From what I understand, murder is illegal in the civilized parts of Westeros and Essos. If it weren't, I would expect more people to die on the streets than they seem to.

The Faceless Men are hired assassins. If they are paid to kill a king, they will kill the king. If they are paid to kill a noble lord, they will kill the noble lord.

How aren't the Faceless Men put on trial for their crimes and essentially destroyed?

Even if they have religious cause to kill people, murder is still illegal.

Also, if I were a king of Westeros or a noble man in Braavos, I would not want this cult to survive because while they exist, one of my enemies could have me assassinated.

How have the Faceless Men survived?

  • 11
    Because they're incredibly useful to the same people that would be powerful enough to prosecute them? Or for the same reason that you don't poke a hornet nest with a stick? Aug 18, 2015 at 2:32
  • If you tell the authorities they committed the murder, they kill you. Aug 18, 2015 at 9:20
  • 8
    One of the problem is how do you identify one if they change faces.
    – Zikato
    Aug 18, 2015 at 10:47
  • 3
    How have the Red Priests survived, when they also commit religiously-motivated human sacrifice? How have the Dothraki, who pillage and murder? How have the Brave Companions, a murderous band of sadistic sellswords? You only put someone on trial for murder when it suits you, when they aren't protected by powerful lords, and when they can be caught. Who would benefit from destroying the Faceless Men, if they can be destroyed at all?
    – Andres F.
    Aug 18, 2015 at 21:08
  • 4
    “I would expect more people to die on the streets than they seem to” — I’m trying to conceive of a version of Game of Thrones with more deaths. Nov 30, 2016 at 12:48

3 Answers 3


The Faceless Men are based in the free cities of Braavos but as you said, have performed their duties in Essos and Westeros as well. Besides shapeshifting, the Faceless Men are known to manipulate the situations to make it appear as though it were a naturally occurring incident, leaving them free of blame. It is said that the more difficult the task, the higher the price. Additionally, the Faceless Men can reject a job if it clashes with their personal beliefs unless the client is willing to make equivalent sacrifices.

  • 6
    Basically, everyone knows they are assassins, but you would be hard pressed to find a murder they can be pinned to.
    – Jonathon
    Aug 18, 2015 at 2:02

I wouldn't say the Faceless Men are assassins (although they do clearly have some similarities). Their motivations are essentially religious, they believe they are servants of the Many Faced God, so their 'assassinations' can be compared to the Red Priests engaging in human sacrifices to R'hllor; they will sometimes reject contracts based on their own moral belief. In a sense they could be said to defend the weak, by carrying out acts which the ordinary man would not be able to. So, whilst their practices may be widely known, they wouldn't be considered extraordinary when looking at the other organisations in Essos.

Now we also know two things about the Faceless Men which would most likely aid them in surviving, first they tend to make assassinations/sacrifices look like accidents, so discovering that an act was carried out by them would be difficult. Secondly, we know that the House of Black and White and the Faceless Men predate Braavos (predating the Doom of Valyria by approx. 100 years) so we can assume that after Braavos was created they most likely worked for all/some of the leaders at that time; and most likely continue to. That would hint that they hold considerable power or the weight of disturbance they cause to one individual is considered less of a hindrance than their potential usefulness to that same person.


It is implied it the name. "The Faceless Men".

Say you are a King or a wealthy noble. you want to kill the Faceless Men.

How will you go about this very, very dangerous task? How can you be 100% certain that the soldiers in your employ arent members of the Faceless Men, or your cook, or your steward, or your stable boy?

The TV show demonstrates that anybody can be a Faceless Man at any time. So how do you kill something that is by nature hidden/masked in plain sight? Nobody knows how many Faceless Men there are. Westeros and Essos are huge landmasses and they operate on both continents.

Would be much easier if they all had some way of recognising them, but they dont. So to answer your question of:

How have the Faceless Men survived?

Through being useful to all and through fear of the unknown.

You can never, ever be 100% sure that you have gotten them all.

There is NO way of identifying them all.

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