Let’s review what we know about the Faith from the books: The Faith has a hierarchy similar to the medieval church and the similarities are noted between the belief of God having many aspects, churches/septs and the connection between the faith and the crown. However, let us forget this connection and look at the aspects of the Faith regardless of our own views on organized religion in the 21st Century.
Some septons are abusive of their power and vows, and live superficial lives filled with wealth and jewels and fine clothing and exploit the money given from the smallfolk while using their faith to justify corrupt actions. They also visit whorehouses and accept bribes from lords in exchange for blessings.
Most septons, however, live hard lives in humbleness and service. They have no belongings and walk from house to house and town to town in the hope of finding food or a bed for the night and in return hear confessions from the smallfolk. The most well-known of these septons is the amazing septon Meribald, who we meet in A Feast for Crows when he meets Brienne and Pod in the Riverlands. Septon Meribald demonstrates this love and understanding of the smallfolk and delivers one of the most beautiful speeches in all of A Song of Ice and Fire:
“Is a broken man an outlaw?” asked Pod.
“More or less.” Brienne answered.
Septon Meribald disagreed. “More less than more. There are many sorts of outlaws, just as there are many sorts of birds. A sandpiper and a sea eagle both have wings, but they are not the same. The singers love to sing of good men forced to go outside the law to fight some wicked lord, but most outlaws are more like this ravening Hound than they are the lightning lord. They are evil men, driven by greed, soured by malice, despising the gods and caring only for themselves. Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are common-born, simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war. Poorly shod and poorly clad, they march away beneath his banners, ofttimes with no better arms than a sickle or a sharpened hoe, or a maul they made themselves by lashing a stone to a stick with strips of hide. Brothers march with brothers, sons with fathers, friends with friends. They’ve heard the songs and stories, so they go off with eager hearts, dreaming of the wonders they will see, of the wealth and glory they will win. War seems a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know.”
Septon Meribald is preaching love and compassion for your fellow man. This is truly that the Faith is all about.
Qyburn and Pycelle discuss the Faith and Qyburn quickly reminds Pycelle of Septon Ollidor and remarks that “last night he feted thirty of the Most Devout on suckling pig and Arbor gold, and by day he hands out hardbread to the poor to prove his piety.”
They are the only real connection to the gods that the smallfolk will ever know or see. The septons talk to them about the seven pointed star, they help them with problems and they generally support them when their lords would gladly sacrifice them for personal gain. The septons live difficult lives and they keep the promises that the knights make but do not keep. Instead of showing us the totally corrupt and evil religion as in the Da Vinci Code, George R. R. Martin shows us a much more realistic faith with good people and bad people and a faith that also helps the smallfolk when others ignore them.
Why is this a crime? It’s a crime because they are going against the main philosophy of A Song of Ice and Fire and George R. R. Martin, who has his own strong liberal beliefs, but as an author shows that there is no such thing as someone totally bad and someone totally good. The point of the books is to show that everyone has good and bad aspects and that you can’t just make someone purely bad. And the Faith is the same. It can help a lot instead of just being anti-homosexual and hateful as D&D want to have us believe. D&D make everything so one sided. They are making the Faith into a strawman group of zealots and bigots. ASOIAF isn’t great because it’s about current political events (as AngryGoTFan has wonderfully said in his last article). ASOIAF isnt about commenting on Putin and ISIS or about discussing animal treatment. ASOIAF is great because it mentions aspects of life that everyone relates to and will always relate to, not because it just makes a character evil to promote against gay hate and to promote hate against religion. And without promoting this hate, George manages to tell a wonderful story that promotes equality without making someone else look evil. Within that skill lays the art of telling a story and D&D have pride yet lack that skill.