Game of Thrones' Religious Fanatics are Based on the Catholic Church, Says George RR Martin

By Nick Cowen on at

So we've all been watching Game Of Thrones, right (if not, why are you reading this?). And we've all seen the influence that The Sparrows - and in particular, The High Sparrow - have been having on the power structures in King's Landing, yes?

We also know that sword and – and science fiction – has its roots firmly in current events. So it may come as little surprise to anyone familiar with this genre that The – and their draconian view towards those who step outside the moral boundaries of their religion – are inspired by real-world counterparts. Yes?

OK, here we go:

According to George R.R. Martin – you know, that dude who wrote the books on which Game Of Thrones is based – The Sparrows are inspired by the medieval Catholic Church. Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Mr Martin had this to say:

“The Sparrows are my version of the medieval Catholic Church, with its own fantasy twist. If you look at the history of the church in the Middle Ages, you had periods where you had very worldly and corrupt popes and bishops. People who were not spiritual, but were politicians."

Which is totally different from religious leaders these days, right?

He went on to say:

"They were playing their own version of the game of thrones, and they were in bed with the kings and the lords. But you also had periods of religious revival or reform — the greatest of them being the Protestant Reformation, which led to the splitting of the church — where there were two or three rival popes each denouncing the other as legitimate.

"That’s what you’re seeing here in Westeros. The two previous High Septons we’ve seen, the first was very corrupt in his own way, and he was torn apart by the mob during the food riots. The one Tyrion appoints in his stead is less corrupt but is ineffectual and doesn’t make any waves. Cersei distrusts him because Tyrion appointed him. So now she has to deal with a militant and aggressive Protestant Reformation, if you will, that’s determined to resurrect a faith that was destroyed centuries ago by the Targaryens.”

And here we were thinking he was having a pop at all organised religions. Oh well...