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In the books
In the books, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish was made nominal lord of Harrenhal and the new Lord Paramount of the Trident so he could marry Lysa Arryn to get her back into the Lannister fold (Tywin not realizing that Littlefinger himself was the one who set the Starks and Lannisters against each other).
Littlefinger continues to nominally be the Lord Paramount, but he never even sets foot in the Riverlands. The Riverlands turn into a post-apocalyptic devastation of complete anarchy, roving bandits everywhere, burned out farmlands and villages. Littlefinger doesn't turn any of his attention to it, as he's busy building up his powerbase in The Vale of Arryn.
The Lannisters didn't specifically promise Walder Frey rule of Riverrun and its rich lands; they promised those to his son Emmon Frey, married to Tywin's sister Genna Lannister, so they can found a new Cadet branch of House Frey.
The problem is that the Tully garrison at Riverrun missed out on the slaughter at the Red Wedding, and Riverrun still holds out against Lannister rule under the command of Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully (the Northerners loyal to Robb got wiped out at the Red Wedding, but the Tully/Riverlanders like the Tullys, Blackwoods, Brackens, etc. and their armies weren't present for that).
Given that with the Northern armies slaughtered the Riverlords can't hope to stand against the combined Lannister-Tyrell armies, most bend the knee, and are returned to the king's peace on fairly lenient terms (they have to give hostages, etc. -- this was cut from the council scene corresponding to "Mhysa", when Joffrey wants all of the surrendering Riverlords beheaded - Tywin dismisses this as stupid, saying that when a lord rebells you ruthlessly crush him, but if he bends the knee you give him a hand to raise him up again - otherwise no one will ever surrender to you again (a lesson Ramsay Snow would do well to note)). The only Riverlords who old out - due to "pride" as Tywin says - are the Tully garrison at Riverrun and the Blackwood garrison at Raventree Hall.
The Lannister-Tyrell-Frey armies quickly settle in for a long siege around both castles (the Siege of Riverrun is going on in the background across two full books). They are completely surrounded and with no hope of escape - the reason they're ignored for a full book is because they're trapped and in no position to affect anything. The only thing they've got going for them is that because the Red Wedding was a surprise attack and far to the north, it took a while for the Frey-Lannister-Tyrell armies to get back to Riverrun...leaving Brynden plenty of time to hoard up as much food and supplies from the surrounding countryside as they could find. So they do have enough provisions to last for months to years, and starving them out will be slow.
At any rate, the Freys and Lannisters settle in for a siege of Riverrun. They also force the Riverlords who surrendered to send troops to help, but they're not very enthusiastic about it. They've also stopped making direct attacks against Riverrun at this point - with no outside help coming, why waste the men? Time is on their side and they can starve them out. So there are Frey and Bracken armies camped around Riverrun sitting around being bored.
When Jaime meets with Frey representatives they bicker that House Frey is the new Lord Paramount of the Trident. Jaime corrects them that they don't know what they're talking about: Tywin never granted their father Walder Frey rule of all of the Riverlands - despite the fact that they're the Lannisters' main enforcers in the region now, functionally "running" it, what with Baelish utterly ignoring it and making no attempt to rein it in under the Lannisters. He points out that they did promise the Freys rule of Riverrun itself - but the Frey meeting with him isn't really "Lord of Riverrun" yet in more than name, given that Brynden Tull still holds the castle! (Compare to how in the Season 2 finale Tywin said he'd reward Baelish with rule of Harrenhal, but then in early Season 3 Varys mocked that Roose Bolton had just taken the castle, making Roose "lord of Harrenhal in fact, if not in name" as a jab at Littlefinger.
In the TV series
The TV series hasn't really focused on the political situation in the Riverlands since the Red Wedding at the end of Season 2.
All they did was briefly have Walder Frey himself mention in "Mhysa" that the Lannisters will make him "Lord of Riverrun"...and then in Season 4, an oblique mention by the farmer that the Hound and Arya encounter in "Breaker of Chains" that the Riverlands are "under the Freys" now, and in "Mockingbird" Brienne also loosely says that Walder Frey is "Lord of Riverrun" now.
Choices for the TV continuity
The TV series has made absolutely no mention that Petyr Baelish is still technically the "Lord Paramount of the Trident" and that House Baelish, not House Frey, is the ruler of the Riverlands now (in name, though not functionally).
The point in the books when they turn attention back to Riverrun will almost certainly happen next season (it only happens in the books after Tywin dies). Even so, we're looking forward to months with this question left unresolved.
Even the HBO Viewer's guide has made no mention of this.
Therefore, it has been proposed that we just treat Walder Frey as the new "Lord Paramount of the Trident" and omit all mention of Baelish holding the position. Declaring that in the TV continuity, Baelish was never made Lord Paramount of the Riverlands.
...though I must stress that this will be subject to change, as there is a strong possibility that Season 5 will clarify this situation (but that's a long time from now).
Meanwhile, I'd rather leave the question of who the specific "Lord of Riverrun" currently is unresolved (whether it's being granted to Walder Frey or one of his sons in the TV continuity). The few times it was mentioned until now they've only been speaking loosely...and either way the position is academic, given that the Tully garrison still holds the castle in defiance of the Lannisters and Freys (the TV show made it a point to say in "Mhysa" that Brynden Tully is still alive, and escaped the Twins - while in the books he was just left behind at Riverrun to hold their rear lines). --The Dragon Demands (talk) 03:30, July 18, 2014 (UTC)
So the question is, should we omit all references to Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish being the new (absentee) Lord Paramount of the Trident, and just say it's Walder Frey and House Frey?
This will be a stop-gap for now, as I said, because Season 5 will eventually get around to clarifying this (if it's the same or officially changed).
(Meanwhile I think we shouldn't stress too much about who is the specific Lord of Riverrun - much as in the books, they promised Riverrun to the Freys, but it is currently still held by the Tully garrison.)
Yeas and Nays
- Yea. - The Viewer's Guide does specifically state that Walder Frey is now the Lord Paramount of the river lands . Baelish never held the title. It's not like it was given to him and then taken away, like Sylnt and Harrenhal.-- 10:42, July 18, 2014 (UTC)
- Yea. - I agree with The Boy Who Cried Direwolf. The Viewer's Guide names Walder Frey as Lord Paramount of the Trident, so I think that settles it. Greater Good 20:02, July 19, 2014 (UTC)
- If we went ahead with the merger of Walder Rivers with Black Walder Frey basedon the Viewer's Guide we should also go along with Walder Frey being the Lord Paramount of the Trident.--Gonzalo84 (talk) 06:47, July 24, 2014 (UTC)
- I abstain. I'm not really sure what to do.--The Dragon Demands (talk) 03:30, July 18, 2014 (UTC)
- Undecided - Couldn't there just be a "unsure" status? QueenBuffy 19:02, July 19, 2014 (UTC)
Well with three yeas and two abstainments I guess that settles it. We will consider Walder Frey Lord Paramount of the Trident...for now, though I suspect we'll have to update this when Season 5 refocuses on those subplots...--The Dragon Demands (talk) 20:36, July 24, 2014 (UTC)