High Septon

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The High Septon in his crystal crown - by Amoka©

The High Septon is the head of the Faith of the Seven, they held several honorary titles such as Father of the Faithful, His High Holiness and Shepherd of the Faithful. Historically the High Septon ruled from the Starry Sept in Oldtown. However, after the invasion of Aegon Targaryen, the High Septon at that time threw his support behind Aegon and the position was eventually relocated to the new capital of King's Landing.

Position

The High Septon and the Most Devout convene in the Great Sept of Baelor in King's Landing, a vast building of white marble with seven crystal towers. Prior to being stationed in King's Landing, and before the arrival of the Targaryens, the seat of the Faith was the ornate Starry Sept in Oldtown, which was constructed of black marble with stained glass windows set in pointed arches.

The High Septon was not especially "beholden" to the Targaryens and was often a dangerous rival to them, until the reign of Maegor the Cruel.[1]

The selection of a new High Septon is traditionally in the hands of the Most Devout but the will of past Targaryen kings has sometimes influenced their choice. This was most notable during the reign of Baelor the Blessed, who had a stoneworker and later an eight-year old boy chosen for the office.

A new High Septon extends the practice of septons giving up their family names by renouncing any kind of individual name. This is due to the belief that the individual becoming High Septon is no longer a man but an avatar of the gods. This leads to trouble distinguishing between various past holders of the office, as one can only refer to them by descriptions such as "the stonemason one" or "the fat one" or the "one before the fat one." High Septons usually wear a great crown made of crystal and gold while performing their duties. According to Cersei Lannister, it is possible to winkle out the birth names of High Septons but they do not appreciate it if you use them.[2]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

The High Septon, known as the fat one, is a grossly fat man who has been High Septon for many years. He is regarded by many lords and smallfolk as corrupt.[3]

A Clash of Kings

The fat High Septon is killed in the riot of King's Landing.[4] His crystal crown is destroyed by thieves.

A Storm of Swords

The new High Septon, who was selected by Tyrion Lannister,[3] weds King Joffrey I Baratheon to Margaery Tyrell and wears a grander crystal crown gifted by Lord Tywin Lannister.[5]

A Feast for Crows

Tyrion's High Septon is regarded as a weak willed but good man. He prayed with Ser Lancel Lannister when he was injured and near death. Lancel confesses his sins to him, such as bedding Queen Cersei Lannister and giving King Robert I Baratheon a more potent wine than he was used to which resulted in his death. The High Septon said he must forgive her though. Cersei, paranoid about what Lancel may have told him, orders the High Septon's death. Osney Kettleblack sneaks into the Great Sept of Baelor and suffocates the man with a pillow while he sleeps.[6]

The next High Septon is imposed on the Most Devout by the "sparrows" who turn up as refugees from the War of the Five Kings. He's dubbed the High Sparrow[6][2] The Faith Militant is reinstated during his term when Queen Cersei wants the crown's debt to the Faith settled.

A devout and holy man with an iron will, the High Sparrow has much of the Faith's riches, such as crowns and rings, sold to raise funds for the poor.[2] He has Cersei and Margaery arrested due to accusations of infidelity and adultery.[7][8]

Known High Septons

Historical

A Song of Ice and Fire

Quotes

Our good High Septon was taken, the gods' own voice on earth, with a third of the Most Devout and near all our silent sisters.[21]

The High Septon speaks for the Seven here on earth. Strike at him, and you are striking at the gods themselves.[25]

References

  1. So Spake Martin: Concerning Dorne (October 28, 2001)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  4. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  5. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  7. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
  8. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 3, Jon I.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 The Sons of the Dragon.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  12. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  13. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen King: Aenys I.
  14. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen King: Maegor I.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
  16. Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  17. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
  18. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
  20. 20.0 20.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
  21. 21.0 21.1 The Sworn Sword.
  22. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
  23. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
  24. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  25. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.