The Brave Companions are a sellsword group from Essos, known for their brutal and horrific methods. They are a group made up of criminals and outcasts, and are led by Vargo Hoat, a notorious sellsword from Qohor. Their banner is of a black goat with bloody horns.
The Brave Companions have a bad reputation for being brutal, ruthless and murderous, stemming from their acceptance of multiple criminals into their ranks. They are sometimes referred to as The Bloody Mummers because of their brutality and the fact that they are made up of individuals of multiple ethnicities and appearances, though they consider this name an insult. Another popular name is The Footsmen, which stems from Vargo's policy of frequently cutting feet off of his prisoners of war.
The Brave Companions are not as old as other sellsword groups, such as the Windblown or the Golden Company, but were started before Vargo Hoat became their leader. Whilst it is unlikely that their previous leader was also from Qohor it would explain why the black goat is their symbol, however this may have been instituted by Vargo since he took over leadership.
A Game of ThronesEdit
The Brave Companions are bought by Lord Tywin Lannister at the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings, and accompany Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch in rampaging and reaving through The Riverlands, in attempt to draw out the forces of The North. Vargo is given command of 300 men, though it is unknown if these are all Brave Companions or whether his army is bolstered by freeriders and Lannister men.
A Clash of KingsEdit
The Brave Companions establish a base at Harrenhal, and are left to hold the castle in the absence of Tywin, Gregor and Amory. Their ranks are diverse, including men from Westeros, the Free Cities and the Dothraki Sea, amongst others. Rorge, Biter and Jaqen H'ghar join their ranks after Yoren is killed by Ser Amory. Other notable members include Qyburn, Shagwell the Fool, Urswyck and Septon Utt.
The Brave Companions seem to hold some animosity towards Ser Amory, possible because he doesn't get along with Vargo. Upon their first night at Harrenhal a fight occurs, leading to the death of the squire to Ser Harys Swyft, as well as the execution of two Companions and an archer who started the fight in the first place.
After Tywin's departure Vargo turns traitor and has Jaqen, Rorge and Biter, with the help of Arya Stark, free all the northern prisoners held at Harrenhal. A massacre then follows that sees the Lannister garrison put to the sword, and Ser Amory Lorch is fed to a bear, naked. Vargo is named Lord of Harrenhal for his betrayal of Tywin, and accepts Lord Roose Bolton in, who now uses Harrenhal as a base of operations.
The Brave Companions still operate in the riverlands, however. They are split into three groups. One is commanded by Utt, another by Urswyck and another by Vargo. They frequently trick Lannister soldiers into thinking they are on their side before slaughtering them and stealing their coin.
A Storm of SwordsEdit
The band under the control of Utt fall into some troubles when they are attacked by the Brotherhood without Banners. A battle ensues and many Companions are killed. All surviving Companions are caught and tried before the red god, with all of them being hanged for their crimes, including Utt, who confesses to being a murderous peadophile and begging for redemption.
Vargo starts to grow suspicious of Roose, thinking that he intends to join the Lannisters against his king, Robb Stark, and attempts to force a wedge between him and Lord Tywin by having Ser Jaime Lannister'ssword hand after he takes the kingslayer prisoner.
Roose would abandon Harrenhal, leaving it for Vargo. Vargo was now paranoid and would try to rape the prisoner Brienne of Tarth, but she would bite off his ear, which would become infected and cause him to go insane. After this he would be abandoned by the other members of his group.
A Feast for CrowsEdit
The Brave Companions under the command of Rorge would commit atrocities during the Raid on Saltpans, but these would be accredited to Sandor Clegane. Rorge would be killed by Brienne, and Biter by Gendry, a member of the Brotherhood without Banners. Brienne had already killed Shagwell, Pyg and Timeon in the ruined seat of House Crabb on Cracklaw Point. Qyburn has risen to the post of the Master of Whisperers, after befriending Cersei Lannister and helping to heal Jaime's wounds.