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The Old Gods and the New (Complete Guide to Westeros)

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"The Old Gods and the New" is a featurette and part of "History & Lore" section of the Complete Guide to Westeros, a special feature in the Blu-ray of Season 1 of Game of Thrones. It is narrated by Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark and Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark.

SynopsisEdit

Catelyn and Bran Stark discuss the worship of the Old Gods of the Forest and the Seven in Westeros.

SummaryEdit

Catelyn Stark: In the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the dominant religion is the Faith of the Seven, first brought to its shores by the Andals some 6,000 years ago.

Bran Stark: But there are some who still keep to the old way, worshiping the faceless gods of the Children of the Forest and the First Men. The old gods are countless, nameless spirits of nature. In ancient times, the Children of the Forest carved faces in the trunks of the weirwood trees, which became sacred symbols of their faith. In time, the First Men adopted the Children's gods as their own. Most castles at that time contained a godswood with a weirwood or a heart tree at its center.

Catelyn: Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, a new religion was born in the hills of Andalos. According to legend, the God of Seven revealed itself to the Andals, and the invasion of Westeros followed soon after. The Andals sailed across the sea on ships, armed with weapons of steel. Some warriors carved a seven-pointed star into their skin as a symbol of their new faith.

Bran:The invaders destroyed most of the weirwoods in the southern land, slaughtered the Children of the Forest wherever they could find them, and conquered every kingdom of the First Men, save the North. In time, the Faith of the Seven spread like wildfire throughout the land. The Seven is a single deity with seven aspects, each symbolizing a different area of life, though most people refer to the Seven as separate gods.

Catelyn: The Mother is prayed to for mercy and watches over fertility, childbirth and peace. The Father sits in judgment over souls. The Warrior is prayed to for protection, valor and skill in battle. The Crone is the symbol of wisdom and foresight. The Smith watches over creation and craftsmanship. The Maiden symbolizes purity, love and beauty. Finally, there is the Stranger - rarely prayed to - who represents death.

The Faith is highly organized and deeply influential in Westerosi politics and culture, as the official religion of the monarchy. Worshipers gather in temples of the Faith called septs. The seat of the Faith is the Great Sept of Baelor, which is located in the capital city of King's Landing.

Bran: Still, in the North, where descendants of the First Men dwell, worship of the old gods continues to this day, and the sacred faces of the weirwood trees keep close watch over the faithful.

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