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The Weirwoods Eyes

Examining the Cult of the Red God~what is going on with them there Red Priests?

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So its no secret that I'm not fond of R'hllor and I sat down just now to re read the sections which pertain to the "power" of the red preists.

It is often said that the Lord of Light is the only God in ASOIAF to have shown their power. But I don't agree. And increasingly I feel that the magic displayed by the various priests of the religion is not due to some god bestowing it upon them. But rather that the people themselves are special and the church hones and trains their abilities in order to impress and convert and control the ignorant masses.

I have so far read Thoros and Beric's telling of the kiss of fire to Arya.

Thoros is a lapsed priest who was from Myr, he mentions having seen the Kiss a thousand times as a young man in the temple and of having given it himself in the past. The kiss involves filling ones mouth with fire and breathing it into the dead person. He says that though it had never resurrected anyone before that he had seen (In fact he doesn't even suggest that resurrection is its purpose, more that its a last right type act.) that on this occasion the flame filled Berics lungs and his chest shuddered and he was restored to life.

He has repeated the Kiss 6 times Beric goes on to transfer his lifes flame to Catlyn presumably by the same method.

We know that Thoros previously enjoyed food & drink as he was known as a drunk and was fat before the war and living in the hollow hill.

We don't learn anything about his sleeping habits.

From the App we learn a little background on him. He was the youngest of 8 and given to the Red Temple to alleviate costs. He has a gift for tongues and shows some abillity in flame reading he is sent to Westeros to try to convert Aerys. We know he uses Wildfire to light his sword which is consistent with Mels using of powders and parlor tricks to impress people. But once he is with the BWB his sword alights from magic alone. Did Thoros first attempt to light his sword through magic after the success of the kiss of fire? I'm going to assume so, after all he is a lapsed priest and had no faith until the kiss. Who else has a flaming sword? Azor Azhai, hmmmmm. I am not saying Thoros is AA btw just linking his use of a flaming sword to the prophesy of the religion, its interesting that Mel is unable to actually light Stanis's sword or has not attempted it?

Melisandre We meet Me via Stannis, we learn she is from Ashai and that she can not be poisoned after Cressen attempts it. She believes Stannis to be AA, converts Selyse and sets about assisting Stan, she states in her POV chapter that seeing in the flames is difficult

"Much and more", but seeing was never as simple as these words suggested. It was an art, and like all arts it demanded mastery, discipline, study, pain. That too. R'hllor spoke to his chosen ones through blessed fire, in a language of ash & cinder and twisting flame that only a god could truly grasp. Melisandre had practiced her art for years beyond count, and she had paid the price. There was no one, even in her order, who had her skill at seeing the secrets half-revealed and half-concealed within the flames. "

So its hard work, she is especially good at it but we know that she gets it wrong a fair bit, so if she gets it wrong we can assume others also miss read the flames, or is it bravado is she not as great as she says? she mentions of her order so one assumes that she is part of a specific order od the Red religion.

Wiki A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates (laity) and, in some traditions, ordained clergy. Religious orders exist in many of the world's religions.

So she's not just another red priest. What is her orders specific devotion, is it to do with the AA prophesy?

We know that she uses powders and glamours to fool people, but that she also has genuine magical abillities the burning of Orell's eagle and the shadow babies.

We can assume that her origional name was melony(she heard a woman cry) and that as a girl she was taken by slavers and sold (a mans voice called "lot seven") she does not like dreaming and its insinuated that she dreams about being taken from her mother she calls dreams the whisperings of the Other who would drag us into his eternal night. She has no need of food either but fains hunger to stave off peoples fears about her, she bleeds a black smokey blood and is in pain when she is trying to see clearly the pictures in the fire. She says the fire is inside her. Beric also has no need for food but takes the odd glass of wine.

Benerro and the roots of Rh'llor

Benerro is described as milk white with slave tattoo's We learn that the Red Temple buys slaves as it is said by Jorrah to Tyrion that they buy slaves as children and they become Priests, temple whores or warriors. Mel has no tat's or does she, its widely thought that her apearance is a glamour, so we know that Red Priests have various origins from all over Planetos the faith does not as yet seem to originate from any specific continent I often see people assuming it is the national religion of Ashai but the only grounds for this is Mel and I think its taken as read that AA is an Ahsari prophesy? is that actually stated as fact anywhere though? The temple in Volantis seems pretty huge and Benerro is described as the high priest, he casts Valyarian Gylphs in the air two of which Tyrion recognises as Doom & Darkness, Benerro seems to be pretty centred on Dany and speaks of ancient Prophesy of a hero who will save the world from darkness, Tyrion does no tell us specifically that the Red priest believes that is Dany or that it is thought to be her because she is a Targ but he does say that Griff would do well to not ask the Red priests for help as the prophesy pertains to one hero not two and that two targs won't fit and Dany is the one with dragons. This kind of gives weight to Aemons saying that TptWP and AA are one and the same and I'm inclined to glean from that that R'hllorr has sprung from Valyria origionally or at least those who survived the doom and fled Maybe the cult sprung up from those who escaped and they believe that AA will be a Targ due to the origional prophetic dream that saw Targs strike out for Dragon stone We know that the Targarians believe the PTWP will be of Targ descent if the two prophesy's are in fact one this ties in well.

Moqorro, Moqorro is another red Priest who see's in the flames, though his visions are more accurate or he interprets the flames more accurately, which lends weight to the idea that Mel is a bit full of shit and thinks she's something she isn't. He is black but with white hair is he originally a summer islander? Victarion says he is too dark for a summer islander and that he looks burnt but i think several summer islanders are described as truly black in the books, the crew of the Cinnamon Wind for instance.we know he is/ has been a slave by the tattoo's on his face, his staff has a dragons maw on its top. Moqorro is huge and rests during the day and stays awake all night, wwe do not learn of his eating habits but one can assume that he does not require sustenance due to the length of time he is adrift in the sea before Victarion comes across him. Moqorro has been chosen to bring the faith to Deanerys he see's dragons old and young (aemon & Dany and or Jon),false (Griff) bright and dark (some targs are good others are crazy and cruel). And you snarling in the midst of all?? he also refers to Dany as the worlds deliverer (AA).

He knew that the Selaesori Qohran (perfumed Senechal) would not reach Qarth but instead put him in the path of Vic who would take him to Dany, he heals Victarion's infected hand through magic and it heals but is left chard and cracked and smoking. He tells Victarion to sacrifice Maester Kerwin for a good wind so we can assume that Mel is not acting out of her religions usual practices in her fondness for burning folk alive it seems blood sacrifice is a part of the religion. It seems Moqorro uses blood magic to heal Victarions hand too as wild mad laughter is heard and then SINGING in high valaryian, then the monkeys all leave the ship.

Lastly he can read Valyarion and reads the gylphs on the dragon binder horn. Can all Red priests speak and read Valyrian I think that must be the case it seems so.

I'm increasingly thinking R'hllor originates from the ruins of Valyria.

I'm increasingly thinking that they buy slaves and filter them for magical abilities, we know priests of R'hllor are not the only people with magical abilities or who have visions or prophetic dreams etc. It would be more acurate to say that magic is quite wide spread in this world, we have blood magic, green seeing, prophecy, woods witches, warging skinchanging, resurrection, dragons and Unicorns( I think there is a chance those Unicorns are going to become quite significant.) People seem to be regularly born with gifts I think the Red Temples buy slaves and children and nurture those with gifts, the males who have no magic are made the fiery hands the girls Temple whores. The magic ones tutored as Priests. They use parlour trickery to impress and learn forms of spell casting glamours, healing with blood magic, etc to instill a belief in their god. And they are afraid of the Dark (the doom.) The night is dark and full of terors, the doom was dark and terrible, they realised the Targs had been right they fled Valyria and the Red religion was born of those survivors, in time it has grown they search for AA (TPtWP) They seek to convert everyone they want others to see what they refused to believe when they poo poo'd the Targarians vision of the Doom.

Sorry for the huge long post I hope I got it all in.

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Reading through it all it seems a bit garbled. I hope People understood what I was aiming for. A breif (ha!) synopsis of each Priest of the Red God whom we have met, their various abilities and practices. The fact that bar Thoros those who we've met don't need food including Beric? That they are slaves except Thoros who was given as a child and has no tattoo's Mel may well have Tattoo's but chooses not to show her true apearance it is implied that she is a lot older than she appears maybe its all a glamour and she is an old woman with a tattoo'd face.

I was trying to gather what we have been told about the religion in order to guess at its origins and aims.

I'm not saying I have answers but it seems that the Kiss of Fire might be what makes red priests immune to poison, full of fire able to live on after death etc. Thoros talks of giving it but never of having received it? Maybe this is why he is not able to live on Light alone?

I think it is magic rather than divine intervention that causes the Kiss of Fire to work. I'm not sure as to why it worked on Beric, maybe he is magical too.

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I think Moqorro's skin is an unnatural shade of black because of fire magic. Hence he looks burnt. So does Victarion's arm after Moqorro magically heals it.

It says elsewhere that Valyrian magic was all based on fire and blood: we know the Red Priests do fire magic, we know blood magic exists from the god's wife (or 'maegi') of the lamb people and from 'Maggy the Frog', so the priests probably do blood magic as well. The roots of all these magics go back to Valyria and perhaps beyond.

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We can assume that her origional name was melony(she heard a woman cry) and that as a girl she was taken by slavers and sold (a mans voice called "lot seven") she does not like dreaming and its insinuated that she dreams about being taken from her mother she calls dreams the whisperings of the Other who would drag us into his eternal night.

Where's the part about Mel dreaming about being taken from her mother?

Nice write up BTW. I would add for Mel, that she is 'heated', she melts the Wall when she stands on it. This will be relevant when an army of Others show up, surrounded in an ice mist that's cold enough to kill anyone... Mel might be the only one cold-resistant enough to stand it.

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Also, did you notice it might have been Moqorro who was at the wedding of Dany and Drogo?

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I too rather suspect that there are no "gods" - just men and women who have access to magic, and can either make that magic a part of the local dominant religious belief system, or face no end of bother.

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we know blood magic exists from the god's wife (or 'maegi') of the lamb people ... <snip> ... The roots of all these magics go back to Valyria and perhaps beyond.

It might be worth observing that the Valyrians were shepherds, or "lamb people", prior to the discovery of dragons.

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Where's the part about Mel dreaming about being taken from her mother?

Nice write up BTW. I would add for Mel, that she is 'heated', she melts the Wall when she stands on it. This will be relevant when an army of Others show up, surrounded in an ice mist that's cold enough to kill anyone... Mel might be the only one cold-resistant enough to stand it.

Thank you,

Its not stated but she recals a woman screaming the name Melony and then a man saying Lot 7 I have concluded that we can assume from this that she was sold into slavery as a child the woman screaming her name is likely her mother screaming for her as they are seperated by the slavers. It just seems the logical conclusion. She does refer to it a couple of times in her chapter so I'm guessing it is a troubling memory for her, being taken from your mother is a terrible scary thing for a child it would stand to reason that it would stay with her.

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It might be worth observing that the Valyrians were shepherds, or "lamb people", prior to the discovery of dragons.

Oh yes, so they were...hmmmm interesting it does seen to tie in.

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Also, did you notice it might have been Moqorro who was at the wedding of Dany and Drogo?

I knew there were red priests at the manse where she is gifted to Drogo but I hadn't gone back to read it yet. I'll take a look after lunch. Cheers.

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Nice write-up.

I'm in a hurry, just one observation: Tattooing the faces of slaves is just a Volantene custom, it isn't done in any of the other Free Cities or even Slavers Bay. It stands to reason that only the Red Priests out of the Volantene temple would be tattooed, but not those out of Braavos, Pentos, Myr (see Thoros) or maybe Asshai.

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OK so I re read the early Daenarys chapters firstly Illyrio says" May the Lord of Light shower you with blessings" to Dany. And then that the Lord of Light would hold our city walls against a million Dothraki, or so the red priests promise. hmmm could he and perhaps Varys be R'hllor-ists?

The Red priest at Khal Drogo's Manse is described as even fatter than Illyrio, but no comment on his skin colour she does go one to say there are summer islanders with skin as black as ebony so I think she would have mentioned if the Priest was also black.

I do think it is interesting to note though that the Red priests have been watching her for some time, That is seems a huge portion of Essos is following the Lord of Light, A temple in Bravos, Priests in Pentos swearing to protect the city, being invited to see the Targs at Drogo's manse, possibly even Illyrio is a follower, Volantis has a massive following with a high priest there, the ship follows Moqorro really not the captain such is the influence of the red god. It does not seem to have infiltrated Slavers bay though as non are mentioned in Mereen as far as I recall.

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Jaqen H'ghar seems to be a follower of the Red God, too.

I think I agree that the Red Priests have been taking a lot of interest in Daenerys for a long time. This makes Melisandre's views and actions all the more remarkable. Maybe she's a heretic to the other Red Priests.

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I'm not sure Jaqen is a R'hllor-ist as he appears to be or at least have been trained as a FM, who only follow one god, as we know. But they do respect all religions as does Bravos in general. I'm open to him being a R'hllor follower, I'm open to him being a renegade FM too but I don't think we have enough evidence either way to know what his aims are or who he really is. Just had a thought though if he was say a defected FM say who has converted to R'hllor could his purpose at the Citidel be to find the book that contains TPtWP prophesy and compare notes to the AA one to check out Dany's likely hood as the savior of the world.

In ADWD Benerro & Moqorro seem pretty adamant that Dany is AA, could it be that he's confirming things for the Temple by gathering information on the Targarians prophesy.

I think Mellisandre is misreading her flames, acording to the App Mel saw Dragonstone in the flames in relation to AA went there and decided Stanis must be AA. But who was born on Dragonstone. Oh yes Daenarys Stormborn.

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I do think it is interesting to note though that the Red priests have been watching her for some time, That is seems a huge portion of Essos is following the Lord of Light, A temple in Bravos, Priests in Pentos swearing to protect the city, being invited to see the Targs at Drogo's manse, possibly even Illyrio is a follower, Volantis has a massive following with a high priest there, the ship follows Moqorro really not the captain such is the influence of the red god. It does not seem to have infiltrated Slavers bay though as non are mentioned in Mereen as far as I recall.

One thing that dawned on me while reading ADWD was that the whole "Lord of Light" thing isn't just a nifty foreign cult with a few charismatic all-stars on its roster--it's a worldwide movement, and its influence is on the rise. Honestly, I think the rise of R'hllor and his followers is one of the "meta-events" of the entire series and merits close examination. Which I don't have the time to do right now, but I applaud this thread and its posters for doing so.

As a side observation, the Valyrians were strong in sorcery, and we know their religion had [at least] 3 gods [Vhaegar, Meraxes, Balerion], but we don't know much about whether their sorcery came from these gods. I've never found any indications, but I've always wondered if R'hllor is one of their gods [or is some sort of deity that has always been there, and is now being succesfully worshipped under a different name].

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Thanks, yes today when I went back and re read Tyrions Chapters in Volantis it really struck home that the Red god was becoming huge there. Like really huge and when I spotted that Pentos is seemingly also in its thrall I thought d'oh. The connections between R'hllor and Valyria seem to be mounting. I think we'll find out a lot more about it all in TWOW. Especially once Moqorro gets to Dany, he will reveal the exact nature of the prophesy and we'll get some answers at last.

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I guess the next question is whether R'hollor had anything to do with the Doom of Valyria when it was overturned by the fiery mountains' exploding.Hmm.

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One thing that dawned on me while reading ADWD was that the whole "Lord of Light" thing isn't just a nifty foreign cult with a few charismatic all-stars on its roster--it's a worldwide movement, and its influence is on the rise. Honestly, I think the rise of R'hllor and his followers is one of the "meta-events" of the entire series and merits close examination. Which I don't have the time to do right now, but I applaud this thread and its posters for doing so.

Good point. I agree.

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Thank you.

I guess the next question is whether R'hollor had anything to do with the Doom of Valyria when it was overturned by the fiery mountains' exploding.Hmm.

Thanks, yes today when I went back and re read Tyrions Chapters in Volantis it really struck home that the Red god was becoming huge there. Like really huge and when I spotted that Pentos is seemingly also in its thrall I thought d'oh. The connections between R'hllor and Valyria seem to be mounting. I think we'll find out a lot more about it all in TWOW. Especially once Moqorro gets to Dany, he will reveal the exact nature of the prophesy and we'll get some answers at last.

I definitely got the impression from the AFFC Arya chapters that the Faceless Men had more to do with the Doom than anyone else, especially R'hllor. Again, I'm not sure how old the Red Religion is--I don't know why, but I get the feeling that the worship of R'hllor came around after Valyria bit the dust. There are definitely some parallels between the two, the biggest one being the importance of fire and blood, so it's not out of the question. Because the Red Faith arose on the eastern continent, its prominent leaders/priests/priestesses had access to ancient bodies of knowledge [Valyrian, Qartheen, Asshai] that they combined with their own Red rituals. The leaders of the Red Faith are obviously very ambitious, and want priests and priestesses with a wide variety of skills and abilities, which is why all they encourage/allow them to study other sorceries--all for the greater glory of R'hllor [if you buy that]. Just my interpretation.

This is why the Red priests and priestesses do a lot of similar things--praising R'hllor all the time, bashing lesser gods as instruments of the Great Other, lighting nightfires and staring into them for the visions that their god gives, and stating/admitting that they have no more power than what R'hllor grants them. Melisandre performs a red [lowercase "r"] wedding, and Thoros performs the funeral rights, so obviously there are more common rituals that you'd expect from a traditional religion.

But they also do a lot of things differently. Of the 3 we know best [Melisandre, Thoros, and Moqorro], Thoros seems the least concerned with sacrifice, ancient prophecies, and king's blood. He admits himself that he is less pious than a priest should be, but his "faith" is definitely strong or he wouldn't have the power than he does. Obviously, Melisandre is the only shadowbinder of the 3. But she and Moqorro are a lot more concerned with TPWWP than Thoros is, and are a lot more aggressive about the righteousness of their god. They also place more emphasis on sacrifice [especially blood/fire sacrifice] than Thoros does.

Also, Moqorro, and probably Thoros, have some ability as "healers," whereas we haven't really seen Melisandre do that--yet.

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