hiemal

Sisters White, Blue, and Gray:Spitballing Silent Sisters in the Faith

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Posted (edited)

"Septons, septas, brothers brown and dun and green, sisters white and blue and grey." AFfC

From what I've gathered the Silent Sisters are the only ones in gray and are exclusively female. Do the other colors relate to other members of the Seven? Who was left out or shares a color? Or do the colors relate to some internal hierarchy unrelated to specific Aspects? A distinction is drawn here between septons and brothers as well as by septon Meribald, who is not associated with a particular sept and thus barely above the begging brothers in the pecking order.

The Silent Sisters are the most specialized members of the Faith that that I am aware of and they are considered by the commonality with raunch (speculation about the temperature of genitals) and awe (the idea that they can actually speak with the dead) .

The Stranger is frequently said to be neither fully male nor fully female but the Sisters are a true sorority. Why? And the vow of silence. Hopefully- I think we have one characters reassurance that they don't have their tongues ripped out and if they took a page from the Faceless men and used some potion that removed speech instead of sight he wouldn't even be lying.

 

Bring me spit and tinfoil, theories and intuitions!

As always, a few of my own:

1. Briefly. The Seven are linked with the Dawn Emperors. The Stranger is a remnant of the Blood Betrayal, symbolic of both the usurpation of rightful power and of mothers dying in childbirth. There are not seven colors because there are no priestesses dedicated specifically to the Maiden, no temple prostitutes? The comet , the wanderer from far places, is her throne. The Amethyst Empress=Nissa Nissa/Galladon=Azor Ahai/Just Maid=Lightbringer.

2. The Silent Sisters are female Maesters. Both wear gray and are associated with death- the Maesters cut up bodies to learn about the living, and Qyburn is familiar with the use of beetles to strip flesh from bone. The Faith in Westeros was once centered on the Starry Sept, a hop, skip, and jump from the Citadel. Did the Sisters arise in Andalos or are they a Westerosi innovation, perhaps a response to undeath? Could the SS "speak to the dead" by using forensics? Why the prohibition on speaking to the living?

3. The SS are the brides of death, Isis and Nephthys with a dash of Persephone thrown in for seasonal flavor. Look for Arya to meet up with them at some point, but probably not to have her tongue removed. Those who don't speak seem to know the deepest secrets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by hiemal

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The light of the seven are the colours of the raindbow don't think that I have seen them being matched to an aspect at all

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Posted (edited)

9 minutes ago, elder brother jonothor dar said:

The light of the seven are the colours of the raindbow don't think that I have seen them being matched to an aspect at all

We haven't, beyond gray and the Stranger. But is that because the robes are unrelated to Aspects or because GRRM is keeping things close to his chest in order to avoid "spoilers"? In general, the Seven seem to be linked with a traditional spectrum- septons wear crystal prisms and Renly had his rainbow guard but even there we have no explicit link between Aspect and color.

Edited by hiemal

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Posted (edited)

Does one of the septa orders specialise in teaching/childcare, and another in healing? The aspects would all have a representative.  Birth, life and death. 

White would be the Maiden, Blue the Mother, Grey the Crone. 

Edited by SeaWitch

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Catelyn had been anointed with the seven oils and naked in the rainbow light that filled the sept of Riverrun

Seven is a recurring number and important to the faith the light and colours of the faith will be red orange yellow green blue indigo violet.

 

Grey might be associated with the stranger through the sisters but would not be one of the lights as grey does not form part of the rainbow

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15 minutes ago, SeaWitch said:

Does one of the septa orders specialise in teaching/childcare, and another in healing? The aspects would all have a representative.  Birth, life and death. 

White would be the Maiden, Blue the Mother, Grey the Crone. 

Or the Maiden could be blue- the Meereenese use their blue graces as temple prostitutes and Brienne "the Maid of Tarth" is dubbed "the Blue" when she joins the Rainbow Guard. White could be the Crone's shining Lamp and it could be that it is the Mother's devoted who share a color with the SS to tie in with the running theme of death by childbirth. Although that puts them on the cusp between the Maiden and the Mother?

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9 minutes ago, elder brother jonothor dar said:

Seven is a recurring number and important to the faith the light and colours of the faith will be red orange yellow green blue indigo violet.

 

Grey might be associated with the stranger through the sisters but would not be one of the lights as grey does not form part of the rainbow

Only green and blue are on the spectrum, sticking with the robes. It could be something as simple (and boring) as only green, blue, brown, dun, white and gray (or undyed roughspun) are considered sober enough or otherwise appropriate for members of the Faith.

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4 minutes ago, hiemal said:

Or the Maiden could be blue- the Meereenese use their blue graces as temple prostitutes and Brienne "the Maid of Tarth" is dubbed "the Blue" when she joins the Rainbow Guard. White could be the Crone's shining Lamp and it could be that it is the Mother's devoted who share a color with the SS to tie in with the running theme of death by childbirth. Although that puts them on the cusp between the Maiden and the Mother?

I think my brain was running along confused lines re existing convent orders, and Christian hagiography, Virgin Mary blue.  So that could work.  White is horribly impractical for anything, especially if it involves the sick or small children.

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, hiemal said:

The Silent Sisters are the most specialized members of the Faith that that I am aware of and they are considered by the commonality with raunch (speculation about the temperature of genitals) and awe (the idea that they can actually speak with the dead) .

The Stranger is frequently said to be neither fully male nor fully female but the Sisters are a true sorority. Why? And the vow of silence. Hopefully- I think we have one characters reassurance that they don't have their tongues ripped out and if they took a page from the Faceless men and used some potion that removed speech instead of sight he wouldn't even be lying.

I think you're missing the cultural function of the Silent Sisters, and the irony that they are aligned with the Stranger. Instead of typing it all out again, I'm just going to copy what I've written for another topic. The prompt for my reply (for sake of context) was someone saying the Faith was at least an improvement from Christianity because of there are no formal doctrines mandating misogyny.

Quote

Au contraire, take a closer look at 6 of the 7 aspects of the Faith of the Seven. They represent not only a rigid social order but also define strict gender roles. Men get the active roles: the Father (judgement; justice), the Smith (creation), and the Warrior (fighting). Conversely, not only are women represented in passive roles, but their "aspects" represent the stages of their reproductive life: you're born a Maiden (young girls should stay virgins until marriage; obey your father), achieve your greatest status as a Mother (have babies/heirs for your husband), and when you're too old to do/be the other two you are the Crone (provide guidance and wisdom for the younger generation). Note men's aspects have nothing to do with their age at all and are hardly restrictive in how they can live their life. For example, the Smith can represent anything from actual blacksmiths, to merchants, to shipbuilders, to farmers, etc. Maidens, mothers, and crones can only be one thing. In addition, all of the female aspects are in the service of others as well (fathers, husbands/children, and the younger generation, respectively), while the male aspects don't necessarily have those connotations at all.

The Stranger (mystery; death) is sometimes defined as both male and female (or neither)... implying that not being on one side of a (false) dichotomy is bad and scary. Women who don't take on one of these sanctioned female roles have a nice cold spot waiting for them in the Silent Sisters. There is no male equivalent as men's roles are much more loosely defined. And finally, who are the Silent Sisters dedicated to? The Stranger (scary; bad).

And Septas are more akin to maesters as they actually serve as governesses for highborn ladies. To me, the Silent Sisters are the jail that the cultural police put women in order to conserve the culture and order. In other words, it's a place to place embarrassing, inconvenient, or otherwise despised women. It's the equivalent of being forced to take the vows and tucked away in a nunnery until you die.

It's a heavily flawed system, obviously, but so are most of the systems of medieval society.

Edited by Traverys

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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Traverys said:

I think you're missing the cultural function of the Silent Sisters, and the irony that they are aligned with the Stranger. Instead of typing it all out again, I'm just going to copy what I've written for another topic. The prompt for my reply (for sake of context) was someone saying the Faith was at least an improvement from Christianity because of there are no formal doctrines mandating misogyny.

And Septas are more akin to maesters as they actually serve as governesses for highborn ladies. To me, the Silent Sisters are the jail that the cultural police put women in order to conserve the culture and order. In other words, it's a place to place embarrassing, inconvenient, or otherwise despised women. It's the equivalent of being forced to take the vows and tucked away in a nunnery until you die.

It's a heavily flawed system, obviously, but so are most of the systems of medieval society.

Great point!

"The Silent Sisters are always glad to welcome widows."...Cersei

"Get thee to a nunnery, go."... Hamlet

The Sisters seem to have an almost "untouchable" status that grants them facelessness with being cloistered.

 

Edited by hiemal

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Posted (edited)

^

Do we know of anyone current or historical who became a Silent Sister? I can't think of any so...

Sudden spitball!

Those who join the Silent Sisters are actually treated as though they had died by those who had known them and by legal documents. Perhaps they are said to have died of a sickness or been taken by raiders or are simply not spoken of. That being said, perhaps the ranks of the Silent Sisters are filled a roll-call of all of the last century's presumed dead or otherwise missing.

Tysha, maybe? Wenda the White Fawn would be nice.

Edited by hiemal

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45 minutes ago, hiemal said:

^

Do we know of anyone current or historical who became a Silent Sister? I can't think of any so...

Sudden spitball!

Those who join the Silent Sisters are actually treated as though they had died by those who had them and by legal documents. Perhaps they are said to have been died of a sickness or been taken by raiders or are simply not spoken of. That being said, perhaps the ranks of the Silent Sisters are filled a roll-call of all of the last century's presumed dead or otherwise missing.

Tysha, maybe? Wenda the White Fawn would be nice.

Excellent way of retaining property if the owner 'dies' - very feasible.  A woman still young enough to bear children that might threaten existing heirs could be packed off instead of remarried.

The Wenda idea reminds me of the Robin Hood version where Marian ends up as an Abbess. Also, some Arthurian legends have Guinevere enter a convent. It fits thematically.

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8 hours ago, SeaWitch said:

Excellent way of retaining property if the owner 'dies' - very feasible.  A woman still young enough to bear children that might threaten existing heirs could be packed off instead of remarried.

The Wenda idea reminds me of the Robin Hood version where Marian ends up as an Abbess. Also, some Arthurian legends have Guinevere enter a convent. It fits thematically.

Wouldn't that be awesome! The SS as a Night's Watch without a Wall, moving among the populace almost unnoticed and untouchable.

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8 minutes ago, hiemal said:

Wouldn't that be awesome! The SS as a Night's Watch without a Wall, moving among the populace almost unnoticed and untouchable.

They seem more almost a mirror of the Maesters.  Concerned with reality, as opposed to spiritual matters, though they deal with death rather than life/healing.

I'm inclined to side-eye any religious organisation or structured faith.  They are effective control mechanisms for a populace, and sooner or later, power and finance get in the mix.  I'm surprised the Faith aren't more openly entrenched in various councils and ruling bodies, or having some kind of covert war with the Citadel over hearts and minds.

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Posted (edited)

10 minutes ago, SeaWitch said:

They seem more almost a mirror of the Maesters.  Concerned with reality, as opposed to spiritual matters, though they deal with death rather than life/healing.

So much so that I wonder if there aren't secret libraries in certain septs or if the SS's don't have some kind of special access to the Citadel. Being an intelligent, driven woman is to be a problem in Westeros. The men might think they can silence such problems but what if they are just concentrating them all into one purpose-driven knot? There could be men who aren't blinded by chauvinism who would willingly, if secretly, grant them access to their stored knowledge or it could exist as a scattered shadow citadel the knowledge of which is shared only among those who can't or won't speak of it.

Edited by hiemal

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2 hours ago, hiemal said:

So much so that I wonder if there aren't secret libraries in certain septs or if the SS's don't have some kind of special access to the Citadel. Being an intelligent, driven woman is to be a problem in Westeros. The men might think they can silence such problems but what if they are just concentrating them all into one purpose-driven knot? There could be men who aren't blinded by chauvinism who would willingly, if secretly, grant them access to their stored knowledge or it could exist as a scattered shadow citadel the knowledge of which is shared only among those who can't or won't speak of it.

If you cannot speak, you cannot lie.  If you cannot be reached behind a wall or a vow, you can keep your secrets.  I'm going with 'shadow citadel', I don't get the impression that gender equality has any traction, even amongst decent men. Ned, bless him, trying to reassure Arya she could have a good husband and her sons would achieve great things...

 

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Posted (edited)

39 minutes ago, SeaWitch said:

If you cannot speak, you cannot lie.  If you cannot be reached behind a wall or a vow, you can keep your secrets.  I'm going with 'shadow citadel', I don't get the impression that gender equality has any traction, even amongst decent men. Ned, bless him, trying to reassure Arya she could have a good husband and her sons would achieve great things...

 

Spitball (and bear with me on this one, tinfoil galore):

The Silent Sisters are in opposition to the majority of the Citadel, but are allied with the Marwyn faction (their Shadow Citadel is the source of the three pages of Daenys' dream the Reader tells Asha about) and use the bards of Westeros as their mouthpiece to wage a wage propaganda war against the Citadel's version of history. They are the ultimate nightingales.

-whew-

Edited by hiemal

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3 minutes ago, hiemal said:

Spitball (and bear with me on this one, tinfoil galore):

The Silent Sisters are in opposition to the majority of the Citadel, but are allied with the Marwyn faction (their Shadow Citadel is the source of the three pages of Daenys' dream the Reader tells Asha about) and use the bards of Westeros as their mouthpiece to wage a wage propaganda war against the Citadel's version of history. They are the ultimate nightingales.

-whew-

The bards as organised machinery? Hmm.  Ever read Alan Gordon's Fools Guild books?

...the Sisters travel everywhere with remains. I bet people don't go looking in the caskets. What better way to move messages, or other items?

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1 minute ago, SeaWitch said:

The bards as organised machinery? Hmm.  Ever read Alan Gordon's Fools Guild books?

...the Sisters travel everywhere with remains. I bet people don't go looking in the caskets. What better way to move messages, or other items?

I'm afraid not. I'll have to take a peek if I come across any.

The SS and the bards may be a bridge too far, but nightingales and those who sing in the "dark" (or get caught or killed) has been on my mind a lot lately and the conflicting versions of history and timelines (and it does seem to be the Citadel against someone) we keep hearing about as well. I like the idea of trying to tie it all up and snip off any loose ends.

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Just a thought that occured to me while reading this tread, who took care of the dead before the silent sisters?

The citadel is founded in the time before the andals and the faith, what if the faith just incorporated an already existing order into there ranks? This could also explain why they are al female when the stranger whom they are linked to is neither male nor female.

This is offcourse pure speculation on my part but its just something that popped into my mind reading this tread.

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