This is a listing of houses that owned Castle Harrenhal in A Song of Ice and Fire.
For the main character index, see here
For the main Riverlands entry, see here
In addition to the great fortress of Riverrun, seat of House Tully, the Riverlands are also home to Harrenhal, a castle built by King Harren The Black of House Hoare, who once sat the Seastone Chair on the Iron Islands. During this time, the ironborn controlled the Riverlands, and Harren The Black decided to build the largest and most impregnable castle in the land. At this he succeeded, but he forgot to factor Anti-Air defense into his plans... and the very day he finished construction was the day Aegon the Conqueror made landfall at King's Landing. Ever since, Harrenhal has been left half-melted and in a state of disrepair; due to this and the manner on which Harren The Black and his line met their demise, Harrenhal is said to be cursed. The last noble house that held Harrenhal as their residence were the extinct House Whent.
Harrenhal is located immediately north of the God's Eye, the largest lake in the Seven Kingdoms, notable for being the location where the Children of the Forest signed The Pact of non-aggression with the First Men at the Isle of Faces, lending more credence to the hauntedness of the location. In spite of the disrepair, the castle is habitable and it's still a coveted keep because of its strategic location and the status that it confers to its occupant noble house, as the house that is awarded the keep contends directly with the Lords Paramount of the Riverlands (until recently House Tully) and they become key players in the political administration of the region. The castle in itself is large enough to be self-sustaining (should it be restored), making it practically impervious to siege by land, a key factor that is still present even when the castle is in ruins. Between the castle and the lake lies Harrentown, a town of smallfolk.
Harrenhal has been ruled by a number of houses, a few for several generations but mostly for a few. All of these houses loomed powerful but became extinct, leading to the tales of Harrenhal being cursed. As of ADWD, Harrenhal is the current seat of Petyr Baelish, the Lord Paramount of the Riverlands.
Houses holding Harrenhal will be listed in chronological order
Tropes related to Harrenhal
- Awesome, but Impractical: Harrenhal is so massive (and rundown) that it's downright impossible to properly garrison or maintain in the classic White Elephant way. No house has ever successfully attempted to fully restore it, though most of its inhabitants have moved in with the firm intention of at least trying to fix it up to be a little better than they found it. Should the keep, towers and enclosed lands ever be restored to function, it would be practically self-sustaining — but, only if you know what you're doing from the outset; and, none of Harrenhal's lords since Harren himself have had the ties, education, means or opportunity to get close to that. To put things into perspective, Harren had at his disposal the people, resources and tribute/taxes coming from the Iron Islands, plus his take of the plunder coming from lands in Essos and the spoils from Riverlands; whoever receives the castle henceforth gets the keep and surrounding lands to attempt manning it or repairing it with... and nothing more.
- Bat Out of Hell: Harrenhal boasts of several varieties of bat species roosting in its towers. From the titchy (and probably quite cute) to the distressingly large and worryingly terrifying. Bat Scare is a common feature, and irregular attempts to clear their muck out of afflicted towers generally ups the dose of them.
- Bears Are Bad News: Harrenhal has a bear pit which is sometimes still used, as Ser Amory Lorch found out.
- Big Labyrinthine Building: Bordering on The Maze. The inhabited sections aren't too difficult to navigate, even though they can be a pain to get around because of the scale of the place and the need to avoid the other bits. It's "the other bits" which turn dangerous, however.
- Bizarrchitecture: Its impossible scale, size and features are a mockery of such things as form, function and maintenance of upkeep. Parts of it veer into Malevolent Architecture, given the state of disrepair and "little" issues like the occasionally heavily canted floors throwing anybody's sense of balance off thanks to the melted-then-reset-and-now-very-wonky towers. New hires are warned to not go wandering in areas they don't know are safe and/or don't know well (the ruined sections can get you turned around like a maze), and some bits are just straight up forbidden thanks to being known, unstable death traps. There's always the creepy thought that weirwood was used in the construction of the place. The stuff doesn't rot, but a talented greenseer could use it against you, if only to spy. A not-so talented skinchanger could always try using the bats, too. With whatever boost the surrounding weirwood could give them, into the bargain.
- Book-Ends: Originally constructed to be the main seat of the Riverlands, Harrenhal didn't get that very distinction until very recently in the story, when Petyr Baelish was named Lord Paramount of the region and was awarded with Harrenhal as his seat due to his part in forming the alliance between House Lannister and House Tyrell. Still, Lord Baelish has not set foot in the premises as of yet.
- Cosmic Plaything: One gets the impression from the supplementary histories that the maesters get the equivalent of popcorn and soda out (alongside the new quill, new ledger and new inkbottle) when learning that a new Lord of Harrenhal has just been installed. Because whatever's about to go down is going to take a bit of writing up... and, it's going to get entertainingly horrific to record.
- Curse: Is widely believed to be cursed on account of the grisly fates met by each and every Lord who has occupied the castle since Harren the Black's death. The ghoulish fates even extend to people who have merely "occupied" the castle militarily, with Lord Tywin Lannister killed by his own son on the privy shaft. Roose Bolton also apparently takes small precautions against it, such as naming Vargo Hoat the Lord of Harrenhal even though he's the one in charge, but he notes to Theon in ADWD that he expects his house to end with Ramsay.
- Another large factor contributing to stories of the curse is... just how blasphemous building Harrenhal within spitting distance of both the Isle of Faces and the Gods' Eye lake could easily be seen to be. Not to mention all that chopping down of weirwoods and heart trees from all across the Riverlands to build with. Forget simply killing, perhaps, the few remaining enclaves of Old Gods-worshipping smallfolk and petty lords of the region in the quarries, smithies, sawmills and mines supplying material to make that monster with. Only the Blackwoods now remain as open worshippers of the Old Gods, but the weirwoods likely remember the atrocities quite well, despite the lost trees.
- A subtler element (which nobody seems to have noticed in-universe) is that living in it gradually makes women infertile via stillbirths and miscarriages. All of the houses that held it that weren't simply wiped out collapsed in a few generations from lack of heirs, and the life-long female servants Arya meets there have the same issue.
- Doom It Yourself: Any attempt to repair the worst of the damage done to any of the towers and battlements will inevitably lead to this. Well, this or a D.I.Y. Disaster; either/or or both. If you bollocks up one tower trying to pull it down/ refit it, you could easily get a domino effect of collapse to start. Which is why the most anybody has done over a three-century period has been "shore-up the possible, close off the impossible and bodge workarounds together". Sections of it are steadily becoming more dangerously dilapidated over time as a result.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Harrenhal is dark, massive, and imposing with its five towers-in-varying-states-of-repair. It was originally built by the closest Westerosi equivalent to a diabolical supervillain (by local standards) and also has a reputation for killing its owners, whether via curse or by simply being a white elephant.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: To the medieval fortress of Carcassone (which inspired Carcosa in H. P. Lovecraft's works), a mammoth citadel with 3 km long walls and 52 towers. Carcassone also inspired the castle of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast which is the other influence on Harrenhal.
- Haunted Castle: According to local legend, Harrenhal is haunted by the ghosts of Harren the Black and those who perished with him when the castle was burned by Balerion's fires.
- High Turnover Rate: For a castle that is only 300 odd years old, there have been far more Lords of Harrenhal compared to other ancestral keeps of around the same age. Worse, it runs through entire families like some High Ladies go through festival dresses.
- History Repeats: The Riverlands has a certain pattern for which Harrenhal not only often forms the stage it plays out on (be it in part or in its entirety), but out of which it was actually born. Boss gets overbearing and/or abusive, the countryside falls behind an outlaw or rebel to participate in the downfall of the tyrant and/or their whole family. New boss (or their kids and grandkids) turns out to be about the same as the old. Rinse and repeat. From the Gardeners to the Storm Kings to Harren to Gargon to the Lothstons to the Freys to the entire Riverlands turning rebel against the Iron Throne a few times when things get a little crazy... Yeah. Don't piss the Riverlands off. And, especially avoid doing so in and around Harrenhal and, by extension, the Gods Eye. Nothing but Bad Things.
- Human Sacrifice: Harren allegedly mixed human blood into the mortar for the stonework. Since human sacrifice and blood is associated with magic, this may have been the source of the curse. Additionally, think of the way he and his kin died: burned into the very stones with magical firebreath...
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Tower of Dread, Widow's Tower, Wailing Tower, Tower of Ghosts and Kingspyre Tower. The only ones who remember their original names were all burned by Balerion's flames.
- Impossible Task: Harrenhal's a monster that no amount of structural engineering on a regional lordship's budget can ever hope to fix up to be economical to run. Yet, implicit in the whole lordship deal is the expectation to hold and maintain the place on behalf of the Iron Throne — and, should one fail to at least appear to try, getting merely stripped of your privileges is the lucky option. Spot the problem?
- The Millstone: The biggest, baddest, most consistently effective one in Westeros. Nobody who spends too much time around the place ends up happy in the long term. And, this is even by the series' relatively generously broadcast entry criteria for general disaster and mayhem. See the other tropes for why, exactly.
- No OSHA Compliance: Sure, newer covered walkways connect the inhabited sections making getting around a bit easier, whatever the season. But, it's not like there are handy signs or maps telling you where you are or how to get elsewhere, forget useful things like torches, handrails and well-maintained underfoot traction. And, not all the closed-off sections leading to death traps are obviously distinguishable from "a barely-used shortcut with no light" if you happen to take a couple of wrong turns off a walkway. You either know where you are, know roughly how to orientate from looking up at the towers and triangulating if you don't... or you're boned.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: Invoked. Harrenhal is the largest castle in Westeros, but it's by no means the largest structure in every respect. It's obviously smaller than The Wall and less tall than the Hightower of Oldtown. Also, it's by no means the largest castle in the known world, as the Five Forts of Yi Ti are each several times larger and thousands of years older.
- Scare 'em Straight: The burning of Harrenhal served as a cautionary tale to the other Kingdoms to either contend with Aegon the Conqueror and lose, or bend the knee. This led to either-or with an awful lot of resisting lords and forces being burned by dragonfire, or some just bending the knee. Only the Dornish resisted successfully.
- Schmuck Bait: The lands and titles that come with the imposing towers and battlements basically amount to this. Think "treasure chest highlighted by a golden sunbeam — in a sadistic dungeon crawl" levels of bait. Only the naïve or foolish think they've actually achieved something worthwhile in the long term when handed The Millstone that will sink them. It's a very sly way of getting rid of growing powerhouses, when deliberately used.
- Shout-Out: The Castle's size and name is similar to the style of Gormenghast, also a mammoth and impossibly big castle that is hard to maintain.
- Sonic Stunner: The Wailing Tower gets its name because, well, this. Even if it didn't lean, bend and twist so badly nobody can stand to try living on its remaining "floors" with their precarious angles, the massive cracks running up and down it produce sonic hell audible throughout the castle-complex when the wind is right — and, given the height of the tower, it's almost guaranteed to find some breeze at any time. Imagine trying to live in this spooky-ass windtunnel of a windchime as a bat, let alone near it as a person. Yup, if you want a mundane factor behind "the Curse of Harrenhal", the long-term effects of infrasonic or ultrasonic exposure might be something to consider.
- Standard Hero Reward: Harrenhal is often used as a reward for service to the realm, but its high upkeep and sinister reputation instead ruins the families who gain it for a time. The lands surrounding it are rich and fertile so it remains a desirable piece of real estate and there is no shortage of ambitious people waiting to take it.
- The Tourney: Was the site of "Tourney at Harrenhal" which was the incident that sparked Robert's Rebellion and still endures in song and memory.
- White Elephant: Boy, howdy. Harren sank a lot of time, effort and capital into this Nemesis-tempting Elephant from the start. And, since it's burning, it's not exactly become much easier on the bank account, either. You'd think more up-and-commers would be clued in, thanks to the aforementioned Curse, the High Turnover Rate and the impact the first cold snap trying to heat the inhabited sections of it would almost immediately have on the wallet. Not to mention all the songs, stories and Maesters with books and scrolls who will quite honestly let them know what they're in for. But, few who initially accept it, or even fight to gain it, seem to realise the true nature of the zombie turkey they've taken on until way too late.
- Wild Wilderness: Harrenhal boasts a godswood, despite how much weirwood and other timbers went into its construction. However, unlike the Wolfswood of Winterfell, Harrenhal's has a downright sinister reputation, although it doesn't quite hit The Lost Woods territory. It also boasts what is arguably the creepiest heart tree south of the Wall, if not in the whole of Westeros. The thing is huge, ancient, deeply scarred and, often in spring or during midwinter thaws, bleeds from every puncture. It has a gaping expression of rage and horror mingled with madness. So, it's gone for rather more a When Trees Attack (or get attacked) look than a Wise Tree one, then.
House Hoare of Harrenhal
For the main House Hoare entry, see here.
House Hoare of Orkmont is an extinct house of the Iron Islands. While they originally came from Orkmont according to a semi-canon source, they also built Hoare Castle on Great Wyk. The Hoares eventually moved to Fairmarket and Harrenhal in the riverlands where they ruled as Kings of the Isles and the Rivers.
King Harren Hoare
Harren the Black, Black Harren
- "But Harren learned that the tallest and thickest walls meant little to dragons, for dragons fly."—Old Nan
Grandson of King Harwyn Hoare and the last King of House Hoare. Killed by dragonflame along with his sons by Aegon and Balerion.
- Alliterative Name: H's.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: His reputation in the Riverlands is a very dismal one. It's rather better back in the Iron Isles... but, the truth is, he did massively mess up by classic Ironborn tenets, so he's not exactly fully laudable there, either. Even if he still garners far more respect. The point about raiding isn't to dig in and take the heat, even if he did subjugate masses by doing so.
- Did Not Think This Through: Even without Aegon torching his castle, Harren exhausted both the Iron Islands and the Riverlands in building his monstrous castle. He'd have had to expand his realm for raw materials but he would have had neither the manpower nor the resources to do so.
- Egopolis: Take a wild guess who Harrenhal was named for... The place was almost big enough to count as city, even.
- Evil Is Bigger: Harrenhal, the biggest castle in the whole realm, which Harren had built.
- Evil Old Folks: He was quite elderly when Aegon began his conquest, but no less evil or fierce than he had been in his youth.
- Evil Overlord: Building a massive stone pile with which to dominate an entire kingdom and whatever else besides you can manage? Having a black reputation amongst most you rule? A refusal to read a certain list so having an insufficient exit strategy in place... just in case? He's a classic, even without actual magic in the mix.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: He was an unpopular, overbearing and cruel tyrant to the Riverlands at the time, and endures in the memory of the Greenlands as the tyrant who got his just deserts because of his hubris. Not to mention his still living on as a ghost story alongside his sons thanks to them still being said to haunt Harrenhal. The Ironmen though, unsurprisingly, now think he was a hero and long for the good old days when they ran the Riverlands making people thralls and salt wives. However, he wasn't nearly as popular back home at the time he metaphorically sat on the Seastone Chair. Partly because he was so rarely near the damned thing, but mainly because of the continued disdain for having the Empire in the first place - taking and holding land to rule rather than reave was seen as a bad influence from the greenlanders.
- Kill It with Fire: He was burned to death within Harrenhal alongside the last of his kin and supporters.
- Last of His Kind: Infamously, he was the last King of the Isles and Rivers, as well as the last ruler of an independent Ironborn kingdom. However, he wasn't the last living member of House Hoare; that was either Harren the Red or (more likely) his own unnamed brother who was commander of the Night's Watch during the Conquest.
- Meaningless Villain Victory: Harrenhal was supposed to symbolize the might of House Hoare. It took two generations to build. Countless lives were lost and vast resources were spent on it. The Dragons burnt it all to ash in one night.
- Orcus on His Throne: Remained within Harrenhal's walls while his sons led an army to face Aegon's invasion force, confident that his castle was strong enough to repel even dragonfire. This plan didn't end well for him.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Some of his sons were killed by Aegon and Balerion before Harren perished at the Destruction of Harrenhal.
- Pride: His Fatal Flaw, refusing to recognize when he was beaten.Aegon: Yield now, and you may remain as Lord of the Iron Islands. Yield now, and your sons will live to rule after you. I have eight thousand men outside your walls.Harren: What is outside my walls is of no concern to me. Those wall are strong and thick.Aegon: But not so high as to keep out dragons. Dragons fly.Harren: I built in stone. Stone does not burn.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Harren was an brutal ambitious King. His unnamed brother chose to serve the realm in the Night's Watch.
- Spiteful Spit: The Maesters recording the exchange between Harren and Aegon noted that Harren spat at Aegon's proclamation that Harren's line would end when the sun set.
- Tin Tyrant: Wore a suit of black armor, probably trying to deliberately invoke Black Knight to intimidate the Riverlanders.
House Qoherys of Harrenhal
House Qoherys of Harrenhal is an extinct noble house from Harrenhal in the Riverlands. They blazoned their arms with a flaming saltire, red and yellow, between four white skulls, on black. They're one of the few Westerosi houses that claimed Valyrian descent.
Tropes related to House Qoherys
Lord Quenton Qoherys
Former master-at-arms of Dragonstone, he was granted Harrenhal as a boon by King Aegon I.
- Adult Fear: His son died before him.
- Alliterative Name: Quenton Qoherys.
- Arranged Marriage: To the daughter of Lord Edmyn Tully.
- Founder of the Kingdom: Although his line didn't last very long.
Lord Gargon Qoherys
Gargon the Guest
He was the grandson and heir of Lord Quenton and the last Qoherys, well-known for his notorious appetite for women and abuse of the lords' right of first night. Killed by the bandit and rebel Harren the Red.
- 0% Approval Rating: Hardly surprising, considering his habits. When you annoy people so much that your own guards willingly follow somebody claiming to be a Hoare, you know you done fucked up, son.
- Adipose Rex: Lord of Harrenhal and noted as fat.
- Asshole Victim: Nobody felt bad when he died, and the Tullys were relieved about it, since he had become a major problem for them.
- Create Your Own Villain: Had he reined himself in, Harren the Red would have found it a great deal harder to find grassroots, Riverlander support in covering his rootless, bandit ways for long enough to end up successfully killing the Lord of Harrenhal. The Wall or a noose would have been far more likely; yet Gargon choose the Frey route of turning himself into both an excuse and a target.
- Droit du Seigneur: He abused this often, sleeping with every woman in his domain who was getting married.
- Fat Bastard: A fat lord who abused the first night to sate his lust and made free with the wives and daughters of his servants.
- Fat Idiot: He's described in The Sons of the Dragon as foolish and fat.
- Futureshadowing: His description as fat, lusty and abusive, calls to mind Aegon IV.
- Before the Freys turned the Riverlanders into either spectators wishing for or saboteurs actively working towards ending their hated (de facto) ruling family, Gargon did it. With about as much style.
- Groin Attack: He was gelded before being killed.
- Karmic Death: The father of a maid he deflowered opened a sally port for Harren the Red and his bandits to enter Harrenhal and kill Gargon.
- Last of His Kind: He died without heirs, ending House Qoherys.
House Harroway of Harrenhal
House Harroway of Harrenhal is an extinct noble house from Harrenhal in the Riverlands. According to semi-canon sources they blazoned their arms with per bend sinister orange and black rayonne, a castle counterchanged. Lord Harroway's Town is named after a former lord of the house.
Tropes related to House Harroway:
- Alliterative Name: One of Alys Harroway's sisters was Hanna Harroway, and their relative Horas Harroway.
- Ego Polis: Formerly seated at Lord Harroway's Town.
- Number Two: Lord Lucas Harroway served as King Maegor's Hand of the King before being executed alongside his daughter Alys and all their kin.
- The Purge: King Maegor had every Harroway hunted down and killed after he thought Alys cheated on him.
Queen Alys Harroway
The whore of Harroway, Maegor's Whore
Maegor's second wife, whom he married when already married to Ceryse Hightower, causing a scandal which resulted in his exile. She was eventually executed by her husband due to (supposed) adultery.
- All There in the Manual: She's only mentioned in The World of Ice & Fire.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: Maegor gave her to Tyanna as punishment for the malformed babe she gave birth to. Alys was subjected to horrible torture, with Tyanna keeping her alive for half a month before she died.
- Bi the Way: It was rumored that Tyanna was not only Maegor's lover, but Alys's as well.
- Though the rumors are sort of suspect considering Tyanna arranged for Alys's death.
- Dead Guy on Display: After being tortured to death by Tyanna, her corpse was sliced into seven pieces and mounted on spikes atop the gates of King's Landing.
- The Exile: After marrying Maegor, she went into exile with him in Pentos. She returned shortly after he did, bringing Tyanna of the Tower back with her.
- Frame-Up: Tyanna suggested that the monstrosity Alys gave birth to was due to her having secret affairs. This led to Maegor executing her, her friends, and the entirety of House Harroway in revenge. Tyanna later admitted she had poisoned Alys and Maegor's other wives and was responsible for the deformed babies.
- My Nayme Is: Alys instead of Alice.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: She bears many similarities to Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII (whom Alys' husband Maegor resembles in several ways). Henry annulled his marriage to Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne due to Catherine being unable to give him a son, while Maegor claimed his first wife Ceryse Hightower was barren and polygamously married Alys to get a son. For both Henry and Maegor, this angered the primary religions of their realm (the Catholic Church and the Faith of the Seven, respectively), with the second marriages being denounced as sinful, while both Anne and Alys were derogatively referred to as the 'king's whore'. Like Anne, Alys struggled to give her husband an heir (while Anne gave birth to Elizabeth I, her other pregnancies ended in miscarriages and stillbirths, while Alys never had a living child). After she gave birth to a deformed, stillborn child, Alys was accused of being unfaithful; she and her alleged lovers were all rounded up and executed, which is almost exactly the same thing that happened to Anne (although in comparison, Anne's fate was more merciful than Alys' who was reportedly tortured to death over a fortnight).
- Outliving One's Offspring: She gave birth to a malformed, stillborn baby. It didn't end well for her, as Tyanna claimed that the child wasn't fathered by Maegor but one of Alys' supposed twenty lovers, prompting Maegor to brutally kill Alys, her lovers and her whole family.
- Really Gets Around: Subverted. Tyanna claimed she was cheating on Maegor with as many as twenty men, but they were tortured into confessing, making it suspect, and Tyanna isn't the most trustworthy of individuals, so it seems doubtful it's true.
House Towers of Harrenhal
House Towers of Harrenhal was a noble house from Harrenhal in the Riverlands. They blazoned their arms with five black towers on white, a double tressure red and black.
Tropes related to House Towers:
- Line-of-Sight Name: It's pretty blatant where they got both their family name and sigil from. When the newly-made Lord Walton won Harrenhal for the family, they must have had to scramble to come up with something quickly before he died.
Lord Walton Towers
A knight serving King Maegor the Cruel. Won the contest for Harrenhal and died shortly after from his wounds.
- Founder of the Kingdom: The founder of House Towers.
- Pyrrhic Victory: He won the contest for Harrenhal, but was so gravely injured he died shortly after.
- Sole Survivor: Implied to the be the sole survivor of Maegor's contest.
Lord Jordan Towers
The son of Walton Towers and Lord of Harrenhal during the reign of Maegor I Targaryen. Died of a chest congestion in 56 AC and was succeeded by his only surviving son, Maegor Towers.
- Know When To Fold Them: With Maegor dead, he yielded the Red Keep when Jaehaerys and his army came knocking.
- Outliving One's Offspring: All his sons except the youngest died fighting for Maegor.
- Undying Loyalty: One of the few lords that remained loyal to Maegor until the end.
Lord Maegor Towers
The grandson of Walton Towers and Lord of Harrenhal during the early years of King Jaehaerys I. A sickly young man who died without children, ending the line of House Towers.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: He was only nine when he became Lord.
- Ill Boy: Apparently sickly from a young age and he died at the age of seventeen without leaving descendants.
- Last of Its Kind: Last member of House Towers.
- Named After Somebody Famous: More like infamous, but it was Maegor the Cruel who gave the castle to his family.
- Odd Friendship: He got along quite well with Princess Rhaena Targaryen, and allowed her to become non-official Lady of Harrenhal after his passing.
- You Are in Command Now: With the death of his father and all his brothers, he became the head of House Towers.
House Strong of Harrenhal
House Strong of Harrenhal was a noble house in the riverlands. Their main seat was Harrenhal. Like the other families who have been in possession of Harrenhal, their family died out, at least in the main line. According to semi-canon sources they blazoned their arms with a tripartite pale blue, red, and green on white, representing the three forks of the Trident.
Tropes related to House Strong:
- Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: When a knight named "Ser Robert Strong" appears as a member of the Kingsguard, there's no realistic way of checking whether he actually is a knight descended from some long-forgotten side-branch of the House, given that the House itself functionally no longer exists as a political entity.
- Meaningful Name: The family as a whole seems to have had a reputation for uncommon strength, at least among the members we know of.
- Misplaced Retribution: When Prince Aemond Targaryen found out King's Landing had fallen to the Blacks, he killed every man and boy of House Strong he could find, even though they were on his side and the object of his rage, Harwin Strong, was long dead.
Ser Osmund Strong
A knight of House Strong before they came into possession of Harrenhal. Served as Hand of the King to Aegon I.
- Famous Ancestor: Even though Strongs were not high lords, Ser Osmund Strong served as Aegon I's Hand of the King and oversaw the construction of King's Landing's walls alongside Grand Maester Gawen.
- Number Two: As Hand of the King to Aegon I.
- Replacement Goldfish: After the death of Lord Alton Celtigar, he became Hand of the King in his stead.
Lord Bywin StrongHead of House Strong during the reign of Jaehaerys I Taragryen. He became Lord of Harrenhal after the passing of Rhaena Targaryen. He was the father of Lyonel Strong and the older brother of Lucamore and Simon Strong.
- Adult Fear: He was fortunate of being long dead by the time his son and eldest grandson died on a mysterious fire. Then his brother and his descendants were killed, bringing an end to the family.
- Cool Uncle: He was forced to look after the many bastards left by his brother Lucamore after his castration and exile.
- Famous Ancestor: Although his line wouldn't last that much.
Ser Lucamore Strong
A knight of House Strong and Kingsguard to Jaehaerys I.
See the Historical Kingsguard page.
Lord Lyonel Strong
Head of House Strong, he served as both Master of Laws and Hand of the King for Viserys I Targaryen.
- Accidental Murder: His choice to go back to Harrenhal was apparently last minute, and he might have been collateral damage in the murder of his son; neither Daemon, Viserys, or Corlys had any reason to want him dead.
- Bus Crash: Left King's Landing simply to see his son home, fully intent on heading back and keep being Hand of the King. Unfortunately for him, he never made it back.
- Genius Bruiser: He was known for being a fearsome warrior, but he also forged six chains at the Citadel while studying to become a Maester before leaving the institution, leaving him with an impressive amount of knowledge about Westerosi law.
- Kill It with Fire: Died in a fire at Harrenhal alongside his son Harwin in the year 120 AC.
- Number Two: To King Viserys I, serving as Hand of the King from from 109 to 120 AC.
- The Quiet One: He was slow of speech and genuinely very quiet, so most dismissed him as a simple brute based on his appearance.
Ser Harwin Strong
First son of Lord Lyonel. His is possibly the father of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen's first three children, who lacked Valyrian traits.
- Cain and Abel: Possibly the Abel to his brother Larys' Cain if the rumors about Larys' involvement in the fire that killed Ser Harwin are true.
- The Captain: He served as a captain in the City Watch of King's Landing for a time.
- The Champion: Served as Princess Rhaenyra's sworn shield and champion, replacing Ser Criston Cole of the Kingsguard after the two had a falling out.
- Embarrassing Nickname: The fool Mushroom began calling him "Brokenbones" after his defeat at the hands of Ser Criston Cole at Princess Rhaenyra's wedding tourney.
- Kill It with Fire: He and his father died in a fire at Harrenhal in 120 AC. The fire was officially blamed on the curse many believed was upon the castle, but others suspected Daemon Targaryen, Corlys Velaryon, his brother Larys Strong, and Viserys I; all could have had something to do with it, for one reason or another.
- Red Baron: He was nicknamed Breakbones for his unrivaled physical strength and affinity for brawling.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Presumably. He was larger and far stronger than Ser Criston Cole yet he was defeated by him in the melee during the clebrations held for princess Rhaenyra.
- World's Strongest Man: He was said to be the strongest man in the Seven Kingdoms at his time.
- Your Cheating Heart: If he indeed was Rhaenyra's lover during her marriage to Laenor Velaryon.
Lord Larys Strong
Second son of Lord Lyonel. He was the head of House Strong during the Dance of the Dragons and served as Viserys I and Aegon II's Master of Whispers.
- Blood Oath: Proposes one among the members of the Small Council who support Aegon II's claim to the Iron Throne.Larys: Let us be the first to swear lest there be traitors here amongst us. A blood oath, to bind us all together, brothers unto death.
- Cain and Abel: He is among the suspects behind a mysterious fire at Harrenhal that killed his father and brother, which made him the head of House Strong.
- Character Death: When Cregan Stark seized King's Landing, Larys chose execution over exile to the Wall.
- The Chessmaster: He was an excellent plotter, coming up with several of Aegon II's best moves during the Dance of the Dragons, including sending him to hide and recover on Dragonstone and take it when the time was right.
- Deadpan Snarker: The few times he did speak at Small Council meetings was to either deliver news of great importance or make a glib comment.
- Enemy Mine: House Strong had close ties to Rhaenyra and tension with House Hightower, and one of the reasons many lords opposed her was due to the rumors that her three sons from her first marriage were actually those of Larys's brother, Ser Harwin Strong. Despite this, Larys throws his support behind Aegon.
- Evil Cripple: If he indeed caused the fire that killed his father and elder brother.
- Last of His Kind: His death was the end of House Strong.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Only implied, but while he had faithfully served Aegon II and even saved his life, that didn't spare his family from Aemond's Misplaced Retribution, making his likely murder of Aegon II more understandable, if hypocritical.
- Off with His Head!: Due to Northern tradition, it is likely that he was beheaded by Lord Cregan himself.
- The Quiet One: Spoke rarely, and during the debate over whether Aegon II or Rhaenyra should inherit the throne, he spoke only at the end to propose the Blood Oath.
- The Spymaster: Served as Master of Whispers and had an extensive network of contacts.
- The Starscream: He was one of Aegon II's most fervent supporters and saved him from being captured by Rhaenyra, but he was probably the one who poisoned him to put Aegon III on the throne, likely scheming to use the boy king for his own plans before Cregan Stark had him executed. He also was likely one who leaked major information about the Greens' operations to the Blacks, or if he wasn't then he certainly had the skills and resources to find out who it was and put a stop to it but chose not to.
Ser Simon Strong
An elder knight and castellan of Harrenhal during the Dance of the Dragons, cousin of Larys Strong. He surrendered Harrenhal to Prince Daemon Targaryen at the sight of his dragon, Caraxes. Fire and Blood reveals he was actually great-uncle of Harwin and Larys.
- Alliterative Name: Simon Strong.
- I Have Your Wife: He was the 'wife', having been a hostage, along his sons, when Prince Daemon occupied Harrenhal.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: He knew it was impossible to hold Harrenhal against a grown dragon like Caraxes and quickly surrendered to Prince Daemon.
- Old Soldier: He already had grandsons by the time of the Dance.
- You Have Failed Me: Aemond slaughtered him and his family for surrendering to Daemon.
House Lothston of Harrenhal
- "The black bat of Lothston. Those are arms of ill repute."
House Lothston of Harrenhal is an extinct house from Harrenhal in the Riverlands. Their arms were a black bat on a field divided bendwise, silver and gold. They held Harrenhal until three or four generations before A Song of Ice and Fire and were a powerful house which once loomed large in the histories of the Seven Kingdoms.
Tropes related to House Lothston:
- 0% Approval Rating: The Lothstons weren't liked. And, that's putting it mildly; they've become part of the Riverlands' darker body of folk tales.
- Bat Out of Hell: Their sigil, taken from the bat inhabitants of Harrenhal's ruined towers. Years later, it is considered an unlucky shield to have.
- The Remnant: Jon Lothston of the Golden Company.
- Turn Coat: Manfred Lothston switched sides prior to the Battle of the Redgrass Field.
Ser Guy Lothston
Guy the Glutton
A knight who fought for Maegor I Targaryen in is trial of seven against the Warrior's Sons and died during it.
- Big Eater: His nickname and his obesity indicates he was such. One chronicler says that when he was cut open, the remains of forty half-digested pies spilled out
- Famous Ancestor: To the Lothstons that became Lords of Harrenhal.
Lord Lucas Lothston
The first head of the House, he had been the master-at-arms of the Red Keep before being granted Harrenhal and marrying Lady Falena Stokeworth. He is remembered for being the father of Jeyne and Manfryd Lothston.
- Alliterative Name: L's.
- Number Two: He served briefly as King Aegon IV's Hand of the King, but was forced to leave the court and resign the position after his daughter Jeyne caught a pox from the king.
- Offscreen Villainy: He is known to have committed terrible things but it's unclear what they were.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: As indicated by his nickname "The Pander".
Lady Falena Lothston (nee Stokeworth)
The first of Aegon IV's mistresses, she was married to Lucas after being discovered sleeping with Aegon. She later returned to court alongside her daughter Jeyne and was rumored to have once again shared Aegon's bed, now with her daughter.
- Arranged Marriage: Forced to marry Lucas and sent from King's Landing in order to end the relationship between her and Aegon.
- The Mistress: The first of Aegon IV's nine.
- Parental Incest: Rumored to have shared Aegon's bed with her daughter Jeyne, although this allegation was never proven.
- Put on a Bus: What Aegon's father Viserys tried to do with her, by marrying her to Lucas and giving him Harrenhal, sending Falena far away from court. It didn't work since Aegon made several trips to Harrenhal over the next two years before moving on to his next mistress.
- Unequal Pairing: Aside from the obvious differences in social status, her relationship with Aegon began when he was fourteen and she was twenty-four.
Daughter of Lucas and Falena. Like her mother, she became Aegon IV's mistress, but quickly caught a pox from him and was forced to leave King's Landing with her family.
- Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: It has been suggested that her father was not Lucas, but Aegon.
- The Mistress: She was Aegon's eighth mistress.
- Parental Incest: Rumors suggest she and her mother shared Aegon's bed. If Aegon was also truly her father, this trope counts double.
- Unequal Pairing: She was fourteen and Aegon was forty-three when their relationship began.
Manfryd o' the Black Hood
Lord Lucas' son. Not remembered fondly.
- Cryptic Background Reference: His exploits remain unknown.
- In the Hood: His nickname indicates he most likely wore one.
- Like Father, Like Son: Was just as wicked as his father.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: O' the Black Hood.
Lady Danelle Lothston
Mad Lady Lothston, Mad Danelle
The head of House Lothston during the reign of Aerys I. Now remembered in ghost stories in which she's said to send giant bats out to capture children for her cookpots, to have bathed in blood and feasted on flesh.
- Action Girl: She personally lead House Lothston's forces to join Bloodraven in crushing the attempted Second Blackfyre Rebellion.
- Bogeyman: "Don't go out alone at night, or Lady Lothston's bats will get you!"
- Blood Bath: By reputation.
- Captain Ersatz: Of Countess Elizabeth Bathory.
- Evil Redhead: By reputation.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Again, by reputation.
- Lady of War: Wore armor under her dress.
- Last of Her Kind: She was the last Lothston, being overthrown during the reign of King Maekar I when she descended into madness while practicing the black arts.
- Wicked Witch: She might have been a skinchanger, given her direct association both with bats and Bloodraven. And, folklore paints her as wicked as wicked gets.
- Would Hurt a Child: Again, by reputation.
House Whent of Harrenhal
House Whent of Harrenhal is a noble house from the Riverlands. Their seat is the huge castle of Harrenhal, built three hundred years ago by Harren the Black. They were the last noble house who actually took residence at the keep, as subsequent lords have yet to set foot in the castle.
They blazon their arms depicting nine black bats displayed over a yellow field. Their words do not appear in the books.
Tropes associated with House Whent:
- Bat Out of Hell: Their sigil, though them being smaller bats makes it somewhat less overtly threatening than that of their predecessors, House Lothston. Unless the whole swarm idea brings you out in hives.
- Dwindling Party: Although the Whents never suffered any of the grandiose incidents of hair-raising horror that are the established Harrenhal baseline, it is notable that they didn't seem to gain much in numbers over the years they held the place. And, they held it for a fairly long time. In fact, having enough kids to make it to adulthood to have more kids seems to have been a major challenge and was the biggest reason the title got stripped from them (no direct-line male heirs capable of screaming blue murder about the blatant, counter-tradition theft in front of the Iron Throne will do that); by the time of the series, the family has been gradually whittled down to less than a handful in number. Notably... the Tully girls, Lysa and Catlyn, both have Whent blood through their mother and are therefore included in that tiny handful by extension. One of them seems to have dodged the fertility issues. The other... not so much.
- Dragon Ascendant: Prior to holding Harrenhal they were knights in service of the previous lords, the Lothstons.
- Posthumous Character: Besides all the ones mentioned bellow, Sarya Whent, fifth wife of Walder Frey, who died childless (surprisingly).
- The Starscream: Whents helped bring their Lothston overlords down. Having said that, the Lothston's didn't have a great reputation. So, whatever went down, it was unlikely to be a cut-and-dried case.
Lord Walter Whent
The Lord of Harrenhal and head of House Whent during the reign of the Mad King and the host of the fateful Tourney at Harrenhal in the Year of the False Spring. Elder brother of Ser Oswell Whent of the Kingsguard.
- Alliterative Name: W's
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: It is during the tourney he organized in which Rhaegar Targaryen crowns Lyanna Stark the Queen of Love and Beauty, thus paving the way for her abduction and Robert's Rebellion.
Lady Shella Whent
An old woman and one of the last living members of House Whent.
- The Ghost: Despite being mentioned fairly frequently, she dies before ever being seen on page.
- Killed Offscreen: Reported to have died according to A Feast for Crows.
- Last of Her Kind: Her only known living, direct relative is Wynafrei Whent, the wife of Danwell Frey. However, the Tully, Arryn and Stark families are indirectly linked via Hoster Tully's wife, Minisa Whent. But, what degree of cousins or nephews/ nieces they are? Unknown.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Her four sons and daughter apparently died before her.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Unable to man Harrenhal against the Western army, she yields the castle to Tywin Lannister and flees.
Lady Minisa Tully (née Whent)
Hoster Tully's deceased wife.
See the House Tully page.
- Adult Fear: Losing two children prior to the birth of Catelyn.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: According to Catelyn, although she doesn't remember all that much. And, poor Edmure has practically no memories of her, thanks to being so young when she died.
- Posthumous Character: Thanks to Death by Childbirth.
Ser Oswell Whent
- See Aerys II's Kingsguard page.
Understeward of the Wailing Tower. He continues to serve at Harrenhal under the Lannister occupation.
- Bad Boss: Beats the servants under his command whenever they annoy him, and routinely threatens to kill them or give them over to the Brave Companions.
- Les Collaborateurs: Like most of the Whent household, he serves the Lannisters when Harrenhal is occupied.
- Jerkass: A Bad Boss who Would Hurt a Child.
- Karmic Death: Jaqen H'ghar somehow gets Weese's dog to rip his throat out after Arya gives him Weese's name as the second person she wanted killed.
- Would Hurt a Child: Beats Arya for even the smallest (or non-existent) provocation.
An aged blacksmith.
- The Blacksmith: His job.
- Les Collaborateurs: To House Lannister and, later, to house Bolton.
- Loyal to the Position: He'll smith for the ruler of Harrenhal, whoever they are. The tactic works, since he's one of just three retainers to survive.
- Old Retainer: Not only he served three generations of Whents but also the last Lord Lothston.
- Sole Survivor: One of the three Whent retainers that survive until Jaime Lannister returns to Harrenhal on his way to lift the Siege of Riverrun.
An old servant of House Whent.
- Les Collaborateurs: To the Lannisters and the Boltons.
- Jerkass: Towards Arya.
- Old Retainer: She's described as old.
- Those Two Girls: With Harra.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: When Jaime Lannister arrives to Harrenhal he finds only three servants still alive. Amabel is not among them, implying she has probably been killed by the Brave Companions.
An old servant of House Whent.
- Asshole Victim: A fairly minor one, by the standards of the series. She was, however, introduced as being an inconsiderate and, frankly, unnecessarily vindictive jerk to Arya. It's hard to feel sorry for her when she gets herself executed.
- Les Collaborateurs: She incites the servants of Lady Whent to serve the Lannisters.
- Jerkass: Towards Arya.
- Old Retainer: She's described as old.
- Public Execution: She's hanged under Roose Bolton's orders for inciting the Whent retainers to serve House Lannister.
- Those Two Girls: With Amabel.
- Would Hurt a Child: She slaps Arya for protesting her assignment as a servant.
Originating from King's Landing in the crownlands, their blazon is a bloody spear, gold on a field of night-black. The motto of the house is not mentioned.
Tropes related to House Slynt:
- The Ghost: Danos, Janos Slynt's youngest son, has yet to appear, but is known to be a page in service somewhere in King's Landing.
- Impoverished Patrician: After Harrenhal is taken from them. On the plus-side, they're still nobles — not very important ones and without a keep to their names, true; but, it's arguably a slightly better position than what they started the series as.
- Nouveau Riche: From the City Watch of King's Landing with a background in the city's equivalent of the Shambles (Butcher's Street/the Meatmarket) to high nobles with a stonking big castle... Well, that didn't last long, what with being best measured in months. A new Harrenhal record.
- Outnumbered Sibling: Janos had four children, with the last one being a girl.
- Rags to Riches and Riches to Rags: Both. Although, they probably are somewhat better set than they were at the very start of the series, they certainly aren't as well off as they would have appeared while holding Harrenhal.
- The Squire: Jothos, Janos Slynt's second son, is also a squire like his brother Morros.
- Unluckily Lucky: As they never got to take possession of Harrenhal, they may have escaped the full force of its curse. What bad luck they've had is, frankly, peanuts compared with what other families on this page got bashed with.
Lord Janos Slynt
- See the The Night's Watch character page.
Lord Morros Slynt
Janos Slynt's eldest son and heir. Made a squire as one of Janos Slynt's rewards.
- Bling of War: Wears black armor inlaid with golden scrollwork.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: He faces Ser Balon Swann at Joffrey's 13th Name Day tourney, where he promptly gets knocked off his horse due to having no idea how to joust, and gets dragged to the end of the lists when one of his feet gets caught in a stirrup.
- Frame-Up: He testifies against Tyrion during his trial. It is worth noting, however, he doesn't lie, and merely states the truth in that Tyrion poured the remaining wine in Joffrey's chalice to the floor.
- Generation Xerox: Morros is described as frog-faced, just like his father.
- Promoted to Parent: Being the head of the family, he's having to act as the father of his younger siblings. Slightly offset by the fact that, as a young squire, his ability to do that in a hands-on way is limited.
- The Squire: He is a squire in service at the Red Keep.
- You Are in Command Now: He's the new Lord Slynt after Tyrion banishes his father to the Wall.
House Baelish of Harrenhal
Petyr Baelish, former Master of Coin, is the current Lord of Harrenhal and Lord Paramount of the Trident. Despite this, he does not currently occupy the castle and is presently serving as Regent to Lord Robert Arryn in the Vale.
For the main House Baelish and Littlefinger entry, see here.