Wiki of Westeros


Wiki of Westeros
Wiki of Westeros
This page is about the title. For the short, see: The Hand of the King
Otto Hand Pin

The symbol of the office: a pin depicting a crowned hand.

Criston Hand of the King

Alternatively, the Hand may wear a chain of golden hands.

"What the king dreams, the Hand of the King builds. Or so say the kings, the Hands, and the lords who wish to be Hands. The lowborn put it differently: the king eats, and the Hand takes the shit."
Petyr Baelish[src]

The Hand of the King[1] or Hand of the Queen,[2] in cases of a ruling female monarch, or simply the Hand,[3] the King's Hand,[3] or the Queen's Hand,[4] is the most powerful appointed position in the Six Kingdoms, second only to the monarch in authority and responsibility. The Hand is the monarch's closest advisor, appointed and authorized to make decisions in their name. The Hand is the highest-ranking member of the Small Council, and leads meetings of the council as proxy for the monarch when they are absent.

A hand is often used as the symbol of the Hand of the King, such as on the wax seals of letters. Hands of the King often wear a badge of office shaped like a hand, such as a brooch or a gold necklace with a repeated hand design.

During the reign of strong and able monarchs, the Hand is the chief agent for coordinating and carrying out their plans. During the reign of weak or ineffectual monarchs, the Hand is often the real power behind the throne, and the man chiefly responsible for holding the realm together. Such was the case when Lord Tywin Lannister ably served as Hand of the King for twenty years while King Aerys II Targaryen spiraled into insanity, or when Lord Jon Arryn served as Hand of the King for seventeen years under King Robert Baratheon, who while an able soldier was not an able politician or statesman.

Otto Hightower, Tywin Lannister, and Tyrion Lannister were the only three people known to have served non-consecutive terms as Hand. Otto served as Hand to King Jaehaerys I Targaryen and again for Viserys I Targaryen for the first thirteen years of his reign. He was again made Hand to Viserys I for the final six years of his reign and then briefly for King Aegon II Targaryen. Tywin served as Hand to Aerys II, and then Kings Joffrey Baratheon and Tommen Baratheon. Tyrion served as an acting Hand to Joffrey, and was made the permanent Hand to Queen Daenerys Targaryen and later King Bran the Broken.

On several occasions in history, a Grand Maester has also been appointed as Hand of the King, serving in both offices at once.[5]

The Hand of the King is formally addressed as Lord Hand[6] and resides in the Tower of the Hand at the Red Keep along with his family and household.


House of the Dragon: Season 1

Ser Otto Hightower has been serving as Hand of the King to King Viserys I Targaryen for quite some time, and has been in the office since the days of Jaehaerys I Targaryen, following the death of the previous Hand, Prince Baelon. However, he is dismissed from office at the urging of Princess Rhaenyra, after King Viserys concludes that Otto is being led by self-interest rather than duty.[7]

After Ser Otto is dismissed, Lord Lyonel Strong of Harrenhal, the Master of Laws, is appointed as the new Hand of the King.[8] He performs ably in his role for a decade, and King Viserys appreciates his advice. However, House Strong is threatened by potential scandal, as his son, Ser Harwin Strong, is the biological father of Princess Rhaenyra's three sons; Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey. Queen Alicent Hightower speaks of the rumors once more after the birth of Prince Joffrey, and Ser Harwin savagely beats Ser Criston Cole in the training yard for pitting Jacaerys against the older and stronger Prince Aegon. Because of Ser Harwin's actions, Lord Lyonel informs the king that he intends to resign his post, speaking of the troubles that his house is facing, although he cannot fully admit to the specific issues he refers to. King Viserys thus grants Lord Strong leave to escort Ser Harwin home to Harrenhal, where he will take up his role as heir to the castle. When Queen Alicent speaks of the situation to his younger son, Larys, and bemoaning that her father, Ser Otto, is no longer at court to promote her interests. After learning about this, Larys has the tongue of a convict cut out and has him travel to Harrenhal, starting a fire that kills both Lord Lyonel and Ser Harwin.[9]

Larys delivers the news of his father and brother's deaths to Queen Alicent. She is horrified to learn that he has had them killed, but she responds in the affirmative when he asks if she will write to her father.[9] By the time Lady Laena Velaryon's funeral is held on Driftmark, Ser Otto has been reappointed as Hand.[10] Due to Viserys's failing health, Otto and his daughter Alicent gain greater control of court, and six years later they are handling all matters of governance in the name of the king. Otto initially sits the Iron Throne to hear the petitions of claimant successors to Driftmark, though is surprised when Viserys arrives in the throne room to settle the matter of Velaryon succession.[11]

House of the Dragon: Season 2

King Aegon II Targaryen dismisses his grandfather, Ser Otto Hightower, after a private argument between the two. He tells Otto that he was his father's Hand, not his, and orders him to give his badge to Ser Criston Cole. Otto tells Aegon that he will regret this, before throwing the badge onto the floor and leaving to Oldtown.[12]

Game of Thrones: Season 1

Following Robert's Rebellion, King Robert Baratheon appointed Jon Arryn as Hand of the King. Seventeen years later, the elderly Lord Arryn dies in King's Landing. Robert travels north to Winterfell to ask Eddard Stark to replace him. Eddard is reluctant until he receives intelligence from Jon's wife (and his own sister-in-law), Lysa Arryn, that the Lannister family murdered Jon as part of a wider conspiracy. Eddard then accepts Robert's proposal, hoping to learn the truth about Jon's death.[13] Much later, Lysa revealed that she herself poisoned Jon, under the instruction of Littlefinger, and then sent the letter falsely accusing House Lannister for the murder.[14]

On the Kingsroad, Eddard is told that Daenerys has married a Dothraki warlord, whose army may pose a potential threat to the realm. Robert suggests assassinating her, but Eddard dissuades him by noting the moral implications and pointing out that the Dothraki do not have any ships.[15]

Small Council

Lord Eddard chairs the Small Council meeting with Robert Baratheon's crested chair empty.

Upon arriving in King's Landing, Eddard takes up his role as King's Hand by chairing meetings of the Small Council. He learns that, despite Jon Arryn's prudence, Robert has put the realm more than six million gold crowns in debt.[16] Eddard also hears reports that the City Watch is struggling to control the influx of visitors to witness the king's tournament in honor of Eddard's appointment.[17] When Robert announces that Daenerys is pregnant and must now die, Eddard argues against the decision. When Robert orders it done anyway, Eddard resigns the Handship.[18]

After being injured in an altercation with Jaime, Eddard is reinstated by Robert on the condition he makes peace with the Lannisters. He agrees, but then learns that the Lannister bannerman the Mountain has been burning farms in the Riverlands. He sends Ser Beric Dondarrion and a hundred men to arrest Ser Gregor and orders that Tywin present himself in King's Landing to answer for the actions of his bannerman. The other members of the Small Council consider this act rash.[19] As well as Hand of the King, Eddard is appointed Regent and Protector of the Realm by the dying King Robert after the latter's wounding by a boar. However, Eddard is stripped of this position by order of Queen Cersei and the newly-raised King Joffrey Baratheon when he tries to expose the truth of Joffrey's birth.[20]

Joffrey then names Tywin, his grandfather and former Hand of the King to the Mad King twenty years earlier, as his new Hand.[21] However, Tywin is too busy fighting the Stark army under Robb Stark in the Riverlands, so sends his son Tyrion to act in his stead. Furious at Cersei's incompetence in allowing Joffrey to execute Eddard, Tywin orders Tyrion to take the situation in the capital in hand, and if necessary, to mount heads on spikes.[22]

Game of Thrones: Season 2

Upon Tyrion's arrival at King's Landing, his sister disputes his appointment as Acting Hand, but is forced to accept it.[23] Tyrion sets about putting affairs in order. He strips Lord Janos Slynt of his lands and titles and exiles him to the Wall, replacing him as Commander of the City Watch with Bronn.[24] Tyrion then exposes Grand Maester Pycelle as being in Cersei's pocket and strips him of his position on the Small Council. He also forges an alliance with House Martell of Dorne by pledging Princess Myrcella to their youngest son in marriage, to Cersei's fury. Tyrion also sends Littlefinger to the Stormlands to treat with Renly and make a secret offer to Catelyn, that Tyrion will release Sansa and Arya (whom he does not hold) to her in return for Jaime's release.[25]

Tyrion also attempts to restrain Joffrey's cruelty by being kind to Sansa and attempting to distract Joffrey with two prostitutes. The plan backfires when Joffrey abuses the girls to send a message to Tyrion. However, Tyrion succeeds in blackmailing his cousin Lancel into betraying Cersei and feeding him intelligence about her actions.[26]

Tyrion attempts to mend fences with Cersei and work with her in preparing the city for Stannis's attack. However, Cersei refuses to talk to Tyrion, even for the city's defense, insisting that Joffrey will handle it personally. Tyrion learns from Lancel that Joffrey's plan is to use wildfire to defend the city. Tyrion heads off the plan - which could burn down the city by accident - by recruiting Wisdom Hallyne of the Alchemists' Guild to his cause. Tyrion believes that he is doing a good job as Hand, but is shocked when he sees a street protest where he is named a 'demon monkey' and blamed for Joffrey's excesses.[27]

House Martell accept Tyrion's offer of an alliance and Myrcella leaves the city for Dorne. However, after waving her off the royal party is attacked on the streets of King's Landing by the smallfolk of the city, who are starting to starve as food supplies to the city are interrupted by the war. Joffrey fans the flames of the riot by ordering his soldiers to kill the rioters. Tyrion, furious, slaps Joffrey and attempts to restore order.[28]

While sailing to attack Kings Landing in the Battle of the Blackwater, Stannis tells Davos that should they succeed in taking the city and overthrowing Joffrey, he intends to name Davos as his Hand of the King.[29]

Tyrion oversees the defense of King's Landing during the Battle of the Blackwater, using wildfire trap to destroy a significant portion of the enemy's forces. After the tide of battle turns in favor of Stannis Baratheon and morale runs low, Tyrion personally leads the city defenders into battle.[30]

Tyrion is stripped of his power after Tywin arrives at King's Landing, relieving Tyrion from his position as acting Hand. In a ceremony in which Joffrey declares him Savior of the City, Tywin is also proclaimed as Hand of the King. Varys notes to Tyrion that he will not be credited for his actions as Hand, but notes that those who are aware of his role are grateful for it.[31]

Game of Thrones: Season 3

Tywin, having resumed his position as Hand of the King, holds a new Small Council meeting. To emphasize his dominance, Tywin has the location of the meeting moved to a new chamber, located just outside of his own, in the Tower of the Hand.[32]

After his release from prison, Davos was named Hand of the King for Stannis.[33]

Game of Thrones: Season 4

After Joffrey is slain,[34] his younger brother and heir, Tommen Baratheon, becomes the new King and names Tywin as his Hand. Shortly afterwards, Tywin is killed, leaving the position vacant.[35]

Game of Thrones: Season 5

During the first session of the Small Council since Tywin's death, Cersei assumes control until her son, King Tommen, appoints a new Hand of the King once he comes of age. Both Mace Tyrell and Pycelle attempt to convince Cersei to name them acting Hand until Tommen appoints his own, but she rebuffs them both.[5]

After Cersei's arrest by the High Sparrow, Pycelle sends word to Casterly Rock and offers the position of Hand of the King to Kevan Lannister. Kevan promptly returns to the capital to take up the affairs of the realm.[36]

With the death of Stannis and the end of his claim to the Iron Throne during the battle in the ice, Davos's position as Hand can no longer be considered valid.[37]

Game of Thrones: Season 6

Kevan continues in the role of Hand of the King until he is killed in the Destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor. His king, Tommen, commits suicide shortly thereafter. After Cersei seizes the Iron Throne for herself, Qyburn crowns her as Queen of the Andals and the First Men and Protector of the Seven Kingdoms. He wears the Hand brooch, suggesting he fills this role for her.

In the rechristened Bay of Dragons, Daenerys appoints Tyrion as her official Hand of the Queen, in recognition of his loyalty and good governance of Meereen in her absence. Daenerys presents Tyrion with a replica of the Hand brooch, apologizing that it might not be accurate as she'd never seen the original herself (it appears to be made of silver or iron instead of gold or bronze). Tyrion proudly wears the brooch as Daenerys at last launches her invasion of Westeros.[38]

Game of Thrones: Season 7

Tyrion settles in his new position as Hand to Daenerys, organising the strategics of the Last War.[39]

Game of Thrones: Season 8

Daenerys threatens to remove Tyrion as Hand of the Queen over his repeated failings after Jaime arrives at Winterfell, informing them that Cersei doesn't plan to actually send the Lannister armies north. Jorah Mormont later advises Daenerys to forgive Tyrion, however.[40]

After the Great War is won, Daenerys returns to Dragonstone with her forces shortly before the Battle of King's Landing. Daenerys informs Tyrion that his brother was captured trying to cross their lines, and warns him that his next mistake will be his last one.[41]

Following the Battle of King's Landing, Daenerys orders Tyrion arrested for treason — specifically for freeing Jaime. In disgust over Daenerys burning down the city, Tyrion tears off his brooch and throws it on the ground, resigning as her Hand. He is given a trial at the council meeting at the Dragonpit after the assassination of Daenerys Targaryen, where he convinces the leaders of the Great Houses to elect Bran Stark as the new King. Bran promptly names Tyrion as his Hand of the King, sparing him from punishment. A few days later, Tyrion presides over the Small Council meeting held shortly after Bran's election, once again wearing the Hand brooch gifted by Daenerys.[42]

Known Hands of the King

Hand Monarch Period
House Baratheon Lord Orys Baratheon Aegon I Targaryen 2 BC–?
House Tully Lord Edmyn Tully ?
House Targaryen Prince Maegor Targaryen Aenys I Targaryen ?
Faith of the Seven Septon Murmison ?
House Harroway Lord Lucas Harroway Maegor I Targaryen ?
Faith of the Seven Septon Barth Jaehaerys I Targaryen ?
House Targaryen Prince Baelon Targaryen 101 AC
House Hightower Ser Otto Hightower 101–103 AC
Viserys I Targaryen 103–116 AC
House Strong Lord Lyonel Strong 116–126 AC
House Hightower Ser Otto Hightower 126–132 AC
Aegon II Targaryen 132 AC
Kingsguard Ser Criston Cole 132 AC-?
House Targaryen Prince Baelor Targaryen Daeron II Targaryen ?
Brynden Rivers Lord Brynden Rivers Aerys I Targaryen ?
Maekar I Targaryen ?
House Baratheon Lord Ormund Baratheon Aegon V Targaryen ?–258 AC
House Lannister Ser Tywin Lannister Aerys II Targaryen 258–278 AC
House Merryweather Lord Owen Merryweather 278–? AC
House Connington Lord Jon Connington ?
Arms unknown Lord Qarlton Chelsted ?–281 AC
Wisdom Rossart 281 AC
House Arryn Lord Jon Arryn Robert I Baratheon 281–298 AC
House Stark Lord Eddard Stark 298 AC
Joffrey I Baratheon 298 AC
House Lannister Lord Tywin Lannister[a] 298–301 AC
Tommen I Baratheon 301 AC
House Lannister Ser Kevan Lannister 301–303 AC
Qyburn Cersei I Lannister 303–305 AC
House Lannister Lord Tyrion Lannister Daenerys I Targaryen 305 AC
Bran I the Broken 305 AC–

Hands to rival claimants

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the position of "Hand of the King" is generally comparable to the roles of Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor, and similar offices in real-life medieval monarchies. The Hand's badge of office always includes the design of a hand, though each Hand is free to develop his own specific symbol. The TV series vaguely implies that the official symbol is a brooch with a hand on it, though this might have just been Jon Arryn's personal Hand symbol, and Ned Stark simply reused it without bothering to design his own. In both the books and TV series, Tyrion Lannister also wore a gold necklace made of interlocking hands linked into a chain – in the books, this is the necklace that Shae is wearing upon her death. Hands after Ned Stark in the TV series apparently just picked up the Hand brooch from each previous Hand (that, and the TV series already made the prop, and it's a familiar visual designator for the audience).

A popular saying is, "What the King dreams, the Hand builds," but among the smallfolk and particularly during the reign of inept and weak kings, a less polite saying is, "The King eats, and the Hand takes the shit." The Hand of the King is often the one who has to clean up after the mess caused by inept kings. The TV series slightly changed this, to "The King shits, and the Hand wipes."

The events of the story are set in motion by the death of the Hand of the King, Lord Jon Arryn, apparently from natural causes. King Robert Baratheon travels to Winterfell and asks Lord Eddard Stark to replace Jon. Eddard is doubtful, not wishing to travel far from his homeland and his family, but eventually agrees when an anonymous message claims that Jon Arryn was murdered. Eddard decides to agree to the King's offer so he can investigate and determine the truth of what has happened and if it poses a danger to Robert or the realm.

Hands, past and present

Under Aegon I Targaryen, the Conqueror:

  • Lord Orys Baratheon, the first Lord Paramount of the Stormlands and rumored to be Aegon's own bastard half-brother. The title of hand derives its name from Aegon's description of Orys as “ ...My shield, my stalwart, my strong right hand.” He later resigned as Hand after losing his sword hand during the First Dornish War out of lost pride.
  • Lord Edmyn Tully, the first Lord Paramount of the Trident, he was one of the first lords of Westeros to swear fealty to Aegon during the Conquest. Rewarded for his loyalty with the rule of the Riverlands, Edmyn served Aegon as Hand for two years before resigning and returning to Riverrun.
  • Ser Osmund Strong, a knight of House Strong, he served as Hand after Edmyn Tully's resignation and oversaw the construction of the wall around King's Landing.

Under Aenys I Targaryen, eldest son of Aegon I:

  • Lord Alyn Stokeworth, appointed Hand by the new King upon his ascension to the throne. He fought to put down the rebellion of the alledged grandson of Harren the Black, Red Harren, in the Riverlands. Killed in battle.
  • Prince Maegor Targaryen, younger son of Aegon I. In gratitude for putting down another rebellion at the Eyrie, Aenys made his brother the new Hand of the King. This ultimately led to the vigorous and ruthless Maegor being the real power behind the throne, leading the charge against those who had rebelled against his brother. Removed from the Handship when his marriage to Alys Harroway angered the Faith and Aenys tried to appease them by removing his brother from court.
  • Septon Murmison, appointed Hand to appease the Faith after Maegor's scandal, Murmison nevertheless also angered the Faith when he joined in marriage Aenys's children, Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaena. Expelled from the Faith, he could do little as the lords and knights of the realm rose up under the banner of the Seven. He was later murdered by members of the Faith Militant.

Under Maegor I Targaryen, the Cruel:

  • Lord Lucas Harroway, the King's goodfather, he was appointed Hand upon Maegor's ascension. However, when his daughter failed to deliver a healthy child to the King, he was executed along with the rest of his family.
  • Lord Edwell Celtigar, appointed Hand after the execution of Lord Harroway.

Under Jaehaerys I Targaryen, the Old King:

  • Lord Rogar Baratheon, the grandson of Orys Baratheon, he was the first to openly declare for Prince Jaehaerys's claim against that of his uncle, Maegor. Appointed Lord Protector of the Realm and Hand of the King upon Jaehaerys's ascension to the throne, Rogar shared the rule of the realm with Dowager Queen Alyssa, who he married a year later.
  • Septon Barth, the King's closest friend and an unconventional septon, he helped Jaehaerys rule the Kingdoms for near forty years. Died in office.
  • Ser Ryam Redwyne, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, he was a brilliant warrior but a poor Hand and quickly left the office.
  • Prince Baelon Targaryen, the Old King's second son and Prince of Dragonstone after the death of his older brother Aemon, Baelon's tenure as the Hand of the King is remembered fondly. Died in office.
  • Ser Otto Hightower, the younger brother of Lord Hightower of Oldtown, Ser Otto was a learned man who effectively ruled the Seven Kingdoms during the last years of the Old King's rule.

Under Viserys I Targaryen, the Young King:

  • Ser Otto Hightower, reappointed to his office by King Viserys, serving as his Hand for the first 6 years of Viserys's reign. He orchestrated the marriage of his daughter, Alicent Hightower to Viserys as his second wife following the death Queen Aemma Arryn. Dismissed as Hand by Viserys after repeatedly "hectoring" the King to replace Rhaenyra with Aegon as his heir.
  • Lord Lyonel Strong, Head of House Strong and Lord of Harrenhal, Lord Lyonel was appointed as Viserys second Hand following the dismissal of Otto Hightower. Lyonel dutifully served Viserys for 11 years before his death from a fire in Harrenhal.
  • Ser Otto Hightower, Ser Otto was reappointed to a second term as Hand following Lord Lyonel's untimely demise. Serving for the final nine years of Viserys reign, Otto clandestinely plotted with allies to supplant Viserys's designated heir, Princess Rhaenyra, with Viserys's eldest son and his grandson, Prince Aegon, in the line of succession. To that end, he gradually stacked the small council with his allies. By the final year of Viserys's reign, Otto was effectively leading a regency as Viserys was too ill to rule.

Under Aegon II Targaryen:

  • Ser Otto Hightower, following Visery's death, Otto orchestrated Aegon's succession to the Iron Throne, where he continued to serve as his Hand. Otto navigated the Greens through the early Dance of the Dragons, consolidating and expanding their power base by securing the allegiance of several noble houses via diplomacy and avoiding bloodshed as much as possible with their adversary in the Dance, the Blacks.
  • Ser Criston Cole, Ser Criston was Lord Commander of his Kingsguard upon Aegon II's ascension to the throne. He became Hand, following Otto's second dismissal as Hand by Aegon II.

Under Daeron I Targaryen, the Young Dragon:

  • Prince Viserys Targaryen, widely seen as having been the one to truly rule the Seven Kingdoms while Daeron tried to conquer Dorne.

Under Baelor I Targaryen, the Blessed King:

  • Prince Viserys Targaryen, continued as Hand after the death of Daeron in Dorne. The true power behind the throne yet again, he was said to govern while his nephew prayed. The embarrassments Baelor caused the realm in the form of his appointments to High Septon (a man who couldn't read a sermon and a boy of eight) and their deaths led to the smallfolk believing that Viserys had poisoned them. He was also accused of having poisoned Baelor himself to end his madness and ascend to the throne.

Under Daeron II Targaryen, the Good King:

  • Prince Baelor 'Breakspear' Targaryen, appointed Hand by his father after serving with distinction during the Blackfyre Rebellion. He is remembered as a great man and a good Hand. Killed in office during a Trial by Seven by his own brother Prince Maekar.

Under Aerys I Targaryen:

  • Ser Brynden 'Bloodraven' Rivers, made Hand and king in all but name during his nephew's rule. Having previously served on the Small Council, he had built an important network of spies in all Seven Kingdoms. His abilities as spymaster and a warrior allowed him to deal with the remaining threat of the Blackfyres. Accused by many of having killed Daeron the Good during the Great Spring Sickness.

Under Maekar I Targaryen:

  • Ser Brynden 'Bloodraven' Rivers, continued as Hand after the death of Aerys. After the King's death, he elected to call a Great Council to debate the matter of succession. Crushed another attempted Blackfyre Rebellion by murdering Aenys Blackfyre.

Under Aegon V Targaryen:

  • Ser Brynden 'Bloodraven' Rivers, arrested upon the King's ascension for the murder of Aenys Blackfyre. He chose exile to the Night's Watch over execution.

Under Aerys II Targaryen, the Mad King:

  • Lord Tywin Lannister, the King's Hand for twenty years, resigned after King Aerys snubbed the idea of a marriage between his son Rhaegar and Tywin's daughter Cersei. Tywin's resignation caused Aerys to spiral even further into the heights of paranoia and insanity. Following Tywin's resignation, Aerys appointed four new Hands in rapid succession, the last three within the space of a year during Robert's Rebellion.
  • Lord Owen Merryweather, served as Hand for the brief few years between Tywin's resignation and the beginning of Robert's Rebellion. An amiable sycophant, he failed to take any action during the early days of the rebellion, which allowed Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon to successfully flee to their holdings and raise their armies in open warfare. For this blunder, Aerys had him exiled and his lands seized.
  • Lord Jon Connington, served as Hand for King Aerys II. He was appointed after Merryweather's exile because he was a close friend of Prince Rhaegar and Aerys wanted a young, vigorous and skilled warrior to match Robert. Aerys exiled him after being defeated at the Battle of the Bells during Robert's Rebellion. It is rumored that he drank himself to death after being expelled from the Golden Company for apparently stealing from the company paychest, but in the fifth novel he is revealed to be alive, having faked his own death with the connivance of Varys.
  • Lord Qarlton Chelsted, executed for treason. Chelsted only briefly served as Hand between the Battle of the Bells and two weeks before the Sack of King's Landing. Aerys ordered Chelsted executed because he tried to dissuade the Mad King of his diabolic plan to destroy the whole city by wildfire, and resigned his position in protest when he realized Aerys wouldn't back down. People who weren't in the capital at the time often forget that Chelsted and his successor Rossart were ever Hands.
  • Lord Rossart, a Wisdom of the Alchemists' Guild. He was Hand for less than a fortnight, before he was killed by Jaime Lannister during the Sack of King's Landing.

Under Robert Baratheon, the Usurper:

  • Lord Jon Arryn, for King Robert. Served as Hand for most of the seventeen years of Robert's reign. Lord Arryn was said to be essentially the one man really holding the realm together while Robert drank, ate, and whored.
  • Lord Eddard Stark, for King Robert Baratheon. Served briefly during the final months of Robert's reign.

Under Joffrey Baratheon:

Under Tommen Baratheon:

  • Lord Tywin Lannister, continued his role as Hand of the King for Tommen after Joffrey's death at the Purple Wedding.
  • Ser Harys Swyft, specifically picked by Cersei because he is weak-willed and will do as she bids (Jaime Lannister considers Ser Harys a "toad") and, as Kevan Lannister's father-in-law, he would also be a hostage for her uncle's good behavior. Cersei later demoted him to Lord Treasurer.
  • Orton Merryweather, another of the lickspittles Cersei appointed to Tommen's Small Council. He and his wife Taena fled the capital after Cersei's arrest.
  • Lord Mace Tyrell, appointed by Kevan Lannister to ease tensions between Houses Lannister and Tyrell in the wake of Cersei and Margaery's arrests by the Faith.

During the brief period in which Renly Baratheon rebelled and laid claimed to the Iron Throne he named Lord Mace Tyrell - father of his new wife Margaery and his lover Ser Loras - as his Hand of the King. The TV series made no mention of Mace's appointment.

While Daenerys rules Meereen, she does not appoint anyone as her Hand. Following her departure, her loyalists form a ruling council to oversee Meereen till she returns, and Ser Barristan Selmy is appointed to be the Queen's Hand. Selmy is reluctant to accept that office, perhaps because it was not Daenerys who appointed him, but he officiates as the Hand because he knows someone must take charge under the current circumstances - the city is surrounded by enemies.

Neither Robb Stark of the North nor Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands appoint their own "Hand of the King" because they are each fighting to secede their respective regions and set them up as independent kingdoms, both of which had no traditional office of a "Hand of the King" as it is particular to the government of the Iron Throne itself. During the Kingsmoot that follows Balon Greyjoy's death, Asha Greyjoy tells her uncle Victarion that she will support him as king if he names her his Hand, but he rejects her offer.

In the books, Stannis Baratheon names Davos Seaworth his new Hand of the King after his release from the dungeons of Dragonstone, after it is discovered that his current Hand, Alester Florent (uncle of his own wife Selyse Baratheon) was trying to negotiate a surrender to the Lannisters after the defeat of Stannis' army at the Battle of the Blackwater. Alester wrote a letter he planned to send to Lord Tywin - without Stannis' knowledge or consent - offering peace and suggesting that Stannis would give up his claim to the Iron Throne, swear fealty to Joffrey, and take back his denouncement of Joffrey's parentage, but would remain Lord of Dragonstone and Storm's End, and that the Florents would get their castle, Brightwater Keep, back. In addition, he offered Shireen's hand in marriage to Tommen Baratheon. Alester had no intention of treason, but innocently felt he was doing what was best for Stannis, because these were the best terms he could hope for after his loss at the Blackwater. However, Stannis was unwilling to even negotiate with his enemies, but offering to marry off his only child to the Lannisters was an even greater insult - particularly given that he considers Tommen to be an abomination born of incest. Alester is thrown in the dungeon as well and during his brief time as Davos' cellmate explains what transpired. Although Alester acted of folly and had no malicious intent, Stannis - harsh in his judgment as ever - believes that Alester feigned loyalty while acting against him, while Davos, out of earnest loyalty, told him hard truths he didn't want to hear, so he releases Davos and promotes him to be his new Hand of the King - to the consternation of some of his other remaining bannermen from more prestigious noble Houses.

In the TV series, during the episode "Blackwater," Stannis says he intends to name Davos as his Hand after they win the battle, but they lose the battle, Davos is lost at sea, and when he returns, he quarrels with Melisandre and is thrown in the dungeon. Thus there was never a point when he could have actively assumed the office. However, in the Season 3 finale "Mhysa," after Davos is released from the dungeon, he starts reading through letters the castle has received (despite his difficulty from only recently learning how to read), and tells Shireen that he has to do this drudgery now that he is her father's Hand "again" - which doesn't match the previous order of events in the TV series, in which Stannis intended to name Davos his Hand but never had the chance before. It's possible Davos was just speaking loosely about Stannis' earlier intent to promote him, generally referring to being back in her father's service now that he's out of the dungeon. Either way, Davos is Stannis's Hand after he is released from Dragonstone's dungeons.

Jon Connington, the guardian of the presumed-dead Aegon Targaryen, the son of Rhaegar and Elia, styles himself "Hand of the True King", although Aegon has not been crowned yet.



  1. From 298 to 299 AC, Tywin's son Tyrion served as acting Hand on his behalf.

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