Baelor I Targaryen, also known as Baelor the Blessed, Baelor the Beloved, and The Septon King (he was a septon in addition to being king), and also mockingly known as Baelor the Bamboozled, is a character from the A Song of Ice and Fire universe. He was the ninth member of the Targaryen dynasty to sit on the Iron Throne. He was by far the most pious of the Targaryen kings, and was also the most beloved.
Baelor was not overtly evil, and was actually a kind-hearted gentle man, but he was also a fanatical zealot, and made many questionable decisions during his reign as king (such as imprisoning his own sisters), alienating many of his subjects.
Like Maegor I Targaryen and Aegon IV Targaryen, Baelor doesn't physically appear in any of the A Song of Ice and Fire media, but he is mentioned in four of the novels and in the Dunk & Egg novella The Sworn Sword.
Baelor was the youngest son of King Aegon III and the brother of Daeron I. 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. Baelor obeyed, but extremely reluctantly and refused to consummate the marriage.
When Daeron was killed on campaign in Dorne, Baelor was crowned king. Baelor began his reign by walking the Boneway barefoot and going into a viper's nest to rescue his cousin Aemon, who had been captured by the Martells during the war. The vipers would not bite him because he was so holy. However, according to some sources, this is actually a parable for Baelor simply going to Sunspear (a nest of enemies) and negotiating his cousin's release. Other sources say the story is true, but the vipers did bite Baelor and drove him insane for the rest of his reign.
Whatever the truth, Baelor returned home having made a strong peace with Dorne and ensuring peace between Dorne and the Seven Kingdoms. Baelor had secured the release of his brother and also an alliance with Dorne by marrying his grand-nephew Daeron to Princess Myriah Martell. With his newfound authority, Baelor dissolved his marriage to his sister-wife Daena, but was still troubled by lustful thoughts of his sisters. To ensure he was free of temptation, he locked not just Daena but also his younger sisters Rhaena and Elaena in a chamber in the Red Keep, which became known as the Maidenvault and they as the Princesses in the Tower. They were only 16, 14 and 11 at this time, respectively.
The remainder of Baelor's reign was spent in prayer and piety. His uncle Viserys continued to order and run the realm as the King's Hand. Baelor was indeed named a septon by the Faith, but their hopes that he would rearm them and restore the holy warrior orders were dashed as he believed that faith and piety alone were weapons enough, and in fact wished to disarm all of Westeros. His uncle prevented this and other outlandish notions from getting too far. Baelor spent a long time praying over the last three dragon eggs, hoping they would hatch, to no avail. Baelor was embarrassed when Daena escaped from the Maidenvault and returned pregnant, refusing to say who the father was. For this, she became known as 'Daena the Defiant'.
The last year of Baelor's life saw his religious fervour increase markedly, and he started to fast to purge himself of lustful thoughts. He went too far and starved himself to death. He was succeeded by his uncle, Viserys. For his piety and devotion to the Faith he was named 'Baelor the Blessed' and the Great Sept of King's Landing was renamed as the Great Sept of Baelor in his honor.
Baelor was a peaceful, devoted and pious man. He was a pacifist and believed in words and faith rather than swords and threats. He could be fervant, occasionally passionate in his beliefs, and also stubborn to the point of recklessness, such as on the occasion that saw him lose his life. He despised his own weaknesses and punished himself for his carnal and lustful thoughts. However, he was beloved by the Faith and by the smallfolk, who were inspired by his holiness.
Baelor was handsome, but also very thin (due to repeated fasts). He smiled a lot and had long hair and a beard. He disdained royal clothing, instead preferring a simple septon's white robe. He rarely travelled anywhere without a copy of The Seven-Pointed Star and other holy books of learning to hand. He disdained any of the ormental Targaryen crowns, preferring to wear a simple circlet woven out of flowers and vines.
- Baelor is similar to the High Sparrow in that he appears to be kind-hearted and benevolent, but is in actuality a religious fanatic, and makes many questionable decisions for that faith.
- Baelor has several similarities to Claude Frollo from Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame,in that both men are fanatically religious and have lustful thoughts that they are both ashamed of, and take extreme actions to deal with those feelings.
- The Great Sept of Baelor is named after him.