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"The Freys have held the Crossing for 600 years, and for 600 years they have never failed to exact their toll."
Catelyn Stark[src]

House Frey of the Twins is the Great House of the Riverlands, having gained their position for their treachery against their former liege lords, House Tully, who were stripped of all their lands and titles for their rebellion against the Iron Throne; House Tully had supported the independence movement for the Kingdom of the North. The current head of the house is unknown following the assassinations of Lord Walder Frey and two of his sons, Lothar Frey and Walder Rivers, by the vengeful Arya Stark. This is made more complex by the subsequent assassination of all the male Freys soon after.

Their ancestral seat is known as the Twins for its two identical keeps on both sides of a river linked by a bridge, sometimes called the Stone Bridge. The Twins is one of the primary crossings over the Green Fork of the Trident River, and tolls from bridge crossings have made the Freys quite wealthy fairly quickly, elevating them from obscurity six centuries ago to being one of the most powerful noble houses in the Riverlands - though they are looked down upon by older aristocratic families.

The heraldry of House Frey represents their castle-seat of the Twins: it consists of two grey towers linked by a bridge, on a darker grey background, over an escutcheon of blue water.[1] Their house words are (apparently) "We Stand Together," ironic considering the Freys' frequent infighting between family members[2], but it could also refer to their seat, the Twins, standing together.

History

Background

House Frey was a noble house in the Riverlands that had emerged about six hundred years before the War of the Five Kings. Their seat is at The Twins, a castle consisting of two identical towers and a bridge intersecting the Green Fork of The Trident river. The Freys grew rich from exacting tolls on travelers crossing the Green Fork. For most of their history, the Freys have been vassals of House Tully, the paramount lords of the Trident since the Targaryen conquest. During Robert's Rebellion, Lord Walder Frey was late in marshalling forces to assist the forces of his liege lord Hoster Tully during the Battle of the Trident. For this insolence, Lord Hoster mockingly referred to Lord Frey as the "Late Walder Frey"; much to Walder's chagrin.[3]

Season 1

Catelyn Stark encounters several Frey men at arms at the Inn at the Crossroads. She learns that Lord Walder Frey is turning ninety and is planning to marry an eighth wife. The Freys do not assist her when she arrests Tyrion Lannister.[4] When the North rises in rebellion against the Iron Throne, Lady Stark travels to The Twins to an alliance with the Freys and safe passage across the Crossing. In return, her son the King in the North Robb Stark has to marry a Frey bride and he must take another Frey, Olyvar as his squire. Additionally, Catelyn's younger daughter Arya Stark, once recovered, has to marry Waldron Frey. Despite some misgivings, Robb consents to the agreement and gains the support of the Freys.[5]

Season 2

Against his mother Catelyn's advice, King Robb spurns his oath to marry one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters in order to marry a battlefield medic named Talisa. Catelyn warns that Lord Frey will be displeased but Robb loves Talisa and marries her in secret.[6]

Season 3

After losing the support of the Karstarks, King Robb appeals to Lord Walder Frey for help in taking the Lannister seat of Casterly Rock. Lord Frey sends his sons Lothar and Black Walder to negotiate with the Starks and Tullys. Seeking to mend the strained relationship with his Frey allies, King Robb assents to granting Lord Frey control of Harrenhal and his uncle Edmure Tully marrying Walder's daughter Roslin Frey.[7]

The Freys host King Robb, Lady Stark, Lord Edmure, and the Stark and Tully hosts at The Twins for the wedding of Edmure and Roslin. After the wedding and bedding ceremony, Lord Frey turns on his Stark and Tully hosts and murders Robb, Talisa, and Catelyn. Most of the Stark and Tully forces with the exception of the Boltons are slaughtered during the "Red Wedding"; bringing an end to the Northern rebellion. The Freys also desecrate King Robb's corpse by fixing the head of its direwolf Grey Wind on top of his body and parading it around on a horse. Frey casualties are minimal with Walder's young wife Joyeuse Frey being killed at the hands of Catelyn.[8] While the Freys capture Edmure, Catelyn's uncle Brynden Tully manages to escape.[9]

To reward his role in defeating King Robb, Lord Tywin Lannister, acting on behalf of the Iron Throne, appoints Lord Walder Frey as Lord of Riverrun. The Freys are also given paramountcy over the Trident and become the Crown's main vassals in the Riverlands. Later, Arya and her protector Sandor Clegane kill three Frey men-at-arms who are making jokes about the Red Wedding.[9]

Season 4

To seal the new alliance between Lord Walder Frey and the turncoat Boltons, Lord Roose Bolton marries Fat Walda, one of Walder's granddaughters. She travels north to the Bolton seat of the Dreadfort.[10] The Freys' actions during the Red Wedding earns them the enmity and disdain of the Riverlands and the North. Since the Freys were granted paramountcy over the Riverlands, the region has disintegrated into a state of lawlessness. None of House Tully's former vassals accept the authority of the Freys. One Riverland farmer opines that Lord Walder Frey has committed sacrilege by breaking guest right.[11]

Season 6

After learning that Walda has given birth to a baby boy, Roose Bolton's bastard Ramsay Bolton murders his father, Walda, and their child; feeding the latter to his dogs.[12]

House Frey's position in the Riverlands is weakened when Lord Brynden Tully (the Blackfish) retakes Riverrun, the seat of House Tully from the Freys.[13] In addition, the Freys face opposition from House Blackwood, House Mallister, and the Brotherhood Without Banners; the latter of whom are raiding the Freys' supply trains and rallying the smallfolk against them. By this time, Lord Walder Frey has taken a ninth wife. Humiliated by these setbacks and unnerved by the widespread mockery and derision which the other houses hold the Freys, Lord Frey demands that his sons Lame Lothar and Black Walder retake Riverrun from the Blackfish. In an attempt to force the Blackfish's capitulation, Walder instructs his sons to present the captive Lord Edmure.[14]

Frey forces under the command of Lame Lothar and Black Walder lay siege to Riverrun. The Freys forced Lord Edmure to wear a noose all day and threaten to kill him if the Blackfish does not surrender. Lord Brynden is not intimidated by their threats, knowing that the Freys are bluffing. A large Lannister host under Ser Jaime Lannister arrive to reinforce the Frey forces on behalf of the Iron Throne. Jaime and Bronn are unimpressed by the disorganized state of the Frey forces and order the Freys to dig a trench and position catapults and trebuchets. Jaime also orders Black Walder to bathe and feed Edmure. When Black Walder refuses, Jaime backhands him with his golden hand in the head and reminds the Freys that he is now in charge of the siege.[15]

Lothar Frey is initially dismissive about Jaime's plan to send Edmure to convince the Tully garrison to lay down their arms. Despite Lothar's skepticism, Edmure succeeds in ordering the Tully forces to surrender and lower the gates. The Freys and Lannisters then proceed to march into Riverrun and occupy the castle.[16]

During the feast at The Twins following the recapture of Riverrun, Walder Frey gets into a spat with Jaime Lannister over House Frey's capability of controlling the Riverlands with Jaime wondering what the Freys are good for if the Lannisters are the ones that have to enforce the Frey's rule. Shortly after the Lannister forces depart, Lord Frey starts his meal with his food served by a young lady while he complaining about the absence of Lothar and Black Walder. She points out that his missing sons are actually present in the hall, inside the very pie he was eating. The young lady then reveals her true identity, Arya Stark wearing a mask she stole from the Hall of Faces. Frightened, Walder Frey attempts to escape but Arya slits his throat in the same way her mother Catelyn was killed.[17]

Season 7

After killing Walder, Arya Stark, disguised as Walder Frey, organizes a feast for all of the Frey men at The Twins. She rises to give them a speech about what House Frey is going to do now "that winter has arrived" and has good wine passed out to all the men in the hall, though she forbids the women in the room from drinking any. She goes on by stating how the Freys won a great victory by murdering the Starks, including a pregnant woman, and a mother of five children, after granting them all guest right at the Red Wedding, but that they didn't kill all the Starks. All of the Frey men quickly start choking to death; Arya had poisoned the wine. When they all collapse dead, Arya takes her Walder mask off to reveal who she actually is. She turns to Walder's latest wife and says, "When people ask what happened here, tell them The North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey." She then walks out of the hall leaving behind a broken House Frey with no known male heirs.[18]

Military

Frey men season 6

Frey soldiers during the Second Siege of Riverrun.

Due to their wealth from river tolls, the Freys command one of the larger armies among the Houses of the Riverlands, about 4,000 infantry levies and some cavalry. They are not renowned as particularly experienced warriors or intelligent commanders, however, given that during his long life Lord Walder made sure to keep his House's armies out of actual fighting whenever possible.

Current Status

Arya Stark killed Lord Walder Frey in the Season 6 finale, along with his two most prominent sons, Lame Lothar Frey and Black Walder Rivers. Lord Walder had several dozen descendants, about a dozen of whom are prominent recurring characters in the novels, but their actions were understandably condensed into just these two in the TV version. Lame Lothar was the Steward of the Twins and his father's right hand, coordinating the day to day activities of the castle; Black Walder Frey and Walder Rivers are two of their prominent army commanders (condensed in the TV version into just one character, "Black Walder Rivers").

In the novels, several characters express their fear that when old Lord Walder eventually dies, it will lead to a fratricidal bloodbath within House Frey, as different internal rivalries play out for who will rule. Before this could break out, Arya, donning Walder Frey's face, gathers all of the lord's sons at the Twins and poisons them, essentially exterminating a house that seemingly had an endless supply of heirs.

Members

Many-Freys

Several members of House Frey.

Lord Walder's descendants

During Robert's Rebellion, the jest was made that Lord Walder arrived late to the Battle of the Trident because he was waiting for his army to come of age...given that he had produced most of his soldiers from within his own britches (directly or indirectly through his previous children). Walder devoted the next seventeen years to making this claim a reality.

Notable legitimate descendants of Walder Frey:

  • Ser {Stevron Frey}, Walder's eldest son and heir. Either deceased after Season 2 or poisoned by Arya Stark.
  • {Lothar Frey}, called "Lame Lothar," Walder's twelfth trueborn son. Steward of the Twins, running the day-to-day operations of his father's castle. Killed and carved into a pie by Arya Stark presumably in retaliation for killing Talisa Stark at the Red Wedding.
  • Roslin Frey, Walder's daughter. Married to Lord Edmure Tully and mother of his son.
  • {Walda Frey}, called "Fat Walda," Lord Walder's granddaughter. Married to Lord Roose Bolton. She and her newborn son were murdered by Ramsay Bolton shortly after the latter's birth.

Other trueborn descendants of Lord Walder Frey:

Lord Walder Frey's bastard descendants, by various women:

  • {Walder Rivers}, called "Black Walder," Lord Walder's bastard son. The most prominent of Lord Walder's bastards, Black Walder Rivers has risen to a position of prominence within House Frey and is one of his father's chief enforcers. Killed and carved into a pie by Arya Stark presumably in retaliation for killing her mother Catelyn at the Red Wedding.
  • Ser {Ryger Rivers}, Walder's bastard son by a milkmaid.
  • Numerous unidentified bastard sons, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the exact number unknown even to Lord Walder himself.

Freys of unspecified relationship to the main branch:

  • {Willem Frey}, unspecified relationship to the main branch.

Image gallery

Family tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Walder-Frey-family-tree-icon
Walder Frey
Deceased
 
House-Frey-heraldry
Seven wives,
and numerous mistresses
Deceased
 
Joyeuse tree
Joyeuse Frey
née Erenford
Walder's 8th wife
Deceased
 
Kitty-Frey-familytree-pic
Kitty Frey
Walder's 9th wife
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stevron tree
Stevron Frey
Deceased
 
Lothar-Frey-S6
"Lame Lothar" Frey
Deceased
 
Family tree Edmure
Edmure Tully House-Tully-Main-Shield
 
Roslin tree
Roslin Frey
 
House-Frey-heraldry
Various sons and daughters
All Sons Deceased
 
Black Walder Frey tree
"Black Walder" Rivers
Deceased
 
Walder-Rivers-family-tree-icon
Ryger Rivers
Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
House-Tully-heraldry
Newborn Tully
 
 
Roose-Bolton-family-tree
Roose Bolton House-Bolton-Main-Shield
Deceased
 
Fat-Walda-Frey-family-tree
"Fat Walda" Frey
Deceased
 
House-Frey-heraldry
Numerous grandsons and granddaughters
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bolton baby
Newborn Bolton House-Bolton-Main-Shield
Deceased
 

Quotes

"'More Pride than Honor'; those should be the words of House Frey."
Catelyn Stark[src]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, House Frey controls the Twins, two castles that hold the Crossing, the only bridge over the Green Fork of the Trident for hundreds of miles in either direction. House Frey is the northern-most house of the Riverlands, not far south of the loose border with the North, and has a history of enmity with House Reed, who control the marshes of the Neck to the north of the Twins.

House Frey was a minor house of no notability until they bridged the Green Fork six centuries ago and defending the bridge with two wooden castles. Charging wayfarers for the use of the Crossing, they grew rich and influential, replacing the castles with strong stone keeps. Their growing wealth and influence saw them gain several vassal houses of their own: House Erenford, House Haigh, and House Charlton. Given the relatively recent rise of their House, the Freys are looked down upon by other noble Houses of the Riverlands as uncouth and honorless.

Their military strength is formidable, allowing them to raise four thousand troops by themselves - almost 10% of the total strength of the Riverlands. The current Lord Frey's father was involved in the scandal of the Whitewalls Tourney, when the Second Blackfyre Rebellion was halted in its tracks, roughly ninety years ago, leading to the current Lord Walder Frey being a cautious man, extremely reluctant to commit himself to any cause until the outcome is certain. During Robert's Rebellion he delayed the arrival of his army at the Battle of the Trident until Robert Baratheon had secured victory. For this, Lord Frey's liege, Hoster Tully, dubbed him "The Late Lord Frey", a nickname which has stuck, to Walder Frey's fury.

The Red Wedding has destroyed what honor is left in the house, as they have violated one of the oldest and most sacred traditions, the guest right. This leads to antipathy and disgust towards the house by most Westerosi, even by their own allies. Morever, the name Frey has become a synonym for dishonor and treachery.

Little has been revealed about members of House Frey who are not descendants of Lord Walder himself. It is probable that due to his advanced age of ninety years, Walder may have simply outlived any siblings or cousins he may have had. The one minor reference to Walder's family is in the Tales of Dunk and Egg prequel novellas, which take place almost ninety years before the beginning of A Game of Thrones. Walder himself actually makes a brief appearance in the prequels as a misbehaving toddler - making him one of the only characters who are present in both the main series and the prequel novellas; Maester Aemon is about a decade older than Walder, thus he is also alive during the early prequel novellas, though he does not prominently appear (instead, his younger brother Aegon "Egg" Targaryen is a major character). Walder's father appears in the prequel but is referred to simply as "Lord Frey" without revealing what his name was. However, the prequels also reveal that Walder actually had a sister, who was about a dozen years older than him, who marries Lord Ambrose of House Butterwell, a noble House from the Crownlands. Given that the Butterwells are disgraced during the events of the prequels, it isn't clear if they died out between the prequels and the main series - no current Butterwells have been mentioned in the main series. Given the limited information, it isn't clear if Lord Walder has any surviving nieces, nephews, grand-nephews, or distant cousins from cadet branches of the main Frey line.

Despite their prominence in the storyline, the motto of House Frey has not yet been revealed, even in the first five novels.

The Heraldry of House Frey is somewhat different in the books than it is in the TV series. In the books, it is the two towers and bridge of the Twins colored blue, on a silver-grey background. The TV series made the towers stone grey, and over the same dark grey field as in the books, but now above a blue escutcheon which is drawn to resemble the waves of the Green Fork of the Trident River. The color change may be because after the blue river was added as an escutcheon at the bottom, it would have been visually confusing to have the castle be the same color as the water. Unfortunately, reversing the colors like this makes it vaguely resemble the reversed colors used in heraldry by bastard children (though in such cases, without the ecsutcheon, the entire background field is blue, not just the escutcheon).

Image Gallery

See also

References

v  d  e
House Frey
Lord: Uncertain Heir: Uncertain
House-Frey-Main-Shield
Seat: The Twins · Riverrun Lands: Riverlands
Title(s): Lord of the Crossing · Lord of Riverrun · Lord Paramount of the Trident
Ancestors:Frey
Current members:Arwaya Frey · Derwa Frey · Freya Frey · Janeya Frey · Marianne Frey · Merry Frey · Neyela Frey · Olyvar Frey · Roslin Frey · Sarra Frey · Serra Frey · Shirei Frey · Walda Frey · Waldra Frey · Waldron Frey · Ryger Rivers
Deceased members:Joyeuse Erenford · Lothar Frey · Walda Frey · Walder Frey· Walder Rivers
Household:Malcolm · Talbot
Overlord:House Lannister