Talking about the Starks, Let’s discuss a few of the Stark children. Bran Stark is paralyzed after climbing a tower in Winterfell and witnessing Jamie Lannister having intercourse with his twin sister Cersei. Jamie pushes Bran off the tower, and he falls and ends up in a coma. While in the coma, Bran dreams of a three eyed crow (Raven in the television show), which tells him it can teach him to fly. Bran realizes that it has three eyes, with the third eye full of a terrible knowledge. The crow is able to guide Bran out of his coma. Bran later finds the three-eye crow north of the wall, who teaches him about greenseeing and skinchanging. Greenseeing is the ability to perceive future, past or distant events in dreams which are called Green Dreams. In the show, Bran uses this ability to travel to the past and finds out the true parentage of Jon Snow (who he thought was his half-brother).
The idea of a third eye was popular in pre-Christian western culture and still remains a part of the eastern religions. Plato called the third eye, the eye of the soul, stating: “…I quite admit the difficulty of believing that in every man there is an Eye of the soul which…is far more precious than ten thousand bodily eyes, for by it alone is truth seen.” and “The Eye of the soul, which is blinded and buried by other studies, is alone naturally adapted to be resuscitated and excited by the mathematical disciplines.” The idea of the Third Eye alludes to the “All Seeing Eye”. In his 1918 book, The Wonders of the Human Body, Dr. George Washington Carey tells us: “…the All-seeing eye…This is the eye of freemasonry, the third eye. While I am credibly formed that few Masons understand their own symbols, the fact remains that they use them…” Our ritual says: “The All seeing eye whom the sun, moon, and stars obey, and under whose watchful care comets preform their stupendous revolutions, beholds the inmost recesses of the human heart, and will reward us according to our works.” In Hindu tradition, the Ajna or third eye chakra is said to connect people to their intuition, give them the ability to communicate with the world, and help them receive messages from the past and the future. So you can see how the idea of the third eye, relates to the All-seeing eye and Brans ability to see the past and future.
Arya Stark in both the books and the show goes to the House of Black and White in Braavos to learn how to become an assassin and priest to the God of Death, known as "The Many Faced God". The phrase associated with them is “Valar Morghulis” which translated from High Valyrian (one of the languages in the Game of Thrones universe) means “All men must die.” The idea of the House of Black and White ties directly to the Mosaic Pavement of the Masonic Lodge which is emblematical of human life checkered with good and evil. The idea of all men dying ties into the ultimate lesson of the 3rd Degree, and is represented in the idea of Memento Mori which is a theme that I have written about here: http://www.midnightfreemasons.org/2018/06/memento-mori-death-reflection.html. There is another tie to Freemasonry through the Faceless men , it is that they seem to be inspired by the Hashishins, which was a secret order of Assassins (in fact that’s where the word originated from) founded by Hasan bin Sabbah during the crusades. There is some thought that some of their practices were copied by the Templars and later became part of the ritual used by the Freemasons.
Jon Snow begins the show and the books as the Bastard Son of Eddard Stark (Ned) who is brought home to Winterfell (the Stark’s ancestral home) after Robert’s Rebellion. In the books, Jon is sent to the wall to join the Night’s Watch. He begins as a Steward, but rises through the ranks to become the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. The last book ends with Snow being assassinated by fellow Night’s Watchmen who are upset about him allowing Wildlings through the wall. In the show, he is brought back to life with the aid of the Red Priestress, Melisandre of Assha, who worships R’hllor, known as the Lord of Light. We later find out through Bran using his greensight that Jon is actually the son of Lyanna Stark (Ned’s sister) and Rhaegar Targaryen (Daenerys’s brother). Rhaegar is killed by Robert Baratheon at the Battle of the Trident, making “Jon Snow” a widow’s son upon his birth. It should be easy to see who Jon is a reference to. We have in our ritual, Hiram Abiff, who like Jon is a widow’s son who is assassinated by his co-workers but is “raised” from the dead (by the assistance of someone who is skilled in necromancy I might add). Interestingly enough, there is an entry for a John Snow in Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry which reads:
“A distinguished lecturer on Freemasonry, who was principally instrumental in introducing the system of Webb, of whom he was a pupil, into the Lodges of the Western States. He was also a Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, and was the founder and first Grand Commander of the first Grand Encampment of Knights Templar in the same State. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, February 25, 1780; was initiated into Freemasonry in Mount Vernon Lodge, of Providence, in 1809, and died May 16,1852, at Worthington, Ohio.”
R’hllor, is a god of light, heat and life and called the Lord of Light, or the God of Flame and Shadow. His religion is based in Essos, which is across the Narrow Sea from Westeros. He is opposed by the Great Other, known as the Lord of Darkness, or the God of Night and Terror. In the books and show, Melisandre believes that Stannis Baratheon, King Robert Baratheon’s brother is reincarnation of Azor Ahai, also known as the Prince who was Promised. In the show, when she realizes that Stannis will lose the Battle for Winterfell, she returns to the Wall, where she brings Jon Snow back to life. After this she believes that Jon is the Prince who was Promised. Azor Ahai was a legendary figure and hero who with his burning sword called LightBringer, who battled against the Darkness. LightBringer was forged by Azor Ahai after multiple attempts by driving the sword through the breast of his wife, Nissa Nissa. Her soul combined with the steel of the sword, making it into LightBringer. The Last Hero who lived during the Long Night and helped defeat the others may or may not be Azor Ahai. The prophecy claims that he will be reborn and sent by R’hllor after a long summer when an evil, cold darkness descends upon the world.
The idea of light is prevalent throughout Freemasonry. Mackey, in the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry says this about Light:
”Light is an important word in the Masonic system. It conveys a far more recondite meaning than it is believed to possess by the generality of readers. It is in fact the first of all the symbols presented to the neophyte, and continues to be presented to him in various modifications throughout all his future progress in his Masonic career. It does not simply mean, as might be supposed, truth or Sodom, but it contains within itself a far more abstruse allusion to the very essence of Speculative Freemasonry, and embraces within its capacious signification all the other symbols of the Order. Freemasons are emphatically called the Sons of Light, because they are, or at least are entitled to be, in possession of the true meaning of the symbol; while the profane or uninitiated who have not received this knowledge are, by a parity of expression, said to be in darkness.
The connection of material light with this emblematic and mental illumination, was prominently exhibited in all the ancient systems of religion and esoteric mysteries. Among the Egyptians, the hare was the hieroglyphic of eyes that are open, because that animal was supposed to have his eyes always open.”
“As light was thus adored as the source of goodness, darkness, which is the negation of light, was abhorred as the cause of evil, and hence arose that doctrine which prevailed among the ancients, that there were two antagonistic principles continually contending for the government of the world.”
“Light is a source of positive happiness: without it man could barely exist. And since all religious opinion is based on the ideas of pleasure and pain, and the corresponding sensations of hope and fear, it is not to be wondered if the heathen reverenced light. Darkness, on the contrary, by re-plunging nature, as it were, into a state of nothingness, and depriving man of the pleasurable emotions conveyed through the organ of sight, was ever held in abhorrence, as a source of misery and fear. The two opposite conditions in which man thus found himself placed, occasioned by the enjoyment or the banishment of light, induced him to imagine the existence of two antagonistic principles in nature, to whose dominion he was alternately subjected.”
The idea of a sword of light defeating the darkness has illusions to Freemasonry also. In Freemasonry, the sword represents several things. As you are first received upon the point of a sharp object piercing your naked left breast upon your first entrance into a lodge as a candidate, you’re reminded of this every time you enter the lodge from that point forward in the form of the Tyler guarding the Lodge with his sword. “The sword pointing to the naked heart” is another allusion back to your reception into the lodge, and harkens back to older ceremonies used in Freemasonry and other orders or secret societies. In these, the candidate or initiate would often take his obligation surrounded by swords with their points resting against his body, ready to pierce his skin upon refusing said obligations. Furthermore, the Tyler guards against “Cowans and Evesdroppers” who might want to learn the secrets of Freemasonry. But on a more symbolic level, the Tyler’s sword is protecting the lodge room from outside influences, evils or enemies of Freemasonry. This is apparent in the symbol of the “The Book of Constitutions, Guarded by the Tyler’s Sword.” It “admonishes us to be ever watchful and guarded in our words and actions, particularly before the enemies of Masonry, ever bearing in remembrance those truly Masonic Virtues, silence and circumspection.” It also represents a symbol of authority, as the Tyler has within his power to refuse someone entrance to the lodge room if they are unknown to him.
Jon’s best friend, Samwell Tarly, is sent to Old Town along with (Maester Aemon Targaryen in the books) so that he can become a Maester of the Night’s Watch. The Order of the Maesters are an order of scholars, healers, and learned men in the Seven Kingdoms. They are a secular organization, not a religious order. They do swear sacred oaths to follow their duties and restrictions of their office. Women are not allowed to join the Maesters. The sigil of the order is a circular golden chain made up of twelve square links. Like the Night’s Watch, the Maesters are an egalitarian order whose members ignore their family and/or political ties, give up their rights to inheritance, and take a vow of celibacy. As mentioned, the headquarters of the Maesters is located in Oldtown in a building known as the Citadel. The entrance to the Citadel is flanked by two giant sphinxes. New initiates are trained at the Citadel, and begin as Novices, when they earn a link, they become Acolytes. When an Acolyte is ready to take his vows, he is placed in a room of complete darkness with one of the Citadels glass candles, made of razor sharp obsidian. He must stay in the room for the entire night in Darkness, unless he is able to light the candle. The initiatory process is supposed to teach a lesson about truth and learning. Upon completion of the above, the Acolyte takes his vows. After taking his vows and completing his initiation, the Acolyte receives the title of Maester. The order is ruled by a council of Arch Maesters called the Conclave. The Grand Maester is considered to be the most senior member of the order, and is elected by the Conclave. He serves the King and Small Council in King’s Landing, and resides in the Red Keep. Only the council can elect the Grand Maester, but the King or Hand of the King may dismiss him. He still retains his title in this case. Maesters wear chains around their necks composed of various metals to signify their personal experience. The Maesters forge their links themselves and there are 16 fields of study, each being represented by a different type of Metal. Maesters are expected to wear their chains at all times, even while they are asleep. Some of the fields and their metals are:
Black Iron – Ravenry
Bronze – Astronomy
Copper – History
Electrum – Astrology
Gold – Money and Accounting
Iron – Warcraft
Lead – Poison
Pale Steel – Smithing
Silver – Medicine and Healing
Steel – Construction
Valyrian Steel – “The Higher Mysteries” (ie: Magic and Alchemy)
The comparisons of between the Freemasons and the Maesters should be apparent. Freemasonry is a secular organization, not a religious order. We swear sacred oaths to follow our duties. Women are not allowed to join the Freemasons. There are three levels in Freemasonry. Our candidates are in darkness and brought to light, and the way in which we take our obligations is similar to how the Maester takes his vows. Upon the completion of our last degree, we are given the title of Master Mason. The officers of the Masonic Lodge wear a jewel of their office upon a collar which has chains. We are commended as Fellowcraft to study the Trivium and Quadrivium (The 7 liberal arts and sciences). Our Grand Lodges are led by a Grand Master. Finally, the two sphinxes which guard the citadel conjure images of the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C. For those of you who have visited, you should also know that those are further allusions to the two pillars which stood on the porch of Solomon’s temple.
As you can see, there are many ties to Freemasonry in the show Game of Thrones, as well as in the book series. Whether they are intentional or not, we can see that the world that George RR Martin created has symbols which are shared by our fraternity. If you’re a fan of the books or the show, (or both), and feel that I missed something, feel free to email me and let me know. I hope that you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
WB Darin A. Lahners is the Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of the new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282, and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). He is also a member of the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.