- "I learned to fight like a Dothraki screamer, a Norvoshi priest, a Westerosi knight."
- ―Daario Naharis
They are famed warrior-priests, skilled in combat.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Bearded Priests of Norvos are the religious and political rulers of Norvos. Nominally a council of magisters rules the city, but unlike in some other Free Cities they are merely figureheads for the priesthood, who appoint and dismiss magisters from the council as they choose.
The name of the deity that the Bearded Priests worship is a secret, only revealed to initiates. It is forbidden to even write the name down, except as a series of initials. As a result "the Bearded Priests of Norvos" is used to refer to both the organization and the religion they follow.
The order began as religious dissidents in the old Valyrian Freehold, who several centuries before the Doom established Norvos as a colony at the northern fringes of the empire, because they wanted to remove themselves from the "corruption" of the other religions that the Valyrians tolerated within the Freehold. In Norvos, they could rule as they saw fit, and regulate all aspects of society according to their theocracy.
The Bearded Priests are trained as warriors, specializing in their signature longaxes. As with several other religions in Essos, unwanted young boys can be sold to the Bearded Priests to be raised as acolytes. These slave-soldiers are used as guards to keep the peace in Norvos and protect the borders.
The religion of the Bearded Priests is apparently very conservative, seeing sexuality among the populace as only a necessity to produce children. The priests wear hair shirts and tanned hides, and practice ritual flagellation. The city's bells command the populace to scheduled prayers frequently each day.
Only men can join the Bearded Priests, and once they do they are forbidden to cut any of their hair. They groom their beards to be very large as a sign of this, and in fact only the priests are allowed to grow beards. Free Norvoshi men are not permitted to have beards, though they do grow very large, upswept moustaches. Free Norvoshi women and slaves of both genders are not permitted to have any hair on their heads, and shave them entirely bald. It isn't clear if the hairstyles of the non-priests are another tenet of their religion, or a deeply held cultural tradition reflecting it. Norvoshi noblewomen actually shave off all of their body hair, though when encountering peoples from other cultures they will wear wigs on their heads, because they understand that their baldness is considered unusual to outsiders.
|Major religions in Essos:||
· Great Stallion · Great Shepherd · Ghiscari religion ·
· Moonsingers · Lion of Night & Maiden-Made-of-Light
|Other cults in Essos:||
· Hooded Wayfarer · Moon-Pale Maiden · Merling King