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Lucius Lovejoy

Could Tyrion have worked with Cersei and would it have made a difference?

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Getting finished with my first re-read of ACOK, and one thing that really struck me both times I've read it is how there seemed to be some opportunity for Tyrion as HotK to work with Queen Regent Cersei, and yet he seems so fixated on how he can work around her, creating an escalating tension and rivalry between the two that hurts Joffrey, House Lannister, and the realm.  I believe there was a missed opportunity for a Tyrion/Cersei alliance which would have been beneficial to everyone on team Lannister.

I'll start with an assumption which may be challenged in the coming discussion...

It is on Tyrion to convince Cersei to work with him.  He needs to be the one to extend an olive branch.  This is not fair to Tyrion, but it is the reality.  Cersei is already in power, having played the game of thrones for some time, and Tyrion is new to court.

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ACOK - Tyrion IX

"Your sister an the eunuch were here when times were better under King Robert, but you were not."

Also, Cersei has always (again, unfairly) disliked Tyrion and treated him poorly, and is going to feel threatened and a little ashamed that Tywin sent Tyrion to rule in his place because of Cersei's past follies.

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ACOK - Tyrion I

"Has father lost his sense?  Or did you forge this letter?"  She read it once more, with mounting annoyance.  "Why would he inflict you on me?  I wanted him to come himself."  She crushed Lord Tywin's letter in her fingers.  "I am Joffrey's regent, and I sent him a royal command!"...

..."But why should you want to throw me into a dungeon, sweet sister, when I've come all this long way to help you?"

"I do not require your help.  It was our father's presence that I commanded."

Cersei however seems to relent early on when Tyrion discusses their mutual desire to free Jaime later in the Tyrion I chapter.  She even (gasps) DOES EXACTLY WHAT HE ASKS HER TO DO.  After being very forthcoming about the situation with Arya missing, how Janos came to be named Lord of Harrenhall, and even admitting that she hadn't considered the dangers of Barristan joining another claimant to the Throne, and admitting that Tyrion's method of making Joffrey feel threatened could help bring Joffrey to heel, this exchange happens.

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"It may be worth the trying... but make no mistake, Tyrion.  If I accept you, you shall be the King's Hand in name, but my Hand in truth.  You will share all your plans and intentions with me before you act, and you will do nothing without my consent.  Do you understand?"

"Oh yes."

"Do you agree?"

"Certainly," he lied.  "I am yours, sister."  For as long as I need to be.  "So, now that we are of one purpose, we ought to have no more secrets between us.  You say Joffrey had Lord Eddard killed, Varys dismissed Ser Barristan, and Littlefinger gave us Lord Slynt.  Who murdered Jon Arryn?"

Cersei goes on to admit to the incest and her role in Robert's death.  While she acts the part of the bitter and petulant child, she is actually doing her part to support their agreed upon union by being forth coming and honest, while Tyrion is planning from the very start to undermine Cersei.

Throughout the book, Tyrion occasionally comments on things Cersei has done well, and yet rather than compliment her and work to find common ground or persuade her to his side (when she admits that she had not thought of Barristan joining another side in Tyrion I, as well as agreeing to Tyrion & Littlefinger's idea of making up the story of Shireen being sired by Patchface in Tyrion III, I take this as evidence that she is willing to be persuaded).  One of the items that Tyrion comments on are the Wildfire...

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ACOK - Tyrion I

He was pleased Cersei had not been idle, but wildfire was treacherous stuff, and ten thousand jars were enough to turn all of King's Landing into cinders.

But of course, in Tyrion V Tyrion co-opts this single handedly for his own improved purpose, which would have been fine if he had involved Cersei.

He does not involve her with his plan for the chain, which was a good idea that she probably could have been persuaded to follow, because Tyrion just wants to be sneaky and make Cersei feel slighted, and we all know how paranoid and crazy Cersei gets when she is outside of the loop.

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ACOK - Tyrion III

Cersei was certainly suspicious.  "King's business?"

"Nothing you need to trouble yourself about."

"I'll be the judge of that."

"Would you spoil my surprise?"  Tyrion said.  "I'm having a gift made for Joffrey.  A little chain."

"What does he need with another chain?  He has gold chains and silver, more than he can wear.  If you think for a moment you can buy Joff's love with gifts-"

"Why, surely I have the king's love, as he has mine.  And this chain I believe he may one day treasure above all others."

In Tyrion IV, they have a little chat which is too long to quote, but the gist of is that Cersei wants to inspect the new scorpions and spitfires for the city's defenses and asks questions about their plans for Renly's army marching north, and Tyrion only gives her dismissive answers.  We see later that Tyrion is very interested in the city's defenses (often claiming he is the only one) against Stannis, and so he should be encouraging Cersei or even participating with her, but he acts unconcerned and uses his reasoning (which is sound reasoning) that since it makes sense for Renly not to attack too quickly they might as well do nothing.  They don't know what Stannis is up to at this point.  It's just Tyrion being a dick to his sister for no reason and fostering more resentment.

Tyrion also spites Cersei for no reason at all in Tyrion V when she summons him to talk about the plan to wed Myrcella to Trystane that Tyrion devised behind her back...

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ACOK - Tyrion V

"Good, the longer Cersei waits, the angrier she'll become, and anger makes her stupid.  I much prefer angry and stupid to composed and cunning."

Later when he confronts Cersei, he is just as much of a dismissive jerk while Cersei is emotionally outraged (which Tyrion expected and for some reason wanted even though they could be / should be allies).  He even has the thought "A wise man did not pour wildfire on a brazier" even though that is exactly what he was doing ON PURPOSE just because Cersei was mean to him as a kid.  Eventually through her crying and anger he as able to reason with her, again proving that Cersei is CAPABLE OF BEING REASONED WITH.

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ACOK - Tyrion V

"What else is a Hand for, if not to hand you things?"  Tyrion handed her the letter.  His cheek still throbbed where Cersei's hand had left its mark.  Let her flay half of my face, it will be a small price to pay for her consent to the Dornish marriage.  He would have that now, he could sense it.

In Tyrion VI they actually share a nice moment, because Cersei is not yet entirely incapable of working with Tyrion.  This is when news of Stannis laying siege to Storm's End arrives.  Of course Tyrion literally spoils this scene by lacing Cersei's drink with something he stole from Pycelle in Tyrion III that would give her nasty runny bowels, and he feels good about it.

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ACOK - Tyrion VI

Tyrion threw his head back and roared.  They laughed together.  Cersei pulled him off the bed and whirled him around and even hugged him, for a moment as giddy as a girl.  By the time she let go of him, Tyrion was breathless and dizzy.  He staggered to her sideboard and put out a hand to steady himself.

...

His back was to her as he filled two cups with sweet Arbor red.  It was the easiest thing in the world to sprinkle a pinch of fine powder into hers.  "To Stannis!" he said as he handed her the wine.  Harmless when I'm alone, am I?

"To Renly!" she replied, laughing.  "May they battle long and hard, and the Others take them both!"

Is this the Cersei that Jaime sees?  When she smiled, you saw how beautiful she was, truly.  I loved a maid as fair as summer, with sunlight in her hair.  He almost felt sorry for poisoning her.

Tyrion then uses Cersei's absence from his poisoning to send her Lannister guards away with Cleos Frey to give the unacceptable peace terms to Robb - nominally to free Jaime which is a noble purpose, but really to make Cersei feel uncomfortable and to remove any threat to himself.

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ACOK - Tyrion VI

"Four men alone would be watched vigilantly.  Four among a hundred can lose themselves.  So I must send the true guardsmen as well as the false... as you'll tell my sister."

"And for the sake of her beloved brother, she will consent, despite her misgivings."  They made their way down a deserted colonnade.  "Still, the loss of her red cloaks will surely make her uneasy."

"I like her uneasy," said Tyrion.

In Tyrion VII is when Cersei starts to get pissed, and that is because Tyrion threw Pycelle into a dungeon for ratting out Tyrion's plan to wed Myrcella.  Cersei hadn't taken retribution for Tyrion's major scheming behind her back at this point, but now that he is going this far to rid the court of all of Cersei's allies of course she is going to be threatened.  Why should Tyrion do that if they are supposedly in this together for House Lannister?!  Tyrion actually takes offense at her being mad about his treatment of Pycelle and is upset with her for sending Lancel to tell him to release Pycelle, when really it is a reasonably expected response from her.  Tyrion just has had blinders on the whole time about how he alone should be ruling and that Cersei is to be thwarted no matter what.

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ACOK - Tyrion VII

"Who pissed in your soup?" he demanded.

"Cersei, as ever.  You think I'd be used to the taste by now, but never mind."

Because of this mistrust Tyrion has sowed, in Tyrion VIII they have a bit of a stand-off on who should leave King's Landing to treat with the Tyrells to offer to marry Margaery to Joffrey, but Littlefinger outwits them in suggesting himself.  Also in that chapter was Tyrion brokering a compromise between Cersei and Littlefinger about taking one of the Redwyne twins, a compromise Cersei accepts because she actually can be reasoned with.  Cersei later kisses him and acts somewhat charming which puzzles Tyrion and he immediately distrusts.

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ACOK - Tyrion VIII

"Tyrion, I know we do not always agree on policy, but it seems to me that I was wrong about you.  You are not so big a fool as I imagined.  In truth, I realize now that you have been a great help.  For that I thank you.  You must forgive me if I have spoken to you harshly in the past."

"Must I?"  He gave her a shrug, a smile.  "Sweet sister, you have said nothing that requires forgiveness."

"Today, you mean?"  They both laughed and Cersei leaned over and planted a quick, soft kiss on his brow.

Too astonished for words, Tyrion could only watch her stride down the fall, Ser Preston at her side.  "Have I lost my wits or did my sister just kiss me?" he asked Bronn when she was gone.

"Was it so sweet?"

"It was... unanticipated."  Cersei had been behaving queer as of late.  Tyrion found it very unsettling.  "I am trying to recall the last time she kissed me.  I could not have been more than six or seven.  Jaime had dared her to do it."

"The woman's finally taken note of your charms."

"No," Tyrion said.  "No, the woman is hatching something.  Best find out, Bronn.  You know I hate surprises."

In Tyrion IX we learn Cersei has paid the Kettlebacks to buy her own sellswords, only Tyrion has bought them as well.  Tyrion has sent out her own guard, yet has his clansmen and sellswords.  What was Cersei supposed to do?  Tyrion wanted her to only shut up and do what he wanted... not a very respectful or decent way to build an alliance between Hand and Regent.  Anyways after they are confronted by the smallfolk after Myrcella's departure and are back at King's Landing, Cersei backs up Tyrion as he shouts orders.  Again, Cersei is willing to work with him.  She tells Boros and Meryn to go find Sansa after Tyrion calls out that she is missing, and then later, more forcefully...

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ACOK - Tyrion IX

Cersei reared up like a viper.  "Your place is where my brother says it is," she spit.  "The Hand speaks with the king's own voice, and disobedience is treason."

Now in Tyrion X we have another example of Tyrion looking favorably on an idea of Cersei's but twisting it to be his own and now really truly pissing her the fuck off to the point that she'll have Alayaya beaten to spite him because she has seen Tyrion hit and threaten Joffrey, take Tommen into custody at an unknown location, and remove all of her guards.  I'd be pretty angry with my HotK if he was as obstinate and single minded as Tyrion, so I can't be that mad at Cersei.  It's too long to quote, but essentially Tyrion finds out from snitching Lancel that Cersei plans to have Tommen disguised at escorted safely out of King's Landing by Lord Gyles.  "Removing the boy from the city was one of his sister's better notions, Tyrion had decided."  Tyrion then has the plan adjusted so Jacelyn Bywater has Tommen AND gets a lordship, shitting on Gyles who is one of Cersei's friends.  Tyrion cannot just work together with Cersei on any little thing.  This is the point of no return, Cersei is convinced that Tyrion wants Joffrey harmed in battle and knows he has taken away Myrcella and Tommen, so she and him have no chance at trust or reconciliation, and of course that rears it's ugly heard further in ASOS when Tyrion makes increasingly violent threats to Joffrey and then eventually gets blamed for Joffrey's murder (which given the evidence seems reasonable).

 

With all of that presented, I state that Tyrion's personal bias against Cersei and outside view of how the immediate aftermath of Robert's death was handled clouded his judgment to the point that he made a concerted effort to thwart Cersei at every opportunity.  Because he did this, she created new challenges for him, and they were unable to present a united front to Joffrey, who was becoming out of control, and to the small council, each made of self serving men (besides Pycelle) who benefitted from internal discord.  United, they may have been better able to support the war effort and the effort to save King's Landing and it's people.  Tyrion has great instincts and did some good work, but if he had swallowed some pride and worked with Cersei (which is a tough ask at the start) who was proven capable of being persuaded, he would have had more success.

 

Just as a personal note, I enjoyed reading Tyrion for the 3 books, and while I don't find him particularly moral and believe he is not nearly as smart or clever as he thinks he is, I do think he is an intelligent and capable political leader.  This isn't an anti-Tyrion thread at all, just wondering if others see the same missed opportunity for a Tyrion/Cersei alliance and if you all think there would have been some benefit to them working together.

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The Lannisters were going to fall eventually.  Tywin was working to build a strong family legacy.  Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion were all at various times destroying his efforts.  It was just a matter of time.  Tywin's problem is his children.  Tyrion and Cersei were playing games with each other and that's not team work.  It's not just the Lannisters who trip themselves.  The Starks do the same.  Sansa played games with Ned when she spoke with Cersei to prevent her family's departure from KL so she can be near her Prince Joffrey. 

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3 hours ago, Lucius Lovejoy said:

Getting finished with my first re-read of ACOK, and one thing that really struck me both times I've read it is how there seemed to be some opportunity for Tyrion as HotK to work with Queen Regent Cersei, and yet he seems so fixated on how he can work around her, creating an escalating tension and rivalry between the two that hurts Joffrey, House Lannister, and the realm.  I believe there was a missed opportunity for a Tyrion/Cersei alliance which would have been beneficial to everyone on team Lannister.

I'll start with an assumption which may be challenged in the coming discussion...

It is on Tyrion to convince Cersei to work with him.  He needs to be the one to extend an olive branch.  This is not fair to Tyrion, but it is the reality.  Cersei is already in power, having played the game of thrones for some time, and Tyrion is new to court.

Also, Cersei has always (again, unfairly) disliked Tyrion and treated him poorly, and is going to feel threatened and a little ashamed that Tywin sent Tyrion to rule in his place because of Cersei's past follies.

Cersei however seems to relent early on when Tyrion discusses their mutual desire to free Jaime later in the Tyrion I chapter.  She even (gasps) DOES EXACTLY WHAT HE ASKS HER TO DO.  After being very forthcoming about the situation with Arya missing, how Janos came to be named Lord of Harrenhall, and even admitting that she hadn't considered the dangers of Barristan joining another claimant to the Throne, and admitting that Tyrion's method of making Joffrey feel threatened could help bring Joffrey to heel, this exchange happens.

Cersei goes on to admit to the incest and her role in Robert's death.  While she acts the part of the bitter and petulant child, she is actually doing her part to support their agreed upon union by being forth coming and honest, while Tyrion is planning from the very start to undermine Cersei.

Throughout the book, Tyrion occasionally comments on things Cersei has done well, and yet rather than compliment her and work to find common ground or persuade her to his side (when she admits that she had not thought of Barristan joining another side in Tyrion I, as well as agreeing to Tyrion & Littlefinger's idea of making up the story of Shireen being sired by Patchface in Tyrion III, I take this as evidence that she is willing to be persuaded).  One of the items that Tyrion comments on are the Wildfire...

But of course, in Tyrion V Tyrion co-opts this single handedly for his own improved purpose, which would have been fine if he had involved Cersei.

He does not involve her with his plan for the chain, which was a good idea that she probably could have been persuaded to follow, because Tyrion just wants to be sneaky and make Cersei feel slighted, and we all know how paranoid and crazy Cersei gets when she is outside of the loop.

In Tyrion IV, they have a little chat which is too long to quote, but the gist of is that Cersei wants to inspect the new scorpions and spitfires for the city's defenses and asks questions about their plans for Renly's army marching north, and Tyrion only gives her dismissive answers.  We see later that Tyrion is very interested in the city's defenses (often claiming he is the only one) against Stannis, and so he should be encouraging Cersei or even participating with her, but he acts unconcerned and uses his reasoning (which is sound reasoning) that since it makes sense for Renly not to attack too quickly they might as well do nothing.  They don't know what Stannis is up to at this point.  It's just Tyrion being a dick to his sister for no reason and fostering more resentment.

Tyrion also spites Cersei for no reason at all in Tyrion V when she summons him to talk about the plan to wed Myrcella to Trystane that Tyrion devised behind her back...

Later when he confronts Cersei, he is just as much of a dismissive jerk while Cersei is emotionally outraged (which Tyrion expected and for some reason wanted even though they could be / should be allies).  He even has the thought "A wise man did not pour wildfire on a brazier" even though that is exactly what he was doing ON PURPOSE just because Cersei was mean to him as a kid.  Eventually through her crying and anger he as able to reason with her, again proving that Cersei is CAPABLE OF BEING REASONED WITH.

In Tyrion VI they actually share a nice moment, because Cersei is not yet entirely incapable of working with Tyrion.  This is when news of Stannis laying siege to Storm's End arrives.  Of course Tyrion literally spoils this scene by lacing Cersei's drink with something he stole from Pycelle in Tyrion III that would give her nasty runny bowels, and he feels good about it.

Tyrion then uses Cersei's absence from his poisoning to send her Lannister guards away with Cleos Frey to give the unacceptable peace terms to Robb - nominally to free Jaime which is a noble purpose, but really to make Cersei feel uncomfortable and to remove any threat to himself.

In Tyrion VII is when Cersei starts to get pissed, and that is because Tyrion threw Pycelle into a dungeon for ratting out Tyrion's plan to wed Myrcella.  Cersei hadn't taken retribution for Tyrion's major scheming behind her back at this point, but now that he is going this far to rid the court of all of Cersei's allies of course she is going to be threatened.  Why should Tyrion do that if they are supposedly in this together for House Lannister?!  Tyrion actually takes offense at her being mad about his treatment of Pycelle and is upset with her for sending Lancel to tell him to release Pycelle, when really it is a reasonably expected response from her.  Tyrion just has had blinders on the whole time about how he alone should be ruling and that Cersei is to be thwarted no matter what.

Because of this mistrust Tyrion has sowed, in Tyrion VIII they have a bit of a stand-off on who should leave King's Landing to treat with the Tyrells to offer to marry Margaery to Joffrey, but Littlefinger outwits them in suggesting himself.  Also in that chapter was Tyrion brokering a compromise between Cersei and Littlefinger about taking one of the Redwyne twins, a compromise Cersei accepts because she actually can be reasoned with.  Cersei later kisses him and acts somewhat charming which puzzles Tyrion and he immediately distrusts.

In Tyrion IX we learn Cersei has paid the Kettlebacks to buy her own sellswords, only Tyrion has bought them as well.  Tyrion has sent out her own guard, yet has his clansmen and sellswords.  What was Cersei supposed to do?  Tyrion wanted her to only shut up and do what he wanted... not a very respectful or decent way to build an alliance between Hand and Regent.  Anyways after they are confronted by the smallfolk after Myrcella's departure and are back at King's Landing, Cersei backs up Tyrion as he shouts orders.  Again, Cersei is willing to work with him.  She tells Boros and Meryn to go find Sansa after Tyrion calls out that she is missing, and then later, more forcefully...

Now in Tyrion X we have another example of Tyrion looking favorably on an idea of Cersei's but twisting it to be his own and now really truly pissing her the fuck off to the point that she'll have Alayaya beaten to spite him because she has seen Tyrion hit and threaten Joffrey, take Tommen into custody at an unknown location, and remove all of her guards.  I'd be pretty angry with my HotK if he was as obstinate and single minded as Tyrion, so I can't be that mad at Cersei.  It's too long to quote, but essentially Tyrion finds out from snitching Lancel that Cersei plans to have Tommen disguised at escorted safely out of King's Landing by Lord Gyles.  "Removing the boy from the city was one of his sister's better notions, Tyrion had decided."  Tyrion then has the plan adjusted so Jacelyn Bywater has Tommen AND gets a lordship, shitting on Gyles who is one of Cersei's friends.  Tyrion cannot just work together with Cersei on any little thing.  This is the point of no return, Cersei is convinced that Tyrion wants Joffrey harmed in battle and knows he has taken away Myrcella and Tommen, so she and him have no chance at trust or reconciliation, and of course that rears it's ugly heard further in ASOS when Tyrion makes increasingly violent threats to Joffrey and then eventually gets blamed for Joffrey's murder (which given the evidence seems reasonable).

 

With all of that presented, I state that Tyrion's personal bias against Cersei and outside view of how the immediate aftermath of Robert's death was handled clouded his judgment to the point that he made a concerted effort to thwart Cersei at every opportunity.  Because he did this, she created new challenges for him, and they were unable to present a united front to Joffrey, who was becoming out of control, and to the small council, each made of self serving men (besides Pycelle) who benefitted from internal discord.  United, they may have been better able to support the war effort and the effort to save King's Landing and it's people.  Tyrion has great instincts and did some good work, but if he had swallowed some pride and worked with Cersei (which is a tough ask at the start) who was proven capable of being persuaded, he would have had more success.

 

Just as a personal note, I enjoyed reading Tyrion for the 3 books, and while I don't find him particularly moral and believe he is not nearly as smart or clever as he thinks he is, I do think he is an intelligent and capable political leader.  This isn't an anti-Tyrion thread at all, just wondering if others see the same missed opportunity for a Tyrion/Cersei alliance and if you all think there would have been some benefit to them working together.

You make a persuasive argument.

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Oh, yes. Yes indeed. I completely agree. It's the part when he poisons her, I think, that truly highlights it. That scene between the two, with Tyrion playing around with telling Cersei that Stannis was marching, Cersei's incredulity when hearing the truth, it's all so brilliant. When Cersei hugs Tyrion, I think it's one of the most touching scenes in the series, truly. It really is lovely.

His sister's nails dug painfully into his arms. For a moment she stared incredulous, as if he had begun to gibber in an unknown tongue. "Stannis and Renly are fighting each other?" When he nodded, Cersei began to chuckle. "Gods be good," she gasped, "I'm starting to believe that Robert was the clever one."

Brilliant. I think that scene really goes to show that they could work together, putting aside their differences to combat a common foe (or, at least, that Cersei can). Then, of course, Tyrion happens.

You know, however, that Cersei is a little bit paranoid at the best of times (and a lot paranoid at the worst). She definitely suspects that Tyrion poisoned her; she'd have to. Especially after what Tyrion does with her illness, she'd have to think that there was more to it than just a simple illness.

I truly think that they could work together, and it always seems to be Tyrion who is preventing their alliance from coming to fruition. Which leads me to this:

3 hours ago, Lucius Lovejoy said:

Just as a personal note, I enjoyed reading Tyrion for the 3 books, and while I don't find him particularly moral and believe he is not nearly as smart or clever as he thinks he is, I do think he is an intelligent and capable political leader.

I completely agree with this, too. As capable a political leader as he is, Tyrion is too caught up with his own emotions. Were Tyrion as intelligent as he believes himself to be, I'd say he'd have worked harder to make an alliance with Cersei work, despite his misgivings. Amusingly, I see a lot of people saying that Cersei isn't all that bright, and yet she is trying to make the alliance work, as you've noted repeatedly, despite her misgivings.

As for whether or not it might've made a difference, I'd say it probably would have, in regards to Joffrey's death. Cersei wouldn't have had Tyrion's whore abducted, so Tyrion would've had no recourse to say what he did about Cersei's happiness turning to ash in her mouth, which I believe was the crux of Cersei's certainty that Tyrion murdered Joffrey.

But would she have suspected Tyrion anyway? Perhaps, but if they worked together to get Cersei's children out of the City, rather than Tyrion absconding with them, she might view the situation differently. She believes that Tyrion tried to have Joffrey killed at the Blackwater, but would she have done so if Tyrion was helping Cersei keep the others safe? If she didn't believe that Tyrion was trying to kill Joffrey at the Blackwater, would she think he'd want to kill Joffrey at his wedding?

So yes, I think it was a big mistake for Tyrion to not try to have a good working relationship with Cersei. Pretty much all of what Tyrion accomplished with his duplicity could've been accomplished if he simply talked with Cersei and attempted to convince her that it was a good idea (because a lot of it was a good idea). I might say all of it, in fact, apart from taking Tommen from Lord Gyles; because that was ridiculous and unnecessary.

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10 hours ago, Lucius Lovejoy said:

Getting finished with my first re-read of ACOK, and one thing that really struck me both times I've read it is how there seemed to be some opportunity for Tyrion as HotK to work with Queen Regent Cersei, and yet he seems so fixated on how he can work around her, creating an escalating tension and rivalry between the two that hurts Joffrey, House Lannister, and the realm.  I believe there was a missed opportunity for a Tyrion/Cersei alliance which would have been beneficial to everyone on team Lannister.

I'll start with an assumption which may be challenged in the coming discussion...

It is on Tyrion to convince Cersei to work with him.  He needs to be the one to extend an olive branch.  This is not fair to Tyrion, but it is the reality.  Cersei is already in power, having played the game of thrones for some time, and Tyrion is new to court.

Also, Cersei has always (again, unfairly) disliked Tyrion and treated him poorly, and is going to feel threatened and a little ashamed that Tywin sent Tyrion to rule in his place because of Cersei's past follies.

Cersei however seems to relent early on when Tyrion discusses their mutual desire to free Jaime later in the Tyrion I chapter.  She even (gasps) DOES EXACTLY WHAT HE ASKS HER TO DO.  After being very forthcoming about the situation with Arya missing, how Janos came to be named Lord of Harrenhall, and even admitting that she hadn't considered the dangers of Barristan joining another claimant to the Throne, and admitting that Tyrion's method of making Joffrey feel threatened could help bring Joffrey to heel, this exchange happens.

Cersei goes on to admit to the incest and her role in Robert's death.  While she acts the part of the bitter and petulant child, she is actually doing her part to support their agreed upon union by being forth coming and honest, while Tyrion is planning from the very start to undermine Cersei.

Throughout the book, Tyrion occasionally comments on things Cersei has done well, and yet rather than compliment her and work to find common ground or persuade her to his side (when she admits that she had not thought of Barristan joining another side in Tyrion I, as well as agreeing to Tyrion & Littlefinger's idea of making up the story of Shireen being sired by Patchface in Tyrion III, I take this as evidence that she is willing to be persuaded).  One of the items that Tyrion comments on are the Wildfire...

But of course, in Tyrion V Tyrion co-opts this single handedly for his own improved purpose, which would have been fine if he had involved Cersei.

He does not involve her with his plan for the chain, which was a good idea that she probably could have been persuaded to follow, because Tyrion just wants to be sneaky and make Cersei feel slighted, and we all know how paranoid and crazy Cersei gets when she is outside of the loop.

In Tyrion IV, they have a little chat which is too long to quote, but the gist of is that Cersei wants to inspect the new scorpions and spitfires for the city's defenses and asks questions about their plans for Renly's army marching north, and Tyrion only gives her dismissive answers.  We see later that Tyrion is very interested in the city's defenses (often claiming he is the only one) against Stannis, and so he should be encouraging Cersei or even participating with her, but he acts unconcerned and uses his reasoning (which is sound reasoning) that since it makes sense for Renly not to attack too quickly they might as well do nothing.  They don't know what Stannis is up to at this point.  It's just Tyrion being a dick to his sister for no reason and fostering more resentment.

Tyrion also spites Cersei for no reason at all in Tyrion V when she summons him to talk about the plan to wed Myrcella to Trystane that Tyrion devised behind her back...

Later when he confronts Cersei, he is just as much of a dismissive jerk while Cersei is emotionally outraged (which Tyrion expected and for some reason wanted even though they could be / should be allies).  He even has the thought "A wise man did not pour wildfire on a brazier" even though that is exactly what he was doing ON PURPOSE just because Cersei was mean to him as a kid.  Eventually through her crying and anger he as able to reason with her, again proving that Cersei is CAPABLE OF BEING REASONED WITH.

In Tyrion VI they actually share a nice moment, because Cersei is not yet entirely incapable of working with Tyrion.  This is when news of Stannis laying siege to Storm's End arrives.  Of course Tyrion literally spoils this scene by lacing Cersei's drink with something he stole from Pycelle in Tyrion III that would give her nasty runny bowels, and he feels good about it.

Tyrion then uses Cersei's absence from his poisoning to send her Lannister guards away with Cleos Frey to give the unacceptable peace terms to Robb - nominally to free Jaime which is a noble purpose, but really to make Cersei feel uncomfortable and to remove any threat to himself.

In Tyrion VII is when Cersei starts to get pissed, and that is because Tyrion threw Pycelle into a dungeon for ratting out Tyrion's plan to wed Myrcella.  Cersei hadn't taken retribution for Tyrion's major scheming behind her back at this point, but now that he is going this far to rid the court of all of Cersei's allies of course she is going to be threatened.  Why should Tyrion do that if they are supposedly in this together for House Lannister?!  Tyrion actually takes offense at her being mad about his treatment of Pycelle and is upset with her for sending Lancel to tell him to release Pycelle, when really it is a reasonably expected response from her.  Tyrion just has had blinders on the whole time about how he alone should be ruling and that Cersei is to be thwarted no matter what.

Because of this mistrust Tyrion has sowed, in Tyrion VIII they have a bit of a stand-off on who should leave King's Landing to treat with the Tyrells to offer to marry Margaery to Joffrey, but Littlefinger outwits them in suggesting himself.  Also in that chapter was Tyrion brokering a compromise between Cersei and Littlefinger about taking one of the Redwyne twins, a compromise Cersei accepts because she actually can be reasoned with.  Cersei later kisses him and acts somewhat charming which puzzles Tyrion and he immediately distrusts.

In Tyrion IX we learn Cersei has paid the Kettlebacks to buy her own sellswords, only Tyrion has bought them as well.  Tyrion has sent out her own guard, yet has his clansmen and sellswords.  What was Cersei supposed to do?  Tyrion wanted her to only shut up and do what he wanted... not a very respectful or decent way to build an alliance between Hand and Regent.  Anyways after they are confronted by the smallfolk after Myrcella's departure and are back at King's Landing, Cersei backs up Tyrion as he shouts orders.  Again, Cersei is willing to work with him.  She tells Boros and Meryn to go find Sansa after Tyrion calls out that she is missing, and then later, more forcefully...

Now in Tyrion X we have another example of Tyrion looking favorably on an idea of Cersei's but twisting it to be his own and now really truly pissing her the fuck off to the point that she'll have Alayaya beaten to spite him because she has seen Tyrion hit and threaten Joffrey, take Tommen into custody at an unknown location, and remove all of her guards.  I'd be pretty angry with my HotK if he was as obstinate and single minded as Tyrion, so I can't be that mad at Cersei.  It's too long to quote, but essentially Tyrion finds out from snitching Lancel that Cersei plans to have Tommen disguised at escorted safely out of King's Landing by Lord Gyles.  "Removing the boy from the city was one of his sister's better notions, Tyrion had decided."  Tyrion then has the plan adjusted so Jacelyn Bywater has Tommen AND gets a lordship, shitting on Gyles who is one of Cersei's friends.  Tyrion cannot just work together with Cersei on any little thing.  This is the point of no return, Cersei is convinced that Tyrion wants Joffrey harmed in battle and knows he has taken away Myrcella and Tommen, so she and him have no chance at trust or reconciliation, and of course that rears it's ugly heard further in ASOS when Tyrion makes increasingly violent threats to Joffrey and then eventually gets blamed for Joffrey's murder (which given the evidence seems reasonable).

 

With all of that presented, I state that Tyrion's personal bias against Cersei and outside view of how the immediate aftermath of Robert's death was handled clouded his judgment to the point that he made a concerted effort to thwart Cersei at every opportunity.  Because he did this, she created new challenges for him, and they were unable to present a united front to Joffrey, who was becoming out of control, and to the small council, each made of self serving men (besides Pycelle) who benefitted from internal discord.  United, they may have been better able to support the war effort and the effort to save King's Landing and it's people.  Tyrion has great instincts and did some good work, but if he had swallowed some pride and worked with Cersei (which is a tough ask at the start) who was proven capable of being persuaded, he would have had more success.

 

Just as a personal note, I enjoyed reading Tyrion for the 3 books, and while I don't find him particularly moral and believe he is not nearly as smart or clever as he thinks he is, I do think he is an intelligent and capable political leader.  This isn't an anti-Tyrion thread at all, just wondering if others see the same missed opportunity for a Tyrion/Cersei alliance and if you all think there would have been some benefit to them working together.

I have to wonder-could his dismal of her be due at least in part of sexism? He did not think women should be privy to matters of government and war(he thinks it dumb for the hill tribes to have allowed their women present at their council meetings). I mean maybe he didn't think she as a woman could fully recognize the reason of his plans-nor be one that should have so much power in KL.

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3 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

Wow, this is nearly up there with the Janos Slynt being wrongly oppressed stuff.

Ok can you dissect the man's argument or are you merely going to say it's dumb and leave it there? 

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Tyrion is well aware that Cersei has hated and resented him his entire life. Plus, she's much older - seven years or so - which adds to her feeling of superiority. Cersei holds him in contempt for innumerable reasons and in spite of your quotes, doesn't actually respect him. When you say she's being open and honest, I have strong doubts, because Cersei is good at feigning the nobler human emotions to get what she wants. And Tyrion knows this - he's observed her his entire life.

For these reasons, Tyrion will not even consider trying to work together with Cersei, except when their goals incidentally coincide. You're vastly underestimating the level of built-up hatred between the two of them.

Also, Cersei's methods and Tyrion's methods often conflict. Her "analysis" of situations is based on an instant gut reaction, uninformed by facts or understanding - just the opposite of how Tyrion works. To his credit, the little guy has some sense of justice; Cersei just wants what she wants.

There can be no partnership between these two without major changes in their personalities.

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8 hours ago, zandru said:

Tyrion is well aware that Cersei has hated and resented him his entire life. Plus, she's much older - seven years or so - which adds to her feeling of superiority. Cersei holds him in contempt for innumerable reasons and in spite of your quotes, doesn't actually respect him. When you say she's being open and honest, I have strong doubts, because Cersei is good at feigning the nobler human emotions to get what she wants. And Tyrion knows this - he's observed her his entire life.

 

He knows she feels no particular fondness for him but at this point in their relationship I don't think Tyrion would see the word hate to be the apt word to describe their relationship-more a general dislike and irritation towards each other. Everything in her actions while Tyrion show her being transparent-generous even. Tyrion quite frankly seems to be the primary culprit  to have sullied any chance of their being anything close to a civilized relationship as his tenure as hand. 

8 hours ago, zandru said:

 

Also, Cersei's methods and Tyrion's methods often conflict. Her "analysis" of situations is based on an instant gut reaction, uninformed by facts or understanding - just the opposite of how Tyrion works. To his credit, the little guy has some sense of justice; Cersei just wants what she wants.

 

You think Cersi would be adverse to the wildfire plot? Or an attempt to get Jamie out? Likely not. He even takes her son when she was trying to do what was smart just to spite her quite frankly-they're supposed to be working together yet Cersi is really the only one whose seemingly trying to make this arrangement work.

Hell we learn nothing when we see her POV in AFFC that would any way hint when he was hand she'd made attempts against him prior to him seemingly to have kidnapped her boy and sold her daughter.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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@Lucius Lovejoy, I enjoyed the OP very much.  I'm a huge Tyrion fan for many reasons, not the least of which is his spitefulness.   I can't disagree with anything you've put forth.   I do, however, hope to temper a bit of the premise in reminding myself that Cersei is a treacherous thing.  Tyrion has lived his entire life as a a tarnished piece of brass among the golden people.   For all his wealth and intelligence, Tyrion has been made aware of his not belonging.   Perhaps he really doesn't belong among the Lannisters.  My mind is not made up about his possible paternity, but it seems to me he would have made a fine Targ.  Tyrion has been the underdog for so long this 1st bit of real trust from his father has to be suspect.   He doesn't trust anyone.   He would not, probably could not, trust his sister.   In his thoughts he is as you nicely state, dismissive of Cersei's every thought and action.   He believes he is smarter and better.  Could it be sibling rivalry, innate sexism or just a deep dislike of his sister?    It's likely a combination of all 3, making this valonqar an unlikely ally for this queen regent.  I am reminded of a coworker who, for all my efforts remains a jerk to the point I no longer make an effort.   It has become very easy for me to take a contrary even dismissive role toward this person.   Granted I did not grow up with this person, but have been acquainted in close working quarters with her for a very long time.  I've learned that she is not to be trusted in any way, shape or form.    That's her nature, not mine.   She is her own train wreck, much like Cersei, the rare good idea notwithstanding.  Trust is a foundation in relationships.   If it's not there, there is no hope anything positive will come of the association.   

Tyrion is not a subservient personality.  Cersei demands blind loyalty, trust and obedience to her rule.  Tyrion may have hit the same wall I have after years of failed attempts to give her what she wants.   It's also possible that this highly sexual man is jealous of the relationship their brother shares with their sister.    It's also possible that all Lannisters believe they are the center of the universe and these 2 simply can't abide each others' orbits even for the good of the relationship, realm or rule.  

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15 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Ok can you dissect the man's argument or are you merely going to say it's dumb and leave it there? 

What's there to dissect? From the moment Tyrion arrived at King's Landing Cersei's attitude was do it my way or not at all. Her attitude towards him from day one was spiteful hatred. What's there to work with? A working relationship is built on trust, which Cersei never had any inclination of giving Tyrion the benefit of any doubt. Tyrion could've done everything Cersei said and not a thing more and she still would've hated him, underminded him and assigned blame to him. Nevermind the minor detail that Tywin send Tyrion to bring Cersei and Joffrey under control while he tried to salvage the situation in the field.

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Two people conspiring to help their cruel, arrogant and insanely wealthy family to committing Royal-Treasonous-Adultry, Murder, Conspiracy to commit Murder, usurpation, Regicide, false accusations, war crimes against the smallfolk which include rape, kidnapping, murder, forced hostage marriages to steal inheritances, property damage and by some miraculous plot devices, get away with it for at least a couple more years or so. I would say they succeeded pretty well considering....................

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4 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

What's there to dissect? From the moment Tyrion arrived at King's Landing Cersei's attitude was do it my way or not at all. Her attitude towards him from day one was spiteful hatred. What's there to work with? A working relationship is built on trust, which Cersei never had any inclination of giving Tyrion the benefit of any doubt. Tyrion could've done everything Cersei said and not a thing more and she still would've hated him, underminded him and assigned blame to him. Nevermind the minor detail that Tywin send Tyrion to bring Cersei and Joffrey under control while he tried to salvage the situation in the field.

She spills the beans on what exactly she's been doing awknowleges to Tyrion that he is right that firing barristan was a bad and even does what he suggests on occasion-she may be not be kissing his ass or even acting as though she likes this situation but out of the two she is the only one seemingly trying to make it work-yes she wants Tyrion to go about his actions with her consent, with her being on the in to his plans-that's not really that outrageous a request to do given she is regent-. We don't see her try to really act against him until he's really pushed with taking her son quite frankly to spite her. Tyrion by his actions and behavior destroyed any chance of their being anything close to a civilized arrangement. Tyrion doesn't try and actively tries to make Cersi enraged at him for no other reason than he finds it fun-he never wanted an alliance no matter what even if the things she's doing is what he'd being doing he would undermine her every step of the way.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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Thanks everyone for the discussion, especially @Varysblackfyre321 who has been defending the post while I've been away.  I appreciate the kind words @cyberdirectorfreedom and @The Sunland Lord!

Two posts in particular I wanted to respond to...

On ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 10:29 AM, zandru said:

Tyrion is well aware that Cersei has hated and resented him his entire life. Plus, she's much older - seven years or so - which adds to her feeling of superiority. Cersei holds him in contempt for innumerable reasons and in spite of your quotes, doesn't actually respect him. When you say she's being open and honest, I have strong doubts, because Cersei is good at feigning the nobler human emotions to get what she wants. And Tyrion knows this - he's observed her his entire life.

For these reasons, Tyrion will not even consider trying to work together with Cersei, except when their goals incidentally coincide. You're vastly underestimating the level of built-up hatred between the two of them.

Also, Cersei's methods and Tyrion's methods often conflict. Her "analysis" of situations is based on an instant gut reaction, uninformed by facts or understanding - just the opposite of how Tyrion works. To his credit, the little guy has some sense of justice; Cersei just wants what she wants.

There can be no partnership between these two without major changes in their personalities.

I definitely get where you are coming from which is why I opened with the possibly controversial statement that the onus was on Tyrion to make the partnership work with Cersei even though Cersei has always disliked and mistreated Tyrion (unjustifiably), which has made Tyrion hate her (justifiably).  I can see where Tyrion would mistrust Cersei because she is so good at feigning her emotions - hell there is a scene in ACOK Tyrion III where Tyrion thinks to himself how amazingly believable Cersei is when she does her whole "how dare Stannis accuse me!" bit over the true accusations Stannis makes against her.  However besides this scene, we never have thoughts of Tyrion thinking about how Cersei is lying (especially not in Tyrion I when their initial truce is made), just him thinking about how oblivious she is to how he has Lancel and the Kettlebacks in his pocket.  I'm inclined to think he believed what she told him at least at the outset of the union.

But back to the hate... in a time of war and imminent danger Tyrion should have been able to cast aside his hate of Cersei because he knows that they share a mutual goal - the survival and advancement of House Lannister.  No one else in court can share that goal as much as the two of them because no one else is a Lannister.  Tywin hates Tyrion, and yet at the end of AGOT Tywin puts aside his hatred because he knows that when the going gets tough, Tyrion is the one person he can trust to share his objectives ("You are my son." - Tyrion IX).  Tywin doesn't really get credit for this because we are unsympathetic to his unreasonable hatred of Tyrion, but if you take a step back you see that Tywin was providing the example of trust and reliance on family that Tyrion should have applied to working with Cersei.

On ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 11:38 AM, Curled Finger said:

@Lucius Lovejoy, I enjoyed the OP very much.  I'm a huge Tyrion fan for many reasons, not the least of which is his spitefulness.   I can't disagree with anything you've put forth.   I do, however, hope to temper a bit of the premise in reminding myself that Cersei is a treacherous thing.  Tyrion has lived his entire life as a a tarnished piece of brass among the golden people.   For all his wealth and intelligence, Tyrion has been made aware of his not belonging.   Perhaps he really doesn't belong among the Lannisters.  My mind is not made up about his possible paternity, but it seems to me he would have made a fine Targ.  Tyrion has been the underdog for so long this 1st bit of real trust from his father has to be suspect.   He doesn't trust anyone.   He would not, probably could not, trust his sister.   In his thoughts he is as you nicely state, dismissive of Cersei's every thought and action.   He believes he is smarter and better.  Could it be sibling rivalry, innate sexism or just a deep dislike of his sister?    It's likely a combination of all 3, making this valonqar an unlikely ally for this queen regent.  I am reminded of a coworker who, for all my efforts remains a jerk to the point I no longer make an effort.   It has become very easy for me to take a contrary even dismissive role toward this person.   Granted I did not grow up with this person, but have been acquainted in close working quarters with her for a very long time.  I've learned that she is not to be trusted in any way, shape or form.    That's her nature, not mine.   She is her own train wreck, much like Cersei, the rare good idea notwithstanding.  Trust is a foundation in relationships.   If it's not there, there is no hope anything positive will come of the association.   

Tyrion is not a subservient personality.  Cersei demands blind loyalty, trust and obedience to her rule.  Tyrion may have hit the same wall I have after years of failed attempts to give her what she wants.   It's also possible that this highly sexual man is jealous of the relationship their brother shares with their sister.    It's also possible that all Lannisters believe they are the center of the universe and these 2 simply can't abide each others' orbits even for the good of the relationship, realm or rule.  

Hey @Curled Finger, there are a few bombs in here I'm not going to touch but that could very well be in play (Tyrion as Targ, Tyrion as sexist, Tyrion as jealous) but I did want to touch on your point of Tyrion being suspicious of Tywin's new trust in him - I believe Tyrion thinks Tywin's trust in him is honest, though Tyrion has some resentment over the fact that it took the golden boy Jaime's capture (and likely death) for Tywin to give Tyrion any real responsibility or authority.  In this regard, I think Tyrion should understand that he, Tywin, and Cersei must stick together.

Quote

AGOT - Tyrion IX

That was when he knew.  You have given him up for lost, he thought.  You bloody bastard, you think Jaime's as good as dead, so I'm all you have left.

 

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So let me get this straight Cersei is at best incompetent and erratic, tacking on paranoid and crazy when she is kept out of the loop. She also most likely tries to have him killed mid-battle. 

I feel like the answer has already been written for me and I just merely had to quote it.  He probably could have worked with her. However why work with someone who is awful at her job and likely to stab you in the back whenever she gets the chance.

Edited by Universal Sword Donor

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53 minutes ago, Universal Sword Donor said:

So let me get this straight Cersei is at best incompetent and erratic, tacking on paranoid and crazy when she is kept out of the loop. She also most likely tries to have him killed mid-battle. 

I feel like the answer has already been written for me and I just merely had to quote it.  He probably could have worked with her. However why work with someone who is awful at her job and likely to stab you in the back whenever she gets the chance.

Why needlessly make her an enemy? And if Tyrion hadn't kidnapped her son and threatened to beat and rape him(in response to taking a whore she thought he liked) perhaps she wouldn't have tried to kill him. They have a mutual interest to working together-staying alive and getting Jamie back-they are lions-like it or not their  very lives and livelihoods are tethered to the success of their house winning the war.

 

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23 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Why needlessly make her an enemy? And if Tyrion hadn't kidnapped her son and threatened to beat and rape him(in response to taking a whore she thought he liked) perhaps she wouldn't have tried to kill him. They have a mutual interest to working together-staying alive and getting Jamie back-they are lions-like it or not their  very lives and livelihoods are tethered to the success of their house winning the war.

 

Because having her as an enemy is better for the success of her house than working with someone so incompetent and crazy? Plus she's already his enemy.

Kinda like asking Mrs. Lincoln how the play was, aside from her husband being killed. The upside to working with Cersei is nil because she's erratic, incompetent, and wants him dead. At least by keeping her on her toes and making her behavior consistent (through fear), he was able to mount an effective defense of KL. Frankly if Tyrion could have kept her under guard and unavailable to everyone during his time at Hand it would have been better for the city and Lannisters.

Doesn't necessarily make it "right" or justified but working with someone, who is as awful at her job as she is and mentally unstable as she is, is a complete non-starter for me (and Tyrion). 

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