Exploring the Silent Sisters of House of the Dragon and their duties and responsibilities in Westeros.
By Chandraboli Majumdar
November 10, 2022
House of the Dragon is a highly detailed world meticulously created by George RR Martin. The showrunners have done a brilliant job of converting his visions into reality on our screens. Everything from dragons, battle scenes, births and deaths have been portrayed perfectly. One of those disturbing and important parts of House of the Dragon are the Silent Sisters. The same sisters who were seen preparing the dead in House of the Dragon. So let’s explore their appearances in House of the Dragon and their role in the series.
Silent Sisters in the House of the Dragon
The Silent Sisters have been seen several times in House of the Dragon. After all, there have been quite a few deaths on the show. They wear black attire with long veils that cover their entire face. More importantly, we see them dressing and preparing the body of Ser Vaemond Velaryon after he was beheaded by Prince Daemon Targaryen. Princess Rhaenys Targaryen was indeed present during the debates. She was mostly unaffected just because of the number of deaths she had seen.
She had seen the silent sisters prepare the bodies of her two children Laena and Laenor before their funeral. Next time we will see the sisters dress the body of King Viserys in the presence of Queen Alicent Hightower. They are seen one last time in House of the Dragon season 1 when they prepare the body of Princess Rhaenyra’s daughter, Visenya Targaryen, who was stillborn.
What are their duties and responsibilities in House of the Dragon?
The Silent Sisters are also known as the Handmaidens of Death. They follow the faith of the seven. Just like the other septa, they too have taken a vow of chastity. However, since they are tending to the dead, the silent sisters take a step further and take a vow of silence. So their name. They thus devote themselves to the gods and their duties by denouncing all sorts of worldly pleasures. It is their way of living a serene life of prayer and contemplation. As mentioned earlier, they wear black and gray clothes and have a veil covering everything but their eyes.
As seen especially in the case of King Viserys and his death, the Silent Sisters must dress the corpse with sheets and silks. They use salts, perfumes and herbs to preserve the body and prepare it for the last rites. Several techniques are also used by the Silent Sisters to remove remaining flesh from bones. They drain the body of its blood and even remove some organs. By its nature, this profession or rather this profession is often also considered as a punishment. After all, living a mute life and interacting with dead bodies all day feels like punishment to me. This could be a possible storyline used by the House of the Dragon showrunners to further explore the Silent Sisters. Many widowers also join the sisters in a life of servitude.