Tower of the Hand

Book 4, Chapter 13.
Tommen and Margaery marry. Cersei burns the Tower of the Hand with wildfire.
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Jocelyn dresses Cersei for Tommen's wedding. Cersei is furious that she has to go through with the ceremony, but Tommen is not yet secure enough on his throne that she can offend Highgarden. She orders eggs for breakfast, but after breaking the first and discovering it contains a half-formed chick, she has Senelle bring wine instead. Jaime arrives and informs her of the security precautions that will be in place at the wedding. Men will watch as every dish is prepared and goldcloaks will escort the dishes to the hall. Ser Boros will taste every dish, and Maester Ballabar will be there with purges and antidotes for twenty common poisons. Cersei is still worried for Tommen's safety and thinks back to being in a tent with a girl named Melara, now long dead, as an old hag makes threats. She fears that Tyrion may be waiting in the walls for an opportunity to slit Tommen's throat. She orders Jaime to stay in his room all night long over his protests. He will be sharing a bed with Margaery that night. Lady Olenna and Lady Alerie both wanted them to share a bed from that point forward, but Cersei would only consent to the one night. Cersei tells Jaime she wants eyes in the room that night and Jaime wonders why, as Tommen is far too young to conceive. Cersei retorts that Lord Ossifer Plumm was "much too dead," but that did not stop him fathering a child, which just leaves Jaime confused.1

Jaime asks if she still means to burn the Tower of the Hand, and Cersei replies she will after the feast. She hopes that the fire will smoke out Tyrion, Varys, and Rugen, which Jaime thinks is ridiculous. He had men exploring the tower bit by bit knocking down walls and ripping up floors, and while they found fifty or so passages, there has been no sign of any people. Some passages were so small that stableboys had to be used to explore them. One got stuck and had to be pulled out shrieking while another fell and broke his legs. Two guardsmen also disappeared while exploring a side tunnel. Cersei wants to build a new palace beyond the river after the war is over. Jamie compares her use of wildfire to burn the tower akin to something Aerys might do, and Cersei thinks to herself that Jaime is a stranger to her now and wonders why she ever loved him.

The wedding ceremony is a small gathering compared to Joffrey's, with fewer than a hundred guests looking on in the sept of the Red Keep. As Tommen and Margaery exchange vows, Cersei looks over at Lord Mace, Lady Alerie, and Lady Olenna and thinks of getting revenge for this travesty of a wedding. Afterwards, many of the guests offer congratulations, including Ser Lyle, Lord Gyles, Lord Paxter, Lord Mace, and Grand Maester Pycelle. Ser Kevan is among the last to come forward. He is leaving after the wedding for Castle Darry. Ser Harwyn has cleared the outlaws out of the castle and Lancel's bride, Amerei, waits for him there. The area is still not safe, however, as the remnants of the Brave Companions are still loose, and Lord Beric is hanging Freys. Kevan asks if the rumors about Sandor joining Beric are true. Cersei is surprised he heard about that and tells him that reports claim that he led a raid on Saltpans, killing a dozen men and raping a girl of twelve.2 Cersei tells Kevan that he is just the person to deal with Sandor. She has named Damion castellan of the Rock and Daven as Warden of the West to snub Kevan. Kevan stalks away, and Jaime escorts Cersei to the small hall for the wedding feast.

Cersei is cross at the Tyrells and Olenna in particular, but Jaime reassures her that Olenna is leaving the next day. Lord Mace is taking half his strength to besiege Storm's End, while the other half joins Garlan to make good his claim to Brightwater Keep. When Cersei enters the hall, Margaery embraces her. Cersei hates the girl for not mourning Joffrey and wedding Tommen so quickly and thinks she only wants the crown. She has to restrain herself from slapping Margaery. The feast is only a modest seven courses. Moon Boy and Butterbumps entertain while musicians play. Only one singer is present this time, a favorite of Margaery's called Wat the Blue Bard. Cersei looks at Olenna and thinks back to Maggy the Frog and her tent. The crone had sucked blood from Cersei's finger and prophesied that she would be queen until another comes, younger and more beautiful, to cast her down. Cersei worries it could be Margaery. Jaime is nervous during the dinner despite the fact that Ser Osmund and Ser Meryn are guarding the doors, Ser Balon stands beside Tommen, and Ser Loras stands by Margaery. At one point, Tommen begins to cough, scaring Cersei, but he was just choking on some wine. Cersei retreats from the hall and begins to weep.

Lady Taena follows Cersei out of the hall and offers the queen comfort. She also brings news that Senelle is a Tyrell spy and reports to Alla, Elinor, and Megga for Margaery. Cersei says Taena will be rewarded and returns to the hall. Jaime tries to comfort her when she returns, but she is not assuaged. She looks over the assembled, including Lord Mace, Lord Paxter, Lord Mathis, Kevan, Lancel, Pycelle, and Senelle, who is serving, and thinks that she has no one she can rely on and needs to surround Tommen with her own people. Tommen dances with his new wife as well as Alla, Elinor, and Megga. Jaime asks Cersei for a dance as well, but she refuses and insults him. She watches the Tyrell girls as Margaery dances with Alla, Megga dances with Ser Tallad, and Elinor shares a cup of wine with Aurane Waters. As Tommen returns to his seat, Cersei sees Kevan talking to Garlan and wonders if they are plotting together. Cersei announces that it is time to go outside and light the Tower of the Hand. At a signal from Hallyne, a group of archers launch flaming arrows at the tower, which ignites the wildfire already placed within. As the tower burns, Cersei thinks back on all the Hands she knew, Owen Merryweather, Jon Connington, Qarlton Chelsted, Jon Arryn, Eddard Stark, Tyrion, and Tywin and thinks that they are all gone now with their scheming and betrayals and that she now rules the kingdom. Lady Olenna, flanked by Erryk and Arryk says it is time for the king and queen to go to bed. Jaime asks if Cersei will retire as well, but she wants to watch the tower burn.


Warning: Footnotes may contain spoilers from later chapters or books.
  • 1 - [ SPOILER for AFFC >><< END SPOILER ]
  • 2 - This was actually Rorge wearing Sandor's helmet and leading a group of ex-Brave Companions.