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James Steller

The Murder of Baelor

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It’s been written that King Viserys II was accused of being behind the early death of his nephew, Baelor the Blessed. This would make him a kingslayer and a kinslayer, and deservedly reviled. But nothing we’ve come to know about Viserys suggests any kind of cruelty or cold-bloodedness. 

But what surprises me is that nobody I’ve yet spoken to about this has ever suspected that Aegon IV was responsible for killing Baelor. 

Given how he was rumoured to be behind his own father’s death just a year into his father’s reign as king, given his animosity with Baelor, and given his despicable nature, I wouldn’t be surprised if Prince Aegon had his cousin killed in the hope that his father would either die soon after, or yield his claim to kingship in favour of his son. Then, when Viserys proved too healthy for Aegon’s liking, he poisoned Viserys too. 

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We do know that Viserys II is going to take a turn for the worse after his wife dumps him, so this is not completely out of the question. Also, one should consider how Larra's treatment by court and people is going to affect him. The good Westerosi people are all xenophobic racists, making it not unlikely that the later Viserys II was all about strengthening the power of his own house, the Crown, and himself, and not giving a damn how this affected other people.

But I don't buy at this point that he murdered his own nephew.

Aegon IV is an interesting candidate for this, assuming Baelor was killed at all - which I don't think is established as fact or necessarily likely. The man fasted a lot and lived through a lot of ordeals at an early age (walk to Dorne and back, viper poison). That doesn't make it unlikely that he basically killed himself with his piety.

If Aegon IV killed him then a motive could have been the impregnation of Daena the Defiant. If Baelor figured out who the man was who did that - or if Baelor had made it clear that the man who did it would die screaming - then Aegon IV could have had a motive.

Aegon's motive to murder his own father is, in my opinion, Viserys II deciding to pass over Aegon in the succession in favor of his own son, the future Daeron II. Daeron II was already a man grown when Viserys II became king, and he was a much more worthy successor than Aegon IV. If Aegon realized what his father planned - Viserys II could have decided to postpone a public declaration until Daeron and Myriah had returned from Dorne or Summerhall - this would be motive enough.

The idea that a man with the qualities of Viserys II would have actually wanted his unworthy son to succeed is very hard to swallow.

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8 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

We do know that Viserys II is going to take a turn for the worse after his wife dumps him, so this is not completely out of the question. Also, one should consider how Larra's treatment by court and people is going to affect him. The good Westerosi people are all xenophobic racists, making it not unlikely that the later Viserys II was all about strengthening the power of his own house, the Crown, and himself, and not giving a damn how this affected other people.

But I don't buy at this point that he murdered his own nephew.

Aegon IV is an interesting candidate for this, assuming Baelor was killed at all - which I don't think is established as fact or necessarily likely. The man fasted a lot and lived through a lot of ordeals at an early age (walk to Dorne and back, viper poison). That doesn't make it unlikely that he basically killed himself with his piety.

If Aegon IV killed him then a motive could have been the impregnation of Daena the Defiant. If Baelor figured out who the man was who did that - or if Baelor had made it clear that the man who did it would die screaming - then Aegon IV could have had a motive.

Aegon's motive to murder his own father is, in my opinion, Viserys II deciding to pass over Aegon in the succession in favor of his own son, the future Daeron II. Daeron II was already a man grown when Viserys II became king, and he was a much more worthy successor than Aegon IV. If Aegon realized what his father planned - Viserys II could have decided to postpone a public declaration until Daeron and Myriah had returned from Dorne or Summerhall - this would be motive enough.

The idea that a man with the qualities of Viserys II would have actually wanted his unworthy son to succeed is very hard to swallow.

I agree. I might buy that he was deaf and blind to his children’s desires, given that he married his daughter to the brother she despised rather than the one she adored. But the idea that he didn’t know his own son does seem rather bizarre.

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5 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The idea that a man with the qualities of Viserys II would have actually wanted his unworthy son to succeed is very hard to swallow.

Wasn't Aegon meant to be a promising young man and warrior? He'd have been in his mid 30s when he became king, I can imagine he wouldn't have been quite as disgusting or depraved as he turned out when he became king. The point was that he had appetites that got bigger and out of control as he got older and more powerful. It's amazing what people overlook about family members until it's too late.

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5 hours ago, James Steller said:

I agree. I might buy that he was deaf and blind to his children’s desires, given that he married his daughter to the brother she despised rather than the one she adored. But the idea that he didn’t know his own son does seem rather bizarre.

That was back in the 150s, though, not in the 170s, twenty years later.

I imagine that the reasons behind the Aegon-Naerys match were reasons of state/dynastic reasons. Viserys II wanted his eldest son to continue his line back then, and he wanted him to do that by marrying the most worthy of brides - his own sister. Aegon IV was married early, and it seems that at this time the only woman he had bedded was Falena Stokeworth.

But it seems quite obvious that Viserys II must have slowly but surely realized what kind of creature his firstborn son was. In the mistress department he had to deal with Merry Meg during the reign of his brother, Cassella Vaith during the reign of his older nephew, and Bellegere Otherys during the reign of the younger nephew (the latter not being that much of a disgrace). And if Viserys II also figured out who the father of Daemon Waters was we have that thing as well.

And that's just the mistress department, not the other great designs the guy may have done to amuse himself during the years in-between.

11 minutes ago, Floki of the Ironborn said:

Wasn't Aegon meant to be a promising young man and warrior? He'd have been in his mid 30s when he became king, I can imagine he wouldn't have been quite as disgusting or depraved as he turned out when he became king. The point was that he had appetites that got bigger and out of control as he got older and more powerful. It's amazing what people overlook about family members until it's too late.

He is described as young and handsome when he took the throne, yes, but not as promising nor as a warrior. He was a renowned wit and likely one of the smartest and most charismatic Targaryens out there (which allowed him to manipulate his court and lords later on), but that was all a facade. Viserys II didn't need to know what kind of king he would become to conclude that he was indeed not worthy to sit the throne - especially not since he there was a much more promising alternative.

I think Viserys II only would have given up hope on Aegon later in his life say, sometime in the 160s when Aegon insisting to continue to impregnate Naerys led to his temporary (de facto) exile to Braavos.

And we should also keep in mind that Viserys II most likely wouldn't have been a warm or caring father - at least not after his wife dumped him and then died. The man was still a boy when he had his two older sons, and he shared the burden of King Aegon III from the start and continued to do so in later years. His relationship to his three children was likely as close as Tywin's to his children.

And Aegon IV being only thirteen years younger than his own father also made him a rather unlikely heir. Viserys II didn't plan to die in 172 AC. Had he lived to rule 10-20 years chances are very high that his eldest son (and other children) would have predeceased him. Especially Aegon IV considering that his lifestyle clearly wasn't all that healthy.

We have to keep in mind that Baelor Breakspear was born in 170 AC, the same year as Daemon Blackfyre. Viserys II already had a great-grandson when he ascended the throne in 171 AC, securing the continuation of the dynasty through Daeron II. It doesn't strike me as odd that Viserys II would have decided to groom his grown-up grandson as successor, a man much more like him in temperament and abilities than Aegon IV.

It would not surprise me at all if it turned out that the true father of the Dornish union plan was actually Viserys II. He and Daeron II could have started first deliberations in that direction during the last years of Baelor's reign or the half year reign of Viserys II.

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On 6/6/2019 at 8:59 AM, James Steller said:

It’s been written that King Viserys II was accused of being behind the early death of his nephew, Baelor the Blessed. This would make him a kingslayer and a kinslayer, and deservedly reviled. But nothing we’ve come to know about Viserys suggests any kind of cruelty or cold-bloodedness. 

But what surprises me is that nobody I’ve yet spoken to about this has ever suspected that Aegon IV was responsible for killing Baelor. 

Given how he was rumoured to be behind his own father’s death just a year into his father’s reign as king, given his animosity with Baelor, and given his despicable nature, I wouldn’t be surprised if Prince Aegon had his cousin killed in the hope that his father would either die soon after, or yield his claim to kingship in favour of his son. Then, when Viserys proved too healthy for Aegon’s liking, he poisoned Viserys too. 

I'm of the mind that Baelor very well could have been the natural son of Viserys, on account of Aegon possibly being a homosexual. Not only do I doubt any foul play on Viserys part but I very much buy the idea of Viserys working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep Baelors schizophrenic reign in-check (pun intended).

As already stated, Aegon IV is the likely candidate, outside of Baelor had having simply taken his piety too far. Its interesting that you mention the death of Viserys as I've always considered the kingship to only be one aspect of Aegons motivations for a possible murder. I often wonder if Aegon blamed his father for driving away his mother (despite that very much NOT being the case) and harbored a resentment that only grew as the years passed. Sad thing is I don't believe Viserys would have gone as far as passing over Aegons claim in favour of Dareon. Maybe a threat here and there but ultimately I feel as though what makes the whole ordeal sadder is that here you have a man (Viserys) whos dealt with the burden of rule for almost his entire life and died possibly at the hands of his first born son by the women he loved. Remembered as being a jealous uncle who served as the shortest reigning king despite being one of the greatest monarchs house Targaryen has ever produced. 

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I really think Baelor died from his fasting. He died in the midst of an extraordinary fast, so it just doesn't seem strange at all.

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, Aemon Darkbrother said:

I'm of the mind that Baelor very well could have been the natural son of Viserys, on account of Aegon possibly being a homosexual. Not only do I doubt any foul play on Viserys part but I very much buy the idea of Viserys working tirelessly behind the scenes to keep Baelors schizophrenic reign in-check (pun intended).

There are no hints that Aegon III may have been homosexual. He just had a lot of issues about getting close to children, and made a six year old girl his queen in 133 AC, which means that the woman was only sixteen years old when she gave birth to Daeron I in 143 AC.

Aegon III was not slow in getting his wife pregnant, he just waited long enough to not fuck a child and kill her in childbirth.

Perhaps he could have started when Daenaera was 13-14 but waiting until she was fifteen doesn't mean he waited too long.

Even if she had flowered at the age of 11-12 it would have been wise to wait until her body was that of a woman, too. Viserys I also didn't consummate his marriage with Aemma Arryn in their wedding night (when his child bride was eleven!) but waited two years until Aemma had flowered.

One can ask whether the claim from TWoIaF that Aegon III waited years until he called Daenaera into his bedchamber is somewhat exaggerated. If she flowered only at 13-14 years it was barely more than 1-2 years.

Not to mention that Aegon III really was under no real pressure to produce more heirs. He had a younger brother as a presumptive heir, and two strong nephews. And if that were not enough - he had two half-sisters who gave hima growing army of nieces (and one assumes also some Velaryon nephews).

One could actually say that House Targaryen was drowning in little dragons in the 150s - not all were named Targaryens, many were Hightowers and Velaryons, but that doesn't change that they were part of the extended royal family.

The fact that House Targaryen was eventually down to just one male branch is due to the fact that Daeron I and Baelor I had no issue. But there were female heirs aplenty.

Edited by Lord Varys

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28 minutes ago, Ran said:

I really think Baelor died from his fasting. He died in the midst of an extraordinary fast, so it just doesn't seem strange at all.

At this point that's the likeliest scenario. Doesn't mean somebody couldn't also have poisoned him, but it should be rather difficult to poison a man who is fasting a lot, and really testing his limits in the process. Also, one imagines that the septons and acolytes surrounding Baelor in his fasts (and giving him the clear water he may have drunken once a day or so) would be men utterly devoted to their holy septon-king. Chances that either Viserys or Aegon could have infiltrated those circles to poison the king doesn't sound very convincing to me.

And the source for this claim that Baelor was poisoned by Viserys II is a very obscure one, offering no evidence whatsoever for that claim.

But it certainly makes sense why many people - especially among the smallfolk - believed Baelor may have been murdered. After all, he was favored by the gods and the champion of the common people, too. Surely the Seven wouldn't have allowed him to die from a fast... Evil people must be responsible.

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7 hours ago, Ran said:

I really think Baelor died from his fasting. He died in the midst of an extraordinary fast, so it just doesn't seem strange at all.

Agreed. Baelor was completely losing it, at that point. The circumstances of his death might also serve as one of the many instances in which George gives us his views on how religion can drive some to unimaginable lengths.

7 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

There are no hints that Aegon III may have been homosexual. He just had a lot of issues about getting close to children, and made a six year old girl his queen in 133 AC, which means that the woman was only sixteen years old when she gave birth to Daeron I in 143 AC.

 I'd disagree as the ship on which Aegon III abandoned Viserys was literally named the 'Gay Abandon'. Then of course there's the infamous letter written by Samantha Tarly. In which she teases the young king with the prospect of introducing him to some l good looking boys. Now how much lady Sam was aware of is a matter of debate. It's the fact that George includes these ideas in his narrative that warrants suspicion.

It's worth noting that Larra left Kings Landing around 139 and Dareon I was born around 142. Aegon needed heirs and assuming he really was a homosexual, the idea of turning to his brother doesn't strike me as far fetched.

Daenaera and Viserys were childhood friends as well as in-laws, it's worth remembering and closer in age with one another than to their respective spouses. With Lara gone and Daenaera without a husband to provide a  certain level of intimacy, it's not hard to imagine them falling into each other's arms at some point imo.

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