The Real-Life Parallels To GoT's Faith Of The Seven

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Becoming a Game of Thrones fan means dedicating at least 25% of your brain power to remembering how things work in Westeros and Essos. Wouldn't it be lovely if you could see at least some of this world mirrored in your own, at least for memory's sake?
Luckily, one of the most prominent religions in GoT, the Faith of the Seven, is essentially a Westerosi stand-in for Christianity.
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If you've been watching the show since season 1, some of these parallels may have occurred to you already. But, if you're relatively new to the Game of Thrones universe (or if you're in the midst of an epic rewatch), this may help you understand the Faith of the Seven — and blur the lines between Westeros and the real world.
The Origins
The gods associated with the Faith of the Seven are often referred to as the "new gods," because, you guessed it, there are old gods in the GoT universe, too. The Old Gods belong to an ancient, nature-based religion that was practiced more widely before the Faith of the Seven rose to prevalence, much like the Pagan faiths of ancient Rome prior to Christianity. On the show and in real life, these older religions are still practiced, but they're no longer considered mainstream.
The History
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin said that the Faith Militant, a conservative and violent splinter group of the Faith of the Seven, was inspired by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. Amid this time of upheaval and reform for the Church, there was also plenty of corruption. "You had periods where you had very worldly and corrupt popes and bishops. People who were not spiritual, but were politicians," Martin explained. "They were playing their own version of the game of thrones, and they were in bed with the kings and the lords."
The Symbols
The Faith of the Seven's equivalent to the cross or the Star of David is the seven-pointed star, which represents the seven "new gods" associated with religion: the Father, Mother, Warrior, Maiden, Smith, Crone, and Stranger. Much like the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost of Christianity's Holy Trinity, these entities are different personas of the same, single god. In other words, the Faith of the Seven is a monotheistic religion, but its god may appear to its followers in different forms.
The Structure
Let's end with perhaps the clearest parallel of all: Where Christianity (specifically Catholicism) has nuns, the pope, and the Vatican, the Faith of the Seven has septae, the High Septon, and the Great Sept of Baelor. The septae even wear habits — you don't need a theology degree to make that connection.
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