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Lion of Night

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"In the far east [they worship] the Lion of Night, who fathered the world's first emperor on the Maiden-Made-of-Light, and whose wrath nearly ended the world."
Jaqen H'ghar[src]

The Lion of Night is a deity worshiped in the farther east of Essos. He is depicted as a man with the head of a male lion, sitting on a throne.[1]

The Lion of Night is believed to have fathered the world's first emperor on the deity known as the Maiden-Made-of-Light, and the Lion's wrath nearly ended the world.[2]

HistoryEdit

Season 5Edit

Black and White Lion of Knight Black Goat

A statue of the Lion of Night (left), in the House of Black and White.

A statue of the Lion of Night is among the idols present at the House of Black and White. The Faceless Men believe that the Lion of Night is just one of the "faces" of the Many-Faced God.[3]

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Lion of Night is worshiped primarily in Yi Ti. His statue is found in the House of Black and White and is commonly visited by rich men.

The Lion of Night isn't the only god in the religion of Yi Ti. Most of the statues in the House of Black and White depict the gods associated with death in many different religions (most of them polytheistic), all of whom the Faceless Men hold to be aspects of the Many-Faced God. Just as the Stranger is associated with death in the Faith of the Seven, the "Lion of Night" is the god in Yi Ti's pantheon with dominion over death. So far in the novels, the only mention of the Lion of Night is when it is seen in the House of Black and White in Braavos.

The World of Ice and Fire sourcebook (2014) revealed that Yi Ti's religion contains at least two prominent deities: the Lion of Night, and the Maiden-Made-of-Light. The Lion of Night fathered a son on the Maiden-Made-of-Light, the God-on-Earth, who is held to be the ancestor of the emperors of Yi Ti and the founder of the semi-mythical Great Empire of the Dawn. For this reason the rulers of Yi Ti are referred to as "god-emperors", and worshiped by their subjects as demigods (or actual gods). This is somewhat similar to the real-life title "Son of Heaven", used to refer to East Asian monarchs. For Chinese emperors, the term was understood figuratively (the ruler was a mortal chosen by the gods, but not their literal descendant). In Japan, however, the emperors were literally believed to be descended from the gods - the beliefs in Yi Ti are closer to this.

The Maiden-Made-of-Light is a benevolent force who tries to help mankind, while the Lion of Night scourges the wicked. The legends about the Long Night in Yi Ti explain that a descendant of God-on-Earth known as the Amethyst Empress was usurped and murdered by her own brother, an event known as the Blood Betrayal. This caused the Maiden-Made-of-Light to turn away from humanity in shame, and the Lion of Night came forth in all his wrath to punish mankind's wickedness, inflicting the cold and darkness of the Long Night. This dichotomy between the Maiden and the Lion seems similar to the real-life concept in Chinese philosophy of yin and yang: "yin" is the dark and negative force, but it is considered feminine, while "yang" - the light and positive force - is considered masculine. In Yi Ti, the roles are reversed between the masculine and feminine deities, so that female is light and male is darkness.

As in the TV series, the Lion of Night is represented as theriocephalic (an animal-headed human). This does not mirror artistic tradition in East Asia, but rather is more common in Egyptian art.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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