployed youth and shell-shocked veterans. Lancel on the other hand is a true believer, born to the wealthiest family of the Seven Kingdoms whose name and connections he willingly surrendered because he is genuinely religious and enjoys the self-righteousness of being part of the Faith Militant.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From the Lannister family Butt-Monkey in Seasons 1 and 2, he has become a scary religious extremist who isn't afraid to get into Littlefinger's face, telling him that Pimps are no longer welcome in Westeros. And Cersei is horrified when she realises that he's confessed his sins - and hers - to the High Septon...
  • Heel–Faith Turn:
    • After being injured at the Battle of the Blackwater, Lancel subsequently joins a group of religious fanatics known as the Sparrows, seeking to atone for his past deeds with an air of self-righteous certainty.
    • Something of a Deconstruction, in that Lancel's religious conviction merely gives him another cause to be a lackey to, in other words the only thing that has truly changed is that he's become more effective and confident thanks to the Faith giving him the positive reinforcement the Lannisters never gave him. Littlefinger sees through this:
      Brother Lancel: Step carefully, Lord Baelish. You'll find there's little tolerance for flesh peddlers in the new King's Landing.
      Littlefinger: We both peddle fantasies, Brother Lancel, mine just happen to be entertaining.
  • Important Haircut: Signifying his newfound faith in Season Five.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: He's the dimmest of the Lannisters, and he can be a Jerkass, but it's hard not to feel a little sorry for him considering how Robert treats him...and then how Cersei treats him. Hell, how everyone treats him. Come Season 5, he's no longer ineffectual but actually quite serious.
  • Kick the Dog: Insults and spreads lies about Robb Stark and his troops to Sansa's face while Joffrey is threatening to kill her for her brother's "crimes", just to twist the knife.
  • Kissing Cousins: With Cersei. Keep in mind that it isn't unusual for first cousins to marry in the nobility of the Seven Kingdoms: Tywin's own wife Joanna was also his first cousin. The TV show may have forgotten this point, as they have referred to Lancel's sexual encounters with Cersei as "unnatural" on a few occasions.
    • It may be because they weren't married. Though for all we know the Seven may give the equivalent of papal dispensations.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: He is one before he chops off his hair and joins the Sparrows.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: When Cersei's wildfire bomb goes off under the Sept of Baelor, Lancel - who, in his failed attempt to snuff the fuses, has the poor fortune of being only a foot or so away from the casks when they explode - is instantly blasted into paste.
  • The Mole: Becomes Tyrion's to spy on Cersei after he threatens to reveal Lancel's affair with Cersei to Joffrey.
  • Non-Action Guy: Changes in the battle of the Blackwater, where he fights though he's clearly scared shitless, and later works to get Joffrey to safety.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Due to his new-found faith, he's become a virulent homophobe.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In the books, Lancel's Heel–Faith Turn leads him to join the Warrior's Sons, a military order of noblemen sworn to the Faith of the Seven that is an aristocratic counterpart to the Poor Fellows, the armed branch of the Sparrows. In the show, he simply joins the Sparrows and his reintroduction serves to introduce them to the show.
  • Pretty Boy: A fact that is noted by the other characters.
  • Replacement Goldfish: While Jaime is at war and later captured by the Starks Lancel and Cersei become quite close. Incest and all. From the books... 
  • Put on a Bus: We don't see him in Season 3 or 4. This corresponds to the books - during the Battle of the Blackwater, he took a severe injury that left him in healing for quite some time, and thus didn't return to action until Season 5.
  • Shed the Family Name: When Petyr Baelish calls him Lancel Lannister, Lancel says he is Brother Lancel and he's given up his family name and all that it entails.
    Littlefinger: Quite a family to abandon.
  • Shout-Out: Lancel sounds like Lancelot. In The Mists of Avalon, Lancelot is Arthur and Morgaine's cousin. Arthur and Morgaine are siblings who end up engaging in incestuous intercourse just like Jaime and Cersei.
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • "What's our next move?" Oh, Lancel, it's so cute how you think that you and Cersei are partners in crime. She's not sleeping with you for your brains.
    • After his Heel–Faith Turn it stays. He tries to apologize to Cersei, believing he had corrupted her.
      Lancel: I led you into the darkness.
      Cersei: I doubt you've ever led anyone anywhere.
  • Spanner in the Works: Of Cersei's schemes. His confession turns the Faith Militant's zeal against Cersei, devastates her plans and gets her arrested.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Despite being dragged into the fight by the Hound, he holds his own in battle during "Blackwater", retreating only after he takes an arrow wound. He even stands up to Cersei, though the aforementioned arrow wound makes it rather easy for her to put him in his place. He takes another level in Season 5. He leads his fellow Sparrows in dragging the corrupt High Septon out of a brothel, listing his sins, and sending him on a nude walk of shame through King's Landing. It would seem his new found piety has given him some daring. He later allows his forehead to be mutilated with a mark of faith and has become genuinely threatening.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season 2. Tyrion quickly puts him in his place and makes him a Butt-Monkey once again. When he joins the Sparrows in Season 5, he quickly shows himself to be capable of horrific acts. And he rats Cersei out to the High Septon, knowing it's unlikely to end well for her.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He doesn't seem to realize that Ser Robert Strong, a hulking man in armor who towers over everyone, is standing right at Cersei's side when he threatens to use "violence" to bring her to the High Septon. It takes the gruesome death of a Too Dumb to Live Faith Militant enforcer to reconsider this idea.

    Septa Unella 

Septa Unella

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/septa_unella_5.png
"Confess."

Played By: Hannah Waddingham

High Sparrow: You know "The Seven-Pointed Star".
Margaery Tyrell: Septa Unella reads it to me. At me.
High Sparrow: Yes, yes, she does enjoy reading at people.

A septa serving the Faith of the Seven. As a member of the Most Devout, the highest ranking clergy, she enforces strict adherence to her religion's laws.


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Averted; although Hannah Waddingham is much more shapely and pretty than Unella in the books, where she's described as big-boned and plain, but the costume work does a good job of giving her an intimidating appearance.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Unella may have been a over-zealous Knight Templar, but her terrifying fate at the hands of someone much more vile than her evokes some sympathy.
  • The Big Guy: She acts as the High Sparrow's muscle in his confrontation with Cersei.
  • Break the Haughty: Tried this on Cersei. Cersei seems to play along, then turns the tables.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: She tortures Cersei with water deprivation and beatings on the head with a ladle. Season 6 reveals that she has been doing the same to Margaery. And then Cersei does the exact same thing to her.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Tries to, at any rate. When she is at Cersei's mercy, she declares that she's ready to die. Cersei has other plans, and they're not pleasant.
  • Fate Worse than Death: She ends up being strapped to a table completely at the mercy of Ser Gregor Clegane. Cersei makes a point to tell her that she will be kept alive for as long as possible, no matter what Clegane ends up doing.
  • Hypocrite: Cersei marks her as one, pointing out that despite being a woman of faith, the septa clearly enjoys lording over her prisoners while sadistically torturing them, not unlike a designated sinner like Cersei.
  • Knight Templar: She is remorseless and without mercy to Cersei's treatment and even taunts her by spilling water on the cell floor, barely holding a smile before closing the door, forcing Cersei to lick the water off the floor like an animal. Even the High Sparrow seems to think she's a bit excessive.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Averted. Though Cersei has her captured and imprisoned as her revenge, there are some pretty obvious differences. Unella had Cersei left on the floor of her cell, shouted at and struck on the head with a soup ladle, and tortured her with water deprivation. Cersei has Unella strapped to a table and raped to death by an undead Gregor Clegane. Not proportional at all, even when also factoring in Cersei's march of shame.
  • No-Sell: She's utterly immune to Cersei's threats, bribes and attempts to barter. Until their positions are switched.
  • Nuns Are Spooky: To Cersei at least, when she sees Big Unella stand behind her ready to take her to her cell. Her habit looks downright sinister when she opens her cell door and Cersei has to look up to her form.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has an epic one when she sees The Mountain coming toward her.
  • The Quiet One: Unella doesn't speak much, communicating largely in terse, single-word sentences.
  • Rape Discretion Shot: Cersei locks her alone in a room with Gregor Clegane approaching her. Since Clegane is an undead zombie and known Serial Rapist, it's clear that Cersei condemned her to be raped to death.
  • Smug Snake: A rather subdued version of the trope. She throws a look at Cersei of "oh really?" after Cersei threatens her.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Goes into this, complete with wailing and shrieking as Cersei leaves her to Gregor's mercy.

Former High Septons

    The High Septon (I) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/high_septon_i_7.png
"May the Seven guide the princess on her journey."

Played By: David Verrey

The head of the Faith of the Seven. Until the Riots of King's Landing.


  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Head of the Faith of the Seven.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Torn to pieces by starving King's Landing smallfolk during the Riot of King's Landing. One even holds up his arm in triumph.
  • Demoted to Extra: His lines prior to Ned's execution are given to Pycelle.
  • Devoured by the Horde: The smallfolk torn him to pieces once they all surrounded him.
  • Eat the Rich: Being torn to pieces by an angry and hungry mob of the poor evokes the trope for sure.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": According to the Books... 
  • Fat Bastard: How the people of King's Landing view him, given his size and the fact that they're starving half to death.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Seen for all of three or so minutes and sacrificed to show how crazy the mob is.

    The High Septon (II) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/high_septon_ii_5.png

Played By: Paul Bentley

"As the High Septon of the Faith of the Seven I give voice to the will of the Gods and I am their foremost servant in this world."

The new head of the Faith of the Seven.


  • Adaptational Villainy: In the books, the High Septon who replaced the one killed in the riots was appointed by Tyrion because he was overall less corrupt and more sycophantic than the first one. Here, he's just as bad.
  • Ascended Extra: Compared to the books.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Until The Reveal in Season 5, he seemed to be the picture of a decent priest and then we find out that he's really a lecher.
  • Composite Character: In the books, there is no mention of the High Septon being fond of whores. Instead, after this High Septon dies, the most likely candidate to succeed him, Septon Ollidor of the Most Devout, is followed by the Sparrows into a brothel and dragged outside, naked.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: He's the Head of the Faith of the Seven, after the position became open.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "High Sparrow", even featuring him the most in the episode's promo.
  • Dirty Old Man: He's a regular at Littlefinger's brothel and Olyvar organizes a regular circle of whores who dress up Six of as the Seven - with Olyvar playing the Father.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": When a man is chosen High Septon, he abandons his name and is known by the rank only.
  • The Ghost: Mentioned in "Valar Morghulis" and "Valar Dohaeris", before finally appearing in "Second Sons".
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Considering that he has prostitutes dress up as various aspects of the Seven in a sex roleplay, its unlikely he's a true believer.
  • Holier Than Thou: It takes balls to play this on a Sparrow, while standing naked in a brothel where he has been caught enjoying blasphemous roleplay.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: The High Septon is the most powerful man in his religion, attends to Royal matters and feels confident enough to make demands of the Queen Regent. Then he's stripped of his power in addition to his clothes, and is tossed in a dungeon.
  • Hypocrite: Despite being the Westerosi leader of his religion in a role akin to a Pope, he visits brothels to indulge a rather blasphemous fetish in which he pretends to have sex with the Gods he worships. As a septon, he's probably taken an oath of celibacy.Note 
  • Implausible Deniability: When Mace Tyrell points out to him his whoremongering ways, the High Septon tries to weasel his way out by claiming he was "preaching the faith". In a whorehouse. Naked. Surrounded by prostitutes.
    High Septon II: I tend to both the highest born and the lowliest amongst us. Even prostitutes may earn the mercy of the Mother.
    Qyburn: So you were administering to the needs of these devout prostitutes?
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He gets this from the Small Council, with Qyburn of all people criticizing him for lack of piety. The sole exception is Pycelle, who instinctively defends a man sworn to celibacy to frequents prostitutes.
  • Replacement Goldfish: To the previous High Septon.
  • Shameful Strip: He's forced to walk through the streets naked after being caught in a whorehouse by the Sparrows, and is even whipped if he tries to cover anything.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the books Cersei has him killed because he had been appointed by Tyrion and Lancel confessed to the High Septon that he bedded her and got Robert drunk to ensure his hunting accident.

Others

    Septon Ray 

Septon Ray

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/septon_ray_0.png
"Never too late to stop robbing people, to stop killing people, and start helping people. It's never too late to come back."

Played By: Ian McShane

A kind and eccentric septon who presides over a small village in the Riverlands.


  • Actual Pacifist: In his own words:
    "Violence is a disease. You don't cure a disease by giving it to more people."
  • All There in the Manual: Ray is never referred to by name. The name appears in the Viewer Guide.
  • The Atoner: Ray used to be soldier who committed horrific crimes in the name of war. Now he has dedicated his life to the gods to atone for his sins.
  • Badass Beard: He has a nice gray one.
  • Badass Grandpa: He's in his later years but still brave and can fight although he chooses not to.
  • Badass Preacher: As a former soldier, he still looks extremely capable.
  • Composite Character: He's mostly an original character that borrows aspects from the Elder Brother of Quiet Isle (the man who is believed to have rescued the Hound) and Septon Meribald.
  • Cool Old Guy: Down to earth, jovial, and a firm believer in the idea that it's never too late start doing good.
  • Dead Star Walking: Ian McShane playing a genuinely good character on Game of Thrones. This will not end well.
  • Deus ex Machina: He saved Sandor's life offscreen after Arya left him for dead.
  • Dies Wide Open: Sandor finds him hung by his neck in the partially constructed sept this way.
  • Foil: He is a clear deliberate contrast to the High Sparrow. Compassionate, humble, uncompromising, uncertain in his faith, and focusing more on helping the poor than punishing the rich. Ray embodies religion at its best, as opposed to at its most pure.
  • The Everyman: His account of the War of the Ninepenny Kings represents the helplessness of the ordinary peasant conscript.
  • Good Shepherd: Unlike almost every religious figure shown in the show Ray does not seek to punish nonbelievers or sinners, but wishes solely to better the lives of his followers and those around him.
  • The Idealist: Ray knows what kind of world he lives in but he still believes that it can be made better through compassion.
  • In Mysterious Ways: A centre part of Ray's beliefs. He does not pretend to understand the gods' nature or wishes, only knowing for sure that there is something beyond this life. But he believes they do influence events, including saving Sandor Clegane from death.
  • Meaningful Name: The name Ray suits him more than anyone else in Westeros.
  • Nay-Theist: As opposed the the ascetic, fanatical Sparrows, Ray swears, drinks, and admits that he doesn't actually know the nature of the gods. Rather than using ritualized punishments to atone for sins on a 1:1 basis, he tries for atonement by doing as much good as he can, for and with whoever he can.
  • Nice Guy: He's a kind, humble and compassionate man who just wants to make the world a bit better.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: He never fully got over the War of the Ninepenny Kings.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Finding faith hasn't changed his language at all.
  • Token Good Teammate: Along with Septa Mordane from Season 1, Ray is the only truly good character affiliated with the Faith in the entire series.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: No way he could have survived with his "let's not be an asshole atittude" in Westeros.
from the books 

    High Septon Maynard 

High Septon Maynard

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/high_septon_maynard_6.png

Played By: Tom Chadbon

The High Septon in charge during the time of the reign of King Aerys II. Gilly finds his diary during the time she and Sam transcribe old notes from the Citadel's archives.


  • Canon Foreigner: High Septons are not supposed to be known by their name, rather by their titles upon election. And there's no Septon named Maynard in the novels and expanded media. There is however a Septon Jorquen, whose records Samwell reads about in A Feast for Crows whose diary consists of endless entries reporting on his bowel movements.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: His function in the overall story is analogous to the one played by Bishop Robert Stillington in the Wars of the Roses, whose records of an engagement made by Edward IV to Dame Eleanor Butler was invoked as grounds to annul the marriage of King Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville by Richard III and which was successfully ratified in Parliament as the Titulus Regius document. This was used as ground to de-legitimize the claims of the young "Princes in the Tower" (who since they were the issue of an annulled marriage were now bastards) and pave the way for an Unexpected Successor. history 
  • Oddball in the Series: All nominees upon becoming High Septon are supposed to renounce their names. This one is known as Maynard, at least in his journal.
  • Posthumous Character: He's long gone by the time the story begins, and Gilly reads his diary to Sam. When and in what circumstances he died is not made clear, however. He appears briefly in the Season 7 finale officiating Rhaegar and Lyanna's marriage.
  • Secret Keeper: He arranged an annulment for Prince Rhaegar so he could marry again, and personally officiated the wedding of the Dragon Prince and Lyanna Stark.
  • Shipper on Deck: Has a big wide smile on his face when he officiates Rhaegar and Lyanna's wedding, which considering the lengths and depths he went to arrange it, is something he must have personally invested in.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Offhandedly mentioned by Gilly to have annulled and remarried Rhaegar, meaning Jon has the strongest claim to the throne.
  • Too Much Information: As Gilly notes, High Septon Maynard kept records on everything in his diary, including his own bowel movements.
  • Undying Loyalty: For a High Septon to personally intervene on behalf of the Crown Prince to annul his marriage and personally officiate his underground second marriage, must have required a lot of personal loyalty towards Rhaegar, especially since the Mad King Aerys II knew nothing about it. Of course he did keep an entry of it in his personal journal.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The final fate of this High Septon isn't mentioned in the show. He's obviously long dead but when exactly did he die (before or after Aerys II's downfall) isn't mentioned.


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