(Spoiler Alert: Do not read unless you’ve seen this week’s episode of “Game of Thrones”)
In the first three seasons of “Game of Thrones,” House Tully was a major player in the War of the Thrones. They were the main allies of Robb Stark, as his mother, Catelyn, came from their house. Among the main warriors in House Tully was Catelyn’s brother, Edmure, a stubborn fellow who was called upon by Robb to marry Roslin Frey in an attempt to solidify the alliance between the two houses in the war.
That marriage turned out to be the Red Wedding.
Since that wedding and the deaths of Robb and Catelyn that resulted from it, House Tully has largely remained out of the picture in the series. But in this week’s episode, Catelyn’s family has returned in the form of two members: Edmure and his uncle, the Blackfish. As these two men will likely become key players in the upcoming battle between the Starks and Ramsay Bolton for control of Winterfell, it’s time we got reacquainted with them.
The Blackfish’s proper name is Ser Brynden Tully, and he is a man who is rebellious in matters of peace but disciplined in matters of war. His older brother and Catelyn’s father, Lord Hoster Tully, constantly attempted to arrange marriages for Brynden. When Brynden kept refusing them, Hoster called him the black sheep of the family, to which Brynden said that since their house sigil is a trout, they should call him the “Blackfish,” hence his nickname.
During his appearances in season 3, the Blackfish quickly proved himself to be a foil for his headstrong and emotional nephew, Edmure. During the funeral for Lord Hoster, Edmure failed repeatedly to set Hoster’s funeral boat alight with flaming arrows.
Irritated with Edmure’s nerves, Brynden pushed him aside and set the boat on fire himself. While Edmure impulsively attacked Lannister sites and costs Robb hundreds of men, Brynden provided Robb with valuable advice on how to act in the war…advice that the young Stark sometimes did not heed.
Ironically, it was Brynden, the man who refused the married life, who convinced Edmure to take part in the wedding that led to the near-destruction of their house at the hands of the Freys. As fate would have it, it was Brynden’s bladder that saved his life, as he went outside to take a whiz right when Walder Frey ordered his men to slaughter everyone. Edmure, meanwhile, was taken up to his chambers supposedly for the bedding ceremony with Roslin, only to be taken hostage by the Freys.
Later, the Blackfish rallied what’s left of his house and waited for the right time to strike back. Walder Frey, arrogant cretin that he is, smugly dismissed the fact that Brynden got away and gloated about how Edmure spent his wedding night in a dungeon thanks to his treachery.
Now Frey has paid the price for his hubris, as Brynden has taken back the Tullys’ home, Riverrun. What’s more, Sansa Stark knows about this thanks to Littlefinger, and she has sent Brienne of Tarth to find Brynden and ask him to help Jon Snow eliminate the Boltons and Freys from the North once and for all.
Walder Frey, of course, will never admit fault. In this week’s episode, he threw a tantrum over his men losing Riverrun and blamed them for letting the Blackfish escape the Red Wedding to begin with. But he still has Edmure as his hostage, and he plans to use him to counter the resurgent House Tully.
The Starks and Tullys have been fighting the Boltons and Freys for control of the North since the start of season 2, and now that fight is getting ready to come to a head. But at long last, there’s a chance for Robb and Catelyn’s deaths to be avenged.