In the season finale of season 6 of Game of Thrones

Daenerys presents Tyrion with a "Hand of the Queen" pin.

She says something along the lines of "I hope I got the details right."

It is unlikely that she asked Tyrion himself about it as he seems surprised to be receiving it. It is possible that she asked Jorah about it but we don't really see them alone and they likely have not spoken off screen since maybe half way through season 5. Even if she did ask him about it, it seems unlikely that Jorah would have ever even seen the "Hand of the King" pin.

So my question is, how did Daenerys know what the "Hand of the King" pin looked like? Both the Westerosi Hand of the King pin and the Hand of the Queen pin that Daenerys gives to Tyrion look very similar considering that Daenerys has never spent a day of her adult life in Westeros.

Westerosi Hand-of-the-King Pin

Tyrion's Hand-of-the-Queen Pin

Are we supposed to believe that she asked Varys before he left?

  • 2
    I don't see any reason to think she would need to see it in person, or have resided in Westeros, to know what it looks like. Pentos is not far from King's Landing - there were surely books on Westerosi history in the house of Illyrio Mopatis. As the heirs deposed from their throne, it's reasonable to think that Daenerys and Viserys were interested in the kingdom they'd lost...
    – recognizer
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 20:58
  • 1
    (In other words, I think the real question here is: Is the design of the pin well-known enough to appear in books about Westeros?)
    – recognizer
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 20:59
  • 1
    The hand of Kingpin?? ;)
    – TLP
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 15:03
  • 1
    If nothing else, I would imagine that there are drawings of the pin in numerous books about Westeros. After all, the Hand of the King has been a court position for over a thousand years.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 14:04
  • @Omegacron Actually, it's a position created by Aegon Targaryen when he conquered the Seven Kingdoms, so it's only 300 years old. But even then it shouldn't be hard to find some information in books.
    – Arnaud D.
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 16:15

2 Answers 2



First of all, this is a show only event. It has never happened in the books as Books ended when the Dothraki found Daenerys. Later, in absence of the Queen, Ser Barristan Selmy assumed the office of Hand of the King to govern the realm. From ADWD, Chapter 59:

Though he had assumed the title of Hand, Ser Barristan would not presume to hold court in the queen's absence, nor would he permit Skahaz mo Kandaq to do such.

However since you have added the books tag, Books do refer to how she got her knowledge of Westeros. From AGOT, Chapter 46:

My mother died giving me birth, and my father and my brother Rhaegar even before that. I would never have known so much as their names if Viserys had not been there to tell me. He was the only one left. The only one. He is all I have

Also from AGOT Daenerys VI:

She had never seen the Seven Kingdoms either, no more than Drogo, yet she felt as though she knew them from all the tales her brother had told her. Viserys had promised her a thousand times that he would take her back one day, but he was dead now and his promises had died with him.

Viserys had even told her about the Tourneys. From ADWD Daenerys V:

"One would be enough if he were as true as you." The day might come soon when she would have need of every knight. "Will they joust for me? I should like that." Viserys had told her stories of the tourneys he had witnessed in the Seven Kingdoms, but Dany had never seen a joust herself.

Also from AGOT, Daenerys I:

Yet sometimes Dany would picture the way it had been, so often had her brother told her the stories. The midnight flight to Dragonstone, moonlight shimmering on the ship's black sails.

Viserys also told her about the Targaryen custom of incest. From AGOT, Daenerys I:

She had always assumed that she would wed Viserys when she came of age. For centuries the Targaryens had married brother to sister, since Aegon the Conqueror had taken his sisters to bride. The line must be kept pure, Viserys had told her a thousand times; theirs was the kingsblood, the golden blood of old Valyria, the blood of the dragon.

He also told her about History of House Targaryen's dragons. From AGOT, Daenerys III:

Viserys had told her that the last Targaryen dragons had died no more than a century and a half ago, during the reign of Aegon III, who was called the Dragonbane.

Also from ADWD, Daenerys II, he told her about the Dance of the Dragons:

Viserys had told her all the tales when she was little. He loved to talk of dragons. She knew how Harrenhal had fallen. She knew about the Field of Fire and the Dance of the Dragons. One of her forebears, the third Aegon, had seen his own mother devoured by his uncle's dragon. And there were songs beyond count of villages and kingdoms that lived in dread of dragons till some brave dragonslayer rescued them.

It was also Viserys, whose knowledge had saved Daenerys' dragons from starvation in ACOK, Daenerys I:

Or rather, tried to feed them, for the dragons would not eat. They would hiss and spit at each bloody morsel of horsemeat, steam rising from their nostrils, yet they would not take the food . . . until Dany recalled something Viserys had told her when they were children.

Only dragons and men eat cooked meat, he had said.

He also told her about the Throne room and Dragon skulls that adorned the walls. From ASOS, Daenerys I:

"Viserys talked of those skulls," said Dany. "The Usurper took them down and hid them away. He could not bear them looking down on him upon his stolen throne."

He also told her about Tragedy of Summerhall. From ASOS, Daenerys V:

Viserys had spoken of Rhaegar's birth only once. Perhaps the tale saddened him too much. "It was the shadow of Summerhall that haunted him, was it not?"

He also told her about theology and faith. From ASOS, Daenerys VI:

Westeros had seven gods at least, though Viserys had told her that some septons said the seven were only aspects of a single god, seven facets of a single crystal.

So here we see, Daenerys knows all she knows thanks to Viserys. To sum it up, following are the subjects Viserys told her about:

  1. Her self, Her rights and Her House
  2. The tales of Seven Kingdoms
  3. Customs and culture of Seven Kingdoms
  4. History of House Targaryen
  5. Some mysteries of Dragonlore
  6. History of Dragons
  7. Faith of the Seven Kingdoms

So if this event does happen in the books, It would most likely be Viserys who would have told her about the pin and the office of Hand of the King.


There is no indication in the show that who told her about the office and its pin.

The exact dialogue in S06E10 was:

Daenerys: I, um... I had something made for you. I'm not sure if it's right. Tyrion Lannister, I name you Hand of the Queen.

Since she wasn't sure about the exact appearance having never seen the pin personally but yet had it made, that implies she did so with help of verbal description she may have heard from someone. Following are the candidates who may have told her about the pin custom:

  1. Viserys Targaryen
  2. Jorah Mormont
  3. Barristan Selmy
  4. Tyrion Lannister

The most plausible one of them is Viserys since he was the one who told Daenerys everything she knew.

  • Don't get me wrong. This definitely answered my question. But I don't think it was necessary to put all this evidence in to show that Viserys taught Dany about Westeros. Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 20:31

"I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. Valyrian is my mother tongue."

With her brother, Dænerys had a classical education under Sir Willem Darry and other Targaryen loyalists at the House of the Red Door, preparing her for a future position as trueborn Westerosi royalty (as part of the Dornish conspiracy to retake the Iron Throne).

Furthermore, after the events involving Viserys and Drogo, she started seeing herself as the rightful heir to the Throne, and given her personality, we can safely assume she would prepare herself as well as she could—in many scenes, we see she's eager to learn everything she can from Barristan and others. There's all the reasons to suppose she must be familiar with Westerosi court protocol, heraldry and symbolism—and have the motivation to ask her advisers about whatever's lacking from books.

Recall, for example, that the Hand of the King tradition was started by her great ancestor, Aegon I Targaryen.

  • Actually Daenerys never lived in the house with red door for long. She was a child when Ser Willem Darry died and their servants forced the targ siblings out. Her only source for getting info was her brother
    – Aegon
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 5:53
  • Oh and as for speaking Valyrian, She grew up in Free cities where people speak dialects of Valyrian in their day to day lives along with High Valyrian. So, while impressive, it isn't strange that she speaks High Valyrian. I don't think there was any training given to her for it which is further reinforced given the brief time she spent in Bravos with Ser Willem Darry.
    – Aegon
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 8:56
  • Not to mention, there is no indication that Targaryens kept speaking Valyrian as their mother tongue after Aegon's death
    – Aegon
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 8:56
  • I think you're right about Viserys being her main source of information about Westeros. But High Valyrian is a classical language (an explicit analogue to Latin), not a vernacular (the Low speeches of Essos are like Italian, Spanish etc.) At the time of the show, the only way to learn proper High is through deliberate instruction (like Latin in the middle ages), which is why her comment of "mother language" is a boast. And mother tongues are acquired between zero and five years. Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 9:30
  • I understand that and how High Valyrian equates to Latin irl, However, I take issue with that because she could not have learnt it from her mother as she died giving birth to her, Willem Darry was a Riverlander and therefore couldn't speak Valyrian, They had servants but no indication is there that they hired a servant to teach the kids Valyrian, It implies that Royal Family kept speaking High Valyrian after 3 centuries as their mother tongue which is unlikely given they assimilated into locals by adopting their culture, religion etc and only retaining incest from their own culture.
    – Aegon
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 9:34

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