It was stated in the first or second book that, in the event that a vassal dies without an heir of his house, the liege should decide how to solve the problem to avoid squabbling lords and unnecessary bloodshed (looking for citations, it was in one of the Bran POV's though). Since the North, unlike Dorne, which is semi-independent, is (or rather was, though I doubt they had time to come up with a new legal system what with the war) bound to crown laws, this must be a law everywhere in the Seven Kingdoms. Yet, it seems that whenever the ruler of Harrenhall dies, it defaults back to the crown to hand out to the next (un)lucky lord. Personally I am hoping Peytr gets to keep it (and its rep) though that is not why I am posting.

If the lands of an heirless lord revert to his direct liege, how can the crown keep handing the land out? It is Tully, not royal land unless the Tully's do not have the fealty of Harrenhall? Is Harrenhall sworn to the Tully's or to the crown, or am I misreading something?

2 Answers 2


I think this is how it works:

  • Before everything kicked off in the Riverlands, it belonged to (according to the wiki) House Whent, with the Tullys their liege.
  • Very early on in the violence, Lady Whent surrenders it to Tywin. So, it's (de facto) controlled by the Lannisters. Since the Lannisters are at this point essentially at war with the Tullys, the fact that (de jure) the Tullys are the local liege lords is of little consequence.
  • The Lannisters give it to Janos Slynt, something the Tullys might not like but aren't really in a position to do anything about. Slynt is then sent to the wall before he can even change the curtains.
  • The Lannisters and the Crown then give it to Baelish, who also becomes (nominally) the new liege lord of the Riverlands and "Lord Paramount of the Trident", the Tullys being deposed for siding with a "traitor". See: What titles does Littlefinger currently hold?. In the short term, however, this is a purely nominal title, since at the time this happens, they don't even control Harrenhall: Roose has already retaken it. But it demonstrates that the Tullys no longer have any official claim to authority over what happens there.

So, the Tullys would normally get to choose what happened to it, but such legal norms and conventions tend not to hold when you're at war and pick the wrong side.


• Originally built by Harren the black who was the last iron king to rule over both the riverlands and iron islands.

• The Ironborn invaded the riverlands and conquered its lands, forcing its people into slavery and forcing them to build Harrenhal. So Harrenhal wasn’t initially controlled by Riverrun it was the other way round.

• He built it as a monument to himself and drained the riverlands of finances and resources as it took 40years to build.

• It is rumoured that Harren mixed the blood of slaves into the mortar used for the stonework in order to prevent any lord from permanently holding it.

• Harrenhal initially fell to Aegon the conqueror

• After conquering Harrenhal Aegon passed control of it to his loyal banner of House Qoherys.

• Following their demise, the houses Towers, then Harroway, then Strong, and then Lothston all had stewardship of Harrenhal.

• During the reign of Aegon the I’s sons, a rebel naming himself Harren the Red, who claimed to be the bastard of Harren the Black led a revolt and took over Harrenhal however his revolt was destroyed.

• The only significant conflict that Harrenhal hasn’t been involved in was Robert Baratheon’s rebellion. It is believed however that Harrenhal was trigger for the rebellion, as it was there that Rhaegar Targaryen named Lyanna Stark the Queen of Beauty and Love. After this Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna and this led to the beginning of the rebellion.

• During the war of the fiver kings, House Whent controlled Harrenhal. However the crown stripped them of the castle and handed it to house Slynt due to his betrayal of Ned Stark.

• Interestingly Janos Slynt never took control of the castle and the war still raged on. He was then sent to take the Black at the wall thereby stripping him of the castle.

• Tywin Lannister's army then took control of the castle as an operating base against the Young Wolf, however he abandons it as he’s ordered back to Kings landing to help defend the city.

• Robb Stark takes over the empty castle and leaves Roose Bolton as the castellan. Bolton later leaves to attend the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey and leaves Locke in charge.

• Interestingly the Young Wolf’s is related to the Whents as his maternal grandmother was from this House, therefore he has an official claim to the castle.

• House Whent were loyal bannermen to Lord Tully of Riverrun thereby enforcing Robb’s claim.

Previous castellans of Harrenhal :

Shella Whent

Tywin Lannister

Amory Lorch

Roose Bolton

Vargo Hoat

Gregor Clegane


As it is a wide held belief in Westeros that Harrenhal is cursed, Roose Bolton is the only castellan so far not to have befallen some tragedy.

Harrenhal as noted by user568458 is currently in the hands of Littlefinger though he doesn't currently occupy it physically as he's based in the Vale.

  • 1
    Interesting point about Roose and the curse, though I'd say having Ramsey become your only chance for an heir is pretty tragic... Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 12:49
  • @User, good point, having him as a son is enough of a curse that would drive anyone insane;). Though didn't Roose mention that his wife is pregnant?
    – Scanner
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 12:50

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