Hand of the King
The Hand of the King is the king's chief advisor and executor of his command in the Seven Kingdoms. 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.
...My shield, my stalwart, my strong right hand
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."  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 AL.|
|Orton Merryweather||300 AL - 300 AL.|
|Harys Swyft||300 AL - 300 AL.|
|Tywin Lannister||2nd term 300 AL - 300 AL. Served as Hand under three different kings, more than any other Hand.|
|Joffrey Baratheon||Tywin Lannister||2nd term 298 AL - 300 AL.|
|Tyrion Lannister||Was acting hand during his father's Tywin Lannister 2nd term, while he was campaigning in the Riverlands.|
|Robert Baratheon||Eddard Stark||298 AL.|
|Jon Arryn||283 AL - 298 AL.|
|Aerys II Targaryen
The Mad King
|Lord Rossart||283 AL. Was Hand for less than a fortnight.|
|Qarlton Chelsted||283 AL. He bravely resigned his position over Aerys plan to burn King's Landing and was subsequently burned alive for it.|
|Jon Connington||283 AL|
|Owen Merryweather||282 AL (?) - 283 AL|
|Tywin Lannister||+/- 262 AL - 282 AL (?)|
|Jaehaerys II Targaryen||Unknown||259 AL - 262 AL.|
|Aegon V Targaryen||Unknown||233 AL - 259 AL.|
|Maekar I Targaryen||Unknown||221 AL - 233 AL.|
|Aerys I Targaryen||Brynden Rivers||209 AL - 221 AL. (?) - In the end, he was stripped of office by Maekar I and sent to the wall by King Aegon V.|
|Daeron II Targaryen||Baelor Breakspear||196 AL - 208 AL.|
|Lord Hayford||196 AL.|
|Ambrose Butterwell||? - 196 AL.|
|Aegon IV Targaryen||Lord Butterwell||?|
|Viserys II Targaryen||Unknown||171 AL - 172 AL.|
|Baelor I Targaryen||Prince Viserys||161 AL - 171 AL.|
|Daeron I Targaryen||Prince Viserys||157 AL - 161 AL.|
|Aegon III Targaryen||Unknown||131 AL - 157 AL.|
|Aegon II Targaryen||Criston Cole|
|Viserys I Targaryen||Otto Hightower||?-129 AL|
|Lyonel Strong||First consort to Rhaenyra Targaryen; it is unknown how long he served as Hand.|
|Jaehaerys I Targaryen||Septon Barth||Served as Hand for over Forty years.|
|Maegor I Targaryen||Unknown||42 AL - 48 AL|
|Aenys I Targaryen||Prince Maegor||37 AL - 42 AL|
|Aegon I Targaryen||Orys Baratheon||1 AL - ?. First ever Hand of the King.|
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
- 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 Barristan Selmy for Daenerys Targaryen
- Lord Jon Connington for Aegon VI
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.