Game of Thrones has received acclaim for being one of the deepest shows on television, with a kingdom full of minor houses jockeying for power alongside the show’s main protagonists. The books by George R.R. Martin go even further, fleshing out the history of Westeros in extreme detail. Online communities have grown over the years dedicated to piecing together this history in an attempt to better understand what’s coming next in the Song of Ice and Fire.
From these communities come a number of theories which we’ll be examining over the next few weeks. Last time, we looked at the Faceless Men and their motivations. Now we do the same for another organization that may have their own secret agenda… the Maesters of the Citadel.
Who Are The Maesters?
The maesters are an order of scholars, healers, and advisers to the noble class of Westeros. Every major house in the Seven Kingdoms has a maester of its own, trained at the Citadel in Oldtown. For each skill a maester has mastered, they add a metal link to a chain around their neck; black iron for ravenry, copper for history, silver for healing, and so on. These skills are purely educational in function and are not a form of magic. A few rare maesters hold a link of Valyrian steel, which marks them as knowledgeable in sorcery and the supernatural, but even these men have no special powers and claim that magic left the world long ago.
The maesters play an important role in Westeros. They are the only ones with the ability to train messenger ravens, and for centuries were the only ones capable of reading the messages they carried. The Citadel contains the largest library in all of the Seven Kingdoms and, as such, the maesters hold much of the knowledge of the world, portioning it out to the lords they serve as they see fit. All maesters swear an oath of fealty to the noble house they are assigned to, but some suspect the Citadel of manipulating events to their own ends.
There is one theory regarding the maesters that stands up to examination: That their mission is to eradicate all magic from Westeros and create a new world based on reason. In order to accomplish this, they have been part of a generation-long conspiracy to hoard magical items and books in the Citadel, deny the existence of the supernatural, and destroy any living embodiment of sorcery they encounter. This includes dragons and the Targaryens that control them.