Tower of the Hand

Book 2, Chapter 16.
Tyrion orders the smiths of King's Landing to construct a giant chain and goes to see Shae using a new secret route through Chataya's, arranged by Varys.
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Pycelle presents to the small council a copy of Stannis's letter proclaiming Joffrey a bastard. Cersei wants to burn all the letters and rip out the tongues of any heard repeating the words, but Tyrion counsels letting it pass as harmless. Lord Petyr goes one step further and says they should promulgate their own tale about Stannis's daughter Shireen, saying that Lady Selyse conceived her with Patchface. Cersei is delighted by this plan. The rumor will be spread by Lord Petyr through the brothels he owns and through Varys. Mention of Varys makes Cersei wonder why he is not at the meeting. Tyrion takes his leave, saying he must check on a chain he is making for Joffrey. Bronn waits for him outside the council chamber to escort him back to the Tower of the Hand, where several master smiths await. Podrick attends Tyrion in his chambers and dresses him for the meeting. He greets the armorers, including Ironbelly and Salloreon, in his audience chamber and orders them to construct a giant chain. They are reluctant at first, seeing the work as common and also fearing Cersei's wrath because she has ordered them to make arms and armor and threatened to crush the hands of any smith that failed to meet his quota, but Tyrion promises no hands will be crushed and that any man who refuses to make links for the chain will be arrested. With the audience done, he makes preparations to go into the city.

As Tyrion rides through the streets in his litter, he is subjected to many hateful stares. Though he has ordered several carpenters to construct fishing boats, opened the kingswood to hunting, and sent gold cloaks foraging, there is still not enough food, and he receives the blame for it. They arrive at his destination, the brothel owned by Chataya. Chataya greets him and shows him some of her girls. Tyrion chooses Alayaya, who leads him to a room. Within the room is a wardrobe with a secret passage. Tyrion climbs down a ladder and is greeted by Varys, disguised by scars and stubble. Tyrion expresses his surprise that a brothel would have a secret passage, and Varys replies that it was made for another Hand of the King whose honor would not allow him to enter a brothel openly. The passage ends at a stable, where Varys provides an old horse and a cloak as a disguise so Tyrion can ride to Shae's manse undetected. They discuss Stannis and his proclamation. Tyrion wonders how Stannis knew the truth about Cersei's children, and Varys is mysterious about the topic. Tyrion tells Varys that he sometimes feels the eunuch is his best friend in the city and other times his worst enemy. Varys says he feels the same way about Tyrion.


Active Characters

  1. Alayaya - Daughter of Chataya and a whore at her brothel. She has jet-black skin and wide dark eyes. She is sixteen.
  2. Chataya - She is from the Summer Isles and has ebony skin and sandalwood-colored eyes. Her daughter is Alayaya.
  3. Frenken - Maester of Castle Stokeworth.
  4. Podrick Payne - He is twelve.
  5. Robert Baratheon - To the best of Varys's knowledge, Robert fathered eight bastards.1


  1. Castle Stokeworth - The seat of House Stokeworth.
  2. Summer Isles - In the Summer Isles, those adept at the art of love are held in high esteem. Many highborn youths spend several years as prostitutes if they are so skilled. The people of the Summer Isles believe that the gods made their bodies and souls and gave them voices to praise the gods in song and desire to praise the gods through the act of love.


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