Godswood of Harrenhal

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Arya Stark practices with a broomstick at Harrenhal, by Jonathan Standing © Fantasy Flight Games

The godswood of Harrenhal consists of twenty acres of forest within Harrenhal,[1] the seat of House Whent by the Gods Eye.


The godswood contains birches, [2] oaks,[2] pines,[3] and sentinels, and a little stream slowly meanders through the trees.[3] There is one spot where the water has eaten the ground away beneath a deadfall.[3] The godswood's heart tree, a weirwood, has an angry face carved on it,[3] and it retains thirteen slashes given to it by Prince Daemon Targaryen.[4] These marks are said to still bleed every spring.[4]

Birds live in the forest,[4] and bats can be heard hunting at night.[3] A cat also creeps near the godswood's wall.[2]


Harrenhal was founded by Harren Hoare, King of the Isles and the Rivers, but the king was killed during Aegon's Conquest.[5]

Harren the Red, who claimed to be the grandson of Harren the Black, rebelled against Gargon Qoherys, Lord of Harrenhal, in 37 AC. Harren sliced off Gargon the Guest's genitals in the castle's godswood, fed them to a dog,[6] and allowed Lord Qoherys to bleed to death.[7]

After Prince Aemond Targaryen and Ser Criston Cole departed Harrenhal during the Dance of the Dragons, Lady Sabitha Frey seized the the castle and found a pregnant Alys Rivers naked in the godswood.[4] Later in the war, Prince Daemon Targaryen waited at Harrenhal with Caraxes for the return of Aemond on Vhagar. Daemon marked the passing of each day by slashing the heart tree at dusk, leaving thirteen cuts by the time of the Battle Above the Gods Eye.[4]

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A Clash of Kings

Arya Stark whispers to Jaqen H'ghar, by Tony Foti © Fantasy Flight Games

Arya Stark enjoys visiting the godswood while serving incognito at Harrenhal.[3] With Needle having been taken from her by Polliver,[8] Arya practices the water dance with a broomstick shorn of its bristles, attacking branches and leaves. The girl also climbs to the higher branches of the trees and pretends that her targets are her enemies.[3]

While Arya prays to the weirwood on one occasion, Jaqen H'ghar appears and asks for the name of her third victim, having already killed Chiswyck and Weese in return for Arya having saved Jaqen, Rorge, and Biter from a fiery death.[3] Jaqen places his hand in the heart tree's mouth and swears he will honor Arya's selection. The girl names Jaqen himself, however, and in order to spare his life the assassin agrees to help Arya free northern prisoners recently brought to Harrenhal. Unbeknownst to Arya, Vargo Hoat is simultaneously leading the Brave Companions against Ser Amory Lorch, and Harrenhal falls to Lord Roose Bolton. Jaqen disappears from the castle and Arya becomes Roose's cupbearer.[3]

When Roose goes hunting near Harrenhal after the Battle of the Blackwater, Arya uses the opportunity to practice her swordsmanship in the godswood. When Roose returns, Arya learns that Roose will leave her behind with Vargo when he departs for the Twins. Arya prays in the godswood, and she thinks she hears the voice of her late father, Lord Eddard Stark, reminding her she has the wolf blood. Arya enlists the aid of Gendry and Hot Pie, and the three youths flee from Harrenhal. During the escape, Arya sees a grey and white cat on the godswood wall.[2]


She liked the sharp smell of the pines and sentinels, the feel of grass and dirt between her toes, and the sound the wind made in the leaves.[3]

—thoughts of Arya Stark

It was a terrible face, its mouth twisted, its eyes flaring and full of hate. Is that what a god looked like? Could gods be hurt, the same as people?[3]

—thoughts of Arya Stark


  1. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 30, Arya VII.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 64, Arya X.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  5. Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
  6. Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  7. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  8. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 26, Arya VI.