the-many-faced-god

I was a beta for @synergygabriel‘s AMAZING RPBB fic “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” (to be read HERE) and I just had to draw this scene! 

So have some Gabriel.

freckl3d asked:

Can you help explain to me what purpose it is exactly that the faceless men serve? Do they just kill people who deserve it and bestow the gift of death to those that truly need it? Is that all? I feel like I'm missing the purpose behind it all..

The Faceless Men are a Braavosi secret society of assassins, who are contracted to assassinate people. They are extremely expensive, and the more prominent the target, the more it costs to hire them. (Littlefinger said it costs the equivalent of hiring an army of sellswords just to target a merchant.) However, Arya has learned that the price is always within the means of the person requesting the assassination, if they are willing to make the sacrifice – so a poor person could indeed ask the Faceless Men to assassinate a very prominent person and the price would not be nearly as much as if a rich person made the request, but the relative cost to each person would be equally dear. The Faceless Men were founded in Valyria centuries before the Doom (and may have been instrumental in the Doom), but it’s currently unknown when they first came to Braavos, whether among the slaves who escaped Valyria, in the years it was a secret city, or after it was revealed to the world.

One major characteristic of the Faceless Men, beyond being an assassin society, is that they also are a religious cult. They serve the “Many-Faced God”, their name for death, which incorporates all the death gods of all the religions in the world. The Stranger of the Faith of the Seven, the Lion of Night of Yi Ti, the Black Goat of Qohor – to the Faceless Men they are all faces of the same god. Presumably this also includes the Other of the R’hllorist faith, as that dualistic religion holds that R’hllor brings life and the Other brings death. (Note however that R’hllorites would probably consider the MFG a false god, as that’s how they feel about all religions besides their own, that they are tricks of the Other or his demons.)

Because of their faith, the Faceless Men hold death to be a sacrament, the gift of the Many-Faced God; and in their temple, the House of Black and White, is a pool of poisonous water that visitors may drink for a quick and painless death. Also because of their faith, the Faceless Men are highly reluctant to kill anyone who has not been “marked and chosen” by the Many-Faced God. (This is likely why it’s known that they charge so much for their assassination services, to discourage anyone but the most desperate (or rich) from seeking them out.) On their assassination missions, the rule is to kill only the target, not bystanders or any guards the target may have. Also, they make no moral judgements on the assassination target; it does not matter if the victim was a good or bad person, as they do not decides who deserves to die, only the Many-Faced God does.

“And are you a god, to decide who should live and who should die?” he asked her. “We give the gift to those marked by Him of Many Faces, after prayers and sacrifice. So has it always been, from the beginning. I have told you of the founding of our order, of how the first of us answered the prayers of slaves who wished for death. The gift was given only to those who yearned for it, in the beginning… but one day, the first of us heard a slave praying not for his own death but for his master’s. So fervently did he desire this that he offered all he had, that his prayer might be answered. And it seemed to our first brother that this sacrifice would be pleasing to Him of Many Faces, so that night he granted the prayer. Then he went to the slave and said, ‘You offered all you had for this man’s death, but slaves have nothing but their lives. That is what the god desires of you. For the rest of your days on earth, you will serve him.’ And from that moment, we were two.” His hand closed around her arm, gently but firmly. “All men must die. We are but death’s instruments, not death himself. When you slew the singer, you took god’s powers on yourself. We kill men, but we do not presume to judge them.”

–The Kindly Man, ADWD, The Blind Girl

Another characteristic of the Faceless Men, unique to their order (and unlike other assassination societies such as the Sorrowful Men*) and what gives them their name, is their ability to change faces. They use makeup and disguises and magical glamours, but also their own unique magic – they have a library of faces (skinned from those who die in the House of Black and White and perhaps elsewhere, and then preserved), and through potions and magic a Faceless Man can cover their own face with this preserved face, and to everyone who views them, it’s as if they look exactly like that person did before their death. It’s yet unknown whether height and weight and gender are included in this change, or if this is handled through illusion magic or actor’s tricks, or if the Faceless Man can only use faces of people similar in body type to their own.

*The Sorrowful Men are another society of assassins (from Qarth rather than Braavos), but we don’t know anything about their habits except that they whisper “I am so sorry” before killing their target, and that one used a manticore when attempting to assassinate Dany. There may be other assassin societies throughout the world, but the Sorrowful Men and Faceless Men are the only ones that have been named so far.

Another element of the “facelessness” of the Faceless Men is their practice of discarding identity and individuality, to become “no one”. Novices are taught to train their face to avoid tells and body language that gives any hint of their old identity and personality, and are frequently questioned to see how far they have come in discarding their identity. They do not use names or even pseudonyms (the names Arya uses for them are her own, based on their apparent physical characteristics), but only refer to each other as brothers and sisters, novices and acolytes and servants and priests. When considering assassination targets, the priests meet in the House of Black and White, and anyone who knows the target recuses himself from the assignment – only one who does not know the person may give them the gift of the Many-Faced God. (This is another possible reason why more prominent targets are so expensive; it’s definitely the reason why the sailors on the Titan’s Daughter gave Arya gifts and made sure she remembered their names.)

And of course there is their mottoes “valar morghulis” (all men must die) and “valar dohaeris” (all men must serve). Though these are sayings from Old Valyria and are used throughout Essos in various contexts, as a specific password and response they appear to be unique to the Faceless Men and those who serve them. Saying “valar morghulis” and presenting a coin of the Faceless Men to any man of Braavos acts as an identifier, and the Braavosi will then do all they can for that Faceless Man.

Known targets of the Faceless Men during the course of the books: Balon Greyjoy; also an insurance salesman who cheated the heirs of his client. Also there are the victims of the Faceless Man who once called himself and used the face of the Lorathi Jaqen H’ghar (and later called himself the Alchemist and is now disguised as Pate the Citadel novice), many who seem to have been killed against the known rules of the FM – but it is unknown whether that Faceless Man is on some mission or whether he’s gone rogue.

And if you’re wondering about the literary purpose of the Faceless Men, it’s to provide interest to GRRM’s worldbuilding (acting as analogues to (fictionalized versions and legends of) the Thuggees and Hashishin), to move Arya along her plotline and develop her character and skills, to possibly provide answers to certain mysteries of the story, and of course to be an element in this plotline. I hope that answers your question. 

Portrait of Tom Wlaschiha by Monic Johanna Wollschläger

From: https://www.facebook.com/tomwlaschihafanpage/

8

let’s give thanks series (ep. 1) ↴
             🙏   -  happy mark tuan.

youtube

I finally get to officially announce my involvement with Game of Thrones and their Season 5 BluRay. I was approached last summer to illustrate the ‘Many Faced God’ short in the Histories and Lore section of the bonus features, and the video has come out today. I’m beyond excited that LA Associates reached out to me and gave me the opportunity to work on one of my absolute favorite shows. The BluRay and DVD comes out on March 15th!

Tom Wlaschiha: “It is absolutely forbidden under threat of death in the series to lose scripts.” 

lol Don´t lose them Tom! ;)

Translation of the Qoute by @enibas22

From: https://www.facebook.com/tomwlaschihafanpage/

youtube

Exclusive first look at “The Many-Faced God” from the Game of Thrones Season 5 Blu-ray

GAME OF THRONES: WHAT JAQEN H'GHAR HAS IN STORE FOR ARYA STARK

Tom Wlaschiha previews what’s ahead and shares his Faceless Men theories.

Game of Thrones didn’t leave Arya Stark in a great place at the end of Season 5. After going rogue and killing Meryn Trant to take a name off her list, she was punished by her House of Black and White mentor, Jaqen H’ghar, by having her eyesight taken from her.

Blindness might seem like the worst curse for a fighter like Arya, but Tom Wlaschiha promises that his character is only out to help the young Stark. “I think Jaqen really likes Arya,” Wlaschiha told me during a recent interview, “otherwise he wouldn’t have taken her on as an apprentice, and he sees something with her.

“He sees a lot of potential in her, but he wants her to learn and to be the best woman she can be. If she had gone off a couple of seasons ago and started killing off her list of victims, probably she wouldn’t have succeeded. He wants her to be somewhere up there.”

Jane has been an important figure to Arya since Season 2, ever since they first crossed paths on their way to the Wall. Though their paths were circuitous until they found themselves together again in Braavos, Wlaschiha subscribes to the theory that Jaqen’s plan all along was to get close to Arya.

“We still don’t know how he ended up in the prison in King’s Landing in the first place. I really hope George Martin has a bigger plan and is going to explain that at some point,” he said. “It all looks like, from the get-go, that he had his plan with Arya and he was pursuing them. He wasn’t in that cage for nothing. I hope there’s going to be some sort of resolution, some sort of bigger picture.”

Little is known about the Faceless Men, and some fans believe that the House of Black and White could have some big picture goals (a theory which is only fueled by the fact Wlaschiha believes Jaqen is aware of the White Walkers and the Night’s King). Of the Faceless Men’s true goals — and whether they might involve, say, getting a dragon — Wlaschiha admits he’s still in the dark.

“Personally, I have no idea, but the way I see it, maybe they’re like a counterforce to the White Walkers. They’re very zen. There’s old religion, there’s old cult, everybody’s equal. It’s like a balancing thing, for me,” he said, adding with a laugh, “That’s what I like about the philosophy about the House of Black and White and the Faceless Men is that all people are created equal. For me, it’s like a mix between the Bible and the Communist Manifesto.”

Source

Who would win?  Jaqen H'ghar or Bronn? submit your answer! ;)

A. Jaqen H'ghar
B. Bronn 

From: https://www.facebook.com/tomwlaschihafanpage/

Another photo of Tom Wlaschiha by Mathias Vef. 

No one caught in the middle of changing faces by

Source:  tomwlaschiha

From: https://www.facebook.com/tomwlaschihafanpage/

  • Jaqen H'Ghar:The faces are for no one. You are still someone, and to someone the faces are as good as poison.
  • Arya Stark:*goes blind*
  • Arya Stark:I came out to have a good time and I'm honestly feeling so attacked right now.

Tom Wlaschiha with a fan at the Mangame show Montpellier!!

rowena_trevanion Hug with No one aka the kindest faceless man out there 💪🏻💕

From: https://www.facebook.com/tomwlaschihafanpage/

joannalannister​ reblogged your post “Can you help explain to me what purpose it is exactly that the faceless men serve?” and added:

#This is a great post B! #I feel conflicted about the assumption of the FM serving the Great Other tho? #I mean ot1h yes they’re killing people which is doing the work of the Others as much as twot5k did #but otoh Melisandre didn’t see killing renly as the work of the great other? #her quote about shadows being the children of light suggested to me that #the faceless men might still be serving R'hllor along w/ the stranger; the lion etc idk

I think you misunderstood a bit maybe? I wasn’t saying that the Faceless Men are, idk, the equivalent of R’hllorian Satanists – they don’t serve the Great Other as the avatar of evil or whatever. But just because they don’t serve “the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of Ice, the God of Night and Terror”, it doesn’t mean they must serve “the Lord of Light, the Heart of Fire, the God of Flame and Shadow”. (GoT put a statue of the fiery heart of R’hllor in the House of Black and White, but such a statue is never described as being there in the books.)

The Faceless Men don’t serve either god in the R’hllorian duality, that’s the point, they serve death, which they call the Many-Faced God. Like, they don’t serve the Stranger, they just say the Stranger is one of the faces of their god, because in the Faith of the Seven, the Stranger brings death. And similarly, the Faceless Men would say that the god called the Great Other is also one of the many faces of Him of Many Faces, because in the religion of those who believe in the Lord of Light, the Great Other brings death.

Was I wrong to spare this one? “If the glamor fails, they will kill you.”
The wildling began to scrape the dirt out from beneath his nails with the point of his dagger. “I’ve sung my songs, fought my battles, drunk summer wine, tasted the Dornishman’s wife. A man should die the way he’s lived. For me that’s steel in hand.”
Does he dream of death? Could the enemy have touched him? Death is his domain, the dead his soldiers.

–ADWD, Melisandre

Now, whether R’hllorians would consider the Faceless Men to be tools of the Great Other, because they revere death, is another question. (If they knew of the FM’s beliefs at all, which they might not since they’re probably trade secrets.) I said in my post that they’d probably think the FM’s Many-Faced God is just one of the Other’s demons, which is what they believe of the gods of all religions that aren’t theirs… but it’s possible they might think that in the case of the Faceless Men, the Great Other has cut out the middleman. But whatever the R’hllorians might believe the MFG to be, it doesn’t mean they’re correct.

(Mind you I don’t think the Faceless Men are necessarily all that good, whatever the R’hllorians might think of them. Worshiping death should be disturbing to anyone, being assassins who worship death even more so. Even if their philosophy is complex, and they provide painless suicide, and their morals re killing assassination targets (and not bystanders) vaguely ethical, it doesn’t make them good. They’re pretty darn evil! Though I still do think the Faceless Men would probably be against the Others if they knew about them. Probably.)

Also, Melisandre is a hypocritical sack of bullcrap. Um. Perhaps that’s being a bit harsh. But her rationalization re her shadows and her murdering Renly and Cortnay Penrose being the work of good and not evil is crap, it really really is. Like I said here, just because Melisandre believes her shadowbinding magic assassins are the children of R’hllor doesn’t mean it’s true. And even if they are what she says they are – who says R’hllor is the avatar of pure unblemished goodness for real for sure? What makes the R’hllorian theology more correct than any other belief in the world? Just because they use magic that works doesn’t mean they know the real truth, it doesn’t make them right. I don’t think any of the religions we’ve seen in ASOIAF know the whole truth yet, but for sure not them.