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R’hllor, also known as the Red God and the Lord of Light, is a god worshipped primarily across the Narrow Sea, and his priests have only had a small presence in the Seven Kingdoms at the beginning of A Game of Thrones. This religion has a strong focus on prophecy and on ecstatic visions. The antithesis of R’hllor is the “Great Other”: a god of ice, darkness, and death. According to Martin, this faith is roughly based upon Zoroastrianism, and on the Cathars of Medieval Europe (annihilated during the Albigensian Crusade). In A Song of Ice and Fire, ancient prophecies suggest that the struggle between the two deities will come to a head when the messianic figure ‘Azor Ahai’ wields the sword Lightbringer against the invasion of the Others (a superhuman species living north of Westeros). A prominent worshipper of R’hllor is the priestess Melisandre. In A Clash of Kings, Melisandre believes Stannis Baratheon to be Azor Ahai and influences him to convert to her faith.
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