The king doesn’t know what his hand is doing


Daniel is a journalist.

Related Post Roulette

9 Responses

  1. fantasy fan says:

    Joff is underage. His mother, Cersei is Regent. So, everything you say pretty much goes, but it has nothing to do with Tyrion and Tywin making decisions either behind the back of the Regent (Tyrion) or without regard to her wishes. Tywin never even considers givign Joff “his way” to show that he is King. That Cersei allows him to make grave errors for that reason is one of her failings as Regent. Of course, when Joff is 16, then he would have power. Jaime gives tells the rest of the Kingsguard about King Tommen, “if he asks you to saddle his horse, do it. If he asks you to kill his horse, come to me.” That all of Joff’s “men” hadn’t been told the same, was a policy failure by someone. Tywin’s view of Ned’s execution was that the men really responsible should be executed. When he sends Tyrion to King’s Landing to serve as his substitute Hand, that is one of his tasks.Report

  2. Mike Schilling says:

    You make a good point. Even Davos, who is the closest thing we see to a truly loyal hand, does something completely against his king’s wishes. (Though he does confess it to Stannis almost immediately.)Report

  3. Ryan Davidson says:

    The office of the King’s Hand seems roughly equivalent to the Lord Chancellor, i.e. the most significant and powerful member of the Privy Council which was in turn the body by and through which the monarch ruled the country. They were usually churchmen though, rather than leading members of one of the Great Houses, and the only one I see that was even a member of a royal family was Geoffrey the Bastard, a Plantagenet and clergyman.

    But if anything, the role that the various Hands have taken in the novels is pretty close to how actual Lord Chancellors sometimes behaved. More than a few were arrested for treason, and a significant number fell out of favor with the Crown and were dismissed only to be reinstated later. So the idea that a high-ranking member of a monarchial council would actually be working independently and occasionally at odds with the crown is not unrealistic.

    Remember, we aren’t talking about a cabinet position with the federal government, which is basically just a job filled by someone who would otherwise be doing a different job. We’re talking about people who have no small degree of political power in their own right and are named to the council because of that power, partly to appease them, partly to keep them close to hand, and partly in the hope that by giving them some authority tied to the success of the Crown that they will be more loyal than they otherwise would be. Which is pretty much the way Martin’s Small Council operates.Report

    • Daniel in reply to Ryan Davidson says:

      It’s funny, one thing that doesn’t seem to happen a lot in the books with the King’s Hand is him falling out of favor with the King (although it does happen).

      You make a really excellent point about who the hands tend to be. Still, I think we’re seeing all the exceptions with Davos, Tyrion, and Ned. Sure, Ned was powerful but Robert named him Hand because he said he could trust Ned.Report

      • Ryan Davidson in reply to Daniel says:

        Actually, there’s quite a bit of that, if you pay attention. Aerys II dismissed Tywin Lannister after deciding that Tywin was getting too uppity, attainted and exiled Owen Merryweather, exiled Jon Connington after the Battle of the Bells, and executed Qarlton Chelsted before finally naming Lord Rossart to the office, who was killed by Jamie Lannister.

        And remember, Robert actually dismissed Ned there for a minute before deciding not to.Report

  4. Mike Schilling says:

    By the way, here’s a brilliant AGoT role-playing game: