In ACOK, while at Harenhal:

Arya "tricks" Jaqen H'ghar into helping her free the northmen from the dungeons to take the castle from Amory Lorch and his men. Jaqen reluctantly abides.


After they kill the dungeon guards and arrive back in the yard, Vargo Hoat and the Brave Companions have already started slaying Lorch's men, sellswords that they are, and it's clear they made a pact with Bolton to do so.

My question:

Was it pure coincidence that Arya/Jaqen's plan overlapped with Hoat/Bolton's plan? It wasn't clear to me whether Jaqen was going to play a part in this before Arya asked him.


This is what AWOIAF says, but it just seems to coincidental to me:

Unknown to Ser Amory Lorch and independently of Arya and Jaqen, a deal has been struck by Vargo and Roose that Vargo is to turn over the castle. The Brave Companions turn on their former Lannister allies, killing many in their beds. Source

  • 5
    To be more precise, Arya doesn't so much "trick" Jaqen as she does blackmail him. Picky, yes, but a bit of a difference in context.
    – Omegacron
    Sep 22, 2014 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


It was just a coincidence.

Vargo Hoat had made a deal in which he brought Robett Glover's men into the dungeons, with the goal being to loose them later to take the castle. When Arya frees them; both their condition and Glover's comments indicate they were not just prisoners:

Once freed, the captives stripped the dead guards of their weapons and darted up the steps with steel in hand. Their fellows crowded after them, bare-handed. They went swiftly, and with scarcely a word. None of them seemed quite so badly wounded as they had when Vargo Hoat marched them through the gates of Harrenhal. "This of the soup, that was clever," the man Glover was saying. "I did not expect that. Was it Lord Hoat's idea?"

Arya, Jaqen, Rorge, and Biter luckily enough are therefore in a position to switch to the winning side:

"Who are you men?" A crease appeared between Robett Glover's brows. "You were not with Hoat when he came to Lord Bolton's encampment. Are you of the brave companions?"

Rorge wiped the snot off his chin with the back of his hand. "We are now."

The "...now" indicates that Rorge (et al) are taking advantage of the situation to switch to the winning side. And note that the backstory is clarified there - "with Hoat when he came to Lord Bolton" helps indicate how this came about.

And Jaqen makes sure that Arya (and the reader) fully understand:

...Jaqen H'ghar knelt beside Arya. "A girl does not understand?"

"Yes I do," she said, though she didn't, not truly.

The Lorathi must have seen it on her face. "A goat has no loyalty. Soon a wolf banner is raised here, I think...."

There's no indication in any of this that Jaqen had any advance information - recall, he only participated because Arya effectively threatened his life. However, Jaqen seems to catch on to what's happening faster and more smoothly than the others - perhaps because a man sees, perhaps because he's always composed.

  • 1
    Thanks! This is how I followed the events, just wasn't sure if I missed something since it was so coincidental that they timed it just so.
    – Rob Sobers
    Sep 22, 2014 at 18:30

It was indeed a happy (for the Northeners at least) coincidence. As far as we know, Jaqen was not privy or part of the deal between Vargo Hoat and Roose Bolton. To Vargo and Roose, Jaqen was just an escaped prisoner who found an oppurtunity and got himself recruited as a guard.

The timing was opportune, but we know from ASOS that Vargo turned coat because he expected the Starks to win, and found common ground with Roose Bolton. So Vargo was going to betray the Lannisters anyway

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