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House Lannister.png
House Lannister.png

Her father's eyes had always been unsettling; pale green, almost luminous, flecked with gold. His eyes could see inside you, could see how weak and worthless and ugly you were down deep. When he looked at you, you knew.
— Cersei Lannister on her father

Lord Tywin Lannister was Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West, and one of the most influential nobles of the Seven Kingdoms around the time of the War of the Five Kings. He had the reputation as one of the most powerful men in Westeros, and served three kings as Hand of the King.

Appearance and Character[]

Tywin is extremely tall and imposing, with cold and piercing green eyes flecked with gold. His golden hair was shaved when it began to turn grey, except for great golden whiskers on the sides of his face. He is described to be flat-stomached and slender, with broad shoulders. He is seldom seen without the Lannister colours of red or gold, or wearing some kind of ornamentation of his house; in battle, he wears red armour with gold highlights and a cloth-of-gold cape so heavy that golden lions are fused to the armour to carry it. Tywin does not believe in half-measures, does not forget a slight, and does not ever forgive.

Tywin is efficient, ruthless, controlling, proud, fiercely intelligent and stoic to a fault. With enormous authority at his disposal and the reputation for having extinguished vassal houses for defying him, Tywin is one of the most feared men in the Seven Kingdoms, the most respected and one of the most hated men also. He has a reputation for being extremely financially powerful and it was even remarked that he defecated gold as he had so much of it. He is extremely cold, though, and has an indifferent relationship with all of his children, especially Tyrion, whom he sees as an embarrassment. However, it is remarked by his own sister Genna that he shares most of his similarities (his cleverness, his ruthlessness, his independent power) with Tyrion, though when confronted with this Tywin was furious and refused to speak to her again.

Tywin is remarked to be so proud of his family name that he will do absolutely anything politically to improve his legacy, which he is practically obsessed with. Humourless and implacable, Tywin never laughs and mistrusts laughter, having suffered japes and jokes his entire life because of Aerys Targaryen's envy, Tyrion's infamy and Tytos Lannister's stupidity. It is remarked that he had an incredibly close friendship with Aerys when they were boys, but as it became clear that Tywin was better at ruling than Aerys could ever be, that relationship was soured and eventually destroyed by insult upon insult on Aerys' part. He loved his wife Joanna, and when she died he became cruel, harsh and pitiless to anyone who crossed him - even in comparison to how he was before.

Having served as Hand to the Mad King, Tywin is almost undisputed in his efficiency in that position. A brilliant administrator and intensely shrewd political figure, he devotes himself completely to a task at hand, so much that little else will matter to him. Tywin is not affectionate, and almost never has been, and will never shy from giving his opinion, even if it means facing off against the king he is serving. Tywin understands the balance of power better than most, and how best to wield it (albeit the most ruthlessly).


Early life[]

Tywin was the eldest son of Lord Tytos Lannister and Lady Jeyne Marbrand. After openly speaking out against the marriage between his sister Genna and House Frey, his father sent him to court, where he met Prince Aerys Targaryen and Steffon Baratheon. During the War of the Ninepenny Kings, Tywin became a knight, and earned the honour of knighting the young prince. However, throughout Tywin's youth, he was plagued by the terrible reputation of his house and, especially, his father. Tytos Lannister was the laughing stock of the Westerlands, which Tywin was made painfully clear of during the campaigns in the Stepstones.

While still in his teens, Tywin declared the debts to House Lannister to be repaid; he imprisoned Lord Tarbeck when the latter went to treat with his father. However, Lord Tytos overruled Tywin and released Tarbeck with an apology. Enraged, incredulous and utterly fuming, Tywin waited a year before reigniting his campaign. Houses Tarbeck and Reyne rebelled against House Lannister, and Tywin rode out en force and destroyed both the houses, their homes and all of their descendants. This act would be depicted in the song "The Rains of Castamere", one of the most famous songs in Westeros. Tywin was named Hand of the King by the newly-crowned Aerys Targaryen. Tywin wed his own cousin, Lady Joanna.

He became Warden of the West and Lord of Casterly Rock upon his father's death. Lord Tywin was by all accounts an able Hand, credited by many with giving the Seven Kingdoms twenty years of peace and prosperity, though it caused tension between Tywin and an increasingly-paranoid King Aerys II. The relationship between the two slowly and violently collapsed when it became clear that Tywin was the man who truly ruled the realm, Aerys lusted after Tywin's cousin Joanna, and apparently took liberties during the wedding night, and Aerys refused a marriage proposal between his son Rhaegar and Tywin's daughter Cersei.

Tywin's wife Joanna died in childbirth while bringing their youngest son Tyrion into the world. After Joanna died, Tywin apparently never smiled again, and never ceased to hold Tyrion in contempt. Furthermore, Tyrion being a dwarf was a truly humiliating fact and running joke throughout Westeros for Tywin, and even Aerys tormented Tywin with the idea that Tywin had been cursed with a dead wife and a deformed son to teach him some humility. Tyrion would grow to hate his father, even though some people realise that the two of them are intensely similar.

After the investiture of his eldest son and heir, Ser Jaime, into the Kingsguard, Tywin resigned the Handship and returned to Casterly Rock. During Robert's Rebellion, Lord Tywin ignored calls for support from both rebels and royalists. After the Battle of the Trident, he led a force of roughly 12,000 men to King's Landing, declaring his loyalty to Aerys II. Once the king opened the gates, however, Lord Tywin's forces proceeded to sack the city. Lord Tywin ordered the deaths of Princess Rhaenys Targaryen and Prince Aegon Targaryen, presenting their corpses, draped in cloaks of Lannister crimson, to the victorious Robert Baratheon.

Tywin would prove to have a complicated and unstable relationship with most of his siblings. With Kevan, he had a staunchly loyal and dependable confidante and spokesman who worked tirelessly to help realise his decrees. Gerion, not wanting to play and lose at Tywin's game, made japes about it. Tygett would be perpetually frustrated at his failure to be his own man and escape the shadow that Tywin cast, and the two of them had a stormy relationship. In his only sister, Tywin originally cared enough for her that he spoke out against her marriage to House Frey, but Genna would come to disapprove of the man that Tywin would become.

Tywin would prove to have a complicated, but altogether destructive relationship with his son Tyrion, whom he never ceased to blame for Joanna's death. One day, when Tywin discovered that Tyrion had married a common girl he and Jaime had met on the road named Tysha. Believing that the match would make House Lannister a laughingstock as Lord Tytos had done, Tywin made Jaime lie to Tyrion that the girl was a whore and that the whole arrangement had been Jaime's idea. However, Tywin then gave Tysha to his garrison, who proceeded to gang-rape her, paying a silver piece per man. Tywin then forced Tyrion himself to rape Tysha, but pay a gold coin because Lannisters were worth more. Tyrion's dislike for his father would forever turn to hatred, but Tywin could not care less.

War of the Five Kings[]

After the arrest of his younger son, Tyrion, by Catelyn Tully, Lord Tywin launched the assault on the Riverlands which marked some of the earliest battles in the conflict later named the War of the Five Kings. He was named Hand of the King by the small council of his grandson, King Joffrey. Lord Tywin defeated the northern forces under the command of Lord Roose Bolton at the Battle of the Green Fork. He sent his son, Tyrion, to King's Landing to serve as acting Hand of the King. For a brief time, Lord Tywin held the castle of Harrenhal. Repulsed by forces led by Ser Edmure Tully when he attempted to move his forces west to confront Robb Stark, Lord Tywin instead proceeded to King's Landing, joining forces with a great host under the command of Lord Mace Tyrell of Highgarden. Together, the Lannister and Tyrell armies defeated King Stannis Baratheon at the Battle of the Blackwater.

Lord Tywin was later confronted in his own privy chamber by his son, Tyrion, after the latter had discovered that he slept with Tyrion's former lover, Shae. During their final conversation, Tywin once again, and against his son's warning, called Tyrion's former wife Tysha a "whore". In return, Tyrion shot him with a crossbow, killing him.[1]

Notes and References[]