Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Tyrion I, ASOS

“While Tyrion lay drugged and dreaming, his own blood had pulled his claws out, one-by-one.”

Synopsis: All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

Political Analysis:

So far, A Storm of Swords has been fairly quiet; we’ve gotten a new POV and a few recap chapters dealing with the aftermath of ACOK, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Tyrion I is something else entirely: in one chapter, we get the complete rewriting of the political order of King’s Landing, the introduction of several significant plotlines (the Tyrells arriving in King’s Landing politics and, if you’re a re-reader, the first sign of the Red Wedding), and arguably one of the best scenes in the entire book, and indeed in all of ASOIAF, when Tyrion meets his father for the first time since the end of AGOT.

The Fall, Part 2

The chapter begins with a startling immediacy as Tyrion wakes from a fevre dream to find out that his political coalition has been dismnatled –“Lord Tywin had wasted little time. Moving his son from the Tower of the Hand to claim it for himself was a message anyone could read, and this was another” – much as he did in Tyrion XV of ACOK. I almost get the sense from this chapter that GRRM had originally written most of this chapter for ACOK and then decided that it was too good to put at the end of the book and decided to push most of the detail of Tyrion’s fall from grace to the next book. (Although if that was the case, why not end ACOK with Tyrion’s survival left on a cliffhanger as with Davos?)

And the dismantling of Tyrion’s political empire really requires examination in detail, because well before we  see Tywin Lannister in action, we area lready seeing his political mind at work. Like his son, Tywin understands that military hegemony is the foundation of all government, and so moves first to secure a monopoly on violence for himself:

“Ser Jacelyn…dead… Your sister sent the Kettleblacks to fetch the king back to the Red Keep, the way I hear it. When the gold cloaks saw him leaving, half of them decided they’d leave with him. Ironhand put himself in their path and tried to order them back to the walls. They say Bywater was blistering them good and almost had ’em ready to turn when someone put an arrow through his neck. He didn’t seem so fearsome then, so they dragged him off his horse and killed him.”

“Who commands the gold cloaks now?”

“Your lord father’s given them to one of his westermen, some knight named Addam Marbrand.”

In most cases the gold cloaks would have resented having an outsider placed over them, but Ser Addam Marbrand was a shrewd choice. Like Jaime, he was the sort of man other men liked to follow. I have lost the City Watch…

“The Stone Crows are still in the Kingswood…Timett led the Burned Men home, with all the plunder they took from Stannis’s camp after the fighting. Chell turned up with a dozen Black Ears at the River Gate one morning, but your father’s red cloaks chased them off…”

As we see, the collapse is total – in one fell swoop, Tyrion loses the Goldcloaks, his mercenaries (more on this in a bit), and the mountain clans, leaving him with absolutely no military force of his own and thus completely at the mercy of his father. The loss of the mountain clans shows us that, contrary to the family’s mantra, the Lannisters actually don’t pay their debts – with Tywin acting as cheapskate general (a motif that will be repeated when he and Tyrion talk about giving Littlefinger Harrenhal, which Tywin calls “an empty title…A Lannister pays his debts.” with no sense of irony or self-awareness). While the loss of the Goldcloaks was probably inevitable, imagine how differently the aftermath of the Purple Wedding would have gone had Tyrion been surrounded by hundreds of mercenaries and mountain clans.

The loss of Ser Jacelyn Bywater hits especially hard, because we can see in him a synecdoche for Tyrion himself – his disability, their common desire to “do justice” – and his end in a noble effort to single-handedly stop a rout that almost succeeded in the worst of all circumstances, but ultimately fell short. And his replacement by Ser Addam Marbrand is telling: Marbrand is not only a Westerman in what is very clearly a Lannister Administration, but also family through Tywin’s mother, and Tywin’s personal crony who has been by his side in every battle of the War of Five Kings. Thus, even in the event of a conflict within House Lannister, Marbrand will side with Tywin.

The Fall: Collateral Damage

Tyrion’s fall from grace does not end there, however. Beyond simply a political humiliation, Tyrion learns that every single maneuver of his, no matter how big or how small, has been undone, in a torturous Humiliation Conga:

“Alayaya…they tied her to a post in the yard and scouraged her, then shoved her out the gate naked and bloody.” She was learning to read, Tyrion thought, absurdly. Across his face the scar stretched tight, and for a moment it felt as though his head would burst with rage…in his carelessness, he had never thought what the role might cost her…

“You don’t have Tommen,” Bronn said bluntly. “Once she learned that Ironhand was dead, the queen sent the Kettleblacks after him, and no one at Rosby had the balls to say them nay.”

“…the Kettleblacks were supposed to be ours…”

“They were, so long as I could give them too pennies for every one they had from the queen, but now she’s raised the stakes. Osney and Osfryd were made knights after the battle, same as me. Gods know what for, no one saw them do any fighting.”

By losing Tommen, Tyrion not only loses all leverage over Cersei but (as we’ll find out shortly) adds one more indictment of disloyalty to The Family in the eyes of his father. What makes it sting all the more sharply is that this is due to him being outplayed when it comes to the Kettleblacks – while Tyrion could offer gold  to secure loyalty and information, he can’t offer the consolations of rank and sex that Cersei can – as once again the family of miles gloriosos prove themselves totally useless, as Bronn alludes to.

But it Alayaya that stings the sharpest, as it demonstrates that, even when it comes to the smallest things in his political world, Tyrion cannot protect anyone. And once again, it is a lower-class female sex worker (assumed in the former case; in this case, a woman of color as well) who pays the price for Tyrion’s mistakes. And while Tyrion’s plaintive memory that Alayaya had been learning to read smacks of a benevolent paternalism (would the abuse have been more acceptable if she had been illiterate?), it is comforting to learn that he is self-aware enough to recognize his own complicity.

The reference to Tysha here is deliberate – just as the Battle of Duskendale is brought to our minds before Tyrion’s interview with his father, so too is Tyrion and Tywin’s history of Oedipal conflict worked out through Tywin’s abuse of women’s bodies previewed here with Alayaya’s whipping. Tyrion doesn’t yet know why this was done, but on a re-read we can see that not all of Tywin’s actions are being done for cold political reasons, that he can and does act out of deep-seated psychological reasons. Not only does this begin to lay the psychosexual groundwork for his patricide, but it also works as a good red herring  for Shae, who will be the fatal connection between father and son.

The Rise of a Sellsword

Another sign of how far Tyrion has fallen is Bronn’s rise in the world. Given that their relationship was founded on Tyrion’s ability to outbid any competitor, it’s a bad sign that Bronn’s knighthood came from Tywin’s hand rather than his son’s:

Bronn’s coal-black hair was freshly washed and brushed straight back from the hard lines of his face, and he was dressed in high boots of soft, tooled leather, a wide belt studded with nuggets of silver, and a cloak of pale green silk. Across the dark grey wool of his doublet, a burning chain was embroidered diagonally in bright green thread.

“What’s that ugly thing on your chest?”

Bronn grinned. “My knightly sigil. A flaming chain, green, on a smoke-grey field. By your lord father’s command, I’m Ser Bronn of the Blackwater now, Imp. See you don’t forget it.”

Almost immediately, we can see the power dynamic between the two men shifting as Bronn’s knighthood now puts him on the bottom rung of the nobility, which reduces the social difference between the two men. And for all that HBO’s Littlefinger might be a pale imitation of the original, he’s not wrong that the chaos of civil war can indeed be a ladder: already, Bronn has risen from sellsword to knight, and will soon rise to be Lord of Stokeworth. Where he will rise from these is not clear, but I do wonder whether Tyrion’s former bodyguard will prove to be the unseen way in for Dany in seizing King’s Landing, similar to the Goldcloaks’ role during the Dance of the Dragons.

The fact that Bronn can and has gained from the patronage of other Lannisters than Tyrion shows that Tyrion’s last supporter is an uncertain reed at best, especially as Tyrion is increasingly pitted against memories of his own family and can no longer count on the effectively limitless financial resources of House Lannister. And indeed, Bronn will (totally understandably, given the circumstance) desert Tyrion in his moment of need, thus avoiding death-by-crushed-skull. On the other hand, Bronn doesn’t exactly betray Tyrion either – he doesn’t testify against him during his trial, and as we see in AFFC, remains spiritually loyal to his former employer.

Cersei and Paranoia

Running throughout this section of Tyrion I is a running theme of his constant paranoia about Cersei. On a re-read, there’s an interesting parallel here with Cersei I of AFFC, with both siblings obsessed about the other one spying on them or trying to kill them, often in the absence of any solid evidence. Here, Tyrion is convinced that Cersei has spies and assassins all around: “here in Maegor’s Holdfast, every servant was in the queen’s pay, so any visitor might be another of Cersei’s catspaws, sent to finish the work Ser Mandon had begun.” Given how ridiculously easy it would have been to assassinate him while he was in his sick bed, if Cersei was intent on killing him at the moment, even she would probably have pulled it off. At the end of the day, all she she really needed to do to remove Tyrion as a thorn in her side was to go and tattle to daddy, and given how lazy Cersei is as a conspirator, she likely refrained to avoid alienating their father at a time when she was trying very hard to win his favor.

However little evidence there might be for Cersei’s immediate murderous intent, Tyrion is more convinced than ever that Cersei is behind Ser Mandon Moore’s attempt on his life:

Cersei was behind Ser Mandon’s attempt to kill him, he knew that in his gut…”My sister has mistaken me for a mushroom. She keeps me in the dark and feeds me shit. Pod’s a good lad, but…I don’t trust half what he tells me.”

“…It was kind of Cersei to ask him to look after you. She feared for your life.”

Feared that I might keep it, you mean. “Doubtless that’s why she’s never once left my bedside.”

Ser Mandon Moore was not his true enemy. He was only a catspaw, and I believe I know the cat. She told him to make certain I did not survive the battle…

As was clear from the comments on the last Tyrion chapter, the question of who was responsible for Ser Mandon Moore’s assassination attempt remains one of the continuing controversies of the ASOIAF fandom. I don’t want to re-hash the arguments we had last time, but I do think the impact of the attempt on Tyrion’s mindset is important. As the old saying goes, you’re not paranoid if they’re actually out to get you, and so Ser Mandon’s attempted slaying reinforces every one of Tyrion’s  darkest imaginings, and occupies a good deal of Tyrion’s attention. Thus, instead of setting Bronn to gather information on the current political situation, he orders him to spend his time trying to dig up dirt on the late Kingsguard, prioritizing old business over dealing with his problems in the here and now.

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An Update on the War of Five Kings

Once he’s experienced the full gamut of his personal disaster, Tyrion is finally ready to take an interest in the larger world, which allows for a massive information dump to the reader and Tyrion that ties up a lot of loose ends from ACOK and which also works to show us how much the world has changed since Tyrion’s been convalescing. We begin with the fallout from the Battle of Blackwater:

“…there’s hundreds in the pot shops and brothels who’ll tell you how they saw Lord Renly kill this one or that one. Most of Stannis’s host had been Renly’s to start, and they went right back over at the sight of him in that shiny green armor.”

After all his planning, after the sortie and the bridge of ships, after getting his face slashed in two, Tyrion had been eclipsed by a dead man…

“How did Stannis escape?”

“His Lyseni kept their galleys out in the bay, beyond your chain. When the battle turned bad, they put in along the bay shore and took off as many as they could. Men were killing each other to get aboard, toward the end.”

As we can see from Tyrion’s understandable griping, he is going to be rather self-absorbed for the better part of this chapter (which, if nothing else, is proof positive that he absolutely is Tywin’s child). At the same time, it’s hard to blame him: the public memory of the Battle of Blackwater has been rewritten in romantic terms that have no place for the Halfman. As he is “not shaped for sportive tricks/nor made to court an amorous looking-glass,” the intellectual anti-hero who torched Stannis’ fleet and held the walls of King’s Landing has been erased from the history books. And this in turn works as a prefiguring of Tyrion’s more private clash with his father over the proper historical interpretation of the Lannister victory.

At the same time, we also get a massive bit of new information – remember, ACOK left it ambiguous as to whether or not Stannis Baratheon had escaped the Battle of Blackwater (“it’s done! Done! Done! The city is saved. Lord Stannis is dead, Lord Stannis is fled, no one knows, no one cares”). Here we get confirmation that Stannis escaped, thanks to those Lyseni galleys that Tyrion’s boom chain and Imry Florent’s elitism had kept out of the battle – another instance of GRRM’s intricate plotting at work. And given the role that Stannis Baratheon will play later in ASOS, keeping him alive and out of the War of Five Kings -is absolutely crucial for Jon’s plot going forward.

We also learn a bit of information that, innocuously sandwiched between a whole mess of information about the Battle of Blackwater, is easy to overlook:

“What of Robb Stark, what has he been doing?”

“There’s some of his wolves burning their way down toward Duskendale. Your father’s sending this Lord Tarly to sort them out. I’ve half a mind to join him. It’s said he’s a good soldier, and openhanded with the plunder.”

While we saw the orders being given by Roose Bolton, this is the first time we see that the Lannisters already know and are reacting to this move – which counts as the first sign of the Red Wedding proper in ASOS, although it’s easy to overlook this, even on a re-read. And as with Renly’s ghost, this announcement is only a prelude  to a more profound encounter with Tywin Lannister, whose presence once again looms over the chapter. It also begins what will be a running focus of my coverage of this book: examining in close detail how GRRM weaves foreshadowing for the Red Wedding through the text all the way up to the event itself without spoiling the outcome for first-time readers.

An Update on King’s Landing Politics

We move on from the military situation to the political situation, as T-yrion learns about the political impact that the Tyrells are already having on the capitol, where for the first time since the end of AGOT, the Lannisters are no longer the only political force in town. And the difference in styles between the two houses is instructive:

“But speaking of pretty, is Margaery Tyrell in King’s Landing yet?”

“No. She’s coming, though, and the city’s mad with love for her. The Tyrells have been carting food up from Highgarden and giving it away in her name. Hundreds of wayns each day. There’s thousands of Tyrell men swaggering about with little golden roses sewn on their doublets, and not a one is buying his own wine. Wife, widow, or whore, the women are all giving up their virtue to every peach-fuzz boy with a gold rose on his teat.”

They spit on me, and buy drinks for the Tyrells.

However much Tyrion might be making everything about him, it is interesting that, before we get an up-close view with Sansa’s POV, we already see how the Tyrells manufacture and promote their political brand. Perhaps out of sheer necessity to compensate for their lack of royal heritage in the eyes of their Reach bannermen, House Tyrell understands and engages in public politics in a way that no other House does. But as we can see from this passage, their technique goes further than manipulating chivalric romance to making use of more base material desires for food, wine, and sex. And the two sides go together very well: the public largesse is meant to associate Margaery’s beauty (both the image of purity and the promise of fertility to come) with the Reach as Westeros’ major source of food, wine, and people.

This is a kind of politics that Tyrion doesn’t understand with reference to himself. It’s not that Tyrion doesn’t understand public politics period – we see that with his reaction to Stannis’ open letter – and he definitely had the financial resources to give out bread in his own name. Rather, Tyrion’s preconceived notion of himself as a despised outside and anti hero won’t let him participate in the game, as we’ll see in full force when it comes to his trial. Indeed, a lot of Tyrion’s self-pitying egoism in this chapter suggests that he chooses to lean into his outsider status  as a kind of preemptive strike against the hatred that he think–s is coming his way, a survival strategy that (as we’ll see later when he meets with Tywin) Tyrion likely developed to deal with his father. One wonders whether Tyrion will prove a better PR man when he’s working on behalf of a more “telegenic” candidate like Daenerys Targaryen…

The other political update comes with Tyrion’s encounter with Addam Marbrand, thus reiterating the earlier discussion of the changing of the guard in the capitol and bringing up some new topics with the new commander of the City Guard:

“Death and desertion have left me with some forty-four hundred. Only the gods and Littlefinger know how we are going to go on paying wages for so many, but your sister forbids me to dismiss any…Lord Tywin feels forty-four hundred guardsmen more than sufficient to find one lost squire, but your cousin Tyrek remains missing…Lord Tywin is stubborn where his blood is concerned. He will have the lad, alive or dead, and I mean to oblige him.”

There’s a couple things to unpack here: first, the Goldcloaks were more than decimated in the Battle of Blackwater, suffering 26% losses between KIA, WIA, and MIA (and indeed, when you consider that the 4,400 include 300 who were sent out with Littlefinger, it’s closer to a third of all Goldcloaks who were in the city). As I’ve discussed before, a military unit that suffers that level of casualties is no longer combat effective, and thus the Goldcloaks are likely to be a broken reed in future conflicts. (Then again, the WOIAF shows that the Goldcloaks have never been a reliable force for any monarch, so if Cersei thinks they’ll hold King’s Landing for her against the Golden Company she is very much mistaken…) Second, it’s interesting how little Cersei and Tywin see eye to eye here, with Cersei trying to cling onto each man that she perceives as her own, and Tywin breaking the knees of any man who deserted – and this is at a moment where Cersei is actively trying to curry favor with her father.

Third, we learn that Tyrek Lannister has still not been found, despite the efforts of the best and brightest of House Lannister and a workforce of several thousand. On a meta-level, this further suggests that Tyrek is alive, because if Tyrek was dead, you wouldn’t waste this many words on the search without a payoff. For what purpose is hard to say – I’m still leaning toward Tyrek being a witness to Cersei’s adultery, incest, kinslaying, murder, and treason, although perhaps the venue is not Cersei’s trial before the Faith and instead the court of public opinion. Beyond the mystery, however, Tyrek’s mention here is important because it highlights Tywin’s uncompromising (verging on irrational) dedication to his ideal of family, which will play a major role in Tyrion’s estrangement from his family (since unlike Tywin, Tyrion has never been able to count on the support of his whole family).

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Fathers and Sons

However, everything we’ve discussed to date is but a mere prelude to Tyrion’s knock-down, drag-out reunion with his father. It is hard to overstate how incredible the writing in this section is; far more than Tywin’s brief appearance in AGOT and ACOK, Tyrion I is where the reader makes a connection with Tywin. Even in a book stuffed with top tier chapters of ASOIAF as a whole, this is not only some of GRRM’s best writing but one of the most important chapters in the series.

On one level, we can see the origin of the legend of Tywin the Mastermind in the ASOIAF fandom – throughout the conversation, he has the trump card of the Red Wedding in his back pocket, making him even more of a smug bastard than usual – which has arguably become the dominant perception of Tywin Lannister, obscuring many of his mistakes and flaws. On another level, far from being a purely rational strategist, we can also see the catalyst for Tywin’s Atreus-like destruction in the way that he systemically dismantles any possibility of reconciliation with Tyrion, so poisoned is their relationship by Joanna’s death, Tywin’s bigotry and ego, and a lifetime of abuse and recrimination.

To keep this conversation on track, I’m going to break their discussion up by specific topics rather than going linearly:

Glory of the West

The first theme that I want to discuss is that of appearance and personal grandeur, which is appropriate considering that it was Tyrion falling short of Tywin’s standard for Lannister appearance that in many ways is at the heart of their conflict. Thus, when Tyrion enters the room we get a full description of Tywin (despite the fact that we’ve already been introduced to him) that emphasizes his physical attributes:

The Lord of Casterly Rock was as lean as a man twenty years younger, even handsome in his austere way. Stiff blond whiskers covered his cheeks, framing a stern face, a bald head, a hard mouth. About his throat he wore a chain of golden hands, the fingers of each clasping the wrist of the next. “That’s a handsome chain,” Tyrion said. Though it looked better on me.

Tyrion’s complaint both focuses nicely on the contrast between the two men that GRRM is setting up and interestingly conflates the appearance of power and the reality of power through the Hand’s Chain. In this passage, Tywin is shown as possessing both male beauty – in a world where Daemon’s rock-hard abs were politically influential, he’s “as lean as a man twenty years young,” and “even handsome” – and displaying an unmistakable force of character (in two sentences, Tywin is described as “austere,” “stiff,” “stern,” and “hard“).

By contrast, as hard as Tyrion tries (note how he tries to hide his pain and exhaustion, because “Tyrion knew how much his father despised weakness,” suggesting a lifetime’s practice in hiding any shortcomings from his father’s eye), he can never come up to the mark. Even his battlefield injuries are not treated with the respect due to a veteran, but rather an additional grotesquerie that makes him unsuited to the Lannister image:

Lord Tywin studied his son’s disfigured face, his pale green eyes unflinching. “Though the wound is ghastly enough, I’ll grant you.”

This minimization of the visual manifestation of his sacrifice once again shows the way in which image, public memory, and personal conflict are coming together to alienate Tyrion from his family. At the same time, there’s more to the question of appearance than just the personal, because the main reason why Tywin has installed himself in King’s Landing rather than in the field is to stage manage the reveal of his new-and-improved Lannister Regime 2.0:

“… Joffrey and Margaery shall marry on the first day of the new year, which as it happens is also the first day of the new century. The ceremony will herald the dawn of a new era.”

A new Lannister era, thought Tyrion. “Oh, bother, I fear I’ve made other plans for that day.”

“Did you come here just to complain of your bedchamber and make your lame japes?”

Halfway between a (normally) carefully-orchestrated political convention and an Apple product launch, the Purple Wedding is intended by Tywin to be a public event with many objectives: a statement to the realm at large that the Lannister/Tyrell alliance and their preponderance of military power is (with Stannis defeated) the party to back in the War of Five Kings, a statement to the political elite that Tywin is now in charge in King’s Landing and that the mistakes of the Joffrey/Cersei era are a thing of the past, and the formation of a hopefully permanent dynastic alliance that will give Tywin an heir he can train to follow in his image. And as we will see in future chapters, being in King’s Landing also allows Tywin to manage House Tyrell’s demands so that they don’t end up gaining more than their share of the rewards. And Tyrion doesn’t fit this picture of beauty and grandeur at all, and his presence potentially complicates Tywin’s personal narrative of political experience as Hand and victory at the Blackwater.

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A Bloody Masterpiece

The second major theme in this conversation is the Red Wedding, the asymmetric knowledge of which is absolutely fueling Tywin’s ego in the moment, which we can see from the way that he’s dangling clues in from of Tyrion without giving him the full context, for no other reason than knowing that when Tyrion figures it out it’s going to hit all the harder how he was outplayed:

“I have important letters to finish.”

“Important letters. To be sure.”

“Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens…”

There is an interesting question as to where we are in the process of the Red Wedding at this moment, which “important letters” Tywin is using to “win” the War of Five Kings. I have argued from Arya X of ACOK that Tywin had already reached an agreement with Roose Bolton – more on this in a second – which also suggested that he’d reached an agreement with Walder Frey, because the plan wouldn’t work without both halves. We also know from Catelyn VII of ACOK that Robb took the Crag  shortly before the Battle of Blackwater, but it’s noticeable that the news of Robb’s marriage arrived at Harrenhal (and likely the Twins) before it arrived at Riverrun, which suggests that Tywin (who had advance information from Sybell Spicer) played a hand in transmitting the information to Walder Frey.

I would argue, therefore, that the letters are likely Tywin sending his final instructions to his co-conspirators, confirming their commitment to the plan, their rewards if they succeed, and instructing them into how to carry out their parts, while informing them that he is about to follow through on his part of the deal, namely the Battle of Duskendale:

“Until Lord Redwyne brings his fleet up, we lack the ships to assail Dragonstone. It makes no matter. Stannis Baratheon’s sun set on the Blackwater. As for Stark, the boy is still in the west, but a large force of northmen under Helman Tallhart and Robett Glover are descending toward Duskendale. I’ve sent Lord Tarly to meet them, while Ser Gregor drives up the kingsroad to cut off their retreat. Tallhart and Glover will be caught between them, with a third of Stark’s strength.”

“Duskendale?” There was nothing at Duskendale worth such a risk. Had the Young Wolf finally blundered?

“It’s nothing you need trouble yourself with.”

While Tyrion and the first-time reader are still ignorant of the import of this battle, on a re-read you can see the clues that the fix was in: while it’s possible that scouting could have detected the movement of the Northern infantry, Tywin knows their precise numbers, their command structure, and where and when to move Randyll Tarly and Gregor Clegane to “cut off their retreat,” so that the Northern army is “caught between them.” This is simply too much information to have come from anyone other than Roose Bolton, and Tywin’s possession of it is proof positive that Roose has turned his cloak (while still keeping his options open).

And while the Red Wedding is most known for the slaughter inside the feast hall and, to a lesser extent, the slaughter among the tents, I would argue that Duskendale is the third leg of the stool, without which the whole operation could not have happened. Consider the following: Roose Bolton and Walder Frey have between them have at most 8,000 men, whereas (at this point in time) Robb Stark has ~9,000 Northern loyalists (and another 11,000 Riverlands loyalists if Robb had brought them with him to the Twins). While surprise attacks can sometimes overcome the odds, Walder is far too much a coward and Roose far too clever to betray their king in that environment. However, between Duskendale and the Ruby Ford, Tywin is able to reduce Robb’s faction by some 5,000 men, tipping the odds decisively in the favor of the traitors.

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What Is Mine By Rights

After this extended period of civility, the gloves start to come off, as the two men’s inability to separate practical politics from personal feelings surges to the fore. And as we might expect, it all starts with how Tywin is treating Tyrion’s actions during the battle:

 “What madness possessed you?”

“The foe was at the gates with a battering ram. If Jaime had led the sortie, you’d call it valor.”

“Jaime would never be so foolish as to remove his helm in battle.”

In addition to the irony that Jaime was the one foolish enough to get himself captured and will soon be suffering his own disability due to his recklessness in throwing down with Brienne in the middle of a warzone, it’s undeniably true that Tywin has a double-standard with regards to his children. Consider the way in which he’s treated Jaime joining the Kingsguard (by projecting his anger onto Aerys) to any of Tyrions’ shortcomings. At the same time, any objections from Tyrion can’t help but sound petty and childish, given Tywin’s superpower of negating his children’s snarking abilities.

Regardless, once Tyrion’s patience and self-control wears off, he goes straight for the issue that was raised at the very beginning of the chapter, namely who gets the credit for the Battle of Blackwater. Given that Tywin’s appointment of Tyrion as Hand was the most significant moment of praise and trust that the two have ever shared, and that his defense of the city was his masterstroke as Hand of the King, for Tyrion, credit for the battle is validation of himself as a person and as Tywin’s son (as we’ll see later):

“Say what you want and take yourself back to bed.”

“What I want…” His throat felt raw and tight. What did he want? More than you can ever give me, Father…“You said something about paying debts, I believe.”

“And you want your own reward, is that it? Very well. What is it you would have of me? Lands, castle, some office?”

“A little bloody gratitude would make a nice start.”

Lord Tywin stared at him, unblinking. “Mummers and monkeys require applause. So did Aerys, for that matter. You did as you were commanded, and I am sure it was to the best of your ability. No one denies the part you played.”

“That part I played?” What nostrils Tyrion had left must surely have flared. “I saved your bloody city, it seems to me.”

“Most people seem to feel that it was my attack on Lord Stannis’s flank that turned the tide of battle…your chain was a clever stroke, and crucial to our victory. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

At the same time, Tywin is clearly the parent from whom Cersei inherited her obsession with re-writing history. In order to start his second term as Hand of the King on the right foot, Tywin needs the story to be his glorious victory at the Battle of the Blackwater, because the reality is that he’s spent most of the war being out-maneuvered, out-strategized, got beaten by Edmure Tully at the Battle of the Fords, and had to be rescued by the Tyrells. But due to his childhood experiences with his father, who had a pathological desire to be loved at the cost of his own dignity, and his more adult experiences with Aerys (who resented anyone sharing his spotlight), Tywin can’t admit that he shares Tyrion’s desire for applause, as if he hadn’t just ridden a giant white horse into the throne room.

With his father minimizing his actions (“most people seem to feel that it was my attack…that turned the tide“), gaslighting him (“no one denies the part you played”), and then criticizing him for wanting credit in the first place, Tyrion fully loses control of his temper and begins to speak some truths that he’s kept repressed his entire life:

“What do I want, you ask? I’ll tell you what I want. I want what is mine by rights. I want Casterly Rock.”

His father’s mouth grew hard. “Your brother’s birthright?”

“The knights of the Kingsguard are forbidden to marry, to father children, and to hold land, you know that as well as I. The day Jaime put on that white cloak, he gave up his claim to Casterly Rock, but never once have you acknowledged it. It’s past time. I want you to stand up before the realm and proclaim that I am your son and your lawful heir.”

Lord Tywin’s eyes were a pale green flecked with gold, as luminous as they were merciless. “Casterly Rock,” he declared in a flat cold dead tone. And then, “Never.”

The word hung between them, huge, sharp, poisoned.

This is where GRRM’s writing suddenly rises to the level of the Faulknerian: the combination of family tragedy, sexuality, and power, the way that Casterly Rock becomes this synecdoche for parental acknowledgement, political power, and Tywin’s thwarted dreams for Jaime, and of course, the backdrop of a great dynasty about to destroy itself from the inside. And it gets even more Faulknerian when Tywin retorts with his own list of long-repressed grievances:

I knew the answer before I asked, Tyrion said. Eighteen years since Jaime joined the Kingsguard, and I never once raised the issue. I must have known. I must always have known. “Why?” he made himself ask, though he knew he would rue the question.

“You ask that? You, who killed your mother to come into the world? You are an ill-made, devious, disobedient, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning. Men’s laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors, since I cannot prove that you are not mine. To teach me humility, the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion that was my father’s sigil and his father’s before him. But neither gods nor men shall ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.”

There is so much packed into this speech that it demands to be broken down: to begin with, there is the charge of matricide, bound up in the death of Joanna Lannister as Tyrion’s original sin that cannot be expunged. Second, while I continue to not believe the A+J=T theory, it’s clear that rumors from the time of Tyrion’s birth continue to haunt Tywin’s memory – hence “I cannot prove that you are not mine,” and his reference to Aerys’ comments about Joanna’s death being a judgement from “the gods…to teach me humility,” from the WOIAF. Third, as we’ve discussed above, Tyrion’s disability and Tywin’s ableism (“ill-made…little creature…condemned me to watch you waddle about”) are a particularly poor match in an image-conscious House like the Lannisters. Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, Tywin clearly sees his son as Tytos come again (hence his comment about “that proud lion that was my father’s sigil“), another weak man who wants to be loved, who’s “full of…lust” and who will “turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse” just like Tytos did with his mistresses:

“Cersei told you about Alayaya.”

“Is that her name? I confess, I cannot remember the names of all your whores. Who was the one you married as a boy?”

“Tysha.” He spat out the answer, defiant.

“…to save a whore’s virtue you threatened your own House, your own kin? Is that the way of it?”

“…Go back to your bed, Tyrion, and speak to me no more of your rights to Casterly Rock. You shall have your reward, but it shall be one I deem appropriate to your service and station. And make no mistake—this was the last time I will suffer you to bring shame onto House Lannister. You are done with whores. The next one I find in your bed, I’ll hang.”

And here we get to the psychosexual heart of Tyrion and Tywin’s Oedipal conflict. While everyone remembers what Tywin does to Tysha, and everyone remembers what Tyrion does to Shae at the end of this book, people often forget that Alayaya was the second installment of their ongoing drama. The fact that Tywin ordered the whipping, stripping, and exile of the woman he thought was Tyrion’s whore, much as he ordered the public humiliation of his father’s mistress (who he clearly blamed for the death of his own mother), makes the act far more personal and pathological. And given that this is all going to end with Shae hanged in Tywin’s bed in an ironic twist on his threat, I’m leaning more and more to the belief that Tywin picked Shae on purpose, perhaps in an effort to revenge himself against .

On the other side of the Oedipal divide, Tywin’s obsessions means that he represents a total negation of any possibility for autonomy, self-actualization, or expression of sexuality for Tyrion.  If anything, Tyrion’s eventual patricide seems somewhat overdetermined, especially when you add in Tywin’s threat against Shae’s life.

Historical Analysis:

In this section, I’m actually going to skip the further story of Justinian II, the noseless Emperor of Byzantium, because I think it’s going to be more appropriate when we get closer to Tyrion’s arrest and trial following the Purple Wedding. Instead, I want to introduce the historical/dramatic theme that undergirds the entire Lannister plot in ASOS: the tragedy of the Fall of the House of Atreus. (And not just because I’ve been recently re-reading Robert Graves’ commentaries on Greek myth…) Now, this is something I’ve alluded to repeatedly in previous essays, but I haven’t had an opportunity to really dig into the story before.

The House of Atreus is one of the great tragic cycles of Greek mythology, placed as it is at the heart of the Trojan War, and thus became the subject of some of the greatest Greek dramas that survived to the present day – Sophocles and Euripides both wrote plays about Electra, and Aeschylus wrote a whole trilogy (the Oresteia) of plays about it. As with so many other Greek tragedies, the Fall of the House of Atreus is caused by multi-generational curses brought on by hubris and offenses against nature, and centers on a dark nexus of violence, sex, family, and power.

The tragedy begins with Tantalus, a mortal son of Zeus beloved of the gods who was allowed to share in the ambrosia that gave them eternal youth. A figure of immense hubris, Tantalus decided to pit his wits against the gods by inviting them to a feast where he served to them the body of his own son, Pelops, and seeing whether he could trick them into eating human flesh. The gods saw through his trick, with one exception, Demeter, who was distracted by grief over her abducted daughter Persephone. In their revulsion, the gods brought Pelops back to life and replaced the shoulder Demeter had eaten with an ivory shoulder, and punished Tantalus by sending him to Tartarus, where he would eternally suffer both hunger and thirst (thus the origin of the word tantalize).

Pelops, who likewise was favored by the gods (especially by Poseidon, who took the mortal for his lover), became a great king in Greece and thus gave his name to the Peloponnese. But in order to do that, Pelops had to marry the daughter of King Oenomaus of Pisa. Oenomaus, himself a son of a god (in this case, Ares), had been given a prophecy that he would be killed by his son-in-law, had taken to killing any suitor of his daughter in a rigged chariot race. Pelops outwitted the King by bribing his charioteer (who just happened to be a son of Hermes) – but then after he had won and claimed Hippodamia for his bride, Pelops reneged on his bribe and threw the charioteer out of the chariot at speed. As he fell to his death, this charioteer cursed Pelops and all his line.

And so began the curse of the House of Atreus, which I’ll continue next time. But already we can see resonances with the story of the Rat Cook, and as we get deeper into the legend, you’ll see more and more similarities to ASOIAF.

What If?

I already discussed what would have happened had Tywin properly rewarded Tyrion for his efforts in Tyrion XIV of ACOK, so there really isn’t any room for hypotheticals with regards to the crux of the chapter where Tyrion demands his birthright.

However, I do think there’s an interesting hypothetical that I discussed above:

  • Tyrion’s mount clansmen hadn’t been sent away? To me, the main difference here is that Tyrion is not completely disarmed in ASOS, which really changes his position within King’s Landing politics. If Tyrion had a bodyguard of several hundred men around him during the Purple Wedding, he’s far less likely to be immediately arrested and thrown into the dungeons where he can be politically isolated and railroaded into a guilty verdict. Now, Cersei’s accusation still has to be respected in some way, so it’s more likely that Tyrion is put under house arrest or some other form of parole.
  • However, this frees Tyrion to actually conduct a decent defense of himself at trial, as opposed to being completely reliant on Podrick Payne and unable to find any witnesses. Indeed, it’s quite possible that Tyrion would have opted for a trial by combat from the off, counting on Timett son of Timett or Shagga son of Dolf’s ferocity and unconventional tactics to overcome the Mountain. This may have shifted Oberyn’s plotting; without the opportunity to stand as Tyrion’s champion, Oberyn would have had to focus on Tywin or his Tyrion-and-Myrcella plot instead. This in turn means that Arianne’s rebellion in AFFC doesn’t happen.

Book vs. Show:

Obviously the main difference between book and show when it comes to Tyrion in Season 3 is that, rather than losing his nose, Tyrion only gets a scar across his face, which while initially ugly, has become less prominent and more dignified in later seasons. And I don’t really mind, because I’d rather the show avoid having to put Peter Dinklage into hours a day of distracting makeup or having him wear a green sock on his nose so that they can spend huge amounts of money CGI-ing his nose. Moreover, I do think this is one case where there is a difference between media – on the page, we know that Tyrion is badly disfigured, but it’s not at the forefront of our minds at all times like it would be if Peter Dinklage looked like this:

Instead, we are free to focus on Peter Dinklage’s excellent acting. While Season 3 lacks some of the fireworks of Season 4 – Tyrion’s trial and his patricide especially – this scene between Peter Dinklage and Charles Dance is an incredibly well-done scene that really shows you how important Charles Dance was in giving so much of the cast a veteran actor to work off of in two-hander scenes.

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110 thoughts on “Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Tyrion I, ASOS

  1. Winnief says:

    Finally Another Chapter!!!

    And of what a chapter It was. ITA with your analysis of the politics and the psychology happening here.

    Now I’ve always regretted that Tywin didn’t live long enough to react to certain developments like The North Remembers, Dragons, R+L=J, and ESPECIALLY White Walkers. (Would have PAID GOOD MONEY to see the old bastard try working his head around what to do about the last one, since the Night’s King just doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to be intimidated by battle atrocities, or agree to a truce meeting while laying down arms.)

    But I can’t deny that much as I wanted Tywin to live longer, (I think the books AND show suffered greatly for his loss,) there was definitely a role of inevitability in the nature of his demise. It was always gonna come down to Tyrion vs. Tywin one way or another.

    And may I say, how much I LOVE how the show handled this entire sequence and how *brilliant* Dance and Dinklage were together?!? I also liked the scene beforehand too, (not from the books) with Tyrion and Cersei in her full smug mode, and of course Cersei’s fear that Tyrion would ‘tattle’ on her. It helped give hints that Cersei’s viciousness started early with what happened to the servant girl, and again her penchant for revisionist history with Tyrion having to explain, “It’s not slander if it’s true.”

  2. They will bend the knee says:

    Goody,, next chapter is a Davos chapter ! 😀

    • Not my favorite Davos chapter, but my god are we about to get some amazing Davos chapters…

      • I bet for Davos I or one of the later ones you would talk about the Sullivan bros, Saving Private Ryan, the Nyland bros, and Mrs. Bixby in Boston in the historical comparisons. I sure do hope someone wrote something like that to Marya Seaworth.

        Which reminds me, I wish you would have mentioned what happened to a number of Nazi concentration camps when the Soviet Army arrived on the Harrenhal chapters. Basically the NKVD and SMERSH put up a ‘under new management’ sign.

      • They will bend the knee says:

        Granted Davos I isn’t the best but I’ve been waiting to read your next analysis of a Davos’ Chapter since Dec 18th 2015. :p
        Being both a Team smallfolk member and a Stannis fan make me a big Davos POV chapters enthusiast.

  3. Ethan says:

    Excellent analysis, enjoyed it greatly. However, I don’t understand what you mean by this; “Moreover, I do think this is one case where there is a difference between media – on the page, we know that Tyrion is badly disfigured, but it’s not at the forefront of our minds at all times like it would be if Peter Dinklage looked like this”. Shouldn’t we as readers be constantly aware of his disfigurement, as the characters around him must be? Otherwise there’s a dissonance between the reader and the world, which is surely a negative thing?

    • It depends whether it’s distracting the reader from everything else he is.

      • po8crg says:

        Over time, if you know someone well, any disfigurement or other physical variation from the norm becomes less prominent in your perception of them.

        If you’re watching them on TV for an hour, once a week, ten weeks a year, that familiarity doesn’t develop.

        Making it less prominent might well be a smart choice to give us an analogous experience.

    • Keith B says:

      It’s not just Tyrion. The show has also downplayed physical disfigurements of other characters. The Hound’s burns are less disfiguring in the show, Theon isn’t as badly hurt (in the books he can barely walk, let alone run), Euron doesn’t have an eyepatch, Shireen is actually pretty despite the scarring, Brienne doesn’t have the broken nose and battle wounds, and so on.

      Dinklage is far too good looking to play Tyrion. The show had to make the personal dynamics between Tyrion and Sansa much friendlier, because it wouldn’t make sense to have her as disgusted by his looks as she is in ASOS.

      • Sansa being disgusted by Tyrion’s naked body had a lot to do with his looks, Sansa not being friendlier to Tyrion had little to nothing to do with his looks. She wasn’t friendly with any of the Lannisters, because they were her enemies, her captors and she was trying to escape from them, and she simply could not and had no reason to trust any of the Lannisters. The show absolutely did NOT need to make their personal dynamics friendlier. They just did that because they thought that all good characters must be nice to Tyrion and like Tyrion (see seasons 5 and 6).

  4. Steven Xue says:

    Great chapter, although I can’t help but notice you made a number of spelling errors and grammatical all throughout your analysis. Still a great essay.

    Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if Tywin has been conducting a life long social experiment with his sons. Its almost like he has been intentionally giving Jaime all the positive reinforcement while dumping all the negative reinforcement onto Tyrion to see how they turn out. From the way his dad has always treated him, its a miracle Tyrion has managed to grow up with any self esteem at all.

  5. Tywin of the Hill says:

    Fantastic. Thank you!
    I love the similarities of the Lannisters and the House of Atreus. The infighting of House Lannister is the biggest catalyst of their downfall. And it makes the Stark siblings’ relationships even more astonishing. No matter what the show says, the Starks would never turn against each other.

  6. Sean C. says:

    A minor thread in this chapter that fans have debated is Tyrion’s attitude toward Tommen and learning that he can’t follow through on his threats to Cersei earlier. He’s happy that he doesn’t have the power to go through with it, but it seems like, in his mind, he feels he would have to have had he actually had the ability to do so. One can question whether he actually would have, of course, but it shows one of the sharper edges to his personality.

    • Yeah, we saw that back when he issued the threat, the “be like Tywin” model of behavior that so many of his kids have adopted.

    • John G says:

      I kind of think Tyrion’s strategy to capture Tommen was a mistake. Sure, it would have given him leverage if it succeeded but it was always a chancy plan that put the safety of the heir to the throne at risk and kind of proved Cersei right that Tyrion was out to get her kids (though I doubt there’s anything that would have stopped the Cersei-Tyrion rivalry).

  7. rewenzo says:

    Another interesting tidbit is that Addam Marbrand is also more directly kin to the missing Tyrek Lannister because Tyrek’s mother was Darlessa Marbrand.

  8. Iñigo says:

    Great essay!

    After a bunch of rereads, one can’t help but notice how Tywin is trying to get all the credit for the victory… which comes mostly from others saving his ass (Tyrells, Boltons, Greyjots).

    The greatest reason for him to be so smug in this chapter is a move that means total disaster in the long term, and its to deal with the Starks, when the ones that are an actual threat are the Tyrells.

    • winnief says:

      To be fair, I expect that Tywin *would* have been much better at handling the Tyrells than either Kevan or Cersei.

      But yeah you do feel like he’s compensating a bit here and that may have been part of why the RW happened so Tywin could once again that he was the meanest baddest mother in Westeros…only to realize Joffrey was Aerys III in what may be one of my favorite chapters of the whole series.

      But I must give him this…Tywin at least is a *compelling* bastard as opposed to say Ramsay who’s just repellant.

      • Crystal says:

        I agree with the Tywin vs. Ramsay comparison: Tywin is at least interesting, and his actions are both plausible and based in psychology. Ramsay is more or less a plot device of Stupid Evil For The Lulz (tm TVTropes), rescued in the show by Iwan Rheon’s performance.

        And if the books go the way of the show on Cersei’s arc, then it is she – Tywin’s daughter – who is the real Aerys III. But Tywin’s descendants either way, and it demonstrates how Tywin laid the seeds of his own family’s destruction. House of Atreus, indeed.

      • Iñigo says:

        I think that Tywin should get compared to Roose, more than Ramsay.

    • Thanks!

      I wouldn’t agree that the Tyrells were the actual threat, per se. They were a threat to Joffrey, certainly, but Tyrwin showed himself more than capable of moderating their demands.

      • Iñigo says:

        I don’t think that part holds. He stopped them from getting Sansa, but did so leaving her for littlefinger. After Joffrey got poisoned, Tywin gave the Tyrells everything they could have got from the process.

  9. Andrew says:

    Loving this analysis, Maester Steven.

    1.”full of envy, lust and low cunning”

    Envy: Tywin taking Ice and making it into swords for his own house
    Lust: Shae in his bed and the tunnel to Chataya’s
    Low cunning: taking King’s Landing during Robert’s Rebellion through treachery

    Tyrion definitely is Tywin’s son.

    2. Regarding Tyrion believing Cersei was behind Mandon Moore leading to much of his nose being cut off. Ironically, later in ADwD when Cersei learns Myrcella lost an ear, she believes Tyrion was behind it with it being connected to him losing half his nose.

    3. “Shagga seems to have taken a fancy to the place [kingswood].”

    Could the Stone Crows have been the ones hired by Cersei to attack the Dornish party, kill Trystane and shout “Halfman”? She would be setting Tyrion’s allies as the fall guys.

    • David Hunt says:

      That would be a very cunning move on her part, using men that were known to be working for Tyrion in the past. However, I just can’t believe her overwhelming paranoia about Tyrion would allow her to trust the mountain clansmen, after they had been in his employ. The thought of barbarians that might still be his participating in a mock attack on Myrcella…Cercei would be certain that the attack would become real and her daughter would be in deadly danger. I don’t know who’d she trust to pull off that scheme but it wouldn’t be the mountain clansmen.

    • 1. Good point.

      2. I forgot that.

      3. I doubt it, but I’m sure that would have been the cover story.

    • Keith B says:

      Shagga is a loose end that may never get tied up. He’s effectively a new Kingswood Brotherhood, except he almost certainly doesn’t have the support of the residents. Eventually someone will have to take him out, but unless he has some role in either helping Aegon. opposing Aegon, or attacking Nymeria and Tyene on their way to KL, he seems to be outside the scope of the books.

  10. Keith B says:

    A very meaty essay. No wonder it took so long to finish.

    Even if he hadn’t been injured, Tyrion never would have been able to keep any of the power he’d accumulated as acting Hand, because it all came from Tywin to begin with. All his political authority comes from his father’s appointment. For all that he talks about how rich he is, he has no money except what his father gives him. He has the mountain clans on his side only because Tywin agreed to honor Tyrion’s promises. His situation is quite different from Cersei’s, who has independent power as the Queen Regent. Tywin can simply push Tyrion out of the way. He can’t easily do that to Cersei.

    It’s quite remarkable that Tyrion makes no serious effort to defend his tenure as Hand. It’s true that Cersei and Littlefinger were able to get their versions out first while Tyrion was unconscious, but that’s all the more reason why he needs to counteract their influence. Both of them not only want to exaggerate their own contributions as his expense, but have personal reasons to disparage him. He could have mentioned that he figured out how to use the wildfire effectively, while Cersei would only have burned down the city. He could have explained that it was his plan to ally with the Tyrells. He could have told Tywin how Littlefinger instigated the war with his lie about the dagger. He could have reported that Cersei nearly lost the battle by ordering Joffrey back to the Red Keep. He could have talked about all the other instances of stupid and destructive behavior by Cersei and Joffrey that almost cost them the war. Maybe Tywin wouldn’t have believed all that, but hut at least there would have been an alternative story available. But Tyrion didn’t even try. Then he wonders why he isn’t appreciated.

    It’s also noteworthy that Tyrion never tells Tywin off. In fact the only person who ever tries to (that I recall) is Joffrey, who says that Tywin was hiding under Casterly Rock while Robert won the war. Certainly Tyrion might have mentioned that Tywin is a bloody hypocrite for belittling Tyrion’s desire for praise after making a big show of riding into the throne room like a conquering hero. He could also have pointed out that the Lannisters didn’t pay their debt to the mountain clans when they drove them away from the city. It would have been highly satisfying if someone had thrown Tywin’s numerous faults and failings back in his face. But it never happens.

    • Winnief says:

      (Clap Clap.)

      Joffrey pointing out that *Robert* (who Tywin despised) was the one who actually won the damn war might have been the only good thing, the inbred monster ever did.

      (And personally I wonder whether any of the benefits Tywin reaped from the Sack of KL were worth the costs to himself and his House. He became regarded as a back-stabbing butcher even by his so-called allies and earned the undying hatred of House Martell. Sure Cersei married Robert, but he probably could have got that *without* the Sack at all, had he just stayed out of the war completely. It really was pure vindictiveness on his part-unless he actually thought like toady Pycelle he could be appointed King, but I don’t think he was ever *that* delusional. )

      No one really acknowledges it out loud, but Tywin has a MAJOR problem in that his victories are predicated always on back alley deals and often even war crimes than on any actual battle prowess…and while that earns people’s fear, it doesn’t earn their *respect* as becomes really clear in AFFC.

      • Jim B says:

        Re fear vs. respect: if Tywin lived in our world, he’d be one of those people who loves to quote Machiavelli.

        • Grant says:

          It’s fear or love (and I think respect is meant to be inferred by the two). By the classic argument fear is preferable (which I think is debatable) and what’s meant to be avoided at all costs is hatred, something that Cersei doesn’t seem to understand. She tries to follow what she thinks Tywin’s example is, but then does things like lambasting Pycelle for being unable to stop a dying guy from dying or arbitrarily taking land around King’s Landing.

          There’s a reason why after her arrest the only one out there who is at all supportive is Qyburn. He’s entirely reliant on her and one of the few she’s done no injury to.

          • Space Oddity says:

            Fear is preferable to love FOR A PRINCE to have from the populace he rules over if he can’t have both.

            Machiavelli was definitely not intending that to be a guideline on personal relationships.

          • Keith B says:

            Machiavelli’s dictum that fear was better than love, but not if it led to hate, was possibly a reference to Caligula’s motto “let them hate so long as they fear.”

            What I didn’t know until just now is that Caligula’s motto is from a Roman poet named Lucius Attius, who wrote the line in a play about Atreus, of all people.

      • Crystal says:

        Re the Sack of KL: I think Tywin thought, among other things, that the Martells didn’t have the strength to retaliate. What saved him in the short run from that retaliation was actually Jon Arryn’s smoothing things over and persuading Oberyn to stay at home. (In the long run, of course, the wheels came off of *that*.)

        I noticed that after Tywin died, nobody, except his sister Genna, mourned him. And, unlike the loyal Northern mountain clans who were willing to *die* for “Ned’s little girl” (nevermind she wasn’t really!) – who lifted a finger for Cersei during her imprisonment? Not Jaime, not Addam Marbrand, not any of the Westerlands smallfolk. Nobody speaks of Tywin’s memory in reverent tones as they did with Ned Stark, or even Robb for that matter. Tywin was feared but not at all loved.

        • Andrew says:

          Actually, Jaime, Pycelle and the rest of Tywin’s immediate family mounred his loss, but Jaime admitted that “many and more were secretly delighted to see the great man brought low.”

          In terms of legacy, the North, the riverlands, Dorne and a number of Targaryen supporters are waiting to get back at his house, his progeny, for his actions. Whereas no one bears any enmity towards Ned’s house.

          • Crystal says:

            Aside from the family, Addam Marbrand perhaps (and he’s collateral family) and Pycelle the toady (I have always wondered if he’s a Lannister bastard, or the son of a Lannister bannerman, and his rise through the Citadel ranks is a big favor to Tywin?) – it doesn’t seem like Tywin is mourned as Ned was, or Oberyn Martell, by bannermen and smallfolk. Nobody demanding the release of “Tywin’s little girl.” Jaime is the only one popular with any smallfolk, and he’s popular with soldiers because he’s one of them and talks to them. Not because he’s a Lannister.

            And now, as you said, any number of Houses are waiting to get back at the Lannisters in a way that no-one is waiting to get back at the Starks, except maybe Barbrey Dustin, and she’s only angry for personal reasons (She didn’t get to marry a Stark! And now her husband’s dead because of Ned Stark! Boo hoo!)

          • Jim B says:

            Crystal — I’ve been operating under the assumption that Pycelle just had a man-crush on Tywin. Though I wonder if it might not be the case that Pycelle and Tywin were brothel buddies back in Tywin’s first tenure as Hand?

      • David Hunt says:

        Hmm. The last time I read ASOS, I believed Tywin when he said that he thought that the Lannisters (i.e Tywin) needed to make a clear statement of loyalty to Robert that left no doubt that they’d irrevocably broken with the Targs. I’m still sure that Tywin believed it when he said it.

        Of course, he also got to order the murder of Elia and her children in retaliation for the monstrous crime of marrying the Crown Prince like the King wanted her to, because she should have known that the guy belonged to Tywin’s daughter. So there’s that.

        Also, Tywin fought in the War of the Ninepenny Kings and understood how long the Blackfyre threat had lasted. Any Targs in exile might have looked to him, Aerys’ old friend and Hand, as a natural starting point to a restoration movement and the whole of Westeros could see that too. That expectation could have ruined his ambitions of a Lannister dynasty for his lifetime at least. That was unacceptable. Not only did House Lannister need to become the preeminent House in Westeros, he had to be known as the one who made it happen.

        • winnief says:

          Tywin may have told himself it was purely logical but it wasn’t.

          Fact is neither the Tyrell’s or Martells who were actively opposed to Roberts Rebellion paid any price for that while one reason Tywin’s had to stay away from KL all those years of Roberts rule us because the king despised him as a child killer.

          • Tywin of the Hill says:

            I don’t think Robert despised him for killing Aegon and Rhaenys. After all, he got into a big fight with Ned for defending Tywin’s actions.
            Seems to me Tywin lost all his popularity with the KL smallfolk after the Sack, so he didn’t want to stay too long so as not to damage the new Baratheon regime.

          • thatrabidpotato says:

            Untrue. Robert was a far better man than Tywin Lannister, but he called those kids “dragonspawn”. It was Ned who saw it for what it was, namely an unqualified atrocity.

          • Crystal says:

            From what I understand, Robert had no problem with the murder of Aegon and Rhaenys, but it didn’t suit his self-image to be seen as a child killer, so he fobbed the responsibility off onto Tywin. Robert just didn’t want to deal with difficult situations. “Let’s fob it off onto someone else unless it involves fighting, fucking, or drinking” was his motto.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Jon Arryn who suggested that Tywin absent himself from KL. He was the one who smoothed things over with the Martells; maybe one of the promises made was that Tywin Lannister would be sent into genteel exile at Casterly Rock if Oberyn would stay put in Dorne. Arryn, being Hand of the King and a Lord Paramount, was probably the only other person than Robert who could tell Tywin to get gone and make it stick. “Your son is in the Kingsguard, your daughter is Queen, now your ancestral lands need you. Pack your bags.”

          • John G says:

            The Tyrells and Martells were completely politically isolated after the Targ fall so they did pay a price in a sense (though not nearly as big a one as the Darrys or Conningtons because the Tyrells and Martells could only be defeated in a long, protracted civil-war that no one wanted).

    • John G says:

      Tyrion not defending his tenure as Hand is kind of like Jaime not defending his slaying of Aerys. Both don’t bother to give an explanation because they are incredibly self-absorbed and assume they will be despised.

      • artihcus022 says:

        Well in Tyrion’s case it’s more understandable and defensible because he has this history of being a victim of Tywin’s abuse. Jaime doesn’t have that with Eddard Stark at all.

    • Yeah, this one was a long one, because there’s just too much to say about Tyrion and Tywin.

  11. Space Oddity says:

    You know, adding to the whole sexual tangle of the Tywin/Tyrion relationship, let’s point out that after threatening to hang Tyrion’s mistress in GoT if he found her in King’s Landing, Tywin does not do it here, something Tyrion doesn’t notice. Now, on the first readthrough, the reader is as blind as Tyrion to the implications, but afterwards, it’s hard not to feel that Tyrion hasn’t just managed to stumble unaware into a tangled web of relations and unfinished business that is extra-bad for him to have wound up in.

    Thanks, Varys.

    Also, on the Tytos subject–for all that Tywin likes to view his father as a sexual degenerate, it’s worth noting that Tytos probably had relations with less women then his son–his wife, and two lowborn mistresses that were close to that… Tywin is, as usual, projecting his own issues both backwards and forwards on the family tree.

  12. John W says:

    I wonder why, assuming he could, Tyrion just didn’t leave KL and go home?

    • winnief says:

      I think he hoped to salvage some degree of power in KL or maybe even believed he was needed there to prop up the regime.

      But its an interesting “what if.” If Tyrion isn’t on site then his marriage to Sansa may never have taken place-and more importantly he wouldn’t have been available as a convenient fall guy for the PW which would have butterflied away the death of Oberyn and so much of Dorne. Maybe even Tywin’s death as well though, I suspect Varys always planned on getting rid of Tywin to pave the way for fAegon.

      • Crystal says:

        Sansa would probably have been married to Lancel, or maybe even Daven – never were the Lannisters going to let that prize go. And if she did marry Lancel, no way would he have been allowed to join the Poor Fellows. Relinquishing Darry is one thing, but Winterfell – nope, Kevan would have dragged him back by the hair of his head “aww hell naw you are not leaving your great heiress wife for religion!” Sansa wouldn’t have been framed for anyone’s death, and LF would not have been able to spirit her out of KL nor would he have been able to set up Jeyne as “Arya” and marry her to Ramsay. So much of the Northern plot would have been changed; the Bolton marriage would definitely butterfly away.

        I wonder if Oberyn would have been sent to Meereen in Quentyn’s stead if he was not needed as Tyrion’s champion? That might have changed things there, as he is juuuusssst Dany’s type, so all hail Oberyn, First of his Name, King Consort and Stepfather to Dragons?

        • Laural Hill says:

          I like it! Fanfic outline begins…

        • Sean C. says:

          Sansa wouldn’t have been framed for anyone’s death, and LF would not have been able to spirit her out of KL nor would he have been able to set up Jeyne as “Arya” and marry her to Ramsay.

          Why would any of that change?

        • Sansa would still have been framed for Joffrey’s death. Littlefinger had that planned since ACOK, and Dontos had already given her the hairnet. It’s just that Tyrion wouldn’t be framed for it. The Purple Wedding would still happen, and LF would still spirit Sansa away. He’d just have to try to find another way to get rid of her husband, since Lancel or Daven as a suspect in Joffrey’s murder wouldn’t be very convincing.

          I also see no reason why LF and Tywin wouldn’t give Boltons fake Arya. They did that when Sansa was about to be married to Tyrion, they’d do the same if Sansa was about to be married to Lancel or Daven.

  13. scarlett45 says:

    A small note, I didn’t interpt Tyrion’s thoughts regarding Alaya “she was learning to read” as paternalistic. I saw it as Tyrion remembering/acknowledging something about Alaya as a PERSON, not her role or status in society. Something about her that had nothing to do with her sex, beauty etc but her individuality. While no one doubts Tyrion has issues with women this is one of the moments were he is remembering Alaya as a person, rather than a useful tool to him.

    • Jim B says:

      Yes, I think the intended implication was “and now she’ll never get the chance.” It’s just a little character touch intended to humanize her. Sort of like how when a up-to-now anonymous soldier shows the protagonist a photo or letter from his sweetheart back home, we know he’s doomed….

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      Agreed on all counts.

  14. poorquentyn says:

    Not only Faulknerian, but Fitzgerald-ian:

    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly back into the past.”

    If I had to define a central attribute of Tywin Lannister, it’s that he pretends the political ain’t personal, when it so very very VERY is. And as you say, that’s inextricable from sexuality, from Tytos’ mistress to Tysha to Alayaya to Shae. Couldn’t agree more that he picks out Shae specifically because she slept with Tyrion. So gloriously fucked up.

    …having said that, I still find the aftermath in ADWD more compelling than Tyrion’s plot in ASOS, because his next several chapters after this one feel to a certain extent like marking time before the color-weddings. But there’s no demeaning Tyrion I ASOS. Too much fucking perspective, to borrow from This Is Spinal Tap. Well done, sir.

  15. stephendanay says:

    Excellent as always, Steven. Glad to have the CBCs back. I especially appreciate your efforts to elucidate all the behind the scenes dealings such as the set-up of the Red Wedding.

    * Addam Marbrand is one of the more interesting tertiary characters, at least to my mind. Everyone seems to like and respect him and his few appearances make him seem reasonable and competent. And yet, he’s very much one of Tywin’s attack dogs. Certainly not to the degree that Clegane or Lorch were, but as commander of the Lannister outriders it seems unlikely that Ser Addam wasn’t oversee atrocities of one kind or another in the name of a treacherous and illegitimate regime. Makes for an interesting dichotomy, even if he is a very minor character.

    * Joffrey seems like the clearest culprit for the Mandon Moore incident. Even though your evidence seems split between Cersei and Joffrey, I think the fact that Cersei never once reflects on it once we start getting her POV pretty much locks it up for Joffrey.

    * Do you have a link to your reasons for not believing A+J = T? I’m familiar with many of the common arguments against it and I’m kind of on the fence with it myself, but most of the major arguments against it seem to boil down to “I don’t like it, therefore it isn’t true”. The most common refrain I hear is that it will somehow “make Tywin right” or undo the complex relationship that Tyrion has with Tywin, which doesn’t really hold water with me. Jon and Ned’s relationship isn’t undone if R+L=J is true. If anything, Tywin being right all along and not being able to do anything about it makes his downfall all the sweeter, at least in my mind.

    • Crystal says:

      The way I see it: I would have to go back and re-read AWOIAF, but unless Aerys visited Casterly Rock, I don’t know how he would have got to Joanna to conceive Tyrion. After her marriage, Joanna lived at Casterly Rock, visiting court once with her very young twins. Unless the timing is right on that one visit, Joanna wasn’t in Aerys’ company enough to conceive with him.

      And it would not have been consensual, I am sure, as 1) Aerys was thoroughly deranged and repellent by that time, 2) last time he saw Joanna he insulted her breasts(!), 3 ) Joanna loved Tywin and appears to have been 100% faithful. It would be in character for Aerys to rape Joanna, alas, but was the opportunity there?

      I think the whole point of the Tywin/Tyrion relationship was that, as Genna said, Tyrion was the most like Tywin of all his children, and neither one could acknowledge that. I think that Tywin’s saying that he “had to” acknowledge Tyrion as his son was that he was ashamed of Tyrion’s dwarfism, and angry that his birth had killed Joanna, so he *wished* Tyrion was not his son, and didn’t *want* Tyrion to be his son with any claim on the Lannister name and wealth, but, sucks to be Tywin!, Tyrion was undisputably his.

      • John G says:

        I think Aerys was too chickenshit to rape Joanna. I also think raping her would be out of character since his weird sexual urges seem to center on burning people and abusing his wife.

    • Laural Hill says:

      The main thinking is that if Aerys raped Joanna, she would do what Cersei did re: Robert and “found a woman to cleanse [me].”

    • “* Do you have a link to your reasons for not believing A+J = T? I’m familiar with many of the common arguments against it and I’m kind of on the fence with it myself, but most of the major arguments against it seem to boil down to “I don’t like it, therefore it isn’t true””

      And all the arguments for believing A+J=T boil down to “I really want it to be true, because I want Tyrion to be a dragonrider, and I think only Targs can be dragonriders, so therefore it’s true.” There’s no other evidence or reason to believe it.

      “Jon and Ned’s relationship isn’t undone if R+L=J is true. ”

      You don’t see a major difference between Jon and Ned’s relationship, and Tyrion and Tywin’s relationship?

      “If anything, Tywin being right all along and not being able to do anything about it makes his downfall all the sweeter, at least in my mind.”

      How? Tywin wanted to believe that Tyrion wasn’t his son, because he couldn’t accept the idea that he, glorious Tywin Lannister, had fathered such a “monstruosity”, and he hates the fact that he and Tyrion have so much in common. He sees his own flaws reflected in Tyrion, and projects a lot into him, without even realizing it. He got majorly upset when Genna told him Tyrion was most like him of all his children. I don’t think that Tywin ever really believed Tyrion was not his – I’m sure he knew deep down he definitely was. And it bothered the hell out of him.

    • Also, if Tywin had for just one moment really believed that Aerys had fathered Tyrion, he would have found a way to get a revenge on Aerys far sooner than he did. Or at least he would have resigned as Hand immediately, and then went on to try to think of ways to make Aerys pay. He resigned as Hand the moment Aerys took Jaime away from him by making him KG. But you think that he spent years thinking Aerys raped his wife, and doing nothing about it, continuing to serve as Aerys’ hand as if everything was OK?!

  16. I think what’s interesting about Tyrion’s arc in this book is that it bears a lot of parallels with Ned Stark’s fall from grace. Both are injured, both are politically and military isolated, betrayed by someone that they didn’t see coming and both are condemned and blamed by a crime they didn’t commit and Cersei was instrumental to orchestrating their downfall. Though Tyrion was lucky to have a trial by combat because of Oberyn, Ned didn’t even have a choice to defend themselves that way.

    I know a lot of people like to point out how Tywin’s legacy is falling apart and Ned’s legacy remains alive and well in the hearts and minds of Northerners’ mind. But if Ned had been a little more prepared with men and political acumen in King’s Landing and had been a little ruthless and willing to scare the Cersei’s children in the middle of the night, then literally none of the events after Game of Thrones would be happening and the Starks would be united and safe and Stannis would be King.

    • Jim B says:

      Re Ned being more prepared/ruthless: I don’t think we can make the assumptions you’re making.

      First, where are those additional men coming from?

      From the North? Ned brought sufficient men to act as a household guard for him and his family; if you’re suggesting that he should have brought enough men to allow him to seize control of the capital, I think that’s very much tainted by hindsight. As far as Ned knew, he was being asked to be the Hand of the King to his good friend Robert, not to prepare for a civil war. The line of succession seems pretty clear and secure. The only grounds for suspicion was Lysa Arryn’s letter about Jon Arryn’s death, which doesn’t suggest anything more than the usual palace intrigue, and Lysa’s not exactly the soundest source of information; moreover, an army isn’t going to help Ned investigate a murder, or protect him from one. Bringing such a force with him from Winterfell would be seen as a provocative move and an insult to Robert, if Robert would even allow it. (And who’s feeding and quartering all those men — is Ned going to charge the royal treasury for his personal army? Not to mention drawing able-bodied men away from the North when winter is coming and they should be harvesting crops.

      Ned did, in fact, arrange for additional men when the situation seemed to warrant it. The problem is that he trusted the wrong guy. But who was the right guy to trust? Stannis was isolating himself and not in touch with Ned. Lysa Arryn wouldn’t have been of any help — as far as Ned knew, she was flaky and unreliable, and we know that she was under Petyr’s control anyway. The Tullys are dealing with Hoster on his deathbed and the Mountain terrorizing their smallfolk and aren’t likely to spare a bunch of troops to help Ned play power politics. Other than Renly and his allies in the Reach and the Stormlands, everyone else is either too far away and/or not anyone Ned has a particular relationship with.

      So yeah, that leaves Renly. Who has his own little agenda that doesn’t coincide with Ned’s interest in following the rule of law. In retrospect, I’ll agree that Ned probably should have taken Renly’s offer rather than trusting Littlefinger. But that leads me to…

      Second, I don’t think it follows that “the Starks would be united and safe and Stannis would be King.” If Ned seizes the royal family and control of the capital, is it guaranteed that Stannis can reinforce King’s Landing before Tywin’s armies — which are already mobilizing — get there? Will Renly and his allies allow Stannis to do so? Or does Littlefinger get the Crownlands or the Vale to win the race to King’s Landing and toss Ned in prison and play the power broker role he dreams of?

      Who’s to say that Ned doesn’t get the Kevan Lannister treatment from Varys, who may not have wanted a civil war as quickly as Littlefinger but did want one nonetheless and isn’t likely to let the opportunity slip away.

      Our host has outlined his own argument for why civil war was inevitable:
      https://racefortheironthrone.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/chapter-by-chapter-analysis-eddard-xiii/

      Basically, I think the whole “blame Ned” concept is flawed. Ned made some errors, but the stage was already set for a conflagration no matter what he did, and GRRM firmly placed his hand on the scales to ensure it happened.

      • I don’t blame Ned entirely for the situation spiraling out of control, There were some things that were out of his control. Like Tywin invading the Riverlands and etc But Ned knew that he could not trust the Lannisters, he knew that he was walking to a deadly place. He has reason to believe that the Lannisters killed his foster father Jon Arryn, and may have tried to pull a hit on his son Bran. For pete’s sake Cersei forced him to kill Lady, when he could have let the wolf roam free.

        Our Host Steven Attwell mentioned that Ned disarmed himself of men, by allowing some of them to join the Goldcloaks and Beric to fight the Mountain and bring him to justice. Ned as hand of the king could have recruited men from the city.
        Of course neither of us knew that Ned would be used as a pawn to spark a war. Ned wanted to prevented Cersei’s kids from being killed by Robert or Stannis. Ned priortitzed the needs of Cersei’s kids then over his own. That is what helped lead to his death. He could have allied with Renly and his men and help spread the truth of Robert’s kids to ensure that the truth doesn’t die with him. I know that Renly had his own agenda, but if some of his men heard the truth like the Stormlanders then they would have reason to believe Stannis when he releases the letter.

        Civil war was inevitable but only the readers knew that. No one had reason to believe that Balon would rebel, or that Renly would throw caution to the wind and declare himself king. Or that Varys was plotting for Viserys to invade with Dothraki army. The most important thing is the present and then they could worry about the rest after. The lannisters were the immediate threat. Besides Varys wanted a limited war which of course is moronic, but thats Varys for you. My point being that he could have killed Ned at any point, but wanted him alive to prevent the war from descending into chaos.

        Even if Ned didn’t want get his hands dirty, then he should have done the most rational thing and get the hell out of King’s landing. Which is an opition that never seemed to dawn on Ned. He could have escaped from King’s Landing with his family and the remains of his house guard. That is what Renly and Loras did after all. If Ned had escaped from KL. Then he could have rallied the North and the Riverlands to fight on behalf on Stannis. War would have erupted but at least Ned would still be alive, Stannis would have had legitimacy.

        • ” Ned priortitzed the needs of Cersei’s kids then over his own.”

          That’s really unfair. Ned wasn’t “prioritizing” the needs of Cersei’s kids over his own. I don’t think I have to point out that certainly wouldn’t ever have done that. He didn’t think that his kids were in any danger, but he certainly thought that Cersei’s kids were in grave danger if he reveals the truth, before allowing Cersei to escape with the kids. Ned’s mistake was in misjudging Cersei and wrongly assuming that she would spirit her children away to safety and leave somewhere to the Free Cities or wherever, and continuing to assume that even as she made it clear that, in he view, there is no middle ground – either you win, or you die. She wanted power, and she also thought that power was the best way to protect herself and her kids.

          • Blacky says:

            “timetravellingbunny says:
            Ned wasn’t “prioritizing” the needs of Cersei’s kids over his own”

            I don’t see that as unfair at all. In fact, I always thought that Ned warning Cersei was completely unlikely and was more like GRRM putting his thumb and the rest of his body on the ‘scale’. In fact, at the time, I found the whole Ned/Cersei scenario in the garden ridiculous.

            I don’t think Ned ‘misjudged’ Cersei.

            I thought that Ned knew that his wife’s sister had accused the Lannisters of Jon’s murder. And that his wife thought that the blade that scarred her hands while protecting Bran was Lannister. And that Cersei’s children were products of incest which J Arryn had discovered and might have been killed over because, you know, Treason.

            Sorry but all this stuff just seems lazy when Ned could have tried and failed to arrest Cersei and Co in some spectacular fashion.

            So, is it reasonable to expect a queen who knowingly committed treason to give up and run when threatened with exposure? So to speak.

            Where would Cersei go with her incest spawn? The Rock? Nowhere in Westeros. They’d be found in Essos.

            The Romans used to fall on their swords. And the Queen of the Nile embraced a viper…

          • Ned’s behavior makes perfect sense for his characterization, since his main trait wasn’t “obsession with honor” or whatever people say, it was his horror at the deaths of children, going back to the murder of Rhaenys and Aegon and his shock at Robert’s tacit approval of it, and his desire to protect children. He warned Cersei because he wanted to save her children from what he thought Robert would do to them when he found out.
            And he misjudged Cersei because he thought she would take the first opportunity to escape to Essos and take the children with her, because he made that mistake where you assume other people would react like you: Ned’s primary motivation was protecting children, and he had no personal desire for power, so he didn’t understand that Cersei did, and that her love for children and her love for power were intrinsically linked.

          • Blacky says:

            “Ned’s behavior makes perfect sense for his characterization”…?

            I know that’s what’s said about Ned. Even our host agrees but I sure didn’t agree at the time I read GoT. Ned may have ‘ptsd’ over the murder of the children but I would think that would fade over time. And I don’t think it would override his awareness that his own children are in a foreign land far away from the safety of their home castle.

            Why would Ned think that Cersei would find safety if she ran away? Robert has already talked about eliminating Dany. I would think he would be even more motivated to do the same to Cersei. No, Cersei would know she would never be safe after admitting her guilt by running. Would she even find support in the Rock? No, she would know her only hope is in destroying Ned while she still had her power base.

            And I think Ned would know that. Wouldn’t he just convince himself that he could better protect the children if they were in his custody?

          • But Cersei was taking a huge risk by not running away. You’re using hindsight to conclude that staying was the safer option. It wasn’t. Robert was alive, and Cersei’s plan to kill him was really weak and depended on chance. She didn’t even get anyone to try to kill him, she simply hoped that Lancel getting him drunk(er than usual) would lead to Robert getting himself killed in the hunt. Since Cersei does not have magical or skinchanging abilities, we can be sure that the boar killing Robert was pure chance. She got really, really lucky. Otherwise, if Robert had gotten back healthy and Ned had told him the truth, things would have gone terribly for Cersei.

            And that’s without counting Stannis and Renly into the equation. Even with Robert dead and Ned would the way, if those two had had the sense to join forces, the Lannisters would have had small chance of keeping the throne and their heads. The Lannisters got incredibly lucky multiple times over the first 2.5 books – because GRRM was deliberately stacking things in their favor, over and over – until he wasn’t anymore.

            Yes. escaping to Essos would have been a much safer. Robert tried to assassinate Dany and he failed. Can you think of any Westerosi exiles who have been successfully assassinated? Bittersteel and a bunch of other Blackfyre supporters lived in Essos for years and staged several rebellions in Westeros. If kings of Westeros had a reason to assassinate anyone in Essos, it would be Bittersteel and/or the Blackfyre descandants, but it never happened. Tyrion is also still alive, even though the Queen Regent of Westeros wanted him dead, badly. A whole bunch of other exiled lords, soldiers and outlaws have also lived and prospered in Essos, and I can’t think of anyone who got assassinated by the Westerosi.

            “And I think Ned would know that. Wouldn’t he just convince himself that he could better protect the children if they were in his custody?”

            How was he going to do that? Robert was alive and was presumably going to go back. What authority did Ned have to keep Cersei’s children away from Robert? If you think Ned should have foreseen that he would/could lose to Cersei, which you seem to be applying, then why would Ned think he had any chance of successfuly opposing the authority of the King himself?

  17. John W says:

    I wonder what good is Tyrek to anyone now that Cersei’s crimes are a matter of public record. Even if she wins her trial there’s still Lancel.

    • John G says:

      I agree with the Wars and Politics people that Varys is stashing Tyrek as a potential puppet for the Westerlands. He is second-in-line to Casterly Rock after Martyn, assuming we remove Lancel (for obvious reasons) and the king and princess.

      • Steven Xue says:

        My guess is this was one of the reasons Varys had Kevan whacked, to open the way for Tyrek to become lord of Casterly Rock. Of course one problem with this theory is why he would keep Tyrion around if he has a far better claim than both Tyrek and Kevan?

        • Grant says:

          Tyrion can always be knocked off if need be, especially once a member of Aegon’s staff without independent power or arms.

        • John W says:

          That opens up another question. Can Tyrion still become heir to Casterly Rock? Or is his guilt of murdering Joffrey, thanks to his trial by combat, negate that possibility?

          • Jim B says:

            I can’t see why it would.

            As a practical matter, Tyrion isn’t likely to be able to hold Casterly Rock and the allegiance of the Westerlands without the support of the Crown, or someone with enough power to oppose the Crown, i.e. Dany, or possible Jon if he becomes the leader of the Targaryen forces. So as a practical matter, Tyrion isn’t showing up at Casterly Rock without a royal pardon and a writ acknowledging him as the Lord of the Rock. At which point the legal niceties aren’t going to matter much.

            And I’m not sure why that wouldn’t work from a legal perspective. First, I don’t think we’ve ever been told that conviction of a crime disinherits a lord per se; there would have to be a separate judgment or order doing so. Presumably Cersei had one issued after Tyrion’s escape, but what one King or King’s Regent can do, another can presumably undo.

            After all, we have plenty of examples of the king’s power to commute death sentences for murder and treason, allowing the guilty to take the black, or even to pardon them entirely. Balon Greyjoy was guilty of treason and insurrection but was not deposed; Jaime Lannister murdered his own king, and retained his knighthood, honors, and place on the Kingsguard.

            There is a common law principle that a murderer cannot inherit from the person he kills, but even if that was applicable in Westeros, and even if the Iron Throne can’t overrule it, his conviction for murdering Joffrey is irrelevant because he isn’t inheriting Casterly Rock through Joffrey’s death. Of course, he is guilty of Tywin’s murder, but technically hasn’t been convicted of that. And he can always be awarded the Rock by Queen Dany on general “to the victor go the spoils” grounds even if he isn’t entitled to inherit.

            Of course, there would no doubt be some who would take issue with this analysis, arguing that the Iron Throne can’t overrule the verdict of the gods, and that a kinslayer (and a monster!) isn’t fit to hold Casterly Rock… but that seems more of a religious/moral objection than a political/legal one.

          • @JimB: No, I’m pretty sure that Tyrion is considered an attained traitor, murderer and kinslayer, and therefore out of the line of succession.
            Why am I sure? Because nobody considers him the Lord of Casterly Rock.

  18. thatrabidpotato says:

    “Tyrion’s plaintive memory that Alayaya had been learning to read smacks of a benevolent paternalism (would the abuse have been more acceptable if she had been illiterate?)”

    This is what happens when one oversexualizes things, and see everything coming and going as symptomatic of a vast old rich white patriarchal conspiracy. Not only does one start painting completely unrelated topics as racist/sexist/what have you, but one begins to interpret things in literally the 180 degree opposite of how they were intended.

    Tyrion is here basically lamenting the careless destruction of Alayaya’s life- she’d been learning to read, attempting to give herself skills in something other than ceiling inspection that she could use to build a better life, and now she’ll never get the chance. It’s all been taken away from her. Far from smacking of paternalism, this is one of the more selfless moments we’ll ever see out of Tyrion, where he is completely aware of the damage that’s been done to an innocent and grieves for it; no doubt because of his experiences with Tysha.

  19. Mercury says:

    I’m a first-time poster here, but I just wanted to say that I love reading your analyses, and I especially appreciate the way your posts open up new conversations about ASOIAF. While I’m definitely in the minority here, I’ve always been curious to see if Jaime will actually be the one to rule Casterly Rock at the end of the series. I think it would be highly ironic: as Tyrion says in ADWD, Jaime has always run from political power and doesn’t share his siblings’ ambitious natures, and from a reader’s perspective, I think most of us have always assumed that Tyrion will eventually come into power, regardless of what Tywin wanted. I think it would be a really interesting twist if Tyrion went down fighting against the Others and Jaime ended up being the one who had to clean up afterwards.

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      I doubt any of Tywin’s children will still be around when it’s all said and done, but if any are, it’ll be Tyrion.

    • It makes no sense for Jaime as a character to do that. He refused to be released from the Kingsguard and be given Casterly Rock before. I don’t see why he would change his mind. His development has only been in the direction of trying to uphold his vows and knightly honor, not away from it.

      • Mercury says:

        I was thinking more of this happening after Tommen and Myrcella die (I’m not sure what his position what be in this case, but I think it’s safe to say that neither Dany or Stannis would allow him to serve them, and I imagine that Cersei will flee Kings Landing after her children’s deaths), as well as a majority of the Lannisters. Like I said, I’m in the minority here, and I don’t think this actually will happen, but I see it more as being a situation where he’d be forced to step up to the plate because there literally is no other option.

  20. John G says:

    Good points about the legend of Tywin’s genius. I suppose the campaign against the Reynes and Tarbeks was impressive and we don’t really know what he did in the WoNPK but nothing in ASOIAF has shown that he’s more than an adequate general.

    • thatrabidpotato says:

      He outnumbered them by at least 3 to 1 IIRC and had the advantage of surprise.

      • Andrew says:

        He was also prepared for it. He was very Otto von Bismarkian in sending his letters to both families to answer for their crimes, knowing they would rebel. Once he got their responses, he had the justification and moved quickly with the forces and strategy already prepared.

  21. “I’m leaning more and more to the belief that Tywin picked Shae on purpose, perhaps in an effort to revenge himself against .” Revenge himself against who or what???

  22. Kirkd says:

    Excellent analysis. I miss one point: I had the impression that Tyrion acts like a total prick in his attitude towards Tywin. Why does Tyrion complain that his father assumes the office of the Hand? Tyrion was acting in his father’s place as his father had a war to win. It was clear from the beginning that his father would take over once in KL and of course the Hand lives in the very tower of the hand. It is not called the Tower of the Hand’s second son for reason!
    On most points discussed, Tywin was actually right: He could have emphasised Tyrions role better, but when Tyrion lost his consciousness the battle was lost. Without Tywin and the Tyrell’s, Stannis had taken the city. Tyrion completely loses it on this one. What he should have done is stressing that he delayed Stannis long enough for Tywin to arrive. That would have left Tywin a way to include Tyrions role in the story. But on one point Tywin complete loses it: his rant on Tyrion is brutal and it foreshadows what will ultimately happen.

    • Keith B says:

      He did not merely delay Stannis long enough for Tywin to arrive. He made it possible for Tywin to arrive at all, by making the alliance with the Tyrells. Also, because of his battle plan, Tywin’s arrival resulted in a total defeat for Stannis, instead of something less decisive.

  23. Metheos says:

    “I almost get the sense from this chapter that GRRM had originally written most of this chapter for ACOK and then decided that it was too good to put at the end of the book and decided to push most of the detail of Tyrion’s fall from grace to the next book.”

    I read that GRRM wrote out Tyrion’s arc to the end of ASOS before ACOK was even published. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the source of this, but it fits with his description of how he writes.

  24. beto2702 says:

    So here are a couple of scenarios with maybe not so big rammifications…

    -What if Bronn is not knighted

    -What if Ser Jacelyn survives

    Maybe the second one has fewer impact, Tywin can replace Jacelyn even if he survived either way, still that means that there would be another man loyal to Tyrion out there.

  25. John says:

    Do you agree with the theory that Tyrion is Tywin’s only real son while Jaime and Cersei are Targaryen bastards to the Mad King?

  26. […] really done anything concrete to earn the love of the people (any more than the Tyrells have by restoring cut-off food supplies to the capitol), which can easily turn into hatred the moment that conditions turn for the […]

  27. Joseph says:

    “similarities to ASOIAF” Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaah, don’t forget the second, the Thyestean feast, even nastier than the Tantalazing one, as well as that this house suffered a breach of hospitality (propiciated by one dying with a rather similar name, Catreus/Katreos, I guess it was the name in some Cretan dialect) which, with an oath of fealty to defend the bride of certain woman, would become the greatest backlash for fault of hospitality/Xenia EVER, so yeah I am fucking waiting for you to show off those similarities

  28. […] allowing him to claim the Rock without lifting a finger. (It’s also a scenario that fits with the Greek mythic overtones of House Lannister, given how often in those myths heroes assume thrones due to seizure of widowed queens who later […]

  29. […] the sheer emotional fireworks of last chapter, Tyrion II feels like a bit of a step down, although part of that does have to do with my lack of […]

  30. […] dispatch from the field is effectively the punchline to Tyrion I‘s setup, but it’s also a good example of the phenomena I just discussed: not only have […]

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