Tower of the Hand

Book 2, Chapter 26.
Tyrion gives Ser Cleos Frey alternate terms to take back to Robb, mocks Ser Alliser and arrests Grand Maester Pycelle.
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Ser Meryn admits Tyrion to Cersei's chambers, where she is listening to Lancel sing. Tyrion asks to speak to her in private, and Lancel leaves. Tyrion informs Cersei that Stannis has besieged Storm's End and that Renly is riding to meet him. They share a laugh at their good fortune, and Cersei even hugs Tyrion for a moment. They share a cup of wine to celebrate, and Tyrion poisons hers. The next morning, Cersei is indisposed as planned, leaving Tyrion to meet with Ser Cleos without her interference. He ascends the Iron Throne, flanked by Bronn and Ser Preston. Courtiers in attendance include Sansa, Lord Gyles, Ser Ilyn, Ser Horas, Ser Hobber, and Tyrek, who married Lady Ermesande three days ago and is now mocked as "Wet Nurse" by his fellow squires. Lord Petyr, Varys, and Pycelle are also present. Ser Cleos enters, and Tyrion gives him alternate terms to send back to Robb. Robb must swear fealty and return to Winterfell. Jaime is to be freed and Robb's host placed in his command to march on Stannis and Renly. Each of Robb's bannermen must send a son, or a daughter if without sons, to King's Landing to serve as hostages. As to prisoner exchanges, Tyrion will trade Harrion Karstark and Ser Wylis Manderly for Willem Lannister and Lord Medger Cerwyn and Ser Donnel Locke for Tion Frey, because any Lannister is worth two northmen. Ice, Sansa, and Arya will be returned when these terms are met; Eddard's bones will be returned now as a gesture of goodwill. During the course of announcing these terms, Tyrion reveals that Prince Doran has consented to betroth Trystane to Myrcella and declare for Joffrey. Tyrion decrees that Vylarr and his entire guard will escort Ser Cleos back to Riverrun. Vylarr is aghast, but there is little he can do.

When the audience concludes, Ser Alliser forces his way to the floor and demands to be heard. He wants to speak to the king, but Tyrion says he is unavailable. Ser Alliser recounts the incident with the wights1 and warns of a grave threat in the far north, though he no longer has the wight hand to show, as it rotted away while he was kept waiting. He is mocked by nearly all present, including Tyrion, who nevertheless promises to see that he gets recruits from the dungeons and streets. After the audience, Lord Petyr speaks to him angrily for deceiving him about Myrcella and leaves. Tyrion confers with Varys. He says that Cersei will consent to having the guard sent away because it is part of his plan to free Jaime. He has recruited a poisoner, a thief, a mummer, and a murderer and plans to send them to Riverrun disguised as guardsmen. Ser Cleos leaves that afternoon.

At midnight, Tyrion, accompanied by Timett, Shagga, and some of their men, pays a visit to Grand Maester Pycelle. They discover him in bed with his young female servant. Tyrion has Timett escort the girl out and then gets down to business. He accuses Pycelle of giving one of the letters for Doran to Cersei instead. Pycelle denies it and tries to blame Varys, but Tyrion reveals that he told Petyr and Varys different stories about which royal children were being fostered where so that he would know which one spoke to the queen. Pycelle still denies it until Shagga begins to shave the Grand Maester's beard with his axe. Pycelle pleads his loyalty to House Lannister, saying it was he who convinced Aerys II to open the gates of King's Landing when Tywin came. With Rhaegar dead, Aerys mad, and Viserys and Aegon too young, he had hoped Tywin would become king. Tyrion also accuses him of killing Lord Jon, but Pycelle claims he tried to save him. After a little more prodding from Shagga, he admits that he let the poison run its course, but continues to deny doing the actual poisoning.2 He says that Jon knew of Cersei's incest and that even though the queen never gave him a direct order, he could see that she wanted it done. Tyrion tells Shagga to lock Pycelle in one of the black cells.


Active Characters

  1. Alliser Thorne - He is slender and sharp-featured with black hair streaked with grey. He is fifty.
  2. Lancel Lannister - He is now sixteen.


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