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#153492 - 01/09/06 03:33 PM sept, septon  
Joined: Jul 2005
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Logwood Offline
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Logwood  Offline
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Israel
I'm reading George R.R Martin's "A Game of Thrones"...

("Tully" is a lineage in this context, "godswood" is a garden)

"Catelyn had been anointed with the seven oils and named in the rainbow of light that filled the sept of Riverrun. She was of the Faith, like her father and grandfather and his father before him. Her gods had names, and their faces were as familiar as the faces of her parents. Worship was a septon with a censer, the smell of incense, a seven-sided crystal alive with light, voices raised in song. The Tullys kept a godswood, as all the great houses did, but it was only a place to walk or read or lie in the sun. Worship was for the sept.
For her sake, Ned had built a small sept where she might sing to the seven faces of god..."


My dictionary translate "sept" as "tribe, clan (in ancient Ireland)"... does it make any sense in this context? I can't find a definition for "septon". Of course, these two words may have a particular definition in the novel, but if so, shouldn't these words be capitalized, or have any prior references? I see neither.

#153493 - 01/09/06 04:11 PM Re: sept, septon  
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tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel
tsuwm  Offline
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this too shall pass
I'd think that this is argot of Martin's creation. try searching for "sept septon riverrun"

#153494 - 01/09/06 04:14 PM Re: sept, septon  
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Myridon Offline
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Myridon  Offline
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Dallas, TX
The mainstream religion in the book involves seven gods/seven faces of god so their temples tend to be seven-sided thus septs - septem Latin for 7. Depending on which dictionary you use, sept is either from L. septum/saeptum - an enclosure, or a formation of sect both echo nicely with the intended meaning. A septon is a person who presides over a sept.
You'll find frequently in science fiction and fantasy that that they don't explain or point out the "non-standard" words as this tends to break the world-building aspect. In this case, there is no relationship between this world and ours, so it would be odd for a character to mention churches or Catholic priests when there are no such things and everyone in that world would be expected to know what they are.

#153495 - 01/10/06 01:50 PM Re: sept, septon  
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wsieber Offline
old hand
wsieber  Offline
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Switzerland
Hi,
After reading your post I looked up the book at Amazon.com, and found there is even a discussion forum devoted to it! This might help you on, maybe.

#153496 - 01/10/06 02:23 PM Re: sept, septon  
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of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel
of troy  Offline
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rego park
the pen is a mightier sceptor than the sword.. pehaps a sept is a variation of sceptor? it is a place/representation of the true authority? intentions spelled to play into the notion of seven (sept)?

#153497 - 01/10/06 06:36 PM Re: sept, septon  
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wsieber Offline
old hand
wsieber  Offline
old hand

Joined: Mar 2000
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Switzerland
The allusion to the number seven seems evident from the given context. "Sceptre" seems several steps more remote. At least two other roots come to mind: septic (putrefying) from the greek, and septum (membrane) from the latin. In the religious context, the association with "sexton" also apperas intentional.


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