"Harren the Black thought this castle would be his legacy. The greatest fortress ever built: the tallest towers, the strongest walls. The Great Hall had thirty five hearths. Thirty five, can you imagine? Look at it now... a blasted ruin."
―Tywin Lannister on the "legacy" of House Hoare
House Hoare of Harrenhal is an extinct Great House of Westeros. It ruled over the Iron Islands and the Riverlands when Aegon I Targaryen invaded the Seven Kingdoms. Their sigil depicts per saltire and with two heavy silver chains crossing between a gold longship on black (for the Iron Islands), a dark green pine on white (for Bear Island), a cluster of red grapes on gold (for the Arbor), and a black raven flying in a blue sky (for the Maesters of Oldtown) all bound by the chains of the Ironborn. Their sigil shows the extent of the Hoare holdings at their peak.
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. 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.
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.
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.
The drowned men 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.
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.
Kings of the Isles and the Rivers
In a new age of expansion centuries later, the ironborn under King Harwyn Hardhand, 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.
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.
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. Aegon chose Edmyn Tully of Riverrun, the first of the river lords to rebel against Harren, to replace the Hoares in the riverlands as Lord Paramount of the Trident. The Iron Islands fell into chaos after Harren's death. Qhorin Volmark, the grandson of Harwyn Hardhand's sister, claimed to be the rightful of the black line, but he was slain by Aegon the Conqueror. Aegon then allowed the ironborn to select Vickon Greyjoy of Pyke as the new Lord of the Iron Islands.
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. Lord Goren Greyjoy defeated the claim of Qhorin Volmark's son to the legacy of House Hoare in 33 AC.
A Feast for Crows
Harren Half-Hoare is a raider loyal to Euron Crow's Eye; his relation to House Hoare is unclear. 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.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, House Hoare of Orkmont is an ancient ironborn family from the time of the First Men. During the era of the kingsmoot, several Hoares were chosen as kings. The most famous ironborn king in this era: under King Qhored 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 sea could be smelled or heard the crashing of waves were under their control. Although it is unlikely that this assertion is literal, since with all probability places like Oldtown or Lannisport have never been ruled from the Iron Islands, it is still remarkable that the ironborn could hold places as distant as the Arbor and Bear Island. Qhored Hoare personally ended the line of House Justman, rulers of the Riverlands at the time. This plunged the Riverlands into anarchy for six years, until House Teague seized power there.
During the next decades, the power of House Hoare would diminish and many of the conquests would be lost. Bear Island was lost to Rodrik Stark in a wrestling match. He gave it to the Mormonts. The possessions of the ironborn were reduced to the Isles and the coast of the Riverlands.
House Greyiron put an end to the kingsmoots after seizing power and ruled as hereditary kings for 1,000 years, though the other ironborn Houses chafed under their rule. About 4,000 years ago, however, the Andals finally got around to conquering the Iron Islands - they had first invaded the eastern portions of Westeros 6,000 years ago, but it took them many centuries before they finally came to the Iron Islands, because they were far away on the western coast, separated from the mainland, and very poor in and of themselves making them not an attractive target.
House Hoare was not an Andal family, but along with several other ironborn Houses they allied with invading Andal adventurers in order to overthrow the hated reign of the Greyirons. This is similar to how even House Lannister started out as a First Men family before intermarrying with the Andals. The head of House Hoare married the daughter of one of the Andal chieftains who came to the isles: in a subsequent contest House Hoare were proclaimed as the new hereditary kings of the Iron Islands.
The Andals that came to the Iron Islands acculturated to the ironborn traditions, however, and little changed on the isles. House Hoare (now partially descended from the Andals) continued to rule the Iron islands for almost four thousand years.
About three generations before the Targaryen Conquest, the ironborn under House Hoare entered into a new great age of conquest. The ironborn took all of the Riverlands from the Storm Kings, who had killed the last River King 300 years before. Harren the Black ordered the construction of Harrenhal, the greatest castle of the Seven Kingdoms, on the shores of the Gods Eye, a long away from the sea. The construction took forty years, and was finished the day Aegon I and his sisters landed in Westeros. Believing himself safe within his walls, Harren decided to remain within his castle. Aegon burned it with his dragon, incinerating Harren and his sons alive and thus ending the Hoare line.
Harren's own younger brother was Lord Commander of the Night's Watch at the time of the Targaryen Conquest, but kept to his vows of neutrality and stayed at the Wall instead of leaving to help his family, even as his own brother burned at Harrenhal and his entire House was wiped out.
House Hoare officially went extinct when Harren died, but it only went extinct in the male-line. House Volmark, an ironborn noble family from Harlaw, descends from House Hoare through the female line (much as House Tyrell descends from the officially extinct House Gardener through the female line). Specifically, House Volmark claims descent from the younger sister of Harwyn Hoare, the grandfather of Harren Hoare. House Volmark never had a particularly strong claim against House Greyjoy, however, due to a combination of the ironborn being misogynistic and not placing much value on female-line descent, and because of the unusual elected-kingship customs of the Iron Islands. The Volmarks did try to lead uprisings against the Greyjoys in the first two generations after the Targaryen Conquest, but they had little support and were easily put down. House Volmark is still active in the present day.
Region: The Iron Islands and the Riverlands
Lord: None, extinct
Heir: None, extinct
Vassals: House Greyjoy, House Harlaw, House Tully, House Mallister, House Blackwood, House Bracken, House Frey, House Drumm
Religion: Drowned God
Houses and races of Game of Thrones Lore
Learn about all the known Houses on Game of Thrones Lore. You will learn all the families and their place on Westeros!
On our website you can find all the stories about Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft and Halo. You can learn about the places and all the characters.
Name The House Game of ThronesName