Tower of the Hand

Book 1, Chapter 5.
King Robert and his party arrive in Winterfell. Robert asks Eddard to be the new Hand of the King and promises to wed his son Joffrey to Ned's daughter Sansa.
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The King's party, three hundred strong,1 arrives at Winterfell beneath the crowned stag of House Baratheon. Eddard recognizes Ser Jaime Lannister, Sandor Clegane, and Tyrion Lannister immediately, but the king himself, flanked by two knights of the Kingsguard2 looks practically a stranger. Eddard has not seen the king since Greyjoy's Rebellion nine years ago, when Eddard and Robert joined forces to deal with Balon Greyjoy, who proclaimed himself king of the Iron Islands, and Eddard took Balon's son, Theon as his ward. Since that time, Robert has grown fat. Robert greets Eddard and Catelyn warmly, and Eddard greets Queen Cersei and her children3 as well. With the greetings out of the way, Robert immediately demands to go down to the crypts to pay his respects. Cersei begins to protest, but Jaime stops her. Once there, Eddard and Robert walk to the end of the rows of graves to where Eddard's father, Lord Rickard, his elder brother, Brandon, and his sister, Lyanna, are buried. Brandon was strangled by the order of Aerys II Targaryen days before he was supposed to wed Catelyn while Lord Rickard was forced to watch.4 Lyanna was sixteen when she died, and she was supposed to have married Robert. Robert pays his respects to the woman he loved and laments that she was buried deep underground. Eddard reminds the king that he was with Lyanna when she died and expressed a desire to be buried with her father and brother. He also remembers the promise he made to her, and how the fear went out of her eyes when he made it.5 6 Eddard's companions found him clutching her body some time later, and the crannogman Howland Reed had to take his hand from hers. Robert tells Eddard how he vowed to kill Rhaegar for what he did to Lyanna. Eddard reminds Robert that he did so, and Robert laments that he could only do so once. It had been during a battle at a ford on the Trident. Robert and Rhaegar met in single combat in the river, until Robert landed a killing blow to Rhaegar's chest with his warhammer.

Robert tells Eddard that Lord Jon's sickness came on suddenly. He had been healthy and fit on the tournament for the nameday of Robert's son, but two weeks later he was dead. Robert fears that his death drove Lysa mad. She refused to let her son, Robert, be fostered by Lord Tywin Lannister at Casterly Rock and withdrew to the Eyrie in the dead of night. Lord Tywin had never taken a ward before, and Robert feels Lysa should have been honored. Eddard offers to foster him at Winterfell, but Robert says that he cannot offer Robert to another now that Tywin has accepted. Robert also says that Jon's son will not be granted the title of Warden of the East that has always belonged to House Arryn. Eddard is surprised, but Robert says that a sickly boy cannot be a war leader. Eddard points out that the title is only an honor when the realm is at peace, but Robert will hear no more of it. Robert explains that he came north to make Eddard the Hand of the King to replace Lord Jon. The Hand is the second most powerful man in the kingdom, speaking with the king's voice, commanding his armies, drafting his laws, and even dispensing justice from the Iron Throne in the king's name if he is indisposed. Eddard does not want the position, but Robert is insistent and even plans to betroth his son Joffrey to Eddard's daughter, Sansa. Eddard asks for time to think the offer over.


Active Characters

  1. Jaime Lannister - He has hair bright as gold.
  2. Robert Arryn - Robert is named for Robert Baratheon. He is six years old and sickly and is now lord of the Eyrie.
  3. Robert Baratheon - Fifteen years ago, when he rose in rebellion to the throne, he was clean-shaven, clear-eyed, and heavily muscled, standing six foot six. Now, he is immensely fat with a coarse black beard that hides a double chin and drooping jowls. He has a large appetite for food, wine, and women.
  4. Sandor Clegane - He has a horribly burned face.
  5. Sansa Stark - She is eleven years old.


  1. The North - The north is larger than the rest of the Seven Kingdoms combined.
  2. Winterfell - Beneath the castle are the crypts, in which all the Lords of Winterfell going back thousands of years are housed in their tombs. Each tomb has an iron longsword laid across the lap of the likeness of the lord carved into it.


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