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BriennetheBluebyOPI

Religion in Westeros

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Just a question I had while reading the other night, not sure if it's been answered/discussed before.

 

In Westeros, people are very tolerant of the new and old gods. People who worship the new gods don't seem to mind if other people worship the old gods, and vice versa. Why is it then that people who worship the new gods (and probably the old, I just can't think of an example) are seriously offended by the red priests/Lord of Light? The only awful, inhumane thing I can think is the discussion of sacrificing Edric Storm. But even people who don't know about that are very against the Lord of Light, like the young septon telling Thoros not to worship his false god under their roof. I doubt he would ask someone who worshipped the old gods not to pray. Is it because people who worship the Lord of Light want people to destroy/turn their back on the new gods (when the statues of the Seven were burned)?

 

Was there a conflict like this when the new gods started being worshipped? Do you think one day the people of Westeros will become as tolerant of the Lord of Light as the old and new gods?

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I think it's probably a combination of things.

 

First off, the old and new gods are well established all over Westeros, so it is commen for the two factions to meet and they are able to tolerate each other and co-exist. There is no real conflict between the two groups, everyone just leaves the other religion be. Both religions kind of have the attitude "Well, I believe in my gods, not yours, but I guess that's your business." On the other hand, you have the followers of the Lord of Light, who are much more fanatic about their believes and say that their god is the only real god. So of course, they are going to meet much more resistance when they arrive in Westeros and proclaim that all of their believes are wrong and they must burn their gods. Extremism is never well-recieved.

 

So, the reservations that some people have towards the Lord of Light are a combination of them being a foreign religion and them just being very hostile and incapable of coexisting alongside other religions.

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The Andals with the new gods were not always that tolerant of the old gods. They burned the weirwoods, until their conquest was somewhat halted and they agreed not to burn them anymore. But we still do see a type superiority from Faith believers to old gods followers. Cat isn't so fond of the WF godswood and the weirwood tree in aGoT. And Sam too is questioned for a moment when he prefers to vow at the weirwood grove before the old gods, instead at the sept of Castle Black, while he's from Horn Hill at the Reach. While the Faith has come to tolerate those (Northerners and some Riverlands Houses) who always worhipped the old gods in continuing to worship them, they reveal a greater reluctance when it gains new followers. And while they wouldn't mind an intermarriage of different faiths, nor a queen following the old gods, I doubt they'd accept a king on the IT who'd follow the old gods. As long as the old gods don't go on an open expansion mission, they are tolerated by the dominating Faith. And Thoros all by himself, drinking and buddy-buddying with the king and his silly flaming sword came across more as a jester than a priest able to convert. But Mel is altogether different. Imagine Thoros to have been more like her at the side of Robert, and Robert picking up on these ideas, and they'd have howled on their hind legs about it. 

 

So, the old faith is tolerated because it isn't aggressively trying to convert, and is in the minority already. Some foolish drunken priest of a new faith comes along and he's no threat, but can be made fun of, so that's alright. But once an expansionist, recruiting fanatical priestess manages to recruit followers fast, then the Red Faith becomes an absolute threat.

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