The Duke of Blackwood came from a noble family, who arranged for him to wed a woman of their choice. However, the Duke apparently did not love his betrothed and ended up falling in love with Freya, the younger sister of his new queen, Ravenna. At some point, the pair began an affair in secret.
Forbidden Love Edit
We first see the Duke attending his king's funeral, smiling from across the room at Freya. When he notices Ravenna's observation of the two his smile quickly fades and he looks away. When Ravenna confronts Freya about the affair, it is revealed that Freya is pregnant with the Duke's child. Ravenna tells Freya that the Duke is already engaged to another and confirms that the engagement cannot be broken. Ravenna states that the Duke will betray Freya, but Freya argues that the Duke loves her, not his fiancee. She tells Ravenna that he will choose to be with her and raise their child.
Tragedy Strikes Edit
Freya eventually becomes a mother of the Duke's little girl, whom she adores with all of her heart. At some point Freya must have told the Duke the truth of her child's parentage.
In the next scene, the narrator tells us that Freya received a letter from the Duke. In this letter, he expressed his desire to defy his family's expectations, refuse his engagement, and instead marry Freya in secret and begin a new life with her and their daughter. (It remains unclear if the Duke wrote this letter himself, or if Ravenna wrote the letter in order to lure Freya away from her daughter.)
That night, Freya goes to the gardens to meet with the Duke, but does not find him. Instead, she sees her daughter's room ablaze through the windows of the tower and rushes to the room. Unfortunately, she is too late: her daughter was killed in the fire. Two guards drag the dirty, smoke-covered Duke before Freya. He looks around confused and heartbroken. The only words we hear the Duke say are, "I had to." The meaning of this phrase is unclear, but from what it seems to Freya, it was the Duke who had killed their child, presumably to cover up their affair.
Stricken with the grief of a broken heart as well as the agony of betrayal, Freya unleashes her long-dormant power of cryokinesis, which hit the Duke, turning him to ice, before his frozen body crashes to the ground, killing him.
Many years afterwards, Freya resurrects her sister (killed in the first film Snow White and the Huntsman) from the Magic Mirror. Through a course of events, the true circumstances of the Duke and Freya's daughter's death are finally revealed.
After Freya prevents her sister from harming her Huntsmen, Ravenna angrily accuses Freya of being as weak and pathetic as she had been before her powers were released and claims she owes everything to her. In turn, Freya wonders out loud as to what her sister had done to unleash her powers. Though Ravenna tries to evade the question, Freya is able to force her to tell the truth: the Magic Mirror had prophesied that Freya and the Duke's daughter would grow up to be even more beautiful than Ravenna, and should the child be harmed, Freya would unleash a power unlike any the world had ever seen.
The first part of the prophecy frightened Ravenna, for a rival to her beauty would break the spell of eternal youth that her mother had cast on her. In tears, she begged the Mirror for mercy, but the Mirror simply replied that Ravenna must make her own choices, and it knew that she already had. The vision shows Ravenna slipping into the Duke's room, where she cast a mind-control spell on him as he slept. She is seen handing the Duke a flaming torch and ordering him to kill his daughter. Under Ravenna's spell, the Duke was unable to resist and tragically killed his own daughter; however, Ravenna was truly to blame for her death. Freya turns against Ravenna as a result of this and helps defeat Ravenna, thus avenging the Duke.
Little is known of the Duke's personality, but he appeared to be a kind man who loved Freya. He was willing to defy his family to be with Freya and possibly intended to go against tradition to marry her. Ravenna believed that the Duke would ultimately betray Freya and that he was merely using her, believing him to be manipulative and selfish, however, the Duke's actions do not seem to imply this and, because of her misandry, Ravenna is very biased in her views on him. Freya herself saw none of these traits in the Duke and believed him to be loyal and true. The Duke appeared to be horrified when Ravenna's spell forced him to kill his own daughter, further suggesting his love for Freya and their child was genuine.
Freya was the Duke's lover. From what we are shown, the Duke's love for Freya appeared to be genuine, although Ravenna was convinced he was just using her sister. They presumably fell in love after Ravenna married the king of the land and conducted a secret affair. The Duke was shown smiling at Freya briefly and it is suggested he planned to leave his fiancee, whom he claimed not to love, to be with Freya - it is unclear if the note Freya received was truly written by him or forged by Ravenna. The Duke appeared shocked and grieved when Freya confronted him over the murder of their child, clearly affected by her own grief. However, before he could fully explain himself, Freya lashed out at him with her ice powers, resulting in his death.
The Duke and Ravenna do not interact much; however, given the Duke's reaction to Ravenna when she spots he and Freya smiling at one another, the Duke appears to be afraid of Ravenna. It is unclear if the Duke ever learned prior to his death that Ravenna was the one who cast the spell on him that forced him to kill his daughter - as she was in disguise at the time, it's likely he never knew of her betrayal.
- Colin Morgan, the actor who portrays the Duke of Blackwood, has also portrayed the title character in the fantasy series Merlin. Interestingly, Merlin's love interest was also named Freya, the same as Morgan's character in Winter's War.
Tell us a bit about your Huntsman: Winter’s War character, the Duke Of Blackwood.
What was it like to work on such a big blockbuster movie?
COLIN: ‘If ever there was a film to experience what the "real deal" is all about, it felt right that this was the one. The producer Joe Roth is doing such strong work on these epic adventure movies and I especially enjoyed working with the director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, he's got such a great energy and positivity.’