Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Hand of the King

"What's the line? 'The King shits, and the Hand wipes."
-  George R.R Martin, A Game of Thrones

The Hand of the King. . . . In my opinion the position is cursed! Something awful happens to anyone who takes up the position. However The Hand of the King is the most powerful "appointed" position in the seven kingdoms. The Hand is second only to the King in both authority and responsibility. The Kings appoints a Hand to be their closest adviser and confidant. They also hold the power to make decisions in the Kings name. When the King is absent the Hand leads meetings of the Small Council and is the highest member of the council.

The symbol for the Hand of the King is often if not always a hand. The Hand of the King wears a symbol to represent his position often a piece of jewelry such as a brooch or necklace.

The Hand of the King is generally meant to act as chief agent for carrying out the King's plans and orders, however when a particularly weak King is ruling the Hand more often than not is the man ruling the kingdom and holding everything together. The last 2 reigning Kings in Westeros were good examples of this as Tywin Lannister kept things going as the Mad King Aerys lost his mind, and Jon Arryn served as Hand for Robert Baratheon, who, was a great warrior and fighter, but rubbish at the political side of things. This has led to a common saying of "The King shits, and the Hand wipes".

The Hand of the King lives in the Tower of the Hand at the Red Keep along with his family.In Lord Eddards case this was just Sansa and Arya as the rest of his family remained in Winterfell.

Since the series began we have seen many people take the role of Hand.

1. Jon Arryn: Served as Hand for 17 years under Robert Baratheon. Though the first time when we meet Jon Arryn he is dead. It is later revealed that he was poisoned by his wife Lysa under the instruction of Petyr Baelish.

2. Eddard Stark: Eddard briefly served as Hand under Robert Baratheon before the King died after a hunting accident. Eddard was executed after being falsely accused of treason by Roberts successor, Joffrey. 

3. Tyrion Lannister: Served as Hand under Joffrey until his father Lord Tywin returned from battle in the Westerlands and Riverlands.

4. Tywin Lannister: Assumed the position of Hand of the King after the Battle of the Blackwater. After Joffreys death he continued to serve as Hand under Tommen until he was killed by his son Tyrion. For some time after Tywin's death, Queen Mother Cersei leaves the position vacant and often takes the seat at the head of the council table herself.

5. Kevan Lannister: After Cersei is arrested by the High Sparrow, Grand Maester Pycelle calls Tywin Lannister's brother Kevan to take the position.

So far in the series of both books and tv show, Tyrion Lannister is the only Hand to escape without being killed. Who know's what is in store in series 6 and book 6!!