Alys Rivers, by Hylora
Witch queen of Harrenhal
|Predecessor||Larys Strong (Lord of Harrenhal)|
|Born||In or before 89 AC|
|Father||Lyonel Strong (disputed)|
|Spouse(s)||Prince Aemond Targaryen (allegedly)|
Fire & Blood (mentioned)|
The Princess and the Queen (mentioned)
Alys's origins are shrouded in mystery, and it is unclear if she was ever a formally acknowledged bastard or simply claimed to be one. According to Grand Maester Munkun and Septon Eustace, Alys was a bastard sired by Lord Lyonel Strong on an unknown woman when he was young. Munkun claims Alys was a serving wench with an interest in potions, while Eustace states she was a woods witch. Court fool Mushroom instead claims Alys was from an older generation and she had served as a wet nurse to Lyonel's sons, Harwin and Larys, and possibly even to Lyonel. Mushroom wrote that Alys was an enchantress who bathed in maidens' blood to remain youthful. Her own children were stillborn. Both Eustace and Munkun considered Mushroom's claims fantastical, but even they agreed that Alys looked unusually young for her age, as she had to be at least forty by the outbreak of the Dance of the Dragons.
The Dance of the Dragons
After the greens retook Harrenhal, Prince Aemond Targaryen ordered the deaths of the remaining members of House Strong at the castle. The dragonrider spared Alys's life, however, and took the older woman as his bedmate. When informed of the greens' defeat in the Battle by the Lakeshore, Alys prevented an enraged Aemond from strangling the squire who brought the message to Harrenhal. Eustace disagrees with Mushroom's claim that Alys used potions to entice Ser Criston Cole, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard and the King's Hand, in addition to Aemond.
Criston marched south along the Gods Eye and Aemond began burning the riverlands with Vhagar. When Lady Sabitha Frey seized the undefended Harrenhal, she found only Alys within. The wet nurse claimed to be pregnant with Aemond's child. Alys eventually escaped with Aemond when the prince returned to Harrenhal and chased away Sabitha.
When Prince Aemond flew back to Harrenhal to do battle with Prince Daemon and Caraxes, he took the pregnant Alys with him. Aemond told Daemon that it was Alys who told him where to find him, as she saw a vision in a fire. Aemond left Alys on the ground, kissing her one last time, before Vhagar and Caraxes leapt as one into the sky above the Gods Eye with their dragonriders. The pregnant Alys watched the ensuing Battle Above the Gods Eye atop Kingspyre Tower in Harrenhal below. Aemond and Daemon were both slain in their duel in 130 AC.
In 132 AC during the regency of Aegon III, a number of broken men and predatory outlaws began to gather at Harrenhal under the rule of a sorcerous witch queen. Tasked by Ser Tyland Lannister, the Hand of the King, with reclaiming the castle, Ser Regis Groves of the Kingsguard and Ser Damon Darry marched to Harrenhal with a hundred men. The alleged witch queen was revealed to be Alys, who claimed to be the widow of Prince Aemond Targaryen. She presented a young boy as their trueborn son and the rightful king instead of Aegon III Targaryen. Regis abruptly died after insulting Alys. Some claim she used magic to burst his skull, while others state he was killed by crossbowmen or slingers. Alys's rabble then rode from Harrenhal and overwhelmed the loyalist men, with Damon leading thirty-two men back to Castle Darry.
Alys sent a captured loyalist to Darry as a messenger the following day. The survivor claimed that he had been cursed by Alys so that he would die if anyone laughed at his story. He said Alys had instructed him that any man who approached Harrenhal without submitting to its occupants would die. The man also insisted that he had seen a dragon inside. Despite Damon's assurance that no one would laugh at the messenger's story, an onlooker did so. The messenger then choked to death in moments, with some saying they had seen the imprints of a woman's fingers on his throat. Lord Unwin Peake disbelieved Damon when he spoke of dragons and magic, and the regents concluded they would need to gather a larger force to recapture Harrenhal. Their plans were interrupted by Winter Fever in 133 AC, however.
Quotes by Alys
—Alys to Sabitha Frey
—Alys and Regis Groves
Quotes about Alys
Was she in truth a witch who lay with demons, bringing forth dead children as payment for the knowledge they gave her? Was she a simpleminded slattern, as Eustace believes? A wanton who used her poisons and potions to bind men to her, body and soul?—writings of Gyldayn
Daemon: Who told you where to find me?
Aemond: My lady. She saw you in a storm cloud, in a mountain pool at dusk, in the fire we lit to cook our suppers. She sees much and more, my Alys.
[Note 1][Note 2]