- Harrenhal Castle is steeped in history from “Game of Thrones” and “House of the Dragon”.
- There seems to be a curse on the old walls, because none of the lords and ladies of the castle survived long.
- Some houses belonging to the castle were even completely wiped out.
The story of the gloomy castle of Harrenhal runs through “House of the Dragon” and also “Game of Thrones”. A curse seems to lie on the walls, because the lords and ladies of the castle usually don’t have long lives. We guide you through the exciting history of the seat of power.
Harrenhal – The largest fortress ever built
The very making of Harrenhal was bloody and dark. The massive construction at the lake of the gods’ eye lasted several decades. Before the unification of Westeros by Aegon the Conqueror, the ironborn ruled the riverlands under House Pride. One of them commissioned the construction of a mighty castle. Thousands of workers died in the construction, and since the Lords of the Trident and the Hoffartts cared nothing for the welfare of the riverlands, thousands more died before Harren the Black finally completed the construction.
Arrogant as he was, Harren named the largest castle in Westeros after himself. With high black walls, halls for thousands of guests, stables for hundreds of horses, and seemingly endless chambers and corridors, Harrenhal was indeed impressive. But it was to be a grim example of people’s hubris and hubris from then on. The war of conquest began shortly after completion.
The Fall of House Pride
While Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys did not have an army strong enough to take Harrenhal, they did have dragons. Harren the Black barricaded himself behind the walls and prepared for a protracted siege that Harrenhal might well have withstood. But it did not get to that. When Aegon took to the skies on his dragon Balerion the Black, Harrenhal was to burn.
It was said that the fortress burned like a candle and even the black stone began to melt. Harren and his sons were all cremated in a tower now known as Kingsbrand Tower. The line of the Hoffartts lost all importance (they were replaced on the Iron Islands by the Greyjoy) and Harrenhal was left half-ruined. However, the story of the gloomy castle was only just beginning.
After conquering, or rather destroying, Harrenhal, Aegon gave the castle, title, and lands to his loyal henchman, Quenten Qoherys. However, lord and guardian of the riverlands became Lord Edmyn Tully, who supported Aegon as one of the first great houses. But the castle was not to remain in the hands of its numerous subsequent owners for long.
Harrenhal and its first owners: Qoherys, Harrows, Towers
Arguably no castle in Westeros has seen more owners, tragedy and death than Harrenhal. House Qherys died out in a series of calamities after only 2 generations. Quenten had an accident while horseback riding and his grandson Gargon Qoherys was murdered in the castle godswood. The dark history of the castle claims the first victims. Although many say that the first victims, who also drew the curse on the castle, were Harren the Black’s thousands of fallen slave laborers. Harren is said to have mixed human blood into the masonry’s mortar to strengthen the structure. After such legends, Harrenhal soon became notorious and called cursed.
After House Qherys fell, Harrenhal passed to House Eggen. Their fate was to come to an abrupt end under the reign of Maegor I Targaryen. Maegor was married to Lord Lukas Eggen’s daughter, but she failed to present the cruel king with an heir. After Maegor found out that several men had visited Alys on her father’s idea in order to impregnate her, he enraged and wiped out the entire Eggen family. At Harrenhal he massacred and executed every woman, man, and child with Harrow blood on them. Due to the large number of people interested in Harrenhal, Maegor then organized a booing. The winner should get the castle.
In the streets of Eggingen, Ser Walton Tower finally won the street fight and became Lord of Harrenhal. However, the associated lands were largely distributed to other lords, so that future owners of Harrenhal inherited only a ruin. House Turmen died out with the ailing Lord Maegor Turmen, who left no heirs, in year 61 after Aegon’s conquest.
Long-lasting owners and more tragedies: Rhaena Targaryen, House of Kraft
After the wars of Maegor the Cruel, peace was restored to the realm under the royal couple Jaehaerys and Alysanne. Their sister Rhaena, formerly one of Maegor’s many consorts, experienced numerous tragedies in her life. She chose Harrenhal for her last years. After the death of Lord Turmen, she took over his miserable household and lived in the castle’s widow’s tower until her own departure.
The next owners of Harrenhal should be the Krafts known from “House of the Dragon”. Their chief, Lord Lyonel Kraft, received Harrenhal from King Jaehaerys I after House Turmen became extinct. In 101 AC, the castle served as a meeting place for the Great Council, which was to determine the new heir after the death of Crown Prince Baelon.
Only Harrenhal could do justice to the huge number of Lords appearing. During the reign of King Viserys, the Krafts continued to hold Harrenhal and even amassed considerable wealth. However, the dance of the dragons was to end disastrously for her and her house died out. Again Harrenhal should change hands. So how much bad luck and misfortune it seems to bring to its owners, there was now no doubt.
The Bat Lords of Harrenhal: House Resisters and House Whent
House Resisters has survived for several decades during which Harrenhal was ruled by “the Bat”, their family crest. The simple master-at-arms Lucas Resisten became the first Lord of Harrenhal with his forced marriage to wife Falena Schurwert (who had an affair with Prince Aegon Targaryen in 151 AC). Later he even became the hand of King Aegon IV. Due to various misdeeds, the Resistens always had a bad reputation in the riverlands and throughout the realm.
One grisly story stands out in particular. Lady Danelle Resisten, also known as “Mad Danelle”, is said to have sent out giant bats to grab children for their cooking pots. In order to preserve her youth, she is said to have bathed in blood and held feasts with human flesh. When Lady Danelle is said to have turned to the black arts during the reign of King Maekar I Targaryen, her house was obliterated.
After that, Harrenhal was taken over by the vassals of the Resistens. House Whent. They received Harrenhal as a reward for the part they played in overthrowing the Resistance. Their crest also features menacing bats, and they were powerful vassals of the Tullys of Riverrun. They also hosted the Harrenhal Grand Tournament, one of the happier events to have transpired behind the black walls.
Even if the fateful encounter between Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark took place here, which started “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the fall of the Targaryen dynasty. At the start of Game of Thrones, the Whents, under Lady Shella Whent, are still the rightful and indeed good rulers of Harrenhal. However, the war would quickly change everything.
Quickly changing owners during the War of the 5 Kings
For his betrayal of Eddard Stark, Captain of the City Guard Janos Slynt got Harrenhal Castle and his titles. An upstart who would not long rule the castle he never occupied in his life. Because shortly after his ascension followed the fall and Slynt was sent to the Wall by Tyrion Lannister because of his infidelity.
During the War of the 5 Kings, Tywin Lannister invaded the Riverlands and took Harrenhal without a fight, from which the Whents had earlier fled. There, as we see in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th seasons of “Game of Thrones”, numerous atrocities take place. Torture of prisoners, murder and bear fights. Tales have circulated of Harrenhal being cursed by its previous owners, but the castle is still popular for troop stationing.
For his allegiance to the Crown and service as Master of Coin, Harrenhal is ultimately to be inherited by Petyr Baelish. Who knows about the bad reputation and status of the castle, but still cannot refuse. He should never occupy the castle either.
The last known and actual lords of Harrenhal were to be the Boltons. During the war against the Iron Throne and the Lannisters, they were stationed there under their Lord Roose Bolton.
Although Jaime Lannister expels the mercenary company of the Brave Comrades that settled there briefly, a new master does not move in. Whether House Baelish can still claim their claim to the abandoned castle in the books remains to be seen.
The curse of Harrenhal continues to claim its toll, and it seems that no one, Occupier and House Noble, can hold the castle for long. An unfortunate and cruel fate has befallen all owners of Harrenhals, although there has been some stability, for example under the Krafts or Whents.
With its history and curse, Harrenhal serves as a constant warning against human hubris and greed. And before that there is still something dark and mystical and inexplicable in this world that can significantly influence the destinies of everyone.
|House of the Dragon bewerten|
|Genre||Drama, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy|
|First broadcast in Germany||
Home Box Office (HBO), 1:26 Pictures, Bastard Sword, GRRM, Good Banana
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