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Alex13

How come the various houses that held Harrenhal, didn't remodel the castle to make it smaller, but still imposing?

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On paper, the Lord of Harrenhal is one of the richest lords in Westeros, due to the location of the castle and the fertility of his lands. But that is offset due to the large maintenance costs of the castle. Plus, a large portion of the castle sits empty and only the largest/most numerous houses (like the Lannisters and the Tyrells) would be able to fully house it and occupy it. Plus, if the castle would be smaller, thus requiring less coin to maintain, i imagine that the Lord of Harrenhal might be able to field more troops or to better equip the troops that he currently has. 

Would it be possible to remodel it into a smaller and imposing castle or would it be easier, cheaper and quicker to demolish it and build another castle, and recycle some of the materials from Harrenhal into the construction of the new castle?

And going by medieval construction techniques, how long might it take to either remodel or demolish and build a new castle, provided that the lord/s of the castle will direct a sizable large of their income into the project?

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I understand that this image, showing the scale of Harrenhal, was developed in close collaboration with GRRM.

https://www.tednasmith.com/george-r-r-martin/harrenhal/

Either remodeling or demolition would be difficult.

Abandoning parts of the castle is probably the most cost-effective way to reduce costs.

The gigantic walls around the castle are a different matter. I suppose it would be possible to use rubble from the destroyed towers to build a new wall within the older wall, reducing the footprint of the bailey.

 

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3 hours ago, Alex13 said:

On paper, the Lord of Harrenhal is one of the richest lords in Westeros, due to the location of the castle and the fertility of his lands. But that is offset due to the large maintenance costs of the castle. Plus, a large portion of the castle sits empty and only the largest/most numerous houses (like the Lannisters and the Tyrells) would be able to fully house it and occupy it. Plus, if the castle would be smaller, thus requiring less coin to maintain, i imagine that the Lord of Harrenhal might be able to field more troops or to better equip the troops that he currently has. 

Would it be possible to remodel it into a smaller and imposing castle or would it be easier, cheaper and quicker to demolish it and build another castle, and recycle some of the materials from Harrenhal into the construction of the new castle?

And going by medieval construction techniques, how long might it take to either remodel or demolish and build a new castle, provided that the lord/s of the castle will direct a sizable large of their income into the project?

There was no need to remodel.  They took up the space they needed and left the rest to the rats.  Laziness and the expense may be partly to blame as well.  But there was no need to tear down and rebuild.  All they need do and did was to use the space they needed and let the rest go unmaintained.  Vanity and house pride in having a large castle which they cannot afford to fully maintain were in effect too.  It is like that family who wants to show the world the appearance of wealth.  Big houses, fine clothes, and expensive automobiles which are not receiving the proper care and maintenance because the family can barely afford them. 

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Maybe just me, but I don't see a chance to remodel it. If you want to remodel it, you gotta deconstruct the parts you don't need, if you don't then those parts left should give a good point to any attackers to hold. Anyway, if I remember well, then the inner castle is a great circle with 5 huge towers. How would you decrease the castle then? The only choice is to leave only 2 out of the 5 towers, and making another two new towers, four towers forming a square. Yet there would be several issues:  2 two towers remained would still be oversized to the castle, not to mention its halls and rooms which still would be difficult to heat. 

Then there is another thing: Maybe no house hold Harrenhall so long to gain enough wealth foe a rebould, even with a decreased size.

Does Petyr looks like his heirs(if he will have any, its questionable) will hold it long enough to do it? Nah. I don't think.

Not to mention that it's cursed.

Edited by HerblYY

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35 minutes ago, HerblYY said:

Maybe just me, but I don't see a chance to remodel it. If you want to remodel it, you gotta deconstruct the parts you don't need, if you don't then those parts left should give a good point to any attackers to hold. Anyway, if I remember well, then the inner castle is a great circle with 5 huge towers. How would you decrease the castle then? The only choice is to leave only 2 out of the 5 towers, and making another two new towers, four towers forming a square. Yet there would be several issues:  2 two towers remained would still be oversized to the castle, not to mention its halls and rooms which still would be difficult to heat. 

Then there is another thing: Maybe no house hold Harrenhall so long to gain enough wealth foe a rebould, even with a decreased size.

Does Petyr looks like his heirs(if he will have any, its questionable) will hold it long enough to do it? Nah. I don't think.

Not to mention that it's cursed.

Well, i imagine that a possibility would be to demolish all five towers and construct a keep and you could also remodel/demolish the larger structures on the grounds and make them smaller.

And i agree that Petyr will probably not keep the castle; if i remember correctly, he himself states that being named Lord of Harrenhal isn't the reward that it's supposed to be. 

It would seem that the best solutions would be to either have the castle demolished completely and either build a new castle that can belong to a lord or have the lands divided between multiple lords and not build another castle in it's place. Or the crown could take it and transform it into a royal academy or something like that and also start work on remodeling it, as i imagine that the crown would have the required coin for that. 

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8 minutes ago, Alex13 said:

Well, i imagine that a possibility would be to demolish all five towers and construct a keep and you could also remodel/demolish the larger structures on the grounds and make them smaller.

And i agree that Petyr will probably not keep the castle; if i remember correctly, he himself states that being named Lord of Harrenhal isn't the reward that it's supposed to be. 

It would seem that the best solutions would be to either have the castle demolished completely and either build a new castle that can belong to a lord or have the lands divided between multiple lords and not build another castle in it's place. Or the crown could take it and transform it into a royal academy or something like that and also start work on remodeling it, as i imagine that the crown would have the required coin for that. 

If I was Lord of Harrenhall, I wouldn't deconstruct it, instead I would build a fully new castle somewhere else, far-far away, maybe.

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Well, the curse doesn't mean that the place can't be remodeled. It just means that any family that moves there will come to a swift and horrible end. Of course, I can see how that could be discouraging to potential investors.  :^)

This is a stone castle, not a wood-and-drywall house. It took decades to build. It would take decades to demolish. And the Westerosis are busy with other things right now, like a war, and the coming of Winter.

Also, it was attacked with dragonfire. In some places, the stonework is badly fractured from the heat. In other places, it's been melted, and the original stone blocks may have fused together into enormous monoliths.  So it's  dangerous to  live there, and also dangerous to try and tear it down.

My guess is that the place will have to go the way of Oldstones and Moat Cailin. It will slowly deteriorate over the centuries. People may take the stones to use for other projects ... unless it turns out that they are cursed too.

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I wonder what the process would have been had they decided to remodel.  How would they have taken down the twisted towers, for example?  Charges made with pressurized wildfire perhaps? fling stones at them with a trebuchet?  Rent out a dragon from King Targ? Presumably the space to do a lot would have existed inside Harrenhal's walls, but I suspect that remodeling a castle is no small endeavor.  How long did that curse give Harrenhal's various occupants?  I wonder if any have died with plans to remodel that just hadn't been started yet.

We're only talking about stone here, right?  Given the Bolton's example in Winterfell I can't believe that some renovations and replacement of wooden structures took place as regularly as needed.

 

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10 minutes ago, Jay21 said:

I wonder what the process would have been had they decided to remodel.  How would they have taken down the twisted towers, for example?  Charges made with pressurized wildfire perhaps? fling stones at them with a trebuchet?  Rent out a dragon from King Targ? Presumably the space to do a lot would have existed inside Harrenhal's walls, but I suspect that remodeling a castle is no small endeavor.  How long did that curse give Harrenhal's various occupants?  I wonder if any have died with plans to remodel that just hadn't been started yet.

We're only talking about stone here, right?  Given the Bolton's example in Winterfell I can't believe that some renovations and replacement of wooden structures took place as regularly as needed.

 

Well, they could use chisels, hammers and sledgehammers to dislodge the stone blocks and if the stone blocks are to damaged and can't be reused, they could just push them to the ground and if they could be reused, they could lower them to the ground with a pulley system or with cranes. 

And yeah, from what i know we are talking only about stone here. 

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The Targaryens should have rebuilt it at some point, if they really cared about Westeros. But I sense they'd rather use it as a reminder of what dragons can do. Just bludgeon people with fear from the bully pulpit rather than providing a livable place in a central location.

The combination of stillbirths, infertility, disabilities at birth, and mental instability suggests nuclear fallout, which would explain the "curse"

Edited by Rose of Red Lake

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The castle isn't a castle, it's an anti-magic field generator. If you break the castle, you damage the field. The damage Balereon did to it is likely the reason magic is still possible if you go far enough East: if it were 100% intact it would cover the planet. The Maesters are entirely aware of this function of the castle and approve of its goals, so they would use their considerable influence to scuttle any renovation plans should they be proposed.

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53 minutes ago, Damon_Tor said:

The castle isn't a castle, it's an anti-magic field generator. If you break the castle, you damage the field. The damage Balereon did to it is likely the reason magic is still possible if you go far enough East: if it were 100% intact it would cover the planet. The Maesters are entirely aware of this function of the castle and approve of its goals, so they would use their considerable influence to scuttle any renovation plans should they be proposed.

Well, that is certainly one way looking at it :)

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A castle like Harrenhal would be designed specifically to withstand efforts at destruction.  It's part of their purpose.  That means dismantling it, or a large portion, would be very labor-intensive, time-consuming, and consequently probably quite expensive.  Probably not worth the effort.  Better to simply abandon and wall off what you don't think you are going to need, and let it wither away, which might take a few centuries

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Well all the combined resources of the Riverlands went into building Harrenhal. It's likely a bit much for any single land to meaningfully tackle even a remodel of it. Even in the small castles and keeps in the North, the local lords were requesting assistance from Winterfell to maintain their keeps.

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On 9/14/2020 at 7:29 AM, Alex13 said:

On paper, the Lord of Harrenhal is one of the richest lords in Westeros, due to the location of the castle and the fertility of his lands. But that is offset due to the large maintenance costs of the castle. Plus, a large portion of the castle sits empty and only the largest/most numerous houses (like the Lannisters and the Tyrells) would be able to fully house it and occupy it. Plus, if the castle would be smaller, thus requiring less coin to maintain, i imagine that the Lord of Harrenhal might be able to field more troops or to better equip the troops that he currently has. 

Would it be possible to remodel it into a smaller and imposing castle or would it be easier, cheaper and quicker to demolish it and build another castle, and recycle some of the materials from Harrenhal into the construction of the new castle?

And going by medieval construction techniques, how long might it take to either remodel or demolish and build a new castle, provided that the lord/s of the castle will direct a sizable large of their income into the project?

Tearing down a stone castle is difficult enough, but consider that reducing the overall size of Harrenhal means tearing down the curtain walls (maybe a mile or more?), and as Jaime describes:

Quote

So thick were the walls of Black Harren's folly that Jaime passed beneath a dozen murder holes before emerging into sudden sunlight.

And this was just after leaving the tiny seat of Sow's Horn where Ser Roger Hogg and his six men-at-arms and four crossbowmen reside inside walls that are eight feet thick. So I think we can conservatively estimate that Harrenhal's walls are at least 30 feet of solid stone.

It would take an incredibly wealthy house to affect any real change on the place.

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Harrenhal is a unique challenge.  You can't really abandon it, because then it becomes an incredible fort for any bandit who wants to fortify a tower against the local Lord.   But like others say, tearing it down would be expensive with no real significant return, other than as a stone quarry.  If it was closer to King's Landing it probably would have been used to supply building material, but it seems to be a bit too far for that.

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It would definitely be a daunting task to rebuild. It still serves as a decent fortress even in it's ruined state. I imagine most Lords just didn't wanna take the gamble on trying to rebuild it, the Riverlands have always been a hot bed of wars. Harrenhal being a very important strategic castle, it would be hard to maintain steady construction.

Plus, it's cursed.

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