Lord Walter Whent was the head of House Whent and Lord of Harrenhal before the start of the books. He was married to Lady Shella Whent, with whom he had five children, four sons and a fair daughter. He was the brother of Ser Oswell Whent, a knight of the Kingsguard. He was a rich and generous man.
Lord Walter hosted the Tourney of Harrenhal in 281AC. Ser Barristan Selmy says that the tourney was announced after Ser Oswell visited his brother. Lord Walter's daughter began the tourney as Queen of Love and Beauty, and her uncle and brothers rode for her honour, whilst Barristan aimed to name Ashara Dayne as Queen in her place. The tourney was won by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, however, who named Lyanna Stark as Queen, much to the chagrin of her brother Brandon Stark.
Walter's tourney was noted for several other reasons. It was where Ser Jaime Lannister was named to the Kingsguard, played host to the evnts of the Knight of the Laughing Tree story, was where Rhaegar and Lyanna first met, where Barristan fell in love with Ashara, who danced with Eddard Stark and was later dishonoured by someone, and where Benjen Stark first got the idea of joining the Night's Watch. King Aerys II Targaryen was in attendance, as Varys had told him that it was where a great council would occur to crown his son King over him.