Ser Bartimus is a Northern knight who follows the Old Gods.

Davos could not argue with the truth of that. From what he had seen at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, he did not care to know winter either. "What gods do you keep?" he asked the one-legged knight.
"The old ones." When Ser Bartimus grinned, he looked just like a skull. "Me and mine were here before the Manderlys. Like as not, my own forebears strung those entrails through the tree."
A Dance with Dragons, Davos IV

As George R. R. Martin has stated himself only those who follow the Seven can be knighted.

Can someone who keeps to the old gods be made a knight too or is it a exclusive of the Seven?
The latter. Those who follow the old gods can be the northern equivilent of knights, but it's not quite the same.
So Spake Martin, Religion and Knighthood

It's known that he was knighted by Wyman Manderly after saving his life at the Battle of the Trident and was also given Wolf's Den with the title. House Manderly keeps to the Seven and not the Old Gods despite being a Northern House and so that is why the Wyman did the knighting.

As for why Ser Bartimus could become a knight or did become a knight is unclear as he keeps to the Old Gods. Do we know how/why he is a knight?

  • 2
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    Seems like you answered your own question? My guess he wanted those... huge tracts of land...
    – Skooba
    Jan 23, 2018 at 14:42
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    @Skooba --- Surely, a place called 'Wolf's Den' cannot be very good pig country?! Jan 23, 2018 at 15:31
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    I don't have a reference so it's a comment not an answer, but my understanding is that people who follow the old gods aren't exclusive the way septons and real-life monotheistic religions are: they don't have any problem with swearing an unobjectionable oath to live honourably in the name of some new gods they have no strong feelings about if it boosted their status, in much the same way real-life Vikings didn't mind adding pictures of this "Jesus" chap to their shrines alongside Odin et al if it meant they could negotiate a better trade with Christian traders. Jan 23, 2018 at 17:03
  • This is a good discussion on similar topic. reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/2c13nw/…
    – Vishvesh
    Jan 30, 2018 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


Having found no information online I asked Elio and Linda on twitter and they've come back saying it's a case where the knight and the "knighter" probably weren't that bothered about having to follow the Seven.

@CarrotLethal: Hello! How is Ser Bartimus a knight if he keeps to the Old Gods? I know the Manderly's keep to the Seven but isn't it the knight that needs to keep to the Seven? Thanks.
@westerosorg: Good question. He seems to be an example of someone who was offered knighthood as a reward for his services, was willing to say the words for the value that the honorific gave, but was not really a believer at all. Whoever knighted him did not seem overly picky on the matter.
@CarrotLethal: So it would appear that in modern day Westeros being a believer in the Seven isn't really necessary to become a knight? Either that or this is an edge case?
@westerosorg: More an anomaly rather than normal. But given that we know from "The Sworn Sword" of unscrupulous knights who'll knight other men who bribe them, it seems like there may be reason to think that there's certainly room for non-Seven following knights here and there.
Twitter, @westerosorg

This can be seen as we see two forms of the oath the formal version which is more religious.

The Laughing Storm gave an impatient shake of the head. "Go to him, Ser Duncan. I'll give squire Raymun his knighthood." He slid his sword out of his sheath and shouldered Dunk aside. "Raymun of House Fossoway," he began solemnly, touching the blade to the squire's right shoulder, "in the name of the Warrior I charge you to be brave." The sword moved from his right shoulder to his left. "In the name of the Father I charge you to be just." Back to the right. "In the name of the Mother I charge you to defend the young and innocent." The left. "In the name of the Maid I charge you to protect all women."
The Hedge Knight

Then we have a less formal version which doesn't really seem to touch on religion at all.

This time the lightning lord did not set the blade afire, but merely laid it light on Gendry's shoulder. "Gendry, do you swear before the eyes of gods and men to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to protect all women and children, to obey your captains, your liege lord, and your king, to fight bravely when needed and do such other tasks as are laid upon you, however hard or humble or dangerous they may be?"
A Storm of Swords, Arya VII

So it's clear some knights and lords are less restrictive about knights having to be followers of the Seven. We also have the case of some more knights in the North but it's unclear if the follow the Old or new Gods personally.

  • Ser Jorah Mormont: Although House Mormont keeps to the Old Gods it's unclear whether Jorah does personally.
  • Ser Rodrick Cassel: Like Jorah it's unclear what God's Rodrick follows.

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