281 AC, which is also known as the year of the false spring, was marked by the Tourney at Harrenhal, which was attended by many highborn in the realm, including King Aerys II Targaryen and his son, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. The year is also marked by the death of Ser Harlan Grandison, which caused an open spot on the Kingsguard, that was filled up by the admission of newly knighted Jaime Lannister. When King Aerys II named young Jaime to his Kingsguard, his Hand of the King, Tywin Lannister, quit his job out of anger and returned to Casterly Rock.
- The weather becomes warmer, causing people to believe that winter is at an end and spring had begun, while in reality, it had not.
- The Kingswood Brotherhood, which had been harassing highborns around the Kingswood for some time, was defeated by a force with contained at least five of the seven Kingsguards Knights of King Aerys II Targaryen. Only Ser Gerold Hightower, who had been injured in an earlier involvement with the brotherhood, is known to have been absent. Since Ser Harlan Grandison was mentioned to have died in his sleep shortly after the Brotherhood had been defeated, it is possible that Grandison had died prior to the battles, and the search for a replacement had been put on hold until the Brotherhood had been defeated.
- Ser Barristan Selmy rescued Lady Jeyne Swann and her septa from the Kingswood Brotherhood.
- Jaime Lannister was knighted by Ser Arthur Dayne, for his performance against the Kingswood Brotherhood, shortly after the Brotherhood had been defeated.
- While staying in King's Landing on his way from the Kingswood to Casterly Rock, Cersei Lannister convinces her brother Jaime to accept a place in the Kingsguard. When he accepts, she makes all the arrangements.
- The Tourney at Harrenhal was held by Lord Whent, after his brother, Ser Oswell Whent of the Kingsguard had paid a visit.
- King Aerys II declared a mystery knight, the Knight of the Laughing Tree, to be an enemy of his, when this mystery knight shows up at the Tourney at Harrenhal. The mystery knight disappears, however, and search parties can't manage to turn the knight up again.
- Ser Harlan Grandison dies in his sleep.
- The vacancy in the Kingsguard left by the death of Ser Harlan Grandison is filled by Ser Jaime Lannister, who receives his white cloak at the Tourney at Harrenhal.
- Lord Tywin Lannister resigns as Hand of the King and moves back to Casterly Rock. Lord Owen Merryweather takes up the office.
- Olyvar Frey, son of Walder Frey and Bethany Rosby.
- Petyr Frey, son of Ryman Frey.
- Quentyn Martell, son of Prince Doran Martell and Lady Mellario of the Free City of Norvos.
- (Possibly) Ser Harlan Grandison.
- Simon Toyne, slain by Barristan Selmy.
- The Smiling Knight, slain by Arthur Dayne.
The memory came creeping upon him in the darkness, as vivid as a dream. It was the year of the false spring, and he was eighteen again, down from the Eyrie to the tourney at Harrenhal. He could see the deep green of the grass, and smell the pollen on the wind. Warm days and cool nights and the sweet taste of wine.