The Citadel

The Archive of 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Lore


4.3. The Drowned God
  • The Drowned God is said to have made the ironborn to reave and rape, to carve out kingdoms and to make their names known in fire and blood and song (II: 125)
  • Priests wear sea water robes, mottled green and grey and blue, which colors are those of the Drowned God (II: 127, 128. IV: 18)
  • Priests wear their hair and beards long and braid ropes of dried seaweed through them (II: 128. IV: 18)
  • One of the ironborn might become a priest of the Drowned God after an experience such as nearly drowning (II: 128)
  • A priest carries a waterskin filled with sea water (II: 128, 129)
  • The process of a blessing is that the priest has a person kneel. Using his skin of sea water, he pours a stream of it upon the person's head. As he does this he intones, "Let <person> your servant be born again from the sea, as you were. Bless him with salt, bless him with stone, bless him with steel." Then the kneeling person responds, "What is dead may never die." Finally, the priest closes with, "What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger" (II: 129)
  • The Drowned God brought flame from the sea, and sailed the world with fire and sword (II: 132)
  • Priests of the Drowned God bless new ships, speaking invocations and pouring sea water over prows (II: 278, 279)
  • When an ironman drowns, it's said that the Drowned God needed a strong oarsman, and the refrain "What's dead may never die" is used. It is believed he will be feasted in the Drowned God’s watery halls, his every want satisfied by mermaids (II: 281. IV: 20)
  • Ritual executions, involving the drowning of victims in water (particularly salt water), are made in the Drowned God's name if (for example) someone insults the god (II: 394, 527)
  • The person who leads should be the one to execute the offering to the Drowned God (II: 394)
  • "Lord God who drowned for us," is part of the litany of the Drowned God's priests (IV: 17, 28)
  • Priests of the Drowned God know how to drown a man and then bring him back to life. This is done as part of the rites of the god, consecrating the drowned person to him. Not all men are successfully revived, however (IV: 17-18. TSS: 154)
  • Drowned men are acolytes of the Drowned God’s priests. They wear mottled robes and carry driftwood cudgels to show their devotion (IV: 17-19)
  • Some ironborn do not go so far as to drown so that a priest may revive them. Instead, a symbolic drowning takes place shortly after birth where their heads are briefly dipped in seawater and little more (IV: 19)
  • The Storm God has warred with the Drowned God for a thousand thousand years (IV: 20)
  • Ravens are said to be the creatures of the Storm God (IV: 22)
  • Priests of the Drowned God that ironborn must not shed the blood of ironborn, but they believe that methods such as drowning are acceptable (IV: 23)
  • Priests and their drowned men primarily make use of those things that can be taken from the sea, such as driftwood for makeshift shelters and sealskin for tents (IV: 26)
  • The Storm God is thought to reside in a cloudy hall (IV: 29)
  • The shore of Nagga's Cradle, the bay beneath Nagga's Ribs, is considered scared (IV: 255)
  • A drowned priest is said to be able to sour wells and make women barren with his gaze (IV: 433)
  • The ironborn have their bodies committed to the sea, so they may find the Drowned God's halls (IV: 435)
  • The Drowned God was a creation of the Ironborn (SSM: 1)
4.3.1. The Old Way
  • The ironmen used to carry woman away as prizes, and kept them as wives whether they wished it or not. A man would have his true wife, his rock bride who was of the islands as he was, and he would have the salt wives captured in raids (II: 124)
  • In the old days, the ironborn did not labor at farming, fishing, or mining. That was the labor for the captives they brought from their raids. The true trade of the ironmen was warfare (II: 125)
  • The Old Way had been destroyed when Aegon the Conqueror had burnt Black Harren, gave Harren's kingdom to the rivermen, and the reduced the Iron Islands to an insignificant backwater of a greater realm (II: 125)
  • The ironborn reavers used to carry burning brands, razing the places they raided (II: 132)
  • In the Old Way, only women could decorate themselves with baubles bought with coin. Warriors wore only the jewelry they took from the corpses of enemies that they slew themselves. This practice was called "paying the iron price* (II: 135)
  • Ritual executions, involving the drowning of victims in salt water, are made in the Drowned God's name if (for example) someone insults the god. It is the old way of the ironborn (II: 394)
  • Ironmen of old were often blood-drunk in battle, so berserk that they felt no pain and feared no enemy (II: 394)
  • The Old Way extends even to comrades, if one ends their life to save them pain or because they've failed in some matter (II: 395)
  • During reaving expeditions, the prettier women were taken as salt wives while the crones and ugly ones were simply raped and killed unless they had useful skills and did not seem likely to be troublesome; those became thralls (II: 395)
  • It is not part of the Old Way to lay siege to castles. Glory can only be gotten by fighting man to man, not by flinging rocks (II: 399)
  • There are no slaves on the Iron Islands, only thralls. Thralls are bound to service, but they are not property, and a thralls children would be considered free if they were given to the Drowned God. The onl way to win a thrall was to pay the iron price. Selling slaves is not part of the Old Way (IV: 435)