We look up at the same stars, and see such different things

This morning I read a few great chapters from A Storm of Swords. I love how George R.R. Martin handles complex topics like faith, religion and loyalty. Each chapter is named after a character and told in third person limited perspective. Because of the dire circumstances in The Seven Kingdoms, the passages frequently focus on their relationships to faith. Whether they worship the old gods or the new, the Lord of Light or the Nameless Other of Darkness, each character and their respective peoples' theologies are informed by where they were raised, what they were taught, as well as their present circumstances. With so many variables, it's impossible that everyone would share the same beliefs.

Ser Davos is first and foremost a knight, which means loyalty to king and country prevails over all else. He was raised to pray to the old gods and even under great pressure from the priestess Melissandre, he sticks to his beliefs and counters her sermons with personal strength and speaks his own truth. Melissandre fervently believes in the Lord of Light, R'ollor--Heart of Fire, God of Flame, administering blood sacrifices and even siring a shadow assassin to accomplish His purpose. Meanwhile, Bran is on his own quest. Having lost the use of his legs in a tragic fall at the onset of the story, he is forced to reconsider what it means to be a man, even what it means to be human and if he believes in greenseers (those with the gifts of foresight). My favorite passage from this morning came from Jon Snow's perspective. Jon, a bastard of Winterfell, finds himself on the other side of the Wall, questioning his past and, due to his new love for Ygritte, his sworn oath of chastity when he took the Black. I enjoyed this passage as Jon considers how he and Ygritte view the stars:

"So many stars, he thought as he trudged up the slope through pines and firs and ash. Maester Luwin had taught him his stars as a boy in Winterfell; he had learned the names of the twelve houses of heaven and the rulers of each; he could find the seven wanderers sacred to the Faith; he was old friends with the Ice Dragon, the Shadowcat, the Moonmaid, and the Sword of the Morning. All those he shared with Ygritte, but not some of the others. We look up at the same stars, and see such different things. The King's Crown was the Cradle, to hear her tell it; the Stallion was the Horned Lord; the red wanderer that septons preached was sacred to their Smith up here was called the Thief. And when the Thief was in the Moonmaid, that was a propitious time for a man to steal a woman, Ygritte insisted. "Like the night you stole me. The Thief was bright that night." ― George R.R. Martin, "Jon Snow", A Storm of Swords


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