Difference between revisions of "Hand of the King"

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Revision as of 17:23, 19 June 2014

Tyrion Lannister, acting as Hand of the King, wears the necklace of linked hands. © Fantasy Flight Games
© Fantasy Flight Games

The Hand of the King is the king's chief advisor and executor of his command in the Seven Kingdoms.

About

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.

After the War of Conquest Orys Baratheon served as the first ever Hand of the King to Aegon I. The title of hand derives its name from Aegons description of Orys as...

...My shield, my stalwart, my strong right hand [1]

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."[2] 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.

List of Known Hands

During the reign of King Hand of the King Period and Notes
Tommen Baratheon Mace Tyrell 300 AC - Present
Orton Merryweather 300 AC - 300 AC
Harys Swyft 300 AC - 300 AC
Tywin Lannister 300 AC - 300 AC. Served as Hand as well under Joffrey Baratheon and Aerys II Targaryen.
Joffrey Baratheon Tywin Lannister 298 AC - 300 AC. Served as Hand as well under Aerys II Targaryen.
Tyrion Lannister Was acting hand during his father Tywin Lannisters 2nd term as Hand, while he was campaigning in the Riverlands.
Robert Baratheon Eddard Stark 298 AC - 298 AC
Jon Arryn 283 AC - 298 AC
Aerys II Targaryen Lord Rossart 283 AC - 283 AC. Was Hand for a fortnight.
Qarlton Chelsted 283 AC - 283 AC. He bravely resigned his position over Aerys' plan to burn King's Landing and was subsequently burned alive for it.
Jon Connington 282 AC - 283 AC. Fired from his office and exiled after losing the Battle of the Bells.
Owen Merryweather 281 AC - 283 AC
Tywin Lannister 262 AC - 281 AC
Jaehaerys II Targaryen Unknown 259 AC - 262 AC
Aegon V Targaryen Unknown 233 AC - 259 AC
Maekar I Targaryen Unknown 221 AC - 233 AC
Aerys I Targaryen Brynden Rivers 209 AC - 221 AC. In the end, he was stripped of office by Maekar I and locked into the Black Cells.
Daeron II Targaryen Unknown 209 AC - 209 AC
Baelor Breakspear 196 AC - 209 AC
Lord Hayford 196 AC - 196 AC. Died at the Redgrass Field.
Ambrose Butterwell Unknown - 196 AC
Aegon IV Targaryen Lord Butterwell Unknown - Unknown
Viserys II Targaryen Unknown 171 AC - 172 AC
Baelor I Targaryen Prince Viserys 161 AC - 171 AC
Daeron I Targaryen Prince Viserys 157 AC - 161 AC
Aegon III Targaryen Prince Viserys Unknown - 157 AC
Unknown 131 AC - Unknown. Several Regents and Hands followed in the Regent Wars.
Aegon II Targaryen Criston Cole 130 AC - 130 AC
Otto Hightower 129 AC - 130 AC
Viserys I Targaryen Otto Hightower 120 AC - 129 AC. Reinstated after predecessor's death.
Lyonel Strong 109 AC - 120 AC. Died in a fire at Harrenhal.
Otto Hightower 103 AC - 109 AC. Removed as Hand, after pushing the inheritance of his daughter's sons over Princess Rhaenyra.
Jaehaerys I Targaryen Otto Hightower 101 AC - 103 AC. Succeeded Baelon
Prince Baelon Unknown - 101 AC
Ryam Redwyne Unknown - Unknown
Septon Barth Served as Hand for forty years.
Maegor I Targaryen Unknown 42 AC - 48 AC
Aenys I Targaryen Prince Maegor 37 AC - 42 AC
Orys Baratheon 37 AC - 37 AC
Aegon I Targaryen Orys Baratheon 1 AC - 37 AC. First ever Hand of the King.


Hand of the king brooch, from the TV Series

Time unknown

A list of some of the worst Hands, Whose names are remembered as a warning to future generations.

Hands of Claimants to the Iron Throne

Quotes

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. Robert was offering him a responsibility as large as the realm itself. It was the last thing in the world he wanted.

- Ned


"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." [3]

- Stannis


"A weak ruler needs a strong Hand, as Aerys needed Father. A strong ruler requires only a diligent servant to carry out his orders."

- Cersei Lannister

References and Notes

  1. Bubonicon Report, August 25, 2012 So Spake Martin
  2. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  3. A Clash of Kings, Prologue, p 17.