American Puritans & Game of Thrones

Who would have thought? Comparing America’s Puritans and Game of Thrones’ Old Gods of the Forest


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How did Game of Thrones become so popular? Is it because of the ongoing action that keeps us entertained? Word of mouth of how “good” it actually is? What about the sex scenes? Maybe, who knows? Religion is an important part of the series as well, but as viewers we tend to overlook such topics for something more entertaining and watchable. You wouldn’t tell your friend that Game of Thrones is awesome because of how religion is portrayed in the show, would you? Well, religion is an interesting topic to focus on because it is a major factor in our reality, and it can transcend into fiction as well.

Game of Thrones contains various religious groups like the Drowned God, The Many-Faced God, The Faith of the Seven, The Old Gods of the Forest, as well as the Lord of the Light. However, the Old Gods of the Forest is a religion that bares little similarities to the religion of one of the most iconic religious groups in history, the American Puritans. However, they do share similarities in the way that their rival groups affect their history.

When comparing the American Puritans to the Old Gods of the Forest, we must evaluate what exactly these two groups believed in. The American Puritans came to what is now known as the United States of America to freely practice their form of Christianity, Calvinism. Calvinism as with every other form of Christianity is a religion that is based around worshipping one god. A very important part of Calvinism that has become infamous when mentioning the religion is the belief in unconditional election, which means that God has pre-chosen a select number of people to either be saved or sent to hell. This religion and its practices, contrast heavily to the religious beliefs held by the followers of the Old Gods of the Forest in Game Of Thrones.

The Old Gods of the Forest is a religion followed by both the First Men and the Children of the Forest. Once rivals in combat, they formed a pact, and the once intruding First Men converted to the religion of the Old Gods of the Forest. What do they believe in? The religion of the Old Gods actually shares a very striking resemblance to the religious practices of Native Americans. They both believe in spiritual gods, as well as nature gods. The Children of the Forest, the original followers of this religion, did share similar qualities to the Native American people. They lived hidden in Westeros, in villages and caves, while also hunting with bows and arrows.

While, the religions don’t necessarily match up entirely their history does. Both the way in which the demise of the Old Gods of the Forest and the Puritans rise to power can be seen in Game Of Thrones. We can compare the Puritans to the Andals, a group of people who invaded Westeros. Like the Puritans, they were similar in the way in which they practiced their religion. They believed in the Faith of the Seven, a monotheistic religion that had a holy text, as well as priests. The history of the Andals and the religion of the Old Gods of the Forest, mirrored the way in which the Puritans and Native Americans interacted. The Andals were too strong, massacring the followers of the Old Gods, and they would then have their religion become the most dominant in the region, similarly to the way in which the Puritans forced themselves onto Native American land.

In Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity“, he states “For we must consider that we shall be the city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our god in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present from us, we shall be made a story and a by word through the world”. This quote speaks volumes and exemplifies the superiority of the Puritans and their religion. They believed that God wanted them to travel to the New World to start their new lives, similarly to the way in which the Andals saw the “Seven Face God”, which told them to migrate to Westeros. This in turn changed the way in which in both histories of the oppressed people lived. As the once dominant (Old God Followers, Native Americans), became the oppressed groups, on the “city upon the hill” of the Andals and the Puritans.

Religion can affect the way in which people behave. The way in which the Andals and followers of the Old Gods interacted after their conflict shared similarities to the way in which the Puritans interacted with the Native Americans as well, they figured out a way to coexist. While their religions are vastly different, they nonetheless acknowledged the religions, even if they associated each other with a negative connotation. Nonetheless, Jon Snow in “A Dance with Dragons”(S.5,e.9), mentioned, “My own gods are the old gods, the gods of the North, but you can keep the red god, or the Seven, or any other god that hears your prayers, It’s spears we need. Bows. Eyes along the wall”, an innocent way to further create a peaceful coexistence between religions.

Nice way to end it right?

Written by: Bryanna, Larry, Nancy, and Speshyl


8 thoughts on “Who would have thought? Comparing America’s Puritans and Game of Thrones’ Old Gods of the Forest

  1. I like how you guys mentioned the other religions of game of thrones in your second paragraph. 🙂

    I also liked how also linked The Old Gods of the Forest and Andals to their wikia pages because though I’ve seen the show, it was nice to be able to reread about the past seasons of the show,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I liked the links used to direct readers to further background information, and that you compare the violence of the Andals against the Children of the Forest to the violence of the Puritans on the Native Americans. Also, beautiful photo at the top! Nice choice.


  3. I enjoyed this post a lot, all of you made very clear, and precise points on the comparison of the puritan’s invasion to the Andals invasion. I like how you touch on that both the Native Americans and those followed the Old gods of the forest, were victims of a religion that gained massive following, and were aggressive in making sure others knew that everything is a result of god’s will. I also like the background information you gave on the Old gods of the forest because as someone who watches the show, its hard to keep track of all the religions, and how they function.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would have never thought to compare these The Old Gods of the Forest to the Puritan faith because they seem so different from each other. But I have to say, you guys proved your point! I thought it was interesting how you mentioned the other religious groups from Game of Thrones to understand why the Old Gods are similar to Protestantism in a sense that they are both secluded/oppressed groups.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic post! The Andals and Puritans do have many similarities in terms of their relationship to the Children of the Forest and Native Americans respectively. The invasion of indigenous peoples and conversion of people who were once allies is a common real world trope present across many cultures. Having this pop culture analysis actually makes it easier to talk about these issues in a meaningful, educational and respectful way.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really enjoyed your opening paragraphs because it enticed me to continue reading. You make good points how people submit to the show. I loved how you took the Puritans – Native relationship and made a good argument while interacting with the Old Gods religion. The point about behavior is also excellent because beliefs are what make people think they may be superior or otherwise. A point I would have liked to see spoken of more is how followers of the Old Gods praise and worship many ‘unnamed spirits’ while the New Englanders worship just one. I think that this can effect behavior a lot because having many Gods to praise gives one many options of how to handle certain situations.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel it was very insightful of your group to choose to compare the Old Gods of the Forest to Puritanism. Clearly the two religions are fundamentally very different, so it was wise to base the comparisons on their respective histories.

    In reference to their histories, I like how you highlighted how a group’s own endeavors can affect entire other groups of people. As the Andals and the Puritans came upon an already inhabited land to obey their own perceived religious obligations, they did so by oppressing non-believers. This shows how dogmatic practices can so easily uplift one group of people, yet inevitably stifles another.


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