Vargo Hoat

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Vargo Hoat
Brave companions small.png
Brave companions small.png
Vargo Hoat.jpg
Vargo Hoat by Amok©

Alias The Goat
The Crippler
The Qohorik
Title Lord of Harrenhal
Allegiance Brave Companions
Culture Qohor
Died In 300 AC, at Harrenhal
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (Mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (Appears)
A Storm of Swords (Appears)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)

Vargo Hoat is the leader of the Brave Companions, a particularly unsavory sellsword company in the Seven Kingdoms, referred to as the "Bloody Mummers". The Mummers are described as the scum of the world, criminals and outcasts from many countries, with Hoat himself originating in Qohor. He is sometimes called "the Goat" due to his helm which is shaped to appear like goat horns.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Vargo Hoat

Vargo is a tall and gaunt man.[1] He has a two-feet-long goatee dangling from a pointed chin.[2]

He wears a chain of linked coins from all the places where he has fought. The coins are of every shape and size, cast and hammered, bearing the likenesses of kings, wizards, gods and demons, and all manner of fanciful beasts. Raff The Sweetling later claims this chain as his own when the Mountain's men retake Harrenhal.[2] He rides a zorse. His coat of arms feature the Black Goat of Qohor and he wears a helm shaped as a goat's head.[1]

A perpetually swollen tongue causes him to lisp and slobber when he speaks. Despite this, Hoat is more cunning than he seems, as no man survives being the commander of the Brave Companions without being ruthless and shrewd.

At some point, he caught a venereal disease and so began sending women to be examined and given the all clear by Qyburn as a precautionary measure, before raping them. He is a sadist, who frequently tortures his prisoners by chopping off their hands and feet, earning him the additional nickname "the Crippler".

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Vargo's company is employed by Lord Tywin Lannister and let loose upon the Riverlands to burn and pillage in an attempt to draw out and capture Robb Stark, so that he can be traded with Jaime Lannister. He and the other reaver captains each lead 300 cavalry; he may have had other freeriders under his command in addition to the Brave Companions.[3]

A Clash of Kings

Vargo Hoat - by C.Griffin ©

Although the terror unleashed around the Gods Eye by the Mountain's men and the Brave Companions has neither motivated Robb Stark to march against Lord Tywin Lannister, who has taken Harrenhal as his seat, nor secured the release of Ser Jaime Lannister, Lord Tywin still keeps Vargo Hoat's men employed. They are mainly responsible for foraging, bringing the fruits of their plundering to Harrenhal, then march out again soon. When Arya Stark observes them for the first time, she wonders how many monsters Lord Tywin does have.[1]

There is tension between the Lannister forces and Vargo's men, leading to occasional violence. One such incidence starts with an archer from Lord Lewys Lydden's men taunting some Brave Companions over their failure to capture the Brotherhood Without Banners and their leader, Beric Dondarrion, and leads to the death of Ser Harys Swyft's squire. After Lord Tywin has the archer and two Brave Companions hanged over the incidence, Vargo and Ser Harys sign their reconciliation with a kiss.[1]

Lord Tywin Lannister marches his troops out of Harrenhal to pursue Robb Stark who has invaded the Westerlands, leaving Ser Amory Lorch behind as castellan of the castle. However, Ser Amory and Vargo Hoat hate each other and Vargo soon decides to turn cloak. He leads the Brave Companions to Lord Roose Bolton's camp, where Vargo and Lord Bolton reach a deal: The Brave Companions arrange for Harrenhal to fall into the hands of the northmen, in exchange for which Vargo is promised the title of Lord of Harrenhal once Lord Bolton and his men leave the castle.[4][5]

As a result of the agreement, together with some plunder that includes a huge caged bear, Vargo brings a group of northern knights to Harrenhal, led by Robett Glover. He claims they are captives the Brave Companions took when they repelled an attempt by Lord Bolton's forces to cross the Trident. As part of the feint, the northerners are chained, in ragged clothes and many fake injuries. Despite his displeasure with Vargo's assumed big catch, Ser Amory falls for the trick and orders that the captives are brought to a dungeon, ignoring a protest by Robett that they have been promised honorable treatment by Vargo.[4]

Before the Brave Companions can keep their side of the bargain of releasing the prisoners so that they can overpower the small force left to defend Harrenhal, Arya Stark, not realizing what is going on, organizes a successful liberation of the captives with the assistance of Jaqen H'ghar, Biter and Rorge. The northmen and the Brave Companions, now joined by Biter and Rorge, then bring the castle under their control and the following evening Lord Bolton arrives to take his seat at Harrenhal. Vargo and Lord Bolton watch on as the Brave Companions parade a naked Ser Armory Lorch through the yard and throw him into the bear pit.[4]

The Brave Companions keep foraging for Lord Bolton with the additional assignment of rooting out Lannister forces they come across. Vargo splits up his group in four parties, the largest led by him, the others by his most trusted captains, so that they can visit as many villages as possible. Vargo's method of identifying traitors is simple: He merely seizes people who helped him while he was employed by Lord Tywin and confiscates the money they received for their assistance. As a result, the Brave Companions now often return to Harrenhal with bags full of silver.[6]

Arya, serving as cupbearer to Lord Bolton, finds out from him that he is going to hand over control of Harrenhal to Vargo eventually and that she will stay behind. Apprehensive that with the Bolton men gone nobody is going to check the violence of the Brave Companions and that she could become a target, of Rorge in particular, who repeatedly suggested he would rape her, Arya flees from Harrenhal, taking Hot Pie and Gendry along.[7][6]

A Storm of Swords

After Ser Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth are captured by his men, Vargo orders Jaime's hand to be cut off as a message to his father.[8] While that displeases Lord Roose Bolton, he still intends to leave Harrenhal to Vargo Hoat, albeit knowing that Lord Tywin Lannister is bound to retake the Castle and chastise Hoat eventually.[5]

Following his taking control of Harrenhal after Lord Bolton's departure, Vargo tries to force himself on Brienne, but she bites him in the left ear. He throws her into the bear pit and has her fight his bear with a tourney sword and no armor. When Jaime returns to rescue Brienne from expected rape at the hands of the Brave Companions, he finds the band watching the scene from the ranks, cheering on, with Vargo sitting in the lord's box, drinking wine. His left ear is only clumsily bandaged, as the Brave Companions' maester Qyburn left the castle with Jaime and his Bolton escorts. Jaime tells Vargo to stop the fight, but Vargo advises him to stay out of it lest he wants to lose another hand. Jaime offers to ransom Brienne, but Vargo says that if he wants her, he should go and get her. Which Jaime does, jumping into the bear pit and trying to fight the bear with some human bones he gets hold of. The two are rescued when the Bolton bowmen commanded by Steelshanks Walton kill the beast. When Vargo protests the demise of his bear, Walton threatens that he will also die, if the Brave Companions don't allow them to leave with Brienne. Jaime tells Vargo that a Lannister always pays his debt and that Vargo will get the ransom for both of them if he lets them go. Vargo hesitates but then realizes that his drunken men are outnumbered. Ignoring advise by Rorge that he is going to regret it, he says he has chosen to be 'merthiful' and advises Jaime to inform Lord Tywin accordingly. Jaime says he will, thinking by himself that this won't help Vargo much. Jaime, Brienne and the Bolton men then leave Harrenhal.[9]

Vargo's ear wound soon becomes infected, turning black and leaking pus. Urswyck and Rorge argue that the Brave Companions should leave Harrenhal, but Vargo, still believing that he can officially hold the title as Lord of Harrenhal, won't give up the castle under any circumstance and orders his men to defend it for him. Almost all Brave Companions eventually abandon their leader, flee from Harrenhal and disperse.[10][11]

Commanded by Lord Tywin to retake Harrenhal, the Mountain's men arrive at the castle. A cook, who used to be in Lady Whent's service, opens a postern gate for them. Ser Gregor Clegane finds Vargo sitting alone in the Hall of a Hundred Hearths, half mad with pain and fever from his festering wound. The remaining Brave Companions are killed, with the exception of Vargo, for whom the Mountain has different plans. In a mockery of Vargo's preferred way of torturing his prisoners, Ser Gregor cuts off Vargo's limbs piece by piece over an extended period of time while he has the wounds bandaged so that Vargo stays alive. Vargo first loses his hands and feet, then his arms and legs. The extremities as well as other parts of Vargo's body are then fed as "roast goat" to northern prisoners that Ser Gregor has brought to Harrenhal, including Ser Wylis Manderly, as well as to Vargo himself.[11][10][2]

Jaime returns to King's Landing and informs Lord Tywin that Vargo's men are responsible for cutting off his sword hand. His disgusted father tells him about the Mountain's taking of Harrenhal and Vargo's fate, including that Ser Gregor is still keeping Vargo alive because he finds his slobbering amusing. Jaime thinks it's funny that Brienne's bite did Vargo in, but suspects Brienne won't share his perspective on this.[11]

Ser Gregor receives order by Cersei Lannister to come to King's Landing as her champion in Tyrion's trial by combat for the death of King Joffrey, so he finishes Vargo off and leaves Harrenhal. Raff the Sweetling takes possession of Vargo's chain of linked coins.[10][2]

A Feast for Crows

When Ser Jaime Lannister returns to Harrenhal on his way to ending the Second Siege of Riverrun, he commands that Vargo's head be shown to him. Although most of the flesh is gone and the lips, nose and ears have been sliced off, Jaime recognizes that it's Vargo's because of the distinctive goatee. Jaime asks the Mountain's men where the rest of the body is. After some hesitation, Shitmouth and Raff the Sweetling inform him about the cannibalism that went along with Vargo's extended demise. They tell him that Gregor had been planning to also cut his penis off, but decided to end things by beheading him instead of protracting Hoat's torture: when he was called back to King's Landing as Cersei Lannister's champion in Tyrion Lannister's trial by combat. The gruesome details remind Jaime of stories told about Lady Lothston, who supposedly bathed in tubs full of blood and presided over feasts of human flesh when she ruled Harrenhal. After reflecting on how revenge has lost its savor to him, Jaime tosses the head to his squire Peck and orders him to throw it into the Gods Eye. Jaime wonders whether the prisoners have an inkling what was fed to them at one point but decides it's better not to inquire on this. When he observes how fat Ser Wylis Manderly still is after his extended captivity, he concludes the man had too much "roast goat".[2]

Quotes by Vargo

Kingthlayer ... You are my captifth[12]
– Vargo, to Jaime Lannister

Thee'th worth a bag of thapphireth![13]
– Vargo, on Brienne of Tarth

Quotes about Vargo

How many monsters does Lord Tywin have?[14]
Arya Stark's thoughts, upon seeing Vargo for the first time

Hoat is more cunning than he appears. No man commands a company such as the Brave Companions for long unless he has some wits about him.[15]
Roose Bolton

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Characters from A Song of Ice and Fire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Characters from A Song of Ice and Fire. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire - A Song of Ice and Fire & Game of Thrones, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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