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There are a few religions in the world of Ice and Fire: R'hllor, The Old Gods, The Seven, The Drowned God, The Faceless Ones...

However, the only religion where we see tangible results are when R'hllor is prayed to. Priests have been shown to raise the dead, see future visions, and create fire out of nothing. Other religions' gods don't actively get involved as much as R'hllor.

41

No.

If you assume that R'hllor is a 'real' god, and his priests and priestesses are correct about their religion, then you also have to assume that his antithesis, the unnamed god of ice and death, must also exist.

That makes at least two "real" gods if R'hllor's followers are correct.

If you base the assumption on the tangible results obtained by those who pray for R'hllor's favor, then it seems likely the Old Gods are, or at least were, at least as real as R'hllor and his antithesis.

The Children of the Forest, and a few others (such as Bran Stark), receive equally tangible results from the "old magic": seeing through the eyes of the faces on weirwoods; possessing the senses, or even minds and bodies, of animals and weaker-willed humans; or even prophesies that are at least as accurate (perhaps more so) than those of the followers of R'hllor ("greenseers" such as Bran and Jojen Reed have "green dreams" that reveal the future).

The followers of the Many-Faced God also have tangible results from their worship, not the least of which is the ability to take on another's actual face through magic.

  • 7
    +1 I like your implication that if R'hllor exists, then surely The Great Other must also exist! – Andres F. Feb 24 '12 at 20:05
  • Good point about the enemy, though a bit nitpicky. ;) Anyway, I should point out the "only real god "-part came from my edit - original wording was "only real religion " which wouldn't raise that point, but has it's own problems. – Ilari Kajaste Feb 24 '12 at 22:08
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    But definite +1 for The Children of the Forest and The Many-Faced God also "giving" clear results. – Ilari Kajaste Feb 24 '12 at 22:12
  • @IlariKajaste Sorry, I didn't mean to pick any nits :) Nitpicking aside, hopefully I addressed the spirit and intent of the original question. – Beofett Feb 26 '12 at 20:44
  • @Beofett Yup, I do think you did. – Ilari Kajaste Feb 26 '12 at 21:36
19

First, one minor nitpick: I'm going to assume by "real religion" you mean the corresponding god is real and actively involved in the world. Otherwise, all the religions depicted in the novels are equally real ;)

I don't think we know with certainty any of the gods are real (so far), not even R'hllor. What we do know is that some characters believe their gods exist. We have also witnessed magical feats (by Melisandre and Thoros of Myr, but also by the Others, by the priests from the House of Black & White, and maybe even by the Children of the Forest).

However, we also witnessed deception (e.g. we are shown some of Melisandre's tricks in her POV chapter), and it's also implied that what some characters believe is mistaken.

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    Considering the prevalent themes of deception, misinformation, false attribution in the books, it would seem to fit the world a lot better that the Red Priests are simply fooling themselves by performing magic and attributing that to their god. Taking the themes of the books as evidence, it's quite unlikely that any of the gods turn out to be real. – Ilari Kajaste Feb 24 '12 at 19:37
  • I edited the title to fix your (and mine) nitpick. Though it seems it did result in another, different one... – Ilari Kajaste Feb 24 '12 at 22:15
5

Taken as a whole, the narrative leads me to the following conlusion: there is old magic that predates history and is undeniably real. This magic is discovered and clumsily wielded by different bands of humans at different places and times who try to understand/control it by inventing "gods" and praying to them. The "gods" are not real, but merely represent a manifestation of human frailty when confronted with something real, but incomprehensible.

2

What Mel and the rest of the priest do is simply magic. Its stated that Magic got stronger around/after the birth of the dragons, which explains why Thoros didnt revive people before. If their god gave them power, why would it not work before? or are you suggesting that R'hllor actually had a little crush on Beric and therefore chooses to grant Thoros the power to revive him? No really, this might be my atheist view reaching into the books but in my opinion there is no actual God in ASOIAF, just superstition and magic.

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    I am an atheist myself, but this doesn't color my perception of the story. It seems likely to me that there are entities in ASOIAF that are as powerful as deities (whether or not they created the universe). – John O Feb 1 '14 at 2:08
1

I equated the "one who should remain nameless" to be the one responsible for the white walkers. Fire vs ice and whatnot. If not the only true ones then they are the big players.

  • The problem is that we are told about the Great Other only by characters with no first-hand experience. We know the White Walkers/Others exist because we "saw" them via the first-hand experience of POV characters. But their god? We don't know It exists at all, since no POV character has seen It. Same thing happens with the Lord of Light. – Andres F. May 6 '13 at 21:27
1

True; It's clear that the Old Gods are just people with power, however, Thoros clearly does not have real power, or else he would be able to resurrect every person ever killed by the Lions/Wolves (the bandits' enemies).

The Many Faced God, I believe, is also just people with power.

As for the Sept (or Faith of the Seven), there is no real evidence they exist at all.

0

From a show perspective, we now know that the Children were responsible for the creation of the Others. We do not yet know if this is true for the books' plot as well (though GRRM and D&D confirmed they would agree on the broad strokes/main points of the series). We know the Children have powerful magic. But we also know they get it from somewhere (Weirwood trees, etc.), and that it didn't work even with shattering the land bridge. So while peace was reached eventually, in their desperation they might have sought a sort of Plan B to ensure their survival. I'm guessing they sought out another type of magic (Great Other) in order to turn a man into an ice demon. But it backfired because it was something that was alien to their traditional ways and it was dangerous. But this will likely not be explored in the show, so we may never know if the Great Other is real (until the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, aka the release of TWOW).

-4

Yes. Absolutely.

The answer with 21 reputation has God confused with magic. They are completely different things.

The Old Gods are real but they are not Gods. They don't answer prayers, they are magical trees and people who have powers that are connected to the earth. They basically are the power of the earth.

The faceless men are connected to the Red God I think, they are derived from that somehow.

Bran doesn't ask for favours that are granted. He has powers inside him. That's why the Old Gods are not a god. Bran has power. Thoros, as he says, has no power. He asked and the Lord Of Light responded.

That is the difference between the Fire God and everybody else. You just have to ask in the right way: i.e. burn stuff and splatter blood all over the place.

  • Can you site any references from any of the books to back this up? (i.e. specific dialog or text quotes) – Monty129 Jan 31 '14 at 22:34
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    I'm not sure your answer is consistent. Either they are gods or they aren't. The fact that they don't answer prayers isn't prima facie evidence that they aren't Gods, just that they don't answer prayers. – Valorum Jan 31 '14 at 23:06
  • The Faceless Men don't worship the Red God but the Many-Faced God, who is at least partly identified with Death. There is no conclusive evidence the Lord of Light listens to prayers; Melisandre may simply be a master manipulator (and there is evidence of that!). Some red priests practice powerful magic, but the Children and wargs also do, and you've just ruled this out as evidence of their gods... – Andres F. Feb 26 '14 at 1:54

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