Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Tyrion VII

“I survived the Green Fork and the Blackwater, I can bloody well survive King Joffrey’s wedding.”

Synopsis: Tyrion gets ready for a wedding with a bit of early morning delight.

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.

26 thoughts on “Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Tyrion VII

  1. kylelitke says:

    I do wonder if Shae doesn’t testify, does Tyrion still climb the ladder to confront Tywin? How much did his feelings of betrayal over Shae cause him to decide to confront Tywin instead of just leaving?

    • David Hunt says:

      I’d guess that he would. That most everything else that was driving him was filtered through the revelation that Tysha was nothing more than she presented herself to be. And that his father had her gang-raped and then had Tyrion do it as well. This is the state of mind that Tyrion is in when he realizes that he’s at entrance to the Hand’s quarters.

    • Shae’s testimony prompted Tyrion to demand a trial by combat but I think the news about Tysha was more what prompted him to climb the ladder to confront his father. Shae only became relevant again when Tyrion found her in Tywin’s bed.

      • Kandrax says:

        In show they made sleeping with Shae motive for killing Tywin which raises a question why was Tyrion in Tywin’s chamber in first place.

        • BCharles says:

          I’ve never understood why they couldn’t have just kept Tyrion being told the truth about Tysha. The plot really makes no sense without it, as Tyrion, about to be Scott free, decided on a random trip to his father’s bedroom.

          • Grant says:

            Keeping it means they keep him taking part in her rape, or at least changing it to him doing nothing to try to help her.

            And yes, Tyrion was thirteen and his abusive father had full legal/military authority there, which I think at least makes a case for dimished culpability. But the writers pretty clearly wanted to wipe away anything dark about Tyrion, no different from how they drastically changed his ADWD behavior.

            If one wanted to, one could argue Tyrion wanted to confront his father about his trial, since Tyrion claims Tywin knows Tyrion was innocent, but this has two major problems. First, it’s dangerous since Tyrion had no idea he’d catch his father completely unaware and Tywin is a physically fit warrior. Second, even setting aside prejudice, Tywin has plenty of reason to think Tyrion’s guilty. Tyrion reeling from the twin realizations of how his family, even Jaime, denied him happiness and his own part in destroying it is much more plausible for a confrontation.

          • The showrunners had a weird block when it came to the Tysha thing; I think they thought it was too tell-don’t-show to have this news about a character the audience hasn’t met be the big dramatic turning point when they could have it be just about the character that they had met.

            I don’t agree with that choice; I think it did real damage to Jaime and Cersei’s character arcs going forward. But I think that’s what the thinking was.

      • Well Varys likely would have killed Tywin anyway. Might mean less loathing for Tyrion. Could he have contrived things so Shae was with Tywin, did he have time?

  2. Ciaran Fullerton says:

    1. I think it’s fair to say Tyrion’s plans for Shae were his interpretations of his own most significant relationships.
    A. Tallad and Shae would be his relationship with Tysha; a young man marrying a young woman he finds attractive, with the marriage over if he discovers she’s a whore, with Tyrion getting to play Jamie’s role.
    B. Bronn and Shae would be his marriage with Sansa. A morally dubious man wedding a young girl half his age in what will undoubtedly be a loveless marriage made for personal gain rather than affection. This time Tyrion gets to be Tywin.
    C. Chataya’s brothel is the most honest example of his own relationship with Shae. She would live in comfort as the whore of rich lords such as Tyrion and Tywin.
    That he sees no other option and doesn’t consider Shae’s own feelings is another indication of how damaged his understanding of healthy relationships truly is.
    2. I think Varys is setting up his plan to turn Tyrion against House Lannister here. Considering he probably doesn’t know the truth about Tysha and I doubt he knows about the purple wedding (especially considering the two key plotters both know about his little birds and have taken care to avoid them) he has no key to turn this useful asset onto Aegon’s side, except for Shae. As he tells Tyrion if asked he will tell, which he will excuse the same way he excuses his testimony, due to his lack of protection from Cersei. If Shae, the woman Tyrion loves is executed, and Varys has an excuse for why he gave her up, he could essentially do exactly what he did in OTL (set up Tywin’s death and smuggle Tyrion out), only he’d have no need to hide as he would be further ingratiated with the queen regent.

    • 1. I think those are accurate descriptions of it, yes.

      2. I think Varys knows about the Purple Wedding, at least in part. I don’t think he knew about the part about smuggling Sansa out given what he does later, but I think he knew that Tyrion was going to be fingered for the blame.

      Remember, Varys’ motive is to put Aegon on the Iron Throne, and the best way to do that, at present, is to destabilize the Lannister regime. Having Tyrion be put on trial and condemned to death by his own family for Joffrey’s death is a great deal of destabilization, especially if he can parlay that into having Tyrion kill Tywin in the aftermath.

      But keeping Shae’s secret or any of Tyrion’s secrets, doesn’t help him at all and puts him at risk from Cersei and possibly Tywin. So why bother?

      • Jim B says:

        Tyrion’s attitude towards Varys is one of the reasons I think Tyrion is a lot less clever than he (and many readers) think he is, at least when it comes to dealing with people rather than books.

        Here we see Tyrion essentially giving orders to Varys, and when that fails, threatening him. As your last paragraph says, what’s in it for Varys? Tyrion doesn’t seem to even consider that. It was one thing when Tyrion was still the Hand, and Varys ostensibly answered to him, and Tyrion had a lot of power that Varys might need. But now Tyrion is a much less powerful member of the council, hated by Joffrey and the Queen Regent, and mostly sidelined by the Hand. What’s in it for Varys? Tyrion doesn’t seem to bother to ask. Even if Tyrion believes that Varys is truly acting for the good of the Realm, the things Tyrion is asking him to do here are strictly personal indulgences. If he thinks Varys is acting out of friendship or personal affection, why the threats and orders?

        I think Varys generally is a blind spot for Tyrion. For all his supposed cleverness, Tyrion leans mostly on two tactics: throwing around his family’s name and money. Which works with a lot of people. But Varys doesn’t care about money (or sex for that matter), and to the extent he wants the support of House Lannister, he’s better off working against Tyrion than with him.

  3. TSzB says:

    Ser Tall Lad, who is “tall, strong, not hard to look upon, every inch the gifted young knight.” – can refer to Ser Duncan the Tall in some way?

  4. Sam says:

    This chapter shows just how little Tyrion understands how Sansa feels. He actually thinks Sansa might be upset that Tyrion is sleeping with Shae. Sansa does not give a damm who Tyrion sleeps with because she really doesn’t view Tyrion as her husband but this Lannister she is forced to live with. She wouldn’t care or feel embarrassed or anything.

    This Tyrion chapter and the one after it is when I really started to dislike Tyrion. i mean get over yourself your not the only one who has problems and your not the victim in this farce of a marriage. After this I is when I started to reread Tyrion’s chapter and I figured out that he is not and never was a good guy.

    • teageegeepea says:

      In the quoted bit he thinks Sansa might be happy to hear he’s sleeping with Shae.

      • Sam says:

        Yes but he also seems to be afraid that Sansa might be offended by it as well. Remember he seems worried that Sansa would give Shae away which she wouldn’t if she was happy he was sleeping with her. He thinks its a good possibility that Sansa might be angry about it which is delusional.

        • teageegeepea says:

          He thinks Sansa might reveal a secret to Cersei because she’s already done so before and she has no reason to owe Tyrion any confidence. Varys also says he would tell the truth if Cersei asked, and he’s certainly not offended.

    • It’s telling that we go from here to Tyrion being wrongfully accused of a crime to build up his sympathetic qualities.

  5. artihcus022 says:

    This chapter felt fairly superfluous when I read ASOIAF but that also made me appreciate it, because GRRM was building and sustaining a mood and the chapter has the air of “What ASOIAF characters do in downtime” in this case Tyrion having private “me time” (in every sense) rather than doing what he did before and what he will do later. Obviously Tyrion’s Story-Arc (I don’t like that phrase in general but it applies here) in Book 3 begins with the trial. So everything before is set-up for that.

    But on the other hand the psychology is important to get a sense of the interiority that leads Tyrion to the place in his final chapter of ASOS and his resolution with Shae.

  6. Jim B says:

    Interesting that you read Tyrion’s comment about looking at his face in the water as being a reference to his wound. That’s certainly how Shae interprets it (right after the passage you quote, she kisses him on the nose), but I think he’s referring more to his guilty conscience, as his later thoughts indicate.

  7. Rake says:

    This chapter is so small that in books narrated differently it would be just a part of a larger chapter. But there are a few things to say about him.

    Tyrion knows Sansa doesn’t want to be with him but I get the feeling he wants her to want him, he’s a member of the family responsible for her family’s destruction, of course she won’t want comfort from him but he feels rejected by her, I admit I have little sympathy for Tyrion here, he still has his family’s typical self-centeredness.

    Tyrion believes that Sansa betrayed her father and that she is therefore untrustworthy. It’s strange that he believes that, I know it was Cersei who told him this but that’s why I’m surprised he believes it, of course he may have thought that before Sansa could be loyal to Cersei before the war but now it doesn’t sense.

    It’s also regrettable to see that other characters believe that Sansa betrayed her father, the girl has no rest, I wonder if this could become important in the future.

    The disfigurement of Robb’s body is horrible, I think even by ASOIAF standards it was horrible, it shows how bad the Freys are and there is no excuse for their actions, even after killing Robb they still commit atrocities against him, they they don’t realize how they’ll be seen after that, I think they think desecrating Robb’s body would send a message not to face them but to the other Houses it just shows how monstrous and petty they are. I also wonder if Tywin ordered this, as a final vendetta against Robb.

    • Tyrion definitely wants Sansa to want him, because he wants to be loved as much as he fears he is incapable of being loved. It’s another reason why he’s a terrible choice for her as a romantic partner, he’s got way too much very specific damage.

      I don’t think it’s that strange that he believes that, he heard so straight from the person she supposedly betrayed him to. We know that things were somewhat different, but Tyrion doesn’t have our level of information.

      And yes, the treatment of Robb and Catelyn’s body is meant to be inflammatory, compounding maliciousness. Without that part, I don’t know if people are quite so quick to jump on to the Red Wedding = abomination bandwagon.

    • JG says:

      Freys just can’t overcome their fundamental pettiness, even toward (or especially toward) each other.

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