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I will thend it to hith lord father. I will tell him he muth pay one hundred thouthand dragonth, or we thall return the Kingthlayer to him pieth by pieth. And when we hath hith gold, we thall deliver Ther Jaime to Karthark, and collect a maiden too!
~ Hoat's plan of ransoming Jaime Lannister.

"Lord" Vargo Hoat is a character from George R. R. Martin's fantasy novel series A Song of Ice and Fire. He is the leader of the Brave Companions, an infamously vicious company of mercenaries. Hailing from Qohor, Hoat has recruited criminals from Westeros and Essos.

In the the TV adaptation Game of Thrones, Hoat, along with the rest of the Brave Companions (except Qyburn, Rorge, and Biter), are replaced with a group of Bolton soldiers. He is renamed Locke.

History

Vargo Hoat is a tall, slender man with a long goatee reaching down to his chest. He is best known for his lisping voice, caused by his perpetually swollen tongue and tendency to chop the limbs of his victims. The atrocities committed by the Brave Companions are only rivaled by Gregor Clegane and his soldiers.

A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

Vargo's company is employed by Lord Tywin Lannister and let loose upon the riverlands to burn and pillage. He and the other reaver captains each lead 300 cavalry.

A Clash of Kings

Although the terror unleashed around the Gods Eye by the Mountain's men and the Brave Companions has neither motivated Robb Stark to march against Lord Tywin Lannister, who has taken Harrenhal as his seat, nor secured the release of Ser Jaime Lannister, Lord Tywin still keeps Vargo Hoat's men employed. They are mainly responsible for foraging, bringing the fruits of their plundering to Harrenhal, then march out again soon. When Arya Stark observes them for the first time, she wonders how many monsters Lord Tywin does have.

There is tension between the Lannister forces and Vargo's men, leading to occasional violence. One such incidence starts with an archer from Lord Lewys Lydden's men taunting some Brave Companions over their failure to capture the brotherhood without banners and their leader, Beric Dondarrion, and leads to the death of Ser Harys Swyft's squire. After Tywin has the archer and two Brave Companions hanged over the incidence, Vargo and Harys complete their reconciliation with a kiss.

Lord Tywin Lannister marches his troops out of Harrenhal to pursue Robb Stark, who has invaded the westerlands, leaving Ser Amory Lorch behind as castellan of the castle. However, Amory and Vargo hate each other and Vargo soon decides to turn cloak. He leads the Brave Companions to Lord Roose Bolton's camp, where Vargo and Lord Bolton reach a deal: The Brave Companions arrange for Harrenhal to fall into the hands of the northmen, in exchange for which Vargo is promised the title of Lord of Harrenhal once Roose and his men leave the castle.

As a result of the agreement, together with some plunder that includes a huge caged bear, Vargo brings a group of northern knights to Harrenhal, led by Robett Glover and Aenys Frey. He claims they are captives the Brave Companions took when they repelled an attempt by Lord Bolton's forces to cross the Trident. As part of the feint, the northerners are chained, in ragged clothes and many fake injuries. Despite his displeasure with Vargo's assumed big catch, Amory falls for the trick and orders that the captives are brought to a dungeon, ignoring a protest by Robett that they have been promised honorable treatment by Vargo.

Before the Brave Companions can keep their side of the bargain of releasing the prisoners so that they can overpower the small force left to defend Harrenhal, Arya Stark, not realizing what is going on, organizes a successful liberation of the captives with the assistance of Jaqen H'ghar, Biter and Rorge. The northmen and the Brave Companions, now joined by Biter and Rorge, then bring the castle under their control and the following evening Roose arrives to take his seat at Harrenhal. Vargo and Lord Bolton watch on as the Brave Companions parade a naked Amory through the yard and throw him into the bear pit.

The Brave Companions keep foraging for Lord Bolton with the additional assignment of rooting out Lannister forces they come across. Vargo splits up his group in four parties, the largest led by him, the others by his most trusted captains, so that they can visit as many villages as possible. Vargo's method of identifying traitors is simple: He merely seizes people who helped him while he was employed by Lord Tywin and confiscates the money they received for their assistance. As a result, the Brave Companions now often return to Harrenhal with bags full of silver.

Arya, serving as cupbearer to Roose Bolton, finds out from him that he is going to hand over control of Harrenhal to Vargo eventually and that she will stay behind. Apprehensive that with the Bolton men gone nobody is going to check the violence of the Brave Companions and that she could become a target, of Rorge in particular, who repeatedly suggested he would rape her, Arya flees from Harrenhal, taking Hot Pie and Gendry along.

A Storm of Swords

After Ser Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth are captured by his men, Vargo orders Jaime's hand to be cut off as a message to his father. Hoat also hopes of gaining the hand of Alys Karstark, offered by Lord Rickard Karstark to whoever brings him the Kingslayer, in marriage, which would give him the chance to become Lord of Karhold. While that displeases Lord Roose Bolton, he still intends to leave Harrenhal to Vargo Hoat, albeit knowing that Lord Tywin Lannister is bound to retake the castle and chastise Vargo eventually.

Following his taking control of Harrenhal after Lord Bolton's departure, Vargo tries to force himself on Brienne, but she bites him in the left ear. He throws her into the bear pit and has her fight his bear with a tourney sword and no armor. When Jaime returns to rescue Brienne from expected rape at the hands of the Brave Companions, he offers to ransom Brienne, but Vargo says that if he wants her, he should go and get her. Jaime rescues Brienne with the assistance of Bolton bowmen commanded by Steelshanks Walton. Vargo reluctantly allows them to leave Harrenhal, stating he is 'merthiful'.

Later, Roose Bolton leaves for the Twins to attend the Red Wedding and names Vargo Hoat as Lord of Harrenhal.

Commanded by Lord Tywin to retake Harrenhal, the Mountain's men arrive at the lightly-defended castle. After the capture of Harrenhal, Vargo's hands and feet are cut off.

A Feast for Crows

Timeon explains to Brienne of Tarth that Vargo's ear became infected, turning black and leaking pus. Urswyck and Rorge argued that the Brave Companions should leave Harrenhal, but Vargo, still believing he could be Lord of Harrenhal, ordered his men to defend it for him. Almost all Brave Companions abandoned their leader at Harrenhal and dispersed, allowing Ser Gregor Clegane to easily capture the castle. Before leaving for King's Landing to be Tyrion Lannister's trial by combat for the death of King Joffrey Baratheon, Gregor finished Vargo off.

When Ser Jaime Lannister returns to Harrenhal on his way to ending the siege of Riverrun, he commands that Vargo's head be shown to him. Although most of the flesh is gone and the lips, nose and ears have been sliced off, Jaime recognizes that it is Vargo's because of the distinctive goatee.

Shitmouth and Raff the Sweetling inform Jaime that Gregor found Vargo sitting alone in the Hall of a Hundred Hearths, half mad with pain and fever from his festering wound. In a mockery of Vargo's preferred way of torturing his prisoners, Gregor cut off Vargo's limbs piece by piece over an extended period of time while he had the wounds bandaged so that Vargo stayed alive. Vargo first lost his hands and feet, then his arms and legs. The extremities as well as other parts of Vargo's body were then fed as "roast goat" to northern prisoners that Gregor brought to Harrenhal, including Ser Wylis Manderly, as well as to Vargo himself.

After reflecting on how revenge has lost its savor to him, Jaime tosses the head to his squire Peck and orders him to throw it into the Gods Eye. Jaime wonders whether the prisoners have an inkling what was fed to them at one point but decides it is better not to inquire on this. When he observes how fat Ser Wylis Manderly still is after his extended captivity, he concludes the man had too much "roast goat". Raff the Sweetling took possession of Vargo's chain of linked coins.

TV Series

Locke-3x04
See also: Locke

In the HBO TV series adaptation, Game of Thrones, Hoat's character was changed to be a particularly sadistic member of Bolton soldiers and renamed as Locke. This was because the producers thought that Hoat's lisping voice was too over the top and on request of George R. R. Martin himself, his name was changed since the character had become too different from Hoat, being less sadistic and horrendous.

He was portrayed by actor Noah Taylor.

Trivia

  • The original Hoat is widely considered to be one of the most hateful A Song of Ice and Fire villains.
  • The name Var(go) Ho(at) hid his nickname, the Goat, spelled by the last two letters of his first name and the last two letters of his last name.

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