Tower of the Hand

Book 4, Chapter 8.
Cersei attends Tywin's wake, appoints Lord Gyles master of coin, and gives Qyburn permission to experiment on Ser Gregor. Ser Kevan refuses to become Hand of the King.
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Cersei and Tommen prepare to pay their final respects to Lord Tywin at the Great Sept. A cold rain is falling, disappointing Tommen, who had wanted to throw pennies to the smallfolk. They ride in a litter escorted by two Kingsguard and fifty Lannister house guards. Few people are out in the streets due to the rain and a general lack of love for Tywin. When the litter arrives at the Great Sept, Ser Meryn helps Cersei down, and the High Septon meets her at the top of the steps. She suddenly remembers that he was hand-picked by Tyrion and worries that he may be an enemy. They enter the Hall of Lamps flanked by Ser Meryn and Ser Osmund. Tywin rests upon a marble bier under the dome of the sept. Jaime is standing vigil over the body. Tywin is decked out in his armor, but his lips are curved in a slight smile, which irks Cersei since he never smiled in life. He is also less fearsome with his eyes closed. Cersei recalls an incident during the feast King Aerys II held for Cersei when she first came to court. Lord Owen was discussing raising the duty on wine, and Lord Renfred Rykker commented that if they needed gold, they should sit Lord Tywin on a chamber pot. Aerys and the others laughed; all Tywin did was stare at Renfred, who was routed from the room. She thinks that Tywin was a great man, but that she will be even greater. Tommen notices that Tywin smells of decay.

Seven septons beseech the Father to judge Tywin justly, after which seventy-seven septas sing to the Mother for her mercy. Attendees at the ceremony include Ser Kevan, Lancel, looking grey-faced and gaunt with hollow cheeks, sunken eyes, and brittle white hair, Lord Gyles, Grand Maester Pycelle, Lord Mace, Lady Alerie, Lady Olenna, Lord Garlan, and Margaery. After the ceremony, Cersei accepts condolences from several of the assembled. Ser Horas and Ser Hobber kiss her hand, Lord Paxter kisses her cheek, Hallyne tells her a flaming hand will burn in the sky when Tywin's bones go west, Lord Gyles tells her he has hired a master stonecarver to make a statue of Lord Tywin to stand at the Lion Gate, and Ser Lambert Turnberry appears with a patch over his right eye and swears he will wear it until Tyrion is brought to justice. Lady Falyse and her husband, Ser Balman, approach next and send Lady Tanda's regrets; Lollys is near her time and Tanda felt she should stay with her. Tanda wants permission to name the child Tywin if it is a boy, which Cersei furiously refuses since the child is a bastard.

Cersei reminds Kevan of their meeting later and talks to Lancel. He is unhappy about taking up residence at Castle Darry, which is currently full of outlaws, and marrying his Frey wife. He says the High Septon prayed for him when he was near death and told him that the Mother had spared him for some holy purpose as atonement for his sins. Cersei wonders what he might have told the High Septon about bedding her. Cersei next braves the Tyrell host, receiving condolences from Margaery, Lady Alerie, Meg, Alla, and Elinor. Lady Alyce asks for leave to name her soon-to-be-born child Tywin if a boy or Lanna if a girl, and Cersei gives her consent. Lady Taena tells Cersei that she has sent word to her friends in the Free Cities to seize Tyrion if he can be found and tells Cersei she only wants to serve the queen. Cersei tells her they will have to speak again later. Lord Mace offers both condolences and thinly veiled requests to be named Hand of the King. He also mentions that his uncle Garth has agreed to serve as master of coin as he and Tywin had agreed and is on his way to Oldtown to take ship for King's Landing. Cersei is not pleased at the thought of another Tyrell on the small council and lies that Lord Gyles has already agreed to serve in that capacity. Lord Mace is angry and insulted, but there is little he can do. Lady Olenna appears and makes some snide comments about Cersei and the stink of Tywin's corpse before leading Mace away flanked by Erryk and Arryk.

Cersei gathers up Tommen and departs. She allows Tommen to ride back to the Red Keep and invites Lord Gyles to ride in her litter. He accepts the position of master of coin and talks of several officials that he would like to replace that were on Lord Petyr's payroll. Cersei says that if the issue comes up, he was appointed the day before. When she arrives back at the castle, Cersei retires to her chambers but only gets a moment's rest before Jocelyn announces that Qyburn is there to see her. Senelle attends them. Qyburn has been investigating Tyrion's disappearance. The same night he escaped, Varys vanished as did a jailor named Rugen.1 Rugen was the undergaoler in charge of the black cells and received that appointment from Aerys II. He kept to himself and came and went as he pleased. Rugen's chambers had been thoroughly examined by Jaime and the city watch, but Qyburn found a secret compartment in the floor under the chamberpot which contained a single gold coin bearing the likeness of Garth XII Gardener, king of the Reach.2 Qyburn has also examined Gregor. He believes manticore venom was the poison used, but it has been thickened somehow so as to take a long time to kill. Qyburn thinks a spell is responsible, but Cersei scoffs at the notion. Whatever the cause, Gregor is dying slowly and painfully, and nothing can be done to save him. Qyburn asks permission to study Gregor further so he may discover what dark art was used to make the poison. Cersei asks Qyburn why the Citadel took his chain away, and he explains that he aspired to be the greatest healer the Citadel had ever known. While the maesters have always opened the bodies of the dead to understand the nature of life, Qyburn began opening the bodies of the living to understand death and was stripped of his chain and banished. Cersei gives Gregor over to Qyburn's care, but tells him to remove Gregor to the black cells and bring her his head when he finally dies. Cersei dismisses Qyburn with a final warning to keep his work secret.

Ser Kevan arrives at sunset for supper. Afterwards, Cersei broaches the subject of naming him Hand, but he is reluctant. He says he will serve, but only if Cersei names him regent as well and returns to Casterly Rock. Cersei is aghast at this idea, but Kevan reminds her that Tywin meant to send her back to the Rock himself. He says that the kingdom is in ruins and that Tywin was needed to set things right. Cersei says she will do so, but Kevan is contemptuous of her abilities and mocks her capability as a mother as well. Cersei throws her wine in his face, and he asks leave to withdraw. Cersei says he has no place to offer her terms, and Kevan reminds her that while he holds no lands, both Tytos and Tywin looked after him and his financial well-being. He keeps two hundred knights in his service, a number he can easily double while also hiring freeriders and sellswords. Ser Kevan says that if Cersei will not name him regent, she should name him castellan of the Rock and name either Lord Randyll or Lord Mathis as Hand. Cersei thinks he has been bought by the Tyrells, but Kevan points out that naming either of them would put them in her debt and remove them from Lord Mace's side. Ser Kevan says he will go home. Cersei states that Tommen needs him, but Kevan retorts that he already has his mother, and his father as well.


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