Tower of the Hand

Book 2, Chapter 12.
Theon arrives at Pyke and learns that Lord Balon means to invade the north.
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Theon watches the castle of Pyke get closer on board the Myraham. There is no safe anchorage there, so the ship sails around the island of Pyke to Lordsport. Theon sees a large number of longships there bearing sigils of important houses such as the blood moon of House Wynch, the black warhorn of House Goodbrother, and the silver scythe of House Harlaw, and realizes that his father has called the banners. He is puzzled at first, but decides it must be a defensive move as his father and his uncle Victarion, commander of the Iron Fleet, are both old men and have no doubt grown cautious. He also spies Lord Balon's personal longship, Great Kraken, but notes that his uncle Euron's ship, Silence, is not in port. He has been sleeping with the captain's daughter during the trip, and she begs him to take her as his salt wife, but he refuses. Theon wonders who will meet him at the pier, thinking it might be Lord Sawane Botley, the steward Sylas Sourmouth, or Dagmer Cleftjaw. Robb sent ahead ravens announcing his coming, and when he and Lord Jason reached Seagard and found no longship waiting, Jason sent his own birds as well. At first he thinks no one is there, but then a priest of the Drowned God speaks up. Theon does not recognize him at first, but then vaguely remembers that Balon said in one of his letters that his younger brother Aeron had gone down in a storm and then turned to religion when he washed up on shore. Theon expresses surprise that Dagmer was not sent with an honor guard, and Aeron replies that he has gone to Old Wyk to bring the longships of Stonehouse and Drumm because they have been called to war. After blessing Theon in the name of the Drowned God, Aeron leads him on the road to Pyke.

On the way to Pyke, Theon tries to engage his uncle in conversation, but the man is grim and terse, quite different from when Theon left ten years ago when his uncle was fond of songs, ale, and women. He asks if his sister and mother are at Pyke, and Aeron informs him that Asha has taken her longship, Black Wind, to Great Wyk and his mother1 is troubled by illness and has gone to Harlaw to be with her sister.2 Theon also tries to learn what his father's plans are, but Aeron will not say. Theon is furious and says that he is Balon's heir and should be told, but Aeron indicates that his sister may succeed Lord Balon instead of him, as he is now seen as an outsider and a Stark. Theon laments that the old lords continue to fight the old battles and that Lord Jason had been the same way on the road to Seagard, showing disapproval that Patrek was taking a liking to Theon because House Mallister had suffered numerous raids from the ironborn. Patrek pointed out that only one raid had been launched against Seagard in three hundred years, when Theon's brother Rodrik attacked during Greyjoy's rebellion and was killed by Lord Jason. Theon tells Aeron that with Robb Lord of Winterfell a new day of glory for their people is at hand and points to the comet as a messenger of victory. Aeron agrees the comet is a sign, but states it is a flaming brand heralding a return to the old ways and greatness.

Aeron brings Theon to Pyke and then departs. Theon is greeted by Helya. He asks where Sylas is and Helya states that he died five years ago. He then asks after Maester Qalen and learns that he too is dead and Maester Wendamyr now looks after the ravens. She leads him to his quarters in the Bloody Keep. Theon is disquieted because his chambers are those that gave the Bloody Keep its name, where one thousand years ago the sons of the River King were hacked to pieces. The room has not been opened in years and is damp and musty. He sends Helya away for hot water and new rushes. After washing and changing, he goes to see his father. His father is disgusted with Theon's silks and velvets and his golden chain which was bought with gold and not iron and is also disdainful that Theon comes as a meek messenger. Theon counters that the plan was his idea and Robb has come to look on him as a brother, prompting an angry response from Balon to remember his real brothers, Rodrik slain at Seagard and Maron killed in the final assault on Pyke. Theon produces Robb's message, which states that if Balon will attack the Lannisters, Robb will make him King of the Iron Islands. Theon is proud of the plan, which he helped draft. It calls for Robb to march on the Golden Tooth and draw out Ser Stafford Lannister, after which the ironmen will attack from the sea and take Casterly Rock, which Theon would then want as his seat. Balon thinks Casterly Rock too strong and does not want to be given a crown. He has called his banners to take a crown, and he will not do so by marching on the Lannisters. He will move on the north.


Active Characters

  1. Aeron Greyjoy - He is tall and thin with fierce black eyes and a beak of a nose. Seaweed is wound into his long black hair and untrimmed beard.
  2. Asha Greyjoy - She is twenty-three.
  3. Balon Greyjoy - He is small and gaunt with black eyes and long gray hair.
  4. Theon Greyjoy - He is now twenty.


  1. Ironmen - The people of the Iron Islands. They were raiders for thousands of years. They often took women captured in raids as salt wives, as opposed to their legitimate rock wives, of whom a man only had one. They only wore jewelry that had been taken in a raid, which was considered "paying the iron price"; only women would decorate themselves with ornaments bought with gold. They once ruled the riverlands, but were driven out by Aegon the Conqueror. Now they fish, farm the poor soil of the Iron Islands, and mine iron, lead, and tin. They worship the Drowned God.


  1. Lordsport - A small fishing village on Pyke and seat of House Botley. It was completely destroyed in Balon Greyjoy's Rebellion, but has been rebuilt. The Botleys replaced their timber-and-wattle castle with a stone keep. The sept was not rebuilt.
  2. Pyke - Pyke is built on a series of small islands and pillars that had once been part of the larger island of Pyke but are now isolated. The three keeps, the Great Keep, the Kitchen Keep, and the Bloody Keep, are each perched on their own small islands and the whole castle is linked by covered archways and wood-and-rope walks. The oldest part of the castle is the Sea Tower, which rises from the outmost island. The whole fortress is gray and grim and covered with lichen. A curtain wall protects the part of the castle on the island of Pyke itself, where the stables, the kennel, and other outbuildings are located. A wide stone bridge leads from here to the Great Keep.
  3. Seagard - Seagard was built to defend against Ironmen raiders. One of its towers is called the Booming Tower for the huge bronze bell that is rung to warn against a raid.


  1. Balon Greyjoy's Rebellion - Rodrik Greyjoy mounted a raid against Seagard during the rebellion, but was slain by Jason Mallister.


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


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