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Chris Mormont

Is Walder Frey the smartest man in Westeros?

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He could have captured Rob and the Northern host. After the Battle of Poitiers the French King was captured rather than executed. The same happened again at Pavia. It’s far from unprecedented.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Tyrion1991 said:

Walder could have earned far more money by capturing the Northern Lords and selling them as hostages. 

That was part of the plan. (I wonder if Tywin okd this and Jaime is taking advantage or if Tywin was always plotting) 

Quote

When you return to the Twins, please inform Lord Walder that King Tommen requires all the captives you took at the Red Wedding."

Ser Walder frowned. "These prisoners are valuable, ser."

"His Grace would not ask for them if they were worthless."

 

 

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

We get Robb's intention when he marches back in ASoS. He had no plans to defeat King Joffrey in the field.

Thats not the same as admitting defeat or suing for peace.

In fact before Robb went north he wrote his will, is this a man who doesnt think of the future of his kingdom? Furthermore he left his wife in the south, is that not proof that hes planning on returning?

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Because their king did not ask for their opinion. He asked them to witness his will and affix their seals to the parchment. That's not the same as them agreeing with his decision. Not to mention that this will was not supposed or expected to play a role in the near future. Robb had a wife and no intention of dying soon or without children. You can agree to such a succession settlement if you believe it is never going to play a role, anyway.

The other problem with the Jon solution is the simple fact that Robb's will has no impact on Jon's vows or the fact that he was a deserter who had joined the wildlings by the time Robb died. He was not at hand to take over for Robb when he was butchered.

Lords arent supposed to agree with their king because they dont think anything will happen, theyre supposed to because of honor and law and stuff. I mean, heirs mean something man. (Remember all of our Jaime discussions lol) Jon is the legal banner, and the only legal banner , who can take the mantle of King of the Trident (lol thats funny because of Rheagar). However i say again, Jons not the only one to get a fishes blood pumping. Hes got siblings who look like the young wolf come again.

That direwolf is something. It won Greatjon over the first time, I bet itll have a strong effect again. Like Dany thinking her men are hers like they were never Drogos. These beasts got pull, there's a certain romance to them (and the RW didnt help)

Ok, I mean? You know Jon wasnt a deserter right? Qhorin halfhand, yada yada yada, must not balk, yada yada yada. And its not like anyone would go and send the men Robb promised in exchange for Jon, because no one came, only Stannis and late.

But, you know, maybe this time he'll desert for real

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Lysa watched and did nothing while her kin was butchered in the Riverlands. She made her peace with the Iron Throne and remained part of the Seven Kingdoms. Either her troops would have helped to crush Robb's kingdom or she would have stood back and watched the Reach and the West and the Crownlands do it.

She made her peace when Petyr got his way, but as nuts as she was I really dont see her sending out her knights to invade the Riverlands

And im telling you bro, Eurons about to get elected and Myrcella attacked. This is not a game for, what are we at now, 5 lol.

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Lady Stoneheart is no longer Catelyn. She is a zombie with her memories - people fear and worship her for what she is, for the divine miracle that brought her back. Such a person should be able to do anything she wants. She is basically some sort of anti-Jesus.

But nobody said anything about murder. Just taking the reins of power. That's not the same thing. Do you think her brother or any of her children could stand against her? I don't think so.

Thats Cat. Poor lady. Cant even rip. But its Cat. Shes different, maybe distant. Like a lesser version of Cat. 

Beric was Beric. He asked Thoros in sincerity if hes his mom. Lol weird. He wasnt. The LL is just a cool reflective name, no different then LSH. 

Ah, not murder family. I can get on board with that (you see, zombies trying to kill their fams is zombie 101) Brynden wont do anything, probably just awkwardly smile, its little cat after all. Edmure, no, cant see it. (Though living with a noose around your neck can change a man, as can any one who experienced the RW, especially the groom, poor guy) uh, Rickon lets say no. Jon, maybe? Probably also lets say no. Bran, yea. Totally, kid just gotta show up (maybe for Rickon too) Cat would be overjoyed. Arya, of course, what scares her? (Though thats a lot) and then Alayne, I somehow think so. To become Sansa again is to acknowledge shes the North. Her name is politics, like Young Griffs or Hugor Hills. (And I suppose "no one")

But its not really up to the kids who arent there, is it? The lords who swore that Jon will be heir would join the BwB in a sec, but no one can truly acknowledge LSH as a long term plan (though if they're dumping Cat cuz shes a zombie, why look at Jon? Lol)

3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The only way for Robb to keep his crown and kingdom would have been to destroy the Baratheons completely. That way there would no longer be (convincing) pretenders to the Iron Throne. The best way would have been for him to take and burn KL, kill all the people there, tear down the Red Keep, destroy the Iron Throne, cover the land with salt. Make it look more accursed than Harrenhal. That way he could have had a chance to keep his crown.

But he doesn't even make an attempt to take KL or to remove Joffrey himself.

Lol Jesus. 

There's otherways. Once that aren't, lets say, so extreme. 

Robb was king, in acok he says he'll stop warring in exchange for hostages a sword and a sister. During this time the Riverlands and North paid their taxes to Robb (and we can assume btw that Lysa paid none to Joff). This is Robb being king.

As long as the enemy loses theyll eventually sue for peace. No need to wild out.

And that was Robbs plan. Defeat Jaime then Stafford and finally Tywin (only Edmure fucked it up by defeating Gregor and Tywin) 

Edited by Hugorfonics

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Not the smartest, but the most capable at teaching Kings to be faithfull to their words... Boy kings of the land should take note.

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19 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Thats not the same as admitting defeat or suing for peace.

He doesn't have to admit that he was beaten for us and the characters in the book to realize that he was beaten. And he does realize that he has fucked things up - with Jeyne, by not telling Edmure about his actual plans, but sending Theon to the Iron Islands, etc.

19 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

In fact before Robb went north he wrote his will, is this a man who doesnt think of the future of his kingdom? Furthermore he left his wife in the south, is that not proof that hes planning on returning?

His plans also didn't include being killed ... yet he was killed.

19 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Lords arent supposed to agree with their king because they dont think anything will happen, theyre supposed to because of honor and law and stuff. I mean, heirs mean something man. (Remember all of our Jaime discussions lol) Jon is the legal banner, and the only legal banner , who can take the mantle of King of the Trident (lol thats funny because of Rheagar). However i say again, Jons not the only one to get a fishes blood pumping. Hes got siblings who look like the young wolf come again.

You do know that you actually haven't read Robb's last will, right? George has gone on record saying that we should not pretend to know the contents because we don't know that. We know Robb wanted to make Jon his presumptive heir if he were to die without children of his own, but we don't know whether he actually did that. And we certainly do know that even if he did that he died before he could actually free Jon from his NW vows. While Jon is still a black brother - which he was when Robb died - he cannot be anyone's heir.

19 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Ok, I mean? You know Jon wasnt a deserter right? Qhorin halfhand, yada yada yada, must not balk, yada yada yada. And its not like anyone would go and send the men Robb promised in exchange for Jon, because no one came, only Stannis and late.

The point is that Robb's kingdom disappeared into nothingness precisely because Jon didn't know about this will and was't freed from his vows at the time Robb died. Instead he was a deserter riding with the wildlings when the Red Wedding took place.

19 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Ah, not murder family. I can get on board with that (you see, zombies trying to kill their fams is zombie 101) Brynden wont do anything, probably just awkwardly smile, its little cat after all. Edmure, no, cant see it. (Though living with a noose around your neck can change a man, as can any one who experienced the RW, especially the groom, poor guy) uh, Rickon lets say no. Jon, maybe? Probably also lets say no. Bran, yea. Totally, kid just gotta show up (maybe for Rickon too) Cat would be overjoyed. Arya, of course, what scares her? (Though thats a lot) and then Alayne, I somehow think so. To become Sansa again is to acknowledge shes the North. Her name is politics, like Young Griffs or Hugor Hills. (And I suppose "no one")

Catelyn's very appearance would sent her relations away screaming. She is a half-rotten corpse who speaks covering up her slashed throat. And she is basically controlling the entire anti-Lannister resistance in the Riverlands.

19 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

But its not really up to the kids who arent there, is it? The lords who swore that Jon will be heir would join the BwB in a sec, but no one can truly acknowledge LSH as a long term plan (though if they're dumping Cat cuz shes a zombie, why look at Jon? Lol)

Lol Jesus. 

Nobody swore that Jon would be heir. And nobody in the Riverlands has any internal motivation to follow some Stark bastard who lacks a claim to the Riverlands. 

19 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

There's otherways. Once that aren't, lets say, so extreme. 

Such extremes could have sent across his message. Anything else would have spoken with that clarity.

19 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Robb was king, in acok he says he'll stop warring in exchange for hostages a sword and a sister. During this time the Riverlands and North paid their taxes to Robb (and we can assume btw that Lysa paid none to Joff). This is Robb being king.

Right, and who cares whether Robb wants to stop his war? The Reach, the Stormlands, the Vale, and the Crownlands cannot be interested in there being a foreign kingdom in the heartland of Westeros. Even in peace time, 'King Robb's' Riverland domains would disrupt trade, the merchants wanting to move goods from the Vale to the West or from the Vale to the Crownlands or vice versa would have to pass through King Robb's territory.

People won't like that one bit. The Targaryens couldn't suffer it that Dorne remained independent for over a hundred years, and Dorne was not exactly an important or thriving part of the Seven Kingdoms. The Conqueror made an 'Eternal Peace' with Prince Nymor, but his descendants didn't give a damn about that.

Even if Robb somehow had been able to sign a peace treaty with Joffrey or Tommen the Iron Throne would have quickly broken that - but as things stand he even lacked the strength to do that.

19 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

And that was Robbs plan. Defeat Jaime then Stafford and finally Tywin (only Edmure fucked it up by defeating Gregor and Tywin) 

Robb knew he couldn't defeat the Lannisters. He hoped Stannis would take care of Joffrey and he hoped he could draw Tywin west to fight him there - but even if he had defeated the Lannisters he would have still not won or preserved his kingdom. Because - again: No Baratheon pretender would suffer the continued existence of his 'kingdom'. If doesn't destroy them all they would eventually defeat him. And both Renly and Stannis make it perfectly clear that they will.

Robb's kingdom is basically a boy playing with toys. He doesn't really understand what he is doing or how to keep what he thinks he has gained.

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On 6/18/2019 at 2:09 PM, Chris Mormont said:

 

Protecting his house doesn't require all these sons.  He has many sons because he's an over sexed lad in his youth.   Siding with the winners is the answer to keep his family safe.  He does that very well and he knows when to change sides.  

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

He doesn't have to admit that he was beaten for us and the characters in the book to realize that he was beaten. And he does realize that he has fucked things up - with Jeyne, by not telling Edmure about his actual plans, but sending Theon to the Iron Islands, etc.

His plans also didn't include being killed ... yet he was killed.

 

No one plans on getting murdered. He did plan however on returning south.

Robbs not perfect, still passed many characters expectations though. Just because some characters think Robb lost at Blackwater doesnt make it true. The more astute man would say Stannis lost at Blackwater. This too is not true.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

You do know that you actually haven't read Robb's last will, right? George has gone on record saying that we should not pretend to know the contents because we don't know that. We know Robb wanted to make Jon his presumptive heir if he were to die without children of his own, but we don't know whether he actually did that.

Really wanna debate that?

Im like 99.9% sure. (I think Cat would have brought it up, like, "oh btw thanks for choosing that random vale guy that no one knows at the last second")

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And we certainly do know that even if he did that he died before he could actually free Jon from his NW vows. While Jon is still a black brother - which he was when Robb died - he cannot be anyone's heir.

The point is that Robb's kingdom disappeared into nothingness precisely because Jon didn't know about this will and was't freed from his vows at the time Robb died. Instead he was a deserter riding with the wildlings when the Red Wedding took place.

Robb said something of sending 100 men to replace Jon. 

But this will all take place around now or later. Jon the heir is useless while Robb lives, only when Robbs will gets called into account must Jon leave the NW. 

Robbs kingdom has temporarily disappeared, thats why he created his will to begin with. Hes marching on Mount Cailin, dangerous stuff. Man, and kingdom, needs an heir if hes getting into danger. 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Catelyn's very appearance would sent her relations away screaming. She is a half-rotten corpse who speaks covering up her slashed throat.

Fear cuts deeper than swords

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

. And she is basically controlling the entire anti-Lannister resistance in the Riverlands.

:commie:

Bring out the rope

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Nobody swore that Jon would be heir. And nobody in the Riverlands has any internal motivation to follow some Stark bastard who lacks a claim to the Riverlands. 

Sure they did. 

Quote

He picked up a sheet of parchment. "One more matter. Lord Balon has left chaos in his wake, we hope. I would not do the same. Yet I have no son as yet, my brothers Bran and Rickon are dead, and my sister is wed to a Lannister. I've thought long and hard about who might follow me. I command you now as my true and loyal lords to fix your seals to this document as witnesses to my decision.

Strong words. Command. True and loyal. Fix your seals.

Looks legit to me bro.

And Jon does have a claim, these Riverlords just gave their stamp of consent.

Its like Lancel and Darry, are his ancestors from there? No. Does the king care? No.

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Such extremes could have sent across his message. Anything else would have spoken with that clarity.

Right, and who cares whether Robb wants to stop his war? The Reach, the Stormlands, the Vale, and the Crownlands cannot be interested in there being a foreign kingdom in the heartland of Westeros. Even in peace time, 'King Robb's' Riverland domains would disrupt trade, the merchants wanting to move goods from the Vale to the West or from the Vale to the Crownlands or vice versa would have to pass through King Robb's territory.

People won't like that one bit. The Targaryens couldn't suffer it that Dorne remained independent for over a hundred years, and Dorne was not exactly an important or thriving part of the Seven Kingdoms. The Conqueror made an 'Eternal Peace' with Prince Nymor, but his descendants didn't give a damn about that.

Even if Robb somehow had been able to sign a peace treaty with Joffrey or Tommen the Iron Throne would have quickly broken that - but as things stand he even lacked the strength to do that.

Robb knew he couldn't defeat the Lannisters. He hoped Stannis would take care of Joffrey and he hoped he could draw Tywin west to fight him there - but even if he had defeated the Lannisters he would have still not won or preserved his kingdom. Because - again: No Baratheon pretender would suffer the continued existence of his 'kingdom'. If doesn't destroy them all they would eventually defeat him. And both Renly and Stannis make it perfectly clear that they will.

Robb's kingdom is basically a boy playing with toys. He doesn't really understand what he is doing or how to keep what he thinks he has gained.

Tyrell and his cronies were quick enough to give Balon half the kingdom, think they draw the line at the Riverlands? I doubt it. Tyrion and Cersei considered this too. (And we all know Robb assumed the Vale was his) 

As long as Robb keeps winning and Baratheon keeps dying Robbs kingdom looks swell.

Greatjon said it nicely, we wed the dragons, and theyre dead. Balon saw true as well, the old way is back. The days of the despotic dragons flying to and from Kingslanding is the government of the past

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The smartest? Lord Walder is a cunning old man and he knows how to organize a bloodbath, but that doesn't make him the smartest man in Westeros. The reason why he has so many children and grandchildren is that he is a hedonist, whose main interest is seeking pleasure. One of the results is a huge family, and he pretends that it is something to be proud of, while at the same time, he regards his family members (sons, daughters, grandchildren, wives) as assets that he can use (and sacrifice) as he pleases, without caring about the individual fate or feelings of any of them.  Sure, he wants the advancement of his House, but that's mainly because it is his House, not because he is interested in the future of his family members after he is gone. Being as old as he is now, he probaly has only short-term goals, and the Red Wedding saved him from the Lannisters' revenge and satisfied his personal thirst for vengeance. Never mind what he did to his whole family in the long run or that he achieved it all by playing a cruel game with the fate of a girl of his own blood.  

I don't think Walder thinks of anything but his own pleasure, vanity and convenience, and, sure enough, he is quite successful at satisfying those goals. But they are lowly and simple goals, therefore pursuing them does not require special intelligence, only a comfortable position in life, a certain cunning and plenty of ruthlessness. So no, nothing indicates that Walder Frey would be especially smart by any standards, much less the smartest one.

 

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On ‎7‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 7:18 PM, Julia H. said:

The smartest? Lord Walder is a cunning old man and he knows how to organize a bloodbath ,but that doesn't make him the smartest man in Westeros.

He's likely not the smartest, but he's certainly smart. Not Maester smart, but certainly in Lordship terms. The only time the word intelligent is used in the entire book series is in regard to the ancient Walder

https://asearchoficeandfire.com/?q=intelligent

Walder has been in charge for House Frey for decades and either they have grown to become the most powerful House in that time or he has maintained that position, which is no easy feat, and has done so without royal favour or  support from the Lord of the Riverlands.

As for organizing a bloodbath, we know that it was Roose and Lothar who organized that. Furthermore Walder is ancient by their standards. He's 92 and he's only ever committed one 'bloodbath'. Had he died a few months earlier he'd have gone 91 years without ever committing a bloodbath, it seems odd that this should define his character and his more than half a century of rule.  

If anything the defining part of his rule is the fact that he has always been cautious about going to war.

On ‎7‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 7:18 PM, Julia H. said:

 

The reason why he has so many children and grandchildren is that he is a hedonist, whose main interest is seeking pleasure.

That is not really true. Robert is a hedonist, spending his time drinking and fucking and taking zero responsibility for his actions. Walder is not, quite the opposite, his dedication to family shows this.

And when he goes, everything will change, and not for the better. His father was querulous and stubborn, with an iron will and a wasp's tongue, but he did believe in taking care of his own. All of his own, even the ones who had displeased and disappointed him. Even the ones whose names he can't remember. Once he was gone, though . . .
When Ser Stevron had been heir, that was one thing. The old man had been grooming Stevron for sixty years, and had pounded it into his head that blood was blood
 
That is not the description of someone who is a hedonist. Robert, Tytos and even the small details we know about the Lord of Tarth all make them sound more like hedonists than Walder, even unmarried Edmure who spends his time in brothels and friends falls more into this category.
 
Walder Frey is a Lord in the middle ages of a population of hundreds of thousands. he does not need to marry to have sex.  He does not need to care for his bastards, he choses to do so.
 
The TV show is obviously not book cannon but GRRM clearly was closely involved in the first season and the Frey's looked more like stereotypical Puritans than hedonists. Even in the books we know of their wealth through the appendix, from Cat, from other characters and even from the Dunk and Egg series but in the Twins there is not signs of ostentatious spending, none of the Frey's, like Renly, Mace, or the Tywin and Jaime are clothed in particularly notable clothing (either expensive or cheap) and the only time Walder throws around cash is in dowries for his daughters, to pay the ransoms of his captured sons at Harrenhal and later with the BWB or to bribe the Household of White Harbour.  This is not the spending of a hedonist.
 
There are actual more plausible reasons why Walder has had so many wives and children
 
  1. He's ancient, no other Lord in the series is his age. His age and health is astounding, there are many cases of much younger Lords taking wives, maybe had some lived to Walder's age the likes of Hightower would have as many children as Walder does
  2. He was born in the era of the Great Spring Sickness and the draughts in the South, events that saw large amounts of the population dead. He lived in an era where Aegon the unlikely became King despite being 17th in line at one point. Beron Stark was the Lord of Winterfell while Walder was a child, he died young but still had 8 kids, many of whom also died young. Had Beron and his children were as healthy and long lived as Walder and his offspring were House Stark would be similarly as large.

 

I'm sorry, I just don't see how Walder's a hedonist.

 
 
On ‎7‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 7:18 PM, Julia H. said:

 

One of the results is a huge family, and he pretends that it is something to be proud of, while at the same time, he regards his family members (sons, daughters, grandchildren, wives) as assets that he can use (and sacrifice) as he pleases, without caring about the individual fate or feelings of any of them. 

Come on, that is wrong. Merret, who has been useless since a teenager since his injury, directly contradicts this. Merret worries about himself because Walder's heirs, Stevron's branch, do not share Walder and Stevron's ideals about family.

Of the captured nobles from the battle of Green Fork only Walder pays ransoms to release his family, both legitimate and bastard sons. His anger at the Twins about Robb offering an apology for a dead grandson also show how he's pissed at his family losses.

Yes he's old and blunt, but he clearly does care about his family. It seems an all too lazy stereotype that antagonists don't have any feelings for their family and only seen them as pawns, Merret's POV (himself one of the most useless Freys) contradicts this about Walder.

 

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On 7/28/2019 at 8:18 PM, Julia H. said:

The reason why he has so many children and grandchildren is that he is a hedonist, whose main interest is seeking pleasure. One of the results is a huge family, and he pretends that it is something to be proud of, while at the same time, he regards his family members (sons, daughters, grandchildren, wives) as assets that he can use (and sacrifice) as he pleases, without caring about the individual fate or feelings of any of them.  

Have we actually any evidence for this? My impression is that Walder Frey is actually one of the best noble fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, etc. we have gotten in the series so far. He doesn't beat his offspring into doing exactly what he wants them to do the way men like Tywin Lannister or Hoster Tully did with their relations, especially their daughters. He allows his numerous brood to live at the Twins, even the married children, he cares about the advancement of even the younger sons - the two Walders insignificant children, and he earlier even tried to make them or other descendants wards of Jon Arryn, he ensured some sons rose high in the Faith, and apprenticed others to Braavosi singers, etc.

On 7/28/2019 at 8:18 PM, Julia H. said:

Sure, he wants the advancement of his House, but that's mainly because it is his House, not because he is interested in the future of his family members after he is gone. Being as old as he is now, he probaly has only short-term goals, and the Red Wedding saved him from the Lannisters' revenge and satisfied his personal thirst for vengeance. Never mind what he did to his whole family in the long run or that he achieved it all by playing a cruel game with the fate of a girl of his own blood.  

He certainly cared more about he vengeance than his successors and family when he orchestrated the Red Wedding - he is a man finally exploding after a long life during which he suffered too many real or imagined slights from people as highborn like the Starks and, especially, the Tullys.

This is him no longer caring - but up until Robb publicly spat on him and his family Walder Frey usually seems to have had the well-being of his large family as well as the advancement of his house as his top priority.

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15 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

Walder has been in charge for House Frey for decades and either they have grown to become the most powerful House in that time or he has maintained that position, which is no easy feat, and has done so without royal favour or  support from the Lord of the Riverlands.

His power is mainly due to the geographical position of his castle, for which he must thank one of his ancestors. But he has looked after his inheritance all right - he was certainly clever enough to do that. 

26 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

He's likely not the smartest, but he's certainly smart. Not Maester smart, but certainly in Lordship terms. The only time the word intelligent is used in the entire book series is in regard to the ancient Walder

https://asearchoficeandfire.com/?q=intelligent

 

I followed your link, and it led me to a description of Loras Tyrell (as seen by Cat). Loras is the only character described with this word in the main series. Go figure! :D  (To be fair, in TWOIAF, Tywin is described as intelligent by Yandel.)

19 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

As for organizing a bloodbath, we know that it was Roose and Lothar who organized that. Furthermore Walder is ancient by their standards. He's 92 and he's only ever committed one 'bloodbath'. Had he died a few months earlier he'd have gone 91 years without ever committing a bloodbath, it seems odd that this should define his character and his more than half a century of rule.  

 

Walder may not have been the mastermind behind the Red Wedding. But, as the lord of the castle,  he had to orchestrate it and preside over it. Sure he could have died before he committed his worst action, but he didn't, and now his character (I don't know about his past decades, but his character definitely) is defined to a large extent by that fact - precisely because of the enormity of the atrocity even by Westerosi standards. ASOIAF is fiction, not real life, and the author shows us whatever he considers relevant for the story. We can imagine all sorts of other things in Walder's past that he could be defined by, the fact remains that in the actual book, he is the one who orchestrated the Red Wedding - and that is what the reader learns about him first and foremost. If, in the coming books, Walder shows great remorse about the mass killings, about the breaking of guest right or at least about what he did to his own daughter, I will reconsider my judgement of him.  

56 minutes ago, Bernie Mac said:

If anything the defining part of his rule is the fact that he has always been cautious about going to war.

It means he has been cunning enough to avoid answering the call of his overlord or to choose sides before the winner was known and get away with it. That does not make him especially intelligent, only cunning. Besides, we don't know how often he actually did that - or do we? - but the more often you play these tricks in that society, the more luck you need to really get away with it. Once or twice you can be "late" for battle, but after the fifth time, the trick is bound to become suspicious. Anyway, he didn't stay out of the War of the Five Kings. In fact, he was quite eager to sell himself for material advantage. It makes one think that his earlier caution may have been due to the circumstance that simply no one offered him the right price... 

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

That is not really true. Robert is a hedonist, spending his time drinking and fucking and taking zero responsibility for his actions. Walder is not, quite the opposite, his dedication to family shows this.

And when he goes, everything will change, and not for the better. His father was querulous and stubborn, with an iron will and a wasp's tongue, but he did believe in taking care of his own. All of his own, even the ones who had displeased and disappointed him. Even the ones whose names he can't remember. Once he was gone, though . . .
When Ser Stevron had been heir, that was one thing. The old man had been grooming Stevron for sixty years, and had pounded it into his head that blood was blood
 
That is not the description of someone who is a hedonist. Robert, Tytos and even the small details we know about the Lord of Tarth all make them sound more like hedonists than Walder, even unmarried Edmure who spends his time in brothels and friends falls more into this category.
 

He is certainly not the only hedonist in the series. And, of course, a nonagenarian hedonist is in many ways different from a hedonist of thirty something. 

Walder may have groomed an heir, but he had lots of other offspring, and he didn't succeed in creating a real, united family, where the family members could depend upon each other. The continuation of the quote above is this:

But Stevron had died whilst campaigning with the Young Wolf in the west—"of waiting, no doubt," Lame Lothar had quipped when the raven brought them the news—and his sons and grandsons were a different sort of Frey. Stevron's son Ser Ryman stood to inherit now; a thick-witted, stubborn, greedy man. And after Ryman came his own sons, Edwyn and Black Walder, who were even worse. "Fortunately," Lame Lothar once said, "they hate each other even more than they hate us."

That is also part of old Walder's legacy - hatred in the family - a rather poor achievement. Even Merrett can see this although he is not at all smart and was brought up in an environment where Walder's word was law and it wasn't customary to question what the head of the family did or said. If Walder was such a dedicated family man, he would have seen to it that his children and grandchildren grew up in an environment of mutual respect and love. In these matters, upbringing is key. I'm afraid that grooming Stevron may have meant (in the distant past, of course) quite literally pounding things into his head (as Merrett put it, with a rather telling choice of word). No surprise that Stevron could not pass on a legacy of love and respect and unity even to his own sons. 

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

Walder Frey is a Lord in the middle ages of a population of hundreds of thousands. he does not need to marry to have sex.  He does not need to care for his bastards, he choses to do so.

He allows them to live in the castle. He takes pride in having lots of offspring, and bastards are further proof of his virility. I think he also enjoys having power over his family, and the more of them there are whose existence entirely depends on him the better for his ego. We see how he treats his family members, and he quite visibly finds pleasure in humiliating them. It is also quite probable that Walder manipulates his various family members by using the rivalry and enmity between them.

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:
 
The TV show is obviously not book cannon but GRRM clearly was closely involved in the first season and the Frey's looked more like stereotypical Puritans than hedonists. Even in the books we know of their wealth through the appendix, from Cat, from other characters and even from the Dunk and Egg series but in the Twins there is not signs of ostentatious spending, none of the Frey's, like Renly, Mace, or the Tywin and Jaime are clothed in particularly notable clothing (either expensive or cheap) and the only time Walder throws around cash is in dowries for his daughters, to pay the ransoms of his captured sons at Harrenhal and later with the BWB or to bribe the Household of White Harbour.  This is not the spending of a hedonist.
 

I don't watch the TV show, so whatever. As for book Freys being Puritans... The Tyrells, Lannisters and Baratheons are high lords / royal family, it is not surprising that they have much more luxury than the Freys. Besides, I don't think Walder's hedonism extends to cover similar tendencies in his whole family. I think Lord Walder has all his creature comforts and the rest of the family should be thankful to have food and whatever he deigns to give them. Dowries and ransoms and bribes... that's probably the standard expenditure of Heads of Houses in Westeros. Hardly unique (provided that there is money to spend, of course). 

1 hour ago, Bernie Mac said:

There are actual more plausible reasons why Walder has had so many wives and children

 
  1. He's ancient, no other Lord in the series is his age. His age and health is astounding, there are many cases of much younger Lords taking wives, maybe had some lived to Walder's age the likes of Hightower would have as many children as Walder does
  2. He was born in the era of the Great Spring Sickness and the draughts in the South, events that saw large amounts of the population dead. He lived in an era where Aegon the unlikely became King despite being 17th in line at one point. Beron Stark was the Lord of Winterfell while Walder was a child, he died young but still had 8 kids, many of whom also died young. Had Beron and his children were as healthy and long lived as Walder and his offspring were House Stark would be similarly as large.

 

I'm sorry, I just don't see how Walder's a hedonist.

 

If you say so...

His wives died at a fast rate though, while Walder was thriving, and when we see how he treats the current one, we can easily tell that her status is not that of a respected lady of a noble House. She is being used and she is terrified, and we can guess what she can expect after Walder's death. (I know, Ramsay is worse, but that doesn't make Walder a caring husband.)  

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

 

Come on, that is wrong. Merret, who has been useless since a teenager since his injury, directly contradicts this. Merret worries about himself because Walder's heirs, Stevron's branch, do not share Walder and Stevron's ideals about family.

Of the captured nobles from the battle of Green Fork only Walder pays ransoms to release his family, both legitimate and bastard sons. His anger at the Twins about Robb offering an apology for a dead grandson also show how he's pissed at his family losses.

 

But that's it, they didn't manage to pass on any "ideals" to their family members. Merrett knows that after Walder is gone, Freys will be killing Freys, and he probably will not have a place in the family home any longer. (And maybe he also suspects that being a Frey outside the Twins will not be the best position in this world either.) Of course, Walder's regime is preferable to that, but it does not mean it is good. Merrett simply does not know better. 

2 hours ago, Bernie Mac said:

Yes he's old and blunt, but he clearly does care about his family. It seems an all too lazy stereotype that antagonists don't have any feelings for their family and only seen them as pawns, Merret's POV (himself one of the most useless Freys) contradicts this about Walder.

 

Unfortunately, that is how he is depicted. The very first time we meet him, he boasts: 

"I'll match you son for son, and I'll still have eighteen when yours are all dead."

And:

"I'll match him son for son, and I'll still have nineteen and a half left when all of his are dead!"

Why does the writer give these words (two very similar statements in the same scene) into this character's mouth the very first time we meet him? He is talking about the death of sons and how he will still have enough left. That's not a man who appreciates his sons for their individual worth or personal qualities. He boasts about their numbers. He regards the size of his family as a valuable asset, so, of course, he gathers and keeps them around himself. But he does use them as pawns - just ask Roslin. She is definitely used as a pawn and sacrificed to carry out the Red Wedding. And she is not a distant relation but Walder's own daughter. Her story clearly shows that Walder does not shrink from using his family members as pawns. Also, with the Red Wedding, Walder has forfeited the reputation of his House as a decent family. Basically, he is going to leave behind a family whose various members hate each other and are likely to start killing each other at the first opportunity, and a family no one (who has a choice) will dare or want to ally with or marry into. (And not because every single Frey is evil, by the way.) There is every chance that breaking guest right and kinslaying will be the two characteristics the Freys will be associated with, and Walder is responsible for it. A spectacular failure for a supposedly intelligent and family-centred lord.  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

<snip>

Even if we discount the Red Wedding, I wouldn't like to be one of Walder Frey's family members. That castle is a nest of vipers, and what I have actually seen of Walder is very far away from my idea of a caring father / grandfather etc. (even within the ASOIAF context). But each to his own. 

Edited by Julia H.

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9 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Even if we discount the Red Wedding, I wouldn't like to be one of Walder Frey's family members. That castle is a nest of vipers, and what I have actually seen of Walder is very far away from my idea of a caring father / grandfather etc. (even within the ASOIAF context). But each to his own. 

Walder is not responsible for his descendants not being perfect people. Yet he still doesn't throw any of them out, not even his bastard children which he obviously treats much better than, say, the haughty Tullys who, if we consider Cat's thoughts of Jon, would never have a man like Walder Rivers in the position he is in.

Nobody said Walder was anybody's ideal picture of an ideal father or grandfather, but if we break it down to what fathers do Walder is actually pretty considering that he protects and cares for his family no matter what - unlike the fathers I already mentioned. But you can also take a guy like Yohn Royce whose son has been forced to earn a living as Renly's crony - something not even the least promising Frey son didn't have to do. Walder even gives his mentally disabled grandson Aegon Jinglebell a pretty prominent place at his court.

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24 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Walder is not responsible for his descendants not being perfect people. Yet he still doesn't throw any of them out, not even his bastard children which he obviously treats much better than, say, the haughty Tullys who, if we consider Cat's thoughts of Jon, would never have a man like Walder Rivers in the position he is in.

Oh, no, not for that! LOL. It's not about "not being perfect people". No one is. But as the head of the family with practically absolute power (within the walls of his house), he is responsible for the state in which his family is, and that's much worse than just "not being perfect people". 

Quote

Nobody said Walder was anybody's ideal picture of an ideal father or grandfather, but if we break it down to what fathers do Walder is actually pretty considering that he protects and cares for his family no matter what - unlike the fathers I already mentioned. But you can also take a guy like Yohn Royce whose son has been forced to earn a living as Renly's crony - something not even the least promising Frey son didn't have to do. Walder even gives his mentally disabled grandson Aegon Jinglebell a pretty prominent place at his court.

Far from ideal. Sorry, I still don't think what he does for his family is for the right reasons. And (discounting war, Red Wedding and LS now) when he is dead, most of those Freys will be kicked out of the Twins (if not killed) by other Freys, and I guess many of them will have a hard time figuring out how to find a decent means of living after being brought up in the viper's nest.   

Edited by Julia H.

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3 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Oh, no, not for that! LOL. It's not about "not being perfect people". No one is. But as the head of the family with practically absolute power (within the walls of his house), he is responsible for the state in which his family is, and that's much worse than just "not being perfect people". 

There are both good and bad Freys - the good ones are all absent during the Red Wedding. Walder is responsible as much for the bad apples as he is for the good apples. And while the narrator has the various characters constantly beat down on the Freys for their weasel-like appearances (which certainly is a rather underhanded move to establish sympathy and antipathy by means of good or bad looks) he also has there to be good and bad Freys.

3 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Sorry, I still don't think what he does for his family is for the right reasons. And (discounting war, Red Wedding and LS now) when he is dead, most of those Freys will be kicked out of the Twins (if not killed) by other Freys, and I guess many of them will have a hard time figuring out how to find a decent means of living after being brought up in the viper's nest.   

It is not really necessary for him to do something good for the right reasons if an action is nevertheless good and right. And the positive qualities Walder Frey has revolve around him being actually a good caretaker of his family. What happens after his death is beyond his control, that goes without saying.

I'm not sure it is all that accurate to describe the Twins as a 'viper's nest' - one certainly has so many half-siblings and other kin there that one cannot trust or get along with all of them, but we don't hear anything about the half-siblings killing or abusing each other, do we? The Freys are a very rich family, but there certainly are limited resources so it is quite clear that they would all vie for the old man's attention and favor.

 

And, again, Walder Frey takes better care of all his bastards than even Eddard Stark. He is not ashamed of them and has them at his court the same way he has his other children. Ned sent Jon to the Wall. None of Walder's bastards seems to feel so unwelcome at his father's castle to prefer the NW to his own home.

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2 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

There are both good and bad Freys - the good ones are all absent during the Red Wedding. Walder is responsible as much for the bad apples as he is for the good apples. And while the narrator has the various characters constantly beat down on the Freys for their weasel-like appearances (which certainly is a rather underhanded move to establish sympathy and antipathy by means of good or bad looks) he also has there to be good and bad Freys.

Again, it is the state of the whole family he is responsible for. And it means mistrust, rivalry and hostility. That's what we are repeatedly told. Unfortunately, the good Freys may be tied up in the atmosphere of mistrust, rivalry and hostility just as much as the bad ones. 

2 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It is not really necessary for him to do something good for the right reasons if an action is nevertheless good and right. And the positive qualities Walder Frey has revolve around him being actually a good caretaker of his family. What happens after his death is beyond his control, that goes without saying.

I didn't say he was doing something good for the bad reasons. I said he was looking after his family members for the wrong reasons. Not in order to make them independent and successful human beings but for his own ends. A slave owner also looks after his slaves - but for the wrong reasons, because they are his. That is not a "good and right action". And Walder is responsible for what happens after his death if he has planted the seeds of what's going to happen. The Red Wedding will have long-term consequences, and Walder is responsible for them regardless whether he is dead or alive. 

2 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

I'm not sure it is all that accurate to describe the Twins as a 'viper's nest' - one certainly has so many half-siblings and other kin there that one cannot trust or get along with all of them, but we don't hear anything about the half-siblings killing or abusing each other, do we? The Freys are a very rich family, but there certainly are limited resources so it is quite clear that they would all vie for the old man's attention and favor.

Little Walder and Big Walder have some quite enlightening conversation in this respect. 

2 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

 

And, again, Walder Frey takes better care of all his bastards than even Eddard Stark. He is not ashamed of them and has them at his court the same way he has his other children. Ned sent Jon to the Wall. None of Walder's bastards seems to feel so unwelcome at his father's castle to prefer the NW to his own home.

Well, Jon was also brought up the same way as Eddard's other children - he received the same education, lived in the same castle and he actually formed a bond of love with the trueborn sons. (And, of course, Ned's "shame" about Jon is a ruse to keep his identity secret.) Jon joined the NW at least partly out of ambition, and the only person who made him feel unwelcome at home was not Eddard but Catelyn, which hurt him especially because he didn't know anything about his own mother. Yet, his father remained as a role model and point of reference to him, and he has always been proud to be Eddard Stark's son and / or wanted to be worthy of his father. I doubt that any of the decent Freys will be especially proud of being Walder's descendants now.  

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3 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Again, it is the state of the whole family he is responsible for. And it means mistrust, rivalry and hostility. That's what we are repeatedly told. Unfortunately, the good Freys may be tied up in the atmosphere of mistrust, rivalry and hostility just as much as the bad ones. 

It is not established that Walder could have created a different atmosphere in a castle as crowded as the Twins. I also don't see how anyone could instill non-ambition in family of noble blood in this world. They are all entitled and desire advancement - just think of Catelyn insisting Ned become Hand and marry his daughter to the Crown Prince.

3 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

I didn't say he was doing something good for the bad reasons. I said he was looking after his family members for the wrong reasons. Not in order to make them independent and successful human beings but for his own ends. A slave owner also looks after his slaves - but for the wrong reasons, because they are his. That is not a "good and right action". And Walder is responsible for what happens after his death if he has planted the seeds of what's going to happen. The Red Wedding will have long-term consequences, and Walder is responsible for them regardless whether he is dead or alive. 

Living independently means that your life sucks in this world. Noble family and clans work with a patriarch heading them and using their family members as human capital in their marriage alliances, bids for thrones, etc. For instance, Eddard Stark does not train Brandon to become his own man, to do what he wants, etc. - he trains him to rule a keep in Robb's name one day.

Walder certainly is responsible for the fallout of the Red Wedding - and I said already that he clearly abandoned his 'caring for his family' routine (something actually reinforced by the Small Council in AFfC when they mention that Lord Walder never consent to blame some of his descendants for the Red Wedding because he is very protective of his family) when he chose to gave in to his anger and arrange the slaughter feast.

If there had been no Red Wedding Walder is as responsible what his heir Stevron would have done to his many relations as Robert was responsible for what Joffrey did to Ned, or Aegon I is responsible what Maegor did to Aegon's grandchildren.

3 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Little Walder and Big Walder have some quite enlightening conversation in this respect.

They certainly paint an interesting picture of their home, but these two are all very different people - one is a pretty decent boy and the other isn't.

3 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

Well, Jon was also brought up the same way as Eddard's other children - he received the same education, lived in the same castle and he actually formed a bond of love with the trueborn sons. (And, of course, Ned's "shame" about Jon is a ruse to keep his identity secret.) Jon joined the NW at least partly out of ambition, and the only person who made him feel unwelcome at home was not Eddard but Catelyn, which hurt him especially because he didn't know anything about his own mother. Yet, his father remained as a role model and point of reference to him, and he has always been proud to be Eddard Stark's son and / or wanted to be worthy of his father. I doubt that any of the decent Freys will be especially proud of being Walder's descendants now.  

Ned is responsible for permitting Catelyn to treat Jon the way she did, isn't he? He was unable to create an atmosphere where Jon would not want to leave, and he was himself unwilling to take Jon with him to court - which he could have done.

We are not talking how the Freys view Walder post-Red Wedding - we are talking about Walder's general positive qualities which essentially bottle down to him being really a pretty good family man until the Red Wedding. Aside from that there is little positive about Walder (aside from, perhaps, his sense humor which is pretty funny at times) but it is really clear that George wanted to send the message that this guy is a caring father, grandfather, etc.

And if you contrast things to how Hoster Tully, Yohn Royce, Tywin Lannister, etc. treat their children he comes out as pretty good. Even Doran Martell sucks by comparison - Walder wanted his sons to be fostered with great lords, Doran threw old men at Arianne as possible husbands, allowing herself to feel humiliated in the process.

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4 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

It is not established that Walder could have created a different atmosphere in a castle as crowded as the Twins. I also don't see how anyone could instill non-ambition in family of noble blood in this world. They are all entitled and desire advancement - just think of Catelyn insisting Ned become Hand and marry his daughter to the Crown Prince.

Living independently means that your life sucks in this world. Noble family and clans work with a patriarch heading them and using their family members as human capital in their marriage alliances, bids for thrones, etc. For instance, Eddard Stark does not train Brandon to become his own man, to do what he wants, etc. - he trains him to rule a keep in Robb's name one day.

It's because there was every chance that Brandon would indeed have that keep to run. And I didn't mean independence as being a free-lance journalist, but being able to establish some sort of existence within your possibilities apart from waiting for your siblings to die (or maybe promoting their deaths). The castle wasn't crowded without a reason. Walder should have realized that with every new marriage he would be creating children he would have to give a future to - just feeding them wouldn't be enough.  

4 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

If there had been no Red Wedding Walder is as responsible what his heir Stevron would have done to his many relations as Robert was responsible for what Joffrey did to Ned, or Aegon I is responsible what Maegor did to Aegon's grandchildren.

Robert is certainly responsible for Joffrey. The fact that he had been deceived by Cersei and that Cersei probably (consciously or subconsciously) helped to prevent any real bond forming between them complicates the picture, but Robert actually admits he feels responsible for what Joff has become. Aegon and Maegor - I guess a lot depends on how much black magic we believe went into creating Maegor's character, but in general, parents are responsible for what sort of children they bring up (obviously, I'm not talking about heritable diseases), and the more empowered they are, the bigger their responsibility is. 

4 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

They certainly paint an interesting picture of their home, but these two are all very different people - one is a pretty decent boy and the other isn't.

"Out of the mouth of babes..." :(

4 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Ned is responsible for permitting Catelyn to treat Jon the way she did, isn't he? He was unable to create an atmosphere where Jon would not want to leave, and he was himself unwilling to take Jon with him to court - which he could have done.

I think we both know why he didn't take Jon to court. We also know - from Catelyn - that he did far more for his bastard than was usual. It is true that he failed to reconcile Catelyn to the situation of Jon being in Winterfell, but Catelyn was a grown-up person, not someone Eddard was bringing up, her formative years long gone by the time they got married. Eddard couldn't be responsible for Catelyn's character in the way a parent is responsible for the character of the child he is bringing up. Thanks to Eddard, Jon received not only food and shelter but (despite Catelyn) parental, brotherly and sisterly love, education, character and a sense of loyalty to the Starks, bastard as he was. The path that he chose for himself may not have been easy but it was an honourable one and in accordance with respectable family traditions.      

4 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

We are not talking how the Freys view Walder post-Red Wedding - we are talking about Walder's general positive qualities which essentially bottle down to him being really a pretty good family man until the Red Wedding. Aside from that there is little positive about Walder (aside from, perhaps, his sense humor which is pretty funny at times) but it is really clear that George wanted to send the message that this guy is a caring father, grandfather, etc.

Aaah... 

Still not my idea of a caring Dad. Not even in Westeros.

4 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

And if you contrast things to how Hoster Tully, Yohn Royce, Tywin Lannister, etc. treat their children he comes out as pretty good. Even Doran Martell sucks by comparison - Walder wanted his sons to be fostered with great lords, Doran threw old men at Arianne as possible husbands, allowing herself to feel humiliated in the process.

Well, Walder didn't throw old men at his sons as possible husbands, so far I can agree.

But let's see:

Martell was working to make his daughter a queen. She was allowed to refuse every single old man she didn't like. 

Walder used his daughter as bait, marrying her off to a man they all knew would be a prisoner by the end of the "feast", allowing her to feel scared, terribly unhappy and probably even humiliated for being used as though she was a tool without feelings. 

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3 hours ago, Julia H. said:

It's because there was every chance that Brandon would indeed have that keep to run. And I didn't mean independence as being a free-lance journalist, but being able to establish some sort of existence within your possibilities apart from waiting for your siblings to die (or maybe promoting their deaths). The castle wasn't crowded without a reason. Walder should have realized that with every new marriage he would be creating children he would have to give a future to - just feeding them wouldn't be enough.  

It is quite clear that fertility is seen as a virtue in and of itself in Westeros, just as it was in the middle ages of our world - and still is in many cultures. Jaehaerys and Alysanne had thirteen children for the same reason.

I honestly don't understand how a member of the nobility should be able to make a career as his own person in this world. You are your name. If you don't have a name you are nothing - or you have given it up to become a septon or maester. Training your sons at arms and then condemn them to make a living as a sellsword or sworn sword is not the way nobility advance themselves. 

3 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Robert is certainly responsible for Joffrey. The fact that he had been deceived by Cersei and that Cersei probably (consciously or subconsciously) helped to prevent any real bond forming between them complicates the picture, but Robert actually admits he feels responsible for what Joff has become.

No, Robert is not responsible for Joffrey's actions as king. Joffrey is his own person, he is not an extension of his dad. Robert certainly could have been a better father, but there is little to no indication that whatever was wrong with Joffrey is supposed to be from nurture. The kind of sadistic tendencies (his desire to hurt Mycah, for instance) are nothing Robert or Cersei are responsible - not to mention that they weren't exactly wasting their times with hanging out with their children, anyway. They are royalty, they have tutors and maesters and servants and wetnurses and septons and septas to bring up their children. If Joff became a bad apple because of his upbringing than his parents are not really all that responsible for that.

3 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Aegon and Maegor - I guess a lot depends on how much black magic we believe went into creating Maegor's character, but in general, parents are responsible for what sort of children they bring up (obviously, I'm not talking about heritable diseases), and the more empowered they are, the bigger their responsibility is. 

Aegon the Conqueror had nothing to do with Maegor's decision to usurp the throne or to persecute his grandchildren. And Aenys and Maegor are actually strong examples for how George doesn't really cares much about nurture. Maegor was basically born with sadistic tendencies, very much like Joffrey, and the example of the just Conqueror who was neither a sadist nor particularly cruel in his judgment did nothing to temper Maegor. Vice versa, Aegon's determination and example as a strong and stern leader did nothing to instill Aegon's strength in Aenys - despite the fact that Aenys spent a lot of time with the Conqueror.

We also see this with Cersei's children - Joff is a bad apple, but Tommen is kind and unimpressive and Myrcella is gentle and clever. They all must have gotten pretty much the same nurturing and education.

3 hours ago, Julia H. said:

I think we both know why he didn't take Jon to court.

His motivations aside, it shows he sucked as a father. We also see this tendency when he doesn't really talk to Sansa about anything. He tries to protect his children but at the price of not properly preparing them for the things that are coming. He should have dissolved Sansa's betrothal after the Mycah incident - because it would have been crystal clear to anybody who can see that neither Joffrey nor Cersei would ever forget this public humiliation, and as Joff's eventual husband Sansa would be at his mercy.

3 hours ago, Julia H. said:

We also know - from Catelyn - that he did far more for his bastard than was usual. It is true that he failed to reconcile Catelyn to the situation of Jon being in Winterfell, but Catelyn was a grown-up person, not someone Eddard was bringing up, her formative years long gone by the time they got married. Eddard couldn't be responsible for Catelyn's character in the way a parent is responsible for the character of the child he is bringing up. Thanks to Eddard, Jon received not only food and shelter but (despite Catelyn) parental, brotherly and sisterly love, education, character and a sense of loyalty to the Starks, bastard as he was. The path that he chose for himself may not have been easy but it was an honourable one and in accordance with respectable family traditions.      

Ned is Cat's lord husband. He runs Winterfell and the North and his family. He could have commanded her to treat Jon exactly the same way as her own children. He couldn't have forced her to love him the same way, but he could have made her to try.

Walder Frey treated his bastards measurably better.

3 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Aaah... 

Still not my idea of a caring Dad. Not even in Westeros.

Your idea of a caring dad seems to be based far too much on modern concepts.

3 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Well, Walder didn't throw old men at his sons as possible husbands, so far I can agree.

But let's see:

Martell was working to make his daughter a queen. She was allowed to refuse every single old man she didn't like. 

Sure, but this caused a rift between them that nearly ruined all of Doran's plans and actually caused Myrcella to be disfigured.

3 hours ago, Julia H. said:

Walder used his daughter as bait, marrying her off to a man they all knew would be a prisoner by the end of the "feast", allowing her to feel scared, terribly unhappy and probably even humiliated for being used as though she was a tool without feelings. 

That is just one child - and as terrible as the Red Wedding may have been for Roslin, she still got her trout and they are actually happy with each other. Walder actually made Roslin happy - and she was, of course, as much a willing participant in the Red Wedding as Merrett Frey.

Who actually also counts as a son Walder cared for. He was basically a semi-halfwit after his knock on the head, yet his father didn't force him to leave the Twins, did he?

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

It is quite clear that fertility is seen as a virtue in and of itself in Westeros, just as it was in the middle ages of our world - and still is in many cultures. Jaehaerys and Alysanne had thirteen children for the same reason.

Yes, it is a virtue. It just doesn't make you that awesome a person as Walder is making himself out to be exclusively on account of having lots of kids. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

I honestly don't understand how a member of the nobility should be able to make a career as his own person in this world. You are your name. If you don't have a name you are nothing - or you have given it up to become a septon or maester. Training your sons at arms and then condemn them to make a living as a sellsword or sworn sword is not the way nobility advance themselves. 

So should your sons advance themselves by killing their older brothers? What kind of father can accept this idea? (Roose Bolton can.) 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

No, Robert is not responsible for Joffrey's actions as king. Joffrey is his own person, he is not an extension of his dad. Robert certainly could have been a better father, but there is little to no indication that whatever was wrong with Joffrey is supposed to be from nurture. The kind of sadistic tendencies (his desire to hurt Mycah, for instance) are nothing Robert or Cersei are responsible - not to mention that they weren't exactly wasting their times with hanging out with their children, anyway. They are royalty, they have tutors and maesters and servants and wetnurses and septons and septas to bring up their children. If Joff became a bad apple because of his upbringing than his parents are not really all that responsible for that.

Not spending time with their children does not absolve parents of responsibility, quite on the contrary. Robert knew what kind of person Joffrey was growing up to be - if he tried to change those tendencies, he failed - and it happens. If he never tried, it's much worse, especially since Joffrey was going to be a king. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon the Conqueror had nothing to do with Maegor's decision to usurp the throne or to persecute his grandchildren. And Aenys and Maegor are actually strong examples for how George doesn't really cares much about nurture. Maegor was basically born with sadistic tendencies, very much like Joffrey, and the example of the just Conqueror who was neither a sadist nor particularly cruel in his judgment did nothing to temper Maegor. Vice versa, Aegon's determination and example as a strong and stern leader did nothing to instill Aegon's strength in Aenys - despite the fact that Aenys spent a lot of time with the Conqueror.

Sure, there are problems that are innate and cannot be changed - call it genes or black magic. If Joff was born a psychopath, I agree that his character is not the result of upbringing. I said before that parents are not responsible for everything. I disagree that GRRM doesn't care about nurture though. There is nature and there is nurture. Both count.   

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

We also see this with Cersei's children - Joff is a bad apple, but Tommen is kind and unimpressive and Myrcella is gentle and clever. They all must have gotten pretty much the same nurturing and education.

Not really. Joffrey is the firstborn son, de heir. Cersei pays a lot more attention to him then to his siblings, so, for all we know, Tommen and Myrcella may have been just lucky in this respect. But if you want to say that Cersei and Robert were more successful parents than Walder, so be it. 

Having one bad apple in the family is one thing. It can really be just bad luck. However, Walder's case is different. He has a large family where hatred and mistrust are the dominant emotions, and that's not just an accident. This atmosphere does not only affect the "bad apples", but the good ones as well.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

His motivations aside, it shows he sucked as a father. We also see this tendency when he doesn't really talk to Sansa about anything. He tries to protect his children but at the price of not properly preparing them for the things that are coming. He should have dissolved Sansa's betrothal after the Mycah incident - because it would have been crystal clear to anybody who can see that neither Joffrey nor Cersei would ever forget this public humiliation, and as Joff's eventual husband Sansa would be at his mercy.

Intent matters. Motivation is important. Ned may have lost in the Game, but he is a successful parent in terms of creating a family whose members care for each other and he taught his children the right values.

Off-topic, but in the aftermath of the Mycah incident, he couldn't just walk out putting an end to his daughter's engagement with the crown prince. The wedding wasn't imminent, he should have had plenty of time to tactfully convince Robert that the marriage of these two kids wasn't a good idea. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Ned is Cat's lord husband. He runs Winterfell and the North and his family. He could have commanded her to treat Jon exactly the same way as her own children. He couldn't have forced her to love him the same way, but he could have made her to try.

Ned is the head of the family but not a tyrant. Unlike Walder, he respects his wife and knows that she feels hurt by Jon's presence with good reason. There are things that can be done on someone's order, and there are things that cannot. The fact is that Cat didn't do anything against Jon. It was the way she looked at him that made Jon feel unwelcome. It does not matter how hard Cat "tries" to treat Jon the same way as her own children, Jon will always feel that she does not love him, and that makes all the difference. In fact, that was exactly what happened. Cat didn't like Jon and Jon could feel it. It is impossible to pretend in a family. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Walder Frey treated his bastards measurably better.

Hm... What exactly do we know his bastards got that Jon didn't? How do we know that his bastards never felt unwelcome by anyone in the family? It seems to me that most family members (bastards or trueborn) realized they were not wanted or liked and were even hated by a bunch of other members of the family.

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Your idea of a caring dad seems to be based far too much on modern concepts.

Well, Ned is not a modern father, but I see him as very caring. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Sure, but this caused a rift between them that nearly ruined all of Doran's plans and actually caused Myrcella to be disfigured.

That looks like bad political strategy rather than parenting. Doran may well be another imperfect parent, but I still prefer his ways of parenting to Walder's. 

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

That is just one child - and as terrible as the Red Wedding may have been for Roslin, she still got her trout and they are actually happy with each other. Walder actually made Roslin happy - and she was, of course, as much a willing participant in the Red Wedding as Merrett Frey.

"Just one child" - please. This is not how a loving parent thinks. (It's a very Walder-like argument though.)

Do you really think that Roslin is happy? She cried throughout the Red Wedding, so willing she was. She went to bed with a man who was just being betrayed and deprived of everything he had by her family. Then her husband was publicly humiliated and threatened with execution day by day by her family members. She found out she was expecting a baby, who, as heir to Riverrun, might indeed cause the eventual death of her husband. What did Walder do, as Head of House Frey, to make this marriage happy or just real? Did he order his descendants to treat Edmure as a family member? 

Walder didn't make Roslin happy. If Roslin and Edmure were reunited, it was only because of Jaime Lannister. But their general situation is still not a happy one - you cannot be happy while you are at the mercy of your enemies and a prisoner. If, despite the above, Roslin is happy, as you say, then it can only be because even this miserable existence is better than being Walder Frey's daughter in the Twins.   

1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

Who actually also counts as a son Walder cared for. He was basically a semi-halfwit after his knock on the head, yet his father didn't force him to leave the Twins, did he?

Something must be missing here, but never mind. Walder apparently liked to be surrounded by his family members. He enjoyed bossing them around and having them compete for his favours.  

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