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Ragnorak

A Series of Essays Discussing Tywin

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About Tywin's treatment of Tyrells: I think he treated them relatively ok at first but around time of Joffrey's death he started IMHO make some mistakes. When Mace refused marriage offer between Cersei and Willas his first reaction was that Mace need lesson, another is when he started making plan that he give them Jaime instead of Tommen. Tyrells wouldn't be happy with disgraced KG instead of king.

About LF: Yes, he didn't have information that LF accused Tyrion (I find this very odd that Tyrion didn't share this information) but he had to know that LF would get very powerful. LF was raised in Riverlands so he would have probably good connections with Riverlords and Vale was untouched.

I think one of his mistakes could be when he planned send Tommen to CR. Jaime in AFfC said Cersei why would be this terrible move when she proposed same plan.

I'm most curious about Tywin's lack of critics on Jaime's decision join KG. Tywin blamed Aerys but IIRC he didn't blame Jaime. We know that you can refuse offer so what was his thoughts when he found out about Jaime's decision?

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Despite the numerous critiques that have been formulated of his ability as either a politician or as a general, the true weakness of Tywin Lannister always comes back to his family, for the sake of whose aggrandization he was more than willing to sacrifice anything and everything (including most of his own humanity), but who ultimately proved to be his undoing in almost every way imaginable.

I like that. Point of contention, though: is is that his family was his undoing, or is it that his own monstrousness begat his fall, and it was just manifested through his family?

I saw some theory on here that Tywin was poisoned. Assume it's true, and that the Martells were behind it: it follows that, had Tyrion not shot him, Tywin's undoing would have been blowback from his killing of Elia and children twenty years before.

With that in mind, his true weakness is his own monstrousness: he's left a trail of enemies so long that it was inevitable that someone would kill him. He's like Tony Soprano: he's sinned so that much that it's just a fact of life now that at any moment someone could step out of the bathroom (or into the bathroom...) and shoot him. Tyrion took his revenge, but if he hadn't, perhaps the Martells would have; or if not them, then someone else, perhaps a Riverlands lord, a Stark... Tywin sewed the seeds of his own destruction every time he elected to use "immoral brutality", as someone put it above, to solve his problems.

But that brutality was not reserved for his enemies; it also affected his family, and I mean more than what he did to Tyrion's wife. One of his big problems is how evil his children are. But imagine growing up a Lannister under Tywin: you learn two things from an early age, one, entitlement, and two, brutality. One thing you don't learn is restraint. So if people displease you or inconvenience you, it's acceptable to destroy them. Are his children ignorant of what he did to Elia of Dorne, to House Reyne? One of their earliest memories must have been their father forcing their grandfather's mistress to march naked through Lannisport. Growing up under such a cruel and awful man, is it any wonder that his children (and grandson) turned out the way they did? And, my point, isn't that just another facet of blowback?

Great thread btw

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Some good stuff, but let's try and take a fresh look at some of these things and stay grounded in the text.

Tywin's overreaching or misjudging the fallout on the Red Wedding...

The two big references that come to mind are his telling Tyrion that the blood was on Walder Frey's hands and Qyburn telling Cersei that the smallfolk in the winesinks think the crown is complicit in Lord Walder's crime (I'll dig up the quotes when I have the electronic version in front of me)

Does Tywin's line to Tyrion mean its seeming face value intent that Walder Frey performing the act insulates Tywin? The idea that the Crown is complicit is also an interesting phrasing. Tywin is dead at that point and so was the official King at the time of the Red Wedding Joffrey. What is meant by the Crown? Cersei? Tommen? Is Margaery lumped in? Is this something Tywin predicted or should reasonably have predicted if he didn't? What was knowable or unknowable and why? His immediate conversation with Tyrion has a tone of finality to it which generally leads me to believe he thought it would be the death knell of any resistance. The sheer number of hostages taken certainly gives it the potential to end things.

There's also a bit of post Red Wedding material in the North that may have some inference value. We actually don't get a lot of on screen RW afterthoughts for such a notable event.

Tywin and Littlefinger

In GoT we learn Robert owes some 7 million(?) gold dragons to Tywin. I imagine Tywin negotiated those loans directly with Littlefinger. Other than that they have a history together what can we glean from that? Tywin was Hand for 20 years under Aerys. Who did the books and how involved was Tywin? (no idea who but I imagine Tywin's role was some degree of oversight but that's just my speculation) What was or should Tywin be thinking about Littlefinger's magical money machine based on his experience as Hand? Too good to be true? Awe at an impressive job? What did LF give as the reasons for the loans and what did Tywin take away from those conversations? I think Tyrion says the dwarf's penny was Tywin's idea. Can we infer anything there? Tax policy experience?

Let's try and create a clear picture of the relationship between Tywin and Littlefinger. Tywin first heard of him as a result of the Brandon duel I imagine. Would he make a connection between Lysa and LF's appointments and would that raise any flags? The crown revenue numbers would likely be the next time he made news. So gossip regarding the duel, Master of Coin, success as Master of Coin and then in person meetings for loan arrangements sound right as far as LF being on Tywin's radar? Does any of this make trusting LF more or less reasonable?

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Not that we are on speaking terms but I thought I’d stick my pretty little nose in anyway.

The distinguishing marks of Tywin’s conduct of operations in the books are an immoral brutality calculated to achieve military objectives, combined with a strategically sound sense of when to be aggressive or cautious. This latter is in contrast to other commanders, like the Baratheon brothers who are, respectively, accused of being temperamentally reckless (Robert) or overly methodical (Stannis). Tywin had a good appreciation of how to construct his strategy to meet his war aims, and nearly always made the ‘correct’ military moves, even if this often turned out poorly. The sole exception was the decision to appoint Ser Stafford Lannister to command the third lannister army, which was a grave blunder.

The essence of Lord Tywin’s problem was of a competent strategist trying to fight a war while outnumbered, threatened from multiple directions, and tied to the political need to hold king’s landing. Even in the initial stages of the war, Tywin was thinking in terms of how to quickly achieve victory in one area, in order to redeploy in another, as evidenced by his reason for advancing up the Green Fork to meet Robb Stark. This gave Robb an opportunity, but it was a strategically sound move to make in the context of preparing to meet Stannis to the south. This dynamic, of offering opportunities to a foe because of the need to concentrate on the other, is repeated when Tywin marched west, allowing Stannis, with help from the shadowbaby, to advance on King’s Landing. Interestingly, when the problem had been removed, by the Tyrell alliance, Robb’s fortunes did not take long to nose dive.

Contrary to popular opinion therefore, Robb did not really manage to ‘outthink’ Tywin, rather, he exploited this dilemma facing the lannister leaders and often did this unconsciously. This is seen most clearly in one of the examples in the OP. There, it is claimed, Robb cracked Tywin’s strategic assumptions governing his behaviour and thereby predicted his move up the Green Fork, which separated his army from Jaime. However, close analysis reveals this was, truly, only a lucky guess on Robb’s part, as he simply did not possess the information to allow him to see what Tywin was going to do.

Robb assumed that when he marched south Tywin would advance to meet him. The question though, is why? Ser Kevan thought they should remain at the crossroads, a plan that had great merit if they were not faced with the urgent need to settle affairs in the riverlands quickly, and move south to confront Stannis. So Tywin advanced instead, gambling that Frey would not commit. The question is, how did Robb know, or why did he assume, Tywin would reject Kevan’s advice? As far as I can tell Robb didn’t know about the incest, and therefore, Stannis’s presumed bid for the throne (Tywin arguably didn’t know about the incest either, but Cersei will have told him Stannis was a threat) or about Renly. So he couldn’t crack into Tywin’s ‘decision cycle’ as he didn’t have the information. It can also be noted that his assessment of Frey was no better or worse than Tywin’s; Robb wrongly thought Frey would commit in the capacity of a bannerman of Rivverun, (when he needed a price) while Tywin either ruled out Frey not repeating his Trident performance, or gambled on the situation not occurring.

The second piece of ‘outthinking,’ or of entering successfully into Tywin’s ‘decision making cycle,’ is the Stark invasion of the west and Tywin’s march to the Red Fork. Here it is argued that Tywin’s attempt to draw Robb to battle failed, but Robb’s own offering in this regard was successful, deranging Tywin’s strategy of using the main lannister army to defend King’s Landing. However, there are a number of points that need to be made about this. First, it needs to be made clear that Tywin knew Renly was dead when he decided to march west, and that Stannis was busy laying siege to SE. It was not made 100% clear in the novel (although one could figure it out) but the author clarified in an SSM.

http://www.westeros....yrion_and_Tywin

Thus his response was not solely predicated on Robb’s actions, but on the fact the Baratheon menace to King’s Landing seemed to have abated for the time being. If Tywin stayed put, at this time, the time he spent in Harrenhal would be dead time. He couldn’t threaten either of his enemies unless he marched to SE, or went west. So he made the decision to pursue Robb, at a time when Robb was separated from most of his army and away from friendly castles and the natural defences of the west side of the Red Fork. This was a grim risk, but it was only a disaster because the siege of SE ended so swiftly, owing to the shadowbaby.

The second point, in relation to this, is that Robb is unlikely to have imagined Tywin would pursue him so quickly, if at all. As we have seen, Tywin’s march west was predicated not only on Robb’s presence there, but on the actions of Stannis and Renly, which, from the timeline, we can see Robb can’t have known about when he went west, or, indeed, for some time after he got there. Thus it is important to take his attack on Edmure for botching his grand design to lure Tywin west with a pinch of salt. Robb even says to him that, but for his actions, Stannis was just about to fall on king’s landing, which neither Robb nor Edmure could have possibly known about at the time. At best, Robb could have known, by the time he reached the Crag, that Penrose was holding SE against Stannis. So it is extremely unlikely Robb really did plan his western invasion as a form of strategic bait, to lure Tywin across the map and away from king’s landing, rather, he would have originally intended this operation to secure his rear from Stafford’s army, and to put pressure on the lannister government in king’s landing (note Cat II refers to the king as a mummer too).

Overall, the author portrayed Tywin as an intelligent, cunning (and ruthless) commander, who only made one real military mistake (appointing a man widely known as an idiot to command the crucial third army). The other assumed missteps generally owe to an improper appreciation of how the lannisters perceived the war, and their awareness of the need to confront multiple enemies, or, more simply, confusion over timelines and available information. Robb Stark, ‘my father’s bane,’ in Tyrion’s word, was also a very able commander, and successfully ruined Tywin’s war effort to the point he needed bailing out by the Tyrells (and Tyrion). It does need to be said though, that Robb often didn’t have as clear a vision of the strategic imperatives of the enemy as readers tend to ascribe to him.

Note: it seems relatively clear Tywin’s statement to Tyrion that he attacked the riverlands over the Catnap was ‘just another lie.’ The invasion of the riverlands was preparatory to defeating the northern allies (the Starks and Arryns) who were supposed party to the plot against Cersei and her children, and would therefore support Stannis, the biggest threat, when he moved on king’s landing. The rapid advance into the riverlands therefore showed a thorough appreciation on Tywin’s part that he was facing very grim odds from the beginning, and he thus moved swiftly to knock his opponents out in turn. That he failed to achieve this was thanks to Robb Stark (and some ineptitude on Jaime’s part) but the situation Tywin was in by CoK is illustrative of the situation he was trying to avoid in GoT.

Implications for character: dunno. I think GrrM largely plays the idea that Tywin is an experienced, cunning general straight. His big mistake, the appointment of Ser Stafford could be seen as indicative of Tywin’s narcissistic flaws, and his general blindness in matters concerning his family. His attitude to Tyrion when they first meet is also interesting. He lies, and tells him he is the reason for the war, while trying to shame him by pointing to Jaime’s successes. Of course, it is Jaime who is really the cause of the war (along with Cersei) on account of the incest, and Jaime’s ineptitude that ruins Tywin’s plan of knocking out the northern powers in preparation to face Stannis. Tyrion’s despatch of Littlefinger to the Tyrells won the war, in contrast, even though Tywin was ok with him dying at the Green Fork. You might have thought the war would have caused Tywin to revise his opinion of the worth of his family members ... but no.

I don't believe you are giving Robb enough credit for his strategic thinking. The fact of the matter is that he successfully predicted how Tywin would react to a given strategic situation on two separate occassions (when Robb sent Bolton as a feint and the second when he predicited that Tywin would leave Harrenhall once Robb attacked the Westerlands).

What's more, you seem to suggest that Twyin's "mistakes" really weren't mistakes as much they were ". . .an improper appreciation of how the lannisters perceived the war, and their awareness of the need to confront multiple enemies, or, more simply, confusion over timelines and available information." Well, from my perspective if you fail to give an "improper appreciation" to something you made a mistake; i.e., an error in judgment.

The bottom line is that Tywin underestimated Robb's strategic acumen. I don't see how you can argue otherwise. What's more, underestimating the capabilities of your enemy is one of the most egregious and inexcusable mistakes a military commander can make.

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I don't believe you are giving Robb enough credit for his strategic thinking. The fact of the matter is that he successfully predicted how Tywin would react to a given strategic situation on two separate occassions (when Robb sent Bolton as a feint and the second when he predicited that Tywin would leave Harrenhall once Robb attacked the Westerlands).

I gave reasons why I thought the first was just a lucky guess/wishful thinking, and the other was brought about through other factors. You don't have to agree.

What's more, you seem to suggest that Twyin's "mistakes" really weren't mistakes as much they were ". . .an improper appreciation of how the lannisters perceived the war, and their awareness of the need to confront multiple enemies, or, more simply, confusion over timelines and available information." Well, from my perspective if you fail to give an "improper appreciation" to something you made a mistake; i.e., an error in judgment.

Sorry, I meant readers think certain moves were mistakes because they have an improper appreciation of how the lannisters perceived the war etc...

The bottom line is that Tywin underestimated Robb's strategic acumen. I don't see how you can argue otherwise. What's more, underestimating the capabilities of your enemy is one of the most egregious and inexcusable mistakes a military commander can make.

This is very illustrative of the problems readers have evaluating Tywin's general ship. Look at it this way. If Tywin had sat at the ford, thinking Robb was going to adopt a very daring plan, and hoodwink his outriders, thus passing up the opportunity to finish the northern struggle in time to deal with the south, we'd accuse him of being overly cautious, pedestrian and so on. In war you have to take risks, and sometimes they don't pay off.

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Here's the debt passage

The Crown is more than six million gold pieces in debt, Lord Stark. The Lannisters are the biggest part of it, but we have also borrowed from Lord Tyrell, the Iron Bank of Braavos, and several Tyroshi trading cartels. Of late I’ve had to turn to the Faith. The High Septon haggles worse than a Dornish fishmonger.”

Ned was aghast. “Aerys Targaryen left a treasury flowing with gold. How could you let this happen?”

Littlefinger gave a shrug. “The master of coin finds the money. The king and the Hand spend it.”

“I will not believe that Jon Arryn allowed Robert to beggar the realm,” Ned said hotly.

Grand Maester Pycelle shook his great bald head, his chains clinking softly. “Lord Arryn was a prudent man, but I fear that His Grace does not always listen to wise counsel.”

“My royal brother loves tournaments and feasts,” Renly Baratheon said, “and he loathes what he calls ‘counting coppers.’”

Robert ruled for about 15 years. LF was first appointed to Gulltown probably almost immediately after the war. Figure a year maybe two to show results and then he gets moved to Kings Landing where it was 3 years until he made Master of Coin iirc. So LF was Master of Coin for 10 or 11 years prior to the start of the series. Robert would first have to exhaust the treasury before borrowing. Given the extent of the debt it wouldn't be unreasonable for him to have done that before LF makes it to Master of Coin 4 or 5 years into Robert's rule. So Littlefinger probably wasn't the first one to negotiate a loan from Tywin though it is possible he was.

Littlefinger was appointed by Jon Arryn (and is technically an Arryn vassal) and fostered at Riverrun so an initial suspicion of his Tully/Arryn loyalties is expected but he and Tywin would have 10 years of debt negotiations to forge a relationship and plenty of opportunities to talk politics given that the Crown's spending is always political. Jon's Iron Bank loan is the only debt negotiation I can recall to try and imagine the nature of a Tywin/Littlefinger meeting to borrow money. While we never see Littlefinger and Tywin together until Storm, they would have long known each other by the start of the series which seems an important factor in weighing the political interactions of the two. Also LF probably had no oversight and was the only one who likely knew the terms and particulars of the loan. We see Jon get Tycho to throw in three ships to the loan deal so who knows what "flexibilities" could have been arranged between Littlefinger and Tywin. Whatever the case, the debt points to a substantial history between Tywin and Littlefinger that should really be taken into consideration in analyzing their in series interactions.

Of note is Lord Tyrell in that list which means Littlefinger likely negotiated with him as well (or the Queen of Thorns) prior to the Margaery marriage pact. As a side note, the Iron Bank and the Faith have already come up so I have to wonder when the Tyroshi trading cartel is going to figure into the mix.

Here are the two Red Wedding passages.

Ser Harys shuffled through some papers. “The next matter... we have had a letter from Lord Frey putting forth some claims...”

“How many lands and honors does that man want?” snapped the queen. “His mother must have had three teats.”

“My lords may not know,” said Qyburn, “but in the winesinks and pot shops of this city, there are those who suggest that the crown might have been somehow complicit in Lord Walder’s crime.”

The other councillors stared at him uncertainly. “Do you refer to the Red Wedding?” asked Aurane Waters. “Crime?” said Ser Harys. Pycelle cleared his throat noisily. Lord Gyles coughed.

“These sparrows are especially outspoken,” warned Qyburn. “The Red Wedding was an affront to all the laws of gods and men, they say, and those who had a hand in it are damned.”

Cersei was not slow to take his meaning. “Lord Walder must soon face the Father’s judgment. He is very old. Let the sparrows spit upon his memory. It has nought to do with us.”

But not in you, Father. There is no blood in Tywin Lannister. “Was it a soft silk pillow that slew Robb Stark?”

“It was to be an arrow, at Edmure Tully’s wedding feast. The boy was too wary in the field. He kept his men in good order, and surrounded himself with outriders and bodyguards.”

“So Lord Walder slew him under his own roof, at his own table?” Tyrion made a fist. “What of Lady Catelyn?”

“Slain as well, I’d say. A pair of wolfskins. Frey had intended to keep her captive, but perhaps something went awry.”

“So much for guest right.”

“The blood is on Walder Frey’s hands, not mine.”

“Walder Frey is a peevish old man who lives to fondle his young wife and brood over all the slights he’s suffered. I have no doubt he hatched this ugly chicken, but he would never have dared such a thing without a promise of protection.”

“I suppose you would have spared the boy and told Lord Frey you had no need of his allegiance? That would have driven the old fool right back into Stark’s arms and won you another year of war. Explain to me why it is more noble to kill ten thousand men in battle than a dozen at dinner.” When Tyrion had no reply to that, his father continued. “The price was cheap by any measure. The crown shall grant Riverrun to Ser Emmon Frey once the Blackfish yields. Lancel and Daven must marry Frey girls, Joy is to wed one of Lord Walder’s natural sons when she’s old enough, and Roose Bolton becomes Warden of the North and takes home Arya Stark.”

Other than his comment about some wars being won by quills and ravens I can't recall any other especially enlightening Red Wedding passages that reflect on Tywin. Again here we see Tywin mention Robb being too cautious on the field and his escalation is in the acceptable rules or war category similar to his method of breaching the walls of Kings Landing while Ned was close too close to finish an assault much less a siege.

As an aside, Lancel and Daven were floated as Sansa marriage options when Tywin was discussing Tyrion's marriage to Sansa but would have already been promised to Frey girls as the Red Wedding was well in motion at that point.

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I always felt Tywin was a pretty straightforward character. He's the epitome of ruthlessness, caution, and efficiency. Tywin Lannister's psyche was formed, of course, growing up in his Father's house, where his father was loved but disdained. He saw that love brought comforts, but disdain bred contempt which led to the Lannisters nearly being overthrown. He decided to dedicate himself to always being taken seriously.

I would disagree with the assertion that the game of thrones is not zero sum pre-Tywin. Lord Butterwell never actually became an official rebel, he was "on the fence". The Golden Company's founders would have been arrested and executed if they had stayed in Westeros. One of the Boltons wore a Stark King's skin, etc. I also doubt Tywin was the first man to extinguish a House entirely. I've always thought of Tywin as the type of person who is playing life, not living it. It is as if the world was one giant multilevel game, something to be beaten, not something to be lived. This type of thinking is pretty evidence in his utter ruthless and constant search for utility. This is why he executes all of the Reynes and Tarbecks. It is just the "safest course" for future success.

When it comes to the initial movements in the War of the 5K, Tywin's simply moves quickly. Tywin attacks Riverrun for the exact reason specified, he wants Edmure Tully and Hoster Tully as his captives, a move which would (in 95% of circumstances) effectively neuter the Starks and the Arryns. He raises a huge host, send a portion with Jaime to besiege Riverrun (eliminating one of his potential opponents from the start) and then plants himself in the perfect location to block either a Northman or Valeman army. His decision to move North to meet Bolton is based on the information he is given. Ser Addam Marband is a capable guy, and he says Robb Stark is moving south. He passes this information on to Jaime, because he has no reason to believe that this is inaccurate. He then meets and defeats Bolton with very little Lannister casualties, and the war with the Starks and Tullys would have been over if Robb had listened to the majority of his Lords. Robb refusing to listen to the older, more experienced soldiers is a game-changer, as is the fact that Riverrun requires 3 separate armies to besiege, and the fact that Jaime took nearly all of his highborn lordlings and knights with him to fight the 'tully raiders'. Without Robb's gamble, Tywin has at least 40,000 men to fight Stannis and Renly, not to mention the inherent advantage of already holding the capital.

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I'm posting this a bit earlier, partly because it is more literary than plot focused and I'm not sure where it best fits. Also it gives those who are more inclined toward symbolism and themes but don't care for the plot politics debates an opportunity to chime in on Tywin if any are so inclined. I don't think I've seen this discussed in any detail so I'm curious what people's takes on it are.

Any comparison to Gregor is fairly negative so I'll just point out where I see the parallels without bludgeoning Tywin (there are some potentially positive takes to be drawn in here as well.) My own darker takes on Tywin's character are strongly rooted in what I see as deliberate hints in these parallels to Gregor.

I'll probably post the politician piece next week. I have a draft but there's some good material here I should reflect on and see if I can incorporate.

Tywin and Gregor

A lord and his beast

There seems to be an intentional compare and contrast between Tywin and Gregor. At the battle of the Greenfork Tyrion compares the two in their armor.

Even from afar, his lord father was resplendent. Tywin Lannister’s battle armor put his son Jaime’s gilded suit to shame. His greatcloak was sewn from countless layers of cloth-of-gold, so heavy that it barely stirred even when he charged, so large that its drape covered most of his stallion’s hindquarters when he took the saddle. No ordinary clasp would suffice for such a weight, so the greatcloak was held in place by a matched pair of miniature lionesses crouching on his shoulders, as if poised to spring. Their mate, a male with a magnificent mane, reclined atop Lord Tywin’s greathelm, one paw raking the air as he roared. All three lions were wrought in gold, with ruby eyes. His armor was heavy steel plate, enameled in a dark crimson, greaves and gauntlets inlaid with ornate gold scrollwork. His rondels were golden sunbursts, all his fastenings were gilded, and the red steel was burnished to such a high sheen that it shone like fire in the light of the rising sun.

Clegane had no splendor about him; his armor was steel plate, dull grey, scarred by hard use and showing neither sigil nor ornament. He was pointing men into position with his blade, a two-handed greatsword that Ser Gregor waved about with one hand as a lesser man might wave a dagger. "Any man runs, I’ll cut him down myself," he was roaring when he caught sight of Tyrion. "Imp! Take the left. Hold the river. If you can."

The two are also juxtaposed by their positions on the field with Gregor commanding the vanguard and Tywin commanding the reserve and tied together by the battle plan Tyrion will piece together later in that the van is supposed to break while Tywin's reserves close in for the kill.

"Lady Tysha." His mouth twisted. "Of House Silverfist. Their arms have one gold coin and a hundred silver, upon a bloody sheet.

There's also the similarities between Tywin's sharp lesson with Tysha and Chiswyck's tale of Layna the innkeeper's daughter that Arya overhears at Harrenhal. Both girl's are innocent thirteen year olds who get raped and have money forced on them to declare them whores. Gregor goes first while Tywin makes Tyrion go last. Gregor adds insult to the rape by demanding change while Tywin adds insult to the rape by making Tyrion pay more. Both have the element of a young boy's rite of passage into manhood by losing his virginity, and a theme of failed institutions of protection-- a knight failing to protect the maiden in one and a husband failing to protect his wife in the other.

For reference here are the passages:

Well, it would have ended right there, only what does the old fool do but he goes to Ser and asks him to make us leave the girl alone, him being an anointed knight and all such.

"Ser Gregor, he wasn’t paying no mind to none of our fun, but now he looks, you know how he does, and he commands that the girl be brought before him. Now the old man has to drag her out of the kitchen, and no one to blame but hisself. Ser looks her over and says, ‘So this is the whore you’re so concerned for’ and this besotted old fool says, ‘My Layna’s no whore, ser’ right to Gregor’s face. Ser, he never blinks, just says, ‘She is now’ tosses the old man another silver, rips the dress off the wench, and takes her right there on the table in front of her da, her flopping and wiggling like a rabbit and making these noises. The look on the old man’s face, I laughed so hard ale was coming out me nose. Then this boy hears the noise, the son I figure, and comes rushing up from the cellar, so Raff has to stick a dirk in his belly. By then Ser’s done, so he goes back to his drinking and we all have a turn. Tobbot, you know how he is, he flops her over and goes in the back way. The girl was done fighting by the time I had her, maybe she’d decided she liked it after all, though to tell the truth I wouldn’t have minded a little wiggling. And now here’s the best bit… when it’s all done, Ser tells the old man that he wants his change. The girl wasn’t worth a silver, he says… and damned if that old man didn’t fetch a fistful of coppers, beg m’lord’s pardon, and thank him for the custom!"

"He sent the girl away?"

"He did better than that," Tyrion said. "First he made my brother tell me the truth. The girl was a whore, you see. Jaime arranged the whole affair, the road, the outlaws, all of it. He thought it was time I had a woman. He paid double for a maiden, knowing it would be my first time.

"After Jaime had made his confession, to drive home the lesson, Lord Tywin brought my wife in and gave her to his guards. They paid her fair enough. A silver for each man, how many whores command that high a price? He sat me down in the corner of the barracks and bade me watch, and at the end she had so many silvers the coins were slipping through her fingers and rolling on the floor, she…" The smoke was stinging his eyes. Tyrion cleared his throat and turned away from the fire, to gaze out into darkness. "Lord Tywin had me go last," he said in a quiet voice. "And he gave me a gold coin to pay her, because I was a Lannister, and worth more."

Firelight gleamed golden in the stiff whiskers that framed Lord Tywin’s face. A vein pulsed in his neck, but he did not speak. And did not speak. And did not speak.

Both men are described as having "that look."

but this brewer he’s got to talk, he even asks how m’lord fared in the jousting. Ser just gave him this look." Chiswyck cackled

"Ser Gregor, he wasn’t paying no mind to none of our fun, but now he looks, you know how he does

They would never have dared make japes about him when he was still alive. He would have turned their bowels to water with a look.

whilst Father stared at Rykker over his wine cup. Long after the merriment had died that gaze had lingered. Rykker turned away, turned back, met Father’s eyes, then ignored them, drank a tankard of ale, and stalked off red-faced, defeated by a pair of unflinching eyes.

"A man who sees nothing has no use for his eyes," the Mountain declared. "Cut them out and give them to your next outrider. Tell him you hope that four eyes might see better than two… and if not, the man after him will have six."

Lord Tywin Lannister turned his face to study Ser Gregor. Tyrion saw a glimmer of gold as the light shone off his father’s pupils, but he could not have said whether the look was one of approval or disgust.

I can take you to a real lion, my little friend. The prince keeps a pride in his menagerie. Would you like to share a cage with them?"

Then there's the Clegane backstory.

"Why do you let people call you a dog? You won’t let anyone call you a knight."

"I like dogs better than knights. My father’s father was kennelmaster at the Rock. One autumn year, Lord Tytos came between a lioness and her prey. The lioness didn’t give a shit that she was Lannister’s own sigil. Bitch tore into my lord’s horse and would have done for my lord too, but my grandfather came up with the hounds. Three of his dogs died running her off. My grandfather lost a leg, so Lannister paid him for it with lands and a towerhouse, and took his son to squire. The three dogs on our banner are the three that died, in the yellow of autumn grass. A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he’ll look you straight in the face." He cupped her under the jaw, raising her chin, his fingers pinching her painfully. "And that’s more than little birds can do, isn’t it? I never got my song."

This is most often discussed in terms of Sandor who relays the story but it has Gregor applications as well-- particularly Tyrion's trial.

The Lord of Casterly Rock was attacked by a lioness-- his own sigil. The Cleganes became landed knights by saving Tytos from a lioness. It was an act of protection through self sacrifice (especially because grandpa Clegane lost his leg in addition to the three dogs) and specifically protection from one's self, one's nature, or one's family depending on how the symbolism of the lioness is taken. There may even be a little of the gratitude Tyrion felt for King Loren due House Clegane if Tywin wasn't born yet.

Tyrion is the rightful heir to Casterly Rock and also the prey of a lioness named Cersei. Rather than protect the lord from the lioness - the Lannisters from their own nature-- Gregor becomes the attack dog sent to kill a Lannister for the lioness in a reversal of his grandfather's act of protection. I think it is fair to say that this trial was the point of no return for fall of House Lannister-- at least the House Lannister that Tywin built. The use of Gregor in opposition to House Clegane's origins here seems to contain some thematic clues regarding the Lannister demise especially pertaining to Tywin.

There's also some symbolism in the Clegane sigil with Sandor and Gregor's trials by combat.

Clegane caught one blow high on his shield, and a painted dog lost a head. He countercut, and Dondarrion interposed his own shield and launched a fiery backslash.

Gregor’s big wooden shield took its share of hits as well, until a dog’s head peeped out from under the star, and elsewhere the raw oak showed through.

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I think one of his mistakes could be when he planned send Tommen to CR. Jaime in AFfC said Cersei why would be this terrible move when she proposed same plan.

Not really.

There's an important distinction to be drawn between the suggestion that Tywin makes to Jaime in ASOS, and the fantasy that Cersei paints to same in AFFC. Cersei says that she is dreaming about reestablishing the capital away from King's Landing - something that Jaime points out - and Cersei acknowledges - would be madness to attempt, as it would demolish the authority that the King derives from the symbolism of the Iron Throne.

Tywin by contrast in his conversation with Jaime is suggesting something completely different - not moving the capital, but simply sending the King away on a purely temporary basis, something that is not going to unduly upset anyone as long as a stable authority figure remains in the city (a role that Tywin was more than capable of fulfilling as Hand). The entire point of the exercise (apart from giving Tommen a start to his military training, with Jaime as his mentor) would have been fairly simple: to get Tommen away from his mother, who Tywin (just like everyone with eyes to see) recognized by that point would have turned him into a second Joffrey if she had been left to raise him herself. When Jaime scuttled this plan by refusing to leave the Kingsguard, Tywin simply turned to the logical Plan B: have Cersei forcibly removed from the Regency, and marry her off to some lord who lives far away from the capital. Only his untimely death prevented this latter from coming to pass, and the Seven Kingdoms suffered for it.

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I gave reasons why I thought the first was just a lucky guess/wishful thinking, and the other was brought about through other factors. You don't have to agree.

Sorry, I meant readers think certain moves were mistakes because they have an improper appreciation of how the lannisters perceived the war etc...

This is very illustrative of the problems readers have evaluating Tywin's general ship. Look at it this way. If Tywin had sat at the ford, thinking Robb was going to adopt a very daring plan, and hoodwink his outriders, thus passing up the opportunity to finish the northern struggle in time to deal with the south, we'd accuse him of being overly cautious, pedestrian and so on. In war you have to take risks, and sometimes they don't pay off.

I understand the need to make bold strategic and tactical decisions, but there was really nothing bold about Tywin's decision to engage Robb's host on the Green Fork. He simply assumed that Robb had committed a fatal strategic error and he was intent on crushing Robb in one decisive battle. The problem was that Tywin failed to even consider the possibility that perhaps Robb's movement down the Green Fork was a feint, for no other reason then Robb was a neophyte when it came to battle.

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I understand the need to make bold strategic and tactical decisions, but there was really nothing bold about Tywin's decision to engage Robb's host on the Green Fork. He simply assumed that Robb had committed a fatal strategic error and he was intent on crushing Robb in one decisive battle. The problem was that Tywin failed to even consider the possibility that perhaps Robb's movement down the Green Fork was a feint, for no other reason then Robb was a neophyte when it came to battle.

The problem was there was a timeframe. Leaving the ford made it much likelier Tywin would get a decisive battle quickly. He couldn't know what Robb would do. You think he ought to have assumed Robb would adopt the plan he did, but there was no reason to assume that over anything else. As it was, he thought Robb was unlikely to commit to a battle against a superior army, in a well defended position, without some encouragement (that's not assuming he'd just made a grave error). You are also even underselling Robb here, none of his generals (older and more seasoned men) thought of splitting the army, so why should Tywin have assumed Robb would? Passing up an opportunity to end a confrontation quickly, when your broader strategy demands this, because you assume your foe will adopt an unlikely strategy, and get some lucky drops, is overcautious (IMHO).

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The problem was there was a timeframe. Leaving the ford made it much likelier Tywin would get a decisive battle quickly. He couldn't know what Robb would do. You think he ought to have assumed Robb would adopt the plan he did, but there was no reason to assume that over anything else. As it was, he thought Robb was unlikely to commit to a battle against a superior army, in a well defended position, without some encouragement (that's not assuming he'd just made a grave error). You are also even underselling Robb here, none of his generals (older and more seasoned men) thought of splitting the army, so why should Tywin have assumed Robb would? Passing up an opportunity to end a confrontation quickly, when your broader strategy demands this, because you assume your foe will adopt an unlikely strategy, and get some lucky drops, is overcautious (IMHO).

I understand your position that the need for decisive action is often necessary, even in the face of incomplete information about the enemy's strength and/or position (General MacClellan would have disagreed with you ;)). Sometimes a bold strategy is required in order to ensure victory.

However, my point is that there was really nothing bold about Tywin's strategy; he decided to meet Robb on the Green Fork for no other reason than he thought Robb had committed a tactical error due to his inexperience, and he sought to take advantage of this error. As I said before, Tywin completely fell for Robb's feint primarily because he believed that Robb was incapable of advanced strategic thinking.

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I understand your position that the need for decisive action is often necessary, even in the face of incomplete information about the enemy's strength and/or position (General MacClellan would have disagreed with you ;)). Sometimes a bold strategy is required in order to ensure victory.

However, my point is that there was really nothing bold about Tywin's strategy; he decided to meet Robb on the Green Fork for no other reason than he thought Robb had committed a tactical error due to his inexperience, and he sought to take advantage of this error. As I said before, Tywin completely fell for Robb's feint primarily because he believed that Robb was incapable of advanced strategic thinking.

He did have a reason though, the need for speed, given he had to redeploy and face Stannis (as I explained). Allowing the Starks to remain to the north of him when he needed to move to defend the capital would leave Jaime vulnerable, routes back west cut off, etc. I can't recall he felt Robb committed a tactical error either. He was worried he would prove cautious (which he attributed to being green) and hoped he would be rash on the battlefield. That's all. He hoped Frey wouldn't open his bridge, thus cutting out the possibility of Robb moving on Jaime, and he presumably thought his scouts would tell him if this did happen. Anyway, I guess we should move onto pastures new on this thread so I'll not comment further on this.

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I'd like to try and avoid subjective or vague generalities like "great" or "overrated." It isn't that I disagree with you-- it is fairly difficult to find a lower opinion of Tywin than mine-- but those types of assessments don't help illuminate the character and the imprecise nature of those types of value judgments tend to foster circular debates.

Take "Tywin was the most feared man in Westeros." Well at some point in the plot almost every single House outside of the Westerlands either goes to war with Tywin or expresses a strong desire to go to war with Tywin. Bowen Marsh and Lysa are about the only two people we see who express being intimidated out of a conflict with Tywin. That doesn't translate into Tywin not being feared though. I think the zero sum nature of conflict with Tywin plays a large role in a fear of Tywin (and that seems to be intentionally fostered by Tywin.) That fear of Tywin plays at least some role in Walder Frey's choice to side with Robb, but also in Frey's willingness to deal with Tywin for the Red Wedding. Jaime repeatedly exploits the feared nature of Tywin in Feast as he goes about the Riverlands. So looking for examples in the text of where Tywin is and isn't feared and what role that fear plays in his dealings with others is helpful and fleshes out the character. "Most feared" is too subjective and just an invitation to throw arguably more feared candidates up against the wall and circularly argue about it. That type of discussion would be a great fun in a "Scared Shitless" thread but tends to derail analysis.

I agree. It was late when I wrote that and I just couldn't delve into it too deeply. Part of the reason I brought it up is because it aggravates me when I see comments like "Tywin was greatest hand" or "Tywin is the most feared man" or "Robb was young and stupid", etc... Tywin was obviously respected for different reasons, such as his wealth and power, his cruelty. I think most lords knew (because of the Reynes) that tangoing with Tywin isn't for the faint of heart. What I love about the books is that the world is complex and lifelike, or rather realistic. As a great lord Tywin has advantages that most don't. Add to that the Lannister riches along with Tywin's confidence and competence (and coldness) and you end up with a great character.

It's funny because I'm usually trying to deconstruct the myth surrounding Tywin that has been created by the fandom; and like you I loath Tywin. But I actually think that the Tywin character is a great character.

You're correct in that we have almost zero objective information on Tywin as Hand. Hear me Meow points out the lack of military criticism in both Tywin and Robb which seems intentional and meaningful. What are we to make of the vagueness of Tywin's historical tenure as Hand? The same is true about Casterly Rock. We're told Tywin ruled the Seven Kingdoms but Joanna was said to rule at home. Was she Castellan? If so she actually ruled at home and that would have been clear. Just a turn of phrase? Did Tywin name another Castellan and leave a Casterly Rock scenario much like he did with Cersei and Tyrion in Kings Landing? That's just speculation but if true it would soften the family dysfunction angle a bit and play more towards Tywin securing his hold during his absence. Tyrion did fall in love with the position but the infighting with Cersei ensured he could never completely solidify control. Intentional? Coincidence? I tend to think Joanna ruled and his psychological grip over his two children was such that he had very little to fear (not to mention he had the actual army) but maybe Lorch and Hoat at Harrenhal also fits the pattern and it is worth exploring.

I've always viewed the whole "Joanna ruled Tywin" as a turn of phrase, lol. It just adds another dimension to the Tywin character.

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Concerning the assessment that Tywin got "spanked" politically by Littlefinger - this is a conclusion that can only really be drawn by the reader, who has the advantage of knowing a heck of a lot more about what Baelish is up to than Tywin does. Tywin has no way of knowing about any of Littlefinger's machinations except for those that are known to Tyrion - who pointedly does not inform him thereof, except for the vague assertion that Baelish is a liar, and cannot be trusted. On the other side of the scales, what Tywin does know about Littlefinger is this:

- He was the Master of Coin who multiplied the Crown's incomes several times over

- He played a central role in winning control of the Gold Cloaks for the Lannisters, so that Joffrey could be successfully crowned after Robert's death.

- He negotiated the alliance with the Tyrells, which effectively hands victory to the Lannisters in the war against the Baratheons.

- He brought Tywin the information about the Tyrell plot to marry Sansa to Willas, thereby allowing him to foil them by marrying her to Tyrion instead.

Based on the information that is available to the reader, granting Littlefinger the lordship of Harrenhal and the permission to marry Lysa were obviously mistakes, but it is difficult to see how Tywin could have known this short of possessing clairvoyance.

.......

I agree. And in all honesty that comment about Tywin being spanked by Littlefinger comes from my allegiance (figuratively speaking) to Ned Stark. It's a reaction to all the praise heaped on Tywin about his great political ability, and by contrast all the scorn shoveled Ned's way, even though they both get played by Littlefinger. (In the case of Ned it was more obvious) This isn't that kind of thread, it's much more mature (hence the small amount of responses) and I'll approach it that way.

So, yes, you're right. Littlefinger's political shenanigans, this time against the Lannisters, was sly and subtle. Only Tyrion's antennae were tingling, and it was mostly because of Littlefinger's role in blaming Tyrion for the attempted murder of Bran after Jaime flung Bran out of the window. The same is true of Ned's dealings with Littlefinger. Ned didn't trust Littlefinger, but when he was painted into a corner by his adversaries his last resort was to go it alone or hope that Littlefinger would indeed help him if for no other reason than his love of Cat. I think Littlefinger played his hand perfectly in both cases and it hepled that both Ned and Tywin had bigger enemies that they were focused on, thus allowing Littlefinger to slyly and successfully play his games.

WRT the Tyrells - needless to say, I fall into the camp that sees Tywin's treatment of them as more pragmatic than anything else. Again, he would have needed clairvoyance to forestall the assassination of Joffrey, and once those events are put into motion, Tywin is limited to responding as best he can. It overstates the case, I think, to describe Tyrion as Tywin's "most important asset". This might have been true during ACOK, when Tywin's other son was a captive, and he desperately needed someone to rule in King's Landing, but by the time of ASOS both of those imperatives have disappeared. As is pointed out repeatedly by all of the politically savvy members of House Lannister at one point or another - Tyrion, Jaime, and Kevan as well as Tywin himself - maintaining the military alliance with the Tyrells is the new imperative. From a completely cold-blooded perspective, sacrificing Tyrion for the sake of appeasing Mace Tyrell (who in all likelihood was sincere in his ignorance that his own mother was behind the assassination) was probably the correct political calculation, even if Tywin had not already been pre-disposed to seize on an opportunity to send Tyrion either to the Wall or the headsman's block.

Tywin's general strategy for dealing with the Tyrells seems to have basically been in sync with the (logically unimpeachable) approach that both Jaime and Kevan continue to advocate for in AFFC: first concentrate on making sure that an actual marriage takes place between the two Houses so that they are bound to each other by at least some extent, and then worry about finding ways to constrain them from intruiging for a greater share of the power. I think that some readers have a tendancy to color their view of the political events in ASOS based on what they know is coming in AFFC - almost all of the Tyrells' public moves to supplant the Lannisters (i.e. hankering after royal offices and appointments, Margaery's charm offensive with the smallfolk, etc, etc) did not begin to take place until after Tywin was dead. While he was alive, they were fairly passive in their acceptance of the Lannisters' political dominance, to the point that they did not even object to Joffrey using a Lannister cloak in his wedding to Margaery (contrast this with Tommen's wedding, when they insisted on using Baratheon colors).

Throughout ASOS, Tywin treats the problem of managing relations with the Tyrells as a secondary concern, because most of his focus is tied up in orchestrating an end to the war with Robb Stark, which he succeeds in via the conspiracy of the Red Wedding. How he would have responded to the challenges that are later faced (and bungled) by Cersei is a question that is rendered moot by his murder at the hands of Tyrion, which ties back into what I think ought to be read as the central issue of his character. Despite the numerous critiques that have been formulated of his ability as either a politician or as a general, the true weakness of Tywin Lannister always comes back to his family, for the sake of whose aggrandization he was more than willing to sacrifice anything and everything (including most of his own humanity), but who ultimately proved to be his undoing in almost every way imaginable.

You make very good points. I agree with most of it.

I disagree, however, on the points about Tyrion's importance and the Tyrell's supposed passivity (and I think they go hand-in-hand). I do believe Tyrion was Tywin's most important asset. Granted, Tyrion comes with a lot of baggage, but when push came to shove Tyrion was head and shoulders above Kevan, Cersei and Jaime in the arena of politics. I think the Tyrells knew this. I like to lean in the direction that the Tyrell's wanted to implicate Tyrion, whom Littlefinger probably told them would be their biggest threat owing to the fact that unlike Tywin (who's the head coach and therefore has to show a little more caution or risk being fired), Tyrion (who's the assistant coach and can therefore be more open to taking risks because he knows his head coach would ultimately bear the repercussions) can did deeper and unearth things that Tywin wouldn't or couldn't (because of his lack of desire to anger his most valuable allies). I could be wrong, but I think that was part of the Tyrell agenda. I think the Tyrells chose to play it passive as to not arouse suspicion, but Joffrey's death was planned while Tywin was still fighting in the riverlands. And we know that Cersei complained to Tywin directly about the Tyrell's passive-aggressive campaign against the Lannisters.

I like your assessment though, of Tywin's weakness being his family. In the same vein, I argue that it was the Lannister name, which isn't different from what you said.

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To address another facet of the Tywin Debate that causes a lot of vexation - namely the question of whether or not Tywin was a "great" Hand during his first tenure under Aerys, my view is that this issue can be usefully examined by means of a comparison with another great lordly repuatation from the books that inspires a lot of heated debate. I would argue that Tywin's first Handship can be considered basically analogous to the supposed military genius of Randyll Tarly. A lot of fans have expressed a considerable degree of skepticism about Tarly's reputation as the "finest soldier in the realm", given that we know almost nothing about his military career that would seem to justify this. Nonetheless, at least two men (Kevan Lannister and Stannis Baratheon) of apparent impartiality and good judgement on this issue have described him in just such terms, and we tend to advance on the assumption that they do so based on a degree of information/observation that is available to them but has not yet been revealed to the reader.

My view is that a somewhat similar dynamic is at work with Tywin's first Handship. Despite the dearth of specific information about his politics and policies that have been revealed to the reader concerning this two-decade-long period of his career, the simple fact that the reputation which he commands amongst the characters old enough to have been contemporary to his Handship is sufficiently consistent (characters as diverse as Ned Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Meera Reed, and Jon Connington are in agreement that Tywin was, at the very least, a man of formidable attributes, particularly in his "cunning") that we can reasonably accept that the record of his first term of office as Hand forms, at the minimum, a substantial basis for this. Even if we choose to disregard the panegyrics delivered by Pycelle and Kevan (although given what we see of the latter's POV, I do not think that Kevan ought to be discounted as a potentially reliable source of information), it is worth noting that even Aerys, when insulting Tywin by describing him as a "servant" was forced to concede that he was "the most able" of servants.

I don't think that it's necessary to downplay Jon Arryn's accomplishment to affirm Tywin's reputation as a Great Hand (albeit bad man). Arryn clearly played an instrumental role as the chief political counsellor to Robert throughout the Rebellion and his subsequent reign, but all the same, I would contend that his tally of political accomplishments is not as lengthy as Tywin's.

I don't want to be belabor this point, but I disagree with the bolded part. As we have both stated, there aren't enough specifics about Tywin's handship under Aerys that we can point to. But one thing we can do is look at the events during the time Tywin spent as Hand. It was relatively peaceful early on, which is a + for Tywin. But there also weren't any events that could have solidified or reinforced Tywin's greatness early on. Now the reason could be that Tywin was such a great hand that there weren't any opportunities for anyone to cause trouble. Or it could be that it really was a peaceful time. The Defiance of Duskendale happens later on in Tywin's hanship and it clearly wasn't handled well. I'm not sure how much blame, if any, we can place at Tywin's feet as it seems that King Aerys had started to resent Tywin's reputation and decided to become a more active participant in the running of the realm. Either way, it was a disaster.

Jon Arryn was a Lord Paramount and Hand, like Tywin. He was also a big player in the destruction of a near 300-year old dynasty. That's a pretty big event in the history of Westeros. And afterwards he was able to keep the realm together and peaceful until his death. Those are pretty big achievements.

Let's just say that both men achieved a lot.

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Here's the debt passage

Robert ruled for about 15 years. LF was first appointed to Gulltown probably almost immediately after the war. Figure a year maybe two to show results and then he gets moved to Kings Landing where it was 3 years until he made Master of Coin iirc. So LF was Master of Coin for 10 or 11 years prior to the start of the series. Robert would first have to exhaust the treasury before borrowing. Given the extent of the debt it wouldn't be unreasonable for him to have done that before LF makes it to Master of Coin 4 or 5 years into Robert's rule. So Littlefinger probably wasn't the first one to negotiate a loan from Tywin though it is possible he was.

Littlefinger was appointed by Jon Arryn (and is technically an Arryn vassal) and fostered at Riverrun so an initial suspicion of his Tully/Arryn loyalties is expected but he and Tywin would have 10 years of debt negotiations to forge a relationship and plenty of opportunities to talk politics given that the Crown's spending is always political. Jon's Iron Bank loan is the only debt negotiation I can recall to try and imagine the nature of a Tywin/Littlefinger meeting to borrow money. While we never see Littlefinger and Tywin together until Storm, they would have long known each other by the start of the series which seems an important factor in weighing the political interactions of the two. Also LF probably had no oversight and was the only one who likely knew the terms and particulars of the loan. We see Jon get Tycho to throw in three ships to the loan deal so who knows what "flexibilities" could have been arranged between Littlefinger and Tywin. Whatever the case, the debt points to a substantial history between Tywin and Littlefinger that should really be taken into consideration in analyzing their in series interactions.

Of note is Lord Tyrell in that list which means Littlefinger likely negotiated with him as well (or the Queen of Thorns) prior to the Margaery marriage pact. As a side note, the Iron Bank and the Faith have already come up so I have to wonder when the Tyroshi trading cartel is going to figure into the mix.

I had never given thought to Littlefinger's dealings with Tywin on behalf of the crown. I believe that Littlefinger is good at picking his spots and knowing how to stay under the radar. I stated in an earlier post that both Ned and Tywin, while they were hands, would not have focused on Littlefinger because they had bigger worries at the time. But this would force me to rethink that line of thought. Unless LF conducted pretty average negotiations so as not to let on how crafty he really was. Heck that may explain why the crown was so in debt, lol.

Here are the two Red Wedding passages.

Other than his comment about some wars being won by quills and ravens I can't recall any other especially enlightening Red Wedding passages that reflect on Tywin. Again here we see Tywin mention Robb being too cautious on the field and his escalation is in the acceptable rules or war category similar to his method of breaching the walls of Kings Landing while Ned was close too close to finish an assault much less a siege.

As an aside, Lancel and Daven were floated as Sansa marriage options when Tywin was discussing Tyrion's marriage to Sansa but would have already been promised to Frey girls as the Red Wedding was well in motion at that point.

It's interesting that Tyrion notes how his father has no blood. It almost seems as if he's referring to "no blood on his hands". That's not the case, as Tyrion didn't yet know about the Red Wedding (Tywin is about to tell him). But it's still interesting.

One of Tywin's big deals is honor. And you've made great arguments in other threads about how Tywin likes to distance himself from atrocities (other than the Reynes). I think the two go hand-in-hand. He doesn't want to have the Lannister name besmirched, so he'll distance himself from atrocities directly ordered by him. It's all for show, of course.

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No thoughts on Tywin/Gregor? Is it Martin dropping hints that Tywin is the same monster? Is it more like Jon and Jaime where takes the morality of oaths and ties it into knots?

I had never given thought to Littlefinger's dealings with Tywin on behalf of the crown. I believe that Littlefinger is good at picking his spots and knowing how to stay under the radar. I stated in an earlier post that both Ned and Tywin, while they were hands, would not have focused on Littlefinger because they had bigger worries at the time. But this would force me to rethink that line of thought. Unless LF conducted pretty average negotiations so as not to let on how crafty he really was. Heck that may explain why the crown was so in debt, lol.

As one gets deeper into Tywin politically, Littlefinger grows as a question. We get our best political picture of Tywin acting in Storm (at least in terms of what we directly see) and that all happens under the umbrella of the LF/Tyrell scheme. What can we infer about the Tywin/LF dynamic?

I blame those jackanapes on the council—our friend Petyr, the venerable Grand Maester, and that cockless wonder Lord Varys. ... “If Cersei cannot curb the boy, you must. And if these councillors are playing us false…”

Are those three Tywin has personal knowledge of having "played false" before? Pycelle we know for sure with his part in getting Aerys to open the gate, Varys I'm almost certain given the time they spent in KL under Aerys, which leaves LF.

In another thread the fostering of Sweetrobin with Tywin/Stannis came up and it seems to me that there is some evidence to indicate Tywin must have known of the incest in order to know why he needed Sweetrobin as a hostage. It seems most likely that Pycelle informed Tywin of Arryn's intentions but the question remains as to who convinced Robert or planted the idea to foster with Tywin? Since LF fostered with Lysa, is a lord from the Vale, and was appointed by Jon Arryn it could have been him.

We also have Stannis here:

Robert shrugged away your little lapses. ‘They all steal,’ I recall him saying. ‘Better a thief we know than one we don’t, the next man might be worse.’ Lord Petyr’s words in my brother’s mouth, I’ll warrant.

So a case can be made that LF placed himself in Tywin's service prior to the opening of the series. Those 10 years of debt negotiations certainly provided the opportunity. Trying to put that together is difficult but we do have Tyrion's time as Hand to compare with and that may or may not prove fruitful to explore-- Tyrion is Tywin writ small. Off the top of my head we have Varys dancing around LF being behind Ned's beheading after Slynt is sent to the Wall, the "I know you know" dagger banter (though I very much doubt LF would ever pull that on Tywin), the scene where LF gets offered Harrenhal in Tyrion's ploy, and the council meeting where Tyrion realizes he's more dangerous than he realized. Anything else? Is there information in there that paints a picture of Tywin/Littlefinger? Things like-- Tywin never reacts to Tyrion's shock that LF and not Varys spills the Sansa/Tyrell marriage beans. Is that a hint that LF has done this for Tywin before?

Looking at Tywin politically over Storm is going to repeatedly come back to Littlefinger and the Tyrell plot. Is there anything we can reasonably establish about the background of the two before diving in there?

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