Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister

    Game of Thrones
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... as the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms and the Lord of House Lannister. Cold, calculating and distant, Tywin Lannister preaches to his children the importance of family – although he’s more interested in protecting the family’s name and power than the people in it.

Profession... head of House Lannister. In practice, that means he’s a combination of politician, military general and businessman. He keeps an eye on the family’s gold reserves but also gets his hands dirty when he has to.

Interests… leaving behind a lasting legacy for the Lannister name. His father was famously gregarious and squandered the family’s fortune. Tywin took the opposite approach in regaining that money. Finding success through conservative, unemotional tactics has influenced all his subsequent decisions both personally and professionally.

Relationship Status... widowed after his wife Joanna died giving birth to their son Tyrion. Years later, he still blames Tyrion for her death. Not that Tywin seems to grieve for his wife for romantic reasons. Rather, he sees marriage as a form of political alliance and encourages his children to find spouses who come from other noble families to strengthen the family’s political bonds. 

Challenge... keeping his family rich and powerful. Tywin often stresses how important it is for people to respect and fear the Lannister name. However, his family’s legacy could take a substantial hit if word gets out that his grandson Joffrey, currently the King ruling atop the Iron Throne, is actually the son of his children Cersei (the Queen) and Jaime Lannister, rather than the legitimate offspring of Cersei and her now-dead husband, King Robert Baratheon. Thus Joffrey isn’t the rightful heir, and is the product of incest to boot. That’s not something Tywin would likely even be able to admit to himself, never mind tolerate being spread across the Seven Kingdoms.       

Personality... very smart, but guarded and extremely slow to show love or emotion. He hammers home to his children the importance of family, and yet he blames his youngest son for his wife’s death. Ultimately, family is a way for him to remain powerful, not be emotionally satisfied. He tells his son Jaime, “It’s the family name that lives on… Not your personal glory, not your honor… but family.” Pragmatic to the last, Tywin Lannister finds principles to be cumbersome, and always simply strives to make the best decision possible to maintain and expand power.


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