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Aegon VII

Big Walder Analysis

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After reviewing the chapters containing Big Walder I have come to the conclusion that he is completely serious in his intent to become lord. He is cunning, perceptive, ambitious and ruthless. We are led to believe by GRRM that Little Walder is the more evil cousin. I think as the books go on, we will see that while LW was more transparent, BW is just as bad just in a different way. I believe every step BW has taken in ASOIAF is to advance his to plans gain power. I will review a lot of the text here to support these conclusions.

1.    He is taking deliberate steps to gain power and eventually become lord of the crossing.  E.g. the things he does lead to him gaining power, he always has Frey succession top of mind, he declares he will be lord multiple times.

2.     He is capable e.g. astute/cunning/athletic,

3.     Has psychopathic/ sociopathic tendencies.  E.g. He speaks his mind, even when not socially appropriate.  Comfortable lying to suit his purposes (saying what needs to be said), shows no empathy for the death of others.

The first time we meet the Walders we immediately see how the line of succession is a major part of their lives, as well as BW’s declaration that he will be lord.

“He was Little Walder even though he was tall and stout, with a red face and a big round belly. Big Walder was sharp-faced and skinny and half a foot shorter. "He's fifty-two days older than me," Little Walder explained, "so he was bigger at first, but I grew faster."”

"We're cousins, not brothers," added Big Walder, the little one. "I'm Walder son of Jammos. My father was Lord Walder's son by his fourth wife. He's Walder son of Merrett. His grandmother was Lord Walder's third wife, the Crakehall. He's ahead of me in the line of succession even though I'm older."

"Only by fifty-two days," Little Walder objected. "And neither of us will ever hold the Twins, stupid."

"I will," Big Walder declared. "We're not the only Walders either. Ser Stevron has a grandson, Black Walder, he's fourth in line of succession, and there's Red Walder, Ser Emmon's son, and Bastard Walder, who isn't in the line at all. He's called Walder Rivers not Walder Frey. Plus there's girls named Walda."

"And Tyr. You always forget Tyr."

"He's Waltyr, not Walder," Big Walder said airily. "And he's after us, so he doesn't matter. Anyhow, I never liked him."

….

“After that, oddly, Rickon decided he liked the Walders “

These are the first words we have spoken by BW. A few things are a noteworthy here. 1) He is extremely familiar with the Frey line of succession and goes into great detail about it readily and for no reason. LW was only explaining the confusion about the big vs little titles, he wasn’t talking about the succession line at all. 2) He declares that he will hold the twins in front of LW, even though he will only hold the twins if LW dies. 3) Why does Tyr not matter because he was born after them? They were simply listing the different Walders, not talking about who was in front of them. BW saying he doesn’t matter for this reason supports the theory that he plans to become lord. 4) Why did Rickon like the Walders after this? I argue that BW was just being cunning and made nice with Rickon solely to benefit himself.

Next time we see the BW is when they are training in the yard at WF.

“Big Walder's quarterings were the tree-and-ravens of House Blackwood and the twining snakes of the Paeges. They must be hungry for honor, Bran thought as he watched them take up their lances. A Stark needs only the direwolf.

Their dappled grey coursers were swift, strong, and beautifully trained. Side by side they charged the quintains. Both hit the shields cleanly and were well past before the padded butts came spinning around. Little Walder struck the harder blow, but Bran thought Big Walder sat his horse better. He would have given both his useless legs for the chance to ride against either.

Little Walder cast his splintered lance aside, spied Bran, and reined up.

"Now there's an ugly horse," he said of Hodor.”

"Hodor's no horse," Bran said.

"Hodor," said Hodor.

Big Walder trotted up to join his cousin. "Well, he's not as smart as a horse, that's for certain." A few of the White Harbor lads poked each other and laughed.

"Hodor." Beaming genially, Hodor looked from one Frey to the other, oblivious to their taunting. "Hodor hodor?"

Little Walder's mount whickered. "See, they're talking to each other. Maybe hodor means 'I love you' in horse."

"You shut up, Frey." Bran could feel his color rising.

Little Walder spurred his horse closer, giving Hodor a bump that pushed him backward. "What will you do if I don't?"

"He'll set his wolf on you, cousin," warned Big Walder.

"Let him. I always wanted a wolfskin cloak."

"Summer would tear your fat head off," Bran said.

Little Walder banged a mailed fist against his breastplate. "Does your wolf have steel teeth, to bite through plate and mail?"

"Enough!" Maester Luwin's voice cracked through the clangor of the yard as loud as a thunderclap. How much he had overheard, Bran could not say . . . but it was enough to anger him, clearly. "These threats are unseemly, and I'll hear no more of them. Is this how you behave at the Twins, Walder Frey?"

"If I want to." Atop his courser, Little Walder gave Luwin a sullen glare, as if to say, You are only a maester, who are you to reproach a Frey of the Crossing?

"Well, it is not how Lady Stark's wards ought behave at Winterfell. What's at the root of this?" The maester looked at each boy in turn. "One of you will tell me, I swear, or - "

"We were having a jape with Hodor," confessed Big Walder. "I am sorry if we offended Prince Bran. We only meant to be amusing." He at least had the grace to look abashed.

Little Walder only looked peevish. "And me," he said. "I was only being amusing too."

In this exchange we see that it is LW who instigates and makes fun of Hodor. BW joins in by making a joke that amuses the white harbor boys. Small I know, but it shows that BW uses his intelligence to get people to like him. We see LW continue hassling Hodor. BW stops though, as soon as Bran makes it known he has a problem with it. LW continues to anagonize, Whereas BW knows what’ll happen next and warns LW of the Wolf. Of course LW is stupid and welcomes the threat. Childish boasting that will not help BW and LW do well in WF. BW has the sense to apologize and look abashed whereas LW doesn’t care.  I argue that BW is not remorseful at all and is instead simply playing the game of thrones (or lords in his case).

Next we have when the Walders and Bran learn about the Walders relative dying.

"Was it Lord Tywin he defeated?" asked Bran.

"No," said the maester. "Ser Stafford Lannister commanded the enemy host. He was slain in the battle."

 Bran had never even heard of Ser Stafford Lannister. He found himself agreeing with Big Walder when he said, "Lord Tywin is the only one who matters."

"Tell Robb I want him to come home," said Rickon. "He can bring his wolf home too, and Mother and Father." Though he knew Lord Eddard was dead, sometimes Rickon forgot . . . willfully, Bran suspected. His little brother was stubborn as only a boy of four can be.

Bran was glad for Robb's victory, but disquieted as well. He remembered what Osha had said the day that his brother had led his army out Of Winterfell. He's marching the wrong way, the wildling woman had insisted.

"Sadly, no victory is without cost." Maester Luwin turned to the Walders. "My lords, your uncle Ser Stevron Frey was among those who lost their lives at Oxcross. He took a wound in the battle, Robb writes. It was not thought to be serious, but three days later he died in his tent, asleep."

Big Walder shrugged. "He was very old. Five-and-sixty, I think. Too old for battles. He was always saying he was tired."

Little Walder hooted. "Tired of waiting for our grandfather to die, you mean. Does this mean Ser Emmon's the heir now?"

"Don't be stupid," his cousin said. "The sons of the first son come before the second son. Ser Ryman is next in line, and then Edwyn and Black Walder and Petyr Pimple. And then Aegon and all his sons."

"Ryman is old too," said Little Walder. "Past forty, I bet. And he has a bad belly. Do you think he'll be lord?"

"I'll be lord. I don't care if he is."

Maester Luwin cut in sharply. "You ought to be ashamed of such talk, my lords. Where is your grief? Your uncle is dead."

"Yes," said Little Walder. "We're very sad."

The first thing I’ll point out is how astute it is for BW to say Tywin is the only one whom matters. It may be an unfair comparison, but even Stannis failed to realize this when he had the leeches. If he would have said tywin instead of Joeffrey there’s a good chance the lannisters would have lost power by now. Next, BW’s reaction to his relative dying is shrugging. Neither Walder feels any grief. With a family as big as the Freys, can we blame them? Especially with the mortality rate in asoiaf, they are probably very used to relatives dying. The last and arguably most important thing in this passage is that he once again says he will be the lord. He doesn’t care if other people will be lord or are ahead of him because he knows he will take steps to overcome them. I also think the fact that he says this out lout twice speaks to his confidence that he will succeed.

Next we have the letter that BW writes to tell Robb that Theon sacked and burned WF. This letter is huge and is what allows the Boltons to make their first power grab unknown to everyone else. BW writing this letter helps keep him and LW in Ramsays good graces.

"Your northern lords tried to retake it from the ironmen. When Theon Greyjoy saw that his prize was lost, he put the castle to the torch."

….

"My nephews are young, I grant you, but they were there. Big Walder wrote the letter, though his cousin signed as well. It was a bloody bit of business, by their account.”

Very interesting stuff here. Why would BW write the letter instead of LW? Either BW volunteered to write the letter or Ramsay required him to. If Ramsay wanted the letter to carry the most weight he would have used LW, as he is higher in the succession line (arguable I know but if you had two kids who were born 52 days apart there is no reason not to go with the more prestigious one). I think a lot of the text has shown us BW is smarter than LW, so it could just be that he’s the better writer. But just because someone is smarter, doesn’t mean there better suited to write a letter at Ramsay’s demand. As long as both BW and LW can write, there’s no reason to think Ramsay would have chosen BW to write the letter. Instead, I think the text points to BW volunteering. Once again taking steps to secure his safety and gain power. I will be reviewing the hunt of Bran and Rickon in this analysis, as GRRM doesn’t mention which Walder it is that goes. I will argue that it is BW. The fact that BW writes the letter supports this. BW went on a hunt with Theon and Reek. He is more familiar with them after the sack of WF then LW is. Why would Ramsay reach out to the Frey he was less familiar with who was also lower in the succession line to write this letter? It does not make sense. It makes perfect sense if BW volunteered for the hunt and then after Ramsay took power, volunteered to write the letter to gain further favor with the current lord, now Ramsay. All smart moves. He and LW go from Stark Ward, to Greyjoy captive, to Bolton squire with no problems at all.

The next time we see the Walders is when they escort Theon to Ramsay. Not too much to take from it, but again BW has some astute observations.

"I don't think he likes the light.

….

"He's been eating rats," said the second boy. "Look."

….

"Should we wash him?" asked Little Walder. "His lordship likes him stinky," said Big Walder. "That's why he named him Reek."

….

"Talk to me," said one of them. He was the smaller of the two, a thin boy, but clever. "Do you remember who you are?"

I think the most (possibly only) notable point from this passage is BW’s comment about Ramsay liking reek stinky and saying that’s why he named him Reek. I think this shows how perceptive BW is, but I also think it shows how easily he can understand the mind of a psychopath (forgive me if I’m reaching).

Next we have BW and Reek talking in private in the stables. Right before where I start the quote Ramsay and the others besides BW are treating Reek like garbage.

Little Walder swung down from the saddle. “You can see to my horse too, Reek. And to my little cousin’s.”

“I can see to my own horse,” said Big Walder. Little Walder had become Lord Ramsay’s best boy and grew more like him every day, but the smaller Frey was made of different stuff and seldom took part in his cousin’s games and cruelties.

Reek paid the squires no mind. He led Blood off toward the stables, hopping aside when the stallion tried to kick him. The hunters strode into the hall, all but Ben Bones, who was cursing at the dogs to stop them fighting over the severed head.

Big Walder followed him into the stables, leading his own mount. Reek stole a look at him as he removed Blood’s bit. “Who was he?” he said softly, so the other stablehands would not hear.

No one.” Big Walder pulled the saddle off his grey. “An old man we met on the road, is all. He was driving an old nanny goat and four kids.”

“His lordship slew him for his goats?”

“His lordship slew him for calling him Lord Snow. The goats were good, though. We milked the mother and roasted up the kids.”

Lord Snow. Reek nodded, his chains clinking as he wrestled with Blood's saddle straps. By any name, Ramsay' s no man to be around when he is in a rage. Or when he' s not. "Did you find your cousins, my lord?"

"No. I never thought we would. They're dead. Lord Wyman had them killed. That's what I would have done if I was him."

Reek said nothing. Some things were not safe to say, not even in the stables with his lordship in the hall.

So GRRM starts by contrasting BW with the rest of Ramsay’s boys and then LW specifically. He’s made of different stuff. This might make us think he’s a decent person, but I don’t think that’s what GRRM means. Look how apathetic BW is about the old man. He’s “no one”, and then he goes right on to say the goats were good all matter of fact like.  No remorse at all, supporting he is a psychopath. A lot of eight yo kids wouldn’t be able to eat after watching a man get murdered, BW comments that it was tasty.

The next point is the biggest from this passage, and that is BW saying his cousins were dead, that Manderly killed them, and that he would have done the same. This is incredibly astute for an eight/nine year old. It’s also very odd that a child would say this out loud as a statement of fact with no emotion at all. Reek even comments that some things are not safe to say. The only thing close we have to emotion is his empathy with the Manderlys wanting to kill Freys. This is not normal for a child. It also shows he’s thinking like a lord and about what steps Manderly should/would take. It’s perceptive as hell but more importantly it shows how comfortable he is with his family dying.

Now we come to the murder of LW. I don’t want to do a full analysis here but I’ll touch on enough points to support the theory that BW killed LW. I’ll use orange for text that supports BW killing LW.

“The doors of the Great Hall opened with a crash.

A cold wind came swirling through, and a cloud of ice crystals sparkled blue-white in the air. Through it strode Ser Hosteen Frey, caked with snow to the waist, a body in his arms. All along the benches men put down their cups and spoons to turn and gape at the grisly spectacle. The hall grew quiet.

Another murder.

Snow slid from Ser Hosteen's cloaks as he stalked toward the high table, his steps ringing against the floor. A dozen Frey knights and men-at-arms entered behind him. One was a boy Theon knew—Big Walder, the little one, fox-faced and skinny as a stick. His chest and arms and cloak were spattered with blood.

The scent of it set the horses to screaming. Dogs slid out from under the tables, sniffing. Men rose from the benches. The body in Ser Hosteen's arms sparkled in the torchlight, armored in pink frost. The cold outside had frozen his blood.

"My brother Merrett's son." Hosteen Frey lowered the body to the floor before the dais. "Butchered like a hog and shoved beneath a snowbank. A boy. "

Little Walder, thought Theon. The big one. He glanced at Rowan. There are six of them, he remembered. Any of them could have done this. But the washerwoman felt his eyes. "This was no work of ours," she said.

"Be quiet," Abel warned her.

Lord Ramsay descended from the dais to the dead boy. His father rose more slowly, pale-eyed, still-faced, solemn. "This was foul work." For once Roose Bolton's voice was loud enough to carry. "Where was the body found?"

"Under that ruined keep, my lord," replied Big Walder. "The one with the old gargoyles." The boy's gloves were caked with his cousin's blood. "I told him not to go out alone, but he said he had to find a man who owed him silver."

"What man?" Ramsay demanded. "Give me his name. Point him

out to me, boy, and I will make you a cloak of his skin."

"He never said, my lord. Only that he won the coin at dice." The Frey boy hesitated. "It was some White Harbor men who taught dice. I couldn't say which ones, but it was them."

"My lord," boomed Hosteen Frey. "We know the man who did this. Killed this boy and all the rest. Not by his own hand, no. He is too fat and craven to do his own killing. But by his word." He turned to Wyman Manderly. "Do you deny it?"

The Lord of White Harbor bit a sausage in half. "I confess …" He wiped the grease from his lips with his sleeve. "… I confess that I know little of this poor boy. Lord Ramsay's squire, was he not? How old was the lad?"

"Nine, on his last nameday."

"So young," said Wyman Manderly. "Though mayhaps this was a blessing. Had he lived, he would have grown up to be a Frey."

Ser Hosteen slammed his foot into the tabletop, knocking it off its trestles, back into Lord Wyman's swollen belly. Cups and platters flew, sausages scattered everywhere, and a dozen Manderly men came cursing to their feet. Some grabbed up knives, platters, flagons, anything that might serve as a weapon.

Ser Hosteen Frey ripped his longsword from its scabbard and leapt toward Wyman Manderly. The Lord of White Harbor tried to jerk away, but the tabletop pinned him to his chair. The blade slashed through three of his four chins in a spray of bright red blood. Lady Walda gave a shriek and clutched at her lord husband's arm. "Stop," Roose Bolton shouted. "Stop this madness. " His own men rushed forward as the Manderlys vaulted over the benches to get at the Freys. One lunged at Ser Hosteen with a dagger, but the big knight pivoted and took his arm off at the shoulder. Lord Wyman pushed to his feet, only to collapse. Old Lord Locke was shouting for a maester as Manderly flopped on the floor like a clubbed walrus in a spreading pool of blood. Around him dogs fought over sausages. It took two score Dreadfort spearmen to part the combatants and put an end to the carnage. By that time six White Harbor men and two Freys lay dead upon the floor. A dozen more were wounded and one of the Bastard's Boys, Luton, was dying noisily, crying for his mother as he tried to shove a fistful of slimy entrails back through a gaping belly wound. Lord Ramsay silenced him, yanking a spear from one of Steelshanks's men and driving it down through Luton's chest. Even then the rafters still rang with shouts and prayers and curses, the shrieks of terrified horses and the growls of Ramsay's bitches. Steelshanks Walton had to slam the butt of his spear against the floor a dozen times before the hall quieted enough for Roose Bolton to be heard.

"I see you all want blood," the Lord of the Dreadfort said. Maester Rhodry stood beside him, a raven on his arm. The bird's black plumage shone like coal oil in the torchlight. Wet, Theon realized. And in his lordship' s hand, a parchment. That will be wet as well. Dark wings, dark words. "Rather than use our swords upon each other, you might try them on Lord Stannis."

Lord Bolton unrolled the parchment. "His host lies not three days' ride from here, snowbound and starving, and I for one am tired of waiting on his pleasure. Ser Hosteen, assemble your knights and men-at-arms by the main gates. As you are so eager for battle, you shall strike our first blow. Lord Wyman, gather your White Harbor men by the east gate. They shall go forth as well."

Hosteen Frey's sword was red almost to the hilt. Blood spatters speckled his cheeks like freckles. He lowered his blade and said, "As my lord commands. But after I deliver you the head of Stannis Baratheon, I mean to finish hacking off Lord Lard's."

Four White Harbor knights had formed a ring around Lord Wyman, as Maester Medrick labored over him to staunch his bleeding. "First you must needs come through us, ser,"

said the eldest of them, a hard-faced greybeard

whose bloodstained surcoat showed three silvery mermaids upon a violet field.

"Gladly. One at a time or all at once, it makes no matter."

"Enough, " roared Lord Ramsay, brandishing his bloody spear.

"Another threat, and I'll gut you all myself. My lord father has spoken!”

So to briefly touch on why the orange text supports BW killing LW, Hosteen is covered in snow but no blood, LW’s blood had pooled and frozen on his clothes like pink armor. BW had blood spattered on his chest and arms. Blood only spatters from fresh wounds. GRRM reinforces this by having manderlys blood spatter on Hosteens cheeks later in the same passage. (I do not wish to argue how blood spatters, so if you disagree please save your posts for BW killed LW threads).  

So BW was there at the time of death or soon after, and Hosteen and the rest of the Freys weren’t there until the blood had frozen. He also had gloves caked with blood, which would come from moving the body after the murder and shoving it under the snow bank. Everything points to BW. Also, a nine yo is strong enough to shove another nine year old under some snow (some say he wouldn’t be), bran saying he sits his horse better than LW supports him being athletic.  So in my analysis I will be assuming BW killed LW. If you’re not convinced than please look up some of the better written theories, this is not the place to argue it.

Now that we’ve established BW killed LW let’s examine motives and outcome. BW would really have two major motives to kill LW. LW was becoming more like Ramsay and BW viewed this as a threat. So he eliminated LW out of self-preservation and to disentangle himself with Ramsay. The other motive would be to ignite tensions between the Freys and Manderlys to lead to Freys above him in the succession line dying. I believe the second is BW’s main motive, he is quick to answer Ramsay and blame the white harbor men. I highlighted the outcome points in red as they support him taking deliberate steps to become lord. BW uses the murder as a chance to frame the Manderlys which causes a skirmish between the two houses. A few Freys have already died and more are injured, but not too many. If this was the only outcome I would say BW’s plan was pretty ineffective. But it’s not. We have both Freys and Manderlys committing to continue the violence later, so there’s more bloodshed to come.

There’s more though, and I think this last point is a huge outcome of BW’s scheme that is often overlooked. By starting up tension between the Freys and the Manderlys, he makes the Boltons have a further incentive to send them out to battle first. If two of your lords are beefing it makes sense to have them lead the charge, which is exactly what happens. Because of BW’s plan, the Freys are now leading the charge in battle and are now the most expendable house for the Boltons. And even if many do survive, if the beef between Manderly’s and Freys keep up, the Boltons will need to pick a side eventually and punish the other one. Freys are easy to punish. Cersei even mentions that whoever assumes lord of the twins after Walder will be more than happy to lose some cousins. So if Boltons have to choose a house, the easier path is to side with the Manderlys and kill a considerable number of the Frey men. Damn BW, you effective as hell.

Next I will examine the hunt in which GRRM doesn’t specify whether it’s Big or Little Walder. I already put a post on this in the “Big and Little Walder” thread so I will copy a lot of it directly from there. I had examined it line by line, so the following is a slightly different format than the previous passages. I believe it is BW who went on this hunt and I believe he did it to gain favor with Theon, knowing that he needed to make nice with the new lord. Also, LW is abnormally large, there’s a greater chance Theon would have noticed this and noted it internally if it was LW (BW is only described as skinny, or small in relation to LW, nothing that is noteworthy on its own). I have to believe GRRM knew people would be trying to figure out which one it was so he made it a mystery on purpose. I think it’ll be a situation where later we realize BW’s true character, and then on a reread the reader thinks, “oh before I was lead to believe it was LW as he uses similar language and is pretty bigoted towards crannogmen, but now that BW has revealed his true character I see that it was him and he was completely acting in character.”

"Let me come too. I want that wolfskins cloak." A boy stepped forward, no older than Bran. It took Theon a moment to remember him. "I've hunted lots of times before," Walder Frey said, "Red deer and elk and even boars."

This scene begins after control of the Winterfell has been won by Theon. In a situation like this, anyone who's smart knows they need to make nice with the new rulers or risk being hurt. By volunteering, BW is using the hunt as an opportunity to help Theon and become closer. Also, saying he wants a woflskin shows his allegiance and that they have a common enemy in the starks. I should note that the use of Wolfskin here is very similar to what LW says earlier about Summer. So it does support this being LW and not BW. I think this is the misdirection. There has to be things supporting it being LW and BW for it to be a mystery.

 

His cousin laughed at him. "He ride on a boar hunt with his father, but they never let him near the boar."

This is LW's off the cuff reaction. BW was lying about his hunting prowess to increase his chances of going on the hunt. LW doesn't realize this and calls out his lie automatically. Fortunately it's just viewed as normal male boasting. Both Freys would be buddying up to Theon and going on the hunt if they were smart. You might view this statement as being in character with BW speaking his mind bluntly. I think it is different in that the Frey here is laughing and mocking the other. Not just blurting out what he is thinking as a matter of fact, which is what BW does and what the Frey in this passage does in a couple paragraphs. ( i.e. “…we won’t find them”)

“He took Wex, the Frey boy, and Gynir Redness to search upstream. He and Wex rode on one side of the brook, Redness and Walder Frey on the other”

….

“And Walder flushed three rabbits from the underbrush and managed to put an arrow in one. “

Not bad for an 8 yo. Killing the rabbits adds value and has theon view him in a positive light.

“Theon dared not admit defeat. “We’ll return to the brook. Search again. This time we’ll go as far as we must.”

" We won't find them," the Frey boy said suddenly, "not so long as the frogeaters are with them. Mudmen are sneaks, and won't fight like decent folks, they skulk and use poison arrows. You never see them, but they see you. Those who go into the bogs after them get lost and never come out. Their houses move, even the castles like Greywater Watch." He glanced nervously at greenery that encircled them on all sides. "They might be out there right now, listening to everything we say."

"Frogeaters don't smell like men," Frey insisted. "They have a boggy stink, like frogs and trees and scummy water. Moss grows under their arms in place of hair, and they can live with nothing to eat but mud and breathe swamp water."

Many people view this portion as supporting LW because it's pretty bigoted and mean to crannogmen. It's important to remember, anyone from the twins would have a natural hate for the crannogmen as they come into conflict a lot naturally. It’s this and the use of the word Wolfskin that support it being LW, and both are very weak pieces of evidence. BW mentioning they might be out there listening is very self aware as well.

There’s two possibilities here. BW is actually worried or he is lying to try to end the hunt.

It doesn’t make much sense to me why he would actually be afraid of two crannogment children all of the sudden now after they’ve already been hunting for so long. Is it that they would be getting into areas that other Crannogmen could attack or is he just worried about the two Reeds? This I don’t know. If he is worried about other Crannogment it’s probably warranted and just another perceptive observation from BW. But the timing of the comment seems a little suspect for that. He only says this after Theon says there going to keep searching as long as it takes to find the Starks. If BW doesn’t want to keep searching, he would do whatever he could to discourage it, such as say the crannogment were a threat. He could be doing it trying to help the Starks get away or because he knows it’s fruitless and is tired of searching. My money is on the latter.

So he could be worried about other Crannongment or he could be trying to stop the hunt for other reasons. I say both are possibilities. One requires good perception and self awareness, the other speaks to him scheming to get achieve his own ends, both traits of BW. 

So that is all the pertinent text we have so far on BW so far. I know I went pretty in depth here but I hope some other people connect the dots in the same way I do and see value in this analysis.

To Recap,

Conclusion 1:

He is taking deliberate steps to gain power and eventually become lord of the crossing. 

Supporting evidence:

A) Frey line of succession is always top of mind.

“He's ahead of me in the line of succession even though I'm older.”

“And he's after us, so he doesn't matter”

"The sons of the first son come before the second son. Ser Ryman is next in line, and then Edwyn and Black Walder and Petyr Pimple. “

B) He declares it.

"I will," Big Walder declared”

"I'll be lord. I don't care if he is."

C) His actions consistently lead to an improvement in his position or advancement in his plan to become lord.

He and LW go from Stark Ward, to Greyjoy captive, to Bolton squire with no problems at all. He’s makes nice with Rickon, volunteers to hunt with Theon, and writes the letter for Ramsay.

He kills his cousin and ignites tensions between the Freys and Manderlys which leads to Frey deaths.

The Frey’s are now leading the charge against Stannis which is sure to cause significantly more Frey deaths.

Conclusion 2:

He is capable

Supporting evidence:

A) He is astute.

"He'll set his wolf on you, cousin," warned Big Walder.”

“Big Walder when he said, "Lord Tywin is the only one who matters."

“a thin boy, but clever”

"His lordship likes him stinky," said Big Walder. "That's why he named him Reek."

“No. I never thought we would. They're dead. Lord Wyman had them killed.”

" We won't find them," the Frey boy said suddenly”

B) He is cunning.

"We were having a jape with Hodor," confessed Big Walder. "I am sorry if we offended Prince Bran. We only meant to be amusing." He at least had the grace to look abashed.”

“After that, oddly, Rickon decided he liked the Walders “

"Let me come too. I want that wolfskins cloak”

“Big Walder wrote the letter, though his cousin signed as well. It was a bloody bit of business, by their account.”

"It was some White Harbor men who taught dice. I couldn't say which ones, but it was them."

C) He is athletic (this one is mostly insignificant)

Big Walder sat his horse better. “

“And Walder flushed three rabbits from the underbrush and managed to put an arrow in one. “

Conclusion 3:

Has psychopathic/ sociopathic tendencies. 

Supporting evidence:

A) He speaks his mind, even when not socially appropriate.

"I will," Big Walder declared”

Anyhow, I never liked him."

"Lord Tywin is the only one who matters."

"I'll be lord. I don't care if he is."

“His lordship slew him for calling him Lord Snow. The goats were good, though. We milked the mother and roasted up the kids.”

“Lord Wyman had them killed. That's what I would have done if I was him."

B) Comfortable lying to suit his purposes

"I've hunted lots of times before," Walder Frey said”

“Big Walder wrote the letter, though his cousin signed as well. It was a bloody bit of business, by their account.”

"It was some White Harbor men who taught dice. I couldn't say which ones, but it was them."

C) Shows no empathy for the death of others.

“Big Walder shrugged. "He was very old. Five-and-sixty, I think. Too old for battles. He was always saying he was tired."

“His lordship slew him for calling him Lord Snow. The goats were good, though”

"No. I never thought we would. They're dead. Lord Wyman had them killed. That's what I would have done if I was him."

"Butchered like a hog and shoved beneath a snowbank. A boy. "

Based on all of this I believe BW will ultimately become the next lord of the crossing. He will take steps to ensure it, even if it means orchestrating the deaths of his family members.

He’s declared his desire for it so we know he’s motivated. Also, he’s proven himself to be capable so we know he has the means to do it. And furthermore the text suggests he’s psychopathic which would be a prerequisite for someone to have this plan.

 

Edited by Aegon VII
deleted hundreds of empty lines

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great analysis ... all are valid points in my opinion.

i'll be re-reading with your work in mind.

question - do you think that BW is in on the Pink Letter ? (would he have access to a raven? he must be somewhat literate)   i was going to pop that into the pink letter thread that is getting so much action but i would like your opinion on that here in your well thought out research posting.
 

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1 hour ago, Yaya said:

great analysis ... all are valid points in my opinion.

i'll be re-reading with your work in mind.

question - do you think that BW is in on the Pink Letter ? (would he have access to a raven? he must be somewhat literate)   i was going to pop that into the pink letter thread that is getting so much action but i would like your opinion on that here in your well thought out research posting.
 

Thank you!

To answer your question, I do not think BW was in on the pink letter in any way. I believe he is a lone wolf and I think Mance wrote the PL. I have been meaning to respond to the one Pink letter discussion as I had commented on it recently and haven't had a chance to revisit it. Honestly, I have been distracted putting this together. I will post on it soon as personally I believe GRRM is asking the reader "who wrote this" much more than he is asking, "what is true in this letter".  Butttttt.. that is for that thread not this one, so I'll be sure to post it soon so this thread doesn't get derailed :)

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@Aegon VII

Great analysis. I agree with almost everything on here. Big Walder is definitely not your average 9 year old (even Westerosi standards).

I have a few little questions/disagreements but one big one (see what did there?)  I think it was LW who went on the hunt with Theon. 

3 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

Also, LW is abnormally large, there’s a greater chance Theon would have noticed this and noted it internally if it was LW (BW is only described as skinny, or small in relation to LW, nothing that is noteworthy on its own).

We have to remember that Theon does not even know there is a BW and LW. To Theon they are both "Walder Frey". This is how Theon is introduced to the Walders in Clash of Kings:

Quote

“What have we here?” Theon asked of the Reeds and Freys.

“These are Lady Catelyn’s wards, both named Walder Frey,” Maester Luwin explained. “And this is Jojen Reed and his sister Meera, son and daughter to Howland Reed of Greywater Watch, who came to renew their oaths of fealty to Winterfell.”

Maester Luwin does not let Theon know that one is recognized as LW and the other as BW. There is no reason for Theon to see LW and think "big one = LW, little one = BW". In Theon's mind they are both Walder Frey. 

 

3 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

I have to believe GRRM knew people would be trying to figure out which one it was so he made it a mystery on purpose.

I agree with you that George knew people would be trying to figure out which one went hunting.  Otherwise he would have mentioned the size one of the Walders so we would know who was who (whom?). However, I think keeping in character and correct on what each POV knows is more important to George. Again, Theon has no reason to know one was called LW and the other BW.

The mystery can be solved by analyzing the way this Walder speaks. You mention this

Quote

oh before I was lead to believe it was LW as he uses similar language and is pretty bigoted towards crannogmen, but now that BW has revealed his true character I see that it was him and he was completely acting in character.”

Why would we simply ignore the way this Walder speaks? IMO, it is the way George wants us to figure out which Walder this is.

A quick textual recap: 

Quote

Men looked up from their cups and trenchers to eye the newcomers. Bran heard Little Walder mutter, “Frogeaters,” to Big Walder beside him. Ser Rodrik climbed to his feet. “Be welcome, friends, and share this harvest with us.” Serving men hurried to lengthen the table on the dais, fetching trestles and chairs.

“Who are they?” Rickon asked.

“Mudmen,” answered Little Walder disdainfully. “They’re thieves and cravens, and they have green teeth from eating frogs.”

again later:

Quote

Below, they came on Meera and Jojen being herded from their room by a bald man whose spear was three feet taller than he was. When Jojen looked at Bran, his eyes were green pools full of sorrow. Other ironmen had rousted the Freys. "Your brother's lost his kingdom," Little Walder told Bran. "You're no prince now, just a hostage."

"So are you," Jojen said, "and me, and all of us."

"No one was talking to you, frogeater."

In your text quotes the Walder mentions the same derogatory terms towards Crannogmen (frogeater, mudmen), so I don't think I need to post them again but you get the idea. Same language spoken by LW and our Walder hunting with Theon. Keep in mind that BW does not use these terms or speak negatively of the Crannogmen. This is the clue George is giving us to figure out which Walder is hunting with Theon.

I don't think it is a stretch when you say that going hunting with Theon would be in BW's character. However, I think going hunting with Theon is more of a character trait of LW than BW. Remember, it is LW who attaches himself to Ramsay's posse and as Theon states "Little Walder had become Lord Ramsay’s best boy and grew more like him every day". LW going hunting with Theon is an attempt to attach himself to the dominant male. He does this later with Ramsay as well.

Also, Theon saying, "the smaller Frey was made of different stuff and seldom took part in his cousin’s games and cruelties" tells me that BW is more likely to do is own thing, rather than going hunting with everyone else. 

3 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

"Let me come too. I want that wolfskins cloak." A boy stepped forward, no older than Bran. It took Theon a moment to remember him. "I've hunted lots of times before," Walder Frey said, "Red deer and elk and even boars."

Also, saying he wants a woflskin shows his allegiance and that they have a common enemy in the starks

This a reach in my opinion. I think the reason LW says "I want that wolfskin cloak" is because Shaggydog bit LW earlier.

Bran I, CoK:

Quote

And still the direwolves howled. The guards on the walls muttered curses, hounds in the kennels barked furiously, horses kicked at their stalls, the Walders shivered by their fire, and even Maester Luwin complained of sleepless nights. Only Bran did not mind. Ser Rodrik had confined the wolves to the godswood after Shaggydog bit Little Walder, but the stones of Winterfell played queer tricks with sound, and sometimes it sounded as if they were in the yard right below Bran's window. Other times he would have sworn they were up on the curtain walls, loping round like sentries. He wished that he could see them.

 

3 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

I should note that the use of Wolfskin here is very similar to what LW says earlier about Summer. So it does support this being LW and not BW. I think this is the misdirection. There has to be things supporting it being LW and BW for it to be a mystery.

Not just saying things about Summer, but because Shaggydog bit him. I do not think this is a misdirection, I think it is another clue from George to tell us which Walder we are dealing with. Yes, George wants it to be a mystery. But it is a solveable mystery given the phrasing and characterization of both Walders.

I really enjoyed your OP, I just disagree with the hunting Walder. I think it fits LW's character and it obviously fits the way he talks. Great post though.

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27 minutes ago, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

@Aegon VII

Great analysis. I agree with almost everything on here. Big Walder is definitely not your average 9 year old (even Westerosi standards).

I have a few little questions/disagreements but one big one (see what did there?)  I think it was LW who went on the hunt with Theon. 

We have to remember that Theon does not even know there is a BW and LW. To Theon they are both "Walder Frey". This is how Theon is introduced to the Walders in Clash of Kings:

Maester Luwin does not let Theon know that one is recognized as LW and the other as BW. There is no reason for Theon to see LW and think "big one = LW, little one = BW". In Theon's mind they are both Walder Frey. 

 

I agree with you that George knew people would be trying to figure out which one went hunting.  Otherwise he would have mentioned the size one of the Walders so we would know who was who (whom?). However, I think keeping in character and correct on what each POV knows is more important to George. Again, Theon has no reason to know one was called LW and the other BW.

The mystery can be solved by analyzing the way this Walder speaks. You mention this

Why would we simply ignore the way this Walder speaks? IMO, it is the way George wants us to figure out which Walder this is.

A quick textual recap: 

again later:

In your text quotes the Walder mentions the same derogatory terms towards Crannogmen (frogeater, mudmen), so I don't think I need to post them again but you get the idea. Same language spoken by LW and our Walder hunting with Theon. Keep in mind that BW does not use these terms or speak negatively of the Crannogmen. This is the clue George is giving us to figure out which Walder is hunting with Theon.

I don't think it is a stretch when you say that going hunting with Theon would be in BW's character. However, I think going hunting with Theon is more of a character trait of LW than BW. Remember, it is LW who attaches himself to Ramsay's posse and as Theon states "Little Walder had become Lord Ramsay’s best boy and grew more like him every day". LW going hunting with Theon is an attempt to attach himself to the dominant male. He does this later with Ramsay as well.

Also, Theon saying, "the smaller Frey was made of different stuff and seldom took part in his cousin’s games and cruelties" tells me that BW is more likely to do is own thing, rather than going hunting with everyone else. 

This a reach in my opinion. I think the reason LW says "I want that wolfskin cloak" is because Shaggydog bit LW earlier.

Bran I, CoK:

 

Not just saying things about Summer, but because Shaggydog bit him. I do not think this is a misdirection, I think it is another clue from George to tell us which Walder we are dealing with. Yes, George wants it to be a mystery. But it is a solveable mystery given the phrasing and characterization of both Walders.

I really enjoyed your OP, I just disagree with the hunting Walder. I think it fits LW's character and it obviously fits the way he talks. Great post though.

Greetings OtherFromAnotherMother and thank you for the kind words. You moved forward a lot of the BW killing LW discussion that led me to revisiting this in the first place so I must thank you for that! I did see your response to the thread that discusses the hunt with Theon and since I was working on this I figured I'd wait and post this in it's entirety rather than posting a response before I had my points fleshed out.

Fair warning, I had a few drinks watching the Blues beat the Flyers tonight so I may be editing this tomorrow :)

Here we go!

Evidently we have arrived at opposite conclusions after reading the hunt that Theon has with Walder Frey. I'll start by saying this is exactly what GRRM wants to happen. There has to be evidence supporting each side for it to be a mystery. If it wasn't supposed to be a mystery than GRRM would have made it clear whom it was. So let's review the evidence for your side and mine.

Be aware: The formatting has gotten messed up and I can't fix it.

Pro LW:

"Let him. I always wanted a wolfskin cloak." - LW

"Let me come too. I want that wolfskins cloak."-WF

Here we see LW wanting a wolfskin. The unidentified Walder Frey uses similar language, also saying he wants a "wolfskin cloak".

Next we have the mean/bigoted comments.

"Bran heard Little Walder mutter, “Frogeaters,” to Big Walder beside him. Ser Rodrik climbed to his feet. “Be welcome, friends, and share this harvest with us.” Serving men hurried to lengthen the table on the dais, fetching trestles and chairs.

“Who are they?” Rickon asked.

“Mudmen,” answered Little Walder disdainfully. “They’re thieves and cravens, and they have green teeth from eating frogs.”"

and

" We won't find them," the Frey boy said suddenly, "not so long as the frogeaters are with them. Mudmen are sneaks, and won't fight like decent folks, they skulk and use poison arrows. You never see them, but they see you. Those who go into the bogs after them get lost and never come out. Their houses move, even the castles like Greywater Watch." He glanced nervously at greenery that encircled them on all sides. "They might be out there right now, listening to everything we say."

 

"Frogeaters don't smell like men," Frey insisted. "They have a boggy stink, like frogs and trees and scummy water. Moss grows under their arms in place of hair, and they can live with nothing to eat but mud and breathe swamp water."

So we have the use of the phrase "wolfskin cloak" as well as both of them showing a disdain towards crannogmen. We have to remember though, the Freys and Crannogmen are natural enemies and have a long history of fighting. Just because we hear LW use discriminatory language towards them first does not mean we should assume he is the only one who would use such language. As I mentioned, GRRM needs to have evidence supporting each side. Using simlar language is circumstantial/coincidental. It makes sense that cousins from the same place would have the same view of their enemies and would use similar language.

Pro BW.

The biggest thing is him writing the letter for Ramsay. If Ramsay knew LW from the hunt, what would make him have BW whom he didn't know write the letter? Especially since Ramsay ended up getting along better with LW.

It fits in with BW's pattern of making nice with the lord in charge. He become friends with Rickon and squire to Ramsay. Theon gets his manhood chopped off and BW and LW get to be squires. They obviously did something right.

On the hunt, WF tries to persuade everyone the hunt is fruitless immediately after Theon says they will keep looking. It may be coincidence, or it may be in line with BW's character, lying to suit his means. (This one may be reaching :) ) But if I'm going to reach, him killing a rabbit on the hunt supports it being BW. Big men like LW don't need to be good at archery, especially when on horseback which bran says BW is better at than LW. And since he says BW is better than LW at riding a horse, we know it's not a case of LW being big and an above average athlete. Usually it's just the opposite, of course they're a good athlete overall because of their size and strength. But... this allows them to not have to develp their fine motor skills and the other fine points of combat/ sports. LW being worse at riding a horse shows he's not an athlete, he's just big. And big dumb 8 year olds have no reason to be good at hunting rabbits.

Quote

We have to remember that Theon does not even know there is a BW and LW. To Theon they are both "Walder Frey". This is how Theon is introduced to the Walders in Clash of Kings:

Maester Luwin does not let Theon know that one is recognized as LW and the other as BW. There is no reason for Theon to see LW and think "big one = LW, little one = BW". In Theon's mind they are both Walder Frey. 

I recognize that Theon does not know their titles. My point is that LW is consistently portrayed as abnormally large. No matter who's POV it is, if they are looking at someone who is abnormally large, there is a good chance (or at least some chance) they would reference the persons large size, even if only internally. The fact that Theon does not think about this supports it being the normal size LW (I argue that LW is normal height, just skinny).

Quote

 

I agree with you that George knew people would be trying to figure out which one went hunting.  Otherwise he would have mentioned the size one of the Walders so we would know who was who (whom?). However, I think keeping in character and correct on what each POV knows is more important to George. Again, Theon has no reason to know one was called LW and the other BW.

The mystery can be solved by analyzing the way this Walder speaks. You mention this

Why would we simply ignore the way this Walder speaks? IMO, it is the way George wants us to figure out which Walder this is.

And here is the main point of our disagreement. I view this as evidence yes, but I believe the theory I presented makes more sense. It makes sense that GRRM would provide us with enough textual clues to assume it was LW. When we look closer though, the fact that they used the same language is terrible evidence. Now, narratively, it's great evidence. If an author chooses a character to use specific words and then another character uses similar words it is most likely for a reason and that reason is that they are connected. An example is Rowan and Umber both calling Theon "Kinslayer". This supports Rowan being an Umber. But for our situation, we have no reason to think that BW and LW wouldn't use similar language. Yes GRRM chose to have LW use the language. I view this as the misdirection. It is evidence, but it's coincidental and the evidence for BW outweighs it. It also makes this a great mystery!

Quote

A quick textual recap: 

again later:

In your text quotes the Walder mentions the same derogatory terms towards Crannogmen (frogeater, mudmen), so I don't think I need to post them again but you get the idea. Same language spoken by LW and our Walder hunting with Theon. Keep in mind that BW does not use these terms or speak negatively of the Crannogmen. This is the clue George is giving us to figure out which Walder is hunting with Theon.

I don't think it is a stretch when you say that going hunting with Theon would be in BW's character. However, I think going hunting with Theon is more of a character trait of LW than BW. Remember, it is LW who attaches himself to Ramsay's posse and as Theon states "Little Walder had become Lord Ramsay’s best boy and grew more like him every day". LW going hunting with Theon is an attempt to attach himself to the dominant male. He does this later with Ramsay as well.

Also, Theon saying, "the smaller Frey was made of different stuff and seldom took part in his cousin’s games and cruelties" tells me that BW is more likely to do is own thing, rather than going hunting with everyone else. 

This a reach in my opinion. I think the reason LW says "I want that wolfskin cloak" is because Shaggydog bit LW earlier.

Bran I, CoK:

 

Not just saying things about Summer, but because Shaggydog bit him. I do not think this is a misdirection, I think it is another clue from George to tell us which Walder we are dealing with. Yes, George wants it to be a mystery. But it is a solveable mystery given the phrasing and characterization of both Walders.

I really enjoyed your OP, I just disagree with the hunting Walder. I think it fits LW's character and it obviously fits the way he talks. Great post though.

So yeah, I think the core of your argument comes down to the Walder Frey in the hunt and LW using similar language. My argument is that two people the same age from the same place are going to use similar language to begin with, especially when speaking about their natural enemies, Crannogmen.

I argue there's more evidence supporting it being BW. It fits his pattern of making nice with the current lord, he writes the letter to Robb, etc.

Edited by Aegon VII
Hit enter halfway through my post, had to finish it

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I think Big Walder is focused on ruling the Twins, yes, but at the same time, I don't think he is inherently as sadistic and mean spirited as Little Walder.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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Another thing worth mentioning is that Big Walder's father, Jammos Frey, is the brother of Lothar Frey, who is commonly known as the smartest Frey. I wouldn't be surprised if the Freys descended from Alyssa Blackwood (including Lothar and Big Walder) were all slightly smarter and more cunning then the rest.

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12 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

I'll start by saying this is exactly what GRRM wants to happen. There has to be evidence supporting each side for it to be a mystery. If it wasn't supposed to be a mystery than GRRM would have made it clear whom it was.

I think we have different ideas of what kind of "mystery" this is. As discussed earlier, the only reason Theon does not call the hunting Walder by his name is because at this point in the story he does not know them by any other name besides Walder Frey. Period. 

Yes, George could have given it away rather easily by describing the size of the hunting Walder (big kid = LW, skinny kid = BW). George chose not to do this, but instead went with going by what kind of voice the kid has. 

I think we can agree that voice is very important to George. We can usually tell who is talking just by reading what they are saying. If a guy is talking about his huge member it's Tormund. If a dude wants to cut off your manhood and feed it to the goats it is Shagga. Arya says "stupid" all the time. Sandor talks a lot of shit about knighthood. I think you get my point. 

George has given LW a voice. This voice is different than BW's. BW does not talk shit about Meera and Jojen. LW is kind of a little shit and he talks openly about how much he hates Crannogmen. George even gives us this little nugget much later in Bran II, SoS:

Quote
"Sometimes the knights are the monsters, Bran. The little crannogman was walking across the field, enjoying the warm spring day and harming none, when he was set upon by three squires. They were none older than fifteen, yet even so they were bigger than him, all three. This was their world, as they saw it, and he had no right to be there. They snatched away his spear and knocked him to the ground, cursing him for a frogeater."
"Were they Walders?" It sounded like something Little Walder Frey might have done.

This is George reinforcing LW's voice. 

12 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

We have to remember though, the Freys and Crannogmen are natural enemies and have a long history of fighting. Just because we hear LW use discriminatory language towards them first does not mean we should assume he is the only one who would use such language.

It would not be a reach to say that BW probably feels the same way as LW in regards to Crannogmen. However, it is a reach to say that he would talk this way given that he does not talk this way anywhere in the books at all. 

12 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

As I mentioned, GRRM needs to have evidence supporting each side.

Again, I don't think George is trying to create this kind of "mystery". If this is BW hunting it would mean that George is going out of his way to make it seem like it is LW. Why would he do that? I don't recall any other instances from the books where he changes the person's voice to misdirect the reader.

12 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

It makes sense that cousins from the same place would have the same view of their enemies and would use similar language.

It would make sense if there were any other instances of BW talking this way, but there isn't. 

12 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

The biggest thing is him writing the letter for Ramsay. If Ramsay knew LW from the hunt, what would make him have BW whom he didn't know write the letter? Especially since Ramsay ended up getting along better with LW.

I think we agree that BW is the smarter of the two. Generally speaking, smarter people are better at reading/writing. This is especially true of 9 year olds, IMO. Also, LW is a Crakehall, known more for being good fighters (not that they can't be smart as well, but not what they are known for). I  think the most likely reason BW wrote the letter is because he is smarter. To say he wrote it to "get nice" with Ramsay is a reach. This us not supported by the text. 

12 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

It fits in with BW's pattern of making nice with the lord in charge. He become friends with Rickon and squire to Ramsay.

I don't see this pattern. In fact, making nice with the Lord fits LW more than BW given that it is LW who becomes one of Ramsay's boys, where BW does not.

12 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

The fact that Theon does not think about this supports it being the normal size LW (I argue that LW is normal height, just skinny).

BW is also a half foot shorter than than LW. I don't think there is any significance to Theon not remarking on the size of the hunting Walder. Not enough information here to conclude anything.

12 hours ago, Aegon VII said:

I view this as the misdirection. It is evidence, but it's coincidental and the evidence for BW outweighs it.

Why would George misdirect us here? A hunting trip with Theon? Not much significance, right? Also, are there any other instances where George deliberately misdirects us to thinking it is not who we think it is?

Also, I don't see any evidence for it fitting BW's character more than LW's. LW makes nice with Ramsay more than BW. It would make more sense that he would try to do the same with Theon. Using the letter to say that BW wrote it to get nice with Ramsay is a reach, not supported by the text at all.

Basically, the only evidence that BW tries to get close with a Lord is him writing the letter, but we don't really know why he was chosen to write it. I think it was probably because he is better at writing than LW. LW shows that he is more likely to get close with the Lord than BW by becoming one of Ramsay's boys.

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Also, the recipient of the letter, Lame Lothar, is BW's uncle. Lothar and Jamos (BW's father) are brothers from the same mother, a Blackwood. It makes sense that BW would write this letter because he is more closely related to Lame Lothar than LW. This, along with the other reasons I mentioned above.

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3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I think Big Walder is focused on ruling the Twins, yes, but at the same time, I don't think he is inherently as sadistic and mean spirited as Little Walder.

I agree. Big Walder strikes me as a miniature Tywin in terms of ambition and cunning but that is tempered by a humanity that Tywin lacks. Just look at his interactions with Theon in ADWD. Not only does Theon instinctively trust him but BW also doesn't make fun of him the way LW does in his first ADWD chapter when he is seen eating rats and moreover BW talks to Theon as though the latter is in fact a human being, not to mention that whole thing about him being made of different stuff than LW.

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Okay, @Aegon VII. I think I found something else that confirms it was LW hunting with Theon. After this I'm going to leave it alone. I don't want to turn your great OP into a "who went hunting?" post any more than I have already. Sorry for that...

But here goes. This is from Reek I, DwD:

Quote

The boys moved closer, the straw crunching softly under their feet. “Talk to me,” said one of them. He was the smaller of the two, a thin boy, but clever. “Do you remember who you are?”

Obviously this is BW. Notice Theon describes him as clever. 

Now notice the way Theon describes the Walder who goes hunting back in CoK:

Quote

Suddenly the wood seemed a deal darker than it had a moment before, as if a cloud had passed before the sun. It was one thing to have some fool boy spouting folly, but maesters were supposed to be wise. “The only children that concern me are Bran and Rickon,” Theon said. “Back to the stream. Now.”

Theon thinks of the hunting Walder as a "fool boy". Very different than clever, yes? Theon has distinguished the two Walders by their wits. BW = clever, LW = fool. 

This, along with the other evidence I mentioned above confirms it was LW who went hunting. I will leave the hunting issue aside now and look forward to participating in the other aspects of your OP. You make some great points that should be discussed more than the hunting part. LW being the hunter does not change the main points of your OP anyways. 

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Couple things here:

  • The primary contribution of this work, I think, is that it shows that BW is smart and capable.  I like seeing the good judgment he shows in those series of minor moments - good job.
  • I'm not sure that being ambitious and power hungry is a particularly noteworthy trait for a Frey; that's kind of a family trait.  All the Frey's seem pretty obsessed with the succession, I don't know that I agree that BW is unique in that regard.  At any rate, he is so far down the line of succession that I can't imagine it will ever matter.  I just took a look at the Frey family tree; at the time we meet BW and LW, LW is 36th in line to the Twins, and BW is 46th.  After all the Frey deaths that we know of, BW is around 35th in line to the Twins as of TWOW.
  • BW might be cunning, but he's not as learned as he claims.  Note that he cites Aegon Frey "and his sons" as preceding him in the line of succession - Aegon Frey, aka Jinglebell, had no sons, and no one would seriously have allowed him to rule the Twins in the first place, being simple-minded.  This may have just been a mistake by GRRM.
  •  I don't think anyone seriously disputes that BW killed LW - the wet blood vs frozen blood stuff has been analyzed to death.
  • I don't buy the psychopath stuff.  If he were a psychopath, he'd have joined in Ramsey's cruelties, no?

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1 hour ago, estermonty python said:

All the Frey's seem pretty obsessed with the succession, I don't know that I agree that BW is unique in that regard.

I agree. Many Freys are very obsessed with succession. However, it is interesting how knowledgeable BW is on the issue. Especially compared to his same aged cousin. LW is not knowledgeable compared to BW, as evidenced by 

Quote

Big Walder shrugged. "He was very old. Five-and-sixty, I think. Too old for battles. He was always saying he was tired."

Little Walder hooted. "Tired of waiting for our grandfather to die, you mean. Does this mean Ser Emmon's the heir now?"

"Don't be stupid," his cousin said. "The sons of the first son come before the second son. Ser Ryman is next in line, and then Edwyn and Black Walder and Petyr Pimple. And then Aegon and all his sons."

This could just be because BW is smarter in general, though.

1 hour ago, estermonty python said:

any rate, he is so far down the line of succession that I can't imagine it will ever matter.  I just took a look at the Frey family tree; at the time we meet BW and LW, LW is 36th in line to the Twins, and BW is 46th.  After all the Frey deaths that we know of, BW is around 35th in line to the Twins as of TWOW.

I don't think the likeliness of BW's ascension to Lord is what matters. I think it is his ambition and disregard for fellow family members that matters  especially when considering he is only 9. 

1 hour ago, estermonty python said:

BW might be cunning, but he's not as learned as he claims.  Note that he cites Aegon Frey "and his sons" as preceding him in the line of succession - Aegon Frey, aka Jinglebell, had no sons, and no one would seriously have allowed him to rule the Twins in the first place, being simple-minded.  This may have just been a mistake by GRRM.

He's not talking about Jinglebell. There is another Aegon Frey. Aegon "Bloodborn", son if Aenys. He has two sons.

1 hour ago, estermonty python said:

I don't buy the psychopath stuff.  If he were a psychopath, he'd have joined in Ramsey's cruelties, no?

I agree. Psychopath may not be the best word.

However, Theon remarks that "the smaller Frey was made of different stuff and seldom took part in his cousin’s games and cruelties." He is a different sort of kid, more of a loner perhaps. Cruel, of course, he kills his cousin after all. But a different sort cruel than LW and Ramsay's other boys.

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27 minutes ago, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

He's not talking about Jinglebell. There is another Aegon Frey. Aegon "Bloodborn", son if Aenys. He has two sons.

I think it's a mistake, personally. The quote from ACOK Bran V is:

Quote

Big Walder shrugged. "He [Stevron] was very old. Five-and-sixty, I think. Too old for battles. He was always saying he was tired."

Little Walder hooted. "Tired of waiting for our grandfather to die, you mean. Does this mean Ser Emmon's the heir now?"

"Don't be stupid," his cousin said. "The sons of the first son come before the second son. Ser Ryman is next in line, and then Edwyn and Black Walder and Petyr Pimple. And then Aegon and all his sons."

Stevron's children are Ryman (father of Edwyn, Black Walder, and Petyr Pimple), Aegon "Jinglebell", and Walton (father of Steffon and Bryan).

The next branch is that of Emmon, whose sons include Cleos (father of Tywin and Willem), Lyonel, Tion, and Red Walder.

Lord Walder's third son is Aenys, whose sons are the outlaw Aegon "Bloodborn" and Rhaegar (father of Robert and Jonos).

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1 hour ago, Nittanian said:

I think it's a mistake, personally. The quote from ACOK Bran V is:

Stevron's children are Ryman (father of Edwyn, Black Walder, and Petyr Pimple), Aegon "Jinglebell", and Walton (father of Steffon and Bryan).

The next branch is that of Emmon, whose sons include Cleos (father of Tywin and Willem), Lyonel, Tion, and Red Walder.

Lord Walder's third son is Aenys, whose sons are the outlaw Aegon "Bloodborn" and Rhaegar (father of Robert and Jonos).

You are right. My mistake, or George's?

ETA: I think it is more likely a mistake by George. At the point of the quote (CoK) we have not met Jinglebell yet. It might be possible that George had not yet decided that Jinglebell would be simple and childless. Maybe this was decided when he wrote CoK, the book where we meet Jinglebell. 

Second ETA: This makes sense considering BW refers to him as Aegon rather than Jinglebell. He is better known as Jinglebell.

Edited by OtherFromAnotherMother
ETA and Second ETA

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15 hours ago, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

You are right. My mistake, or George's?

ETA: I think it is more likely a mistake by George. At the point of the quote (CoK) we have not met Jinglebell yet. It might be possible that George had not yet decided that Jinglebell would be simple and childless. Maybe this was decided when he wrote CoK, the book where we meet Jinglebell. 

Second ETA: This makes sense considering BW refers to him as Aegon rather than Jinglebell. He is better known as Jinglebell.

This does read like a GRRM mistake - his characters almost never espouse wrong information unless there's a specific reason, and this is too minor a point to be anything but a mistake, IMO.

Interesting no one has ever found this before we did.  It seems to be a somewhat more glaring error than the sex of Dancer...

 

But even though its a moot point now, where are you getting that Bloodborn has 2 sons?  He looks to be childless from the tree I'm looking at - it's his brother Rhaegar that had 2 sons before he became pie.

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31 minutes ago, estermonty python said:

This does read like a GRRM mistake - his characters almost never espouse wrong information unless there's a specific reason, and this is too minor a point to be anything but a mistake, IMO.

I agree. It would also be extremely odd/out of character for BW to be wrong about it. I think every Frey would know that Jinglebell has no kids, especially BW. 

IMO, George had not yet decided that Aegon would be Jinglebell when he wrote CoK. 

34 minutes ago, estermonty python said:

Interesting no one has ever found this before we did.

This was your find! Well done. I always just skimmed over BW's succession breakdown assuming it was correct. I've always been terrible at keeping track of the Frey family tree. 

36 minutes ago, estermonty python said:

But even though its a moot point now, where are you getting that Bloodborn has 2 sons?  He looks to be childless from the tree I'm looking at - it's his brother Rhaegar that had 2 sons before he became pie.

Alas, I am embarrassed to admit I misread the wiki family tab. :blush: I was in a hurry to wrap up my post before heading to a meeting at work and saw Rhaegar's sons names directly underneath Aegon. Sorry. He doesn't have any sons. I'm going to quietly tip toe my way out of here now... 

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