From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
Aegon first set foot on Westeros in the area of King's Landing at the start of his War of Conquest. On the highest of the three hills of the area, named Aegon's Hill, he built his first fort of earth and wood. After the completion of the Conquest, Aegon ordered the construction of a permanent royal castle on the hill. The construction was completed during the reign of Maegor I, who killed all those who worked on the castle to preserve its secrets.
The Red Keep is made of pale red stone. It has seven massive drum-towers crowned with iron ramparts. Massive curtain walls surround the keep, with nests and crenelations for archers. Thick stone parapets, some four feet high, protect the outer edge of the wall ramparts, where the heads of traitors are traditionally placed on iron spikes between the crenels at the gatehouse. The walls have great bronze gates and portcullises, with narrow postern doors nearby. The immense barbican has a cobbled square in front of it. Behind the walls are many small inner yards, vaulted halls, covered bridges, barracks and dungeons and granaries.
Inside, the Keep holds the Iron Throne, the seat of the monarch; Several gathering halls, including the Great Hall and the Queen's Ballroom; Relics of the Targaryens dynasty, such as dusty suits of black armor and dragons' skulls, sit in hallways. Doors are made of oak banded with black iron. Rushes are used on the floors as the weather cools. Overall, the Keep is not particularly large, being smaller than Winterfell.
Maegor's Holdfast is a massive square fortress inside the heart of the Red Keep behind walls twelve feet thick and a dry moat lined with iron spikes. It is a castle-within-a-castle. The royal apartments are in Maegor's Holdfast. The king's bedchamber has twin hearths.
The Holdfast contains the Queen's Ballroom, a hall only half as big as the Small Hall in the Tower of the Hand. The Ballroom seats one hundred and has beaten silver mirrors behind the wall sconces which makes the torch's light seem twice as bright. Its walls are paneled with richly carved wood and it has a gallery above the main floor. High arched windows sit along the south wall.
Tower of the Hand
The Tower of the Hand contains the chambers of the Hand of the King. Its Small Hall is a long room with a high-vaulted ceiling and bench space for two hundred. The private audience chamber is not as large as the king's, but has Myrish rugs, wall hangings, and a golden-tinted round window that give it a sense of intimacy. The Tower also has a solar, and a garderobe. The tower has tall windows. The tower was burned to the ground with wildfire by order of Queen Cersei Lannister in early 300 AL, after the death of her father, Lord Hand Tywin Lannister. The current Hand, Mace Tyrell, plans to construct a replacement tower triple the size of the original.
The Maidenvault is a long, slate-roofed building located behind the royal sept. Its entry has two tall carved doors. Baelor I confined his sisters there when he came to the throne, claiming it would prevent any carnal thoughts. Mace Tyrell's court stayed there during their visit to King's Landing.
White Sword Tower
White Sword Tower contains the chambers of the Kingsguard. It is a slender structure of four stories built into an angle of the castle wall overlooking the bay. A circular white room, known as the Round Room, has whitewashed stone walls hung with white woolen tapestries, and forms the first floor. A large white table (weirwood carved in the shape of a shield) with seven chairs provides a meeting space for the order. The undercroft holds arms and armor, the second and third floors the small spare sleeping cells of the six brothers of the Kingsguard, and the topmost floor is given over to the Lord Commander's apartments. His rooms are spare as well, but spacious, and they stand above the outer walls.
The Great Hall is the throne room of the king. The Iron Throne sits on a raised iron dais with high and narrow steps. A long carpet stretches from the throne to the Hall's great oak-and-bronze doors. The Hall itself is cavernous, and can sit 1,000 people. It is oriented north to south, with high, narrow windows on the eastern and western walls. Skulls of the Targaryen dragons once adorned the walls, but Robert Baratheon had them replaced with hunting tapestries at the beginning of his reign. Joffrey later has these removed.
Traitor's Walk is the squat, half-round tower that contains the entrance to the dungeons. The top floor holds the cells for the prisoners who were to be kept in a degree of comfort. The entrance to the dungeons sits on the ground floor of the tower, with the dungeons beneath the tower. Between the two prisons are rooms for the King's Justice, the Chief Gaoler and the Lord Confessor.
The dungeon of the Red Keep has four levels. On the upper level are cells with high narrow windows where common criminals are confined together. The second level has smaller, personal cells without windows for highborn captives. Torches in the halls cast light through the bars. The third level cells, the "black cells", are smaller still, and have doors of wood so that no light enters them. These are reserved for the most vile and dangerous prisoners. The lowest level is used for torture. It is supposedly safer to go through the fourth level of the dungeons in darkness, because there are things one would not wish to see.
The Red Keep has a network of secret passages and tunnels. King Maegor had them built to enable him to make a quick escape should his enemies ever trap him. The tunnels are supposedly full of traps. Some tunnels are of stone, while others are earth supported by timbers. Some of them are so small that a grown man must crawl through them. Some pass very close to other rooms in the Keep, allowing a hidden person to eavesdrop on conversations. One secret passage leads from the bedchamber of the Tower of the Hand to the outside. The bedchamber used by Varys contains a secret lever that causes a stone slab to float up and reveal a staircase. There is also a secret way to get out of the Red Keep onto the cliffs facing the sea. Narrow handholds, impossible to see from the ground, have been cut into the rock so one may climb down to a trail beside the Blackwater.
Characters familiar with the secret passages:
The Godswood at the Red Keep is an acre of elm, alder and black cottonwood trees that overlook the Blackwater Rush. The heart tree is a great oak, whose limbs have become overgrown with smokeberry vines.
The royal sept inside the Red Keep has crystal windows placed high in the walls. There are seven altars, one for each of the aspects of the Faith of the Seven. It is located in front of the Maidenvault.
|“||“The Red Keep has ways known only to ghosts and spiders.” ||”|
|“||“The Red Keep shelters two sorts of people, Lord Eddard. Those who are loyal to the realm, and those who are loyal only to themselves.” ||”|
References and Notes
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6, Sansa
- ↑ Chapter 6, Sansa
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6, Sansa
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard, p 320.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard, p 321.