Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Quickie: The Lord of Light's True Goal (Game of Thrones)

R'hllor has the titles of Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow, and the red god. He is most commonly worshiped in Essos with a few followers in Westeros. It is not easily seen if he is good or evil. If he deserves to be followed or not.

In this little post I'll take a look at trying to figure out if people should worship the Lord of Light or go against him.
What We Don't Know About the Lord of Light

We can't tell for certain if the Lord of Light is a morally good or bad deity. We haven't seen him physically. He hasn't done an action that his followers haven't initiated. We have only seen R'hllor through the eyes of his followers or those who have dealings with his followers.

It is extremely hard to draw conclusions about morality if you can't see the person. Everything is up to assumption at this point. Any actions he takes may have good intentions but only if viewed from a certain angle. The same is true with bad intentions.
Without knowing R'hllor's morality we can't hope to tell his endgame. It might be to defeat the Great Other or it might not. He might be telling his followers one thing while meaning something completely different.

Say what you want about Melisandre, but she truly believed in her faith. Whether there are priestesses that lie knowingly or not isn't revealed on the show at this time.

So if a priestess of R'hllor talks about the Great Other it's highly likely they believe what they're saying.
Without clearly knowing the Lord of Light's morality and endgame, we can't tell if he truly cares for humanity. He might not care about human life at all and sees humanity as toys. On the other hand he might truly care for humanity but knows sacrifices must be taken.

I don't have a good feeling about R'hllor but there is not enough information to know if he's good or evil for certain.
What His Followers are Like

Unlike the god himself, we do have much better information on his followers. I will be using Melisandre as an example. This is because, at least on the show, she is the follower we've seen the most.

Continuing on...when they say they are acting on the Lord of Light's orders, that isn't exactly true. They must depend on signs such as reading the flames.  We have seen times when the signs have been misread.
Melisandre believed Stannis Baratheon was Azor Ahai reborn and so served him. She goes through a crisis of faith when he dies. She worries that what she believed wasn't true. She followed what she believed to be her god's desire and that turned out not to be true.
Another thing R'hllor's followers do is spread their religion. Theirs is a religion that depends on converting people. In real life Christianity is an example of a religion dependent on converting others. But I'll hold off on comparing red priestesses and Christians for now.

In Westeros not many believe in R'hllor but it is starting to spread. In Dragonstone Melisandre burnt people at the stake for their non-belief. She also burned Mance Rayder while at Castle Black. She was able to do this because Stannis allowed her to. He allowed her to because she had converted him.
Finally, red priestesses are willing to perform human sacrifices. They will do so to earn R'hllor's favor. Melisandre sacrificed Shireen Baratheon to melt the snow. This was done so to Stannis would have a much better chance at winning back Winterfell.

Maybe we can't decide if R'hllor is good or evil, but there is good indication he isn't to be trusted. A god that needs human sacrifices in order for his powers to be used...that isn't done by a good deity.
If R'hllor is Bad, What about Azor Ahai

If R'hllor is evil it calls the Azor Ahai Prophecy in question. We don't currently know what the Great Other is. I assume it is the White Walkers because they appear to be pure evil. Whenever they're on screen they aren't pleasant beings. Though they might seem more senseless than they actually are as we don't know much about their culture.

It could be that the White Walkers are the enemies of the Lord of Light. If we think of them as evil it could be one evil group of beings against an evil god. So the people of Westeros would be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

If the White Walkers aren't the Great Other it could be that they're a way to get rid of R'hllor's enemies. As the war against the White Walkers goes on more people will die. More people that the Lord of Light finds harmful to him.

And if the world dies in the process at least R'hllor will be safe.
The Azor Ahai Prophecy might be true but not in the way we think. It might be telling us about the truth of Azor Ahai, Nissa Nissa, and Lightbringer but not who the real enemy is. It might be that the Azor Ahai Prophecy points to the people/things that can kill the red god.

So in this scenario R'hllor would be using the prophecy to make the people/things go against another enemy. This so that he would remain safe as those that could kill him would be distracted from finding out the truth.
Declaring who Azor Ahai is has the potential to create rifts. Right now Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are said to be Azor Ahai reborn by the followers of R'hllor. Imagine if Melisandre intersects with Daenerys' storyline.

Religion can bring out the worst of people. For thousands of years in the real world religious wars have happened. It stands to reason, then, that something akin to a religious war could happen if there was debate over who Azor Ahai is. R'hllor could potentially send two different answers to different priestesses.

This would create a further distraction from people deciding to kill him.

If you want to bring up how hard it is to kill a god: what if R'hllor isn't actually a god? What if the signs are sent out by someone/something that is very much mortal?

But that's a theory for a different day.

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