Harrenhal is a fortress located in the Riverlands, just north of God's Eye and south of the Trident. It changes hands a few times throughout the series, and was most recently held by the Lannisters. It is well-known for being haunted, and no house has held it for long.
House Hoare Edit
Harren "the Black" Hoare, son of Halleck Hoare and grandson of Harwyn Harhand Hoare, decided to create this castle as a monument to himself, one that would dwarf all the others. And for forty years the riverlanders and even ironborn were forced to work like slaves building the monstrous castle, dying by the thousands. On the date it was completed, Aegon the Conqueror first landed in Westeros.
Aegon and his army of allied River lords, a mere 8000 surrounded the fortress. Harren and Aegon parlayed, and once it was clear that Hoare believed he was invincible inside his fortress, Aegon made Balerion, the Black Dread, incinerated all the towers, roasting King Hoare alive, and that specific tower was called Kingspyre Tower and Harrenhal took a melted and emaciated appearance ever since.
House Qoherys Edit
Aegon decided to grant the gigantic castle to his master-at-arms Quenton Qoherys. Unfortunately, Quenton's son Gargon Qoherys, who was known as Gargon the Guest for always attending each wedding in his domain to take advantage of the lord's right to the First Night, ended up murdered by Harren the Red, a supposed bastard son of Harren the Black, bringing the end of House Qoherys.
House Harroway Edit
House Harroway was the second House to inhabit the castle. Even though Lord Lucas Harroway was Hand of the King to Maegor I and his daughter Alys Harroway his wife, the House became extinguished once Lady Tyanna of Pentos, Maegor's lover, convinced him of executing every member of the House on the pretext of infidelity from Lady Alys.
House Towers Edit
House Towers was the third, and probably the shortest-living House to occupy Harrenhal. After Maegor the Cruel wiped out House Harroway, he decreed that the strongest of his knights would have the castle, though not all the lands. Twenty three knights fought in the blood-soaked streets of Lord Harroways town for the prize. Ser Walton Towers, though gravely wounded was the victor and House Towers was granted Harrenhal, though Ser Walton died soon after from the wounds he took in gaining his prize.
House Strong Edit
House Strong was the fourth House to inhabit Harrenhal, and the first one to hold it for more than 2 generations. House Strong supported Aegon II during the Dance of Dragons, until Lord Lyonel Strong, who served as master of laws, and his son and heir Harwin, died in a mysterious fire, and many believed it was provoked by Lyonel's second son Larys. Ser Simon Strong, a cousin of Lyonel, was Castellan of Harrenhal, until he and his grandsons were captured by Daemon Targaryen. Larys Clubfoot Strong was Master of Whispers for Aegon, and once his involvement in the poisoning of the king was revealed, he chose to be executed by Lord Cregan Stark, bringing the House to an end.
House Lothston Edit
House Lothston was the fifth House to inhabit Harrenhal, and it was known for its dark deeds. The founder of the house was Lord Lucas Lothston, known as the Pander, became Hand of the King to Aegon IV. Lothston married Falena Stokeworth, a former mistress of Aegon, and his daughter Jeyne Lothston also became a mistress of Aegon. Lucas was forced to resign when his daughter Jeyne caught pox from the King.
Lord Manfred Lothston was remembered for betraying Daemon Blackfyre during the Blackfyre Rebellion, and Lady Danelle Lothston, who was called Mad Danelle, is remembered in ghost stories as a witch who sent giant bats into bringing children for her to cook. She was overthrown and killed during the reign of Maekar I.
House Whent Edit
House Whent was the sixth House to inhabit Harrenhal. The Whents were knights at the service of House Lothston, and they were rewarded with the castle after helping bring down their former overlords. House Whent was then plagued by infertility, with only Minisa Whent being able to bear healthy children. Lord Walter Whent was the lord that organized the Tourney at Harrenhal in the Year of the False Spring, and during the next years, almost every other member of the house died, with only Wynafrei Whent, the wife of Danwell Frey, remaining.
The War of the Five Kings Edit
At the beginning of the War of the Five Kings, Tywin Lannister gained control of Harrenhal, and then gave control of it to Amory Lorch. Lorch hosted the Brave Companions, led by Vargo Hoat, during the war. Arya Stark, with the help of Jaqen H'ghar, staged a revolt and forced Hoat to release his prisoners. Not long after this, Roose Bolton took control of the castle and made Arya work for him, along with many other prisoners.
Bolton left the castle in Hoat's control, but Gregor Clegane sacked the castle and executed him. Before Clegane could take control of Harrenhal, he was called back to King's Landing, and eventually Cersei Lannister sent Jaime Lannister to gain control of the fortress. As of A Feast for Crows, it is uncertain what will happen to Harrenhal and its remaining inhabitants.