Hand of the King
From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
Duties of the Hand include commanding the king's armies, drafting laws, dispensing justice, and generally managing the day-to-day running of the kingdom. The Hand may act on the king's behalf when he is indisposed, and sit the Iron Throne while doing so. The Hand also sits on the small council and will run the council if the king is not present.
The office typically makes the Hand the second-most powerful man in the kingdom next to the king, though some Hands had the reputation of ruling their kings.
It is considered by some to be a difficult and unglamorous job of great responsibility. A popular saying goes, "What the king dreams, the Hand builds," but the lowborn say, "The king eats, and the Hand takes the shit." Many able men have failed in the office throughout history.
The Hand resides in a tower of the Red Keep called the Tower of the Hand. His badge of office always includes a hand, though each Hand can design his own. A necklace of hands linked into a chain is one possible badge. Servants of the Hand wear the emblem of a hand.
|“||...My shield, my stalwart, my strong right hand.||”|
A Game of Thrones
Upon the death of his Hand, Lord Jon Arryn, King Robert Baratheon asks Lord Eddard Stark to serve as Lord Arryn's replacement. After Robert dies, however, his son, Joffrey Baratheon, has Ned Stark executed. Joffrey's grandfather, Lord Tywin Lannister serves as the new Hand of the King.
A Clash of King
A Storm of Swords
Stannis chooses Ser Davos Seaworth to be his new Hand, as Alester is arrested for treason.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
List of Known Hands
|During the reign of King||Hand of the King||Period and Notes|
|Aegon I Targaryen||Lord Orys Baratheon||1AC - 37AC. First Hand of the King.|
|Aenys I Targaryen||Lord Orys Baratheon||37AC - 37AC|
|Prince Maegor Targaryen||37AC - 42AC|
|Maegor I Targaryen||Unknown||42AC - 48AC|
|Jaehaerys I Targaryen||Septon Barth||Served as Hand for forty years.|
|Ser Ryam Redwyne||Unknown - Unknown. Concurrently served as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.|
|Prince Baelon Targaryen||Unknown - 101AC|
|Ser Otto Hightower||101AC - 103AC. Succeeded Baelon|
|Viserys I Targaryen||Ser Otto Hightower||103AC - 109AC. Removed as Hand after pushing the inheritance of his daughter's sons over Princess Rhaenyra.|
|Lord Lyonel Strong||109AC - 120AC. Died in a fire at Harrenhal.|
|Ser Otto Hightower||120AC - 129AC. Reinstated after predecessor's death.|
|Aegon II Targaryen||Ser Otto Hightower||129AC - 130AC|
|Ser Criston Cole||130AC - 130AC. Concurrently served as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Died at the Battle at the stony ridge.|
|Aegon III Targaryen||Ser Tyland Lannister||131AC - 133AC. Died of a winter chill.|
|Unknown||133AC - Unknown|
|Prince Viserys Targaryen||Unknown - 157AC|
|Daeron I Targaryen||Prince Viserys Targaryen||157AC - 161AC|
|Baelor I Targaryen||Prince Viserys Targaryen||161AC - 171AC|
|Viserys II Targaryen||Unknown||171AC - 172AC|
|Aegon IV Targaryen||Lord Butterwell||Unknown - Unknown|
|Daeron II Targaryen||Lord Ambrose Butterwell||Unknown - 196AC. Removed for failing to contain the First Blackfyre Rebellion.|
|Lord Hayford||196AC - 196AC. Died at the Redgrass Field.|
|Prince Baelor Targaryen||196AC - 209AC. Died after a blow to the head suffered in the Trial of Seven during the Ashford Tourney.|
|Prince Valarr Targaryen (Possibly)||209AC - 209AC. Died during the Great Spring Sickness. It is currently unknown whether Valarr is referred to as Hand in The Sworn Sword, or whether "the Hand" named as having died in the Spring Sickness is a separate individual.|
|Aerys I Targaryen||Brynden Rivers||209AC - 221AC. In the end, he was stripped of office by Maekar I and locked into the Black Cells.|
|Maekar I Targaryen||Unknown||221AC - 233AC|
|Aegon V Targaryen||Unknown||233AC - 259AC|
|Jaehaerys II Targaryen||Unknown||259AC - 262AC|
|Aerys II Targaryen||Lord Tywin Lannister||262AC - 281AC. Resigned his post for Aerys's slights against him.|
|Lord Owen Merryweather||281AC - 283AC. Removed from office and exiled for failing to contain Robert's Rebellion.|
|Lord Jon Connington||282AC - 283AC. Removed from his office and exiled after losing the Battle of the Bells.|
|Lord Qarlton Chelsted||283AC - 283AC. He bravely resigned his position over Aerys's plan to burn King's Landing and was subsequently burned alive for it.|
|Wisdom Rossart||283AC - 283AC. Was Hand for a fortnight.|
|Robert Baratheon||Lord Jon Arryn||283AC - 298AC|
|Lord Eddard Stark||298AC - 298AC|
|Joffrey Baratheon||Tyrion Lannister||Was acting Hand during his father Tywin Lannister's second term as Hand, while Tywin was campaigning in the Riverlands.|
|Lord Tywin Lannister||298AC - 300AC. Served as Hand as well under Aerys II Targaryen.|
|Tommen Baratheon||Lord Tywin Lannister||300AC - 300AC. Served as Hand as well under Joffrey Baratheon and Aerys II Targaryen.|
|Ser Harys Swyft||300AC - 300AC|
|Lord Orton Merryweather||300AC - 300AC|
|Lord Mace Tyrell||300AC - Present|
- Septon Murmison ? - ?, regarded as one of the worst Hands and a warning to future generations.
- Myles Smallwood ? - ?, regarded as one of the worst Hands and a warning to future generations.
Hands of Claimants to the Iron Throne
- Lord Corlys Velaryon, for Rhaenyra Targaryen
- Lord Mace Tyrell, for Renly Baratheon before Renly's death.
- Lord Alester Florent, for Stannis Baratheon, later removed and executed for treason.
- Lord Davos Seaworth, for Stannis Baratheon
- Ser Barristan Selmy for Daenerys Targaryen
- Lord Jon Connington for Aegon VI Targaryen
|“||The Hand of the King was the second-most powerful man in the Seven Kingdoms. He spoke with the king’s voice, commanded the king’s armies, drafted the king’s laws. At times he even sat upon the Iron Throne to dispense king's justice, when the king was absent, or sick, or otherwise indisposed. Robert was offering him a responsibility as large as the realm itself. It was the last thing in the world he wanted.||”|
|“||I sat on his council for fifteen years, helping Jon Arryn rule his realm while Robert drank and whored, but when Jon died, did my brother name me his Hand? No, he went galloping off to his dear friend Ned Stark, and offered him the honor. And small good it did either of them.||”|
|“||A weak ruler needs a strong Hand, as Aerys needed Father. A strong ruler requires only a diligent servant to carry out his orders.||”|
|“||The Hand should speak with the king's voice.||”|
References and Notes