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What do we know about the origins of the High Septons?


Ser Lepus
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Given how society works in Westeros, I find difficult to believe that a commoner would be allowed to pass over all nobleborn Septons and become High Septon. I would expect noble families to use every bit of their influence to try to push their second and third sons into the upper ranks of the Faith, and to succeed at that...

But, on the other hand, nobody ever comments on the origins of the High Septons. While they are supposed to renounce their family name upon becoming Septon, and their fist names when they become High Septons, everybody would know their previous names.... People like Cersei and Tyrion would call them "the Hightower High Septon" or "the Florent High Septon" or "the Arryn High Septon" when speaking among themselves, and they would suspect their loyalties...

So, has GRRM ever given any hint about the origins of the High Septons (besides the High Sparrow, which is supposed to be lowborn, but he was chosen under exceptional circumstances...) ?.

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The High Septon at the time of the birth of Rhaena, eldest child of Aenys & Alyssa, was the maternal uncle of Lord Manfred Hightower's daughter, Ceryse. (Who was betrothed to Maegor instead of Rhaena, at the behest of Ceryse's holy uncle.) So, he was probably from a house of the Reach.

A few decades later, Alfyn's successor was the brother of then recently late Lord Donnel Hightower. (Alfyn & Donnel were both among the victims of the Shivers.) Brother Hightower's naming had effectively been bargained between Jaehaerys & Donnel to allow Alfyn's, so it was (even more) of a political ascension.

Another Hightower, or a Tarly, or a guy from a vassal or ally house of either, may have been chosen HS in 143; as he allowed Lord Lyonel & Lady Sam to marry & retroactively legitimised their children. She had briefly been wed to his father, who died in 130 during the Dance, thus making them step-family & their relationship incestuous in the eyes of the previous HS. Hence, the couple maybe ensured that a friendly one was named who would bless their union.

Apart from those & possibly a candidate or two - like Mattheus (???) - we don't know the house of origin for any other nobly-born High Septons. At least a couple of lowborn ones have been chosen from just the limited known count, though: possibly Robeson, Alfyn, &/or Pater (almost the same as the common smallfolk name, Pate); & certainly, the stonemason & then the 8yo named at Baelor the Blessed's insistence.

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1 hour ago, Lord Corlys Velaryon said:

The High Septon at the time of the birth of Rhaena, eldest child of Aenys & Alyssa, was the maternal uncle of Lord Manfred Hightower's daughter, Ceryse. (Who was betrothed to Maegor instead of Rhaena, at the behest of Ceryse's holy uncle.) So, he was probably from a house of the Reach.

A few decades later, Alfyn's successor was the brother of then recently late Lord Donnel Hightower. (Alfyn & Donnel were both among the victims of the Shivers.) Brother Hightower's naming had effectively been bargained between Jaehaerys & Donnel to allow Alfyn's, so it was (even more) of a political ascension.

Another Hightower, or a Tarly, or a guy from a vassal or ally house of either, may have been chosen HS in 143; as he allowed Lord Lyonel & Lady Sam to marry & retroactively legitimised their children. She had briefly been wed to his father, who died in 130 during the Dance, thus making them step-family & their relationship incestuous in the eyes of the previous HS. Hence, the couple maybe ensured that a friendly one was named who would bless their union.

Apart from those & possibly a candidate or two - like Mattheus (???) - we don't know the house of origin for any other nobly-born High Septons. At least a couple of lowborn ones have been chosen from just the limited known count, though: possibly Robeson, Alfyn, &/or Pater (almost the same as the common smallfolk name, Pate); & certainly, the stonemason & then the 8yo named at Baelor the Blessed's insistence.

Mmmm... all these High Septons were chosen before King's Landing's Great Sept replaced Oldtown's Starry Sept as the seat of the High Septon... It seems that the Hightower had a strong influence on who became High Septon when the High Septon lived in Oldtown, but that influence probably was lost afterwards...

If the Targaryen have the same or a greater level of influence over the Faith as the Hightowers once had, they probably pick direct vassals from the Crownlands, or maybe other nobles from houses that had shown a great loyalty to the crown...

Lord Jon Arryn and later Tyrion and Tywin probably selected high ranking Septons from the Crownlands or the Westerlands...

 

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