|First seen||"High Sparrow"|
|Appeared in||3 episodes (see below)|
|Allegiance||The Faith of the Seven
|Religion||Faith of the Seven|
|Portrayed by||Jonathan Pryce|
- "All sinners are equal before the Gods."
- ―The High Sparrow
The High Sparrow is a recurring character in the fifth season. He is played by guest star Jonathan Pryce and debuts in the eponymous "High Sparrow". The High Sparrow is the leader of the religious sect known as the Sparrows and the newly appointed High Septon.
His name is unknown. He was originally a humble septon who began to preach equality among all men and aid the poor while leading a humble life himself, often denouncing the excesses and sins of the nobility. As followers gathered around him, he made his way to King's Landing.
He emerged as more or less the leader of the religious protest movement known as "the Sparrows", and his critics started mockingly calling him the "High Sparrow" - in sarcastic comparison to the High Septon, the highest cleric and ordained leader of the Faith of the Seven. His followers, however, adopted the nickname in pride, and themselves started calling him "the High Sparrow" as a sign of respect. He never tried to call himself this, but the name stuck. (After being made High Septon, as per tradition it became forbidden to ever refer to him by his given name again, so whatever his original name was remains unknown).
Queen Cersei Lannister discovers the High Sparrow is a humble man, serving soup and bread to the poor while barefoot. He finds the name "High Sparrow" humorous and makes no effort to hide what action the Sparrows took against the High Septon, though he admits they could have been more careful. Cersei tells him that he will not be arrested or executed, but the High Septon has been imprisoned instead, which surprises the High Sparrow.
Through Queen Cersei's influence, the High Sparrow is elected High Septon. To further gain his support, Cersei signs a decree restoring the Faith Militant, military orders under the command of the High Septon with the right to bear arms and dispense justice.
The High Septon later presides over the inquest into the charges of sodomy, buggery, and blasphemy against Loras Tyrell. He also questions Margaery Tyrell and Olyvar on the charges. Olyvar's testimony convinces the High Septon to bring Loras to a full trial, and also to arrest Margaery for perjury and blasphemy, as she swore before the gods that her (false) testimony was true.
|Season Five appearances|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||TBA|
In the booksEdit
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the so-called "High Sparrow" is a prominent member of the "sparrows", a religious movement formed during the War of the Five Kings in the wake of brutalities committed against septs as well as men and women sworn to the Faith of the Seven. The sparrows form as a popular disgust movement, outraged that the Lannisters are completely indifferent to the death and starvation that the smallkfolk are suffering due to the war Queen Cersei started. They call themselves "the sparrows" because, just as the sparrow is the humblest of birds, they are the humblest of men; this leads detractors of to mock their leader as "High Sparrow" Moon Boy, the royal jester, was the first to call him by that name as a jape, and it soon became his common nickname.
The sparrows are also angered that the leadership of the Faith of the Seven has become corrupt and easily bribed off by the Lannisters, rather than speak out against their crimes. The High Septon when the war began was richly dressed and too obese to walk far, even as war refugees starved to death in the streets of King's Landing (this High Septon was later torn to pieces by a mob in food riots). The ruling council of the Faith of the Seven, known as the Most Devout, have also amassed great personal wealth in their offices - which they usually display by wearing expensive silks and jewelry. In stark contrast, the High Sparrow is a poor priest who used to travel the countryside performing his services: he wears only a simple roughspun tunic of white wool, as a sign of his humility and piety.
In the novels, his election is not instigated by Cersei. Instead, the sparrows break into the Great Sept of Baelor and force the Most Devout, many of which had been already publicly humiliated by the sparrows, to declare their leader as the new High Septon.
The High Sparrow preaches for modesty and abstemiousness, and sets a good example: Cersei is shocked to see him cleaning the floor, wearing roughspun robes. She is even more shocked to hear that he has sold the golden crown that Tywin gave his predecessor, the other crowns held in the vaults, as well as the rings and fancy clothes. He explains "Poor need food in their bellies more than we need gold and crystal on our head. Wool will keep a man as warm. That is why the Seven gave us sheep". Cersei, used to live in luxury and has no regard for poor people, is unable to perceive this, and thinks the High Sparrow is utterly mad.