The King's Justice is the royal executioner of the Iron Throne, tasked with executing any person sentenced to death by the order of the king on the Iron Throne or the Hand of the King, who speaks with the king's voice. Other responsibilities of the King's Justice are managing the dungeons at the Red Keep and supervising the chief gaoler, chief undergaoler, undergaolers, and turnkeys.
The King's Justice's chambers are located between the ground floor of the Traitor's Walk and the entrance to the dungeons.
During the Dance of the Dragons, after Ser Otto Hightower was dismissed as Hand of the King and replaced with Ser Criston Cole, all the captive blacks - who had once sworn to defend the rights of Princess Rhaenyra and refused to bend the knee of Aegon II - were dragged one by one before the King's Justice at the Red Keep's yard. Each man was given one final chance to swear fealty to King Aegon II. The King's Justice beheaded Lords Hayford, Merryweather, Harte, Buckler and Caswell as well as Lady Fell, eight landed knights, and twoscore servants and retainers.
When the former Grand Master Orwyle was captured in early 132 AC, the Hand of the King, Ser Tyland Lannister repeatedly postponed Orwyle's execution, pointing out that the office of King's Justice remained empty since the end of the war. Ser Tyland's successor, Lord Unwin Peake, appointed Ser Victor Risley, the Knight of Risley Glade, as the King's Justice in 133 AC.
On the Feast Day of Our Father Above in 133 AC, the gaols and dungeons of King's Landing were emptied, and each prisoner was publicly executed by the King's Justice, with the aid of Tessario and his Fingers. Among those executed by the King's Justice were a "Shepherd Reborn", a Pentoshi merchantman accused and found guilty of bringing the Winter Fever from Sisterton to King's Landing, and the former Grand Maester, Orwyle.
Ser Victor Risley was arrested in 135 AC, following the confession of Lord George Graceford, which implicated him in the attempt to overthrow power in the Red Keep. In 136 AC, Victor was condemned to die, but demanded a trial by battle, in which he was killed by Ser Gareth Long.
Ser Ilyn Payne was appointed as the King's Justice when King Robert I Baratheon married Cersei Lannister. His appointment was a gift from Robert to Lord Tywin Lannister, the father of his new bride, a sinecure to compensate Ilyn for the tongue he lost while in service to House Lannister during the reign of King Aerys II Targaryen.
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
During the Battle of the Blackwater, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister has Ser Ilyn Payne remain with her in the Queen's Ballroom of Maegor's Holdfast in the Red Keep, in order to kill Cersei and her captive, Sansa Stark, should the Red Keep fall to Stannis Baratheon. When Osfryd Kettleblack informs Cersei that a groom and two maidservants where caught trying to flee the Red Keep with three of the king's horses, she has the King's Justice execute them and place their heads on pike outside the stables.
A Feast for Crows
In King's Landing, Cersei Lannister suggests that she will have to appoint a new King's Justice due to Ser Ilyn's absence, in order to execute Margaery Tyrell, who Cersei hopes to charge with treason.
Known King's Justices
- Ser Victor Risley, during the reign of King Aegon III Targaryen, from 133 AC until 135 AC.
- Ser Ilyn Payne, during the reign of King Robert I Baratheon, King Joffrey I Baratheon, and King Tommen I Baratheon.
If the wicked do not fear the King's Justice, you have put the wrong man in the office.
The King's Justice must be fearsome.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
- Fire & Blood, Prince into King - The Ascension of Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 65, Arya V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 60, Sansa VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.