Tower of the Hand

Book 4, Chapter 42.
Sansa and Robert make the descent from the Eyrie to the Gates of the Moon for the winter. Petyr reveals to Sansa that he has betrothed her to Harrold Hardyng, the heir to the Vale.
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Sansa enters Robert's room. Robert threw his chamber pot at Maester Colemon when the maester tried to get him out of bed, which sent him running to Lothor, who went to Sansa in the hopes of getting him out of bed without resorting to force. Robert refuses to budge for Sansa either and wants him to read to him about Ser Artys Arryn, the semi-legendary first Arryn king of the Vale whom drove the First Men out and flew to the top of the Giant's Lance on a giant falcon to slay the Griffin King. Sansa continues to try to get him out of bed with bribes and flattery. They are going down the mountain to the Gates of the Moon, for winter has come to the mountaintop and the Eyrie will soon be inaccessible. She finally cajoles him into going and steps into the next room, where Maddy, Gretchel, Maester Colemon and Robert's squires, Terrance Lynderly and Gyles Grafton await. She sets them to preparing Robert for the descent. She mentions to the maester that Robert complained of something bitter in his milk the night before, and the maester asks if he is bleeding from the nose, which he is not. The maester thinks that they should just give him milk of the poppy and have him make the descent in his sleep, but the full extent of his frailty must not become common knowledge. She wishes Petyr was there, but he is in Gulltown attending the wedding of Lord Lyonel to a merchant's daughter, a match he arranged himself. Lord Gerold Grafton, Lord Jon Lynderly, and Ser Edmund Waxley will be there as well, and so will Lord Benedar Belmore, who has reconciled with Petyr. She orders the maester to keep him calm as best he can, but the maester complains that the fits are getting worse. She tells him to use more sweetsleep, which he agrees to do reluctantly and which he says should not be done again for half a year or more for Robert's health.

Sansa goes to find Ser Lothor, who is in the winch room with Mord and a couple of others preparing supplies, and tells him that Robert is out of bed and getting ready. Lothor tells her that Myranda Royce made the ascent with the mule handler, Mya Stone, which worries Sansa since Petyr warned her that she is shrewd and dangerous. She goes to pack the last of her things, and when she returns, Mya has joined Lothor and Mord, waiting impatiently for Robert to arrive. Sansa and Robert descend to Sky in the bucket, where Myranda greets them. The others soon follow. Mya will go first with Lord Robert, while the other two mule handlers, Ossy and Carrot, will follow at staggered intervals. On the way down, Myranda tells Sansa that Petyr sent a letter. The wedding was a great success, and Lady Anya and Ser Symond made surprise appearances, meaning the Lords Delcarant are down to three. Petyr is on his way back to the Gates. Sansa asks if there is any other news, and Myranda tells her they have learned that Riverrun yielded, but Storm's End and Dragonstone still hold out.1 She also mentions that a bastard son of Lord Eddard now commands the Night's Watch, and Sansa blurts out Jon's name in surprise without thinking. Lord Yohn held a small melee at Runestone for squires to showcase Harrold Hardyng, Harold the Heir, whom Lord Yohn knighted afterwards. They come to a narrow point on the path, and Sansa has to dismount and walk across with Robert, who is shaking with fear. By the time they pass Stone, it has begun to snow, but they dare not stop or the snow could be five feet deep. When they arrive at the Gates, a guard tells Sansa that Petyr has returned and will see her immediately. When she arrives, he is just finishing with three hedge knights just taken into his service, Ser Byron, Ser Morgarth, and Ser Shadrich. When they leave, Petyr gives Sansa a deep kiss on the lips and tells her that he has made her a marriage contract. She is now promised to Harold Hardyng. Lady Anya is heavily in debt, and Petyr used that fact to his advantage to offer her a truly gigantic dowry for the betrothal. The only condition is that she will not make him marry against his will and Sansa must win his favor. Sansa is confused why he is called Harry the Heir if Lady Anya has sons of her own, and Petyr explains. Lord Jon's father, Jasper, had two sons and a daughter. In addition to Jon, there was Alys, who married Ser Elys Waynwood, uncle to Lady Anya, and Ronnel, who had a single son, Elbert, before dying of a bad belly. Elbert was later killed by Aerys II.2 Alys gave birth to eight daughters and a son, Jasper. Jasper died at three when he was kicked in the head by a horse, and two of the girls died of a pox. The eldest daughter married Ser Denys Arryn, a member of one of the numerous minor branches of the house, but he died during Robert's Rebellion, and his wife and infant son were dead soon after. Of the other Waynwood girls, one was left disfigured the same pox that killed her sisters and became a septa, another was seduced by a sellsword and cast out by Ser Elys, joining the silent sisters after her bastard died in infancy, a third wed the Lord of the Paps, but was barren, the fourth was carried off by Burned Men while on her way to marry a Bracken, and the fifth was married off to a knight sworn to the Waynwoods and gave birth to Harrold before she died. Harrold, therefore, is heir to the Vale. Petyr says that it is only a matter of time before sickly Robert dies and Harrold becomes Lord of the Vale. At that time, he will marry Sansa Stark, and every knight in the Vale will rally to her to reclaim Winterfell.


Active Characters

  1. Lothor Brune - Lothor is kin to the Brune's of Brownhollow, but when he presented himself at the castle as a youth, he was chased off.
  2. Myranda Royce - She is short, fleshy, and buxom with chestnut hair and lively brown eyes.


Active Houses

  1. House Hardyng - House Hardyng is sworn to House Waynwood.


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