Walder Frey (son of Ryman)

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House Frey.svgWalder Frey
Black Walder
House Frey.svg
Black Walder Frey.jpg
Black Walder Frey, by Roman Papusev ©

Alias Black Walder
Allegiance House Frey
Culture Rivermen
Born 258280 AC[1]
the Twins[2]
Father Ryman Frey

Walder Frey, called Black Walder to differentiate him from others with the same name, is a member of House Frey. He is the second son of Ser Ryman Frey, grandson to Ser Stevron Frey, and great-grandson of Lord Walder Frey.

In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, Tim Plester portrays "Black Walder Rivers", a combination of Black Walder Frey and Walder Rivers.

Appearance and Character

Black Walder is a wiry man with a black beard.[3] Some think he did not earn his nickname due to his hair color, but because of his irascible temper and stern attitude, inspiring terror in those around him.[4]


Black Walder is known to be resolute and easy to anger, feared by many including among his own family.[5] Enmity runs deep between Walder and his elder brother, Edwyn Frey.[6]

Black Walder refuses to marry, according to Merrett Frey.[5] Walder is rumored to instead have maintained numerous affairs with several women, including cousins and the wives of his close relations. There is talk that he bedded the wives of his brothers Edwyn (Janyce Hunter) and Petyr (Mylenda Caron), his cousin Fair Walda, and his half-cousin once removed Amerei, among others.[5][7] Black Walder is even rumored to have been unusually close with Lord Walder's seventh wife, Annara Farring.[5] The illicit relations may cast doubt over the paternity of many of the younger Freys, including Edwyn's daughter, the young heiress Walda Frey, as well as her cousin Perra (Petyr's daughter), and Lord Walder's six children with Annara.

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

When Robb Stark's army finds it necessary to cross the Green Fork, the delicate task of negotiating with Lord Walder Frey falls to Robb's mother, Catelyn Stark. Allegedly[8] in attendance at the Twins are all of Walder's sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons, including Black Walder. Catelyn negotiates passage and an alliance with House Frey by promising, among other things, Robb's hand in marriage to one of Lord Walder's daughters.[9]

A Clash of Kings

When explaining the abundance of Walders in the Frey family to Bran Stark, Big Walder mentions Black Walder, referring to him as the fourth in the line of succession.[10] After receiving the news of Ser Stevron Frey's death at Oxcross, Big Walder updates the line of succession, placing Black Walder third.[11]

Black Walder fights in the westerlands with the army of King Robb Stark.[12]

A Storm of Swords

Black Walder Frey, by Mustamirri ©

When Robb's army storms the Crag, castle of House Westerling, Black Walder and Smalljon Umber lead scaling parties over the walls.[4]

After Robb marries Jeyne Westerling, the Freys are in uproar. Black Walder is one of the most infuriated, threatening Jeyne by telling Robb that his sisters would not mind marrying a widower. Robb wants to kill Walder for that, but Jeyne convinces him to be merciful. Afterwards, Black Walder's father, Ryman Frey, strikes Robb's banners, and leads his forces from the Crag back to the Twins. Robb later explains to his mother, Catelyn Stark, that if Stevron Frey had still been alive, he might have been able to make amends with the Freys in his host, but that was not possible with Ryman and Black Walder leading them.[4]

Black Walder rides out with his father and brothers to receive the guests at the Twins for the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey. Robb's direwolf, Grey Wind, tries to attack them, scaring the greeters' horses and dropping Petyr into the mud. Only Black Walder keeps his horse under control, and draws his sword until Catelyn intervenes. Ryman wonders why Jeyne is not with them, and Black Walder says that Walder Frey will be displeased at her absence, as he had told his great-grandfather much about her.[3]

During the wedding, Robb comments to Catelyn that he is surprised that Black Walder behaved like a lamb. This changes when the slaughter begins; during the fighting, Catelyn sees Black Walder hamstring a Vance who had been wrestling Ser Harys Haigh.[13]

Afterwards, news arrives at King's Landing that Seagard surrendered to Black Walder.[14]

When riding to Oldstones, Merrett Frey thinks on the ill repute of Black Walder, and of his illicit relationships with his brothers' wives and other female family members.[5]

A Feast for Crows

After resolving the siege of Seagard by threatening to kill the captive Patrek Mallister,[15] Black Walder leads the search for the outlaws that hanged Petyr and Merrett Frey at Oldstones. He sharply questions some peasants in Hag's Mire until they confess that the outlaws' leader is Lady Stoneheart. Black Walder and his hounds track her and her men north of Hag's Mire, but the outlaws disappear into the Neck.[16]

When Daven Lannister talks with his cousin, Jaime, about Daven's upcoming wedding to a Frey girl, he comments that he has learned from Edwyn Frey that he should pick one not yet flowered, or else Black Walder will have had her first.[7]

When Ser Jaime Lannister attempts to end the siege of Riverrun, he suggests to Ser Brynden Tully that they resolve it with single combat, and Brynden wonders if Black Walder will be Jaime's champion, among other options.[15]

After Ser Ryman Frey's death while returning to the Twins, Ser Edwyn Frey confesses to Jaime that he suspects Black Walder had a hand in their father's death, and he is afraid that he will be the next, as he is now the only one between Black Walder and the succession to Lord of the Crossing. He also thinks Black Walder let the outlaws escape on purpose.[6]

Quotes about Black Walder

Black Walder Frey, by dyannawynnedayne ©

With Ser Stevron, I might have been able to make amends, but Ser Ryman is dull-witted as a stone, and Black Walder... that one was not named for the color of his beard, I promise you. He went so far as to say that his sisters would not be loath to wed a widower. I would have killed him for that if Jeyne had not begged me to be merciful.[4]

A nasty bit of business.[3]

Black Walder was a man who took what he wanted, even his brother's wife.[5]

—thoughts of Merrett Frey

Small wonder he refused to marry. Why buy a cow when there were udders all around begging to be milked?[5]

—thoughts of Merrett Frey

From what Edwyn tells me, though, I'd best pick one who hasn't flowered yet, or I'm like to find that Black Walder has been there first.[7]

Daven Lannister, on choosing his Frey bride

My brother had a hand in this, I'll wager. He allowed the outlaws to escape after they murdered Merrett and Petyr, and this is why. With our father dead, there’s only me left between Black Walder and the Twins.[6]