Tower of the Hand

Book 1, Chapter 3.
Catelyn Tully informs her husband, Eddard, that Jon Arryn, an old friend of Eddard's, has died and that King Robert Baratheon is coming to Winterfell.
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Catelyn comes to Eddard in the godswood. It consists of three acres of untamed forest in the heart of Winterfell, a dark and primal place where the First Men worship the old gods. Catelyn does not like coming to the godswood, for she was raised in the Faith. Eddard has built a small sept for her use, but he still worships the old gods. Eddard is cleaning Ice beneath the heart tree, a great weirwood with a face carved in it. In the south, all the weirwoods have been cut down save on the Isle of Faces, where the green men still maintain them, but every godswood in the North still has its heart tree. The godswood of Winterfell has existed since before Brandon the Builder constructed the castle. Eddard asks after the children, and Catelyn tells him they are in the kitchen arguing over names for the direwolves. Arya and Sansa are excited, but Rickon is still a little afraid. Eddard says he must learn to face his fears, because "winter is coming." Those words give Catelyn a chill. Every house has its own words, or motto, and "winter is coming" are the words of House Stark. Eddard turns the conversation to the deserter he executed.1 He was the fourth deserter Eddard has been forced to execute in the last year and was half-mad. Catelyn admires Ice. It was forged in the freehold of Valyria before it was destroyed by the Doom, though the name dates back to the age of heroes, when the members of House Stark ruled as the Kings in the North. Ben has written to say that the strength of the Night's Watch has fallen below a thousand thanks to desertions and losses from rangings, and Eddard fears he may need to call his banners to deal with Mance Rayder. Catelyn fears for Eddard going beyond the Wall, for there are supposed to be many terrors in the Far North, but Eddard reassures her that the Others and the children of the forest have been gone for eight thousand years.

Catelyn tells Eddard the news she came to deliver, which is that Jon Arryn is dead. Eddard takes the news hard. He had fostered with Lord Jon at the Eyrie in his youth along with King Robert Baratheon. When Aerys II Targaryen, the mad king, had demanded that Lord Jon deliver the heads of Robert and Eddard, Lord Jon raised his moon-and-falcon banners in rebellion instead.2 Fifteen years ago they became brothers as well when Eddard and Jon married Lord Hoster Tully's daughters.3 Robert wrote the letter bearing the news of Jon's death himself and explained that Jon took ill so quickly that Grand Maester Pycelle was powerless to aid him.4 Jon's wife5 has taken their son6 and returned to the Eyrie. Catelyn wishes she had gone to Riverrun instead, as the Eyrie is high and lonely and her sister will need friends and family to comfort her. Eddard points out that her uncle, Brynden, will be there, as Jon named him Knight of the Gate, but Catelyn fears that is not enough. Eddard suggests she go to her, but Catelyn says she cannot because the king is coming to Winterfell. Eddard is pleased that the king is coming, and decides to have Maester Luwin send a swift bird to the Wall so his brother, Ben, will be able to see the king too. Catelyn says that there will probably be a hundred knights with their retainers and fifty freeriders with the king's party. Queen Cersei and her children7 are coming as well, and so are the queen's brothers.8 This gives Eddard pause, as he resents the Lannisters of Casterly Rock for coming to Robert's cause late. Still, he is pleased at the thought of seeing the children, as the youngest, Prince Tommen, was still a suckling babe last Eddard saw him.9 Eddard says he will arrange for Jory to lead an escort of honor to meet the royal party on the kingsroad and wonders how they will take care of such a large party on such short notice.


Active Characters

  1. Rickon Stark - Rickon is three years old.
  2. Tommen Baratheon - Tommen is seven.


  1. The Faith - The Faith is the dominant religion of the Seven Kingdoms. Members of the Faith worship seven gods in a temple called a sept. Services involve incense, singing, and a seven-sided crystal and are led by a septon. The newborn are anointed with seven oils and named in the sept.
  2. The Night's Watch - There are just under a thousand men in the Night's Watch.
  3. The Old Gods - The old gods are nameless, and are worshiped in godswoods, wild and secluded woodlands where they watch over people. At the center of many godswoods is a heart tree called a weirwood that has white bark, blood red leaves, and a face carved into it, supposedly by the children of the forest. The old gods were the gods of the children of the forest and are now the gods of the First Men. All the great houses of the south keep a godswood, but few worship in them.


  1. Ice - Ice is four hundred years old.


Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.


1.  Prologue 26.  Eddard V 51.  Arya IV
2.  Bran I 27.  Jon IV 52.  Sansa IV
3.  Catelyn I 28.  Eddard VI 53.  Jon VII
4.  Daenerys I 29.  Catelyn V 54.  Bran VI
5.  Eddard I 30.  Sansa II 55.  Daenerys VI
6.  Jon I 31.  Eddard VII 56.  Catelyn VIII
7.  Catelyn II 32.  Tyrion IV 57.  Tyrion VII
8.  Arya I 33.  Arya III 58.  Sansa V
9.  Bran II 34.  Eddard VIII 59.  Eddard XV
10.  Tyrion I 35.  Catelyn VI 60.  Catelyn IX
11.  Jon II 36.  Eddard IX 61.  Jon VIII
12.  Daenerys II 37.  Daenerys IV 62.  Daenerys VII
13.  Eddard II 38.  Bran V 63.  Tyrion VIII
14.  Tyrion II 39.  Tyrion V 64.  Catelyn X
15.  Catelyn III 40.  Eddard X 65.  Daenerys VIII
16.  Sansa I 41.  Catelyn VII 66.  Arya V
17.  Eddard III 42.  Jon V 67.  Bran VII
18.  Bran III 43.  Tyrion VI 68.  Sansa VI
19.  Catelyn IV 44.  Eddard XI 69.  Daenerys IX
20.  Jon III 45.  Sansa III 70.  Tyrion IX
21.  Eddard IV 46.  Eddard XII 71.  Jon IX
22.  Tyrion III 47.  Daenerys V 72.  Catelyn XI
23.  Arya II 48.  Eddard XIII 73.  Daenerys X
24.  Daenerys III 49.  Jon VI
25.  Bran IV 50.  Eddard XIV