Tower of the Hand

Book 2, Chapter 59.
Stannis's fleet engages Joffrey's on the Blackwater Rush.
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Davos stands on the deck of Black Betha, in a line with Wraith and Lady Marya on Blackwater Bay. Ser Imry Florent commands the fleet from Fury; Stannis is with his troops on land. Ser Imry sends the order to lower sails; the fleet will proceed by oar so it is less exposed. Davos shouts commands echoed by his son Matthos. The line begins to form, with Pride of Driftmark and Bold Laughter moving into position. Harridan and Seahorse are moving slowly, however, and Swordfish, armed with the largest ram in the fleet, is lagging way behind. Davos is in the starboard wing of the second line. The fleet is organized into ten lines of battle composed of twenty ships each. The first two lines are to smash the small royal fleet, while the remaining ships will land troops to attack the city. The slowest ships will ferry Stannis's army across the Blackwater Rush to attack. Salladhor Saan in his Valyrian and the rest of his ships provide a rear guard out in the bay. The voyage from Storm's End had been slow due to the winds. A storm had scattered the fleet and more than a dozen ships were lost. Stannis is no doubt impatiently awaiting the fleet's arrival on the south bank with twenty thousand men, mostly knights and freeriders. The rest of the line has just about formed now, with Red Claw, Piety, Prayer, and Devotion in place. The first line is centered on Fury and consists of the two-hundred-oar galleys Lord Steffon and Stag of the Sea and the hundred-oar Lady Harra, Brightfish, Laughing Lord, Sea Demon, Horned Honor, Ragged Jenna, Trident Three, Swift Sword, Princess Rhaenys, Dog's Nose, Sceptre, Faithful, Red Raven, Queen Alysanne, Cat, Courageous, and Dragonsbane. After Ser Imry sounds the attack, Davos spies two new towers and a chain boom held between them and wonders why the harbor has not been closed to them. Davos gives the order for battle speed and hears his sons Dale and Allard do the same on their own ships. The fleet enters the Blackwater Rush. Davos sees the royal fleet drawn up before them: Godsgrace, Prince Aemon, Lady of Silk, Lady's Shame, Wildwind, Kingslander, White Hart, Lance, and Seaflower. Davos wonders why some of the bigger ships, such as Lionstar, Lady Lyanna, and King Robert's Hammer are not there and suspects a trap.1

As the fleet maneuvers closer, pitch and arrows begin to rain down from the walls of King's Landing, and Matthos hands Davos his helm. Seeing Stannis's army on the south shore flying the fiery heart makes Davos think of Melisandre. After Storm's End was taken, Stannis shipped Edric Storm to Dragonstone, and his lords insisted that he send Melisandre away as well. Stannis was about to refuse them until Lord Bryce told him that if Melisandre was by his side when he won at King's Landing, men would say he took the city with magic and owes his crown to her. Prayer, Piety, and Devotion begin to land archers under the walls, and a sortie led by Sandor closes in to meet them. Ship-to-ship fighting commences between the two fleets, and the Three Whores begin launching stones into the fray as well. Stag of the Sea demolishes one of Joffrey's galleys, while Dog's Nose is set on fire. Davos spies Queen Alysanne trapped between Lady's Shame and Lady of Silk and goes to ramming speed. Black Betha and Lady Marya ram Lady's Shame together, and the enemy ship falls to pieces. Queen Alysanne is soon engulfed in wildfire that erupts from the ruins of Lady's Shame, as is her other opponent, Lady of Silk. Moments later, Bold Laughter is hit by a boulder from one of the Whores and explodes. A swarm of smaller boats begin entering the river, none of them large enough to make a difference. Black Betha is rammed by White Hart, but Davos manages to turn so his ship does not sink. His men board the other galley and soon capture her. Davos has a chance to look over the battle. Courageous is sinking, Dragonsbane has had its bottom ripped out, Red Raven is listing, and Stag of the Sea is fighting fires and boarders. Loyal Man, another of Joffrey's ships, has been captured. The battle is almost over. Matthos calls his attention to Swordfish, just now entering the battle and about to ram one of the old hulks. Davos, with horror, sees wildfire leaking out of the ship. Swordfish collides with the hulk, and a gigantic explosion occurs. Davos is knocked overboard. When he comes to the surface, he sees a towering column of wildfire fifty feet high. Swordfish and the hulk have both vanished. Black Betha, Piety, Cat, Courageous, Sceptre, Red Raven, Harridan, Faithful, and Fury are already in flames, as are White Hart, Loyal Man, Kingslander, and Godsgrace on the Lannister side. As Davos watches, Pride of Driftmark is hit and starts burning as well. Davos is starting to be pushed out into the bay, but when he turns around, he sees that the chain has finally been lifted. Over a dozen ships have slammed into it already, and Davos fears his life is over.



  1. Bold Laughter - Bold Laughter belongs to House Velaryon.
  2. Devotion - Devotion belonged to House Sunglass until it was seized by Stannis.
  3. Fury - Fury is a three-hundred-oar war galley. The deck above the oars is given over wholly to scorpions, and the top deck is mounted with catapults, fore and aft, large enough to fling barrels of burning pitch. Stannis commanded from Fury when he took Dragonstone near the end of Robert's rebellion.
  4. Piety - Piety belonged to House Sunglass until it was seized by Stannis.
  5. Prayer - Prayer belonged to House Sunglass until it was seized by Stannis.
  6. Valyrian - Valyrian sports three hundred oars and a stripped hull.


Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.
  • 1 - While there is a trap, the ships named are not there because they had departed with Myrcella for Braavos (ACOK 42).


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