- 1 Personal History
- 2 Outlander Series
- 3 Lord John Series
- 4 Personality
- 5 Physical Appearance
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Name
- 8 Trivia
- 9 TV Series
- 10 References
Hal is the eldest son of Gerard Grey, and third son of Benedicta Grey. He has two elder half-brothers, Edgar and Paul DeVane. Upon his father's apparent suicide in June 1741, amid accusations that Gerard was a Jacobite conspirator, Hal renounced his ducal title and instead used his lesser title, Earl of Melton. He had his younger brother, John, sent to Aberdeen to live with his mother's people, while Benedicta herself went away to France for a time. During the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Hal threw himself into building his regiment for the campaign in Scotland, determined to emphasize the Greys' loyalty to the English crown.
Three years after his father's death, Hal discovered that a man named Nathaniel Twelvetrees had seduced Hal's wife, Esmé. Hal challenged Twelvetrees to a duel; Twelvetrees chose pistols, and Hal struck the man in the arm. It was not a fatal wound; however, Twelvetrees' wound turned septic and he died. After that, Esmé died in childbirth, along with the child.
In July 1744, Hal came upon a young woman named Minerva in his study, attempting to open the locked drawer in his desk. They had met a month earlier at a garden party. Ultimately, they had a one-night stand there in the study, and she left that night, refusing to provide her address and evading even the coachman's effort to discover it. Hal finally found her again six months later, in Amsterdam at her father's bookshop. He was shocked to discover that she was pregnant, but promptly carried her out of the shop and into a coach, and married her shortly thereafter.
"A Fugitive Green"
In May 1744, Hal is mourning his wife, Esmé, and her unborn child, though his grief is complicated by the fact that she had had an affair with Nathaniel Twelvetrees shortly before her death. Hal had discovered letters to Esmé from Twelvetrees, and also the first drafts that Esmé had written before sending them. She had left them where she knew Hal would find them and never explained why, which continues to madden Hal after her death. After learning of the affair, Hal challenged Twelvetrees to a duel. Hal's pistol shot struck Twelvetrees without killing him, but he later died of an infection from his injuries.
In the aftermath, the Twelvetrees family now wishes to charge Hal with murder, an accusation he can't disprove without revealing Esmé's infidelity. He and Harry Quarry decide that the best way to restore the Grey family's credibility is by restoring his father's old regiment. He begins meeting with various officers in the hopes of recruiting them.
Hal attends a garden party in the hopes of convincing the Prince of Wales to help him in his quest to restore the regiment. He meets a young woman at the princess's garden party and they flirt for a few moments before he has an asthma attack in front of her. She rouses him with smelling salts, and they part without exchanging names.
In late June, Hal hosts a party to celebrate his mother Benedicta Grey's birthday. During the party, he walks into his office to find Minerva Grey placing borrowed letters back in his desk drawer. He searches her and demands to know what she was doing with his private letters. She tells him that Edward Twelvetrees had hired her to steal the letters, and she hadn't done so, but that Twelvetrees had found a way to steal them anyway. She had obtained them and decided to put them back without telling Hal. She tells Hal that she didn't want him to be hurt by the knowledge that someone had read them. Hal is baffled and she offers to prove it, kissing him. He kisses her back, and they have sex on the hearth rug.
Hal promises to call on her the next day, but is later dismayed to learn that she has given both him and the coachman a fake name and address.
Meanwhile, Hal is given official permission to raise his father's regiment, and celebrates with Harry. At drinks, Harry confesses that he put Minnie up to stealing the letters, to provide evidence of Esmé's affair. Though upset, Hal forgives Harry on the condition that he help find Minnie.
Months later, the pair locate Minnie in Amsterdam. Hal is overjoyed to see her, though shocked to find her in an advanced state of pregnancy. He immediately takes her to a nearby inn, where they are married.
On April 16, 1746, Jamie Fraser awakens on Culloden Moor, thinking he might be dead, and soon enough wishing that he was. Lord Melton, an English officer, refuses to allow Jamie to be shot along with his fellow traitors, knowing that his own brother Lord John Grey owes Fraser a debt of honor. Jamie is sent home to Lallybroch.
When Hal's younger brother John is involved in a scandal with his lover George Everett, Hal uses his influence to keep the gossip to a minimum, and he tells their mother that John has had an unfortunate affair of the heart to stop her questioning further.
On April 2, 1755, Lord John, the new governor of Ardsmuir Prison, writes to his brother Hal about the Frenchman's gold, and Fraser's subsequent escape from prison and return.
An Echo in the Bone
In August 1776, Hal writes to his nephew William, warning him not to get involved with Captain Richardson. The letter also informs William that Hal's son Adam is posted under Sir Henry Clinton and has brought things for William from his wife Minnie.
In November 1776, Hal gives his consent for his daughter Dottie to marry William.
In early April 1777, Hal lets his daughter Dottie travel to the colonies with John to rescue Hal's youngest son Henry, who is gravely wounded.
Written in My Own Heart's Blood
In mid-June 1778, Hal arrives in Philadelphia with his regiment. Upon his arrival, he receives a letter from Amaranthus Cowden, a woman claiming to be the wife of his son Benjamin Grey and mother to his possible three-months-old grandson Trevor Wattiswade Grey. In the letter, Amaranthus informs Hal that Benjamin was captured by the Rebels at the Brandywine. Hal wants to find Benjamin's whereabouts.
In Philadelphia, Hal is looking for his brother Lord John Grey. However, after John fails to report to General Clinton, Hal meets John's new wife Claire. He wants to take her to his rooms at King's Arms to find out what he knows about John's location. However, Hal suffers from an asthmatic attack on the way, and Claire takes him to John's house instead. Claire and Jenny deal with Hal's attack, and keep him hostage for the next few days, to prevent him from looking for John.
Finally, Jamie returns to Philadelphia, just in time to stop Jenny from shooting Hal. Jamie leaves Hal in care of Dr. Denzell Hunter, a Quaker doctor engaged to Hal's daughter Dottie. The next morning, Hal leaves John's house.
In late June, Hal is briefly reunited with his brother John and nephew William after the Battle of Monmouth. A few days later, he and John pay Jamie a visit to ask for a letter of introduction to General Arnold. They are searching for William and Benjamin—William has disappeared after the battle, while Benjamin is now rumored to be dead.
In August 1778, Hal participates in Dottie's Quaker wedding in Philadelphia. In September, Lord John and Hal are in New York, as John prepares for a journey south, to look for Amaranthus.
On January 15, 1779, Hal and John find Amaranthus Cowden, who decides to go with them.
Lord John Series
Lord John and the Private Matter
Hal is in France in early summer of 1757, leaving his younger brother Lord John to act as head of the family in his absence.
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade
Hal, along with his brother John, meets their future father-in-law Sir George Stanley, an army general, and his stepson, Percy Wainwright. Hal and the general get on reasonably well, though Hal's suspicious mind regarding the man's intentions for their mother colors his silent exchanges with his brother over the dinner table.
The next day, when Hal and John meet at Hal's office at the barracks, they discover a page from their father's last journal before his death. Their mother, Benedicta, had told Hal that their father had burned it. Hal walks with John to White's, Hal's preferred gentleman's club, and tells him there has been talk of conspiracies in connection with their father, their father-in-law to be, and three men: Michael Bates, Harrison Otway, and Melchior Ffoulkes.
They arrive at White's to find an unconscious man lying outside of the entrance. The other guests place wagers around the patient's being alive or dead while John runs to fetch a couple of Watchmen, who arrive and announce that the man is alive. The man is conveyed inside and a doctor, also a guest of White's, is summoned to attend to him. Dr. Longstreet talks to John, who through their conversation reveals that Hal had placed a wager in the betting book at White's just one month after their father died, stating that their father was not a traitor, and staking twenty thousand pounds on the truth of the matter.
"The Custom of the Army"
Hal visits John the morning after the electric eel party hosted by the Joffreys, at which John had called out Edwin Nicholls to a duel. After taking into consideration the various aspects of John's situation, Hal suggests that John absconding to Canada might be in his brother's best interests.
The Scottish Prisoner
In spring of 1760, Hal summons Jamie Fraser to London for his assistance in deciphering a message written in Erse, a then-common term for the Gaelic language. Jamie stays with his family at Argus House as Hal conspires with John and Jamie to build a case against the corrupt Major Gerald Siverly and learn more about the Irish Jacobites. After the case concludes, Hal gives Jamie a large sum of reward money.
On October 26, 1760, Hal attends the funeral service for King George II.
Hal is very practical, and often pursues solutions that he feels are best, regardless of John or other's opinions. He can be high-handed and extremely stubborn.He is more hot-tempered than his younger brother, and Grey estimates that most people are rather afraid of Hal.
He swears frequently, though he's banned from swearing in English in front of his children. He is highly cynical. He does not trust a large number of people, choosing instead to confide in Harry Quarry, John, or Minnie. He does not believe in luck.
On the other hand, he's highly intelligent with a strong strategic mind. He has a tendency to change topics without warning. He's also very protective of his younger brother.
Hal greatly resembles his brother, John, though with a few key differences. His eyes are the same pale blue as his brother's, large and slightly girlish, but his brows and lashes are dark like his hair, giving his eyes a more piercing quality. He inherited his father's slight build and tidy muscularity. Like his brother Hal generally wears his own hair just powdered rather than a wig. Unlike his brother his face is deeply weathered and gaunt, marked with harsh lines carved by long duty and the stress of command.
Hal's relationship with his brother, John, is one of great trust and respect. The brothers lost their father when John was still a boy; consequently, Hal acts as a fatherly elder brother, looking after John while helping him make his own way. After their father's death, John lived away from home and Hal for two years, staying with his mother's people in Aberdeen. Even after John had returned to England, the brothers did not interact much, as Hal was busy building up the regiment. During the campaign against the Scottish Jacobites in 1745-6, John accompanied Hal and his regiment to the Highlands, where John had his first taste of military life and warfare. It was there, after the Battle of Culloden and the death of John's friend and lover, Hector, that Hal explained that John must see his friend's body, in order to accept his death, grieve him, and move on.
John took up his commission with Hal's regiment, the 46th, and since then the brothers have grown closer, sharing their talent for soldiering.
On the matter of John's sexuality, Gabaldon has suggested that Hal almost certainly knows of John's preference for men, but that the brothers would never speak of it. She has hinted that even if Hal wasn't directly responsible for John's exile to Ardsmuir (in the wake of a near-scandal involving George Everett), he almost certainly had a hand in it.
Hal was married to Esmé for 3 years, from 1741 to her 1744 death. Though he mourned her death and had happy memories with her, others describe Esme as aloof and Minnie later refers to her as self-loving, narcissistic, and anxious. At some point during their marriage, she began an affair with Nathanael Twelvetrees. Hal and others speculated this was at least partially a bid for attention from Hal. Hal killed Nathanael Twelvetrees in a duel. Esme later died in childbirth not long after.
- Harold comes from the Old English name Hereweald, derived from the elements here "army" and weald "power, leader, ruler".
- Grey has two possible origins: 1) an Anglo-Saxon, Old English nickname for someone with grey hair or a grey beard, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word "graeg", grey; 2) from the place called "Graye" in Calvados, Normandy, so called from the Old Gallo-Roman personal name "Gratus" meaning "Welcome" or "Pleasing", with the suffix "acum" meaning settlement or village.
- He suffers from asthma and fainting spells
- Roger MacKenzie finds a record of Jamie Fraser surviving the Battle of Culloden in Hal's journal where he documented sending Fraser to Lallybroch.
- Hal's great-grandmother was Dutch.
English actor Sam Hoare portrays Hal Grey "Lord Melton" in the Outlander television series.
- "A Fugitive Green", chapter 18.
- Age as of the end of Written in My Own Heart's Blood.
- Although Hal refused to use his ducal title until 1758, he was still, in fact, the second Duke of Pardloe.
- In Voyager, Hal's title is given as "Lord Melton, Earl of Moray" in a letter from Lord John to Melton. "Earl of Moray" does not appear in any other books, and may be considered an error.
- Gabaldon, Diana. "The Custom of the Army (SPOILERS!)." MSG: 66876.109. Diana Gabaldon. Books and Writers Community. Compuserve. Published 27 March 2010. Accessed 1 December 2017.
- Behind the Name: Harold. Accessed 4 May 2016.
- The Internet Surname Database: Grey. Accessed 19 June 2014
- Voyager, chapter 7.