City Watch of King's Landing
The City Watch of King's Landing, also known as the Goldcloaks, are the defenders of the city of King's Landing (including the Red Keep) and the enforcers of the law, sworn only to the Crown. The Watch presumably falls under the bailiwick of the Master of Laws. They are not as well-trained as the City Watch of Lannisport.
The City Watch wear cloaks, usually made of heavy wool, dyed gold. They are equipped with mail armor, iron cudgels, iron spears, dirks, and occasionally longswords. Their armor, boots, and gloves are black. The officers (such as the captains of the gates into the city) wear black breastplates ornamented with four golden disks. They can be used as guards, foot soldiers or in some cases, as mounted lancers. Nonetheless, the watchmen are not true soldiers, and their discipline in a pitched battle shows this fact. Tyrion Lannister goes so far as to state that, of the six thousand watchmen under his command, only fifteen hundred are reliable as actual soldiers.
The City Watch was established under the Targaryen dynasty. Prince Daemon Targaryen once commanded the watch, from 104-105 AC. He was the one who instituted their uniform use of equipment, including the golden cloaks from which they get their name. The weapons he issued were dirk, short sword and cudgel. There were two thousand Gold Cloaks at his time.
During the Dance of the Dragons, the officers of the City Watch were loyal to Queen Alicent Hightower and the greens, but the rank-and-file gold cloaks supported their former commander, Daemon, a leader of the blacks. During the Fall of King's Landing, Commander Luthor Largent led a coup in support of the blacks and personally killed his second-in-command, Ser Gwayne Hightower. Balon Byrch became the new commander when Luthor was killed during the riots in King's Landing. 
When the Targaryens were overthrown during Robert's Rebellion, the new king, Robert Baratheon, continued the institution of the gold cloaks. Janos Slynt became their commander after the death of Manly Stokeworth.
A Game of Thrones
Commander Janos Slynt is a corrupt man who embezzles money from his men, but King Robert deigns to keep him on lest his successor be worse. During the Tourney of the Hand, the gold cloaks are hard pressed to keep the king's peace. The Hand of the King, Lord Eddard Stark, commands Petyr Baelish to find funds to hire more watchmen, and lends twenty of his own Winterfell guardsmen to help for the tourney's duration.
After Robert's death, Slynt accepts a bribe from Petyr to support Queen Cersei Lannister in a power struggle against Eddard, which is ultimately successful when Janos and one hundred gold cloaks accompany Eddard and betray him. Janos is rewarded with lordship over Harrenhal. After being dismissed from the Kingsguard, Ser Barristan Selmy kills the gold cloaks that Janos sends to arrest him.
A Clash of Kings
Five gold cloaks come upon Yoren's band of Night's Watch recruits with the intent of seizing Gendry, a royal bastard, but are driven away. On Cersei's orders, Slynt sends his right hand man, Allar Deem, to murder the infant Barra, another royal bastard.
Commander Slynt is exiled to the Wall by the next Hand, Tyrion Lannister, for his corruption and next potential betrayal. His replacement is Ser Jacelyn Bywater, an honorable veteran of the Greyjoy Rebellion, who helps Tyrion prepare the city's defenses in the face of impending invasion by Stannis Baratheon. Towards the end of his term, Slynt had tripled the number of the gold cloaks, making them six thousand strong. Despite this, the new watchmen are poorly trained, and many are drunks, brutes, or cravens who joined for the promise of bread. Also, as Kingslanders, few have love for House Lannister after the Sack of King's Landing.
During the Riot of King's Landing, Ser Jacelyn and a wedge of mounted lancers charge down the streets in an effort to defend the royal party, while numerous others form lines of spears before the smallfolk. In total, nine gold cloaks are slain and forty wounded. Tyrion sends Jacelyn to take Prince Tommen Baratheon into custody at Rosby, confronting his sworn shield Ser Boros Blount without bloodshed and seizing Rosby castle to hold him there.
When Stannis arrives and the Battle of the Blackwater begins, the Watch constitutes the bulk of the defending force. When King Joffrey Baratheon withdraws from the walls, the men break. Commander Bywater attempts to rally them, but is killed by his own men on the cusp of success.
A Storm of Swords
After figuring casualties and desertions, the number of men available is down to forty-four hundred. Command then falls to Ser Addam Marbrand, Lord Tywin Lannister's daring cavalry captain. Despite problems with paying the men, Commander Marbrand is forbidden by Queen Cersei from dismissing any from service. Tywin orders Addam to break the knees of those who deserted in the battle.
When being brought to his trial for the death of Joffrey, Tyrion is escorted by Addam Marbrand and six watchmen rather than the Kingsguard, most of whom had testified against him. A hundred gold cloaks stand guard in the throne room.
A Feast for Crows
Ser Addam is relieved to leave his troubling duties to join Ser Jaime Lannister in a mopping-up campaign in the Riverlands. In his place Cersei appoints the illiterate hedge knight Osfryd Kettleblack, who is later removed by the small council after Cersei's arrest by the Faith. In his place they promote Humfrey Waters to lead the gold cloaks.
A Dance with Dragons
Known Commanders of the City Watch
- Prince Daemon Targaryen
- Ser Luthor Largent
- Ser Balon Byrch
- Manly Stokeworth
- Lord Janos Slynt
- Ser Jacelyn Bywater
- Ser Addam Marbrand
- Ser Osfryd Kettleblack
- Humfrey Waters
|“||Daemon gave us these cloaks and they're gold no matter how you turn them.||”|
References and Notes
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI, Renly threatened to replace Slint.
- ↑ So Spake Martin: Military Questions (June 21, 2001)
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- ↑ The Rogue Prince.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 The Princess and the Queen.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 4, Tyrion I.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.