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|Government||House Baelish , Feudal Lord.|
|Religion||Faith of the Seven|
|Founded||300years ago, just before the War of Conquest.|
|Named for||King Harren the Black its founder.|
|Notable places||Its gigantic five Towers|
Harrenhal is a great castle constructed before the War of Conquest, located in the Riverlands, on the north shore of the Gods Eye lake. It is the largest castle in the Seven Kingdoms. Since the War of Conquest, however, it has become a dark and ruinous place.
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. The castle's holdings are some of the richest in Westeros, claiming vast tracts of green fertile land.
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 20 acres, and its kitchens are as large as Winterfell's Great Hall.
However, much of Harrenhal has far gone into decay. The Whents used only the lower thirds of two of the five towers, letting the rest go to ruin, and many places in the castle have not been entered in decades. Bats infest the tops of some of the towers.
Walls and Towers
Harrenhal is built on a gigantic scale, its colossal curtain walls 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 by the Targaryen dragons centuries earlier. Their original names were lost with the death of Harren the Black.
The Five Towers:
- Tower of Dread
- Widow's Tower, It connects it to the 'Kingspyre Tower' via a stone bridge. Underneath there is a great cell that's used to keep prisoners.
- Wailing Tower, It contains storerooms on the ground floor and cavernous vaults beneath.
- Tower of Ghosts, The postern gate and the ruined sept are located near it.
- Kingspyre Tower, The castellan's chambers are located within. It connects to the 'Widow's Tower' via a stone bridge.
- Main Gate, Through the main gates, the walls are so thick that no less than a dozen murder holes are passed before one reaches the yard on the other side.
- East Gate, It's smaller than its main gate and located near the Tower of Ghosts.
- Hall of the Hundred Hearths: The castle's Great Hall. It actually has only 34 or 35 hearths, and is said to be able to entertain an army. Its floors are smooth slate and there are steps to two galleries above.
- Kitchens: The kitchens are located in a round stone building with a domed roof. The building contains nothing but kitchens. The kitchens are as large as Winterfell's Great Hall.
- Barracks Hall: Located above the armory, it is where the men-at-arms take their meals.
- Armory: Located below the 'Barracks Hall', the forge is located here.
- Godswood: The walled Godswood covers over 20 acres. It has a small stream running through it. The heart tree appears to have a terrible visage full of hatred, with a twisted mouth and flaring eyes. It is located across the ward from where Barracks Hall and the Armory are.
- Flowstone Yard: Men-at-arms exercise and drill and squires clean arms and armor here. It has lumpy surface and is located near the Wailing Tower. There is a covered gallery above the Flowstone Yard with arches looking towards it 
- Bear Pit: The Bear Pit is ten yards across and five yards across, walled in stone, floored with sand, and encircled by six tiers of marble benches. It's located in the middle ward.
- Bathhouse: A low-ceilinged room filled with great stone tubs large enough to hold six or seven after the fashion of the Free Cities. The Bathhouse is made of stone and timber, with only one entrance to the room.
Harren the Black
The construction of his dream took forty years. Thousands of captives from the other realms 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 had beggared the riverlands and the Iron Islands alike to ornament his dream.
Upon its completion, King Harren boasted that his new fortress was impregnable, and it was. However, he didn't account for Aegon the Conqueror and his dragons invading Westeros. On the very day King Harren took up residence, Aegon the Conqueror had come ashore at 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 the Kingspyre. Harren and all his line perished.
Due to the extreme heat of dragonflame, the castle took on a charred, melted appearance.
Since the Conquest, the castle has become something of a white elephant. It is too big to garrison effectively and too expensive to maintain. Since Harren's death, the castle has passed through a number of noble houses, Every one of them met with misfortune.
It is believed the castle is cursed and haunted due to Harren's hubris and the horrors that have occurred within the castle's walls. It's said Harren was mixing human blood into the mortar for the stonework.  The curse is thought to prevent any Lord from holding Harrenhal indefinitely. All the Houses ever to hold Harrenhal have come to misfortune and died out.
List of extinct Noble houses, who held Harrenhal after Harren, in order:
During the early stages of the War of the Five Kings, Lady Whent yielded Harrenhal to Lord Tywin Lannister, who held it with his own troops. Officially, Cersei Lannister granted the castle to Janos Slynt in return for his service. Tyrion Lannister, acting as Hand, revoked the title and sent Slynt to the Wall. Later, Tywin Lannister gave the castle instead to Petyr Baelish for his role in securing the marriage pact between the Lannisters and Tyrells. Baelish has retained official title to the castle ever since. Though he has never set foot within his walls, the castle's large dominion elevated Petyr's social position enough to marry Lysa Tully.
In truth, however, the castle was seized several times throughout the war and harbored a number of atrocities. Tywin Lannister's garrison included bannermen lead by Ser Amory Lorch and Ser Gregor Clegane. They were bolstered by the Brave Companions mercenary company. All three groups had cut bloody swaths across the land to reach Harrenhal.
The men treated the smallfolk of the castle cruelly. Lorch's men and the Brave Companions feuded, resulting in more deaths. Tywin left, leaving Lorch as castellan. Arya Stark, who had been hiding at the castle, convinced Jaqen H'ghar to help her free the castle's northern prisoners and revolt against the Lannisters. The Brave Companions butchered the Lannister bannermen and all who were loyal to them, then handed the castle to Lord Roose Bolton.
Roose ruled over Harrenhal for only a short time. Vargo Hoat suspected that Roose would switch sides to the Lannisters, and maimed his captive Ser Jaime Lannister in an attempt to prevent this. The ruse failed, and the northern men abandoned the castle, leaving it to the Brave Companions. With Lannister reprisal dangling over their heads, the Companions indulged in wanton sadism and kept the castle's bearpit well-stocked with victims. Eventually Ser Gregor Clegane's men returned to the castle and butchered the mercenaries who had not already fled. Clegane left to participate in the trial-by-combat of Tyrion Lannister, and Ser Jaime Lannister returned to take control. He cleared out Clegane's men and replaced the garrison with the pious regiment known as the Holy Hundred, lead by Ser Bonifer Hasty.
Harrenhal's reputation for being cursed might be well founded as many of the lords knights who recently commanded or garrisoned the castle came to horrific ends.
- Lady Shella Whent died after yielding Harrenhal to Tywin Lannister.
- Lord Janos Slynt named Lord of Harrenhal, though he never took actual possession of it, was beheaded by Lord Commander of the Night's Watch Jon Snow.
- Lord Tywin Lannister died from a crossbow bolt in the groin from his own son, Tyrion Lannister.
- Ser Amory Lorch was fed to a bear by Vargo Hoat.
- Lord Roose Bolton has not suffered any misfortune thus far but he did hold Harrenhal for a time,
- Vargo Hoat was butchered by Ser Gregor Clegane.
- Ser Gregor Clegane died of a poison spear thrust from Prince Oberyn Martell.
- Polliver was named castellan by Ser Gregor when he left for King's Landing but was subsequently killed by Sandor Clegane.
- Ser Bonifer Hasty currently holds Harrenhal for Lord Petyr Baelish.
|“||“And King Harren learned that thick walls and high towers are small use against dragons,”….. “For dragons fly.” ||”|
|“||“And what a castle it is. Cavernous halls and ruined towers, ghosts and draughts, ruinous to heat, impossible to garrison . . . and there’s that small matter of a curse.” ||”|
References and Notes
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Strongholds of A Song of Ice and Fire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Strongholds of A Song of Ice and Fire. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.