Tower of the Hand

Book 1, Chapter 6.
A feast is held in honor of the king. Tyrion Lannister, brother of the queen and a dwarf, speaks with Jon Snow about being Eddard Stark's bastard son. Jon declares that he wishes to join the Night's Watch.
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Jon Snow is sitting near the back of the great hall in Winterfell during the welcome feast for King Robert.1 Earlier, he got a good look at the royal family as they came in. Eddard escorted in Queen Cersei, followed by Catelyn and Robert, then Rickon, Robb and Princess Myrcella, Arya and Prince Tommen, Sansa and Joffrey, Jaime and Tyrion, and, finally, Benjen Stark and Theon Greyjoy.2 Jon has been drinking for the entire feast, and is now quite drunk. Ghost peeks his head up from under the table looking for food, and Jon gives his direwolf half a chicken to devour. A dog comes up to challenge Ghost for a share, but all it takes is a baring of his fangs to make the dog slink away. Ben Stark comes over to see Ghost. He remarks on how quiet the wolf is, and Jon explains that he never makes a sound, which is how he got his name. Ben admires Jon's keen skills of observation and remarks that he could use a man like him on the Wall. Jon, drunk, asks to join the Night's Watch. Ben tells him the Wall is a hard place for a boy, but Jon protests that he is nearly a man and that bastards have to grow up faster than other children. He also talks of Daeron Targaryen, who conquered Dorne at the age of fourteen, but Ben points out that the conquest only lasted a summer and that he had lost ten thousand men conquering the place and another fifty thousand trying to hold it. Furthermore, he was dead at eighteen.

Jon still wants to join the Watch, knowing there is no place for him at Winterfell in the long run as a bastard. Ben tells him that the members of the Watch are not allowed to marry or father children and that he should know what he is giving up and father a few bastards of his own first. Jon hotly states he will never father a bastard, which draws all eyes to him. Jon runs out of the hall in tears. Outside, he runs into Tyrion perched on the ledge above the door. He has drunk too much wine and come out for air. As Jon watches, he vaults down from the ledge and comes over to see Ghost. Ghost bares his fangs at Tyrion at first, but on Jon's command lets Tyrion pet him. Tyrion tells Jon that he should make being a bastard his strength so that fact cannot be used against him by his enemies. When Jon asks what he could possibly know about being a bastard, Tyrion replies that all dwarfs are bastards in their fathers' eyes. His mother3 died giving birth to him and his father4 treats him terribly for it. Tyrion goes on to say that all dwarfs are bastards, but that all bastards need not be dwarfs. As he walks back into the hall, the light throws Tyrion's shadow across the yard, and for an instant, he looks as tall as a king.


Active Characters

  1. Benjen Stark - He is sharp-featured and gaunt, with blue-grey eyes.
  2. Jaime Lannister - He is tall with gold hair and flashing green eyes.
  3. Joffrey Baratheon - He is tall, with long golden curls, pouty lips, and deep green eyes. He is twelve.
  4. Myrcella Baratheon - She is a wisp of a girl with golden curly hair. She is eight years old.
  5. Tommen Baratheon - He is plump, with long white-blond hair.
  6. Tyrion Lannister - He has stubby legs, a head too large for his body, a squashed in forehead, a jutting brow, mismatched eyes of green and black, and lank, white-blond hair.


  1. The Night's Watch - The members of the Night's Watch are not allowed to have families or father children.


  1. Ghost - He never makes a sound.


Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.
  • 1 - This footnote contains details from a later book (ASOS 8). Click to show.
  • 2 - Bran is not specifically mentioned, but since Jon notes that all the children came in, he must have been part of the procession too.
  • 3 - Joanna Lannister
  • 4 - Lord Tywin Lannister


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