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Are the Frey's really look down on before the Red Wedding ?


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It is said that the Late Lord Frey is not seen has a equal by the other great houses but I fin it quite odd, sure the Tully's or Lannister and other Lord Paramount dont seem to think of the Frey's as equals, but that is mainly because they are on tier up over the Frey, ruling regions or kingdom's of old not just a lordship. One of the way's that Lord Frey seems to think that other house seem to look down on his house is by refusing mariage to his kin, but I believe that it is firstly not entirely true and secondly that when it is it's not because of his house being "young" but because of himself.

First lets look at Walder's own mariages, his wifes are in order a Royce, a Swann, a Crakehall, a Blackwood, a Whent, a Rosby, a Farring and finally a Erenford. Is first five wifes are all from very influent houses in they're own region, the Royce being second only to the Arryn's in the Vale, the Swann's being one of the more powerful marcher lords, the Crakehall's  main bannermen to the Lannister's, and the Blackwood and Whent are part of the more powerful lords of the Trident. So for his own first five mariage Walder marries in very important family of a similar status than is own (if not better the Royce, Crakehall and Blackwoods were all Kings at one point). Importantly he has children from all but is Whent wife meaning that any more children he has from a new wife will be far in the line of succession and therefore not that good a prospect, but he still marry a Rosby, one of the more importante house directly under the King and a Farring wich I dont really know the standing but they still could be a lordly house for all we know. That is the mariage that we know Lord Hoster Tully did not attend so that would point to the fact that the Farrings are not that important. Lord Frey final wife is a Erenford who is a vassal to the Frey, by that time Walder is already 90 and has more heir's that he could need, any child born know will likely never be even close to inherit the Twins.

So Walder's own mariages are mostly quite good until his last two mariage but I'm having so many sons from previous mariage means that he is not that eligible a bachelor anymore, and the sheer number of children he father means that when he eventually dies (if he will ever :dunno:) only the main branch of the Frey will inherit, the children and grandchildren from is first mariage he already has 3 sons all with sons of they're own, in any normal circumstances his line is extremely secure.

But let's look at the mariage is three first sons have of they're own to see if the Frey's are seen has inferior. First is Stevron, he has had three wife's, a Swann, a Lydden and a Waynwood. So again all from important regional houses, the Lydden are also technically the ancestor's of the modern Lannister by Joffrey Lydden, Stevron married well and is children seem to also have married well, Ryam wife's is not know and Aegon "Jinglebells" is not married for obvious reason's but Maegelle is daugther married a Vance so a important family from the Riverland and Walton married a Hardyng, not a very important house but if she has a connection to Harry the Heir that could be a very good mariage. Ryam own children a married to a Hunter for Edwyn and to Caron for Petyr both good match to important regional power's. Black Walder, Steffon, Bryan and Fair Walda are all unmarried sure but unmarried bachelor's are not completely shocking, I will conceed that Walda not being married is strange since she is said to be good looking but the daugther of the third son of the heir to the Twins is not really that great of a sale, even tho she is still young and could still get a descent match. Moving on to Emmon, Walder second son and roughly tenth is the line of succession already :blink:. He married Genna Lannister the daughter of the lord of the Westerlands, try and tell me this is not a catch, sure Tytos was a weak lord and both the bride and Tywin opposed the match but still Emmon married the only daugther of one of the greatest lords of the realm, that is on great mariage for the Frey's. Emmon and Genna go on to have 4 sons of they're own Cleos who's wife is a Darry, if the match pre-dates the rebellion this is quite a good one, after it not so much but still a house with some standing, then Lyonnel who is married to a Crakehall again a main bannermen house. Tion and Red Walder are not married just like Cleos sons but they are all still quite young so not exactly a urgent matter. And sure the prestige of they're mother likely helped them get match's but for people more than ten place's in the line of succession and most likely going on to be household knights that's not bad. Then comes Aenys Frey third son and  at least 15th in the line of succession, he married a Wylde one of the principal house in the Stormlands, again on the same level has the Frey's, his eldest son Aegon is unmarried and his second married to a Beesbury, and tho sworn to the Hightower's the Beesbury have a long and noble history descending from Garth the Greenhand and having influence at court in the past (a master of coin and lover of a royal Princess), so not that bad a marriage for the second son of the third son of the heir to the Twins, his own children are all still quite young and them not being married can be seen has normal. The last child of Perra Royce is Perrianne Frey a daughter who married a Haigh a small house vassal to the Frey's that could be weird yes, the eldest daughter of the lord of the Twins would be a catch but if she is bad looking that could be a reason for her mariage to a third tier house.

So this is for the first wife of Walder Frey, and with the exception of his daughter all his spawns have either decent match or are still quite young. And this is were we come to the second reason other house will be reluctant to marry in house Frey, the sheer number of heir makes it that outside the descendent of Perra Royce, nobody will realistically inherits anything, making a political alliance worthless. After all Walder is likely going to drop dead at any minute and what good will it be to have your son married to the daughter of the second son of the five son of the now dead lord Frey. Stevron seemed to be a unifying kind of guy but after him its a free for all inside the Frey household. So after Walder and Stevron death everyone not close or useful to the new lord is likely going to be kicked out and become little more than a hedge knight or household knight for the men and for the women, well married to a tradesman or small landholder would be a good ending. The descend of Bethany Rosby (the 6th Wife) could potentially claim the Rosby lands since the lord died with out a heir and they might be the closest relatives to him (and they might already have claimed it) and by that avenue get good mariages and alliances to the new lord of Rosby but other than them married in the Frey just means that you will get a bad alliances with some distant relative of the lord of the Twins really quickly after the death of just one or two Frey.

To conclude it is my opinion that the Frey's were not seen has lesser by the rest of the nobility but simply that Walder Frey made mariage is the Frey family almost worthless outside of a few individuals by is constant mariages and heir making. But for those individuals that are well placed in the line of succession good match's were absolutly made and possible. Walder Frey just thinks of himself as way more important then he is, a powerful bannerman and regional power player, but he is in no way on the same level has the Lannister's, Stark's or event the Tully's who are in a league above.

 

P.S: This is my first post so I hope it is interesting and not something already talked about, also english is not my native language and I hope my grammar is not unreadable. Thanks to anyone reading and interest if anyone has a different take on the subject.

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1 hour ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The Freys’ business, collecting toll, was not going to make them popular. The toll is collected on common and noble alike. That as well as the house being younger compared to the others. 

Every feudal lord is basically in the extortion racket.

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I think the older houses probably did look down on the Freys to a certain extent as they considered them upstarts, but clearly a lot of powerful houses married into House Frey anyway, so I think that Walder Frey imagined a lot of it or at least exaggerated it.

I think the biggest problem is simply that Walder Frey had so many marriages to arrange. At any one time he would have had several children/grandchildren who needed to be married off, so it's a never-ending task. Naturally, not everyone he contacts is going to agree to a marriage pact, especially as other lords have far fewer children to marry off and therefore have to think more carefully about which alliances they need. Walder was probably getting rejections all the time, which made it seem as though all the other houses looked down on them.

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3 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The Freys’ business, collecting toll, was not going to make them popular. The toll is collected on common and noble alike. That as well as the house being younger compared to the others. 

But how much younger are they really ? The Frey's were around 300 years before the conquest and the Tyrells dont seem to be a lordly house before the conquest, the Baratheon start with the conquest and with the exception of the Harroway's and most likely the Strongs, all the lords of Harrenhall post conquest are younger than the Frey's yet none of them seem to be faced with prejudice that the Frey's claim to be subject to.

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I think that the Freys, being a younger house, do suffer from a lack of prestige when it comes to arranging marriages.

However, I believe the main reason reason why Walder Frey had difficulty arranging marriages for his offspring was not because he was looked down upon, but because no one other than the first few children would ever be likely of inheriting any land. Marriages are about securing power or an alliance, there is little point in marrying a landless Frey way down the line of succession because they will likely never be in a position of power or influence.

The same goes for his pattern of wives, last wife was probably from a less prestigious house as her children wouldn't inherit anything so other houses didn't see a point.

All these problems are made worse by the fact that Walder has so many children. This is also causing issues of its own now too, as there seems to be an impending Frey succession battle upon Walder's death. Supposedly Black Walder is already making moves to remove those ahead of him in the line of succession.

I don't believe that the Freys were really that looked down upon before the red wedding though. That has destroyed their reputation, perhaps forever. It would take a miracle for them to even regain a fraction of their previous standing and trustworthiness.

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Posted (edited)

The Freys being a younger house and how they became one were certainely a source of disdain for certain older and more prestigious houses. 

Though I think that most of this disdain come because of the old Walder himself and of most of his male descendants. Not only Walder kept marrying women even in his old age, and had so many descendants legal and illegitimate, but it's also in great part because of how antipathetic, opportunistic, self-centered and unloyal Walder and most of his descendants are that the house was disliked and disdained so much. 

Refusing to uphold your oaths and vows, only doing them when there is a reward to benefit from, having an ass attitude and yet acting entitled for respect you haven't earned isn't going to win you friends and respect amongst other houses. 

It's rather telling that the rare Freys who have shown genuine niceness, courtesy and honor such as Stevron or Perwyn are far more respected than the others.

Edited by Terrorthatflapsinthenight9
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There are definitely tiers of noble houses. The top tier are the lords paramount (Tully, Lannister, Stark, Baratheon, Arryn, Martel, Tyrell). In Targaryen era Hightower and Velaryon were also in this tier and Velaryon might be in a tier above with Baratheon based on how often they married into the royal family.  
 

Then their is the tier of powerful lords whose families produce hands of the king/numerous small counsel members (note: obviously people of low nobility or even common birth could rise to the small counsel through ability, but generally these roles went to the same group of families) or could be matches for princes/princesses. I would also include in this tier powerful families who are old and powerful regionally. This would include the nine families above and families like Manderly, Butterwell (pre-Blackfyre), Peake (pre-Blackfyre), Celtigar, Royce, Rowan. 
 

Frey I would put in the third tier. Powerful family, but is not as prestigious to be considered for a court position. When a Frey was marrying Lord Butterwell, this was seen as Butterwell marrying down. Plus, it doesn’t seem like a Frey’s were ever considered to be a match in marriage for a Targaryen. Nor were the Targaryens recruiting Freys for roles on the small counsel or as hand of the king. 
 

families from tier 3 could marry tier 2 or even occasionally tier 1 (see Freys marrying Lannisters). But they would never be considered as a match for a prince or princess. 
 

so yes, I do think Frey was right to think he was looked down upon. 
 

 

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No. 

Nothing will ever please Walder. He'll always find something to be bitter about. 

His family has the wealth and manpower to be a major factor in the politics of both the Riverlands and the Seven Kingdoms as a whole. He's had marriages with powerful and prestigious Houses and so have several of his children and grandchildren. 

The Florents (in the books) and a few other Reach Houses (historically) have made similar comment on the origins of the Tyrells, however the Tyrells have made an effort to be seen as chivalrous and generous and their style and wealth has won the respect of my neutral Houses. Those who look down on them are now seen as bitter and covetous Houses driven by envy and far too full of themselves. 

Instead of using his wealth and power to win hearts and minds Lord Walder broods and dwells on insults both real and imagined. That is why the Frey's are looked down upon - their wealth and power is respected but nobody wants to deal with such a bitter old prick.  

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1 hour ago, SilverGhost said:

No. 

Nothing will ever please Walder. He'll always find something to be bitter about. 

His family has the wealth and manpower to be a major factor in the politics of both the Riverlands and the Seven Kingdoms as a whole. He's had marriages with powerful and prestigious Houses and so have several of his children and grandchildren. 

The Florents (in the books) and a few other Reach Houses (historically) have made similar comment on the origins of the Tyrells, however the Tyrells have made an effort to be seen as chivalrous and generous and their style and wealth has won the respect of my neutral Houses. Those who look down on them are now seen as bitter and covetous Houses driven by envy and far too full of themselves. 

Instead of using his wealth and power to win hearts and minds Lord Walder broods and dwells on insults both real and imagined. That is why the Frey's are looked down upon - their wealth and power is respected but nobody wants to deal with such a bitter old prick.  

The difference between the Tyrells (and the Tullys who were a minor house compared to the Blackwoods and the Brackens) is that they became lords paramount of one of the seven kingdoms. I appreciate that that the Hightowers Florents, Peakes, and even Osgreys have a better pedigree than Tyrell, but they are required to owe their fealty to House Tyrell. Accordingly they either need to accept that House Tyrell is either equal or their own honor will be lowered by having to bend the knee to a lesser house. No one now doubts the honor/prestige of Baratheon, and they were founded by a bastard only 300 years ago. 

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1 hour ago, Thedog said:

The difference between the Tyrells (and the Tullys who were a minor house compared to the Blackwoods and the Brackens) is that they became lords paramount of one of the seven kingdoms. I appreciate that that the Hightowers Florents, Peakes, and even Osgreys have a better pedigree than Tyrell, but they are required to owe their fealty to House Tyrell. Accordingly they either need to accept that House Tyrell is either equal or their own honor will be lowered by having to bend the knee to a lesser house. No one now doubts the honor/prestige of Baratheon, and they were founded by a bastard only 300 years ago. 

That is a good point, however I still would argue that main reason for most disrespect towards House Frey is the behavior of Lord Walder. While there would be slights towards House Frey for how they acquired their wealth and their relatively newish arrival among the ranks of the nobility, most of the "bitching" be from poorer Houses and potentially ignored by most of Westeros. That is of course if they made an effort to engage and win hearts and minds. 

Want to have a granddaughter or daughter marry the Heir of House Tully? How about showing up on time for war and showing the Lord Paramount just how many troops and knights you can raise and thus why he needs you as an ally. 

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7 hours ago, Thedog said:

There are definitely tiers of noble houses. The top tier are the lords paramount (Tully, Lannister, Stark, Baratheon, Arryn, Martel, Tyrell). In Targaryen era Hightower and Velaryon were also in this tier and Velaryon might be in a tier above with Baratheon based on how often they married into the royal family.  
 

Then their is the tier of powerful lords whose families produce hands of the king/numerous small counsel members (note: obviously people of low nobility or even common birth could rise to the small counsel through ability, but generally these roles went to the same group of families) or could be matches for princes/princesses. I would also include in this tier powerful families who are old and powerful regionally. This would include the nine families above and families like Manderly, Butterwell (pre-Blackfyre), Peake (pre-Blackfyre), Celtigar, Royce, Rowan. 
 

Frey I would put in the third tier. Powerful family, but is not as prestigious to be considered for a court position. When a Frey was marrying Lord Butterwell, this was seen as Butterwell marrying down. Plus, it doesn’t seem like a Frey’s were ever considered to be a match in marriage for a Targaryen. Nor were the Targaryens recruiting Freys for roles on the small counsel or as hand of the king. 
 

families from tier 3 could marry tier 2 or even occasionally tier 1 (see Freys marrying Lannisters). But they would never be considered as a match for a prince or princess. 
 

so yes, I do think Frey was right to think he was looked down upon. 
 

 

I would disagree, the Frey are firmly in the second tier to me, they are not on the same level has the lord paramounts sure, but they are the second best thing. Outside of Harrenhall that is too big to be profitable and the Tully's the Frey's seem to be the most powerfull house of the Riverlands they control wast lands and a vital bridge for wich they always exact there toll. The Velaryon are in particular position has they are very close to the Targaryen, almost has a second branch with all the intermariages so for them to have special privilege is logical, same for the Celtigar to a lesser extent due to their valyrian blood. The Higtowers are also a exeption since they seem to be has powerfull has a lord paramount but dont have the title, they after all control the second largest city on the continent, the center of learning and for most of the history the church to a extent.

The small council is by nature a very limited body, even after 300 years not many lords would sit on it, even more so that some seats such has master of ships were almost hereditery. And we see quite a few royal family members and lower born on it, limiting even more the seat historically available. Furthermore closeness to the king would be required or competence, both in most cases, so a particular family not having the rigth person at the rigth time in the rigth place is not that shocking, and like a said lower familly's had seat such has the Beesbury.

The second tier family's would be for me first and foremost the most powerful vassal under the lord paramount, the Manderly's, Royce's, Rowan's and Peake's would all fall in this category, but so would the Reyne's and the Bolton's for exemple, and the Frey's to for me has they are noted to bring a important host during the Dance, sure it could be just George mentionning a house from the main series but they do seem to have a important role to play, but Forrest dies pretty quickly leaving his wife to be the leader of the house.

The Butterwells are for me a different case, since they do seem to be a important house it seems to me that this only really became the case after they were given the Harroway lands, they after all seem to share the same problems has the Frey in the fact that they are seen has upstart cattle thieves so I would not call the mariage between Ambrose and the Frey marrying down but at that point in time the Butterwells would most likely be richer that the Frey's commanding lands futher south but it is not certain that they would command more men for example. 

Lord Forrest Frey did in fact propose to Queen Rhaenyra, he got rejected like alot of of suitors but would only be called a fool for openly asking her hand. And not being considered for a prince or princess by the famously incestuous Targaryen is a high bar, after all the Starks seem to only be considered once and they're vassals Manderly got one before them.

The mariage of Emmon and Genna is for me seen has weird not really because of the Frey's but more so that Emmon is a second son, he should not inherit any lands or great status, so for him to be married to the only daugther of Lord Lannister is weird, had he been the heir it would have been less surprising. Also most house paramount seem to marry with they're vassal, the Frey's being from the riverlands do not help or advance the Lannister's in any real way. And we are talking about the Lannister's they do seem to see themself's has superior to everyone, they do have some ground sure being one of the only former royal house in the kingdom.

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The noble families are arrogant and have an exaggerated belief of his or her family's own importance.  They look down on the Dornish and especially the crannogmen.  So the Freys were not really disrespected when compared to most other non-paramount house.  If you want to make a list of the five snubbed houses, no the Freys would not be on the list.  House Baelish would be snubbed if the people even cared to think about them.  The Freys are prominent and everybody knows about them.  They make the news because of their very important strategic location, wealth, and proliferation.  The only one who has been proven to look down on the Freys was Hoster Tully.  I think social customs dictate that Hoster should have accepted Walder's invitation.  Hoster treated the Freys with discourtesy and it bit his arrogant ass when Walder took Riverun.  I want Edmure to die and for the Freys to have full control of Riverun.

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9 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

If not for the red wedding a large portion of the fan base would probably like Walder Frey and think he's hilarious. 

His cantankerous exterior belies the gracious and kind interior. He could've easily just flayed Robb Stark, but he was kind and merciful as our dear Emperor Palpatine. He even gave a merciful death to Lady Catelyn.

He's a fine man.:rolleyes:

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The Freys are looked down on by others because they are a newer house and the root of their wealth and rise is their tolls over The Crossing - parvenus are always looked down on by the establishment and feudal nobles whose wealth came from land traditionally looked down on those whose wealth came commerce or trade.  Take how Janos Slynt's elevation is regarded.

Given the Freys are landed this isn't a significant problem except they have grown more powerful than most of their contemporary Riverland Houses so those Houses retaliate by clinging to their prestige rather than their power; even if the Freys are richer and more powerful than they, at least they have their pedigree and family histories.

It's exacerbated by Walder Frey who chafes under this patronising attitude and who is ambitious, proud, irascible, vindictive, selfish and unreliable.  So he makes a good number of very good marriages both for himself and his children / grandchildren but it's never enough to satisfy him unless he can marry into the Tully family so removing the chip from his shoulder.

Of course his unreliable nature means he turns up late to The Trident so earning the scorn of Hoster Tully and, we can assume, the other Riverland Lords as "the late Lord Frey".  The one moment he needed to show his loyalty and reliability that chip on his shoulder and the resentment he felt at not being given his due led him to hold back and that only confirmed his and his House's unreliability to others.

The sense of grievance we see when Catelyn goes to meet him to secure his alliance with Robb in AGOT is almost overwhelming and leads by twists and turns to The Red Wedding.  Ironically, Walder Frey can't see that his conduct has made the Freys reviled even by their allies: his need for recognition and the elevation of his House's status has doomed him and it.

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to play devil's advocate , what poor old Walder did at Trident wasn't that different from how Tywin Lannister sat tight for the whole war till he moved his ass to sack a rich city , murder kids and propose a marriage alliance for his daughter... but no one in Westeros calls him Late Lord Tywin! granted though, Walder was no big scary Hand for years Tywin Lannister. what is ironic is that if Walder never moved his troops and instead announced neutrality in war , he wouldn't have been scolded quite as much.

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3 hours ago, EggBlue said:

to play devil's advocate , what poor old Walder did at Trident wasn't that different from how Tywin Lannister sat tight for the whole war till he moved his ass to sack a rich city , murder kids and propose a marriage alliance for his daughter... but no one in Westeros calls him Late Lord Tywin! granted though, Walder was no big scary Hand for years Tywin Lannister. what is ironic is that if Walder never moved his troops and instead announced neutrality in war , he wouldn't have been scolded quite as much.

It's really not that different, no.  Which would no doubt make poor old Walder positively apoplectic. 

Problem is the Lannisters are well-established (Kings of the Rock of old and Lords Paramount in the Westlands) and hold all the Westlands in check behind them during the Robellion.  So it looks like considered statesmanship, if cynical.  Walder is merely a Tully bannerman and sits on the fence unlike the Targaryen loyalists like the Goodbrooks and Darrys or the rest who follow Hoster Tully.  It's hard to be the odd one out and not attract scorn. 

The Lannisters have the prestige and the power that Walder lacks and do eventually come off the fence and get their hands dirty even if at the eleventh hour.  Walder doesn't and just looks like a cynical opportunist.  Which is what he is of course. :)

Idk if principled neutrality wins you much respect in medieval warfare.  It's a feudal pyramid and unless you are at the very top you owe loyalty somewhere and pay homage to someone, i.e. promise military service in return for the lands you hold.  The conflict between the immediate oath to your direct lord and the ultimate loyalty you owe the monarch is played on in the series but abandoning both wouldn't win many admirers.

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