Baelor I Targaryen
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- This page is about the King named "Baelor Targaryen". For other characters called "Baelor Targaryen", please see Baelor Targaryen.
Portrait of Baelor I by Amok©
|Reign||161 -171 AC|
|Full Name||Baelor Targaryen First of His Name|
|Alias|| Baelor the Beloved|
Baelor the Blessed
Baelor the Befuddled
|Other Titles||King of the Seven Kingdoms|
|Born in||144 AC, at King's Landing|
|Died in||171 AC, at King's Landing|
|Royal House||House Targaryen|
|Predecessor||Daeron I Targaryen|
|Successor||Viserys II Targaryen|
|Father||Aegon III Targaryen|
|Books|| The World of Ice and Fire (Mentioned)|
The Sworn Sword (Mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (Mentioned)
A Storm of Swords (Mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Mentioned)
Baelor I, known as the Beloved and the Blessed, was the ninth Targaryen king to reign on the Iron Throne. Known for his piety, Baelor was a septon as well as a king. He was the second son of Aegon III and ruled after the death of his brother Daeron I Targaryen. The Great Sept of Baelor in King's Landing features a statue of him. None of the Targaryen dynasty's kings are as beloved as Baelor, he loved the smallfolk and the gods in equal parts - yet imprisoned his own sisters.
Appearance and Character
Baelor was a peaceful, devoted and pious man. He was very thin and frail looking from his repeated fasts. He wore a long beard and hair of typical Targaryen silver-gold color. His crown was made of flowers and vines.
Baelor was quiet and bookish, and strong in the Faith of the Seven. He wished to become a septon, but his father refused to indulge this whim, instead insisting that he marry his sister Daena in the traditional Targaryen manner. In 160 AC Baelor obeyed, but extremely reluctantly and refused to consummate the marriage.
Upon his brother King Daeron's death, Baelor at seventeen was crowned King and ascended the Iron Throne. Since the Dornish had rebelled and slain King Daeron, the Hand of the King and Baelors own uncle Prince Viserys had the fourteen highborn Dornish hostages sent to the dungeon to await execution.
Baelors first act as King shocked all. He pardoned all the Dornish hostages and refused any suggestion of executing them. Many similar acts of piety and forgiveness occured throughout his ten year reign. Even when his lords and council cried out for vengence, Baelor publicly forgave his brother's killers and meant to "bind up the wounds" of his brothers war and make peace with Dorne. He declared he would go to Dorne with neither sword nor army.
This Baelor clad in a sackcloth he walked the Boneway barefoot to make peace with Dorne. The fourteen highborn hostages on fine horses followed him. Baelor first arrived at House Wyl where he saw his cousin Prince Aemon the Dragonknight imprisoned naked in a cage. Baelor pleaded for his release but the Wyl's refused. Baelor offered a prayer for his cousin and vowed he would return.  It was an arduous journey to Sunspear yet Baelor despite the sorching sun and hot sands survived. Prince of Dorne grateful with the mercy Baelor had shown the highborn Dornish hostages listened to Baelor's proposal. Baelor negotiated a betrothal of his young cousin Daeron to Myriah Martell as a means of making peace with Dorne after Daeron I's failed conquest. Both were very young children at the time, so the marriage need not take place for a time. After a brief sojourn in the palace of Sunspear, the Prince of Dorne offered Baelor a galley to take him back to King's Landing, the young King refused stating the Gods commanded him to walk. Many in the Dornish court feared that King Baelor traveling back the hazardous journey might kill him and undo the peace agreement and bring the wroth of the Iron Throne back to Dorne. So the Prince of Dorne made sure that the Dornish Lords would be hospitable.
Baelor did not forget his promise to his cousin Aemon the Dragonknight, still a captive. The Prince of Dorne had already sent a message to Lord Wyl commanding him to release the Dragonknight into Baelors custody.
Lord Wyl instead of freeing Aemon, he put the Dragonknight in a cage in the center of a pit that was filled with vipers. The cage was suspended off the ground so the snakes could not get to Aemon himself but the sun by day and the cold by night would eventually kill him, that or starvation. Baelor was given the key and an invitation to use it. The Dragonknight begged Baelor to leave him, Baelor refused and walked into the pit.
Though the tales and songs say that the snakes simply bowed their heads and refused to bite Baelor due to protection of the gods, the truth is quite different. He was bitten dozens of times, yet somehow he reached the cage and managed to hand his cousin the key before passing out. Aemon thrust open the door, leaped into the pit and carried his cousin and King to safety while the snakes snapped all around him. The Wyl's were said to be placing wagers on how long they would last, their cruelty spurred Aemon on and he managed to escape the pit with Baelor.
The venom put Baelor in a coma, his cousin Aemon carried his comatose King all the way through the Boneway till he came across a village that gave him clothing and an ass to take them the rest of the way. Aemon arrived at Blackhaven where the local Maester treated Baelor. Baelor eventually awoke upon the journey to Storm's End but was half a year more before he was fit to travel to King's Landing.
Baelor's upon his return spent the rest of his reign in prayer and piety. He would fast to the point of fainting to tame the lusts that shamed him. He convinced the High Septon to dissolve his marriage since it had never been consummated, to which the High Septon complied.  His uncle Viserys continued to order and run the realm as the King's Hand but was troubled by his nephews edicts.
After his marriage was dissolved Baelor confined his sisters, Daena (his former wife), Rhaena, and Elaena in the Maidenvault so they did not tempt him or other men of the court with carnal thoughts. Viserys and the council strongly opposed this but the King would not yield, thus they were kept in comfortable confinement, some Lords and knights sent their young daughters to the vault as well to keep the Princesses company and to curry favor with the King.
Baelor decreed that prostitution be outlawed and banished all the whores and sex workers from King's Landing. He prayed for them but did not look at them. His small council protested vigorously of the trouble that would come from this, but Baelor refused to listen and he closed his eyes to the unrest that followed. Baelor decided not to re-arm the faith, as Baelor was a man of peace who believed the only weapon the faithful should have is prayer.
The Lords in the realm were beginning to grow uneasy as the king's erratic edicts and new laws. Many began to whisper that the snake venom may have drove Baelor mad. He decreed that the gods sent him a vision and that a Great Sept be built atop Visenya's Hill, thus work began though the Sept was not completed until after his death. Baelor earned the contempt of his nobles by forcing the proud Lord Belgrave to wash the feet of a leper. He tried to replace all the ravens that delivered messages with doves, a debacle that is discussed in detail in Maester Walgrave's book Black Wings, Swift Words. He granted tax exemption to Lords who protected their daughter virtue through chastity belts and attempted to birth new dragons by praying over the dragon eggs but his prayers went unanswered. He had the books written by Septon Barth burned because he claimed Barth was more a sorcerer than a Septon. 
The smallfolk though loved him, as Baelor throughout his reign gave generously to charitable causes and did much to house and feed the poor, one such was decreeing that every man and woman in the city would receive a daily loaf of bread for a year. The High Septon at the time grew very influential in the kingdom as he had the king's ear. 
When the High Septon died, Baelor personally selected his replacement, he had a simple stonemason called Pate named as the High Septon, a man that could carve stonework so beautifully that Baelor believed him to be the Smith in human form. While a fantastic stonecarver, the new High Septon could not read, write or recite any prayers. He was described as a lackwit and died of a fever less then a year after taking office, Rumour spread that Baelor's Hand had him poisoned to end the embarrassment to the realm.
Baelor then raised a boy of eight years to High Septon, a street urchin said to be the son of a draper who Baelor claimed worked miracles. Since Baelor did so much for the Faith of the Seven, the Most Devout always granted the King's requests, regardless of their personal thoughts on the matter. 
When Baelors former wife Daena gave birth to a bastard son named Daemon Waters, Baelor fasted himself to pay for her sins, when his cousin Naerys gave birth to twins who both died during delivery he took it a step further and fasted for forty days and nights refusing to take anything but water and some bread. On the 41st day the King collapsed, neither Grandmaester Munkun or the boy High Septon who Baelor said worked miracles could save him. 
Baelors is a controversial historical figure in the Targaryen monarchy.
Some remember Baelor as a great and holy man, given to deep prayer and fasting to experience religious visions, and honor him for his contributions to the Faith, including the construction of the Great Sept in King's Landing which on completion was named Baelor's Sept in his honor. Many praise him for his mercy he showed to the Dornish hostages after the Conquest of Dorne and in forging a peace, for the charity he showed the poor and for his bravery in rescuing the Dragonknight from the snake pit.
Others regard him as a weak, simpering fool, prone to hallucinations and bad decisions brought about by excessive zealotry, such as imprisoning his own sisters, outlawing prostitution, giving tax exemption to Lords who protected the virtues of their daughters by the use of chastity belts, the loss of knowledge caused by his order of the burning of books such as those written by the brilliant Barth or for not consummating his marriage which led to the birth of Daemon Blackfyre .
Quotes about Baelor
|“||The realm would have been better served if he had closed his eyes and fucked her. I know enough of history to know that.||”|
|“||He was a rare spirit, pure and brave and innocent, untouched by the evils of the world.||”|
|“||The feeblest king who ever sat on the Iron Throne.||”|
References and Notes
- ↑ See the Baelor I Targaryen calculation.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 A World of Ice and Fire, Baelor I Targaryen.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 65, Cersei.
- ↑ So Spake Martin: Targaryen Kings (November 1, 2005)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 The World of Ice and Fire, Baelor I.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6, Sansa.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion.
- ↑ The Sworn Sword.