Sea Dragon

There are no religions in the story?

61 posts in this topic

You guys are always so great at answering my confusing questions. Thank you. And now I have some more. 

I am still reading the forum here a lot between classes and moving and all, and one thing I think I am understanding is that there is no real "gods" of any religion because religion does not exist. Is that right? It seems there are a few posters that have identified lots of religions that only have the same start and only have name changes. 

One in particular that seems to come up a lot and is on another thread now is that apparently the old gods and r'hollor are the same and that is why Jon will be brought back from the dead. 

If there are no gods and religion, then what is Bloodraven doing? Where does the moral structure and "abomination" rules come from? And Mirri Maz Duur is the same as Melisandre? 

Sorry for so many questions. I have not been able to read the books as many times as some of you other posters have. 

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If you read the novels, there are a number of religions. GRRM said we will not meet any "gods" more than we already have. the "old gods" are the weirwood trees, and a greenseers consciousness  become part of the weirwood network when they die. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

If you read the novels, there are a number of religions. GRRM said we will not meet any "gods" more than we already have. the "old gods" are the weirwood trees, and a greenseers consciousness  become part of the weirwood network when they die. 

 

Thanks for the answer. I remember that you gave me some good answers on another question I asked. I did read through the books once and I want to start the Dunk and Egg books soon, but it seems that while reading through the forum here that many other posters found "links" that I guessed I missed. The recent thread that r'hollor will bring back Jon got me thinking about this, because isn't his faith the old gods? 

There are a lot more other examples that other posters seem to have linked together that made me think there is no religion and I was wondering. 

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1 minute ago, Sea Dragon said:

Thanks for the answer. I remember that you gave me some good answers on another question I asked. I did read through the books once and I want to start the Dunk and Egg books soon, but it seems that while reading through the forum here that many other posters found "links" that I guessed I missed. The recent thread that r'hollor will bring back Jon got me thinking about this, because isn't his faith the old gods? 

There are a lot more other examples that other posters seem to have linked together that made me think there is no religion and I was wondering. 

The forum is full of speculation and theories, and theories based on theories that are based on nothing but speculation. There are plenty of faiths, and I have seen a lots of threads trying to connect them in one way or another in some grand unifying theory of faith.  The best way to get things is to read the books again. I have done three rereads and every time I find another little detail

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1 minute ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

The forum is full of speculation and theories, and theories based on theories that are based on nothing but speculation. There are plenty of faiths, and I have seen a lots of threads trying to connect them in one way or another in some grand unifying theory of faith.  The best way to get things is to read the books again. I have done three rereads and every time I find another little detail

I see other posters make the same statement that they keep finding new details on rereads. I want to start one, but that will have to wait until summer break. Thank you again. 

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35 minutes ago, Sea Dragon said:

I am still reading the forum here a lot between classes and moving and all, and one thing I think I am understanding is that there is no real "gods" of any religion because religion does not exist. Is that right?

I'm going to leave you two links to peruse and preface it by saying Martin, the author/storyteller most likely set up his fictional ASOIAF world according to his social, economic, educational and spiritual background. Good luck.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Religion

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_religious_groups

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19 minutes ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

GRRM said we will not meet any "gods" more than we already have.

IIRC, Martin's statement was more directed towards clarifying no "gods" would play an active role in the story.  In other words, any "divine intervention" in the coming events would be based solely on the character's and/or reader's interpretation, not in any direct way offered by the text.  Obviously, there are many "gods" - old, new, drowned, R'hllor, and many more in the World Book - that the inhabitants of Martin's world believe in.

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4 minutes ago, Clegane'sPup said:

I'm going to leave you two links to peruse and preface it by saying Martin, the author/storyteller most likely set up his fictional ASOIAF world according to his social, economic, educational and spiritual background. Good luck.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Religion

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_religious_groups

Thank you for your answer. I need that good luck! 

Now that I read a little on those links you sent, I realize that the many faced god of Braavos is confusing. This and some other posters saying that the old gods require fire like r'hollor does. But I guess Dorian Martell's Son could be right somehow?

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7 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

IIRC, Martin's statement was more directed towards clarifying no "gods" would play an active role in the story.  In other words, any "divine intervention" in the coming events would be based solely on the character's and/or reader's interpretation, not in any direct way offered by the text.  Obviously, there are many "gods" - old, new, drowned, R'hllor, and many more in the World Book - that the inhabitants of Martin's world believe in.

Are there many gods or are they what the people are claiming as gods to help rule other people? 

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57 minutes ago, Sea Dragon said:

You guys are always so great at answering my confusing questions. Thank you. And now I have some more. 

I am still reading the forum here a lot between classes and moving and all, and one thing I think I am understanding is that there is no real "gods" of any religion because religion does not exist. Is that right? It seems there are a few posters that have identified lots of religions that only have the same start and only have name changes. 

One in particular that seems to come up a lot and is on another thread now is that apparently the old gods and r'hollor are the same and that is why Jon will be brought back from the dead. 

If there are no gods and religion, then what is Bloodraven doing? Where does the moral structure and "abomination" rules come from? And Mirri Maz Duur is the same as Melisandre? 

Sorry for so many questions. I have not been able to read the books as many times as some of you other posters have. 

Despite some opinions, it is absolutely not established that there are no gods. GRRM did say that no gods will appear as characters on the page, but he has not said whether any of the religions are true/false or whether the gods do or don't exist.

The Old Gods and R'hllor are NOT the same. Both calling for human sacrifice (if the OG ever did in the first place) does not make them the same.

Nor is it established that the Old Gods actually are the greenseers in the weirwoods though that explanation does make some sense.

9 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

IIRC, Martin's statement was more directed towards clarifying no "gods" would play an active role in the story.  In other words, any "divine intervention" in the coming events would be based solely on the character's and/or reader's interpretation, not in any direct way offered by the text.  Obviously, there are many "gods" - old, new, drowned, R'hllor, and many more in the World Book - that the inhabitants of Martin's world believe in.

No, he only said they won't be appearing on the page. He said nothing about whether they would interfere or not, as that would influence readers one way or another and his whole purpose for not having the gods appear was to allow readers to make up their own minds. 

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1 minute ago, Sea Dragon said:

Are there many gods or are they what the people are claiming as gods to help rule other people? 

gods, except for the old gods of the weirwoods, which are not traditional gods,  exist in the story in the same way they exist in the real world. In people's fantasy and imagination 

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2 minutes ago, Sea Dragon said:

Are there many gods or are they what the people are claiming as gods to help rule other people? 

That's exactly what GRRM has left open to each reader's interpretation. He's leaving it open so that those who want there to be gods can have them, and those who don't want there to be gods can say they don't exist.

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1 minute ago, Dorian Martell's son said:

gods, except for the old gods of the weirwoods, which are not traditional gods,  exist in the story in the same way they exist in the real world. In people's fantasy and imagination 

Them's fightin' words, DM. Let's stick to the actual story and what the author has said. 

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Just now, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Them's fightin' words, DM. Let's stick to the actual story and what the author has said. 

Fighting is what people do when they  believe their fantasy is real and other people's fantasies are false, wrong and evil, just like in the novels we are discussing

 

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4 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

That's exactly what GRRM has left open to each reader's interpretation. He's leaving it open so that those who want there to be gods can have them, and those who don't want there to be gods can say they don't exist.

That makes some sense. Thank you. 

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4 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

No, he only said they won't be appearing on the page. He said nothing about whether they would interfere or not, as that would influence readers one way or another and his whole purpose for not having the gods appear was to allow readers to make up their own minds. 

Fair enough - I see the distinction you made, but that was basically what I was trying to articulate....poorly.

4 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

That's exactly what GRRM has left open to each reader's interpretation. He's leaving it open so that those who want there to be gods can have them, and those who don't want there to be gods can say they don't exist.

Exactly.

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Just now, Dorian Martell's son said:

Fighting is what people do when they  believe their fantasy is real and other people's fantasies are false, wrong and evil, just like in the novels we are discussing

 

People fight for other reasons as well. But there's no need to open a can of worms about real life when we could stick to discussing the story.

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So what about the "rules" in each religion. Is the incest and guest rights or eating human abomination against the rules in other religions as well? I am actually not sure about these details. 

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lol, well to sum it up you will find a ton of disagreement about the actual answers to those questions, but I'll try to lay out some of what we know.

First and foremost, GRRM is an atheist, and he generally writes stories in which "gods" never appear, but players in the stories - like the Old Gods in asoiaf or the fungus in Men of Greywater Station - often have god-like abilities. He also often tackles the subject of religion, and the general theme is that religious extremism is bad. One good example is the S'uthlamese people from Tuf Voyaging. Their religion tells them they have to breed endlessly, and this obviously causes tons of problems, ultimately war and starvation.

As other people have said, GRRM has told us somewhere (a link would be nice if anyone can find the ssm) that no gods would be showing up on the page. As always, he tries to be vague with answers to big picture questions so as to not give anything away.

In asoiaf, we have seen many religions, some worse than others. So far we have no evidence that any of them are "correct" except for the worshipers of the Old Gods, and that is because the Old Gods actually exist in the form of the weirnet, and they are not literally gods.

Personally, I give it a 99.99% chance that GRRM has never written, and will never write, a story where gods are real.

12 minutes ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

That's exactly what GRRM has left open to each reader's interpretation. He's leaving it open so that those who want there to be gods can have them, and those who don't want there to be gods can say they don't exist.

I completely disagree. I think it is pretty clearly a story with no gods, like all GRRM stories. He's an atheist who criticizes religion all the time in his writing. Why would he write a story with gods in it?

 

5 minutes ago, Sea Dragon said:

So what about the "rules" in each religion. Is the incest and guest rights or eating human abomination against the rules in other religions as well? I am actually not sure about these details. 

The only "rules" we know about are the ones we happen to come across in the story. Like we are told specifically that the entire north holds guest right sacred, and most people are not OK with incest. But we only know of one guy named Haggon who definitely considered eating human to be an abomination. And obviously there are huge differences in attitudes toward sex among the different asoiaf religions.

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12 minutes ago, 40 Thousand Skeletons said:

As other people have said, GRRM has told us somewhere (a link would be nice if anyone can find the ssm) that no gods would be showing up on the page. As always, he tries to be vague with answers to big picture questions so as to not give anything away.

 

Not sure of this is the correct SSM, but here is what I found (and not sure if this helps or hinders the OP?):

  • 6: Magic has steadily increased throughout your novels from pretty much non-existant in book 1 to rising prevalence by book 3. Will this trend continue in future books?

    "That's a fairly safe assumption, yes". Good news for you magic fans out there I briefly discussed the role of Gods in the magic of Westeros. R'hllor etc. He has ruled out any appearances of "demigods" or direct involvement from the Gods in Westeros though. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Month/2005/08

  • Submitted By: odiedragon

George was on a panel at Worldcon about this exact subject [creating gods in fantasy]. He said that in the real world he doesn't see gods, but he does see religions...and he creates religions, not gods.

The other folks on the panel then went on as to how to make gods-as-characters work in a fantasy world...when George was asked about it later at one of the parties he scoffed - "You can't have gods as characters! That just doesn't work." (paraphrased).

Now, as to whether or not this means gods exist in Westeros is still up for debate. But it seems fairly clear that it means they don't exist as beings that can come down from on high and play with the mortals. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Month/2004/09

  • How important is religion and myth in your stories?

    GRRM: Mythos is important and it can also be very difficult. An author’s beliefs color the character, audience’s beliefs color it. Easier for me to write a secular character or someone who mocks and insults the gods than it is to write a sincerely devout character. It’s a secular society, especially our sf/fantasy readers. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Month/2008/04

  • The Drowned God and More

    [This is an extract from a longer mail. The first question involved noting the possibility that the Drowned God was simply an echo of the original gods of the First Men.]

    The other one is about the Drowned God. Clearly enough, the ironborn didn't take up the gods of the children because there were neither children nor (apparently) carved weirwoods there. Is the Drowned God a unique invention of the Iron Islands?

    Yes, it's an ironborn thing. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/The_Drowned_God_and_More

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