Tower of the Hand

Book 2, Chapter 50.
Tyrion prepares King's Landing for Stannis's arrival. Ser Balon Swann and Ser Osmund Kettleblack are raised to the Kingsguard.
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Tyrion sees Shagga and his Stone Crows off. The Burned Men left two days ago, followed by the Moon Brothers and the Black Ears. Tyrion is sending them into the kingswood to raid and harry Stannis's army. He warns Shagga that fighting Stannis' men will be different from fighting Milk Snakes or Painted Dogs in the mountains and reminds him to make good use of the guides Tyrion has provided. Tyrion is uneasy without his clansmen. He has eight hundred sellswords, but cannot trust their loyalty. He has promised Bronn and a dozen others knighthoods after the battle, but he knows they will not die for a knighthood. The City Watch now numbers six thousand men, but only a quarter are reliable. The Watch was only two thousand strong in Robert's day. Only three hundred knights, squires, and men-at-arms are in the city. Tyrion returns to Bronn and his escort. He gazes over the structures that have grown up against the city walls and orders Bronn to take a hundred men and burn everything from the river to the walls so Stannis will not have materials to build siegecraft. He rides back into the city and past three giant trebuchets in the market square. The men have named them the Three Whores because they are to give Stannis a lusty welcome.

Back in his audience chamber, Tyrion deals with several trader captains complaining about seized ships and then rushes to the investiture for the two new Kingsguard, at which they are to be anointed by the new High Septon and King Joffrey. Ser Balon is replacing Ser Preston, while Ser Osmund is replacing Ser Boros, despite the fact that he is a lowly hedge knight. When Ser Jacelyn intercepted Tommen's party on its way to Rosby, Ser Boros had given up the prince without any struggle at all, despite his vows to die to protect the royal family. A furious Cersei made Joffrey strip him of his white cloak, and he is now being held in the dungeon of Rosby. Tyrion sees Lady Tanda there, but not Lollys, which disappoints him as he had hoped to see Shae, who is now her servant as planned. Joffrey leaves with his new Kingsguard and Tyrion confers with the High Septon, whom he handpicked. He tells the man to spread the word that Stannis means to burn the Great Sept of Baelor and that anyone who joins him is betraying the gods. He also mentions that Stannis burned the godswood at Storm's End.

When Tyrion returns to his solar, Hallyne is waiting, as are messages brought by Maester Frenken. One is an old one from Prince Doran Martell telling of Storm's End's fall, but the other is from Balon Greyjoy, styling himself King of the Isles and the North, inviting Joffrey to send an envoy to fix the borders of their realms and work out a possible alliance. Tyrion is unsure of what to do with that bit of information. He admits Hallyne, who tells him there are thirteen thousand jars of wildfire ready. Tyrion thinks he is lying, but Hallyne claims that the spells are working better. He asks if there are any dragons in the world again, for Wisdom Pollitor told him long ago that magic started to go out of the world when the last dragon died.1 The newly-made Lord Jacelyn of Rosby comes in next. He has returned from the castle with a few more levies. He reports that Tommen is safe and that plans have been made to spirit him away if necessary. Finally, Varys comes to report a new conspiracy. A group of traders, merchants, and craftsmen calling itself the Antler Men has armed several hundred followers to seize the Old Gate and admit Stannis after the fighting begins. They believe he will win and want to share in the reward. One of them is Salloreon. Tyrion orders their arrest.


Active Characters

  1. Balon Swann - Ser Balon was valiant, courtly, and skilled at arms; good with a lance, better with a morningstar, superb with the bow.
  2. High Septon - The new High Septon is small with a wispy white beard and a wizened face.
  3. Osmund Kettleblack - He is six feet and six inches of mostly sinew and muscle with a hooked nose, bushy eyebrows, and a spade-shaped brown beard.


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