High Septon (Aenys I)

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High Septon
FaithStar.png
Title High Septon
His High Holiness
Shepherd of the Faithful
Allegiance Faith of the Seven
Born In 9 BC
Died In 43 AC[1], at the Starry Sept, Oldtown
Book(s) The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)
The Sons of the Dragon (mentioned)

The High Septon was High Septon of the Faith of the Seven during the Faith Militant uprising that occurred during the reign's of Aenys I Targaryen and Maegor I Targaryen.[2][1]

Appearance and character

By the time of his death, at 53, the High Septon was robust, tireless, fearless and renowned for his strenght and sometimes preaching for day and night without sleep or nourishment.[1]

History

The constant, though largely unintentional, slights suffered by the Faith of the Seven during the reign of King Aenys I Targaryen led to a revolt by the Faith against the Iron Throne. He spoke out against the bigamous marriage of Maegor to Alys Harroway. To appease him, Aenys exiled Maegor and named Septon Murmison as Hand of the King.[1]

The final straw was in 41 AC when King Aenys wed his daughter, Rhaena, to his son and heir, Aegon. The High Septon expelled Septon Murmison for performing the marriage. Aenys responded by sending a letter to the High Septon, asking for "good Murmison" to be reinstated. The High Septon responded to the King's request with a blistering denunciation to "King Abomination" as a pretender and a tyrant, with no right to rule the Seven Kingdoms.[1] Pious lords and even smallfolk who once loved Aenys turned against him, beginning the Faith Militant uprising.[3] An envoy of the Iron Bank of Braavos sent to treat with Lord Hightower, wrote to the bank that the High Septon was "the true king of Westeros, in all but name".[1]

The conflict continued during the reign of King Maegor I Targaryen, who burned the Sept of Remembrance in King's Landing to the ground.

In 43 AC, Maegor outlawed the Faith Militant and commanded the High Septon to deliver himself to the Red Keep, to stand trial for high treason. In response, His High Holiness commanded the king to present himself to the Starry Sept in Oldtown, to beg the forgiveness of the gods for his sins and cruelties.[1] That same year,[N 1] Maegor and his mother, Visenya, atop Balerion and Vhagar, turned towards Oldtown after burning down the seats of pious lords in the westerlands and the riverlands. The High Septon called down the wroth of the gods on the Targaryens, as the Warrior's Sons of Oldtown, led by Ser Morgan Hightower, surrounded the Starry Sept. By the time the dragons arrived, however, the High Septon had died.[1]

The cause of his death remain debated, especially as he had been a healthy man. Some believe the High Septon took his own life, either the act of a craven afraid to face the wroth of Maegor or a noble sacrifice to spare the people of Oldtown from dragonfire. Others claim the Seven struck him down for the sin of pride, for heresy, treason, or arrogance. Many more are certain he was murdered. One of the suspects is Ser Morgan Hightower, at the command of Lord Martyn Hightower, who was seen entering and leaving the High Septon's privy chambers the night of his death and was the only Warrior's Son ever pardoned by Maegor. Others point to Patrice Hightower, Lord Martyn's maiden aunt and reputed witch, who did seek an audience with His High Holiness at dusk, though he was alive when she departed. Other suspects are the archmaesters of the Citadel, through the use of the dark arts, an assassin or a poisoned scroll; as messages were sent between the Citadel and the Stary Sept during the night of the High Septon's demise. The final suspect is Queen Visenya Targaryen, another reputed sorceress.[1]

However, the death of the High Septon and the election of a new, more passive figure did not stop the uprising.[2][1]

Behind the Scenes

In The World of Ice and Fire, it is stated that "The unexpected nature of the High Septon's death in 44 AC aroused much suspicion, however, and whispers of murder persist to this day. Some believe His High Holiness was removed by his own brother, Ser Morgan Hightower, commander of the Warrior's Sons in Oldtown (and it is undeniably true that Ser Morgan was the sole Warrior's Son pardoned by King Maegor)."[2] However, it has been confirmed that Morgan Hightower was not the High Septon's brother, and that the statement was in error.[4]

Additionally, prints of The World of Ice and Fire erroneously state the High Septon died in 44 AC (The World of Ice and Fire, The Reach: Oldtown). The Sons of the Dragon gives the correct date of 43 AC. The High Septon elected as a replacement dies in 44 AC.

Notes

  1. Earlier prints of The World of Ice and Fire erroneously state that this event and the death of the High Septon took place in 44 AC (The World of Ice and Fire, The Reach: Oldtown). The Sons of the Dragon gives the correct date of 43 AC. The High Septon elected as a replacement dies a year later.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 The Sons of the Dragon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  3. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  4. Westeros.org: (TWOIAF Spoilers) Inconsistency or Intentional? "Morgan is Martyn's younger brother, not the High Septon's. Small error."

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