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thewingedwolf

Masonic and Templar references in ASOIAF

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I have long been fascinated with everything surrounding the Knights Templar and the Freemasons. As I read ASOIAF and in parallel some work on the Templar and on Freemasonry (which I will reference later in this post), I could not help but notice that several references and similaities to both the Templars and Freemasonry were omnipresent throughout the series.

I have posted some of them in different threads before but decided, upon reflection, to present them all in one thread. Before diving into the heart of the subject I would like to acknowledge the contributions of two fellow posters, King of the Starks and Jarl the climber whose insights were essential in creating this post.

This post will be divided into two sections. The first will address the resemblance between the Order of the Maesters and the Freemasons. I believe those connections to be the strongest and will use them as a stepping-stone both to establish the credibility of my argument and to support the more circumstantial templar resemblance.

Before starting I would like to cite my two key sources on Templar and Masonic symbolism. First, the book Holy blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. Second is The Templar Papers, compiled and edited by Oddven Olsen.

The Maesters of the Citadel and the Freemasons

Objects and symbolism

The Chain

The concept of the chain is central to both the order of the Maesters and the Freemasons. The concept of a chain used to demonstrate rank and abilities is used by both orders. Although the Freemasons often use pendants as opposed to different metals to denote skills and responsibilities, the resemblance is still worthy of mention.

The Hightower

The Hightower also has strong Masonic connection. The Hightower is an 800 foot light that guides ships and serves as a beacon to be seen from Miles around. Many Masonic symbol show an eye surrounded by flames that tops all others as a “guiding light” and observatory.

The Citadel

The architecture of the Citadel itself is a strong Masonic symbol. Domes within the Citadel are connected through arching stone bridges. In Masonic images, the different steps of freemasonry are often presented on arching stone bridges (see http://www.bilderberg.org/msteps1.jpg for reference).

The Sphinx statues

The Sphinx statues that are featured at the entrance of the citadel are also strong Masonic symbols.

Titles and nomenclature

The titles are also remarkably similar. Although comparing each one would be an exercise in futility and a waste of time, one cannot avoid noticing the resemblance. The title of “master” and its different variations (Grand Master, Arch master, etc.) is present in almost all forms of Masonic hierarchy as it is with the Maesters of the citadel.

Moreover the initiation rites of the Maesters, when an acolyte becomes a Maesters bear striking similiraties to the intiation rites of Masonic lodges. Both are shrouded in secrecy and the occult and feature similar kneeling patterns and ritualistic behavior.

The concept of darkness is also present in both initiation rites. Whereas an acolyte spends the night before become a Maester in complete darkness (lest he can light the glass candle), an apprentice will be received in the order of the Freemasons with his eyes covered by a black cloth.

Roles and responsibilities

As are the Freemasons, the Maesters are supposedly apolitical but are present at every court and in every major holdfast and seats in Westeros giving them a position of both influence and power over all decision makers in Westeros. Much like the Freemasons, who have embedded themselves in many of western society’s power circles (in business, politics, etc.) the Maesters wield considerable influence over the major houses of Westeros while their true agenda remains a relative secret.

Much like the Freemasons, the Maesters also pass along their knowledge through secretive teachings and members are anointed and selected by closed-door committees with very little visibility for those outside the order. The rituals they practice are also secretive and, much like the Freemasons, they select their own leadership and are not subject to the authority of a King or any other political figures.

Finally Maesters are reluctant in sharing their knowledge with anyone outside the order, much like the Freemasons rarely discuss the Craft outside their order.

The Templar references in ASOIAF

Although far more circumstantial than the Masonic references, there some Templar references within ASOIAF that are impossible to ignore.

The Sept of Baelor and the Templar churches

The first templar reference, and perhaps most evident, lies right at the heart of King’s Landing. During the crusades, the Templars were responsible for building many churches and temples that were very unique in design. They were polygonal in shape which makes them remarkably similar to the Great Sept of Baelor (a seven-walled structure) as well as several other septs throughout the Seven Kingdoms.

The Warrior’s Sons

Claim has been made on the forums that Warrior’s Sons were closer to the Teutonic Knights than the Templar Knights, this is not a point I want to discuss here but rather I want to look at Templar references within the order the Warrior’s Sons.

Both shield and sword from the Warrior’s Sons are adorned with the seven pointed star of the Faith, much like the Templars had sword pommels and shield adorned by the cross.

Like the Templars, the Warrior’s Sons must be of noble birth and they must forgo all lands and titles upon joining the order.

The older order of the Warrior’s Sons (not the garden variety that Lancel Lannister belongs to) were known as fanatical, fierce warriors and protectors of the faith. The Templars, were often called “The battering ram of Christianity” during the crusades (both because of they frequent position at the Vanguard of the Christian army and their relentless fighting style).

It was also said the older Warrior’s Sons were sorcerers, an accusation that was lad upon the Templars after Phillip the Fair of France outlawed the order and tortured its members for years.

The proximity of the Faith and the Maesters

For over 1000 years, the Faith of the Seven had its center in Oldtown at the Starry Sept (until the Sept of Baelor was built and the High Septon moved to King’s Landing). With its proximity to the Citadel, it is likely that the Archmaesters were in regular contact with the High Septon. This become particularly interesting when one considers that the Maesters are student of the occult and distrust magic and here is why Of the three main religions presented in ASOIAF (the Faith, the Old Gods and R’hllor), only the Faith of the Seven has, so far, shown no supernatural occurrence.

Could it be that many years ago the High Septon provided guardianship of the secrets of the Faith to Maesters (perhaps out of fear they would be misused or to guarantee a protection against the Targaryen kings)? Much like it is believed that the Templars (and later the Freemasons) were guardians of the Catholic Church’s most prized relics such as the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant?

This is far-fetched but certainly not impossible.

Considering GRRM’s fondness for Maurice Druon, the French author of the Iron King and The Accursed Kings (the story of Philip the Fair and the Curse of the Templars), it is becoming harder and harder to ignore the many Templar and Masonic symbols present in ASOIAF.

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thewingedwolf :eek:

I don't know much of freemasony but those are some great points. I am :bowdown: to you sir!

Thank you. I first got interested in it when I as sutdyng the history of the western financial system. There is a lot of non-sense about it out there but also some very valid work.

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Great work wingedwolf. You said you'd deliver and you did :bowdown:

Are you still going to do the religious aspect or not?

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I have a much darker view of freemasonry lol.

And in that you are not alone my friend. The goal here is not discuss my view of free masonry but rather the symbolism contained within the series. I would very much like to leave the discussion at that.

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thewingedwolf :eek:

I don't know much of freemasony but those are some great points. I am :bowdown: to you sir!

:agree: . Really well done, sir.

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Great work wingedwolf. You said you'd deliver and you did :bowdown:

Are you still going to do the religious aspect or not?

I think I am on to something with the proximity between the Faith and maesters at Oldtown but it will take more work. I have vacation in two weeks from work so I will try and do it then. Thank you for your help and support my friend.

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:agree: . Really well done, sir.

Thanks for the kind words. I really hope this thread can serve as a springboard to further the discussion on this topic.

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Thank you. I first got interested in it when I as sutdyng the history of the western financial system. There is a lot of non-sense about it out there but also some very valid work.

history of the western financial system? That sound difficult and painful :blushing:

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Some interesting shared imagery here. To an extent, I think some of this can be explained by the fact that both organizations are institutions and these kinds of institutions in the pre-modern world often shared initiation rites, ranking systems, and secret symbols.

While there are signs that there is something secret and conspiratorial going on inside the Citadel, I do think it's important to point out that most maesters seem to have a genuine desire to serve. They do play an important role as advisers and communication specialists. Aside from a couple of specific examples, they seem to serve in good faith and with the goal of promoting good leadership practices/decisions.

Absent from the Citadel and present in Masonry (and Mormonism) is specific mythology about the founding of the order and its ordination with a divine mission. The Citadel seems to be a fully secular organization that does not resort to mythology to teach its lessons or to illustrate its history/importance. Additionally, its symbols are pretty much out in the open for people to see. Of course, this may all change once we get a more complete look at what goes on inside the Citadel, but this is how things appear to be from what we know so far.

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Some interesting shared imagery here. To an extent, I think some of this can be explained by the fact that both organizations are institutions and these kinds of institutions in the pre-modern world often shared initiation rites, ranking systems, and secret symbols.

While there are signs that there is something secret and conspiratorial going on inside the Citadel, I do think it's important to point out that most maesters seem to have a genuine desire to serve. They do play an important role as advisers and communication specialists. Aside from a couple of specific examples, they seem to serve in good faith and with the goal of promoting good leadership practices/decisions.

Absent from the Citadel and present in Masonry (and Mormonism) is specific mythology about the founding of the order and its ordination with a divine mission. The Citadel seems to be a fully secular organization that does not resort to mythology to teach its lessons or to illustrate its history/importance. Additionally, its symbols are pretty much out in the open for people to see. Of course, this may all change once we get a more complete look at what goes on inside the Citadel, but this is how things appear to be from what we know so far.

I don't think wingedwolf is comparing how secretive they both are, but how they have symbols that are similar and how similar the institutions are.

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Sorry, no. The Maesters, so far as we can tell from the series, have almost nothing in common with Freemasonry. Sphinxes, chains, stone bridges etc, are *not* symbols within freemasonry. Masonic initiation does not involve a night contemplating a glass candle. Nor is celibacy a requirement.

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While there are signs that there is something secret and conspiratorial going on inside the Citadel, I do think it's important to point out that most maesters seem to have a genuine desire to serve. They do play an important role as advisers and communication specialists. Aside from a couple of specific examples, they seem to serve in good faith and with the goal of promoting good leadership practices/decisions.

I agree and if you look at the Freemasons, they are also known for their charty work and community involvement.

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Sorry, no. The Maesters, so far as we can tell from the series, have almost nothing in common with Freemasonry. Sphinxes, chains, stone bridges etc, are *not* symbols within freemasonry. Masonic initiation does not involve a night contemplating a glass candle. Nor is celibacy a requirement.

There are of course differences but I have to strongly disagree with your assessment that there is nothing in common between the Freemasons and the Maesters. I have done quite a bit of research on the topic and after doing so I would be hard pressed to deny the connection.

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Within Freemasonry, there is an organisation called the Knights Templar. But, it has no connection with the actual Knights Templar. Freemasonry didn't exist before 1600 or so, nearly 300 years after the destruction of the Knights Templar.

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Good job, thewingedwolf

In the Masonic temple, discussion of politics and religion is forbidden, which fits with the maesters supposedly putting aside political loyalties and the Citadel remaining neutral.

The night when an acolyte is to spend the night in a dark cell with a glass candle is meant to be an allegorical ritual to convey lessons like the candidates for Freemasons perform allegorical rituals to learn moral lessons. The candidate for Freemasonry also progresses through degrees in gaining knowledge like an acolyte progresses through links, showing that he gained knowledge.

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I don't know if thewingedwolf will use in another post or not but I noticed some similarities between a Maester initiation and a Freemason initiation. A drawing from the Historys of Westeros Maester initiation shows a joining Maester kneeling down and covered by a hood and cloak but his left leg and right arm aren't. In Freemason initiation a joining Freemason bears his left leg and right arm and kneels.

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King of the Starks, I am all up for it. I think it would really contribute to the pool of knowledge on this topic to explore the initiation rituals. The floor is yours my friend.

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