There are a few different religions that occupy the world in Game of Thrones. But unless we’re in for a major plot twist, the worship of R’hllor (also known as the Lord of Light), seems to be the most significant — it even has its own theme music. Most of the details about this religion come from the Song of Ice and Fire books. In case you haven’t read them, here’s a quick background on it as it relates specifically to the television show.
Who Worships the Lord of Light?
The Lord of Light is the most commonly worshipped god in Essos, the continent where Mereen is located. The religion is almost non-existent in Westeros, with only Melisandre and Thoros of Myr shown as priestess and priest of the religion, respectively. Of all of the religions in the show, it’s the only one that seems to fit with the events we see happening.
“Darkness will fall heavy on the world. Stars will bleed. The cold breath of winter will freeze the sea, and the dead shall rise in the North,” Melisandre says the first time we see her.
Besides the stars bleeding and the seas freezing, this sermon seems to be pretty dead on. Many in Westeros refer to the “Long Night,” which is imminent with the coming of winter.
And the dead rising in the North? We’ve know that’s been happening since the first episode of the show.
The religion’s hub is a city in the country of Essos called Asshai, which houses the ancient texts. The most important element of these texts is the prophecy of the return of Azor Ahai, a hero the followers of the Lord of Light believed forged a powerful sword by stabbing his wife in the chest. The sword, called Lightbringer, is said to make any enemy it touches burst into flame.
The prophecy says that Azor Ahai will return in the form of someone else and will ultimately use Lightbringer to bring an end to the Long Night. Hence the specific words of the prophecy, “The prince who was promised shall bring the dawn.”
One of the most fun things in regards to the show, in my opinion, is trying to figure out who the reincarnation of Azor Ahai is, if the prophecy proves true. The first time we hear about the prophecy is from Melisandre, who initially claims Stannis is Azor Ahai, but we know that’s totally not true.
The front runners in this game (no pun intended) are Daenerys and Jon, each of whom fit some of the criteria of the prophecy as we know it. Jon has been resurrected, while Dany’s immunity to fire could also be interpreted as a resurrection (sort of). Jon has a very special sword. It’s the only named sword we’ve seen throughout the entirety of the series and we know it kills White Walkers. Could Longclaw actually be Lightbringer? We’ve never seen Dany use any weapon besides her dragons, so that part of the prophecy doesn’t seem to apply to her.
Perhaps their alleged child will be the savior?
Regardless of whether any of these stories are true, we know that at least some of the magic of the religion is very real. Thoros of Myr resurrects Beric Dondarrion multiple times. Kinvara, the priestess who helps to keep the peace in Mereen knows exactly what happened to Varys as a child. Melisandre has drank poison, given birth to some kind of shadow monster, revealed that she’s a whole lot older than she seems, and resurrected Jon Snow.
The show runners could just decide the religion means nothing after all, but it will be interesting to see what part it plays in the closing of the show.