Hand of the King
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.
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.
...My shield, my stalwart, my strong right hand.
A Game of Thrones
Upon the death of his Hand, Lord Jon Arryn, King Robert Baratheon asks Lord Eddard Stark to serve as Lord Arryn's replacement. After Robert dies, however, his son, Joffrey Baratheon, has Ned Stark executed. Joffrey's grandfather, Lord Tywin Lannister serves as the new Hand of the King.
A Clash of King
A Storm of Swords
Stannis chooses Ser Davos Seaworth to be his new Hand, as Alester is arrested for treason.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
List of Known Hands
|During the reign of King||Hand of the King||Period and Notes|
|Aegon I Targaryen||Lord Orys Baratheon||1 AC - 7 AC. First Hand of the King.|
|Lord Edmyn Tully||7 AC - 9 AC|
|Ser Osmund Strong||Unknown. Known to be Hand in 19 AC - 26 AC, oversaw construction of wall around King's Landing|
|Aenys I Targaryen||Lord Alyn Stokeworth||37 AC - 37 AC|
|Prince Maegor Targaryen||37 AC - 39 AC|
|Septon Murmison||39 AC - 41 AC|
|Maegor I Targaryen||Lord Lucas Harroway||Unknown - 44 AC|
|Lord Edwell Celtigar||44 AC - 48 AC|
|Jaehaerys I Targaryen||Lord Robar Baratheon||48 AC - Unknown|
|Septon Barth||59 AC - 99 AC|
|Ser Ryam Redwyne||99 AC - 100 AC. Concurrently served as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.|
|Prince Baelon Targaryen||100 AC - 101 AC|
|Ser Otto Hightower||101 AC - 103 AC|
|Viserys I Targaryen||Ser Otto Hightower||103 AC - 109 AC. Removed as Hand after pushing the inheritance of his daughter's sons over Princess Rhaenyra.|
|Lord Lyonel Strong||109 AC - 120 AC. Died in a fire at Harrenhal.|
|Ser Otto Hightower||120 AC - 129 AC. Reinstated after predecessor's death.|
|Aegon II Targaryen||Ser Otto Hightower||129 AC - 130 AC|
|Ser Criston Cole||130 AC - 130 AC. Concurrently served as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Died at the Butcher's Ball.|
|Aegon III Targaryen||Lord Cregan Stark||131 AC. Only held position for a day, before returning to the North.|
|Ser Tyland Lannister||131 AC - 133 AC. Died of a winter chill.|
|Lord Unwin Peake||133 AC - 134 AC|
|Lord Thaddeus Rowan||134 AC - Unknown|
|Ser Marston Waters||Unknown - Unknown|
|Grand Maester Munkun||Unknown|
|Lord Torrhen Manderly||Unknown - 136 AC. Dismissed when King came of age.|
|Prince Viserys Targaryen||Unknown - 157 AC|
|Daeron I Targaryen||Prince Viserys Targaryen||157 AC - 161 AC|
|Baelor I Targaryen||Prince Viserys Targaryen||161 AC - 171 AC|
|Viserys II Targaryen||Unknown||171 AC - 172 AC|
|Aegon IV Targaryen||Lord Bracken||172 AC - Unknown. Father of two of the king's mistresses.|
|Lord Butterwell||Unknown - Unknown|
|Lord Lucas Lothston||178 AC. Husband of a King's mistress, father to a second of the King's mistresses|
|Lord Jon Hightower||Unknown|
|Daeron II Targaryen||Lord Ambrose Butterwell||Unknown - 196 AC. Removed for failing to contain the First Blackfyre Rebellion.|
|Lord Hayford||196 AC - 196 AC. Died at the Redgrass Field.|
|Prince Baelor Targaryen||196 AC - 209 AC. Died after a blow to the head suffered in the Trial of Seven during the Ashford Tourney.|
|Prince Valarr Targaryen (Possibly)||209 AC - 209 AC. Died during the Great Spring Sickness. It is currently unknown whether Valarr is referred to as Hand in The Sworn Sword, or whether "the Hand" named as having died in the Spring Sickness is a separate individual.|
|Aerys I Targaryen||Brynden Rivers||209 AC - 221 AC|
|Maekar I Targaryen||Brynden Rivers||Unknown - 233 AC|
|Aegon V Targaryen||Unknown||233 AC - 259 AC|
|Jaehaerys II Targaryen||Lord Ormund Baratheon||259 AC - 260 AC|
|Edgar Sloane||Unknown - 262 AC|
|Aerys II Targaryen||Lord Tywin Lannister||262 AC - 281 AC. Resigned his post for Aerys's slights against him.|
|Lord Owen Merryweather||281 AC - 282 AC. Removed from office and exiled for failing to contain Robert's Rebellion.|
|Lord Jon Connington||282 AC - 283 AC. Removed from his office and exiled after losing the Battle of the Bells.|
|Lord Qarlton Chelsted||283 AC - 283 AC. He bravely resigned his position over Aerys's plan to burn King's Landing and was subsequently burned alive for it.|
|Wisdom Rossart||283 AC - 283 AC. Was Hand for a fortnight. Named after the Battle of the Trident.|
|Robert Baratheon||Lord Jon Arryn||283 AC - 298 AC|
|Lord Eddard Stark||298 AC - 298 AC|
|Joffrey Baratheon||Tyrion Lannister||298 AC - 299 AC. Was acting Hand during his father Tywin Lannister's second term as Hand, while Tywin was campaigning in the Riverlands.|
|Lord Tywin Lannister||298 AC - 300 AC. Served as Hand as well under Aerys II Targaryen.|
|Tommen Baratheon||Lord Tywin Lannister||300 AC - 300 AC.|
|Ser Harys Swyft||300 AC - 300 AC|
|Lord Orton Merryweather||300 AC - 300 AC|
|Lord Mace Tyrell||300 AC - Present|
- Myles Smallwood ? - ?, regarded as one of the worst Hands and a warning to future generations.
Hands of Claimants to the Iron Throne
- Lord Corlys Velaryon, for Rhaenyra Targaryen
- 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 Targaryen
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. At times he even sat upon the Iron Throne to dispense king's justice, when the king was absent, or sick, or otherwise indisposed. Robert was offering him a responsibility as large as the realm itself. It was the last thing in the world he wanted.
- thoughts of Eddard Stark
The Hand should speak with the king's voice.
- thoughts of Davos Seaworth