But how can Tywin not be viewed as a villain? He directly oposses every trait and characteristic that make human beings actually human. He has no moral compass at all, and puts all his energy towards one goal - maikng house Lannister more powerful. For this goal Tywin is willing to do literally everything - let people be killed, let people be tortured, let more people be killed, let women be raped and even sacrifice happiness of other members (some of them are his own children) of House he's trying to lead.
Every action Tywin takes is about achieving his only goal most efficiently.
1) he wants to scare River-lords and reduce their wealth --> he sends Gregor to pillage, torture and kill their peasants. Not the decision any decent man would make - but most efficient.
2) he wants to diminish the value of captive Starks have captured --> he gives up on Jaime as his son. Again - the most efficient course of action.
3) he wants to teach his son a lesson --> so he has his wife gang-raped by his garrison. Well, it made Tyrion hate him for the rest of his life - but he sure learned his lesson.
4) he wants people to fear him --> thus he is willing to keep people such as Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch at his side...
5) ...among many other examples such as RW, him ordering killings of Rhaegar's children...
For further explanations and elaborations about Tywin's character, let me just say that I wholeheartedly agree with post quoted below (original thread is here: http://asoiaf.wester...an-in-westeros/
I ranted a bit about Tywin Lannister in the morality thread, and to my surprise, no one took me up on it. Perhaps some even thought I was kidding. Oh no, ladies and gentlemen, absoloutely not.
Tywin Lannister has a special mix, in both his public actions as a politician and a military commander, and, crucially, in his private life as Lord and father, of utter callousness for human life, a flagrant disregard for justice, duty, loyalty or honor, completel lack of any personal code, a twisted, oft indulged cruelty and no redeeming tragic background to excuse any of it. It is this combination, I contend, that pushes him to the very top - worse than Gregor, Theon, Bolton or Frey - of the huge of heap of terrible people in westeros.
I often see Tywin characterized as efficient, cold, measured, rational, unemotional, controlled, pragmatic. Whne discussing Shae turning up in his bed, its generally viewed as blatant reversal of characterization. It even has a vast conspiracy theory to explain it. In this thead, he was a clear majority to be the Hand.
Are you people reading the same books i'm reading!??!?!
Tywin is a rabid, petty lunatic, just waiting to go off. I'd rather have the bastard love child of Joffrey and Viserys as my Hand. Shae - a cheap, trashy whore who was his son's - is surprising, but completely in character. The man, to quote Stephen Fry, has the attitude to sex of the catholic church - like the anorexic or the morbidly obese to food.
He keeps constantly on hand people like Gregor and Vargo Hoat, is completely uncritical of their actions, and is always willing to use them. His tactics in war are incredibly dirty and underhanded. He will rape and pillage and torture as a tactic. Flying false banners. Pay off his enemies allies. Send assasins. He is a liar, a cheat and a traitor again and again. He will not blink to murder children.
As for being Hand...he gave the kingdom peace? The kind of peace that exploded into a rebellion that swept up half the realm at the drop of couple of roses. He was flagrantly disloyal, at the end, of course. But before that - he was utterly unreliable. We saw how much he cared about the kingdom, how willing he was to leave it in Aerys mad hands the moment it no longer served his pride and the aggrandizment of his family - not to mention broke his tyrannical iron grip over his son - he was outta there.
And then theres Tywin - the father. Jaime and Cercei - good god, just look at that duo. One of the only few good things we ever hear about Tywin was that he smiled for Cercei. Good job parenting there, considering she was murdering her friends as a preteen. Jaime waited a few years at least to start tossing children from heights.
And now Tysha. She was raped by an entire garrison, to teach his son a lesson. This isn't measured, rational, unemotional. Its bizzare. Cartoonish. over the top. A piece of pure, gleeful theater of torture and cruelty, topped off with the lies, the money, forcing Tyrion to go last. This is what he did to his son for daring to fall in love with someone he found inappropriate. Thats not how anyone with a shred of maturity, or a concience, would deal with the situation.
He never smiles. For fucks sake, can you get more petulantly, melodramtically, arrogantly emo than that?
On a side note, I do agree Show!Tywin does not differ much from his book counterpart, and that Charles Dance is doing magnificent job of portraying him.