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 a gold longship on a black field, a dark green pine on a white field, a cluster of red grapes on a gold field, and a black raven flying in a blue sky
(Per saltire sable, azure, argent and or, two chains throughout saltirewise argent 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 of the Iron Islands. Known as the black line,[1][2] or the black blood,[3] the Hoares became the Kings of the Iron Islands after the Andal settlers on the islands ended the rule of House Greyiron. While they 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.[3]

According to semi-canon sources, their 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]


Age of Heroes

Harrag Hoare, King of the Iron Islands, is cited by Aeron Damphair as an example of a great king that 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 its expansion, and it was said that all the western coast of Westeros where the salt of the Sunset Sea could be smelled or the crashing of its waves heard were under their control. Over the centuries the power of the ironborn would diminish and many of the conquests would be lost. For instance, Bear Island was allegedly lost in a wrestling match to 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

During the Andal invasion, the Hoares allied with Andals and the Orkwoods, Drumms, and Greyjoys 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]

The priests and rival lords denigrated Harras's line as having an "Andal taint" by having Andal queens and accused them of being false kings, which Archmaester Hake agreed with, referring to them as being "black of hair, black of eye, and black of heart". Hoare kings from this time include 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. The Hoares subsequently promoted trade with Lannisport, Oldtown, and the Free Cities.[3]

Kings of the Isles and the Rivers

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 all of the riverlands from the Storm King Arrec Durrandon. Harwyn and his successors, Halleck and Harren, ruled from the riverlands as Kings of the Isles and the Rivers. When not unsuccessfully warring against the Kings of the Rock, the Kings of the Reach, and the Kings of Mountain and Vale, Halleck ruled from Fairmarket instead of the Iron Islands.[10]

Harwyn's grandson, Harren the Black, 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 joined the cause of House Targaryen, Harren decided to remain within his castle. Aegon burned it with the dragon Balerion, however, incinerating Harren and his sons alive. The Hoare line thus ended in the burning of Harrenhal.[11]

Harren's brother, Lord Commander Hoare, led the Night's Watch at that time, but the brother kept to his vows and did not intervene even as his house died.[12] Aegon 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.[13] 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] Aegon then allowed the ironborn to select Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke as the new Lord of the Iron Islands.[9]

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.[14] Lord Goren Greyjoy defeated the claim of Qhorin Volmark's son to the legacy of House Hoare in 33 AC.[2]

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.[15] 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.[16]

Historical Hoares



[The Hoare kings were] black of hair, black of eye, and black of heart.[3]

—writings of Hake


  1. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Greyjoys of Pyke.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The World of Ice & Fire, 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 Kings of Winter.
  7. The World of Ice & Fire, Driftwood Crowns.
  8. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Kings.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  10. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, The Conquest.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 60, Jon VIII.
  13. The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands.
  14. 14.0 14.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Aenys I.
  15. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 11, The Kraken's Daughter.
  16. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
  17. Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.