Game of Thrones Poster #33 FRAMED Nights Watch swearing their vows Heart Tree


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Worshipers of the Old Gods do not have elaborate ceremonies, holy texts, hierarchies of priests, or large structures of worship like followers of the Faith of the Seven. Instead they practice quiet contemplation in godswoods, small areas of forest which have been enclosed within a castle’s walls. Worship in a godswood is centered on heart trees, which are great weirwood trees with a face carved into the bark. Weirwoods are considered sacred in the religion, and heart trees are the closest thing to a “shrine” that it possesses. Oaths and promises sworn in front of a heart tree are considered binding. Game of Thrones is an American fantasy drama television series created for HBO by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, the first of which is titled A Game of Thrones. The episodes are mainly written by Benioff and Weiss, who are the executive producers alongside Martin, who writes one episode per season. Filmed in a Belfast studio and on location elsewhere in Northern Ireland, Malta, Scotland, Croatia, Iceland, the United States and Morocco, it premiered on HBO in the United States on April 17, 2011. Two days after the fourth season premiered in April 2014, HBO renewed Game of Thrones for a fifth and sixth season. The series, set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos at the end of a decade-long summer, interweaves several plot lines. The first follows the members of several noble houses in a civil war for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms; the second covers the rising threat of the impending winter and the mythical creatures of the North; the third chronicles the attempts of the exiled last scion of the realm’s deposed dynasty to reclaim the throne. Through its morally ambiguous characters, the series explores issues of social hierarchy, religion, loyalty, corruption, civil war, crime, and punishment. Game of Thrones has attracted record numbers of viewers on HBO and obtained an exceptionally broad and active international fan base. It received widespread acclaim by critics, although its frequent use of nudity, violence and sexual violence has attracted criticism. The series has won numerous awards and nominations, including a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Drama Series for its first four seasons, a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Television Series – Drama, a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in both Long Form and Short Form, and a Peabody Award. Among the ensemble cast, Peter Dinklage won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for his role as Tyrion Lannister.

The Night’s Watch is a sworn brotherhood of men who patrol the Wall. As the series progresses, their enemies are the Others. The individual members or ‘Brothers of the Watch’ reject land and titles, practice celibacy, cut ties to their families, assume neutrality in politics, and never desert their assignments, on pain of death. Because their uniform is black in color, joining the Watch is known as “taking the black”. Membership varies in the story: the first scene of Game of Thrones shows a rangers led by a younger son of a noble family and two men of common birth. Many of the Night’s Watch are criminals, conscripted to redeem themselves. Joining the Watch is still considered an honor because any man can rise through the ranks regardless of illegitimacy or criminal past; but by the events of A Game of Thrones, they are few, and attenuated. In the absence of sufficient men to patrol the nineteen castles along the Wall, only Castle Black, Shadow Tower, and Eastwatch-by-the-Sea remain in use. The Watch is based at Castle Black, where the Lord Commander of the Watch resides and new recruits are trained. In A Dance with Dragons, Jon Snow has resolved to repair and staff every castle within a year. At the end of training, new recruits are assigned jobs: builders repair the castles and make weapons, stewards take care of administration, housekeeping, and other day-to-day tasks, and rangers are sent on patrols. When joining the Night’s Watch, all members must swear the following oath, either in a sept if they are of the Faith of the Seven, or before a heart tree if they follow the Old Gods of the Forest. “Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.” ?The Night’s Watch oath. A heart tree is the center of a Godswood. It is a Weirwood tree that has a face carved into the wood of the trunk. Heart trees are sacred in the religion of the Old Gods of the Forest, and the closest thing to a “shrine” that the religion possesses. Weirwoods have red sap, which leaks out of the deep cuts in the trunk made for the eyes of the faces – giving the appearance that they are weeping tears of blood. The faces are thought to have been carved by the Children of the Forest. It is often said that no man can tell a lie in front of a heart tree, as the old gods know when men are lying. Heart trees are almost always weirwood trees, but other types of trees are used if weirwoods are not available. For instance, the godswood of the Red Keep in King’s Landing is a great oak.

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