Hand of the King
|Hand of the King|
Necklace of linked hands, by Yulia Startsev © Fantasy Flight Games
Leader of the small council
|Current Holder||Lord Mace Tyrell|
|First Holder||Orys Baratheon|
|Creator||King Aegon I Targaryen|
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.
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 the Tower of the Hand within the Red Keep. His badge of office always includes a hand, though each Hand can design his own. Rogar Baratheon and Brynden Rivers used brooches of gold and iron, respectively, and a silver clasp has also been used. Several Hands have used chains, such as a necklace of linked golden hands. Servants of the Hand might wear the emblem of a hand.
During the Conquest of the Seven Kingdoms by House Targaryen, King Aegon I Targaryen proclaimed his half-brother, Orys Baratheon, to be "my shield, my stalwart, my strong right hand." Because of Aegon's description, Orys is regarded to have been the first Hand of the King. Orys resigned after losing a hand in the First Dornish War.
Lord Rogar Baratheon was seen as the true power in the realm while serving as Hand during the minority of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Septon Barth, considered by some as the wisest man to have served as Hand, began the Books of Law in 55 AC.
Ser Otto Hightower served as Hand to Jaehaerys in the king's final years, and Otto continued in the position for King Viserys I Targaryen. Because Otto encouraged Viserys to name as his heirs the children of the king's second wife, Otto's daughter Alicent, he was replaced as Hand by Lord Lyonel Strong. Otto was reinstated after Lyonel's death at Harrenhal. First Otto and then Ser Criston Cole served King Aegon II Targaryen as Hand during the Dance of the Dragons. Prince Jacaerys Velaryon named Lord Corlys Velaryon as Hand of the Queen for Rhaenyra Targaryen, Aegon's rival. Lord Cregan Stark was briefly Hand during the Hour of the Wolf.
Ser Tyland Lannister, Lord Unwin Peake, Lord Thaddeus Rowan, Ser Marston Waters, and Lord Torrhen Manderly all served as Hand during the contentious regency of Aegon III. Viserys II served as Hand to three different kings: his brother Aegon III, and his nephews Daeron I and Baelor I prior to becoming king, himself.
Lord Ambrose Butterwell failed to prevent the First Blackfyre Rebellion, and his successor, Lord Hayford, was killed by Lord Gormon Peake during the war. Prince Baelor Targaryen was a popular Hand, but he was killed during the tourney at Ashford Meadow. Lord Brynden Rivers, on the other hand, was mistrusted as Hand, and his appointment angered Maekar Targaryen, Prince of Summerhall. Brynden called a Great Council after King Maekar's death, and King Aegon V Targaryen sent him to the Wall for having orchestrated the death of Aenys Blackfyre.
At the age of twenty, Ser Tywin Lannister became the youngest man to serve as Hand. It was said throughout the Seven Kingdoms that it was Tywin who truly ruled, not King Aerys II Targaryen, and Tywin eventually resigned after his heir, Ser Jaime Lannister, was appointed to the Kingsguard. Aerys dismissed first Lord Owen Merryweather for failing to prevent Robert's Rebellion, and then Lord Jon Connington for his failure at the Battle of the Bells. Aerys burned Lord Qarlton Chelsted for his opposition to the king's wildfire plot, but Aerys and Lord Rossart were then killed by Jaime while attempting to enact their plot during the Sack of King's Landing.
A Game of Thrones
After Robert dies, Eddard is imprisoned for treason against his son, King Joffrey I Baratheon. Joffrey's grandfather, Lord Tywin Lannister, is named as the new Hand, and Joffrey eventually orders Eddard's execution. Because Tywin is campaigning in the riverlands with the outbreak of war in the Seven Kingdoms, he sends his younger son, Tyrion, to serve as acting Hand in King's Landing.
A Clash of King
Tyrion's presence at the Red Keep upsets his sister, Cersei Lannister, who serves as Queen Regent for her son, King Joffrey. Many Kingslanders hate Tyrion, considering the dwarf to be an evil councillor.
A Storm of Swords
Lord Alester Florent serves as the Hand to Stannis Baratheon, a rival claimant to the Iron Throne. After Alester has been arrested for treason, Axell Florent tries to make Ser Davos Seaworth advise Stannis to name himself as Hand of the King. Instead of Axell, Stannis chooses Davos to be his new Hand.
A Feast for Crows
Cersei, Queen Regent for her son Tommen, orders the burning of the Tower of the Hand by wildfire. She fails to convince her brother, Ser Jaime Lannister, to become Hand, and she refuses to meet the terms her uncle, Ser Kevan Lannister, has for the office. Cersei instead appoints first Ser Harys Swyft and later Lord Orton Merryweather as Tommen's Hand. After Cersei is arrested by the Faith of the Seven, Orton resigns from the small council and flees King's Landing.
Prior to the kingsmoot, Asha Greyjoy offers to support her uncle Victarion as King of the Isles and the North if he names her his Hand. Victarion rejects her offer due to the absence of the office in ironborn culture, Asha's gender, and their contrasting views on the ironborn war for the north. Asha and Victarion each stand in the kingsmoot, both losing to Euron Greyjoy.
A Dance with Dragons
The Winds of Winter
|| Warning |
This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.
Lord Connington is styled "Hand of the True King".
List of known Hands
|During the reign of King||Hand of the King||Period and Notes|
|Aegon I Targaryen||Lord Orys Baratheon||1–7 AC. First Hand of the King.|
|Lord Edmyn Tully||7–9 AC|
|Lord Alton Celtigar||9–17 AC|
|Ser Osmund Strong||17–34 AC|
|Lord Alyn Stokeworth||34–37 AC|
|Aenys I Targaryen||37 AC|
|Prince Maegor Targaryen||37–39 AC|
|Septon Murmison||39–41 AC|
|Maegor I Targaryen||Lord Lucas Harroway||43–44 AC. By orders of the king, he was thrown from the roof of the Tower of the Hand by knights of the Kingsguard.|
|Lord Edwell Celtigar||44–48 AC|
|Jaehaerys I Targaryen||Lord Rogar Baratheon||48–50 AC|
|Lord Daemon Velaryon||50–54 AC|
|Lord Myles Smallwood||54–57 AC|
|Septon Barth||58–98 AC[N 1]|
|Ser Ryam Redwyne||99–100 AC. Concurrently served as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.|
|Prince Baelon Targaryen||100–101 AC|
|Ser Otto Hightower||101–103 AC|
|Viserys I Targaryen||103–109 AC. Removed as Hand after pushing the inheritance of his daughter's sons over Princess Rhaenyra.|
|Lord Lyonel Strong||109–120 AC. Died in a fire at Harrenhal.|
|Ser Otto Hightower||120–129 AC. Reinstated after Lyonel's death.|
|Aegon II Targaryen||129–130 AC. Executed by Rhaenyra Targaryen.|
|Ser Criston Cole||130 AC. Concurrently served as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Died at the Butcher's Ball.|
|Aegon III Targaryen||Lord Cregan Stark||131 AC. Only held office for a day, before returning to the north.|
|Ser Tyland Lannister||131–133 AC. Died of Winter Fever.|
|Lord Unwin Peake||133–134 AC. Resigned the office after the king turned down a marriage proposal with his daughter.|
|Lord Thaddeus Rowan||134–135 AC. Imprisoned and tortured by plotters seeking to undermine the Rogare family's influence over the court.|
|Ser Marston Waters||135 AC. Concurrently served as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Participated in a plot to imprison Lord Thaddeus Rowan and members of the Rogare family present at court. He was then named Hand, but he died trying to arrest his sworn brother, Ser Mervyn Flowers, a fortnight later.|
|Lord Thaddeus Rowan||135 AC. Reinstalled after the imprisonment of plotters and death of Ser Marston Waters. However, after a moon's turn he was dismissed once again due to poor mental condition.|
|Grand Maester Munkun||135–136 AC. Served as Hand until the election of a new Hand in the Council of 136 AC.|
|Lord Torrhen Manderly||136 AC. Elected as the new Hand during the Council of 136 AC. Dismissed when the king came of age.|
|Prince Viserys Targaryen||Unknown[N 2]–157 AC|
|Daeron I Targaryen||157–161 AC|
|Baelor I Targaryen||161–171 AC|
|Viserys II Targaryen||Unknown||171–172 AC|
|Aegon IV Targaryen||Lord Bracken||172 AC–Unknown. Father of two of the king's mistresses.|
|Lord Lucas Lothston||178 AC. Husband of a king's mistress, father to a second of the king's mistresses.|
|Lord Jon Hightower||Unknown–Unknown|
|Daeron II Targaryen||Lord Ambrose Butterwell||Unknown–196 AC. Removed for failing to contain the First Blackfyre Rebellion.|
|Lord Hayford||196 AC. Died at the Battle of the Redgrass Field.|
|Prince Baelor Targaryen||196–209 AC. Died after a blow to the head suffered in the trial of seven during the tourney at Ashford Meadow.|
|Prince Valarr Targaryen (Possibly)||209 AC. 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 sickness is a separate individual.|
|Aerys I Targaryen||Brynden Rivers||209–221 AC|
|Maekar I Targaryen||221–233 AC|
|Aegon V Targaryen||Unknown||233–259 AC|
|Jaehaerys II Targaryen||Lord Ormund Baratheon||259–260 AC|
|Edgar Sloane||Unknown–262 AC|
|Aerys II Targaryen||Ser/Lord Tywin Lannister||262–281 AC. Resigned his post for Aerys' slights against him.|
|Lord Owen Merryweather||281–282 AC. Removed from office and exiled for failing to contain Robert's Rebellion.|
|Lord Jon Connington||282–283 AC. Removed from his office and exiled after losing the Battle of the Bells.|
|Lord Qarlton Chelsted||283 AC. He resigned his position over Aerys's plan to burn King's Landing and was subsequently burned alive for it.|
|Wisdom Rossart||283 AC. Was Hand for a fortnight. Named after the Battle of the Trident.|
|Robert I Baratheon||Lord Jon Arryn||283–298 AC|
|Lord Eddard Stark||298 AC|
|Joffrey I Baratheon||Lord Tywin Lannister||298–300 AC. Served as Hand as well under Aerys II Targaryen. While Tywin is campaigning in the riverlands, his son Tyrion is acting Hand (298–299 AC).|
|Tommen I Baratheon|
|Ser Harys Swyft||300 AC|
|Lord Orton Merryweather||300 AC|
|Lord Mace Tyrell||300 AC–Present|
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 Axell Florent, self-styled Hand of the Queen for Selyse Florent
- Ser Barristan Selmy for Daenerys Targaryen
- Lord Jon Connington for Aegon VI Targaryen
The King's Hand should have a hand. I will not have men speaking of the King's Stump.
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.—thoughts of Eddard Stark
They say the Hand dreams the king's dreams, speaks with the king's voice, and rules with the king's sword.
The Hand should speak with the king's voice.—thoughts of Davos Seaworth
Davos: The King's Hand should be a highborn lord, someone wise and learned, a battle commander or a great knight...
Pylos: Ser Ryam Redwyne was the greatest knight of his day, and one of the worst Hands ever to serve a king. Septon Murmison's prayers worked miracles, but as Hand he soon had the whole realm praying for his death. Lord Butterwell was renowned for wit, Myles Smallwood for courage, Ser Otto Hightower for learning, yet they failed as Hands, every one. As for birth, the dragonkings oft chose Hands from amongst their own blood, with results as various as Baelor Breakspear and Maegor the Cruel. Against this, you have Septon Barth, the blacksmith's son the Old King plucked from the Red Keep's library, who gave the realm forty years of peace and plenty. Read your history, Lord Davos, and you will see that your doubts are groundless.
- The World of Ice & Fire states that Barth died in 99 AC in "The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I". However, the more recently published Fire & Blood has changed this to 98 AC.
- Ser Tywin Lannister was the youngest ever to be appointed Hand of the King at the age of twenty in 262 AC (The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II). Therefore Viserys, born in 122 AC (The Rogue Prince), cannot have been named Hand earlier than 143 AC. As Viserys was Aegon III's Hand during the final years of his reign, which ended in 157 AC (The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III), Viserys cannot have been named Hand later than 155 AC. Thus, Viserys was appointed Hand of the King in or between 143 AC and 155 AC.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- The Mystery Knight.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 33, Eddard VIII.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Go9ld.
- Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 32, Sansa III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- Fire & Blood, Three Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
- The Sworn Sword.
- The Hedge Knight.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale: House Arryn.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 52, Jon VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Appendix.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 33, Catelyn IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36, Davos IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 18, The Iron Captain.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 39, Jon VIII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
- The Winds of Winter, Arianne I
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, Prince into King - The Ascension of Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
- Fire & Blood, Birth, Death and Betrayal under Jaehaerys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Viserys II Targaryen.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: Robert's Rebellion.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The End.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 35, Eddard IX.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.