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 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.
Sometime 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.
Around 1750, Hal came upon a young woman named Minerva in his study, attempting to open the locked drawer in his desk. 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.
Events of the NovelsEdit
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.
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 color 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.
--- Event summary for "The Custom of the Army" ---
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.
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 wifeMinnie.
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.
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.
--- Event summary for "Survival" ---
High handed and convinced of his own judgment.
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.
- 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.
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