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Queen of Thorn's political smarts


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#1 otherbeef

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:04 PM

what exactly has the Queen of Thorns done that has gotten her such a great reputation for scheming? i mean just looking through what we know about her she has many missteps.

1. She (supposedly) opposed marrying Margaery to Renly - it didn't work out but only because of shadow babies. Otherwise Renly becomes King, Margaery Queen, and Mace hand. that is a smart move.

2. She (supposedly) opposed marrying Margaery to Joffrey - Same thing really. Gives the Tyrells much more power and secures victory for the throne. (Targaryens coming isn't known to anyone at the time)

3. Plots to marry Sansa to Willas to gain the North - except she gets out-schemed by LF and this plan fails.

4. She killed Joffrey - Sure. But this was as much LF's scheme as hers, except she takes on all the risk of having to actually perform the deed while LF is safe in the Vale.

5. Gets thoroughly set up by Varys when he leaves the old Gardener coin she is known to use in the black cells.

am i missing something here? unless she is actually working closely with Mace and Mace isn't quite the oaf everyone makes him out to be, her reputation seems overstated.

#2 David Selig

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:08 PM

Yeah, I wondered about this just yesterday myself. Everyone on this board is "Oh, she is so smart, such a great player" yet she hasn't done anything all that impressive really.

#3 Mrs_Darcy

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:16 PM

what exactly has the Queen of Thorns done that has gotten her such a great reputation for scheming? i mean just looking through what we know about her she has many missteps.

1. She (supposedly) opposed marrying Margaery to Renly - it didn't work out but only because of shadow babies. Otherwise Renly becomes King, Margaery Queen, and Mace hand. that is a smart move.

2. She (supposedly) opposed marrying Margaery to Joffrey - Same thing really. Gives the Tyrells much more power and secures victory for the throne. (Targaryens coming isn't known to anyone at the time)

3. Plots to marry Sansa to Willas to gain the North - except she gets out-schemed by LF and this plan fails.

4. She killed Joffrey - Sure. But this was as much LF's scheme as hers, except she takes on all the risk of having to actually perform the deed while LF is safe in the Vale.

5. Gets thoroughly set up by Varys when he leaves the old Gardener coin she is known to use in the black cells.

am i missing something here? unless she is actually working closely with Mace and Mace isn't quite the oaf everyone makes him out to be, her reputation seems overstated.


IMO, the big problem of the Queen of Thorns is, that the head of her house, Mace Tyrell, is an idiot. A lot of the time, she has to scheme in order to minimize the harm, that comes from Mace's schemes.

-she warns her son about allying with Renly, but her advice is not heeded
-she does not want her granddaughter to marry Joffrey, but the marriage takes place (and she has to plot to kill Joffrey)
-she does not want Cersei to marry Willas (this advice is heeded)

#4 WeirwoodTreeHugger

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:18 PM

I love Olenna but it's hard to judge her political smarts one way or the other without a POV from the Tyrell camp. The fact that Olenna and Margaery seem utterly unperturbed by Sansa's confession that Joffrey is a monster is telling. I think it's an indication that the plan all along was to marry Joffrey and murder him and she was just saying what was needed to earn Sansa's trust.
The Tyrells are winning right now so that's something for the plus column too. We'll see what happens when the Targs are in the mix. The Tyrells are due for a blow.

#5 pride of the 7 kingdoms

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:19 PM

Yeah, I wondered about this just yesterday myself. Everyone on this board is "Oh, she is so smart, such a great player" yet she hasn't done anything all that impressive really.


Well she controls the Tyrell family and only person in Tyrell who can play GoT. She's behind all of the political moves of the Tyrells and killing Joffrey isn't an easy thing.

#6 otherbeef

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:24 PM

Well she controls the Tyrell family and only person in Tyrell who can play GoT. She's behind all of the political moves of the Tyrells and killing Joffrey isn't an easy thing.


except she says Mace flat out didn't listen to her when it came to Renly and Joffrey, so how in control can she be? Unless she is lying, which is fine, but then we have to give Mace more credit. Perhaps they have a Doran/Oberyn relationship where Mace is the grass to Olenna's viper.

#7 Mikkel

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:26 PM

She's behind all of the political moves of the Tyrells and killing Joffrey isn't an easy thing.


That's not true though, in fact she's against most of the recent political moves House Tyrell has made. As pointed out in the OP, there was no way to know what a mess Renly's campaign would turn into - though I agree with her assessment that he wasn't good King material.

In my opinion, her reputation is based on one thing only: people take her smack-talk of... everyone else... at face value.

She may indeed be as great a player as her reputation suggests, but it's unproven so far.

ETA: Also, her actions have - so far - not caused harm to any well-liked characters, and she was a part of killing off the universally hated Joffrey, so that gets her some kudos.

Edited by Mikkel, 03 August 2013 - 03:28 PM.


#8 pride of the 7 kingdoms

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:29 PM

except she says Mace flat out didn't listen to her when it came to Renly and Joffrey, so how in control can she be? Unless she is lying, which is fine, but then we have to give Mace more credit. Perhaps they have a Doran/Oberyn relationship where Mace is the grass to Olenna's viper.


I don't think they have that relationship we don't have any tyrell POVs but so far Mace didn't accomplish anything by his own and Olenna isn't considered as a viper from the most of the Westeros. I know she can't control all the family but she's the only one who can do political moves in the family.

#9 Dragonstoned

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:32 PM

I love Olenna but it's hard to judge her political smarts one way or the other without a POV from the Tyrell camp. The fact that Olenna and Margaery seem utterly unperturbed by Sansa's confession that Joffrey is a monster is telling. I think it's an indication that the plan all along was to marry Joffrey and murder him and she was just saying what was needed to earn Sansa's trust.
The Tyrells are winning right now so that's something for the plus column too. We'll see what happens when the Targs are in the mix. The Tyrells are due for a blow.


In Sansa's ASoS chapter after she escapes KL, Littlefinger tells her he told the Tyrells to their face that Joffrey was a kind boy, while he had his people feed their people rumours that Joffrey was a monster. So they had warning, and this makes it obvious why they then ask Sansa.

edit - actual quote:

When I came to Highgarden to dicker for Margaery’s hand, she let her lord son bluster while she asked pointed questions about Joffrey’s nature. I praised him to the skies, to be sure... whilst my men spread disturbing tales amongst Lord Tyrell’s servants. That is how the game is played.

Edited by Dragonstoned, 03 August 2013 - 03:36 PM.


#10 Mikkel

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:33 PM

I don't think they have that relationship we don't have any tyrell POVs but so far Mace didn't accomplish anything by his own and Olenna isn't considered as a viper from the most of the Westeros. I know she can't control all the family but she's the only one who can do political moves in the family.


Depends what you mean by "political moves"

If you mean she's the only one capable of making smart moves in the Game, then you may be right - that remains to be seen.

She has no real power though, so she can't really "make moves" easily - which I am sure is a source of great frustration to her, since she definitely thinks she's the most capable member of her house (and again, she may be right).

#11 Mikkel

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:34 PM

I think it's an indication that the plan all along was to marry Joffrey and murder him and she was just saying what was needed to earn Sansa's trust.


I disagree, if Joffrey had in fact been a kind and/or malleable King, then I'm pretty sure he'd have stayed alive, while Margaery became de-facto ruler - much like has happened with King Tommen (the poor kid).

#12 l3ol3o

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:34 PM

She certainly understands the game but I think she is very cautious like Doran and not nearly as ambitious as her son.

While all the moves the Tyrells made didn't work out I think that without the QoT the Tyrells would be in serious trouble. So while she may not have great success's she also hasn't had great failures.

#13 Pod The Impaler

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:38 PM

what exactly has the Queen of Thorns done that has gotten her such a great reputation for scheming? i mean just looking through what we know about her she has many missteps.

1. She (supposedly) opposed marrying Margaery to Renly - it didn't work out but only because of shadow babies. Otherwise Renly becomes King, Margaery Queen, and Mace hand. that is a smart move.

2. She (supposedly) opposed marrying Margaery to Joffrey - Same thing really. Gives the Tyrells much more power and secures victory for the throne. (Targaryens coming isn't known to anyone at the time)

3. Plots to marry Sansa to Willas to gain the North - except she gets out-schemed by LF and this plan fails.

4. She killed Joffrey - Sure. But this was as much LF's scheme as hers, except she takes on all the risk of having to actually perform the deed while LF is safe in the Vale.

5. Gets thoroughly set up by Varys when he leaves the old Gardener coin she is known to use in the black cells.

am i missing something here? unless she is actually working closely with Mace and Mace isn't quite the oaf everyone makes him out to be, her reputation seems overstated.


I would answer this by saying:

1 & 2 - She was correct because Renly was a more a dreamer than a doer, and Joffrey was a craven scumbag. Olenna can see the long-term consequences of this, but Mace Tyrell is an oaf, and cannot see beyind the immediate and obvious gain.

3 - Yes, this was a good idea, but she did not know Dontos was LF's spy, nor that Sansa had anything going on there. Plus I think she saw some personal qualities in Sansa that might have benefitted her family. Considering it is Willas who is the heir, getting him a high-quality wife would be a top priority.

4 - Her scheme or LF's, or both together, this was an excellent idea. LF played her false but this is his nature, but she was herself willing to let Oberyn or Tyrion be blamed, so she is no innocent. She had to protect her young rose.

5 - Varys definitely knew what he was doing there. Can't blame her for that, except for the fact her business practices re: the old coins were bound to backfire eventually.


I think the point with regards to her reputation is that she is the real brains in House Tyrell. Mace is a grasping fool, and does not have as much of the "true steel" as she does. (The ironic thing being that since he's a man, her good ideas get pushed aside by his bad ones.) Her grandchildren show some promise - particularly Margaery. Willas seem to have a good reputation - another solid, but bookish character by GRRM.

If the QoT seems to have a real weakness, it's her deep hatred for the Martells. It's mutual, but unlike Willas, she seems unable to get over it.

#14 Mikkel

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:39 PM

While all the moves the Tyrells made didn't work out I think that without the QoT the Tyrells would be in serious trouble. So while she may not have great success's she also hasn't had great failures.


Agreed, because her course of action so far seems to have been "do nothing" - which may indeed have been the smarter move, but on the other hand, it does seem like Mace's moves have produced results: they have a Queen, a King with little power, and military control of the Capital, all without too much fighting - other than the Martells and the Vale, they have probably suffered the least casualties so far, and neither of those two have made any progress like the Tyrells so far.

That said, I don't think it's all roses (haha) for the Tyrells from here, and I don't see them keeping the Throne until the end.

#15 WeirwoodTreeHugger

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:45 PM

In Sansa's ASoS chapter after she escapes KL, Littlefinger tells her he told the Tyrells to their face that Joffrey was a kind boy, while he had his people feed their people rumours that Joffrey was a monster. So they had warning, and this makes it obvious why they then ask Sansa.

edit - actual quote:

When I came to Highgarden to dicker for Margaery’s hand, she let her lord son bluster while she asked pointed questions about Joffrey’s nature. I praised him to the skies, to be sure... whilst my men spread disturbing tales amongst Lord Tyrell’s servants. That is how the game is played.


I forgot all about that. Sad trumpet noise for me! /dunce.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunce:' />

#16 Pod The Impaler

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:48 PM

I disagree, if Joffrey had in fact been a kind and/or malleable King, then I'm pretty sure he'd have stayed alive, while Margaery became de-facto ruler - much like has happened with King Tommen (the poor kid).


I don't think her objection to Joffrey was that he was not malleable, but that he was a monstrous sadist. If he had just been a stubborn boy, and maybe even ruthless, but not a drooling psychopath, she'd likely have accepted things. Except he wasn't - he was cruel, weak, and stupid.

No, she understood Joffrey's nature, and has seen his sort before. Littlefinger's subversive tales were no doubt the truth, and all that was required was the telling. She had probably heard a few things earlier anyway. And Sansa was just the confirmation, measured against the QoT's distrust of LF's motives for saying it. Nevertheless, she came to an understanding with LF because unlike Mace, she could see that alliance or not, Margaery would be no happier with Joffrey than Rhaella was with Aerys.

Edited by Pod The Impaler, 03 August 2013 - 03:50 PM.


#17 otherbeef

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:51 PM

I would answer this by saying:

1 & 2 - She was correct because Renly was a more a dreamer than a doer, and Joffrey was a craven scumbag. Olenna can see the long-term consequences of this, but Mace Tyrell is an oaf, and cannot see beyind the immediate and obvious gain.

I think the point with regards to her reputation is that she is the real brains in House Tyrell. Mace is a grasping fool, and does not have as much of the "true steel" as she does. (The ironic thing being that since he's a man, her good ideas get pushed aside by his bad ones.) Her grandchildren show some promise - particularly Margaery. Willas seem to have a good reputation - another solid, but bookish character by GRRM.


the long term consequences? at Mace's control the Tyrells have a Queen in Margaery, a King's hand (and possibly Regent) in Mace, multiple other Tyrell bannermen on the small council, and the greatest military strength in tact in the realm. Basically more power than anyone else. This is all mostly without Olenna's help. That is pretty good. Sure things may turn sour with Targs invading, but nobody could've foreseen that.

#18 Mikkel

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 04:19 PM

I don't think her objection to Joffrey was that he was not malleable, but that he was a monstrous sadist. If he had just been a stubborn boy, and maybe even ruthless, but not a drooling psychopath, she'd likely have accepted things. Except he wasn't - he was cruel, weak, and stupid.


I'll agree, at least in so far as his nature is what led Olenna to conclude that he needed to die right away - since he posed a threat to Margaery, both in the personal sense and in the sense that under his leadership, the Kingdom would go right to hell - taking Margaery with it.

Had he been moderately competent, and a moderately decent person, even if strong-willed and uncontrollable, I don't know - they might still have wanted to do away with him, but then again maybe not - and not right away in either case.

Edited by Mikkel, 03 August 2013 - 05:31 PM.


#19 TalalOfDorne

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 04:39 PM

Shes ok, but a tad overrated IMO. I think thats mostly due to her killing Joffrey (unpopular character) and being funny.

Edited by TalalOfDorne, 03 August 2013 - 04:50 PM.


#20 Mrs.Grumpy

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 06:03 PM

Well, she managed to work along with LF.