House Hoare

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House Hoare of Orkmont
House Hoare 2.svg
Coat of arms Per saltire: two heavy silver chains crossing between (clockwise) a gold longship on black, a dark green pine on white, a cluster of red grapes on gold, and a black raven flying in a blue sky
(Per saltire sable, azure, white and or, two chains throughout saltirewise silver between in chief a longship or, in dexter a raven volant sable, in sinister a pine-tree vert and in base a bunch of grapes gules)
Head Extinct
Founded Age of Heroes
Died out Aegon's Conquest (21 BC)

House Hoare of Orkmont is an extinct house originally from the Iron Islands. Known as the black line,[1][2] or the black blood,[3] the Hoares became Kings of the Iron Islands after Andal settlers on the islands ended the rule of House Greyiron. While the Hoares originally came from Orkmont according to a semi-canon source,[4] 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 for three generations.[3]

According to semi-canon sources, the Hoare banner depicted per saltire and with two heavy silver chains crossing between a gold longship on black, a dark green pine on white, a cluster of red grapes on gold, and a black raven flying in a blue sky (clockwise). The sigil represented the distant lands that had been under the rule of the house: the longship for the Iron Islands, the green pine for Bear Island, the grape cluster for the Arbor, and the black raven for the maesters of Oldtown; all bound by the iron chains of the ironmen.[4]


Archmaester Hake considered the Hoares to be ungodly, referring to them as "black of hair, black of eye, and black of heart".[3] Archmaester Gyldayn considers the Hoare kings to have been cunning and cruel, but not valorous.[3]


Age of Heroes

Harrag Hoare, King of the Iron Islands, is cited by Aeron Greyjoy as an example of a great king who was chosen through a kingsmoot.[5] Harrag raided the western shores of King Theon Stark, conquering the Stony Shore and raiding the wolfswood. His son, Ravos the Raper, raided from Bear Island until being killed by Theon. Erich the Eagle, Harrag's grandson, also attacked the northmen.[6]

Under the driftwood king Qhored I Hoare, the realm of the ironborn reached the peak of their expansion, and it was said that all the western coasts of Westeros where the salt of the Sunset Sea could be smelled or the crashing of its waves heard were under their control. Over centuries, however, the power of the ironborn diminished and many of their conquests were lost. For instance, Bear Island was allegedly lost in a wrestling match to King Rodrik Stark, who gave it to the Mormonts. The possessions of the ironborn were reduced to the Iron Isles and a handful of coastal enclaves.[7]

Andal Hoares

Harras Stump-hand by Magali Villeneuve ©

During the coming of the Andals, the Hoares allied with the invaders as well as Houses Orkwood, Drumm, and Greyjoy to slay King Rognar II Greyiron and end the hereditary dynasty of House Greyiron. According to legend, the ironborn played the finger dance to choose their next king, resulting in Harras Hoare ruling as King Harras Stump-hand. Archmaester Haereg instead attributes Harras becoming king to his marrying into the Andals and thereby gaining their support.[8]

Priests of the Drowned God and rival lords denigrated Harras's line as having an "Andal taint" by having Andal queens, however, and they accused the Hoares of being false kings. Hoare monarchs from this time included Wulfgar the Widowmaker, his great-grandson Horgan Priestkiller, Fergon the Fierce, Othgar the Souless, Othgar Demonlover and Craghorn of the Red Smile. Archmaester Haereg praised the Hoare kings, however, for bringing the Faith of the Seven to the Iron Islands, discouraging reaving, and promoting trade.[3]

Nevertheless, the ironborn reached a new nadir during the rule of the three Harmunds, Harmund the Host, Harmund the Haggler, and Harmund the Handsome, the last of whom was overthrown and replaced with his brother, Hagon the Heartless. House Lannister led the westerlands in invading and crushing the ironborn, however, and Hoare Castle on Great Wyk was razed to the ground. They also suffered during the Famine Winter.[3]

Over the following centuries, many Hoare kings were weaker monarchs influenced by lords or priests, although a few resembled the reavers of old. The Hoares promoted trade with Lannisport, Oldtown, and the Free Cities instead of attacking the green lands of Westeros, and the islands began to regain their strength.[3]

Kings of the Isles and the Rivers

Harwyn Hardhand by Rene Aigner ©

In a new age of expansion centuries later, the ironborn under King Harwyn Hardhand,[9] the thirdborn son of the cautious King Qhorwyn the Cunning, took the riverlands from the Storm King Arrec Durrandon after the battle at Fairmarket.[10] Harwyn and his successors, Halleck and Harren, ruled the Iron Islands and the riverlands as Kings of the Isles and the Rivers.[3] The rivermen resented the oppressive rule of ironmen, however.[11]

When not unsuccessfully warring against the neighboring Kings of the Rock, Kings of the Reach, and Kings of Mountain and Vale, Halleck, who had closer ties to the Trident than to the Sunset Sea,[3] ruled from Fairmarket in the riverlands instead of from the Iron Islands.[12] Halleck extended House Hoare's rule to include Duskendale and Rosby near Blackwater Bay.[11]

Harwyn's grandson, Harren the Black, conquered the northern shore of the Blackwater Rush from the Storm Kings.[11] Harren also ordered the construction of Harrenhal, the greatest castle of the Seven Kingdoms, on the shores of the Gods Eye in the riverlands, far from the sea. The construction took forty years, and was finished the day Aegon I Targaryen and his sisters landed in Westeros. When the rivermen rebelled and joined the cause of House Targaryen during Aegon's Conquest, Harren decided to remain within his castle. Aegon burned it with the dragonflame of Balerion, however, incinerating Harren and his sons alive. The Hoare line thus ended in the burning of Harrenhal.[11]

Iron Throne

Harren the Black's brother, Lord Commander Hoare, led the Night's Watch at that time of Aegon's Conquest, but the brother kept to his vows and did not intervene even as his house died.[13] King Aegon I Targaryen chose Edmyn Tully of Riverrun, the first of the river lords to rebel against Harren, to replace the Hoares in the riverlands[9] as Lord Paramount of the Trident.[10]

The Iron Islands fell into chaos after Harren's death. Qhorin Volmark, the grandson of Harwyn Hardhand's sister, claimed to be the rightful heir of the black line, but he was slain by Aegon the Conqueror.[2] After his invasion of the Iron Islands, Aegon allowed the ironborn to select Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke as the new Lord of the Iron Islands, and the ruined towers of Harrenhal were given to Ser Quenton Qoherys.[14]

Harren the Red, an outlaw who claimed to be a son of Harren the Black, seized Harrenhal during the reign of King Aenys I Targaryen, but he was eventually killed by a royal host.[15] Lord Goren Greyjoy defeated the claim of Qhorin Volmark's son to the legacy of House Hoare in 33 AC.[2]

During the struggle for power in the Iron Islands after the death of Lord Dalton Greyjoy, Great Wyk supported the pretender Sam Salt, who claimed descent from House Hoare.[16]

Recent Events

A Feast for Crows

Harren Half-Hoare is a raider loyal to Euron Crow's Eye; his relation to House Hoare is unclear.[17]

Lord Maron Volmark is mentioned as a possible candidate for the kingsmoot on Old Wyk, as he has the blood of Harren the Black in him through the female line of House Hoare.[18]

Historical Hoares

Harren the Black by Peteryeete ©



It was Qhored who famously boasted that his writ ran "wherever men could smell salt water or hear the crash of waves."[7]

—writings of Yandel

Archmaester Hake tells us that the kings of House Hoare were, "black of hair, black of eye, and black of heart."[3]

—writings of Yandel

House Hoare had ruled the ironmen for long centuries, only to be extinguished in a single night when Aegon unleashed Balerion's fires on Harrenhal.[14]

—writings of Gyldayn


  1. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Greyjoys of Pyke.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Citadel. Heraldry: Houses on the Iron Islands
  5. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
  6. The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  7. 7.0 7.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: Driftwood Crowns.
  8. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Iron Kings.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  10. 10.0 10.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
  12. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
  13. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragon - The Wars of King Aegon I.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  17. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 11, The Kraken's Daughter.
  18. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.