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Walder Frey

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"They're laughing at us! All across the Riverlands... right down to King's Landing, they're laughing at us. I hear it in my sleep! I'm not dead yet, unfortunately for you. And I'll not leave this world until they all choke on that laughter."
―Walder Frey[src]

Lord Walder Frey is a recurring character in the first, third, and sixth seasons, played by guest star David Bradley and debuting in Baelor. He was the Lord of the Crossing, Lord of Riverrun, Lord Paramount of the Trident, and the head of House Frey, the Great House of the Riverlands, and a former vassal house to House Tully, the previous Great House. He was murdered by Arya Stark at the Twins in an act of vengeance for the Red Wedding.

Biography

Background

Late Freys

Walder's army reaches the Trident after the battle, earning him the nickname "the Late Lord Frey" from Hoster Tully.

Walder Frey is the Lord of the Crossing and the head of House Frey, a vassal family of House Tully of the Riverlands. His house is noted for its overwhelming fertility and he has over one hundred descendants. He rules The Twins and its surrounding lands, controlling the strategically important crossing of the Green Fork.  Over the years this great stone bridge and the castles that control it have made House Frey a fortune in crossing fees. He has been married seven times and is almost ninety years old when the series begins.[2][3]

He is referred to by his liege lord, Hoster Tully, as the "Late Lord Frey" after delaying his arrival to assist Robert's Rebellion until the outcome had already been determined.[4]

Season 1

Catelyn Stark meets a knight with a group of men at arms of House Frey at the Crossroads Inn and asks after Lord Walder's health. The knight replies that Lord Walder is well and is planning to celebrate his 90th birthday by taking a new wife. Tyrion Lannister laughs derisively at the news, making enemies of this group.[5]

When Robb Stark's army arrives at the Twins on its march south, Robb needs to cross the river to gain a tactical advantage over the Lannister forces. As a Tully bannerman, Walder Frey had been called up, but he had delayed going until he saw which side had the advantage. Now that Riverrun is besieged by the Lannisters, Frey wonders why he should risk their fury. Catelyn tells Robb that Walder Frey is slippery and not to be trusted, despite his allegiance to her father. Fearing that Walder would attempt to imprison Robb and sell him to the Lannisters, Catelyn volunteers to negotiate with him.[4]

Walder and Joyeuse 1x09

Walder Frey and his new fifteen year old wife Joyeuse Erenford.

On entering the Twins Catelyn finds Walder and his vast brood of sons, grandsons and bastards incessantly bickering. Fed up with their whining, Walder agrees to Catelyn's request to dismiss them - including his new fifteen year old wife, Joyeuse Erenford - while they negotiate. An alliance is formed; in return for permission to cross and the service of Walder's troops, Robb will marry one of Walder's daughters or granddaughters, whichever he likes. Additionally Arya, when recovered, will marry Walder's son Waldron. Robb must also take another son, Olyvar Frey, as a squire. Robb consents to the match, even after his mother indicates that Walder's daughters are not particularly attractive.[4]

Season 3

In response to Robb's plea for men to help him capture Casterly Rock, Lord Walder sends his sons Lothar and Black Walder to Riverrun to discuss the terms of a new alliance with him. Lord Walder demands Harrenhal, as well as the marriage between Edmure Tully and his daughter Roslin.[6]

WalderFreyedWedding

Walder Frey watches the massacre of the Red Wedding

When the King in the North and his entourage arrive, Lord Walder offers them his hospitality, but cannot keep himself from mocking Robb over his broken oath, insulting Queen Talisa and leering over her. Later, he oversees the wedding of Edmure and Roslin, and the following feast. Once the newlyweds retire for the bedding, he has the halls sealed and gives the cue for his men to slaughter the Starks. He watches in rapture and takes sips from his cup as Talisa and Robb's bannermen are killed. In a desperate bid to save her son, Catelyn Stark takes Lady Joyeuse hostage and begs Walder to spare his life, swearing they will take no vengeance. However, Walder hypocritically faults Catelyn for allowing her son to break the oath she swore to him the last time they spoke right there in his castle, even though he had then openly expressed his indifference towards the oath he swore to her father and had now just broken his promised protection of guest right. When Catelyn threatens to cut his wife's throat if he does not comply, Walder shrugs and coldly retorts that he will find another. Robb is then killed by Roose Bolton, who had sealed an alliance with Walder by marrying his granddaughter Walda, Lady Joyeuse is killed by Catelyn, and finally Catelyn is killed by Black Walder.[7]

For his part in the Red Wedding, Lord Walder is granted Riverrun and protection from vengeful Northerners by Tywin Lannister. The next morning, he and Roose Bolton gloat over their victory, though Bolton appears concerned when it is discovered that Robb's great-uncle, Brynden Tully, escaped the massacre, while Frey is undisturbed. Frey voices his contempt for Robb, referring to him as a "stupid boy" and mockingly drinking a toast to him, while Bolton claims that it was precisely Robb's political inexperience that led him to betray him.[8]

Season 4

Lord Walder and the rest of House Frey are now the focus of distaste and hatred by the North and the Riverlands for their part in the Red Wedding, especially since the Riverlands have fallen into disarray and lawlessness since they were granted to the Freys by the Lannisters. None of House Tully's vassals accept Lord Walder as their new liege lord. A farmer avows that Lord Walder himself committed sacrilege by sharing bread and salt with the Starks and Tullys before slaughtering them, and that he will "burn in the seventh Hell" for it.[9]

Season 6

Walder Frey's dominion over the Riverlands is weakened when Brynden Tully, Edmure Tully's uncle and a veteran of the War of the Ninepenny Kings, reclaims Riverrun from the Freys with what remains of House Tully's armies.[10]

Walder learns of the capture of Riverrun and the rising of the other Riverlands houses from Lame Lothar and Black Walder, which sends him into a fury. He accosts them for allowing Brynden to escape the Red Wedding alive in the first place, and demands they take back Riverrun. To do so, they will use the captive Edmure. Walder rages that he knows the other Riverlords still laugh at him, and says that, despite his age, he will not die until they choke on their laughter.[11]

AryaKillsWalderFrey

Walder Frey's throat is sliced open by Arya Stark.

During the feast at The Twins and following the defeat of House Tully, Walder Frey argues with Jaime Lannister over House Frey's capability of taking control of the Riverlands. Shortly after the Lannister Forces' departure, Lord Frey gets his food served by a young lady while he keeps complaining about the absence of two of his sons at dinner. She points out that his missing sons are present in the hall, inside the very pie he was eating. The young lady then reveals her true identity, and turns out to be Arya Stark wearing a mask she stole from the Hall of Faces. Frightened, Walder Frey attempts to escape but Arya slits his throat open, the same way her mother Catelyn was killed.[12]

Personality

Walder Frey is shown to be an arrogant, domineering, lecherous, tyrannical, and ruthless man who possesses no shame. He openly admits how little he thinks of the oaths he swears to other houses due to his strategic position, which he uses to extort hefty tolls in exchange for his allegiance, and shows a willingness to switch sides if he thinks it will benefit him more. Walder may see to it that his numerous descendants, trueborn and baseborn alike, are provided for but only to further assert his own position as long as he is still living. Despite his advanced age, however, Walder shows little thought or concern for what happens to his house after he dies because like other characters, namely Cersei Lannister and Ramsay Bolton, he is extremely self-centered, not fully considering the long-term consequences of his actions.

Appearances

Season One appearances
Winter is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
Season Six appearances
The Red Woman Home Oathbreaker Book of the Stranger The Door
Blood of My Blood The Broken Man No One Battle of the Bastards The Winds of Winter

Quotes

Spoken by Walder Frey
Walder Frey: "What do you want?"
Catelyn Stark: "It is a great pleasure to see you again after so many years, my lord."
Walder Frey: "Oh spare me. Your boy is too proud to come before me himself. What am I supposed to do with you?"
— Walder Frey rudely receives Catelyn Stark.[src]
Stevron Frey: "Father, you forget yourself. Lady Stark is here..."
Walder Frey: "Who asked you? You're not Lord Frey yet, not until I die. Do I look dead to you?"
— Walder to his eldest trueborn son and heir Stevron Frey.[src]
Walder Frey: "You see that? Fifteen, she is. A little flower, and the honey's all mine."
Catelyn Stark: "I'm sure she will give you many sons."
Walder Frey: "Hah! Your father didn't come to the wedding."
Catelyn Stark: "He is quite ill, my lord."
Walder Frey: "He didn't come to the last one either. Or the one before that."
— Lord Walder Frey to Catelyn about his current wife and rocky relationship with her father.[src]
Walder Frey: "Your family's always pissed on me."
Catelyn Stark: "My Lord, I..."
Walder Frey: "Don't deny it. You know it's true. The fine Lord Tully would never marry any of his children to mine."
Catelyn Stark: "I"m sure there are reasons."
Walder Frey: "I didn't need reasons. I needed to get rid of sons and daughters. You see how they pile up?"
— Walder and Catelyn discuss their respective families.[src]
Catelyn Stark: "If you could climb your own battlements, you would see that he has 20,000 men outside your walls."
Walder Frey: "They'll be 20,000 corpses when Tywin Lannister gets here. Don't try and frighten me, Lady Stark. Your husband's in a cell beneath the Red Keep and your son's got no fur to keep his balls warm."
— Walder refuses to be intimidated by Robb Stark's forces.[src]
Catelyn Stark: "You swore an oath to my father."
Walder Frey: "Oh yes, I said some words."
— Lord Walder expresses his indifference about swearing oaths to Catelyn Stark.[src]
"Stark, Tully, Lannister, Baratheon... Give me one good reason why I should waste a single thought on any of you."
―Lord Walder Frey[src]
Walder Frey: "Don't beg my forgiveness, your grace. It wasn't me you spurned, it was my girls. One of them was supposed to be queen. Now none of them are. This is Arwaya, my daughter, my daughter Walda, my daughter Derwa, my daughter Waldra. My eldest granddaughters Janeya and Neyela. Serra and Sarra, granddaughters, twins. You could have had either. You could have both for all I care. My granddaughter Marianne, my granddaughter Freya, my granddaughter...Wertha? Walra? Waldina?"
Merry Frey: "I'm Merry."
Walder Frey: "Fine. And here's my youngest daughter, Shirei. Though she hasn't bled yet, clearly you don't have the patience for all that."
— Walder Frey introducing his daughters and granddaughters to Robb Stark.[src]
"Your king says he betrayed me for love. I say he betrayed me for firm tits and a tight fit. And I can respect that. When I was your age, I'd have broken fifty oaths to get into that without a second thoughts."
―Walder on Talisa Stark.[src]
"Your Grace, I fear I've been, remiss in my duties. I've given you meat and wine and music, but, I haven't shown you the hospitality you deserve. My king has married and I owe my new queen a wedding gift."
―Walder Frey gives the cue for his men to slaughter the Starks.[src]
Walder Frey: "You already swore me one oath, right here in my castle. You swore by all the gods that your son would marry my daughter!"
Catelyn Stark: "Take me for your hostage! But let Robb go! Robb get up, get up and walk out! Please! PLEASE!"
Walder Frey: "And why would I let him do that?"
Catelyn Stark: "On my honor as a Tully, On my honor as a Stark! Let him go, or I will cut your wife's throat!"
Walder Frey: "I'll find another."
— Walder hypocritically faults the Starks for oathbreaking and coldly refuses to spare Robb's life.[src]
"The 'Late Walder Frey', old Tully called me because I didn't get my men to the Trident in time for battle. He thought he was witty. Look at us now, Tully! You're dead, your daughter's dead, your grandson's dead, your son spent his wedding night in a dungeon, and...I'm lord of Riverrun!"
―Walder boasts of his gains after the Red Wedding.[src]
"They all laughed at me, all those high lords. They all thought they were better than me. Ned Stark, Hoster Tully... People snigger when I marry a young girl, but who said a word when Jon Arryn married the little Tully bitch?!"
―Lord Walder Frey[src]
Walder Frey: "Where are my damn moron sons? Black Walder and Lothar promised to be here by midday."
Arya Stark: "They're here, my lord."
Walder Frey: "Well, what are they doing, trimming their cunt hairs?"
— Walder on his sons.[src]
Spoken about Walder Frey
"'The Late Lord Frey' my father calls him. At the Trident, he didn't appear until the battle was done. Some men take their oaths more seriously than others."
―Catelyn Stark[src]
"Expect nothing of Walder Frey and you'll never be surprised."
Greatjon Umber[src]
"Walder Frey is a dangerous man to cross."
―Catelyn Stark[src]
Robb Stark: "I can't force them to meet us in the field, and I can't attack them where they're strongest, but I can attack them where they're not. And Casterly Rock can't run away. I'm going to take their home away from them."
Talisa Stark: "Can you do it?"
Robb Stark: "I need men, to replace the Karstarks who marched home. There is only one person in this Kingdom with that kind of army who hasn't already sided with the Lannisters. The man whose daughter I was supposed to marry. Walder Frey."
— Robb Stark realizes his need to bring Walder back into his fold.[src]
Lothar Frey: "Father is old. It will put his heart at peace if he could see her wed to a good husband."
Black Walder Rivers: "And his recent experience has made him wary of long engagements."
Robb Stark: "He has every right to be."
Lothar Frey and Walder Rivers to Robb about his betrayal.
"Why should I let that old ferret choose my bride for me?"
Edmure Tully[src]
Catelyn Stark: "Lord Walder is prickly by nature!"
Brynden Tully: "Prickly? That what you call it? Might be the least pleasant man I've ever met."
Catelyn Stark: "Yes! And that is why we..."
Brynden Tully: "I've seen wet shits I like better than Walder Frey."
— Catelyn Stark and Brynden Tully[src]
"Walder Frey, you fucking traitor..."
Gregor Forrester[src]
"Walder Frey is many things, but a brave man? No. He never would have risked such an action, unless he had certain assurances."
Tyrion Lannister[src]
"The current lord, Walder Frey, has seen over ninety namedays and sired near as many children, trueborn or otherwise. A shameful thing on any other lord, but Walder Frey possesses no shame. A dangerous thing for any other lord, but Walder Frey has no concern for heirs or fear of their impatience. Perhaps Lord Frey thinks to outlast them all. Given the infighting he encourages among them, perhaps he will."
―Catelyn Stark[src]
"Yet part of me wonders if Lord Walder waited not out of fear, but hope that we would be destroyed leaving him to assume my family's place as Lord Paramount of the Trident. To buy the respect House Frey have always wanted, but refused to earn. No. Not even Lord Walder could be so disloyal."
―Catelyn Stark[src]
Farmer: "Did you fight at the Twins?"
Sandor Clegane: "Call that a fight? Slaughtering livestock more like."
Farmer: "The Red Wedding they're calling it. Walder Frey committed sacrilege that day. He shared bread and salt with the Starks. He offered them guest right."
Sandor Clegane: "Guest right don't mean much anymore."
Farmer: "It means something to me. The gods will have their vengeance. Frey will burn in the seventh hell for what he did."
Farmer curses Walder Frey.[src]
"I'm being sent to deal with the Blackfish. Apparently Walder Frey can't manage it on his own because he's 400 years old."
Jaime Lannister[src]

Family tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
House-Frey-heraldry
Seven wives,
and numerous mistresses
Deceased
 
Walder-Frey-family-tree-icon
Walder Frey
Deceased
 
Joyeuse tree
Joyeuse Frey
née Erenford
Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stevron tree
Stevron Frey
Possibly Deceased
 
Lothar tree
"Lame Lothar" Frey
Deceased
 
Roslin tree
Roslin Frey
 
Family tree Edmure
Edmure Tully House-Tully-Main-Shield
 
House-Frey-heraldry
Various sons and daughters
 
Black Walder Frey tree
"Black Walder" Rivers
Deceased
 
Walder-Rivers-family-tree-icon
Ryger Rivers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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
 

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Walder Frey, the Lord of the Crossing, is an ancient (over 90), irascible and cranky old lord who rules over a vast brood of children, grandchildren, bastards, nieces and nephews. Walder Frey is said to be the only lord who could "field an army from his breeches". Descendants of his include numerous Walders (surnamed Frey or Rivers depending on their legitimacy), Waldas (notably Fat Walda, who is betrothed to Roose Bolton), and at least one Waltyr. He spends much of his time managing his huge family, making advantageous marriages with many of the great houses, this helps maintain the semi-neutrality of House Frey throughout the series. His house has grown rich by building and maintaining the Twins, two castles that control the only crossing over the Green Fork of the River Trident for hundreds of miles. He is proud and haughty, but also crafty. He is also bald and too gouty to move by himself. The fact that he controls such a strategic castle, and that most of the Great Houses have connections to the Freys through marriage, gives him free reign to switch allegiances numerous times, as all sides need him and his castle, and all sides have family connections to his family through his multitude of descendants.

Hoster Tully disparagingly nicknamed him "the Late Walder Frey" when he arrived with his Frey soldiers at the site of the Battle of the Trident after the battle was already over. Walder almost certainly did this on purpose, because he saw no reason to endanger Frey soldiers for the sake of anyone but himself, despite the fact that he had sworn oaths of fealty to the Tullys and it was his duty to aid them in the battle. Nonetheless, Walder maintained a hypocritical grudge against Hoster for years afterwards - because Hoster made the entirely valid and accurate criticism that Walder was disloyal and had failed to uphold his own vows. This is part of the overall pattern of Walder's selfish character: throughout the narrative, Walder seems to be unable to conceptually understand that others will fault him for breaking oaths he has made. In turn, when those he has broken promises to become angered at him, he seems to honestly believe that they are harassing him for no justifiable reason. Similarly, when the War of the Five Kings broke out, Walder Frey should have allowed Robb Stark's army to pass through the Twins, and added his own Frey soldiers to his army, because he was a vassal of House Tully. Other Tully bannermen such as the Blackwoods or Mallisters sent their armies to join Robb at Riverrun simply for the asking, because it was their sworn duty. In contrast, Walder extorted his overlords into promising a marriage-alliance, ignoring all previous oaths he had made to them. Walder later became enraged when Robb Stark broke this promise of a marriage-alliance - but his anger was entirely hypocritical, given that Walder himself is the one who broke his promise of unconditional support for the Tullys, by demanding a marriage-alliance which he had no right to ask for in the first place.

Walder Frey is notable for appearing - as a toddler - in The Mystery Knight, the third of George R.R. Martin's Tales of Dunk and Egg short stories set almost ninety years before the events of the main series, making him the only character to appear in both the prequels and the main saga, though Aemon is also mentioned.

In the books, Lord Walder isn't named the new Lord of Riverrun after the Red Wedding. Instead, Riverrun is granted to Emmon Frey, Walder's second son. Then again, the Lannisters' grant of Riverrun to the Freys is nominal for the moment, as in the immediate aftermath of the Red Wedding the House Tully garrison still holds the castle. Though his allegiance with House Bolton has been solidified, one of Walder's grandsons is killed in Winterfell, possibly by Mance Rayder, though they deny it. Other descendants of his have been murdered by the Brotherhood without Banners and three of them are heavily implied to have been killed by the Northern Lord Wyman Manderly.

Though Walder Frey is still alive in the books, his death in the television series implies that he will die in a later novel.

Image Gallery

See also

References

v  d  e
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

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