Tower of the Hand

Book 1, Chapter 25.
Bran listens to Old Nan recount a tale about the Others when Tyrion Lannister returns to Winterfell, bearing a gift for the crippled boy.
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Bran watches Rickon run in the yard with Summer, Grey Wind, and Shaggydog. Bran is now eight and having trouble coping with his paralysis. Old Nan is with him to take care of him and keep him company. Nan is the oldest person in Winterfell. She came to be a wetnurse for another Brandon whose mother died giving birth, though whether this Brandon was a brother of Lord Rickard or of Lord Rickard's father1 changes depending on when Nan tells the story. At any rate, the boy died of a chill at three, but Nan stayed on at the castle. Her two sons died during Robert's Rebellion and her grandson died during Greyjoy's Rebellion, while her daughters long ago married, moved away, and died. Her only kin left is the stableboy, Hodor. Robb spends all his time now trying to be a lord, drilling the guard, going over accounts, and visiting outlying holdfasts.

Bran is cranky and in no mood for Old Nan's stories. She offers to tell the story of Brandon the Builder and how he raised both Winterfell and the Wall, but Bran says he prefers the scary stories. Nan therefore proceeds to tell Bran a story of the Others. Many thousands of years ago, a winter came that was the harshest ever experienced and a night came that lasted a generation. It was then that the Others came. They rolled over all in their path, defeating armies by the score. As all hope seemed lost, the last hero rode forth into the Far North with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions to find the children of the forest and magic to defeat the Others. After years of fruitless searching, all of the hero's companions died and his sword shattered and the Others closed in on him with packs of pale white spiders the size of hounds. Just as Nan reaches the climax of the story, Maester Luwin comes in with Hodor and tells Bran he is required in the great hall to meet Tyrion, who has just arrived.

Hodor carries Bran to the hall, where Robb, flanked by Theon, Hallis, and a dozen guards, is talking to Tyrion, his servants,2 Yoren, and three other members of the Night's Watch. Robb is rude to Tyrion and threatens him as Bran enters the room. Tyrion asks Bran if he remembers how he happened to fall, but he cannot. He then gives the boy a gift, telling him that he can ride a horse using a special saddle of Tyrion's design. Suddenly, Rickon and the three direwolves burst into the room, and the direwolves proceed to attack Tyrion until they are called off. Robb apologizes for his earlier rudeness and offers Tyrion chambers in the castle, but Tyrion takes his leave to find an inn in town, and Robb turns his attention to Yoren while Bran goes back to his room. He falls asleep and has a dream relating to his fall in which he desperately states that he did not hear Cersei and Jaime's conversation. At dinner with the Watch members, Yoren reports Ben's disappearance. After the feast, Robb sits in Bran's room and cries for fear and grief.


Active Characters

  1. Hodor - He is nearly seven feet tall and shaggy. His name is actually Walder, but he soon came to be called by the only word he ever speaks.
  2. Nan - She is small and wrinkled with only a few wisps of white hair remaining. No one knows how old she is, but she is certainly one of the oldest people in the Seven Kingdoms.


  1. Others - According to legend, the Others are said to hate iron, fire, and sunlight and seek to kill all creatures that have warm blood in their veins. They ride dead horses into battle leading legions of the undead and also use pale white spiders the size of hounds as trackers. Thousands of years ago they nearly overwhelmed Westeros in an invasion before being defeated in an unknown manner.


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