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Mark O'Kane

Why did Walder join with Robb in the first place?

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Twins couldn't have been taken by siege or assault by Robb, Riverlands have already fallen, Tywin notoriously brutal when it comes to payback and he had a larger army with way more horse, why the hell did he join with Robb in the first place? 

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Now that's a good guestion. Catelyn played to Walder's vanity and wounded pride to get him on Robb's side. But it still seems like a pretty big risk for a coward like Walder to take. Though I don't imagine Tywin could take the Twins any more than Robb could.

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Posted (edited)

He got a high price with the promise of marrying into a great House, and having the Walders fostered. The Freys are proud, and want their place at the high table.

And the risks didn't seem so great at the time, because nobody was expecting Ned to be executed - the North declaring itself an independent Kingdom wasn't on the table before that. So they joined as one House among many in a low-stakes war to determine the power balance in the reign of the new king.

If they hadn't joined, and the war had resolved with Ned being sent to the Wall, then the Freys would have stood alone as the one House that didn't back it's liege lord (again, after being late to join the Tullys in RR), and they might have paid a price in Riverland politics.

Edited by Buried Treasure
Apostrophes everywhere

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Technically, Walder should have been expected to be on their side from the start. He had sworn oaths to House Tully, and as we’ve seen in previous wars, oaths to one’s liege lord often supersede oaths to one’s king. Walder suddenly held high cards with two opposing armies barrelling towards each other, and he managed to get a far better deal than he should have ever been entitled to have.

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Things were going poorly for the Riverlands but that's not the same thing as the "Riverlands have already fallen". You can put these in any order that you like but here are some of the many factors that could have gone into the decision.

  1. The Freys are supposed to be supporting their liege.
  2. Robb has an army that might easily make a difference in the war.
  3. If they said no then Robb's army might have raided the Frey lands and attacked the Twins.
  4. The Freys are in position to negotiate a high price from Robb.
  5. At this point the Freys aren't in a position to negotiate much from the Lannisters.
  6. The Tully/Stark/Arryn alliance was strong enough to take down the Targaryens. At this point it isn't clear to anyone why Lysa is resisting joining the cause but as far as anyone knows it could quickly turn into a Tully/Stark/Arryn war against just the Lannisters.
  7. So far it's just a war against the Lannisters with no reason to think any of the other great houses would suddenly join the Lannister cause. In fact, as events initially unfolded no one did. Shortly after the Freys joined with Robb the Lannisters were facing Renly and the Tyrells, an ironborn revolt, and a successful North/Riverlands alliance.
  8. The Freys are calculating and usually cautious but with so many ambitious sons and grandsons there had to be some internal pressure to not just sit out the whole war.

It's only because of all of the unexpected events of the War of the Five Kings that the Freys alliance with Robb seemed problematic.

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Because wars typically end in treaties instead of unconditional surrender and annihilation. He's weighed his options and decided having a shot at a half Frey lord of Winterfell is a decent price, win or lose. Tywin's actually been pretty light handed in welcoming former enemies back into the fold. 

"when your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you. "

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Well in addition to having a foot in each race, let’s see what is happening:

-Robb, not yet Lord of the North is racing South to save his father and join up with the Riverlords.

-Presumably he has also heard about the disappearance of the Baratheon brothers from the capital.
-Math and history would suggest at the very least it will be Tully, Stark, and Baratheon versus Lannister. One would think the Vale would join & that the Martells would be neutral or anti-Lannister. Presumably rumors about Renly and Loras being “close” have passed his ears. 
-He probably personally feels [email protected] on by Tywin over the years himself.

 

Plenty of logical and betting reasons. Things don’t look good for the Lannisters. And were it not for Stannis assassinating Renly, the Lannisters would not have lasted this long.

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Posted (edited)

Surely Lord Walder knows Renly has amassed a huge Stormlands / Reach army at that moment, due to the amount of time it took for Robb to call the banners, the weeks of waiting for them to arrive, hosting / feasting them,  then the (months?) it takes to travel an army from way up North all the way down to The Twins.

 

And he talks of Jon Arryn and Stannis too. He's obviously aware both Baratheon brothers have armies and it is not looking good for the Lannister's at all, even if they were curbstomping the Riverlands without much issues. Many River Lords castle's hadn't fallen yet and some had even been unaffected from the fighting like Mallister, Frey(himself), Maidenpool (at that point in time) etc.

If Walder was aware of the grim situation for the Tywin at the time (he would be), despite his & Jaime's easy W's so far, it was an easy thing for him to extract his toll, and join up with 1 side of the armies coming down to face the Lannister's.

Robb still got at least 15,000 fighters to come to him and fight out of the River Lords and smallfolk so they weren't out of the game yet.

 

The Northern army could take 1 side of The Twins, but the cost would be high, and i believe it's stated that Walder has a drawbridge over the Crossing, so they wouldn't be able to cross anyway, and all the Frey's could just hop to the Castle on the other side.

 

edit: also once the North/Riverlands/Stormlands/Reach/Dragonstone  had dealt with Tywin, which was the most likely scenario at this point of time, his fellow Riverlander's would be pissed that he sat out yet another war while his fellow Rivermen did all the fighting and he suffered nothing. The new Lord of Riverrun would probably strip some lands, towns, villages and power off him at  least.

 

Edited by lrresistable

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Another possible reason could be Vale. After all "ruling" lord of Vale was grandson of Hoster T and so had minor claim to Riverrun and Riverlands. If Vale had supported Starks and Tullys Tywin L would have been outgunned by forces of North, Riverlands and Vale. Or I assume that during that time Walder F did not know that Vale would stay "neutral" during Wo5K.

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23 hours ago, Mark O'Kane said:

Twins couldn't have been taken by siege or assault by Robb, Riverlands have already fallen, Tywin notoriously brutal when it comes to payback and he had a larger army with way more horse, why the hell did he join with Robb in the first place? 

Cat talked him into it.

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2 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

Another possible reason could be Vale. After all "ruling" lord of Vale was grandson of Hoster T and so had minor claim to Riverrun and Riverlands. If Vale had supported Starks and Tullys Tywin L would have been outgunned by forces of North, Riverlands and Vale. Or I assume that during that time Walder F did not know that Vale would stay "neutral" during Wo5K.

Agree. Its very likely that Walder Frey expected the Vale to join Robb's alliance. At this point it would also be reasonable for him to expect Robb to ally with Stannis or Renly, continuing on with the previously strong Stark/Baratheon alliance.

A Stark/Arryn/Tully/Baratheon alliance won the throne only 15 years ago, why wouldn't they this time? And this time Walder Frey is aiming to get prestigious marriage alliance out of it instead of just a mocking nickname.

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On 4/17/2021 at 6:23 AM, Mark O'Kane said:

Twins couldn't have been taken by siege or assault by Robb, Riverlands have already fallen, Tywin notoriously brutal when it comes to payback and he had a larger army with way more horse, why the hell did he join with Robb in the first place? 

Walder was facing a lot of political problems.  He could remain neutral but then what happens when the war eventually ends?  The Tullys would punish him for staying neutral.  It's the right thing to do but the Tullys would not care about that.  Hoster Tully destroyed the Goodbrooks for staying loyal to King Aerys.  Walder had to make a choice.  Choosing to side with the Starks and the Tullys was safer.  He was also counting on Robb to honor his oath.  

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On 4/17/2021 at 8:23 AM, Buried Treasure said:

He got a high price with the promise of marrying into a great House, and having the Walders fostered. The Freys are proud, and want their place at the high table.

And the risks didn't seem so great at the time, because nobody was expecting Ned to be executed - the North declaring itself an independent Kingdom wasn't on the table before that. So they joined as one House among many in a low-stakes war to determine the power balance in the reign of the new king.

If they hadn't joined, and the war had resolved with Ned being sent to the Wall, then the Freys would have stood alone as the one House that didn't back it's liege lord (again, after being late to join the Tullys in RR), and they might have paid a price in Riverland politics.

:agree:Nice, succinct analysis.

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On 4/17/2021 at 4:23 AM, Mark O'Kane said:

Twins couldn't have been taken by siege or assault by Robb, Riverlands have already fallen, Tywin notoriously brutal when it comes to payback and he had a larger army with way more horse, why the hell did he join with Robb in the first place? 

He got good marriage offers.

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