Harrenhal, the largest castle in the Seven Kingdoms, is the seat of House Vance of Harrenhal in the Riverlands, on the north shore of the Gods Eye lake. Since its burning by dragonfire in the War of Conquest, however, it has become a dark and ruinous place.
Appearance and Attributes Edit
The castle's holdings are some of the richest in Westeros, claiming vast tracts of green fertile land which reach as far as the hills of House Wode near the Crownlands. Harrentown is found near Harrenhal.
The castle has five towers of dizzying size, with equally monstrous curtain walls. The walls are incredibly thick and its rooms are built on a scale that would be more comfortable for giants than humans.
Harrenhal covers three times as much ground as Winterfell and its buildings are so much larger that they can scarcely be compared. Its stables can house a thousand horses, its godswood covers twenty acres, and its kitchens are as large as Winterfell's Great Hall.
However, much of Harrenhal had gone far into decay by the Third Century AC. At the turn of the third century, only the lower thirds of two of the five towers were in use. The enormous expense of maintaining such a massive structure meant many of the Houses that have held Harrenhal since the conquest let the rest go to ruin. Many places in the castle had not been entered in decades. Bats infest the tops of some of the towers.
Harrenhal is built on a gigantic scale; its colossal curtain walls are sheer and high as mountain cliffs while atop the battlements the wood-and-iron scorpions seem as small as their namesakes when seen from the ground. Harrenhal's gatehouse is as large as Winterfell's Great Keep, and its stone is discolored and fissured. From outside the gatehouse, only the tops of five immense towers can be seen because the height of the walls obscure the view of them.
Of the castle's five towers, the shortest is half again as high as the tallest one in Winterfell, yet none of the towers are proper, being bent, lumped, and cracked from the melting of the stone during the burning of Harrenhal by the Targaryen dragons centuries earlier. Their original names were lost with the death of Harren the Black.
Harren the Black, King of the Rivers and the Isles, built Harrenhal along the Gods Eye as a monument to himself, intending it to be the greatest of all castles in Westeros and for it to dwarf any other.
The construction of Harren's dream took forty years. Thousands of captives died in the quarries chained to sledges or laboring on the five huge towers. Men froze by winter and sweltered in summer. Weirwoods that had stood three thousand years were cut down to provide rafters and beams. Harren beggared the Riverlands and the Iron Islands alike to ornament his dream.
Upon its completion, Harren boasted that his new fortress was impregnable. However, he did not account for Aegon the Conqueror and his dragons invading Westeros. On the day Harren took up residence, Aegon came ashore at what would become King's Landing. The dragons were not obstructed by high walls and forbidding towers and roasted Harren alive in the tallest of the towers, now known as Kingspyre. Harren and all his line perished in the burning of Harrenhal. Due to the extreme heat of dragonflame, the castle took on a charred, melted appearance.
Since Aegon's Conquest, the castle has become a white elephant. It is too big to garrison effectively and too expensive to maintain. Harren allegedly mixed human blood into the mortar for the stonework; some believe that the castle is cursed and haunted due to Harren's hubris and the horrors that have occurred within the castle's walls, with the early deaths of its many rulers as proof. The curse is thought to prevent any lord from holding Harrenhal indefinitely.
Third Century AC Edit
After the Second War of Conquest, Aegon VI bestowed Harrenhal upon Jon Lothston of the Golden Company. The revived House Lothston held Harrenhal until the house once again went extinct in 330 AC. In 335 AC, Ser Peremore Vance saved the life of King Rhaegar I Targaryen during the War in the Narrows. In gratitude, Rhaegar named Peremore the new Lord of Harrenhal.
Harrenhal was the beneficiary of King Rhaegar's ambitious building projects. Rhaegar funded repairs to Harrenhal, helping to reverse the worst of its decay. Extensive repairs were conducted on the Kingspyre Tower and Widow's Tower, the ruined sept was rebuilt, and the worst of the damage to the upper levels of the towers were shored up to prevent collapse. Access to unsafe areas on the upper floors of the towers were sealed off.
Peremore Vance served as Hand of the King until 349 AC, when declining health forced him to step down and return home to Harrenhal. Lord Peremore died in 354 AC. The following year, a tournament was held at Harrenal to commemorate Lord Peremore's life and achievements.
Fourth Century AC Edit
Lords of Harrenhal Edit
- House Hoare (2BC - 2BC)
- House Qoherys (1AC - 37AC)
- House Harroway (37AC - 44AC)
- House Towers (Extinct before 100AC)
- House Strong (Extinct 131AC)
- House Lothston (Extinct before 233AC)
- House Whent (Extinct 299AC)
- House Slynt of Harrenhal (299AC - 299AC)
- House Baelish (299AC -301AC)
- House Lothston (via Jon Lothston of the Golden Company) (302AC - 330AC)
- House Vance of Harrenhal (335AC - present)