- This article is about the Lord of the Crossing, for his great-grandson see Walder Frey (Black Walder).
- "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's spent his wedding night in a dungeon, and I'm Lord of Riverrun."
- ―Lord Walder Frey
Lord Walder is the Lord of the Crossing and the head of House Frey. He initially allied himself with King Robb Stark in the War of the Five Kings in exchange for a marriage contract, but betrayed him at the Red Wedding, killing Robb, his mother, and most of the Stark army.
BackgroundWalder 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 descendents. He rules the The Twins and its surrounding lands, controlling the strategically important crossing of the River Trident. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
Lord Walder sends his son Lothar and his great-grandson "Black Walder" to Riverrun to discuss the terms of a new alliance with Robb Stark. Lord Walder demands Harrenhal, as well as the marriage between Edmure Tully and his daughter Roslin.
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. When Lady Catelyn takes his wife hostage in an attempt to save Robb, Walder coldly retorts he will find another wife. Robb is killed by Roose Bolton, who had sealed an alliance with him by marrying his granddaughter Walda, Lady Joyeuse is killed by Catelyn, while Catelyn is killed by Black Walder.
For his part in the Red Wedding, Lord Walder is granted Riverrun by Tywin Lannister. When Lord Walder is informed by Roose Bolton that Blackfish Tully escaped the massacre, he remains unconcerned and takes a time to mock his fallen enemies and rivals.
|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|
- ""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
- "Expect nothing of Walder Frey and you'll never be surprised."
- ―Greatjon Umber
- "Stark, Tully, Lannister, Baratheon... Give me one good reason why I should waste a single thought on any of you."
- ―Lord Walder Frey
- "Walder Frey is a dangerous man to cross."
- ―Catelyn Stark
and numerous mistresses
|Stevron Frey||"Lame Lothar" Frey||Roslin Frey||Edmure Tully||"Black Walder" Rivers||Ryger Rivers|
|Roose Bolton||"Fat Walda" Frey|
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. 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.
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.
|Lord:||Lord Walder Frey||Heir:||Ser Stevron Frey|
|Seat:||The Twins · Riverrun||Lands:||Riverlands|
|Title(s):||Lord of the Crossing · Lord of Riverrun|
|Current members:||Arwaya Frey · Derwa Frey · Freya Frey · Janeya Frey · Lothar Frey · Marianne Frey · Merry Frey · Neyela Frey · Olyvar Frey · Roslin Frey · Sarra Frey · Serra Frey · Shirei Frey · Walda Frey · "Fat Walda" Frey · Waldra Frey · Waldron Frey · Ryger Rivers · Black Walder Rivers|
|Deceased members:||Joyeuse Erenford|
|Household:||Malcolm · Talbot|