We all know that there are different types of gods that exist in the world that George RR Martin created in A Song of Ice and Fire, which was adapted into Game of Thrones. Of course, this is the same world that is also used in Fire & Blood, which was adapted in House of the Dragon. One such deity that has often been mentioned is the Stranger, who people tend to talk about with gloom. So, who is the Stranger in A Song of Ice and Fire?
The Stranger is one of the aspects of the single deity that the Faith of the Seven follows. It is also believed by the Faceless Men to be one of the many aspects of the Many-Faced God. The Stranger is often associated with death and the unknown, as it is known to guide the dead to the afterlife.
In many ways, the Stranger is the real-world version of Death in the sense that it is a deity that represents death. That is why the people of the Seven Kingdoms don’t pray to the Stranger, as doing so means praying for death. Anything associated with the Stranger is also bad luck. As such, let’s try to learn more about the Stranger in the world of Ice and Fire.
Who is The Stranger In A Song Of Ice And Fire?
Ever since we saw Game of Thrones, we knew that there are many different religions that are followed in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire that George RR Martin wrote. Different cultures have their own version of the gods that they believe govern the world. And while the people of Westeros follow different gods, the prevalent religion in the Seven Kingdoms is the Faith of the Seven.
The Faith of the Seven is a religion that worships the Seven-Faced God or simply the Seven. This god is said to be a singular entity with many different aspects and alter egos. In that regard, the different people in the Seven Kingdoms, primarily those who live in the southern parts of Westeros, pray to the Seven and its many different aspects.
But the one god that the people barely pray to is the one they call the Stranger. We often hear the name of the Stranger in Game of Thrones and in House of the Dragon. However, who exactly is the Stranger?
Like the other aspects of the Seven, the Stranger is one of the Seven-Faced God’s different alter egos, as this god is also part of the entire order of the universe, as far as the Faith of the Seven is concerned. In that regard, it is still worshipped by those who follow the Faith of the Seven but isn’t usually prayed to by those who believe in the Seven.
The reason why the Stranger seems to be the outlier deity among the different aspects of the Seven is the fact that it is the one that represents the aspect of death and the unknown. In that regard, it is often associated with death, and that’s why the Stranger is only often mentioned whenever someone dies or when someone wishes for someone else’s death.
Unlike the other aspects of the Seven-Faced God, the Stranger doesn’t have human characteristics as far as its representation is concerned. That’s because it is often represented to be a frightening entity with non-human traits. In most cases, the Stranger is portrayed to be a hooded figure, but there are also other instances when it has skeletal features.
As such, the Stranger is George RR Martin’s version of how we often portray Death or the Grim Reaper in real-life society. The fact that it is basically the entity that represents death among the different aspects of the Seven means that praying to it is like praying for death to come. And that explains why the Stranger isn’t usually the god that those who follow the Faith of the Seven pray to whenever they need guidance and wisdom from the divine.
But despite its grim nature as a deity, the Stranger is still one of the aspects of the Seven-Faced God, and that means that those who worship the Seven still respect and revere it. That is why a statue of the Stranger can be seen in the Great Sept of Baelor. And unlike the other aspects of the Seven, the Stranger is often depicted to be facing away from people, as its statue in the Great Sept of Baelor faces the wall.
What is the role of The Stranger in Game Of Thrones and House Of The Dragon?
Like the other gods that those who follow the Faith of the Seven worship, the Stranger is often mentioned in passing by the different characters in Game of Thrones. However, because of the fact that this god is the representation of death, those who believe in the Seven don’t often mention the Stranger because of how it is often considered bad luck to even mention its name.
The Stranger, while often seen as a deity that’s exclusive to the Faith of the Seven, is actually also part of the religion of the Faceless Men of Braavos in Game of Thrones. The Faceless Men worship the Many-Faced God, who they believe is the one true god that often changes its face to represent different gods. As such, the Stranger is seen as one of the aspects of the Many-Faced God.
Meanwhile, in House of the Dragon, the Stranger was mentioned in episode 8 during a scene involving the Silent Sisters as they were preparing the body of Vaemond Velaryon, who was beheaded by Daemon Targaryen, for transport.
In that scene, the Grand Maester approached Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, who was observing the Silent Sisters in their work. He told her that it was ill luck to look upon the face of death. This explains why the different representations of the Stranger often face away from people or face the wall, as it is bad luck to look at its face.
However, Princess Rhaenys simply replied with:
“The Stranger has visited me more times than I can count, Grand Maester. I assure you, he cares little whether my eyes are open or closed.”
In a way, Rhaenys was talking about how many times the Stranger had “visited” her when he took away one of the people that she loved. This included her family members, such as her parents and her children, Laena and Laenor. As such, Rhaenys no longer cared about whether or not it was bad luck to look at Vaemond’s corpse, as she believed that the Stranger no longer cared about her as well.