Guest Essay on Tower of the Hand – Part III, Tywin the Great?

Charles Dance

The third part in my series on the Hands of the King is up on Tower of the Hand, looking at the political career of Tywin Lannister, the only Hand to rule for two separate terms, the second-longest in office, and the man who brought down three Great Houses, from his beginnings as the Machiavellian son of a dangerously weak lord Tytos to his complicated relationship with Aerys Targaryen and his plans for the House of Lannister.

Check it out!


7 thoughts on “Guest Essay on Tower of the Hand – Part III, Tywin the Great?

  1. scarlett45 says:

    What a great post! I love it.

    What I missed from the post though was how Tywin’s own blindness led to his downfall. While he was able to learn from his political mistakes, his personal mistakes led to his political down fall. Had Tywin focused a bit more on Cersei and Jaime after Johanna’s passing, he may have noticed their incestuous inclinations and been able to put a stop to it. (by the way how did he NOT notice?, not a single governess, nurse, handmaiden noticed the way they looked at each other?)Has he been more of a father to Cersei she may not have gone bat shit. Had he NOT underestimated Tyrion time after time after time he could have perhaps saved him from the Tyrell Joffrey murder plot and thus not been shot on the privy. Tywin speaks a lot about “family loyalty”, but I think that had he not treated Tyrion so badly others (i.e. Catelynn, Cersei, the Tyrells) wouldn’t have thought him the easy target/scapegoat. It’s a BAD political decision, when you are Hand and your daughter Queen Regent to let people mock your son- dwarf or no. Again- sorry if I’m brisk, iPhone typing.

  2. Duvall says:

    For Tywin Lannister, losing one king may be regarded as misfortune, losing a second looks like carelessness. For all the success that he may have enjoyed as Hand, Tywin was unable to prevent two of the kings he served from becoming paranoid monsters that had to be put down. Shouldn’t that count aganist his record?

    • stevenattewell says:

      1. He killed the first King, which dealt with things rather finally.
      2. He had virtually no contact with the second.

  3. Andrew says:

    I guess despite Tywin’s incredible abilities as a politician and general, his shortcomings as a father are what helped to undo his work. Many of the problems the Lannisters suffer result from Tywin’s failure as a father. The War of the Five Kings erupts when the parentage of Cersei’s children is revealed; if he had paid more attention to Jaime and Cersei he might have known the true extent of their relationship. His irrational loathing towards Tyrion led to Tyrion killing him. That is not to say that good fathers make good leaders, but in this world of feudalism where the political heirs are one’s offspring, parenthood has at least some role to play.

    The results are the one in charge of House Lannister, Cersei, is driving it into the ground, while the child with most political and leadership abilities, Tyrion, is now working to bring his house down.

    Ned, may not have been good at court politics, but he knew about legacy. After Ned dies, his bannermen risk it all just for his daughter, and the majority of his bannermen still remain loyal to his children. Tywin was adept at realpolitik, but as Haldon says the Lannisters make enemies easy but seem to have a harder time holding onto friends. With Tywin’s legacy, after Tywin, dies it is basically “sins of the fathers”; all the enemies Tywin made through his actions are eager to exact revenge on his progeny and house.

    Tywin’s strategy was good in the short-term but fails in the long-term while Ned’s strategy works in the long-term but fails in the short-term. The goal should be to find the balance between the two strategies.

    Also was it Tyrion who squandered all the resources or Tywin in the last sentence?

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