The Lord of Light, also known as the Red God, and R'hllor, is a deity widely worshiped in the continent of Essos. The worship of the Lord of Light centers around fire and light. It is the majority religion in several of the Free Cities, and extends to Asshai in the distant east. Worship of the Lord of Light is almost unheard of in Westeros.

The term "Lord of Light" can refer to R'hllor or to his chosen servants.


The religion of the Lord of Light is centered on belief in a single, all-powerful monotheistic god. It espouses a strong dualistic belief, focused on the struggle between the good deity "the Lord of Light" and the evil deity known as the "Great Other". The Lord of Light is the god of fire, which provides light, heat, and life. The Great Other, his eternal enemy, represents darkness, cold, ice, and death.

Essentially a monotheistic religion, followers of Lord of Light consider the "Seven aspects" of the Faith of the Seven to be little more than a thin veneer of justification for worshiping idols. Due to the dualistic beliefs of the religion, its more fanatical priests possess extreme black and white thinking: the Lord of Light is the only true god, and all other gods from other religions - The Old Gods of the Forest, the Faith of the Seven, The Drowned God - are demons and false idols that must be cast down and burned.

The Lord of Light's worship involves the idolization of fire and light. Shadows are important too, as they are created by light. The religion is very focused on prophecy, and on ecstatic visions that are received through communion with the flames. Melisandre claims to receive visions about the future from the Lord of Light by staring into fires.

Unlike the religions of the Old Gods of the Forest in the North or the Drowned God of the Iron Islands, the faith of the Lord of Light is stated to possess several holy texts, similar to the Faith of the Seven.

The followers of the Lord of Light also believe in the coming of a chosen warrior to combat the coming darkness, The Prince That Was Promised, who is prophesied to be reborn "amidst smoke and salt" and wield the sword Lightbringer.


Most of the worship practices of the Lord of Light involve fire. This can range from simple bonfires, to some extreme cases advocating human sacrifice by immolation. The symbol of the Lord of Light is a fiery heart. The religion is led by the "Red Priests", though both men and women can join the priesthood.

The common prayer of the followers of the Lord of Light uses the line "The night is dark and full of terrors", followed by the response line, "Lord, cast your light upon us."[1]

Season 2

Melisandre, a red priestess of R'hllor, has installed herself at the court on Dragonstone and has won the trust of King Stannis Baratheon. She believes that Stannis is the true Lord of Light, a chosen servant of R'hllor who will destroy his enemies with the sword Lightbringer. She also wins over many of Stannis's supporters, including Matthos Seaworth, though his father Davos remains skeptical. At a ceremony on the beach under the castle, Melisandre burns sacred religious artifacts from the Faith of the Seven, overcoming Maester Cressen's objections. Later, he tries to poison Melisandre by tainting his own cup of wine and sharing it with her. As he lies dying, Melisandre reveals she is unaffected by the poison due to the protection of R'hllor.[2]

Melisandre later seduces Stannis, promising to give him a son.[3] She does become pregnant, but not with a human child. After the failed parley with Renly, she 'gives birth' to a monstrous shadow creature in the caves below Renly's camp. Stannis has also taken the flaming heart, the symbol of the Lord of Light, as part of his personal sigil.[4]

In the books

In the Song of Ice and Fire novels, R'hllor is a popular deity in the continent of Essos, worshiped extensively in several of the Free Cities. In Volantis, the Temple of the Lord of Light is larger than the Great Sept of Baelor. His symbol is a heart surrounded by fire. There are several different major religions in Essos, but unlike in Westeros few are very widespread, instead each nation or city having numerous local religions. However, the Lord of Light religion is probably the most widespread religion in Essos, with worship spreading from the Free Cities in the west to Asshai in the distant east. It isn't the majority religion in every city, i.e. it is a small minority in Braavos, but it is still present there. Nonetheless, it is in a plurality in many regions, and in the southern Free Cities such as Myr, Lys, and Volantis it is certainly the majority religion.

According to George R.R. Martin, the R'hllor religion is strongly influenced by the real-life religion of Zoroastrianism, which in turn influenced Judaism and other real-life monotheistic religions. The central element it borrows is that it is a monotheistic religion with a strong sense of Dualism: there is one true, "Good" God, locked in eternal combat with an evil deity. As part of this dualism R'hlorr, who embodies light, fire, and heat, is opposed on the level of primordial forces by the "Great Other" who embodies cold and darkness. Zoroastrianism may have also influenced several later Dualistic belief systems, such as Gnosticism and Manichaeism, which the R'hllor religion also resembles in some respects.

The proper name of the deity is "R'hllor", though he is alternatively called the Lord of Light or Red R'hllor. "R'hllor" might simply be the word for "Lord of Light" in the language of Asshai. The name "R'hllor" has not yet been used in the TV series as of the end of Season 2; for the sake of simplicity, it has consistently used "Lord of Light" so far.

See also


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