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GallowsKnight

Controversial Question: But did Tyrion actually achieve anything meaningful for himself or the Lannisters in aCoK whilst acting Hand

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Now obviously we're going to have the benefit of both hindsight and information from other POVs. This is not really a critique of Tyrion as much as a reflection on his role in the story.

I have been recently thinking about alternative timelines and characters roles in the story.

Lets look at politics:

-Replaces Janos Slynt with his own man Jacelyn Bywater - who is killed by deserting goldcloaks

-Sending Tommen to Rosby was actually Cersei's idea he just hijacks it

-Littlefinger suggests the Tyrell marriage and talks them into letting him be the emissary

-Throws Pycelle in the dungeon, who is let out and reinstated eventually

-Fails to rescue Jaime and loses 300 Lannister men (I'll address later)

-Sending Myrella to Dorne. This is really his biggest political move and at the time it is quite laudable. It removes Myrcella from Danger and bring Dorne to their side. Except we later learn Doran was unlikely to have actually fought for Renly or Stannis and was just stalling for his own machinations. That and Myrcella being thrown into a different kind of danger.  He also sends away 5 warships including the large King Robert's Warhammer.

Lets look at military:

-Tripling the Goldcloaks that's Joffrey's idea, building trebutchets too, though neither really helps

-The chain and wildfire is really the big thing he plays in the siege, as well as leading sorties. But it's really all for nothing. He's lost by the time his father and the Tyrells arrived. The Goldcloaks are fleeing. The City is leaderless. Joffrey is hiding. Stannis has half of his army about to assault the city and the rest crossing on surviving ships. If they had not been relieved they would have lost the city and the last remnants retreated to the red keep.

- The only positive I can see is that by putting his Vale Clans in the Kingswood he blinded Stannis scouts to the Lannister-Tyrell aproach

Conclusion

It's my opinion, if he had just turned up, locked himself in his room and drank himself silly, things might have played out similarly (or even possibly better). Tommen would have been evacuated to Rosby by Cersei, probably with Myrcella. Littlefinger would have gone and got the Tyrells to their side. Stannis would have swept in with his navy, had a slightly harder fight because of the additional 5 warships but overcome them eventually. The walls would have been lost and the city plunged into chaos. But Cersei, Tyrion and Joffrey with loyal knights, vale clans, goldcloaks and the 300 lannister men he wouldn't have lost, could have held in the Red Keep, until Tywin and the Tyrell army arrive to fight Stannis. 

Stannis might have been warned by his scouts. But they still had overwhelming numbers and he might have been caught between them and the red keep. The outcome is probably still a Lannister victory and I say this as a Stannis fan. In fact they might have killed him on the field and captured the Royal Navy if it went really well.

But also Tyrion if he wasn't wounded or pissed off his entire family might have been in a stronger position by the start of aSoS. He might have kept Bronn and the Vale clans. He wouldn't have pissed off his sister and father as much either.

Thoughts?

Edit: I guess now that I wrote it I think really all Tyrion did was save the city and it's smallfolk from the fighting spilling into it. Which is actually pretty heroic, as well as ironic that the smallfolk never appreciate it. Not that I think Stannis would have razed it or his men raped and pillaged. Just that in the chaos fires would start and people would get trampled and all of the other ways people could die from it. Plus loss of homes etc.

Edited by GallowsKnight

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My favourite thing about the chain is that he focuses all the blacksmiths on it before Renly has even marched against Stannis, if it was Renly that marched up the Rose road it wouldn't have gained him a thing he just spends all his time politicking against Cersei. 

To be fair about the Blackwater though it's all a bit straining on the suspension of disbelief, he destroys the majority of an enemy fleet in one go with a monstrous fireball yet these men are so thirsty to die under the walls of a city that they cross a bridge of ships while the fleet burns around them? The walls aren't scaled and the gates aren't breached and thousands of enemy soldiers were just immolated and the garrison's abandoning the walls whilst the enemy struggle to cross over with no siege engines. Stannis men are basically terminators at the Blackwater until they aren't and Tyrion can't really do much when he's fighting the writing, striking a blow like that wildfire explosion would probably have the entire army return to their camps for days if not weeks. 

It's a fun read and exciting battle but I always felt it was a bit too contrived, a have you cake and eat it moment. Tyrion pulls off this crippling blow but he's still losing because... reasons. Even the men that do struggle across managing to push the defenders back whilst landing exposed to arrows under a wall and facing cavalry is too much. 

Edited by Trigger Warning

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20 minutes ago, Trigger Warning said:

My favourite thing about the chain is that he focuses all the blacksmiths on it before Renly has even marched against Stannis, if it was Renly that marched up the Rose road it wouldn't have gained him a thing he just spends all his time politicking against Cersei. 

To be fair about the Blackwater though it's all a bit straining on the suspension of disbelief, he destroys the majority of an enemy fleet in one go with a monstrous fireball yet these men are so thirsty to die under the walls of a city that they cross a bridge of ships while the fleet burns around them? The walls aren't scaled and the gates aren't breached and thousands of enemy soldiers were just immolated and the garrison's abandoning the walls whilst the enemy struggle to cross over with no siege engines. Stannis men are basically terminators at the Blackwater until they aren't and Tyrion can't really do much when he's fighting the writing, striking a blow like that wildfire explosion would probably have the entire army return to their camps for days if not weeks. 

It's a fun read and exciting battle but I always felt it was a bit too contrived, a have you cake and eat it moment. Tyrion pulls off this crippling blow but he's still losing because... reasons. Even the men that do struggle across managing to push the defenders back whilst landing exposed to arrows under a wall and facing cavalry is too much. 

Yeah Tyrion arrives and is like "duh your an idiot" to Cersei when her plan is literally "make more weapons and armor, train more men". Like a pretty decent plan for the situation. And as you say he starts it really early. Had Renly came it would have done nothing.

I agree that the Blackwater battle is fun, but is really the most suspension of disbelief straining. Things like you mentioned Stannis' men and their ride and die loyalty after all that. But also the largest army in the history of Westero showing up at the perfect moment for this crucial victory, rather than being a couple of days late either side where Stannis might haven taken the city or not been tangled up in the attack.

Edit: In my head I justify Stannis' success in landing that the majority of his men where probably ferried by the ships that were upriver and the barges/rafts he had made (which could cross now the navy was taken out). The guys on the burning boat bridge were just a small zealous minority.

That and the banks were pretty wide and maybe men could land out of bowshot (they had cleared back a lot of houses and building that were against the walls).

Edited by GallowsKnight

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Are you guys allowing for the adrenline rush and heat of the moment that might keep some men from backing down in the midst of the fighting? Some will flee, sure, but others will go nuts and become even more dangerous to the enemy as a result. Yes, there would have been deserters after the ships blew up in the bay, but there would also have been a portion that decided to avenge their fellow-soldier's deaths and kill the bastards who exploded them. In battle, all bets are off, and normal behavior may not apply.

Until the armies of the Reach show up they're winning (despite the whole navy on flambe bit), and Stannis is good to those who are loyal to him. Think of all the Lannister riches and holdings, and those of all of their bannermen that Good King Stannis will confiscate and give over to his men. Greed can be a powerful motivator too.

Stannis' men also know that if they lose there's a good chance of ending up dead anyway because they've rebelled against the IT and the Lannisters are in charge. Why not continue to fight if they still have a shot because of superior numbers?

I'm not saying it's entirely realistic, just that it's not quite as unrealistic as you're thinking.

Back to the topic...

He wasn't really acting Hand long enough to achieve anything meaningful, but he did succeed in rooting out who was the mole, by telling different stories to different members of the small council. Outplaying the players is no mean feat. Given enough time, I think he could have done more.

I give him full credit on Myrcella's betrothal, because he couldn't have known it wasn't necessary to cozy up to Dorne.  She was safe, she had a powerful marriage lined up, and it's not his fault things went badly later.

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Yeah those are fair points.

About the mole I don't really know. The guy he catches is the Lannister stooge. Yes Pycelle was against Tyrion but he was still broadly on his side. Compared to say Littlefinger who he knows is dodgy (he knows LF told Catelyn Stark that the VS dagger was his) but instead of doing anything he lets the guy weasel himself into a great position. Basically the only guy he outplayed was Pycelle and Janos Slynt. Vary and LF run circles around him.

I agree the Myrcella thing seems completely solid at the time, I can't fault his decisions. Just that from a meta point we know it doesn't work out.

Edit: He also outplays Cersei. But that's not a high bar.

Edited by GallowsKnight

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I disagree with your assessment that the Red Keep could have held out that long without Tryions preparation and defenses.

Example: the burning of the hovels in flea bottom and the relocation of the civilians was unpopular, but nessecary, it clears the land outside the city walls to create a killzone for archers and the houses could be scaled to climb the wall eaiser.

I agree that he didn't really have enough time as hand to really make any big political/ administrative changes, and those he did where shortlived.

As a small aside, it's really the same for his tenure as Master of Coin, he may have actually done a good job if he was at it longer.

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3 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Are you guys allowing for the adrenline rush and heat of the moment that might keep some men from backing down in the midst of the fighting? Some will flee, sure, but others will go nuts and become even more dangerous to the enemy as a result. Yes, there would have been deserters after the ships blew up in the bay, but there would also have been a portion that decided to avenge their fellow-soldier's deaths and kill the bastards who exploded them. In battle, all bets are off, and normal behavior may not apply.

 

I just don't see it realistically but it's the way it's written so I accept it at least. Guys aren't gonna see a thousand men get immolated and go into an emotional berserker rage, they're gonna go fuck that I'm only really here for loot and because I followed whatever lord decided to follow Stannis and even if they do want revenge the average person's still gonna go about it rationally instead of charging head first into the jaws of death. Sieges generally take time even if the attacker has chosen to storm the fortifications, the average pleb would probably just be thinking they'll get their revenge down the road when a practical breach is made. 

This storming across the river beach landing, burning river saving Private Ryan assault is incredibly Hollywood and don't get me wrong it's a fun read, it just pushed my suspension of disbelief a little too far when I read it. At a very basic level why drop men off underneath the walls at all? They could have sailed the entire army to the North and blocked off the river removing the enemy fleet as a factor and thereby also not have a river standing between the men attacking and the rest of his army during the assault, the only reason this happens is because action scenes, even without the wildfire why would you choose to funnel your fleet into a river with a citadel and walls in shooting range on one side and then make that even worse by ferrying men across all whilst under that fire, it's dumb and I'm okay with that.

Edited by Trigger Warning

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12 minutes ago, Back door hodor said:

I disagree with your assessment that the Red Keep could have held out that long without Tryions preparation and defenses.

Example: the burning of the hovels in flea bottom and the relocation of the civilians was unpopular, but nessecary, it clears the land outside the city walls to create a killzone for archers and the houses could be scaled to climb the wall eaiser.

I agree that he didn't really have enough time as hand to really make any big political/ administrative changes, and those he did where shortlived.

As a small aside, it's really the same for his tenure as Master of Coin, he may have actually done a good job if he was at it longer.

 

I mean the Red Keep's a castle, there's really no realistic reason why it couldn't hold for months if well stocked and well garrisoned regardless of Tyrion's preparations for the outer walls, which I actually agree with. They should have been strong killzones but for whatever reason as written they were still running away before Stannis' men even landed in much force or scaled the walls so it didn't change much. 

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28 minutes ago, Back door hodor said:

I disagree with your assessment that the Red Keep could have held out that long without Tryions preparation and defenses.

Example: the burning of the hovels in flea bottom and the relocation of the civilians was unpopular, but nessecary, it clears the land outside the city walls to create a killzone for archers and the houses could be scaled to climb the wall eaiser.

I agree that he didn't really have enough time as hand to really make any big political/ administrative changes, and those he did where shortlived.

As a small aside, it's really the same for his tenure as Master of Coin, he may have actually done a good job if he was at it longer.

I think the better argument is Tyrion didn't know he would only have to hold out for like a day. He didn't know Tywin and the Tyrells would arrive at the Eleventh hour.

I think that a thousand or so trusted men (Goldcloaks, Lannister guards, Knights, Vale Clans) could hold the Red Keep against storm for at least a day, probably more.

My post isn't meant to just be criticism, more meta-reflection on how things actually played out.

I think Tyrion's plan sought of makes sense when you think the alternative is Tywin never turns up and dying (because what if Robb killed him). Like if they went the conventional way eventually they'd lose. Maybe weeks or even months later but still. Tyrion has this grand almost Quxiotic plan to defeat Stannis completely, burn his ships in this huge spectacle, route his men on the shores , basically makes Stannis' men flee or decide fighting for him is too hard etc. But ultimately it fails.

Edited by GallowsKnight

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3 hours ago, GallowsKnight said:

But ultimately it fails.

It does not. Tyrion fails, laying by the bay half dead. The plan however succeededs. Stannis loses big

9 hours ago, GallowsKnight said:

-Littlefinger suggests the Tyrell marriage and talks them into letting him be the emissary

That was Tyrion.

7 hours ago, GallowsKnight said:

Yeah Tyrion arrives and is like "duh your an idiot" to Cersei when her plan is literally "make more weapons and armor, train more men". Like a pretty decent plan for the situation. And as you say he starts it really early. Had Renly came it would have done nothing.

I agree that the Blackwater battle is fun, but is really the most suspension of disbelief straining. Things like you mentioned Stannis' men and their ride and die loyalty after all that. But also the largest army in the history of Westero showing up at the perfect moment for this crucial victory, rather than being a couple of days late either side where Stannis might haven taken the city or not been tangled up in the attack.

Edit: In my head I justify Stannis' success in landing that the majority of his men where probably ferried by the ships that were upriver and the barges/rafts he had made (which could cross now the navy was taken out). The guys on the burning boat bridge were just a small zealous minority.

That and the banks were pretty wide and maybe men could land out of bowshot (they had cleared back a lot of houses and building that were against the walls).

Cerseis plan wasnt a great one. Training elite soldiers is one thing, hiring too many smallfolk and sellswords will get Bywater killed.

If Renly attacked the chain would be useless, however Tyrion correctly summarized that Stannis will defeat his brother amd capture Storms End, he only did it way faster then Tyrion thought possible.

This 11th hour stuff is very exciting and romantic but I assure you, its all Tywin propaganda. Tywin won Blackwater as much as Renly left his grave to protect his nephew. The hero of Blackwater was always Tyrion. (Granted Tywins army saved Tyrion, just probably not KL) 

By the time Tywin arrives and the fighting commences on the other side of the bay the ships and bridge are on fire, the gates are closed and the Red Keep remains unscathed.

Stannis got his ass handed to him

(which he admits.

 "Weddings have become more perilous than battles, it would seem. Who was the poisoner? Is it known?"

"His uncle, it's said. The Imp."

Stannis ground his teeth. "A dangerous man. I learned that on the Blackwater.

)

All that was needed to break Stannis back was a feather from behind, instead he got the full weight of Tywin/Mace.

However if they never came its no guarantee that Stannis wins. Bronn remained undefeated as did (i think) 2 kg. In fact many loyalists were still fighting as it takes all day to dub the heroes of Blackwater. 

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