On Game of Thrones, the High Sparrow is seen as the spiritual leader of the primary religion of Westeros. In essence, he is its “pope.” Your correspondent always found it odd that they chose to cast Jonathan Pryce — a man who looks quite a lot like Pope Francis — to play the High Sparrow, who is a questionable character, wavering uncomfortably between good guy and villain.
Physical looks aside, and they are considerable, there are other similarities between the two: the High Sparrow preaches turning away from the material world, while Pope Francis lives in the Vatican guest house rather than the papal apartments, and prefers a Fiat to a Mercedes; Pope Francis took the name of St. Francis, who turned away from earthly possessions, while the High Sparrow dresses in the sort of coarse plain robes early Franciscans might have worn (though white, not brown); the High Sparrow even has lines that we could imagine hearing from Il Papa:
Sin leads us away from the sacred. And only confession can purge sin.The love between a man and wife is sacred. It reflects the love [God has] for all of us.
We are not the first to see these similarities, and someone has even put together an extensive video of side-by-side comparisons between the two:
In an interview, Pryce said:
High Sparrow appeared for me right about the same time that Pope Francis became pope, and the PR surrounding him at the time was that he was a man of the people. That he would get down with the poor and the maimed, and he would wash their feet. And that’s how you see High Sparrow. He is a man of the people.
What do you think?