Jump to content

Inconsistent titles of Walder Frey: father, grandfather or great grandfather?


Recommended Posts

The offsprings of Lord Walder Frey seemed to call him with variable titles. I'll list them below and provide a possible interpretation.

aSoS 35 Cat IV, Walder Rivers called him my grandfather, while he should use father.

aFfC 38 Jaime VI, Ryman Frey called him my lord grandfather, which suits their relationship.

aFfC 44 Jaime VII, Edwyn Frey called him my lord grandfather, while Jaime knew he was in fact Lord Walder's great grandson.

aSoS 49 Ser Aemon Rivers’s daughter Walda called him lord great grandfather, this is the sole appearance of great grandfather in all the books.

Jaime's thought of great grandfather and  Edwyn's calling of grandfather appeared in the same chapter, which exclude the possibility of mistakes. Therefore we may conclude that the offsprings of Lord Walder Frey generally call him grandfather, regardless of their actual positions in the family tree. The sole exception of Walda may be due to her infancy.


Yet strange things happened in ASoS 49 Cat VI, just before the Red Wedding.

First Black Walder used my grandfather, then Edwyn used my lord grandfather. These two fit the rule above well. 

Then Robb replied Edwyn, "Your lord father is most kind", right after Edwyn said my load grandfather!

Then Ryman said "If you would follow me, my father awaits."


I believe the two fathers are not mistakes. The first one revealed Robb's indifference to the Freys.The second one was Ryman's mockery. Just as another mockery in ASoS 51 Cat  VII


“Your sisters dance very well,” she said to Ser Ryman Frey, trying to be pleasant.

“They’re aunts and cousins.”

Therefore, in contrary of Robb's boast "I know the Freys", he knew little and less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice catch!

We know that Frey descendants keep track of their relationship to Lord Walder because we saw Little Walder and Big Walder engage in intense explanations of the order of heirs to the lordship. Others in the Frey family must also discuss this topic behind closed doors. So a misstatement would be caught and corrected, one would think.

The first thing that came to mind when I read the OP is Nan losing track or confusing which Bran was which when she tells stories to the Bran in the POV:

No one really knew how old she was, but his father said she'd been called Old Nan even when he was a boy. She was the oldest person in Winterfell for certain, maybe the oldest person in the Seven Kingdoms. Nan had come to the castle as a wet nurse for a Brandon Stark whose mother had died birthing him. He had been an older brother of Lord Rickard, Bran's grandfather, or perhaps a younger brother, or a brother to Lord Rickard's father. Sometimes Old Nan told it one way and sometimes another. (AGoT, Bran IV)

"I could tell you the story about Brandon the Builder," Old Nan said. "That was always your favorite."
Thousands and thousands of years ago, Brandon the Builder had raised Winterfell, and some said the Wall. Bran knew the story, but it had never been his favorite. Maybe one of the other Brandons had liked that story. Sometimes Nan would talk to him as if he were her Brandon, the baby she had nursed all those years ago, and sometimes she confused him with his uncle Brandon, who was killed by the Mad King before Bran was even born. She had lived so long, Mother had told him once, that all the Brandon Starks had become one person in her head. (AGoT, Bran IV)
At one or more points, Old Nan uses the word, "mayhaps," which has led to speculation that she might have been a Frey before her marriage. So maybe there is another hint in the incorrect references to Lord Walder, telling us that Nan is from that clan.
But I suspect that we are supposed to treat all of the Walders - possibly all of the Freys - as extensions of Lord Walder. When the two Frey Wards go to Winterfell, we are seeing the tentacles of Lord Walder himself playing in the gods wood, poking around in the crypt and sitting at the feast table. So the mixed-up references to Lord Walder could be a way to reinforce this clone-of-Walder symbolism - all Walders are part of the same, central Walder.
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Walder Frey himself clearly doesn't give a damn about his relationships with most of his dozens of offspring, only the handful that are clever enough to be useful and/or to cause trouble for the rest of the family. So, I could believe that he just calls them all his grandsons.

And it makes sense that, after a few decades, his family would just go along with it, at least in front of him. I'm pretty sure that if you corrected him, "But I'm your son, and Edwyn is only your great-grandson", Walder would laugh at you for thinking that matters. Of course behind closed doors, at least the clever ones know exactly where they come in the succession, but they might just pretend not to while old grandfather is around.

So, your idea seems plausible. More plausible than Edwyn, or GRRM, forgetting that Edwyn is a great-grandson, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There're a lot of Freys and Frey bastards. And we know names have been reused.


I think that if you're actually old man Walder Frey's child, you normally go with that, and otherwise, he's referred to as your grandparent. Because, honestly? There isn't that much in the way of a substantive difference for most of the Freys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Seams said:

Little Walder and Big Walder engage in intense explanations of the order of heirs to the lordship. 

Nice reminder. Merrett also got a clear picture of succession order.

6 hours ago, Seams said:

Old Nan uses the word, "mayhaps," which has led to speculation that she might have been a Frey before her marriage

There're 57 mayhaps' from dozens of mouths in the five books, only one from Old Nan. So I guess the mayhaps trick doesn't apply here.

It seems most mayhaps are from elders, such as Mormont, Cressen, Utherydes Wayn, Eustace Osgrey and Pycelle. Besides Lord Ward in his notorious mayhaps trick, Qyburn and Eustace Osgrey also said mayhaps thrice. But I don't think that's intentional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/11/2017 at 7:19 AM, Seams said:

Old Nan uses the word, "mayhaps," which has led to speculation that she might have been a Frey before her marriage.

Just found a SSM:  http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1353


When writing AGOT he had a lot of characters who used the word "mayhaps". His editor did not like the use of the word because he feared a "forsooth" would follow shortly. GRRM compromised by keeping the use of "mayhaps" for older characters, such as Aemon, but replaced it with "perhaps" and "maybe" for younger ones like Bran.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎9‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 3:34 AM, zionius said:

The offsprings of Lord Walder Frey seemed to call him with variable titles

This is a spectacular catch. What do you imagine in buried in this amazingly fertile and, as far as I can tell, virgin ground?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...