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Ragnorak

A Series of Essays Discussing Tywin

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Cats and dogs

We could think about Tywin’s thoughts about his ‘dogs.’ The Cleganes are descended from a kennel masters, and take their sigil as three hounds. They have quite a literal association with a lord’s real beasts, his hunting hounds. They are faithful and useful, but just animals who do what they are told, and perform tasks men would not.

Tywin has other dogs though, like Vargo and, in a way, Janos Slynt. He sometimes discusses how they are to be used. According to Tywin, a ‘dog’ is of great use to a lord, but you ought never to sit it beside you, rather, you feed it scraps, like you do with your real hounds (see Tywin’s conversation with Tyrion about Slynt at the end of GoT). In affc we learn Tywin won’t have lannisters do work that it best kept for dogs (foraging, in this case).

Wrt the comparison with Gregor, we could note that while Gregor was acting as Tywin’s ‘dog’ in the sack of king’s landing, Tywin also turned himself into the ‘usurper’s dog,’ during that event, coming to stand in something like an equivalent relation with Robert, as Gregor stood in with in regards to him. Maybe Tywin ordered Gregor and Lorch to do exactly what they did, or maybe he just forgot on purpose to mention Elia’s name. Either way, he was evidently not displeased with what they did do, and neither was Robert with what Tywin did.

Would Tywin see himself as a Baratheon dog after that? I guess not, ‘dogs’ tend to have a lower social status but it was in many ways the same operation. Tywin tells Tyrion he knew Robert wanted the children dead (as it seemed he did) but would be unlikely to do the deed himself, considering himself a hero, and ‘heroes do not kill children.’ So, you need someone whose reputation can suffer, and isn’t afraid to bloody their hands in atrocities: a dog, in other words.

I agree the comparison with Gregor is liable to be drawn deliberately. On the one hand Gregor is not even a remotely complicated character. He is described in bestial terms. He is possessed by terrible headaches, which make him rage. He is said to lead through rage. The best that can be said of him is that he has the 'instincts' of a warrior (both men and animals have 'instinct'). Tywin is different. His enormities are usually calculated to achieve some political military goal. Tyrion can, at one point, accept that there is, ‘no blood in Tywin Lannister.’ Having the blood seems to mean descending to the level of a beast, who acts without reason, thereby becoming a ‘dog.’ Even if you are evil, men are rational (rational animals, according to Aristotle). Tywin ruled well for nearly twenty years, his hand ship seems to have been a positive time. Despite these differences, and others, the author is asking readers to consider how far they think Tywin differs from Gregor where it matters.

(didn’t have much time for this post, and just did it from memory, so sorry no references ...)

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I think you pretty much spotlighted everything that needed to.

When a dog bites someone, it's his owner's fault: this is definitely true in Gregor's case. Tywin frees him from the collar and sends him wherever destruction is "required", without putting him any limitation of sort.

Worth of notice that (as many users made me notice in other threads) between all of the "tools" Tywin had, to get Elia he precisely choose Gregory and Amory Lorch, the most brutal and savage fighters he had.

It looks telling, right?

About perspective:

Tywin sees Gregor as a rabid dog to be unleashed against enemies, without any regard for his safety.

Gregor is completely expendable, and Tywin makes sure to take whatever he can from him: be it by sending him to rape and pillow, be it by using him as a decoy and be it by always putting him into the most dangerous lines in battles.

Even when Gregor is agonizing under Oberyn's poison effects, Tywin still makes a use of him. He's willing to let him suffer... just to kill him by sword for the Martells.

...what about how Gregor sees Tywin?

If there's an answer, it probably lies in one of the few scenes we see Gregor speaks (and the only one he mentions Tywin): one of Arya's chapters in ACoK.

Not having the books in english, I'll paraphrase

You are traitors and rebels, thank your gods that Lord Tywin is giving you this chance. It's more than you would get from the desertors. Obey, serve and keep living.

Gregor don't strike me as a sarcastic person, so I'd say that his words are menacing but true.

To Gregor, Tywin is giving them a chance: the one who lets them live, it's Lord Tywin.

Interesting to notice that his words make things look like Gregor (and Tywin) are the ones who are right opposed to betrayers and traitors. They are the "good ones"!

The concept of obedience is very well carved in Gregor and he executes every order Tywin gives him.

Not that I find it impressive, since massacres and raidings are Gregor's dream environment.

I don't think these few words are enough to show if Gregor actually respects or admires Tywin in some sort of way... but since he and Tyrion are usually mirror-like in a distorted way maybe we can conclude something.

Tywin and Tyrion, the first of many comparisons:

Tyrion's "dogs" are the likes of Bronn, Shagga, Timett and so on: while they are not as huge or famous, they are some of the nastiest guys we see in the whole Asoiaf lore: only gods may know what the clans do to their captives (or if they take any), and Bronn would be glad to kill infants for the right price (Gregor-Lorch/Elia and her children, anyone notices a sort of pattern?).

Exaclty like his father, Tyrion uses them whenever required.

Interesting to notice that he manages to get the loyalty of these horrible individuals, which is impressive especially considering how he met Shagga, for example.

Even more interesting to notice that he doesn't do it in a generic way, but pushing the right switches accordingly to who is talking to: Bronn gets money, Shagga gets weapons, everybody gets exactly what they want.

Tyrion doesn't just pay for loyalty, he wins it.

Bronn's last meeting is particularly telling in that sense: despite all of his speaking about just being a sellsword, he still comes to visit a man who isn't clearly being able to offer anything more that he already has. He even names Tyrion his son-in-law while knowing that it'll most likely anger the Queen Regent.

Tyrion isn't just the one with the money, he manages to know his dogs: he eats with them, he fights with them and that's exactly why he is completely confident in them not killing Pycelle due to the heat of the moment (we are talking about savages, I mean).

All of these, at least imo, while looking down on them since he feels to be the superior one.

Tywin does something very similar, as well.

At their first meeting, he plays with their pride and doesn't even try to convince them with the famous Lannister's money like he does with almost everyone else. Not that he believes anything he has said to them, of course.

It would be interesting to know if he did something similar to his dogs as well in the past...

Edit: applauses for pointing out the fact that both Tywin and Gregor have "that look", Ragnorak.

Never noticed that! Yep I feel GRRM is telling us that both are similar in monstruosity...

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` Interesting points made by both Hear me Meow and coil.

I like Meow's juxtaposition of Tywin and Gregor and how their roles mirror themselves. Gregor being Tywin's dog and Tywin, for one moment at the least, becoming Robert's dog during the sack of King's Landing (although Tywin would never see it tha way). I've argued that Tywin was subservient to Robert at the end of the rebellion, and Tywin himself explains that he had to get in good with Robert, thus Tywin's killing of Rhaegar's children and Elia of Dorne. So even the mighty Tywin knows that his name and gold isn't enough, in and of itself, to guaranty him a lofty standing in Westeros. Which makes generalizations about Tywin being the unquestioned top-dog in Westeros even more vexing. It brings to mind Ned's comment to Cat (and I'm paraphrasing) that the Lannisters will jump on you if they smell weakness, but they'll be more hesitant if you fight back and show strength. And we see that during the Wot5K when Robb wins engagements against them. Tywin becomes hesitant and more careful. (Which is good sense on Tywin's part; I don't want to turn this into a debate about the Wot5K.) We also have comments from Tywin himself assuming Robb is "playing at war" and would go running back to his mother once the killing begins.

Also, coil's comment of Gregor letting the smallfolk know that Tywin is the one who will let them live can be applied to the sack of King's Landing also. If Gregor is a good dog and only kills when Tywin tells him too, but otherwise he'll allow people to live, then we have to assume that Gregor's actions towards Elia of Dorne weren't improvisational but were in fact Tywin's orders.

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I've argued that Tywin was subservient to Robert at the end of the rebellion, and Tywin himself explains that he had to get in good with Robert, thus Tywin's killing of Rhaegar's children and Elia of Dorne. So even the mighty Tywin knows that his name and gold isn't enough, in and of itself, to guaranty him a lofty standing in Westeros. Which makes generalizations about Tywin being the unquestioned top-dog in Westeros even more vexing.

I'm not sure what generalizations you are referring to. It is pretty clear from the events of the sack (IMHO) Tywin shared your analysis about his name not being enough. If the lannisters did not want to be left out in the cold by the new regime (and who knew how vindictive Robert would be) they had to remove the image they were potentially Targ supporters.

It is complicated. Robert's stated reasons for his marriage to Cersei, to Ned, in GoT, ring hollow (easy to see why he misrepresented them though). After the sack there was very little prospect of Tywin ever supporting Viserys. Before, however, such a prospect was perhaps more likely. Tywin had been the public face of the Targ regime for nearly 20 years, and wanted Cersei to be Queen. She is about 10-12 years old than Viserys, so that could have been a problem, but maybe not. Robert's comments suggest the idea Tywin could have played it the other way. He was a powerful lord, and out of the all the lords who didn't align with Robert was regarded as the most competent in military terms (see JonCon's comments). Maybe Robert and Jon would make overtures to him to secure his support, as Robert suggested they did do. Tywin chose not to play it this way though, which suggests he saw his position as one of profound weakness. The Robert-Lyanna marriage was almost certainly off by the time of the sack, so angling for a royal marriage by being an active fence sitter was an option for Tywin. He chose not to take it. That indicates in his mind being seen as unequivocally loyal to the new rulers was a better policy than leaving open the option for sabre rattling on behalf of the remaining Targs (assuming Robert didn't eventually get round to killing them himself).

After the Robert-Cersei marriage though, suggesting Tywin was the most powerful lord in the realm seems somewhat reasonable. The lannisters are the strongest and richest of all Robert's close supporters. Through his alliance with Robert Tywin had bought into the great alliance of the Starks, Tullys, Arryns and Baratheons so long as they took Robert's orders. It is plain in GoT how much influence the lannisters had over the king, to the extent Ned is unsure if Robert was party to the attempted killing of Bran and feared Robert would not back his actions when Gregor attacked the riverlands. Appointments and fostering arrangements that advance lannister interests are waved through by Robert, etc.

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Cats and dogs

<snip>

Would Tywin see himself as a Baratheon dog after that? I guess not, ‘dogs’ tend to have a lower social status but it was in many ways the same operation. Tywin tells Tyrion he knew Robert wanted the children dead (as it seemed he did) but would be unlikely to do the deed himself, considering himself a hero, and ‘heroes do not kill children.’ So, you need someone whose reputation can suffer, and isn’t afraid to bloody their hands in atrocities: a dog, in other words.

I agree the comparison with Gregor is liable to be drawn deliberately. On the one hand Gregor is not even a remotely complicated character. He is described in bestial terms. He is possessed by terrible headaches, which make him rage. He is said to lead through rage. The best that can be said of him is that he has the 'instincts' of a warrior (both men and animals have 'instinct'). Tywin is different. His enormities are usually calculated to achieve some political military goal. Tyrion can, at one point, accept that there is, ‘no blood in Tywin Lannister.’ Having the blood seems to mean descending to the level of a beast, who acts without reason, thereby becoming a ‘dog.’ Even if you are evil, men are rational (rational animals, according to Aristotle). Tywin ruled well for nearly twenty years, his hand ship seems to have been a positive time. Despite these differences, and others, the author is asking readers to consider how far they think Tywin differs from Gregor where it matters.

(didn’t have much time for this post, and just did it from memory, so sorry no references ...)

This seems fruitful to ponder especially this idea that Robert wouldn't have done it himself (which seems a likely truth.) Having someone else do it is the headsman/First Men distinction we get in the very first chapter. When it comes to killing Lady and Dany, Ned specifically challenges Robert to do it himself. The entire theoretical moral purpose behind the First Men "the man who wields the sword" is what Tywin deliberately undermines for Robert. The typical contract sealed in blood for a man's soul involves temptation and seduction beforehand. Tywin effectively fulfills the contract beforehand and then challenges Robert to complain about it or passively accept the deal. I've long thought that Ned's fatal flaw was that he was trying to redeem Robert. What you describe here meshes well with that idea especially with dead Targaryen children spawning their rift and Robert reversing course on Dany's assassination on his deathbed. This initial moral conflict is also what plays out in GoT. Ned is trying to pull Robert toward doing it himself, even wielding the pen himself and getting ink on his hands over the debt ledgers, while Cersei, our Tywin surrogate, is pulling Robert toward letting others get their hands dirty.

This fits the pattern we see in the Red Wedding where Tywin is removed from the deed and can claim clean hands while at the same time publicly profit from the outcome as if he had done it himself. He is able to escape responsibility for Elia while taking full credit for laying her son at Robert's feet. Tywin's gesture to Robert is essentially Gregor's gesture to Tywin. I agree he would not see himself as a Usurper's Dog after that though he may well be consciously aware that he was playing the role of "dog" during the presentation of the bodies. There's probably something to the whole dog theme when you take into account the Cleganes, Ramsay, Reek, and the umbrella term Usurper's Dogs.

I always read Tyrion's "no blood in Tywin" comment as sardonic and took moment's like the pulsing vein when Jaime refuses him and the silence before announcing Joffrey may need a harsh lesson as "blood" moments. You seem to take Tyrion as being literal here. Any reasons why or is it just the way it comes off the page to you?

I know we're told Tywin ruled for his 20 years as Hand, but that's one of the things I'd like to take a closer look at. There isn't really a whole lot to go on there. The three pieces of information I can recall that may shed light on that era are Oberyn's tale to Tyrion of the rumors surrounding his birth, that Aerys chose to negotiate over Duskendale, and Jaime's Kingswood Brotherhood tale. Any others? Doesn't matter how small or trivial since this is a grasping at straws endeavor from the start. Aerys choice at Duskendale seems to be his own rather than Tywin's given the whole Rains of Castamere incident and even the follow up with the bard as a messenger. Oberyn's tale is more mood and feel of reputations but does point more toward Tywin as ruler. Jaime comments on Tywin's solution for the Brackens and Blackwoods and then references Arthur Dayne's solution for the Kingswood Brotherhood as the one to use on the BwB. Aside from being the opposite philosophy from Tywin's, he specifically says that Dayne brought their troubles to Aerys. Anything else that helps paint a picture? Robert has virtually abdicated his role as King but still managed to interfere plenty with Ned. He demanded the tournament and its debt and the assassination of Dany not happen and there were other arguments that just weren't specified. Tywin would have had Pycelle in his pocket on the council but not Varys and I can't think of anyone else. Gerold Hightower was LC (which seems to imply a council seat) and he died at the Tower of Joy so was probably in Rhaegar's faction. There's lots of little details about Harenhal and Meera's story has a long list of attendees that may be enlightening.

I think you pretty much spotlighted everything that needed to.

When a dog bites someone, it's his owner's fault: this is definitely true in Gregor's case. Tywin frees him from the collar and sends him wherever destruction is "required", without putting him any limitation of sort.

Worth of notice that (as many users made me notice in other threads) between all of the "tools" Tywin had, to get Elia he precisely choose Gregory and Amory Lorch, the most brutal and savage fighters he had.

It looks telling, right?

About perspective:

Tywin sees Gregor as a rabid dog to be unleashed against enemies, without any regard for his safety.

Gregor is completely expendable, and Tywin makes sure to take whatever he can from him: be it by sending him to rape and pillow, be it by using him as a decoy and be it by always putting him into the most dangerous lines in battles.

Even when Gregor is agonizing under Oberyn's poison effects, Tywin still makes a use of him. He's willing to let him suffer... just to kill him by sword for the Martells.

Thanks, for chiming in, coil.

I'll be brief because you touch on bigger issues. I'm not sure Gregor is expendable because of Tywin's reluctance to turn him over to Dorne. It may be very simple and he knows Oberyn's list is Gregor -> Tywin and he wants Oberyn stuck at Gregor. There's also:

Not to…?” Tyrion was shocked. “I thought we were agreed that the woods were full of beasts.”

“Lesser beasts.” Lord Tywin’s fingers laced together under his chin. “Ser Gregor has served us well. No other knight in the realm inspires such terror in our enemies.”

This opens up the whole issue of Tywin's political choice to risk Dorne's ire over Gregor and also touches on the dynamic between Tywin and Tyrion with:

I am not inclined to trust my plans to a man who consorts with sellswords and savages.

“Ser Gregor has his uses, as did his brother. Every lord has need of a beast from time to time… a lesson you seem to have learned, judging from Ser Bronn and those clansmen of yours.”

Tywin had Lorch and Gregor as well as the Bloody Mummers but was calling Tyrion out over savages and sellswords and then even asks Tyrion if those same savages are up for helping Gregor, Lorch, and Vargo with a little rapine in the Riverlands. It isn't that Tywin always lies to Tyrion because his "no" on Casterly Rock seemed to be brutally honest if nothing else. There is an odd dynamic with Tywin when it comes to Tyrion and one aspect of it plays out with Gregor starting in the Greenfork and continuing through Tyrion's winning Dorne with a promise of Gregor's head and all the way through his trial by combat with Oberyn. So Gregor is interwoven through the Tywin and Tyrion dynamic especially in Storm. Tyrion also ends up with the same "go to the Wall" offer that Ned got. So looking at the Tyrion/Ned parallels one could start to pull a Gregor themed thread through the whole series that begins to resemble the theme about First Men justice and wielding the sword vs. the headsman.

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Robert's stated reasons for his marriage to Cersei, to Ned, in GoT, ring hollow (easy to see why he misrepresented them though).

Why'd they really get married then?

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There is an odd dynamic with Tywin when it comes to Tyrion and one aspect of it plays out with Gregor starting in the Greenfork and continuing through Tyrion's winning Dorne with a promise of Gregor's head and all the way through his trial by combat with Oberyn. So Gregor is interwoven through the Tywin and Tyrion dynamic especially in Storm. Tyrion also ends up with the same "go to the Wall" offer that Ned got. So looking at the Tyrion/Ned parallels one could start to pull a Gregor themed thread through the whole series that begins to resemble the theme about First Men justice and wielding the sword vs. the headsman.

Just to clarify, are you saying that Gregor Clegane is, like, dishonour personified?

Let me explain what I mean by that. It's hinted at a number of times that Tyrion is a future Lannister patriarch: aside from being a competent politician and leader in his own right, he cares a lot about his family (perhaps more than he should), his biggest desire seems to be Casterly Rock, Genna Lannister made that comment about "Tyrion being Tywin's son". Sons generally have to negotiate some sort of transfer of power as their fathers age out of their prime and they age into it. In quasi-medieval nobility of aSoIaF, that shift is much more involved. Being, at least in his own mind, the heir to Casterly Rock, Tyrion probably anticipates, on some level, the day when he takes over House Lannister, and so anticipates a shift in management style as he moves to clean up Tywin's messes and restore his house's honour.

(And at this point it would be great if I had some textual evidence about how Tyrion is concerned with restoring lost Lannister honour, but all I can think of is from the TV show, when he notes that every time they defeat an enemy they create two more. There is a similar thread however running through Jaime's story.)

Given that, Tyrion's attempts to mollify Dorne by giving up Gregor could be seen as an attempt to restore the honour of his house/father, an action that's fundamentally doomed as Tywin is still reluctant to part with his favourite dog?

Similarly, Ned clung to an idealised vision of Robert and tried to redeem him by serving him honourably, but perhaps this was a lost cause as well. Robert's honour was stained so long as he permitted the murderer and rapist Gregor Clegane to evade justice.

Hence, Clegane being dishonour personified.

Or perhaps you meant something else entirely... I'm pretty tired, this may not make a lot of sense

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Just to clarify, are you saying that Gregor Clegane is, like, dishonour personified?

<snip>

While that might be true, I was going more for the fact that he's the tool for the task that Tywin doesn't perform himself in order to keep the blood off his hands as the saying goes. This effectively keeps the blood off Robert's hands too which becomes the running theme in his ruling style. Ned, while seeking justice for Jon Arryn, (who was in effect killed by Clean Hands Littlefinger via the tool Lysa) continually debates with Robert over this issue of getting his hands dirty by actually ruling including the two specific challenges to kill Lady himself and to kill Dany himself.

The king looked at them for a long moment, then turned his eyes on his wife. “Damn you, Cersei,” he said with loathing.

Ned stood, gently disengaging himself from Sansa’s grasp. All the weariness of the past four days had returned to him. “Do it yourself then, Robert,” he said in a voice cold and sharp as steel. “At least have the courage to do it yourself.”

Robert looked at Ned with flat, dead eyes and left without a word, his footsteps heavy as lead. Silence filled the hall.

Ned had heard enough. “You send hired knives to kill a fourteen-year-old girl and still quibble about honor?” He pushed back his chair and stood. “Do it yourself, Robert. The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. Look her in the eyes before you kill her. See her tears, hear her last words. You owe her that much at least.”

Gods,” the king swore, the word exploding out of him as if he could barely contain his fury. “You mean it, damn you.” He reached for the flagon of wine at his elbow, found it empty, and flung it away to shatter against the wall. “I am out of wine and out of patience. Enough of this. Just have it done.”

Tyrion tells Shae that he intends to do "justice."

Fool, he thought to himself afterward, as they lay in the center of the sagging mattress amidst the rumpled sheets. Will you never learn, dwarf? She’s a whore, damn you, it’s your coin she loves, not your cock. Remember Tysha? Yet when his fingers trailed lightly over one nipple, it stiffened at the touch, and he could see the mark on her breast where he’d bitten her in his passion.

“So what will you do, m’lord, now that you’re the Hand of the King?” Shae asked him as he cupped that warm sweet flesh.

“Something Cersei will never expect,” Tyrion murmured softly against her slender neck. “I’ll do… justice.”

Tyrion is mulling over Tysha, which has its own Gregor connection with the Layna story as well as justice tie in, as he thinks to do "justice." He also tells this to Shae's neck, the neck he will strangle and it is the neck that gets severed in accordance with the Kings justice and the First Men tradition. Prior to that he sees the Sept of Baelor, where Ned was beheaded, through a cloudy window before being distracted by Shae. One of the acts of justice he promises is Gregor's head to Dorne. So Gregor's rape and murder hung over Robert and Ned and it hangs over Tyrion and Tywin with his promise to Dorne as well as indirectly over Tyrion with his parallels to Ned as Hand and his Tysha obsession which mirrors Layna's tale.

At the top level we have justice as a theme and Gregor is used in multiple ways to carry that theme through both Robert and Ned as well as Tyrion and Tywin. Probably "injustice personified" would be a better two word synopsis.

I'm not sure what generalizations you are referring to. It is pretty clear from the events of the sack (IMHO) Tywin shared your analysis about his name not being enough. If the lannisters did not want to be left out in the cold by the new regime (and who knew how vindictive Robert would be) they had to remove the image they were potentially Targ supporters.

It is complicated. Robert's stated reasons for his marriage to Cersei, to Ned, in GoT, ring hollow (easy to see why he misrepresented them though). After the sack there was very little prospect of Tywin ever supporting Viserys. Before, however, such a prospect was perhaps more likely. Tywin had been the public face of the Targ regime for nearly 20 years, and wanted Cersei to be Queen. She is about 10-12 years old than Viserys, so that could have been a problem, but maybe not. Robert's comments suggest the idea Tywin could have played it the other way. He was a powerful lord, and out of the all the lords who didn't align with Robert was regarded as the most competent in military terms (see JonCon's comments). Maybe Robert and Jon would make overtures to him to secure his support, as Robert suggested they did do. Tywin chose not to play it this way though, which suggests he saw his position as one of profound weakness. The Robert-Lyanna marriage was almost certainly off by the time of the sack, so angling for a royal marriage by being an active fence sitter was an option for Tywin. He chose not to take it. That indicates in his mind being seen as unequivocally loyal to the new rulers was a better policy than leaving open the option for sabre rattling on behalf of the remaining Targs (assuming Robert didn't eventually get round to killing them himself).

After the Robert-Cersei marriage though, suggesting Tywin was the most powerful lord in the realm seems somewhat reasonable. The lannisters are the strongest and richest of all Robert's close supporters. Through his alliance with Robert Tywin had bought into the great alliance of the Starks, Tullys, Arryns and Baratheons so long as they took Robert's orders. It is plain in GoT how much influence the lannisters had over the king, to the extent Ned is unsure if Robert was party to the attempted killing of Bran and feared Robert would not back his actions when Gregor attacked the riverlands. Appointments and fostering arrangements that advance lannister interests are waved through by Robert, etc.

I don't disagree with the pragmatics of the Lyanna marriage being dead, but would Robert see it that way or be willing to admit this to himself? Could a Ned or a Jon Arryn convince him to marry Cersei to win Tywin like Arryn himself was won with Lysa? The pragmatic wisdom you lay out is fine I'm simply questioning whether or not Robert would see that wisdom. I suppose that's a twofold question-- would Robert see it and would Tywin expect him to see it sufficiently to make the offer? Tywin's choice to sit on the sidelines can't have endeared him to the other Targaryen allies in Dorne and the Reach. At best he'd be viewed much like The Late Lord Frey in a Targ victory unless he pulled someone out of the fire at a key moment. At the same time it wouldn't have made him an enemy of Robert's new regime either but he'd be on the sidelines for the spoils of war too. A Cersei marriage to Robert had he stayed neutral wouldn't be inconceivable but it may well have been less likely.

My take is that Tywin was getting revenge for the Elia/Rhaegar marriage and Aerys stealing his heir so I approach this from a different angle, but laying out his political position and options at the time is probably a helpful premise to establish. Technically staying neutral puts him in the same position as the Vale currently though even the simple change of Jon Arryn to Lysa makes that an imperfect comparison and there are other things that make any analogy there murky at best. I don't think Tywin could have survived staying neutral in a Targ victory had Aerys kept the throne, though Rhaegar would be a different matter. The choice to wipe out the Targ heirs certainly brings Tyrion's line about Tywin and half measures to mind.

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I always read Tyrion's "no blood in Tywin" comment as sardonic and took moment's like the pulsing vein when Jaime refuses him and the silence before announcing Joffrey may need a harsh lesson as "blood" moments. You seem to take Tyrion as being literal here. Any reasons why or is it just the way it comes off the page to you?

I might say more about this later. But yes, I don't read Tyrion's comment as disbelief in his father's explanation. Maybe he is not sure, and is frustrated he couldn't catch Tywin out. He is also angry about the RW, but finds he has no answer to some of Tywin's comments. My impression was he was very unhappy but irritated his father seemed to have answers. Later he learns about the Martell marriages (as does the reader) and disbelief would make more sense. Do you see 'the blood' = negative emotions? Anger etc ... There is support for this. We could look at the Boltons. Ramsay is consumed by rage but Roose leeches the bad blood away, and he seems to have convinced Dustin that he therefore has no emotions. In the Tywin-Tyrion scene, 'having the blood in you,' spoke to something more specific though, IMHO. Tywin set it up as a bloodlust overpowering reason. He calls Tyrion a fool for not understanding his need to show loyalty to Robert, but says Elia's death was folly. His argument is that he wouldn't succumb to the irrational passions, and order something foolish. Tyrion's comment is effectively the summary of his father's argument: only 'the blood,' can explain why Gregor acted as he did, but there is no blood in Tywin (in the relevant sense). IMHO this spoke to Tywin's ability to remain calm and collected in the face of adversity (examples in Tyrion's chapters in GoT, and comparisons to Jaime, for instance) as well as the fact, however atrocious his wartime acts were, people from Ned to the Blackfish were in no doubt they made military sense. I'm not sure you have 'the blood' just because you can get angry. Other than the case under consideration, do we see Tywin do something that isn't calculated/thought through, on account of anger in the books? Shouldn't we have that if he is subject to be carried away by the 'blood.' In the sense he described it the reader should think Jon Snow has more 'blood in him,' than Tywin.

Tywin's line is actually something of a false dichotomy though (intentional, I imagine, on his part), in that conversation, as he knew about Elia before he ever got to King's Landing. So his decision to have her killed (whatever form that took) wouldn't have been made in a fit of bloodlust, as he argues Gregor and Amory's actions were. It would have been petty revenge but not the overpowering 'spur of the moment' rage he says overcame Amory. Anyway, I was speaking to the idea of Tywin being able to convince people that his acts were done for reasons (however bad) in contrast to the actions of the 'dogs,' who are dogs in virtue of their irrationality.

I know we're told Tywin ruled for his 20 years as Hand, but that's one of the things I'd like to take a closer look at. There isn't really a whole lot to go on there. The three pieces of information I can recall that may shed light on that era are Oberyn's tale to Tyrion of the rumors surrounding his birth, that Aerys chose to negotiate over Duskendale, and Jaime's Kingswood Brotherhood tale. Any others? Doesn't matter how small or trivial since this is a grasping at straws endeavor from the start. Aerys choice at Duskendale seems to be his own rather than Tywin's given the whole Rains of Castamere incident and even the follow up with the bard as a messenger. Oberyn's tale is more mood and feel of reputations but does point more toward Tywin as ruler. Jaime comments on Tywin's solution for the Brackens and Blackwoods and then references Arthur Dayne's solution for the Kingswood Brotherhood as the one to use on the BwB. Aside from being the opposite philosophy from Tywin's, he specifically says that Dayne brought their troubles to Aerys. Anything else that helps paint a picture? Robert has virtually abdicated his role as King but still managed to interfere plenty with Ned. He demanded the tournament and its debt and the assassination of Dany not happen and there were other arguments that just weren't specified. Tywin would have had Pycelle in his pocket on the council but not Varys and I can't think of anyone else. Gerold Hightower was LC (which seems to imply a council seat) and he died at the Tower of Joy so was probably in Rhaegar's faction. There's lots of little details about Harenhal and Meera's story has a long list of attendees that may be enlightening.

I do think the evidence Tywin had a very substantial input in how the realm was governed is strong. We have Kevan's testimony corroborated by Oberyn's statement that his mother thought Tywin ruled the seven kingdoms. This is the opinion of someone who was, at the time, an LP, so she would be in a position to know. We also hear that that view has percolated into Oldtown as people feel Tywin made himself greater than the king (and it was not a story being told in his favour, on that occasion). There is no particular reason to think Kevan's idea that Tywin did most of the work is wrong, therefore, as it represents common opinion on the subject. We don't have much information on the reign of Aerys, so three effective sources of testimony (as Oberyn gives us two) in addition to the fact two should be neutral or even hostile (in the case of Oldtown) and include non flattering details (such as Tywin being 'ruled' by his wife) seems like a pretty solid basis to go on, IMHO.

There is also this SSM. It is kind of all over the place, so you might not want to attribute much weight to it. However, it would point towards seeing Aerys's independent action at Duskendale as a cautionary tale of what was liable to go wrong for that monarch when Tywin was not involved in his decisions. It also indicates Aerys's actions were, up until that time, not the norm. Given Tywin's attitude to lord Farman it does seem Aerys's visit was not his style. It might be worth considering that Tywin's response to truculence might vary somewhat when his own vassals are not involved though (some of Tyrion's comments about that incident in SoS seemed to hint at that).

http://www.westeros..../SSM/Entry/1282

I see the fact Tywin held the position of hand as being designed to imply he actually was a competent ruler and able politician. The possession of the handship makes this more obvious than if he were just lord of the west for 35 years. After GoT and CoK the reader is naturally given the impression that the handship is a genuinely difficult position, while we see ruling the family seat as a less demanding task. This is precisely because being hand requires a lord to negotiate power and authority more deftly. As the Ned reflects in GoT, among the small council he is only first among equals. He has to fight for the king's ear. Ideally he would make allies, and try to control poor councilors.

Both Tywin and Tyrion have had more experience of constructing power, and thinking through how to behave politically, to achieve objectives and maintain their position, than Ned and Robb. Tywin's handship speaks to the different approaches to power of the Starks and Lannisters. The Lannisters come from a fractured tradition of rule. While Ned passed on his wisdom and his method of ruling to Robb, and we may assume Rickard did somewhat the same for Ned (albeit Ned was a second son) Tywin would have tried to distance himself, in a strong way from Tytos. Would he have seen Tytos as any kind of role model? Not likely, more like a cookbook of things to ignore. He was supposed to be half a boy when he reestablished lannister control over their banners (who had previously seized lannister hostages to defy arrests). He tried to construct a new tradition around lannister power to maintain their submission. He presumably faced, at some time, struggles to maintain himself in Aerys's favour. We don't know when the madness started. Duskendale is an important moment, but it seems Aerys was cutting himself before that (when Stannis was 3 ..?). Tyrion's awareness of the need to build up support and flush out informers on his arrival in king's landing also speaks to greater inclination to think through the mechanics of power. The Starks have, in recent times, been kings in their own lands. They apply traditional maxims, often to great effect and draw on inherited loyalty. However, the need to think about how to construct a powerbase and secure loyalty where their power is incomplete/scorned is not part of their current political experience. For this reason the lannisters are inclined to be somewhat more cerebral in political matters, as they are used to thinking them through in greater detail, lacking certainty in their power or their methods. Tywin couldn't draw on Tytos and Tyrion is conflicted about Tywin's methods (I'd be inclined to let Robert do his own etc ...). I think taking Tywin's achievement as hand at face value is important for this contrast.

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I might say more about this later. But yes, I don't read Tyrion's comment as disbelief in his father's explanation. Maybe he is not sure, and is frustrated he couldn't catch Tywin out. He is also angry about the RW, but finds he has no answer to some of Tywin's comments. My impression was he was very unhappy but irritated his father seemed to have answers. Later he learns about the Martell marriages (as does the reader) and disbelief would make more sense. Do you see 'the blood' = negative emotions? Anger etc ... There is support for this. We could look at the Boltons. Ramsay is consumed by rage but Roose leeches the bad blood away, and he seems to have convinced Dustin that he therefore has no emotions. In the Tywin-Tyrion scene, 'having the blood in you,' spoke to something more specific though, IMHO. Tywin set it up as a bloodlust overpowering reason. He calls Tyrion a fool for not understanding his need to show loyalty to Robert, but says Elia's death was folly. His argument is that he wouldn't succumb to the irrational passions, and order something foolish. Tyrion's comment is effectively the summary of his father's argument: only 'the blood,' can explain why Gregor acted as he did, but there is no blood in Tywin (in the relevant sense). IMHO this spoke to Tywin's ability to remain calm and collected in the face of adversity (examples in Tyrion's chapters in GoT, and comparisons to Jaime, for instance) as well as the fact, however atrocious his wartime acts were, people from Ned to the Blackfish were in no doubt they made military sense. I'm not sure you have 'the blood' just because you can get angry. Other than the case under consideration, do we see Tywin do something that isn't calculated/thought through, on account of anger in the books? Shouldn't we have that if he is subject to be carried away by the 'blood.' In the sense he described it the reader should think Jon Snow has more 'blood in him,' than Tywin.

<snip>

Thanks. You can elaborate more if you like, which I would be interested in because my read is dramatically different, but that was clear enough to convey your assessment.

I read "blood" as bestial more than specifically anger or rage. I actually use Jaime's reflection on the men that will do terrible things in battle and then go home and start families as sort of my in-series umbrella definition of "blood." I read the scene where we learn Jaime is taken captive, Joffrey's hiding under Casterly Rock outburst, Jaime's refusal to leave the KG, and Tyrion's taking Oberyn as champion as scenes of contained rage. The pulsing vein in his neck with Jaime and his slammed fist in Tyrion's trial strike me as clear anger indicators. You seem to see those as more isolated and indicative of something special in those scenes whereas I read them as characterizing his other silences (at least some as he's silent when happy too) with a similar yet better concealed anger. After Jaime's capture we see Tywin's plan, after Joffrey's outburst we know he's pondering a "harsh lesson" but don't know what he was going to pragmatically do in response to Jaime's refusal or Tyrion's taking Oberyn as champion as he dies before that plays out. I see it more as a rational channeling of the "blood" into calculated choices but ones also laced with bestial aspects-- the rapine in the Riverlands, a "harsh lesson" for Joffrey. I see the Red Wedding and Elia's brutal death fitting into that pattern where there is a Rains of Castamere or a "harsh lesson" included with the ruthless political act. Just trying to summarize where I made the connections.

The "blood" as bestial fits with descriptions of Gregor and even Ramsay as you said. There's Jaime's comment I references above plus Sandor's line (shaded by his relationship to Gregor) to Sansa about Ned lying about not enjoying the killing. Aside from the animal-centric House sigil identifications we also have wargs. So the bestial aspect of humans is definitely a theme that's explored. Reading Tyrion's "no blood" as literal places Tywin in a ruthless non-bestial light highlighting rational human cruelty while reading it as a more mocking line lumps Tywin more into the beast spectrum-- more emphasis than mutually exclusive categories.

I do think the evidence Tywin had a very substantial input in how the realm was governed is strong. We have Kevan's testimony corroborated by Oberyn's statement that his mother thought Tywin ruled the seven kingdoms. This is the opinion of someone who was, at the time, an LP, so she would be in a position to know. We also hear that that view has percolated into Oldtown as people feel Tywin made himself greater than the king (and it was not a story being told in his favour, on that occasion). There is no particular reason to think Kevan's idea that Tywin did most of the work is wrong, therefore, as it represents common opinion on the subject. We don't have much information on the reign of Aerys, so three effective sources of testimony (as Oberyn gives us two) in addition to the fact two should be neutral or even hostile (in the case of Oldtown) and include non flattering details (such as Tywin being 'ruled' by his wife) seems like a pretty solid basis to go on, IMHO.

<snip>

That was a very nice summation.

Something about the Tywin ruling topic nags at me and says "there's a caveat here." I run it through my head occasionally and the Occam's Razor conclusion is usually that Aerys wanted Tywin as Hand to essentially have his own dog that would be feared. This way he could play the nice or more precisely "loved" monarch and Tywin would bear the negative publicity. So Tywin ruled and the caveat is that Aerys stuck his nose in a lot to try and be loved. Tywin's mummer's and Aerys need applause line fits well with that general overview and there's one or two other small references I cant recall that somewhat reinforce it. So Tywin ruling with Aerys interfering because he wants the credit that will make him loved seems like a plausible dynamic. It also explains Duskendale and Dayne going to Aerys to win over the love of the smallfolk.

I'm perfectly fine with this interpretation on most days, but whenever I try and piece together some piece of background picture of that time (like Varys agenda for example) the picture begins to get a bit murky. Most of it is that the political picture doesn't seem to fit together with an Aerys as passive about ruling as Robert was. Asking "So how active was Aerys?" inevitably leads to questioning the Tywin ruled line. Even an Aerys who is very active trying to be loved and screwing with a lot of high level stuff paints a picture of a Tywin ruling by "cleaning the drains" at Kings Landing like he assigned Tyrion at Casterly Rock. If he started that way as Hand and then grew to his more arrogant persona that Oberyn relays that paints a very different picture and has implications for his relationship with Tyrion too. I'm not advocating that take, just trying to illustrate that subtle differences in how "Tywin ruled" carry big implications forward. This also matters a lot when pondering things like Rickard's Southron ambitions. Is this a "Tywin is really King so the Targs are toast" plot or is this a plot of discontent born of Tywin's ruling practices? Was Aerys ruling enough so this was about him and not Tywin? I guess what bothers me most is that "Tywin ruled" sets off my Cersei killed Jon Arryn radar and I'm looking for the catch.

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Interesting points all around. One thing im interested in about tywin is this whole chevauchee(what he did to the riverlands) business. Now of course this is standard practice in the middle ages, what im curious about is do other lords take it as far as tywin does? I am going to go on and say no. I think he takes it to the next level, and while it is a dick move, it does remove the riverlords from the game, and cripples their ability to fight back absent outside help.

I know the conversation has sort of moved on from the warfare stuff, but this is what interests me the most about tywin honestly, even more so then his political skills.

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The idea that Tywin was somehow a poor Hand is a little silly. Much of the books depends on the idea that he was the power behind the throne for many years, and we literally haven't been given a single shred of evidence to suggest otherwise. The author himself seems to view it as a settled matter. Finite.

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The idea that Tywin was somehow a poor Hand is a little silly. Much of the books depends on the idea that he was the power behind the throne for many years, and we literally haven't been given a single shred of evidence to suggest otherwise. The author himself seems to view it as a settled matter. Finite.

While I agree with what you said, I find nothing bad into actually searching for textual evidences: it enriches the reading experience!

One thing that must be pointed out, for example, it's that almost nothing in the series can be considered as "inside a sterile box": events - most likely out of control - keep changing the characters' plans, plotlines entwine each other, and as Ragnorak cleverly points out there were some things during Tywin's ruling that were most likely out of anyone's control.

Aerys' paranoia, Rickard southron's ambitions, Hoster Tullly was about to ally with Arryns and Starks, the Citadel's own agenda, Varys... despite all of this, Tywin managed to "rule" for twenty-one years and then settle a Lannister Queen on the throne.

Yet, there's surely something he may have missed or some mistakes, since no one's perfect... especially Tywin, as we see many times in the series.

And that's exactly why he's a really interesting character.

E-ro

Interesting points all around. One thing im interested in about tywin is this whole chevauchee(what he did to the riverlands) business. Now of course this is standard practice in the middle ages, what im curious about is do other lords take it as far as tywin does? I am going to go on and say no. I think he takes it to the next level, and while it is a dick move, it does remove the riverlords from the game, and cripples their ability to fight back absent outside help.

I know the conversation has sort of moved on from the warfare stuff, but this is what interests me the most about tywin honestly, even more so then his political skills.

Definitely agree with you: the only comparable thing to the wave of devastation that follows Tywin... man, I can only recall Dothraki hordes. And Dothraki aren't exactly far-sighted in their warfare, their violence looks more natural than deliberate and with a purpose in mind.

In Essos, lords and powerful men may be brutal and cripple men left and right, but they are more than willing to use diplomacy.

In Westeros, no one expected the Red Wedding.

I think the better description about Tywin's warfare politics comes from Jon Connington in ADwD, when he reminds of the Battle of the Bells and his moves, to then compare them to what would have Tywin done.

...and the scary thing is that probably it would have worked.

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there is an instance when is implied that every lord does similar thing. in asos, during arya's time with the BWB they come across a destroyed village from way back, during robert's rebellion by hoster tully. probably every lord uses violence and atrocities(up to a level), by in tywin case the atrocities and violence seems to be the norm. i dont recall any other lord to rule in this manner, with this kind of ease and ruthlessness.

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Tywin was always delusional when it comes to his own children. Giving Jaime the command of half the Lannister host is one of them. After all, we are talking about the man who criticized Aerys for appointing JonCon as the Hand before the Battle of Bells and he was right about it.





Aerys wanted someone young and vigorous to match Robert’s own youth and vigor. “Too soon,” Lord Tywin Lannister had declared when word of the king’s choice had reached Casterly Rock. “Connington is too young, too bold, too eager for glory.”

The Battle of the Bells had proved the truth of that.




Excuse me but was Jaime any different than JonCon at the onset of Battle of the Bells? Perhaps he was more skilled with a sword but surely less skilled with wits and warfare.


Therefore, I put the blame of Jaime's capture primarily on Tywin. And his mutilation by a monster Tywin brought to the Realm is the spice of it.


While he had this glorified vision about Jaime, he was blind to the skills of Tyrion, who saved the city long enough under a severe disadvantage. Tywin came and stole the glory completely and continued to treat Tyrion as an insect.

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Excellent post! I agree with you on most things, though I do believe that Tywin took a calculated risk when invading the Riverlands, fully expecting victory.


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This thread has been idle for some time, but here are two more essays. Not sure if I'll have much time to participate but they're already written so I may as well post them.



Tywin the Politician



In the opening of the War of the Five Kings we know Tywin's assessment of Robb and the resolve of the North is off. He also misses the Arryn political situation given the near open rebellion Lysa is supposed to have faced for sitting idle. In truth Lysa was going to do whatever Littlefinger told her regardless of any military or political developments (unless he is in fact getting the Vale information from Littlefinger and just never tells Tyrion.) While missing Littlefinger's role is understandable, he should know from Pycelle that Lysa thinks Cersei killed her husband and that Lysa was none too happy about Tywin fostering Sweetrobin. Though Lysa as a military commander is somewhat laughable she does have men like Bronze Yohn and the Blackfish so reasonably speaking he should have considered the Vale a much greater threat absent greater intel then what is immediately apparent.



That Stannis and Renly both declare themselves King seems to be a surprise so it is reasonable to think that he must have expected to fight the Stormlands and the Reach given that Renly's Margaery/Robert scheme was known to Pycelle. With Dorne I suspect he thought their Baratheon hatred was close enough to their Lannister hatred to prevent an alliance, but given that they take Tyrion's offer had things gone differently I think they could have easily ended up fighting for Stannis as justice for Elia would be a certainty from a King Stannis.



The particulars of such hypotheticals can be bounced around, but the unavoidable fact is that Tywin failed to forge a political alliance with any other major House in the 15 years of Robert's reign. Tywin himself was an eligible marriage candidate and although his children were spoken for (setting Tyrion aside for the moment) Kevan's children were not and the lands of the Tarbecks and Reynes were vacant so we know he had a great deal to offer. The lack of an alliance, or much evidence of political maneuvering to create one, stands out as odd.



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



Once Tywin returns to Kings Landing as Hand we get a better picture of his political maneuvering. In Tyrion's first Storm chapter we see Tywin working on Red Wedding related letters. These are clearly not his first exchange as Roose has already sent Glover to Duskendale so he has likely already been promised Winterfell for Ramsay and Lord Paramount of the North for himself and likely "Arya" as well. Glover to Duskendale is a point of no return for Roose so he must be well satisfied with the deal.



Tywin's political focus in Storm is on Stannis, Dorne and the Tyrell alliance as he seems to account Robb's defeat as a forgone conclusion with the Red Wedding plans in motion. Again we see Tywin exceeding the threshold of the accepted rules of war. He started with slaughtering Houses over hostage taking, escalated to treachery to gain entrance into Kings Landing (something we only see the likes Ramsay do and speculatively Jon Connington with Storms End-- though that would fit with his Tywin lesson from the Battle of the Bells), and now Tywin escalates to Guest Right violations. There is a pattern of exploiting an opponent's honor, mercy or other moral aspect to his own advantage that I can't help but wonder if it is most accurately described as the "low cunning" he accuses Tyrion of possessing.



“I do so hope he plays us ‘The Rains of Castamere.’ It has been an hour, I’ve forgotten how it goes.”



Our next political insight comes at the first council meeting Tyrion attends. Spoils are divided, Littlefinger's marriage to Lysa is approved, what do with Balon is put on hold, and Tyrion gets the appointment to replace Petyr as Master of Coin. Tyrion notes that





It has all been settled beforehand, he concluded, and this discussion’s no more than show.






He thinks this in regard to Tywin, Kevan and Littlefinger, but what escapes him is that the same is true for Littlefinger and the Tyrells. Littlefinger going off to the Vale is also part of the plot to assassinate Joffrey, frame Tyrion and steal Sansa. The Tyrell contingent and Littlefinger settled as much if not more than the Lannisters before this mummer's show of a council meeting began.



This Tyrell alliance was bought with Joffrey's life and Littlefinger is the one who sold it to the Tyrells. While Tywin is planning his Rains of Castamere on the Starks and Tullys, the Tyrells are planning one of their own on his House. In that light it is curious to look at the spoils of war.




Tyrell demanded the lands and castles of Lord Alester Florent, his own bannerman, who’d had the singular ill judgment to back first Renly and then Stannis. Lord Tywin was pleased to oblige. Brightwater Keep and all its lands and incomes were granted to Lord Tyrell’s second son, Ser Garlan, transforming him into a great lord in the blink of an eye. His elder brother, of course, stood to inherit Highgarden itself.


Lesser tracts were granted to Lord Rowan, and set aside for Lord Tarly, Lady Oakheart, Lord Hightower, and other worthies not present. Lord Redwyne asked only for thirty years’ remission of the taxes that Littlefinger and his wine factors had levied on certain of the Arbor’s finest vintages. When that was granted, he pronounced himself well satisfied and suggested that they send for a cask of Arbor gold, to toast good King Joffrey and his wise and benevolent Hand.






Note the "Lies and Arbor Gold" toast to both the soon to be assassinated Joffrey and his wise and benevolent Hand.



What about House Lannister? Mace turns his second son into a great lord in the blink of an eye and Tyrion gets Master of Coin. The whole spectrum of Tyrell vassals feast on spoils but the only Lannister "vassal" to get anything of note is Littlefinger. Littlefinger gets Lord Paramount of the Riverlands from Tywin for planning the assassination of Joffrey and setting Tywin's House against itself in the aftermath. After already getting the Riverlands, Littlefinger is further rewarded with a marriage that effectively delivers him the Vale and a Tully bride to help secure his "empty title" in the Riverlands. He is being set up with two of the Seven Kingdoms and Kevan Lannister gets... nothing? Addam Marbrand gets to fill in for Janos Slynt while Tyrell vassals get tracts of land?



As an aside Genna has some interesting commentary on the disposition of Darry and Riverrun to Jaime in Feast that’s worth pondering relative to the outcome that’s determined here:



“Once Emm heard he was a lord, he had to come at once to claim his seat.” Lady Genna took a drink and wiped her mouth on her sleeve. “Your father should have granted us Darry. Cleos married one of the plowman’s daughters, you will recall. His grieving widow is furious that her sons were not granted her lord father’s lands. Gatehouse Ami is Darry only on her mother’s side. My good-daughter Jeyne is her aunt, a full sister to Lady Mariya.”


“A younger sister,” Jaime reminded her, “and Ty will have Riverrun, a greater prize than Darry.”


“A poisoned prize. House Darry is extinguished in the male line, House Tully is not. That muttonhead Ser Ryman puts a noose round Edmure’s neck, but will not hang him. And Roslin Frey has a trout growing in her belly. My grandsons will never be secure in Riverrun so long as any Tully heir remains alive.”


She was not wrong, Jaime knew. “If Roslin has a girl—”


“—she can wed Ty, provided old Lord Walder will consent. Yes, I’ve thought of that. A boy is just as likely, though, and his little cock would cloud the issue. And if Ser Brynden should survive this siege, he might be inclined to claim Riverrun in his own name... or in the name of young Robert Arryn.”


Jaime remembered little Robert from King’s Landing, still sucking on his mother’s teats at four. “Arryn won’t live long enough to breed. And why should the Lord of the Eyrie need Riverrun?”


“Why does a man with one pot of gold need another? Men are greedy. Tywin should have granted Riverrun to Kevan and Darry to Emm. I would have told him so if he had troubled to ask me, but when did your father ever consult with anyone but Kevan?” She sighed deeply. “I do not blame Kevan for wanting the safer seat for his own boy, mind you. I know him too well.”





Land is power and House Tyrell is waxing in power, has eliminated their primary rival vassal in the Florents consolidating their hold in the Reach, and rewarded their loyal vassals as well. They are improving their position should a power struggle with the Lannisters ensue in Kings Landing (which seems to be their intention from the start.) Comparatively, House Lannister's power is relatively stagnant with Lancel getting Darry as the one notable addition. (In fairness at this point Tommen will eventually get the Stormlands after Stannis falls which is an entire kingdom but the lack of provision for Kevan and some other Lannister vassals still stands out.)



In short, Tywin believes he is orchestrating the future based on his secret knowledge of the Red Wedding, but in truth it is the Tyrells orchestrating the future based on their secret knowledge of the Purple Wedding.



“You promised him vengeance as well.”


“I promised him justice.”


“Call it what you will. It still comes down to blood.”



Tyrion won Dorne to the Lannister cause with a promise of justice to be paid with Gregor's head. Oberyn showed up to Kings Landing intent on taking the head that spoke the order as well which helps explain Tywin's reticence to yield the first head on the list. The idea that the Dornish would settle for anything less than Gregor's head at a minimum is just delusional. Tywin's idea of having Tyrion deliver the news to Oberyn is a good one, but we can rest assured that had the events of the Purple Wedding not offered Oberyn his opportunity he was most assuredly going to something bad from the Lannister perspective-- very, very bad.





I came for justice for Elia and her children, and I will have it. Starting with this lummox Gregor Clegane… but not, I think, ending there. Before he dies, the Enormity That Rides will tell me whence came his orders, please assure your lord father of that.” He smiled. “An old septon once claimed I was living proof of the goodness of the gods. Do you know why that is, Imp?”


“No,” Tyrion admitted warily.


“Why, if the gods were cruel, they would have made me my mother’s firstborn, and Doran her third. I am a bloodthirsty man, you see. And it is me you must contend with now, not my patient, prudent, and gouty brother.”






I don't pretend to know what that might have been, but politically the refusal to honor Tyrion's deal while a crownable Myrcella sits hostage in Dorne is... poor risk management-- to say nothing of infuriating the man with a penchant for poison and recklessness who occasionally dines with the royal family and council. Would Oberyn "crown" Myrcella by killing two Lannister royal children in response for Elia's two murdered royal children? He was certainly capable of it especially with the current crop of Kingsguard. What would happen to the Lannister/Tyrell alliance with a dead Tommen and Joffrey and a Myrcella in Dorne? As events played out, here is Tywin's reaction to offending Dorne





“Did you turn into an utter fool when Tyrion shaved your beard? This is Stannis Baratheon. The man will fight to the bitter end and then some. If he is gone, it can only mean he intends to resume the war. Most likely he will land at Storm’s End and try and rouse the storm lords. If so, he’s finished. But a bolder man might roll the dice for Dorne. If he should win Sunspear to his cause, he might prolong this war for years. So we will not offend the Martells any further, for any reason. The Dornishmen are free to go, and you will heal Ser Gregor.”






What part of this threat was unpredictable while Oberyn lived? The refusal to turn over Gregor comes off as more rooted in hubris or old grudges than political acumen or a cost benefit analysis based on this later reaction.



Even as events played out the idea that Oberyn might champion Tyrion once Cersei named Gregor Joffrey's defender was not exactly a stretch. Even just getting anyone to champion Tyrion to get Gregor to court should have been anticipated. Offering Tyrion the Wall through Kevan especially after Ned Stark's fate was almost certainly going to fail and predictably left him open to Oberyn's offer by forcing him into a corner. Cersei wanted Tyrion dead yet executing Tyrion would cause a rift with Jaime. Tywin needed a middle ground option to obtain peace in his own House. Of the two other judges, Mace was always voting guilty because he's plotting against the Lannisters and needs Tyrion dead to free Sansa to marry again and he's unwilling to offer Gregor's head to Oberyn setting aside the whole Oberyn wants him dead thing. The whole thing is a political disaster for Tywin, but one of his own making in both recent and past events as well as his long standing failures to politically unite his children (or possibly the consequence of his successfully instilling rivalries in them…)



Tywin and Marriage



Having once married a whore, Tyrion could not entirely share his uncle’s horror at the thought of wedding a girl whose great grandfather sold cloves.



Historically, there seems reason to suspect House Lannister has been a bit plagued by marriage issues. Tytos never remarried and his mistress was a source of domestic distress amongst his children. Tywin married a Lannister first cousin and Genna married a Frey too low for her station. The head of House Reyne left the hall angrily when Genna's marriage was announced and Lady Tarbeck laughed. I can't help but wonder if Lady Tarbeck felt shafted by Tywin's betrothal to Joanna (timing?) and laughed that House Reyne's marriage offer shaft was even worse. As the oldest son and only girl, Tywin and Genna would be the two marriages that mattered most and I can't help but speculate as to whether these marriages were at the root of their eventual rebellion and tied to the odd circumstances surrounding Tywin and marriage.



The first glaring issue is Tywin himself not remarrying. Nothing specifically says he has to remarry but he is the prime marriage candidate for House Lannister and over the time since Joanna passed away there have been multiple circumstances in which a marriage alliance would certainly have been beneficial. His elimination of himself as a marriage option for Sansa while he's trying to sway Tyrion is probably the most noticeable time it comes up especially given the emphasis he puts on duty to Cersei and Jaime (though "duty" is noticeably absent in his sales pitch to Tyrion.)



The Cersei/Robert marriage was proposed by Jon Arryn though I don't doubt Tywin helped it along via Pycelle. Still it isn't one that he brokered.



Tywin supposedly wanted to marry Jaime to Lysa and we do know that Sumner Crakehall sent him to Riverrun with a message where Hoster sat him next to Lysa for a fortnight while mulling the reply. Jaime started squiring at 11 and joined the Kingsguard at 15. He mentions being younger than his squire Peck when going to Riverrun and Peck is 15. It also has to be before Jaime fought against the Brotherhood since he was knighted there and thus no longer a squire. It is possible Tywin arranged this, but it is curious that he doesn't mention it to Jaime and neither does Crakehall. We know from Alys that it isn't uncommon for one child to know it is a "marriage visit" and the other to be clueless as was the case with Alys and Robb. Jaime describes Lysa as "prone to tongue-tied silences and fits of giggles" so it is possible that Hoster floated the marriage idea rather than Tywin and that's why Lysa seemed to know (of course at that age a girl giggling doesn't require an explanation.) At a minimum the Kingswood Brotherhood campaign took place between his visiting Riverrun and Cersei mentioning the marriage. Also Petyr gets Lysa pregnant around the same time Cersei delivers the Lysa marriage news (the year 281) so that has the potential to complicate things. Either way it is curious that Jaime has no idea it is on the table for what must be close to at least a year after his visit to Riverrun until Cersei tells him.



Joanna and the Princess of Dorne seemed to have arranged for either Jaime/Elia or Oberyn/Cersei prior to Joanna dying in childbirth. Joanna was said to rule at home so maybe this would have happened had she lived or maybe that was a myth and Tywin would have told his wife and the Dornish Princess to go pound sand as he had other intentions. What does stand out is the tactless refusal and the insulting offer of Tyrion. Joanna seemed to have had a genuine ally in Dorne for House Lannister and Tywin's mourning was a more than ample polite reason to decline sans insults. He telegraphed his intentions for Cersei/Rhaegar in an insulting fashion making Elia a rival for Cersei at best and turned Dorne from ally to enemy at worst-- all over a lack of manners. (and he says Tyrion can't keep his mouth shut...)



Cersei and Rhaegar is another marriage debacle. He mentioned it to Cersei years prior so he'd been scheming to make this happen for some time. He throws an elaborate tournament and gets Aerys and Rhaegar to come but never broaches the actual marriage topic with Aerys until the morning before he intends to announce the marriage. He's Aerys Hand and probably has more access to the King than anyone else on the planet and has since before Cersei was even born. We get a royal marriage offer in the first book and it isn't exactly complicated:




I have a son. You have a daughter. My Joff and your Sansa shall join our houses, as Lyanna and I might once have done.




Even the negotiations that follow are pretty simple




“Sansa is only eleven.”


Robert waved an impatient hand. “Old enough for betrothal. The marriage can wait a few years.” The king smiled. “Now stand up and say yes, curse you.”


“Nothing would give me greater pleasure, Your Grace,” Ned answered. He hesitated. “These honors are all so unexpected. May I have some time to consider? I need to tell my wife…”


“Yes, yes, of course, tell Catelyn, sleep on it if you must.”






It is possible that Aerys was fine with the marriage, knew that this was the reason for Tywin's tournament, and that Rhaegar rejected Cersei and Aerys chose to take the heat for it. That still doesn't explain why Tywin didn't broach the topic beforehand and at least learn that Aerys was leaving the choice to Rhaegar so he could properly prepare Cersei like Alys was told of Robb or Littlefinger tells Sansa to do with Harry the Heir.



Tyrion had suffered such wedding pies before. The doves liked to shit on him especially



Tyrion is another marriage curiosity. Tywin claims to have made a long list of offers but we know from Oberyn at least the Martell offer was nonsense-- infant dwarf expected to die next week aside, asking any woman to wait for an infant until her thirties to marry and bear children is insulting on its face.




“I once hoped to marry your brother to Lysa Tully, but Aerys named Jaime to his Kingsguard before the arrangements were complete. When I suggested to Lord Hoster that Lysa might be wed to you instead, he replied that he wanted a whole man for his daughter.”



“When I offered you to Dorne I was told that the suggestion was an insult,” Lord Tywin continued. “In later years I had similar answers from Yohn Royce and Leyton Hightower. I finally stooped so low as to suggest you might take the Florent girl Robert deflowered in his brother’s wedding bed, but her father preferred to give her to one of his own household knights.






It is hard to say what took so long in the Jaime/Lysa betrothal (the entire planning of the Red Wedding from suggestion to execution took less time for perspective) and I imagine if Jaime was publicly betrothed Tywin would have had grounds to object to his joining the Kingsguard. Even if it wasn't public I imagine with Hoster's support he could have reasonably made a case. Maybe Lysa's indiscretion with Petyr came out in the midst of the marriage negotiation. If Rickard's southron ambitions were a plot against the Targaryens that involved the Tullys I can't imagine Hoster would be wedding Lysa to Aerys Hand's son in the midst of such a scheme. Either way we see Sansa's betrothal takes a day to sleep on and Robb and Arya's are settled in an afternoon. The drawn out Jaime/Lysa negotiations are just damn peculiar which makes the hypothetical Tyrion offer even more questionable.



Tyrion is a Lannister regardless of his dwarf status in a martial society. Littlefinger swings some otherwise fairly undesirable marriages in the Vale for less money than a Tywin could offer and far lesser incentives than a shot at Casterly Rock. There are any number of lords who would gladly take a dwarf as a son-in-law for access to House Lannister especially after Jaime joins the Kingsguard and Tyrion is in fact the current heir to House Lannister. Aside from the personal issues that exist between Tywin and Tyrion I suspect his status as heir is what really prevents Tywin from negotiating a marriage for Tyrion. Tyrion's new father-in-law is going to,(quite reasonably) expect his grandchildren to inherit the Rock one day and I don't think Tywin wanted another lord stepping on his Casterly Rock is Jaime's birthright delusion. Is a Walder Frey really that much less desirable at 90 than Tyrion especially considering that his eighth wife's children are starting some 70 positions deep in succession with virtually all yet-to-be-born male Freys coming first? The problem is Tywin, not Tyrion. I have 100 gold dragons that says even Randyll Tarly would marry one of his three daughters to Tyrion.



Which brings us to Tywin's political marriage scheming in Storm of Swords…



Lord Tywin sent an envoy bearing a lute instead of a letter. But once he’d heard “The Rains of Castamere” echoing through his hall, Lord Farman gave no further trouble.



First we have Tyrion/Sansa and Cersei/Willas. It is apparent that Tywin wants Cersei out of Kings Landing and away from Tommen. Forcing her to marry seems almost more a punishment for Cersei than a political maneuver but it does serve the purpose of taking Willas out of play and appeasing the Tyrells for their loss of Sansa. Tywin also seems to view Cersei as a poisonous influence as he tries to first send her to the Tyrells and then to Dorne both of whom he sees as political rivals. It isn’t a bad chess move. Were the Tyrells to agree and were Cersei to play the role Tywin wanted it could have turned into an excellent chess move. Olenna sinks the idea because she still has her eyes set on Sansa for after the Purple Wedding so in the end it all comes back to the issue of trusting Littlefinger. Tywin can’t see the whole board.



Tyrion and Sansa some believe is a serious plan Tywin has for claiming Winterfell and the North in the name of House Lannister at some future point. I interpret it as a Rains of Castamere on House Stark. Tywin is known for exterminating Houses not sparing them. In both the Stark and Tully cases the former seat of the Lord Paramount is given to the primary rival vassal—Riverrun to a Frey and Winterfell to a Bolton. Also in both cases the castle is stripped as the seat of the Lord Paramount. There is also the lowborn insult angle in a bastard getting the Stark seat of Winterfell and the lowborn Baelish getting the whole Tully domain and a Tully daughter he was too lowborn for when fostered. With Lysa’s history of pregnancy she isn’t likely to bear more children (and Little Robert is an Arryn who never rose up against Tywin if he lives to adulthood) and Cat, Edmure, and the Blackfish were supposed to be dead or imprisoned after the Red Wedding and siege of Riverrun. House Tully would essentially be extinct. Outside of Sansa the same would be true of House Stark. I read this as very Rains of Castamere with Sansa married to Tyrion to serve as the equivalent of the lute bearing envoy to Lord Farman given Tywin’s assessment of Tyrion when he asks for the Rock.



Had Tywin wanted a Lord Paramount for Tyrion he could have simply given him the Riverlands. The region is of far more strategic importance to the Westerlands and its lack of natural geographic defenses would help keep future Riverlands rulers loyal to the primary Lannisters in Casterly Rock. Sansa has a claim to both Riverrun and Harrenhal so he could have given Tyrion either seat and left the other to Littlefinger (which would still enable the Lysa marriage) and never had to fight another war for a Lannister Lord Paramount holding.



Tywin’s intent here matters a great deal for piecing together his global intent and agenda. For those who interpret his Northern ambitions as sincere the more completely that take can be tied into his other actions in Kings Landing the better.



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.



His final political revelation before Tyrion takes him off the stage he gives to Jaime.



“You do.” Lord Tywin rose as well. “A duty to House Lannister. You are the heir to Casterly Rock. That is where you should be. Tommen should accompany you, as your ward and squire. The Rock is where he’ll learn to be a Lannister, and I want him away from his mother. I mean to find a new husband for Cersei. Oberyn Martell perhaps, once I convince Lord Tyrell that the match does not threaten Highgarden. And it is past time you were wed. The Tyrells are now insisting that Margaery be wed to Tommen, but if I were to offer you instead—”




This is another example of Tywin playing chess on the wrong board given the Purple Wedding plot unfolding around him. Is this a good and plausible plan? It is for Tywin but I don’t see how Mace Tyrell would accept it even if the Purple Wedding wasn’t a Tyrell plot. Mace backed Renly to make his daughter Queen. Tywin of all people ought to understand that given his ambitions for Cersei. Is pseudo-stepmother to the king and Lady-in-waiting of Casterly Rock an equitable trade for Queen? It strikes me as an exceptionally poor deal from the Tyrell perspective. Maybe others disagree or see a more advantageous angle for the Tyrells to exploit.



If Oberyn’s line to Tyrion about Cersei is honest at least that component of Tywin’s scheme is far from the mark.



“Just this. If I should ever find a sash beside my own bed, and pull on it, I would sooner have the scorpions fall upon me than the queen in all her naked beauty.”




Objectively all Tywin’s plotting in Kings Landing during Storm is futile because of the Purple Wedding plot. This strikes me as all stemming from his trusting Littlefinger. Ned didn’t “trust” Littlefinger but rather trusted Cat’s faith in Littlefinger. Littlefinger used Lysa to play Cat with the letter (who swayed Ned) and then again used Cat in KL to get Ned to trust him. Is there a somewhat parallel modus operandi with Tywin? Tywin must know Littlefinger was “entrusted” with the incest if Ned went to him for the Gold Cloaks. He also brought the Tyrell Sansa marriage to Tywin’s attention. How far back does Littlefinger’s relationship with Tywin go? It seems to me Tywin’s actions make more and more sense the further back his relationship with Littlefinger goes.



Jaime wants Tyrion to live and Cersei wants him dead. I suspect Tywin was intending to use the trial to force the hand of whichever sibling didn’t bend to his will—in this case Jaime. That would make Tyrion’s choice of Oberyn all the more enraging to him because it destroyed both the Cersei marriage and his Jaime leverage.



In general I read Tywin’s thinking as him believing he can exploit the tensions and rivalry between Dorne and the Reach much like the Lorch and Hoat or Tyrion and Cersei dynamics we discussed earlier. Is that a probable outcome of his schemes? If Mace were really in charge and Oberyn ruled Tywin could tour the Free Cities and that war would happen. With Doran ruling, Olenna’s influence and Oberyn’s supposed positive relationship with Willas I’m not sure how successful exploiting any rift there might be.


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Please Help. I think I am monumentally stupi. And extremely new to forums. The above by Ragnarok Post #1 ... is that the whole "series of essays"? I 8nly see the underlined title "Tywin the military commander" which is ALL very good and interesting however I am looking for the title "Tywin and Tyrion". I would be sooo grateful for your help.

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Please Help. I think I am monumentally stupi. And extremely new to forums. The above by Ragnarok Post #1 ... is that the whole "series of essays"? I 8nly see the underlined title "Tywin the military commander" which is ALL very good and interesting however I am looking for the title "Tywin and Tyrion". I would be sooo grateful for your help.

By the looks of things the last title never made it onto the thread. You'll find the others posted throughout though.

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