As viewers we understand that it is the base of operations for The Faceless Men who serve the Many-Faced God. However they perform their duties secretly and their actions are unbeknownst to the outside world. However the House of Black and White seems to be a fairly prominent structure in the city, so how do the residents of Braavos feel about it? As in, do they understand who resides there and what goes on inside the walls?

Answers from both the show and books are acceptable!

1 Answer 1


Their individual identities are the secret, not their existence.

  • The Faceless Men were known assassins. Even considered by Westerosi as an option for hire.

    Ned bowed, and turned on his heel without another word. He could feel Robert's eyes on his back. As he strode from the council chambers, the discussion resumed with scarcely a pause. "On Braavos there is a society called the Faceless Men," Grand Maester Pycelle offered.

    "Do you have any idea how costly they are?" Littlefinger complained. "You could hire an army of common sellswords for half the price, and that's for a merchant. I don't dare think what they might ask for a princess."

    A Game of Thrones - Eddard VIII

  • Residents of Braavos come to the House of Black and White to pay their respects and drink from the well. In Braavos death is not to be feared, it is welcomed. Consider that a greeting exchange is "Valar Morghulis" followed by a response of "Valar Dohaeris" (All men must die; All men must serve".

    Worshipers came to the House of Black and White every day. Most came alone and sat alone; they lit candles at one altar or another, prayed beside the pool, and sometimes wept. A few drank from the black cup and went to sleep; more did not drink. There were no services, no songs, no paeans of praise to please the god. The temple was never full. From time to time, a worshiper would ask to see a priest, and the kindly man or the waif would take him down into the sanctum, but that did not happen often.

    A Feast for Crows - Arya II

  • The city of Braavos was founded by ex-slaves, the first "faceless man" was also a slave that brought the "gift of mercy" to those who were suffering and eventually to those who caused the suffering.

    The dead were never hard to find. They came to the House of Black and White, prayed for an hour or a day or a year, drank sweet dark water from the pool, and stretched out on a stone bed behind one god or another. They closed their eyes, and slept, and never woke. "The gift of the Many-Faced God takes myriad forms," the kindly man told her, "but here it is always gentle."

    A Feast for Crows - Arya II

Overall, I think the establishment was well received by the citizens of Braavos.

  • 5
    And the establishment was well-feared by the citizens of Braavos as well.
    – RichS
    Sep 14, 2017 at 0:10
  • 6
    "In Braavos death is not to be feared, it is welcomed." I never got that feeling from the books: see Syrio Forel's "not today", and the noted absence of many signs of worship. That is, "All men must die" is just an enunciation of fatality, not some kind of good (or bad) news. Sep 14, 2017 at 10:59
  • @JeanHominal You can be welcoming of death while not wanting to die immediately. See Christians who believe in Heaven. They welcome death in the end, but don't want to be shot while walking to the store.
    – SGR
    Sep 14, 2017 at 12:49
  • 2
    @SGR: I do not question that it is possible. However, if this answer is going to state that "welcome of death is common in Braavos", then I am going to need a reasoning that goes beyond the usage of "Valar Morghulis" as a greeting. (Because it seems to be a greeting specifically related to the House of Black and White - thrice, it is used by an agent of the HoB&W to ask for a service from someone else, and once by someone who seeks death there. Most other usages of the phrase are Arya speaking to herself.) Sep 14, 2017 at 13:49
  • @JeanHominal You've got a good point. Personally I feel that the fact that citizens of Braavos have gone to the HoB&W specifically to pray/die is a good answer to me!
    – Zip Zap J
    Sep 14, 2017 at 18:23

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