House Frey of the Twins is a new Great House of the Riverlands, having gained their position for their treachery against their former liege lords, House Tully, who were stripped of all their lands and titles for their rebellion against the Iron Throne; House Tully had supported the independence movement for the Kingdom of the North. The current head of the house is Walder Frey, a man over ninety years old.
Their ancestral seat is known as the Twins for its two identical keeps on both sides of a river linked by a bridge, sometimes called the Stone Bridge. The Twins is one of the primary crossings over the Green Fork of the Trident River, and tolls from bridge crossings have made the Freys quite wealthy fairly quickly, elevating them from obscurity six centuries ago to being one of the most powerful noble houses in the Riverlands - though they are looked down upon by older aristocratic families because of this. The construction of the Twins took the Freys for three generations, and ever since then, they have grown wealthy by charging the travellers crossing the Twins.
The heraldry of House Frey represents their castle-seat of the Twins: it consists of two grey towers linked by a bridge, on a darker grey background, over an escutcheon of blue water. Their house words are "We Stand Together," ironic considering the Freys' frequent infighting between family members, but it could also refer to their seat, the Twins, standing together.
Early history Edit
House Frey was a noble house in the Riverlands that had emerged about six hundred years before the War of the Five Kings. Their seat is at The Twins, a castle consisting of two identical towers and a bridge intersecting the Green Fork of The Trident river. The Freys grew rich from exacting tolls on travelers crossing the Green Fork. For most of their history, the Freys have been vassals of House Tully, the paramount lords of the Trident since the Targaryen conquest. During Robert's Rebellion, Lord Walder Frey was late in marshaling forces to assist the forces of his liege lord Hoster Tully during the Battle of the Trident. For this insolence, Lord Hoster mockingly referred to Lord Frey as the "Late Walder Frey"; much to Walder's chagrin.
Season 1 Edit
Catelyn Stark encounters several Frey men at arms at the Inn at the Crossroads. She learns that Lord Walder Frey is turning ninety and is planning to marry an eighth wife. The Freys do not assist her when she arrests Tyrion Lannister. When the North rises in rebellion against the Iron Throne, Lady Stark travels to The Twins to an alliance with the Freys and safe passage across the Crossing. In return, her son the King in the North Robb Stark has to marry a Frey bride and he must take another Frey, Olyvar as his squire. Additionally, Catelyn's younger daughter Arya Stark, once recovered, has to marry Waldron Frey. Despite some misgivings, Robb consents to the agreement and gains the support of the Freys.
Season 2 Edit
Against his mother Catelyn's advice, King Robb spurns his oath to marry one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters in order to marry a battlefield medic named Talisa. Catelyn warns that Lord Frey will be displeased but Robb loves Talisa and marries her in secret.
Season 3 Edit
After losing the support of House Karstark, King Robb appeals to Lord Walder Frey for help in taking the Lannisterseat of Casterly Rock. Lord Frey sends his sons Lothar and Black Walder to negotiate with the Starks and Tullys. Seeking to mend the strained relationship with his Frey allies, King Robb assents to granting Lord Frey control of Harrenhal and his uncle Edmure Tully marrying Walder's daughter Roslin Frey.
The Freys host King Robb, Lady Stark, Lord Edmure, and the Stark and Tully hosts at The Twins for the wedding of Edmure and Roslin. After the wedding and bedding ceremony, Lord Frey turns on his Stark and Tully hosts and murders Robb, Talisa, and Catelyn. Most of the Stark and Tully forces with the exception of the Boltons are slaughtered during the "Red Wedding"; bringing an end to the Northern rebellion. The Freys also desecrate King Robb's corpse by fixing the head of its direwolf Grey Wind on top of his body and parading it around on a horse. Frey casualties are minimal with Walder's young wife Joyeuse Frey being killed at the hands of Catelyn. While the Freys capture Edmure, Catelyn's uncle Brynden Tully manages to escape.
To reward his role in defeating King Robb, Lord Tywin Lannister, acting on behalf of the Iron Throne, appoints Lord Walder Frey as Lord of Riverrun. The Freys are also given paramountcy over the Trident and become the Crown's main vassals in the Riverlands. Later, Arya and her protector Sandor Clegane kill three Frey men-at-arms who are making jokes about the Red Wedding.
Season 4 Edit
To seal the new alliance between Lord Walder Frey and the turncoat Boltons, Lord Roose Bolton marries Fat Walda, one of Walder's granddaughters. She travels north to the Bolton seat of the Dreadfort. The Freys' actions during the Red Wedding earn them the enmity and disdain of the Riverlands and the North. Since the Freys were granted paramountcy over the Riverlands, the region has disintegrated into a state of lawlessness. None of House Tully's former vassals accept the authority of the Freys. One Riverlander farmer opines that Lord Walder Frey has committed sacrilege by breaking guest right.
In the books Edit
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, House Frey controls the Twins, two castles that hold the Crossing, the only bridge over the Green Fork of the Trident for hundreds of miles in either direction. House Frey is the northern-most house of the Riverlands, not far south of the loose border with the North, and has a history of enmity with House Reed, who control the marshes of the Neck to the north of the Twins.
House Frey was a minor house of no notability until they bridged the Green Fork six centuries ago and defending the bridge with two wooden castles. Charging wayfarers for the use of the Crossing, they grew rich and influential, replacing the castles with strong stone keeps. Their growing wealth and influence saw them gain several vassal houses of their own: House Erenford, House Haigh, and House Charlton. Given the relatively recent rise of their House, the Freys are looked down upon by other noble Houses of the Riverlands as uncouth and honorless.
Their military strength is formidable, allowing them to raise four thousand troops by themselves - almost 10% of the total strength of the Riverlands. The current Lord Frey's father was involved in the scandal of the Whitewalls Tourney, when the Second Blackfyre Rebellion was halted in its tracks, roughly ninety years ago, leading to the current Lord Walder Frey being a cautious man, extremely reluctant to commit himself to any cause until the outcome is certain. During Robert's Rebellion he delayed the arrival of his army at the Battle of the Trident until Robert Baratheon had secured victory. For this, Lord Frey's liege, Hoster Tully, dubbed him "The Late Lord Frey", a nickname which has stuck, to Walder Frey's fury.
The Red Wedding has destroyed what honor is left in the house, as they have violated one of the oldest and most sacred traditions, the guest right. This leads to antipathy and disgust towards the house by most Westerosi, even by their own allies. Moreover, the name Frey has become a synonym for dishonor and treachery.
Little has been revealed about members of House Frey who are not descendants of Lord Walder himself. It is probable that due to his advanced age of ninety years, Walder may have simply outlived any siblings or cousins he may have had. The one minor reference to Walder's family is in the Tales of Dunk and Egg prequel novellas, which take place almost ninety years before the beginning of A Game of Thrones. Walder himself actually makes a brief appearance in the prequels as a misbehaving toddler - making him one of the only characters who are present in both the main series and the prequel novellas; Maester Aemon is about a decade older than Walder, thus he is also alive during the early prequel novellas, though he does not prominently appear (instead, his younger brother Aegon "Egg" Targaryen is a major character). Walder's father appears in the prequel but is referred to simply as "Lord Frey" without revealing what his name was. However, the prequels also reveal that Walder actually had a sister, who was about a dozen years older than him, who marries Lord Ambrose of House Butterwell, a noble House from the Crownlands. Given that the Butterwells are disgraced during the events of the prequels, it isn't clear if they died out between the prequels and the main series - no current Butterwells have been mentioned in the main series. Given the limited information, it isn't clear if Lord Walder has any surviving nieces, nephews, grand-nephews, or distant cousins from cadet branches of the main Frey line.
Despite their prominence in the storyline, the motto of House Frey has not yet been revealed, even in the first five novels.
The heraldry of House Frey is somewhat different in the books than it is in the TV series. In the books, it is the two towers and bridge of the Twins colored blue, on a silver-grey background. The TV series made the towers stone grey, and over the same dark grey field as in the books, but now above a blue escutcheon which is drawn to resemble the waves of the Green Fork of the Trident River. The color change may be because after the blue river was added as an escutcheon at the bottom, it would have been visually confusing to have the castle be the same color as the water. Unfortunately, reversing the colors like this makes it vaguely resemble the reversed colors used in heraldry by bastard children (though in such cases, without the escutcheon, the entire background field is blue, not just the escutcheon).