The Seven Speakers were seven preachers - three men and four women - selected by King Jaehaerys I Targaryen to win over the support of the people of the Seven Kingdoms for his rule and his marriage to Queen Alysanne Targaryen through the Doctrine of Exceptionalism.
After Jaehaerys I Targaryens public marriage to his sister, Alysanne Targaryen, the king took precautions to assure that his marriage would be accepted by his subjects. He reasoned that his marriage to Alysanne would not cause another Faith Militant uprising as the marriage of his eldest brother and sister had done in 41 AC, for a number of reasons: the current High Septon was a passive man, the smallfolk knew Jaehaerys better, and the Faith Militant was largely dispersed. Most importantly, however, Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaena had gone on a royal progress following their wedding without taking a dragon, as Aegon had not yet been a dragonrider at the time, and King Aenys I Targaryen had forbidden Rhaena from bringing Dreamfyre. Jaehaerys and Alysanne intended to travel everywhere on Vermithor and Silverwing, which would discourage any thought of an assault and would act as an unspoken reminder to the realm of the power of the dragons.
Jaehaerys also sent out seven speakers to win the smallfolk over, not with swords, but with words. The speakers travelled the realm barefoot, going from village to village, town to town. Everywhere they went, they preached the new Doctrine of Exceptionalism, telling all of Jaehaerys's wisdom and Alysanne's kindness. The realm did not rise up against Jaehaerys and his queen as they had against their siblings before, although according to Archmaester Gyldayn the reasons are not entirely clear. Gyldayn cites the silence of the High Septon on the matter and the wariness of the smallfolk as important reasons... but believes that, "if words have power", the Seven Speakers played an important role as well.
When challenged by smallfolk or knights, who quoted passages from "The Seven-Pointed Star" which denounced incest, the speakers simply said the Targaryens were different. They were from Old Valyria and were not common men, they could ride dragons and survive diseases that would kill lesser men.
The Seven Speakers
- Queen Elinor Costayne
- Septa Ysabel
- Septa Violante
- Mother Maris
- Septon Baldrick
- Septon Rollo
- Septon Alfyn
Quotes from the Seven Speakers
Hedge knight: Aye, and if I want to fuck my sister too, do I have your leave?
Baldrick: Go to Dragonstone and claim a dragon. If you can do that, ser, I will marry you and your sister myself.—Baldrick to a hedge knight