House of the Dragon, like Game of Thrones, is a richly textured series and does a lot to flesh out the details of its world. While the Faceless Men haven’t made an appearance yet, they’re still a looming presence, and there’s a good chance they’ll at least play a role once the Dragon Dance begins in earnest.
While Game of Thrones reveals some important elements of this top-secret group of assassins, it also hides a lot of information from the viewer. It will be interesting to see how the House of the Dragon writers incorporate them into the series and if they change anything about the Faceless Men that are only revealed in Martin’s books.
10/10 Hardly any formal religious services for the Faceless Men
One of the most remarkable things about the Faceless Men is that they are servants of a true religious faith. However, unlike other religions in the world of Game of Thrones, such as the Faith of the Seven, there are almost no formal church services.
This gives the Faceless Men a rather sinister and enigmatic aura. They are a group that is much more involved in the inner life of the spirit than in external trappings (which may help explain why people hold them in such admiration).
9/10 The price of faceless men is always within the reach of those who hire them
It’s no secret that the Faceless Men are a group of hit men. While their murders are of course part of their religious faith, they also blame their trafficking for the death.
However, it’s important to recognize that they only charge what they think a person can adequately afford. This makes sense since if murder is a form of sacrament, then they would want to make sure that it is also accessible to as many people as possible. It is, it has to be said, a remarkably egalitarian approach to his profession.
8/10 Only a few faceless men have ever been women
While there are plenty of great female characters on Game of Thrones, that doesn’t always extend to the Faceless Men. Like so many other places in Martin’s fictional universe, the women seem like an afterthought when it comes to serving as faceless men.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t such minions, of course. However, it does allow fans to see why it’s so important that Arya seems ready to become one of their members in the books, and may help explain why she ultimately leaves the Faceless Men in the TV adaptation.
7/10 The Faceless Men must not know the target to accept a quest
Any viewer of the show knows that there are a lot of deaths on Game of Thrones. Many of them are heartbreaking precisely because the viewer has been made to feel as if they knew the characters.
For the Faceless Men, on the other hand, it is absolutely essential that an assassin be unaware or unaware of the target they are attacking. It’s easy to see why they would impose this particular requirement, as it would allow them to carry out their mission without the distractions that would come from familiarity (let alone affection).
6/10 Faceless men prefer not to be seen by their target
Given that they’re so skilled in the arts of death, it’s no surprise that the Faceless Men have their own system for how they want those deaths to be inflicted. Among other things, it’s an article of faith that it’s better for the intended target not to see them before they attack.
Their efforts to remain unknown are a large part of what makes the Faceless Men so feared among those who inhabit Martin’s world. Because they can strike at almost any time, they become a very powerful threat to those seeking their services.
5/10 Some memories of dead faces can seep into your consciousness
While it may be one of the best locations in Game of Thrones, there are still some particularly disturbing things about Braavos. One of them is the cabinets of faces that exist in the catacombs of the House of Whites and Blacks. They are, of course, the key to the Faceless Men and their ability to transform into others.
What book readers do know, however, is that memories of the person to whom the face originally belonged sometimes seep into the consciousness of the person wearing it. This most often happens the first time they do it.
4/10 The Faceless Men originated in the slave mines of Valyria
For a long time, Valyria was one of the most powerful nations in Martin’s world, capable of producing many wonders (including the many Valyrian steel swords). However, they were also known for their use of slave labor, and it was this institution that gave rise to the Faceless Men.
Readers of the book know that the cult originated in the mines when a man (who is unnamed) gave the gift of death to one of his slaves. From there, it began to spread through the upper strata of Valyrian society.
3/10 The Faceless Men may have caused the fate of Valyria
Once the Faceless Men emerged from the Valyrian mines, they played an increasingly important role in the affairs of the realm as a whole. Given how jealous the Valyrians were of their power, it is not surprising that many of the great and powerful decided to use these trained assassins against each other.
However, it is quite possible that by doing so they unknowingly caused their own downfall. Some believe that too many wizards were killed by the Faceless Men, leading to the series of volcanic explosions that culminated in Doom.
2/10 Faceless men pray morning and evening
While they lack specific religious rituals, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of shared events that the Faceless Men participate in. More importantly, there are a series of prayers that are observed in the morning and in the evening.
Though seemingly minor, it’s easy to see why it would be a key part of your everyday existence. It is a reminder to both the Faceless Men and those who come to worship and find peace in the House of Black and White that there is a greater purpose to what they do.
1/10 Blind sidekicks are common in the black and white house
Once Arya travels to Braavos, she quickly tries to get accepted into the House of Black and White. Her ambition, of course, is to train as an assassin so she can kill those who have wronged her family.
At some point, she goes blind while on duty. While it puzzles her, blindness is quite common among House of Black and White acolytes. In Arya’s case, of course, it ends up being a temporary measure, but at least it serves to enhance her other senses.
Game of Thrones seasons 1-8 are available to stream on HBO