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Great Sept of Baelor (Histories & Lore)

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"Great Sept of Baelor" is part of the Histories & Lore, a special feature in the Blu-ray of Season 6 of Game of Thrones. It is narrated by Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow.

Synopsis

The High Sparrow explain the history of how Baelor Targaryen established the Great Sept of Baelor.

Narration

The High Sparrow: Fire and blood make poor tools, as kings make poor servants. House Targaryen called themselves dragons long after the last beast died. Perhaps it's only fitting that even their humility was monstrous. Men worshipped on Visenya's Hill thousands of years before Visenya came and Baelor raised the sanctum that bears his name. The massive dome and towers of the Great Sept of Baelor can be seen from anywhere in the city, but not from the vast countryside that paid for it. Its seven bells can be heard as far as Dragonstone whenever a king dies. But none tolled for the stonemasons, glaziers and smiths who built it.

The Great Sept was built to impress upon a man how much greater the gods are than him. A noble goal and, in that, it succeeds. Within the main chamber, the sun streams through a seven-pointed star to illuminate [[the Seven] towering over mortals. The Crone with her lantern for lost souls, the Mother with her welcoming arms, the Father with his scales of justice, the Maiden with her purity, the Warrior with his sword, the Smith with his hammer and lastly the Stranger with his shrouded face. Pilgrims cross the Seven Kingdoms to light candles here at the feet of their gods, but these aren't the gods. The Seven aren't encased in stone in the Great Sept any more than the souls of dead kings are in the tombs below it.

To steward his monument to vanity, Baelor summoned the High Septon of the Faith from his ancient seat in Oldtown and gifted him with ornate robes and a crown of crystal and gold, and like a fool the High Septon put on his lord's motley and danced at his lord's table, and with each passing year the High Septons fell ever lower. How can the flock be kept safe from wolves when the shepherd sleeps in their den? Baelor himself appointed a simple-minded stonemason, believing him the Smith reborn, and when he died Baelor replaced his with an eight-year-old boy whom Baelor had seen speaking with doves that answered with the voices of the Seven. Still the common people revere Baelor as the Blessed. They tell of how he forced a high lord to was a beggar's feet, fasted to tame his unnatural lusts and walked the Boneway himself to make peace with Dorne. Many septons and septas even claim that Baelor rescued his cousin, the Dragonknight, from a snake pit because no viper would strike a man so pure and holy. A lie! Baelor was bitten a dozen times and was bedridden for half a year, and yet he didn't die nor did his High Septons ruin the Faith.

Blessed Baelor's statue may greet men outside the doors, but when men enter the Great Sept they don't see the gold or the crystal or the ambitions of a humble member of a powerful dynasty. They see the gods. They feel awe at the divine majesty and their own insignificance. The gods work through Baelor's pride and vanity as they work through all of us. For the Faith is more than a sept. The Faith is more than a High Septon, more than all the septons and septas who preach to the living. More than the Silent Sisters, who prepare the dead. The Faith is the will of the gods and we are all its instruments. Kings and beggars, lords and cobblers, lions and sparrows.

Notes

501 Great Sept Seven statues

The Great Sept interior in the live-action TV episodes.

  • The drawing of the statues in the Great Sept in this video is in error, not matching the live-action TV set. The Father and the Mother are depicted at the front of the sept in both. In the video, the statue directly opposite from the Father and the Mother is depicted as the Smith. In the live-action TV set, the statue directly opposite them is actually the Stranger.
    • In this video, the order of the statues is depicted as (going clockwise): Mother, Father, Maiden, Warrior, Smith, Stranger, Crone.
    • In the live-action TV set, the order is actually: Mother, Father, Maiden, Smith, Stranger, Crone, Warrior.
  • The High Sparrow mentions Baelor Targaryen fasting to tame his unnatural lusts. This is in reference to him locking his sisters Rhaena, Elaena and Daena in the Maidenvault to avoid them tempting him with carnal thoughts. This was previously mentioned in "The Red Keep (Histories & Lore)".
  • In the novels, some suspect that the dozen viper bites that Baelor suffered, which left him feverish and bedridden for half a year, may have been the direct cause of his increasing insanity.

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