|The title of this article is conjecture based on information revealed in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels or related material and may be subject to change.
- "He loved to watch people burn, the way their skin blackened and blistered and melted off their bones. He burned lords he didn't like. He burned Hands who disobeyed him. He burned anyone who was against him. Before long, half the country was against him."
- ―Jaime Lannister describing the death of Qarlton Chelsted.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Jaime Lannister recalls Qarlton Chelsted as a craven man up until his defiance of King Aerys. He was nicknamed the "mace-and-dagger Hand" because of his sigil.
According to the World of Ice and Fire, Lord Qarlton served as Master of Coin late in the reign of Aerys II Targaryen and was a strong supporter of the king over his son, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. When the Great Tourney at Harrenhal took place, it was believed that Rhaegar was secretly funding it as a means to call a Great Council and depose his father, and Qarlton unsuccessfully tried to convince Aerys to forbid the tourney. He later accompanied Aerys to Harrenhal and after Rhaegar won the final joust, Qarlton and Lord Symond Staunton brought the king's suspicions to a boil by claiming that Rhaegar had participated to endear the smallfolk and present himself to the lords as the true heir to Aegon the Conqueror. Rhaegar's crowning of Lyanna Stark as the queen of love and beauty was seen by Qarlton as further proof of the prince's betrayal.
After Jon Connington lost the Battle of the Bells during Robert's Rebellion, he was dismissed as Hand and exiled. Qarlton succeeded him as Hand, and soon noticed the comings and goings of members of the Alchemists' Guild. He eventually discovered that Aerys plotted to burn King's Landing to the ground with wildfire in the event of a rebel victory; he pleaded with the king to abandon this plan. When Aerys refused, Qarlton resigned as Hand, only to be dipped in wildfire and burned alive as punishment (Jaime privately admits that, having always dismissed Chelsted as a sycophant, he admired the man for finding the courage to defy Aerys). He was succeeded as Hand by the king's pyromancer, Rossart.