Total Nerd Everything You Need To Know About the Sparrows  

Lisa Waugh
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SHAME! There are SPOILERS in the septs of the Sparrows Game of Thrones list. SHAME! 
 
What do we know about the Sparrow religion in Game of Thrones? Well, first off, it’s an intensely devout order from within the Faith of the Seven that emerged in the wake of the War of the Five Kings. With so many ordinary people suffering, the Sparrows did what they could to take care of the smallfolk. They also answered the people's call for an end to war and headed to King’s Landing to bring the bones of murdered clergy as well as to petition the king for protection. 
 
Tywin Lannister kept the Sparrows at bay, but after this death, they flowed into the city, with a leader who cast off his own wealth to become one of them. He was mockingly dubbed the High Sparrow, but the order embraced the name. Turns out, this guy is no joke. He’s got numbers on his side - a war-weary population ready to storm the city’s gate if need be. And he’s got the muscle of the Seven, the Faith Militant, to crack some heads when the situation calls for some heavier holy justice. He’s also got that scary lady who gets a thrill out of smacking nobles around in the black cells with water ladles. 
 
When Cersei Lannister made the High Sparrow the High Septon, the mocking abruptly ended. The Faith Militant made sure the old High Septon was caught with his pants down in Littlefinger’s brothel. And, you guessed it, that guy had to take a walk of shame just like Cersei did when Lancel spilled all the tea on his former lover/cousin/co-conspirator.  
 
Will the Sparrows and their High Sparrow be able to outmaneuver Cersei? Will Margaery give them a hand? They may be experts at getting confessions out of people, but Cersei has a way of getting blood and brain matter out of them using her killing machine that is Robert Strong. Still, how many Sparrows can that guy take?  
 
Let’s get acquainted with the Sparrows, the High Septon, and the many aspects of the Faith of the Seven. 

The Sparrows


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The order rose from within the Faith of the Seven as a response to the suffering of the smallfolk and clergy in the wake of the War of the Five Kings. The Sparrows formed as war broke out and atrocities, especially against septries and clergy, were committed. The order is comprised of the poorest of humbled true believers who don’t wear shoes, cut their hair, and wear simple rough-spun robes. In this way, they reflect the small common bird. 
 
The Sparrows revealed themselves in King’s Landing after Tywin Lannister died, probably because he made sure refugees were kept in check and out of the city altogether. The City Watch grows lax after his death and the Sparrows trickle past the city’s gates.  
 
They are not powerless. In fact, just the opposite. The High Sparrow says, "Every one of us is poor and powerless. And yet together... we can overthrow an empire.”

Faith Militant


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Photo: HBO
The military order of the Faith of the Seven enforces the teachings of the Seven-Pointed Star. This order was a part of the original faith, but was disbanded centuries ago during King Maegor Targaryen’s reign. Cersei Lannister reinstates the Faith Militant in support of the new High Septon. 
 
The Faith Militant wear black wool robes, chains at their waists, and use cudgels to enforce religious law. They also wear a bloody carving of the Seven-Pointed Star on their foreheads. So, you know, they’re always flashing their badges. 

The Sparrows Are Modern-Day Fundamentalists


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Eugene Simon (who plays Brother Lancel) is one of many making this observation. ”I don't want to be too intense about it but given current affairs, the fact that we were filming this season while current affairs are going on was even more harrowing. I couldn't stop thinking, ‘The timing of this is so terrifyingly inappropriate and appropriate,'" he has said. 
 
Lancel is having a struggle that mirrors young idealists, mired in a cult and regularly brainwashed. ”He's really trying to convince himself he's under control. He is not under control, he's desperately trying to remain under control and then the way that he finds that control is through violence, through this faith and through this commitment,” the actor said. 

Lancel Lannister’s Conversion


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Lancel Lannister was the lover and cousin of Cersei, squire of Robert Baratheon (who might have had a hand in Baratheon’s death), and he was also a knight. Lancel nearly died from wounds suffered at the Battle of Blackwater and joined the Sparrows afterwards. He attended his uncle Tywin’s funeral in Sparrows garb, greatly changed in demeanor and attitude. He pulls Cersei aside and asks her for forgiveness for their previous relationship and his part in Baratheon’s death. Lancel joins the Faith Militant and goes even further down the zealotry rabbit hole.  
 
Lancel leads the Faith Militant on a raid of Littlefinger’s brothel, sweeping up a very naked High Septon in the bargain. The High Septon is made to do his own walk of shame through the city streets. Cersei replaces the High Septon with the High Sparrow in order to ally with them and to prevent further embarrassment to the crown.