Characters: Game Of Thrones House Lannister

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House Lannister

"A Lannister always pays his debts."

Renly Baratheon: You have to give it to the Lannisters. They may be the most pompous, ponderous cunts the Gods ever suffered to walk the world, but they do have outrageous amounts of money.

Tywin Lannister: Fools look at the Westerlands and see gold. Fools see our wealth and call it strength. Gold is just another rock. The Westerlands are strong because of House Lannister. From strong leadership comes unity. From unity comes power.

Tyrion Lannister: A toast, to the proud Lannister children. The dwarf, the cripple, and the mother of madness.

House Lannister of Casterly Rock is renowned across Westeros and all of the known world as the wealthiest and most powerful single family in the Seven Kingdoms. They are also the real power behind the Iron Throne, despite the throne nominally being occupied by House Baratheon of King's Landing. Its lord has the title of Warden of the West, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, and Lord of Casterly Rock.

    In General 

  • Adaptational Heroism: While Tywin and Cersei never exactly make it to 'heroic', Tyrion arguably was there even in the books and Jaime is... Jaime, all of them get somehow polished, or at least made to appear more humane in the show. After all, we get to see them so often that is better if we care about the characters for some degree. To balance it out, Joffrey is made even nastier in the show than he was in the book.
  • Aerith and Bob: The mainline branch has Tywin, Cersei and Tyrion as fantastic names. Jaime, Kevan, Willem, Martyn and Lord Tytos are unusually spelt variations of familiar names. While Canon Foreigner like Reginald and Orson have real world common names.
  • Age Lift: Tywin is stated to be sixty seven years old in the fourth season, while he was a decade younger in the books. Jaime and Cersei are aged from early thirties to later ones (and explicitly 40 in Season 4), and Tyrion from being about twenty five years old to a thirty-something (who looks even older). Cersei's kids are aged accordingly, as Joffrey is explicitly stated to be seventeen years old is Season 2 (as opposed to being thirteen in the corresponding book), while Myrcella and Tommen were given about 2-3 years apiece.
  • Animal Motifs/King of Beasts: Their sigil is a lion, which they are often called. Cersei outright uses a parable about lions to comfort her son Tommen during the Siege of King's Landing. More subtly, Jaime even starts to physically resemble a shaggy old lion when he gains a full Beard of Sorrow.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • To House Stark. At the beginning of the series the two houses can barely stand to be in the same room together without getting drunk. Joffrey quickly manages to turn the Starks into sworn enemies of the Lannisters. Their differences were initially ideological, since Ned considered them Johnny-come-latelys to Robert's Rebellion with Tywin making a ruthless and opportunistic power grab (True), and Jaime being The Quisling who never protested the Mad King's injustices until it was convenient (Plausible, but ultimately false). The Lannisters for the most part regard the Starks as humorless bores sulking about honor. (Cersei's years-long grudge over King Robert Baratheon's preference of long-deceased Lyanna Stark probably doesn't help matters here, either.)) It breaks into civil war, thanks to mistakes and Hot-Blooded actions on both sides; with the conflict becoming extremely personal and bitter.
    • They are also this to House Martell, at least as far as Oberyn Martell is concerned. The reasons for this is that Tywin made it personal during the Sack of King's Landing by ordering Gregor Clegane to kill the children of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell, with Clegane going the distance and raping and murdering Elia For the Evulz. Tyrion being the Token Good Teammate, manages to secure a marriage alliance between Myrcella Baratheon (Cersei's daughter) and the Martells; but this doesn't smooth things over one bit. Oberyn Martell in "Histories and Lore: House Martell" states that despite supporting the Targaryens, the Martells understood that the Rebellion had good reasons to fight against Aerys and that he accepts that Tywin's sack of King's Landing is something that happens in all wars but even accepting all that, brutally killing Elia and her children was beyond the pale.
  • Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Cersei, Tyrion and Jaime. While Jaime does posses beauty as well and Cersei shows some brains (though half of the time she would be better off in mediocrity), the things each is renowned for is being one of the most beautiful women in Westeros for Cersei, being THE Master Swordsman for Jaime and being a world-class Chessmaster for Tyrion.
  • Beauty Is Bad: The most kind-hearted adult Lannister is Tyrion, the least attractive. The increasing compassion of Jaime is relative to his increasing filthiness and wretchedness. Cersei, who is considered to be one of the most beautiful women in Westeros, is cruel, treacherous and occasionally murderous, while her handsome son Joffrey is a horrific psychopath.
  • Big Bad: They're the faction most commonly identified as the villainous antagonist of the series outside of the White Walkers.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Neither Tywin nor his descendants would be called well-adjusted, apart from Myrcella and Tommen.
    Tyrion: Lets raise a toast to the proud Lannister children! The Cripple, the Dwarf, and the Mother of Madness.
  • Bling of War: Tywin, Tyrion, Jaime and Joffrey all wear very elaborate battle armor, with golden lions everywhere. Even the regular soldiers' armor is flaunting the Lannisters' wealth, with red enamelled plates and richly decorated helms. This makes them stand out among the other houses, especially the Starks, whose soldiers and even lords wear utilitarian armor.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Two characteristics of the Lannisters are their blonde hair and their ruthlessness/lack of empathy for anyone outside their family.
  • Boring but Practical: The Lannisters don't have warging powers like the Stark children, or dragons like the Targaryens, or even the power of a god like the Lord of Light. What the Lannisters do have, however, is gold. Gold that they parlay into tremendous military and political power to support their family legacy. Indeed, the Lannisters tend be serious skeptics about all things magical and are not easily intimidated by news of dragons rising in the east.
    • Of course, the problem with gold is that you can only mine so much of it. In Season 4, Tywin reveals that their last mine went dry just before the War of the Five Kings, meaning their primary source of income is gone.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "A Lannister always pays his debts". It's more quoted in universe than their actual family motto, "Hear me roar".
    • "As rich as a Lannister" is another common saying about the family. More derogatively, it's also said that "The Lannisters shit gold".
  • Cool Sword: Lord Tywin destroys House Stark's own ancestral Valyrian steel Cool Sword, Ice, to create two more for House Lannister, which has no Valyrian sword. Though probably less because he wants two really cool swords and more because he wants to show how completely House Stark has been crushed, and to manufacture legitimacy for Lannister rule of the Seven Kingdoms, since the Targaryens are the only other family known to have possessed more than one Valyrian steel weaponFrom the books... .
  • Crippling Overspecialization: While Tycho Nestoris flat-out admits that Tywin Lannister is the real power in King's Landing, Ser Davos follows up in pointing out the fatal flaws of Cersei, Jaime, and Tommen as Tywin's successors. Considering that no other Lannister of their or Tywin's generation has been depicted in nearly the same league as Tywin himself and that his sole appearance in Season 5 consists of his corpse...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tyrion and Jaime, almost to a fault. Tywin and Cersei also get in on the action occasionally.
  • Decapitated Army:
    • Killing Robb Stark is Tywin's winning move in the War of the Five Kings. Given Stannis' determination, it's not as decisive as he expects.
    • The family owe most of their power and influence to Tywin alone. Ser Davos and Lord Baelish remark that with Tywin and the sheer power of his will gone, all that remains is Jaime, a one-handed, untrustworthy and isolated man, Tommen, a soft King, and Cersei, an unpopular former Queen whose power diminishes every day in favour of Margaery's
  • Dysfunctional Family: All of the Lannisters have wildly different personalities and separate range of issues. Tywin is a conservative, cruel and domineering man who reduces all his children to resentment to seek his approval, Jaime is a Jaded Washout burdened with Conflicting Loyalty, Cersei is resentful of the low status of being a woman despite her high ambitions and Tyrion gets grief from both family and Westerosi society for being a dwarf. About the only thing keeping them together is enemies attacking their family and power forcing them into Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. Naturally, things fall apart when their enemies have apparently all been defeated.
    • Tywin and Cersei also blame Tyrion for their wife/mother dying giving birth to him.
  • The Empire: Sort of. They want to bring all the regions under Lannister control or at least influence by marrying into each of the Great Houses or, when not possible, by placing men loyal to them.
  • False Reassurance: The unofficial motto "A Lannister always pays his debts" is used both as a genuine reassurance ("We will always reward those who help us") as well as an implied threat ("We will also always get payback on those who wrong us").
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • To the House of Lancaster and medieval English nobility in general and, to some extent, the infamous Borgia family of the Italian Renaissance. Game of Thrones has often been compared to the Borgias and their schemes, mainly because of the Lannister characters.
    • Their home, the Westerlands, bears a small resemblance to South Africa as well (lots of gold, lions, a huge mountain behind the main port city.)
    • The HBO show's version of Lannister armor combines features from The Renaissance, Feudal Japan, the Teutonic Knights, and the German men-at-arms of the Russian film Alexander Nevsky, which in turn were a reference to Nazi Germany, as is Tywin's dream about a thousand-year dynasty.
  • Fatal Flaw: One trait common to each member of this house is a fundamental inability to just shut up when they really, really should shut up, and it costs each of them dearly.
    • Cersei's constant barrage of spite and hostility towards those around her immediately set Ned against her and help set in motion events which lead to war, and continually sabotage her other political schemes.
    • Jaime's continued snarky attempts to bribe his way out of Locke's custody end up causing him to lose a hand.
    • Tyrion's repeated calling out of Joffrey and the endless stream of insults he hurls in his direction end up making him the prime suspect when the latter is murdered, and him finally snapping at his trial and hurling insults at everyone in the court seals his fate.
    • Tywin repeatedly dismissing the dead Shae as a "whore" when a very angry and crossbow toting Tyrion has very clearly told him not to ends up leading to his thoroughly undignified death.
  • Fiction 500: They are the wealthiest family in Westeros by far. Or used to be the wealthiest family, until their gold mines ran dry. The second season briefly mentions that House Lannister trades with the Free Cities and as far as Qarth.
  • Fun with Homophones: The Lannisters' song and go-to implied threat, The Rains of Castamere, is about the destruction of House Reyne of Castamere.
  • A House Divided: There has always been tension and dislike between the members of the Lannister family. Once the war is all but won are they quickly fall into this with the events of the Purple Wedding being the spark that sets them off against each other.
  • Implied Death Threat: Their creed of "a Lannister always pays his debts" is both a declaration that those who help the Lannisters will be repaid, and a warning that they will have vengeance on those who wrong them. Characters are well-aware that the saying goes both ways and use it as such.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Turns out the Lannister's gold mines ran dry long ago and financing the War of the Five Kings had drained the coffers of what was left. They have to keep it quiet though, as one of the reasons the Lannisters are so feared is because of their wealth.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Tywin's major political failure is his inability to secure his legacy via a stable heir. Many observers outside the family, note that after Tywin, an undisputed master of the game of thrones, none of his children or grandchildren are near his level to hold onto his gains while the best option, Tyrion Lannister, is repeatedly discredited. This is the main flaw exploited by his enemies. Ser Davos uses it to secure a loan from the Iron Bank of Braavos, noting how Lannister credit is entirely depended on a 67 year old-man, convincing the Braavosi to back Stannis, to better safeguard the return of the loans.
  • Leitmotif: The instrumental for The Rains of Castamere is played when a Lannister does something particularly amazing or nefarious, such as Cersei threatening Littlefinger, Tyrion blackmailing Lancel, Tywin executing his men in Harrenhal following Ser Amory's assassination, Tyrion's speech at the Battle of Blackwater, Tywin's cavalry crushing Stannis' force, and Jaime saving Brienne from the bear pit. In the eponymous episode, its diegetic use preludes The Red Wedding. It also plays at the end of Tyrion's trial, when he demands a trial by combat. And finally, for irony points it plays when Tyrion kills Tywin, signaling the now inevitable and final collapse of the Lannisters.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Owing to the setting they're in, the Lannisters still come across as assholes, but given how bad other people in the setting are, they can come across as sympathetic on a few occasions. There's also the fact that the Lannisters never wanted the War of the Five Kings or to outright destroy the Starks and the Tullys. They were framed by Littlefinger in the eyes of the Starks for the murder of Jon Arryn, and a series of other misunderstandings he facilitated to stretch their general dislike for each others' values into a bloody vendetta. From the Lannisters perspective, the Starks were being unnecessarily belligerent, judgmental and short-sighted. Ned Stark's execution was the result of Joffrey's whim and definitely something neither Tywin nor Cersei intended.
  • Massively Numbered Siblings: In sharp contrast to the Starks and the Baratheons, the Lannisters have several siblings and relatives with cousins and nephews aplenty with multiple lines to inherit and keep their land and titles. Though Tywin is obsessed with ensuring the main line represented by him remains at the top of the succession ladder.
  • Nay-Theist: One thing Tywin and his children all agree on is that the Gods (whose existence they don't deny), in Tyrion's words, are vicious cunts. Except Jaime, who's more of a Hollywood Atheist.
  • Not Me This Time: They had nothing to do with Jon Arryn's death, the Starks thinking they were Always Chaotic Evil naturally assumed that they were involved in it especially once they unearth the parentage of the Royal Children. They were framed by Lysa Arryn at the behest of Petyr Baelish.
  • People of Hair Color: The only blondes in the series. This also tips off Ned about Joffrey's parentage.
  • Pride: The recurring theme of House Lannister.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: While the Lannisters may have won the War of the Five Kings it has come at great cost: the war has not only left the family bankrupt, but also in massive debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos. With their gold mines tapped out and their military spent from fighting and losing so many battles along the way and forced to concede a lot of power to the Tyrells, the Lannisters are in a very fragile position. The only thing that is going for them is that no one else knows for sure how bad their situation really is. The dire situation becomes unmanageable after the demise of Tywin, the only one able to clean up the mess.
  • Realpolitik: Tywin's guiding principle is extended to the rest of the family whether they like it or not.
    Lord Tywin: The house that puts family first will always defeat the house that puts the whims and wishes of its sons and daughters first. A good man does everything in his power to better his family's position regardless of his own selfish desires.
    • He further explains this reasoning to Cersei after winning the war, noting that there's only so much the Lannisters can bully and push people around and the space for that is even less when they are broke and in debt. So Tywin has to curry favor with the Tyrells with marriage alliances even if he doesn't trust them at all:
    You don't form alliances with people you trust.
  • Redshirt Army: The Lannister army loses battles and suffers staggering losses in each engagement once Robb Stark enters the fray. For example, that huge force Tywin musters to pillage the Riverlands? Precisely half of it is destroyed when Robb defeats and captures Jaime. The replacement army at Oxcross? Robb destroys that one, too. By the end of Season 3, Tywin has given up trying to beat Robb conventionally, and does so by playing to his own strengths: politics and intrigue.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Oh, dear lord.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Jaime and Tyrion get by on Tywin's and Cersei's reputation as well as their family's gold.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: This is a basic family survival strategy. Virtually all the gold mines in Westeros are in the Westerlands, making the Lannisters (and many of their vassals, to boot) obscenely rich. However, it can and has backfired spectacularly when the target decides that they're insulted by the idea of being bought by some rich snot. See Jaime Lannister below.
    • Come Season 4 though, they're running on the idea that they're still rich...
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Pride.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: In Season 4. With the Starks essentially wiped out, Tyrion, Cersei, and Jaime receive the largest amount of screen time. "The Laws of Gods and Men", the sixth episode of Season 4, marks the first episode in the show's history that none of the Starks, not even Jon Snow, have appeared. While prior to this season, they were the Big Bad, but they've increasingly received POV scenes. This can even be seen in the title sequence. In the first three seasons, the top billings were generally mixed between the Starks, Lannisters and Daenerys. In Season 4, the top three billings are all Lannisters (Tyrion, Jaime, and Cersei).
  • Tangled Family Tree: It's not touched on much, but the Lannister family's inbreeding produced such a situation:
    • Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella are Cersei's and Jaime's sons/daughter and nephews/niece, Tyrion's double nephews/niece, Tywin's double grandsons/granddaughter, and each others' brother/sister and cousin... and it only gets more complicated when marriages are arranged with the Tyrells.
    • Tywin's marriage to his first cousin Joanna makes him both father and cousin to Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion.
  • The Unfettered: They tend to be remarkably ruthless in playing the game of thrones.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Like the Starks, they were this to Littlefinger. Despite comprising of schemers and chess-masters, the Lannisters' sense of power and arrogance made it easy for Littlefinger to make them fight an expensive war with the Starks, inherit a debt-ridden Kingdom, and then turn on each other when their Puppet King dies and Tyrion is accused by his own sister with his father's acquiescence.
  • Villain Ball: While many events were beyond their control, there were more than a few times that the Lannisters and friends screwed themselves over. (MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD) Highlights include:
    • Lord Tywin Lannister's and Queen Regent Cersei Lannister's spiteful and, often, rather petty abuse they give to their very competent relative (son and brother, respectively) Tyrion Lannister for the crimes of "murder" and being a supposed Depraved Dwarf. The latter of which is slightly true, but nonetheless exaggerated by the pair (the effect of Tyrion constantly being ostracized and mocked while his often stunning successes are downplayed and dismissed leads to him striking out against the Ungrateful Bastards. This directly leads to the family's downfall).
    • Tywin revealing to Tyrion, for no other reason than to be an asshole, that Tyrion's first wife is actually a former whore who Tywin then gives to his men to be raped/paid for sex while Tyrion watches (leading to Tyrion's eventual cynicism and bitterness, his aforementioned outcast status, and to some very long-term bad blood).
    • Tywin giving Tyrion a Kangaroo Court trial after Cersei accuses him of killing Joffrey because he was at the scene of the crime, which was a blatantly obvious Frame-Up job by some unknown third party (leading to Tyrion's breakdown and setting him up for execution).
    • And finally, Tywin's actions when Tyrion goes to confront him after being set free by his brother, Ser Jaime Lannister, and his friend, Lord "Master of Whisperers" Varys: Upon stumbling across Tyrion's ex-girlfriend Shae (another prostitute), in his father's bed she freaks out and attacks him with a knife which forces him to kill her. Tywin (while taking a shit on the toilet) decides to mock Tyrion (after the aforementioned ex's death) even as Tyrion is pointing a crossbow at his chest. Yeah...
  • Villain Protagonist: See Spotlight-Stealing Squad. The house Lannister has gradually became the most prominent one in the story with Tyrion and Cersei ranking the first and the second in terms of speaking lines over the course of four seasons (and Jaime placing within the top 5). And despite the existence of it's more sympathetic members, like Tyrion and Jaime, it still serves as the Big Bad of the families of Westeros, with even those characters technically supporting the villainous side. Until Tyrion's exile, anyway.
  • We Have Reserves: They muster 60,000 men when the hostilities begin and every time the Starks and the Tullys shatter a Lannister host (which happens in several battles), they just raise another. When the Tyrells come into the war on the Lannisters' side this is literally true, since the Reach is (in terms of area) the largest region of Westeros after the sparsely-populated North, as well as the most fertile and densely populated. Best summed up by the opposition in Season 3: Edmure Tully tells Robb Stark that they've been inflicting more Lannister casualties than they've taken, but the angry retort is "WE NEED OUR MEN MORE THAN TYWIN NEEDS HIS!" Of course, even though they've won the war, the heavy casualties ended up being proportionately high enough to leave them tapped for manpower and weakened for garrisoning Westeros.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: The Lannisters come on top of the War of Five Kings and rule Westeros, but they are weaker than ever in the aftermath and have to rely heavily on the Tyrells. The king whose rule they fought to cement has been assassinated and the next king is just an untrained boy. The Crown is millions in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, casting serious doubt on the Lannisters' reputation for repayment. The Riverlands are in ruins and the North is not pacified. Stannis is back in the fight thanks to a loan from the Iron Bank - another result of the Lannisters' mounting debts. Other forces are working to undermine the Lannisters; Littlefinger controls the Vale, the Reach is maneuvering to control the new king, and the Martells hate the Lannisters more then ever after the demise of Oberyn. Their armies are decimated from all the fighting, the gold mines have run dry for years, and most of their money spent in the war. Making things worse, Tywin, their very capable leader, is killed by Tyrion, who flees to Essos, while Cersei and Jaime are prone to infighting.
  • You Are What You Hate: The two Lannisters who hate each other the most (Tywin and Tyrion) also have the most in common, down to their names.

    Lord Tywin Lannister 

Played By: Charles Dance

"It's the family name that lives on. That's all that lives on. Not your personal glory, not your honor, but family."

Loras Tyrell: Just being in his presence was enough to make it so clear just how formidable a person you were dealing with. What a— what a force to be reckoned with.

Father of the three Lannister siblings, and grandfather to Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen. Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West, Tywin Lannister is perhaps the most feared Lord in the Realm, and is certainly the richest. Calculating, harsh, and ruthless, he is famed as a brilliant administrator, who managed the Realm masterfully during his twenty years as Hand of the King to Aerys Targaryen and is a capable battle commander. He resumes the post under his grandson, King Joffrey and he leads the fight against Robb Stark in the War of the Five Kings, gaining the title "Protector of the Realm," traditionally one of the King's four titles, upon Tommen's coronation. Tywin's driving motive is in securing House Lannister's hold as the most powerful dynasty in Westeros, no matter the cost, which eventually gets Tywin killed by his son Tyrion after one confrontation too many. A remarkable individual acknowledged as the real power in King's Landing, when people talk of him it often sounds more like he's a force of Nature rather than a high lord. Even posthumously, the ones who knew Tywin speak highly of him, and his foes are greatly relieved once such a formidable adversary is no longer in the game.
  • Abusive Parents: Not physically abusive, but psychologically and emotionally abusive to horrific levels. There's no positive reinforcement and constant Disappointed In You speeches all around. He's especially vindictive to Tyrion, going out of his way to make his life a living hell.
  • The Ace: A darker than usual example, but he is the Lannister that sets the standard for all the others. He is ruthless and a better schemer than Cersei, he is a more renowned commander than Jaime and because he is willing to cross lines that Tyrion won't (such as say, violating guest right) he is a more effective war-time politician. He is The Dreaded for a very good reason.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Tywin is given some Pet the Dog moments to show a softer side whereas in the books, he never lets his guard down:
    • When Arya poses as his cup-bearer, she brings out a softer and paternal side to him. His 'disowning' of Jaime is not as harsh as in the book, either and instead he uses Tyrion's trial to con him into following in his original plan. He also tries to indulge in flattery to Cersei on occassion and even Tyrion in the moments before his death.
    • A major change which softens Tywin considerably is the excising of the crucial conversation about Tyrion's first wife Tysha in the moment before his death. This was Adapted Out of the show, and being perhaps Tywin's most despicable moment he comes off a lot nicer without it.
  • Adaptational Villainy: He is a huge jerk in the books as well, but in the show his treatment to Tyrion is largely unjustified. In the books, Tyrion has many more negative traits, including a willingness to some degree to harm his own relatives and use them in his schemes, which Tywin loathes since family is everything in his eyes. With such aspects of Tyrion toned down for the show, Tywin's hatred of him is more personal and spiteful.
  • Affably Evil: Shows traces of this towards Arya when she was noble fugitive incognito where he drops his guard in a rare moment, and without abandoning his statesman persona, he's grandfatherly towards Tommen. Averted otherwise, he puts on a cold, unsmiling, and stern front when dealing with everyone else and becomes openly cruel in front of his son Tyrion.
  • Age Lift: While many characters were made older for the show, Tywin deserves special mention, as in the books, at this point he is 57 years old, yet in The Laws of Gods and Men, his age is listed as 67, a full 10 years older, versus Jaime, who was aged by less than a decade.
    • Also his age when he massacred House Reyne of Castamere, the inspiration of Lannisters Theme-song. In the books, the dvd's history of the great houses feature and hinted in the lyrics of the song ("Who are you, the proud Lord said, that I must bow so low?") claims that Tywin started to repair his weak fathers blunders once he came of age around age 16. But in the show Caersei remembers the dead Reyn's corpses hanging in Casterly Rock for the whole summer, meaning it must have taken place at max 35ish years ago, or when Tywin was at the lowest 32 years old.
  • Ambition Is Evil:
    • In his own words, his dream is to "establish a [Lannister] dynasty that will last a thousand years". Robert is even more generous, summing Tywin's goal up as "wanting to own the world". As the ruling patriarch of the house which he nearly saw destroyed by his weak father, Tywin will do anything to maintain his family's greatness, no matter how vicious.
    • His outsize ambition is the main reason why he doesn't get along very well with his children — in his eyes, they've done nothing with their lives without his help or name, or at least so he believes. He approves of Jaime's great skill as a Master Swordsman but is disappointed that he doesn't apply himself. As for Cersei, he feels that she didn't do enough in her position as Queen and did a poor job raising Joffrey. As for Tyrion, from his perspective Tyrion was content to spend all his time drinking and whoring until Tywin appointed him Hand and later Master of Coin. From Tyrion's perspective, he hardly ever got opportunities because his father kept insulting him with tasks like manage the cisterns of Casterly Rock and even when Tyrion did great at that, hardly considers it indicative of any talent.
  • Archnemesis Dad: To his son Tyrion, to almost absurd levels. They completely and totally hate each other. Tywin hates his son for killing his beloved wife in childbirth and being a whoremongering dwarf, while Tyrion hates his father for always treating him with contempt, and in particular for taking his first love Tysha from him and later sleeping with the woman he loved after hypocritically abusing him for his whoremongering all his life.
  • Asshole Victim: His murder at Tyrion's hands was definitely a long time coming.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Tywin is a two-time Hand of the King, and the Warden of the West (a position only equal to three others and only inferior to the King himself and his Hand). Hand in hand with his titles, Tywin is a ruthless yet highly effective commander who struck the killing blow to King's Landing and the Targaryen royal family in Robert's Rebellion.
  • Badass: We're introduced to Tywin while he's calmly skinning a massive stag he just hunted; and judging by the blood on his face and armor in "Blackwater", it is evident he fought right beside his soldiers. This is a change from the books, where Tywin tended to be a general who stood far back from the battlefield to assess his movements.
  • Badass Baritone
  • Badass Beard
  • Badass Boast:
    • "The Rains of Castamere" is a famous song about a young lord who annihilated an entire family of vassals who crossed him, and its protagonist is still walking around and death-staring everyone in his presence.
    • When Cersei dares him to reign Joffrey in, Tywin simply responds with "I will". Tywin once again walks the walk, and is able to control Joffrey with lines such as "I'll make sure you understand that when I've won your war for you."
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Was previously Hand of the King to Aerys II. He becomes Hand of the King once again after King Robert dies. His true genius lies in the craft of political intrigue and public administration within his capacity as a statesman.
  • Badass Grandpa
  • Badass Longcoat: A black leather one in Season 3.
  • Bad Boss: Justifed in most cases, as he's Surrounded by Idiots. He's actually rather friendly with Arya, as he recognizes her as intelligent and competent. That is until he hands her over to the service of Ser Gregor Clegane.
  • Bait the Dog:
    • After saving Arya from the Mountain's prison pen, and spending a few weeks with Arya as his cupbearer, mentioning how she reminds him of his own daughter at that age, and generally making the audience smile at their father-daughter interactions, he leaves and specifically gives her to the Mountain, with strict orders to stop him from ever getting drunk no less, his less than stellar record with children and females notwithstanding.
    • Initially, it seems that Tywin has changed his mind, he wonders if he was wrong about Tyrion being a stunted fool. He then appoints Tyrion Acting Hand and this drives Tyrion to do a magnificent job, personally saving King's Landing and thus allowing the Lannisters to keep fighting the war, despite having all the odds against him and almost everyone else trying to sabotage him out of idiocy or spite (or both). When Tyrion asks for his reward (which is actually his birthright), Tywin proves that he hasn't changed one bit, bringing up his whoremongering, dismissing his successes and stating that Tyrion is a worthless freak who killed his mother and will never be more than the family embarrassment.
  • Batman Gambit: He's quite good at setting up these:
    • The Red Wedding is a result of his astute Flaw Exploitation of the fallout of the breakup of the Stark-Frey Marriage Alliance and the defection of the Karstarks after Lord Rickard's execution.
    • Tyrion's trial for regicide is another one. He decides to use Jaime's Big Brother Instinct at seeing Tyrion humiliated before the court to force him to bargain leaving the Kingsguard for Casterly Rock, and at the same time force a False Confession from Tyrion and use that to send him to the Wall. It almost works.
  • Berserk Button: Tywin does not tolerate the slightest insubordination from his children or any slights on the family name, real or imagined.
  • Big Bad: In Season 3 and Season 4, he occupies this for the other War of the Five Kings factions especially the Starks and Baratheons. Tywin is the real muscle of the iron throne, and responsible for the worst atrocities of the war, such as sending Gregor Clegane to make the Riverlands a blasted wasteland and turning Harrenhal into a nightmare garrison and then the Red Wedding. That said Tywin only did this because of Catelyn kidnapped Tyrion and as the story unravels it's revealed that Tywin was not the primary cause of the whole conflict.
  • Big Damn Heroes/Villainous Rescue:
    • At Harrenhal, when he stops the wanton torturing and killing of prisoners through Pragmatic Villainy, enslaving them instead and later in Season 2, when he and the Tyrells save King's Landing from being overtaken by Stannis' troops in "Blackwater", a straight example of The Cavalry, complete with triumphant Rains of Castamere over the credits.
    • Podrick Payne was almost hanged for the actions of his master, but Tywin heard his family name in time, commuted the sentence and sent him to squire for Tyrion as punishment for the two of them. Though the two saw it as Cool and Unusual Punishment.
  • Blatant Lies: When Oberyn asks him if he denies involvement in Elia Martell's murder, Tywin answers, "Categorically", but the uncharacteristic, deflective tone of his voice hints he's at least uneasy with the assertion. From the books... 
    • His claims that he wouldn't let Tyrion be executed (while Tyrion was aiming a crossbow at him), despite Tywin ordering the execution himself. Charles Dance's delivery is so good and there's just enough of a kernel of truth to that speech that it's just possible to believe Tywin was telling the truth.
  • Break the Haughty: In "The Children" Cersei manages to hurt Tywin about the one thing he cares about - the family legacy - by simply revealing to him that the rumors about the incest were true all along. Tywin is shocked and in denial, and then later Tyrion finds out that Father was a hypocrite whoremonger himself, permanently destroying his credibility and removing any ability to bargain for his life with Tyrion.
  • Brutal Honesty: Lord Tywin makes no bones about anything. Probably his most noteworthy example is when he tells Tommen that his older brother was a horrible King. Right after he died. When his body was in the same room as them. And Tommen and his older brother's mother next to him.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: During the last days of the Mad King, his army entered King's Landing as royalist allies and then proceeded to attack and pillage the city in Robert's name.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Slightly touched upon. He has Seven Kingdoms to run during an open rebellion and the ship of fools and schemers that he governs does not make it any easier. When Tyrion casually asks him if he's enjoying the position, Tywin finds the query outlandish and repeats back the question in disbelief From the books... .
  • The Chessmaster: Tywin is one of the most prolific in the series along with Varys and Littlefinger. His money, his army, his name, and his ability to verbally and physically dominate anyone he speaks to, make him one of the most powerful men in the kingdoms, and he's well-aware of it. He really shows his hand at this in Season 3 once he's Hand and can start turning his attention to consolidating Lannister power once he's off the battlefield.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Tywin's main hat is his prioritizing maximum victory with minimum losses and he'll use every trick he can think of to achieve his political and military goals.
    • What makes him a chessmaster here instead of an idiot that violated every principle of diplomacy and Sacred Hospitality in the worst way possible, however, is that he didn't take any active role in the matter — he simply made some assurances to an already traitorous, ambitious, selfish ally of Robb Stark's, giving the betrayal a guaranteed reward if actually carried out; the actual betrayal, its nature, and all of the extreme diplomatic and cultural taboos involved were not Tywin's idea or something he had a direct hand in.
      Explain to me why it is more noble to kill 10,000 men in battle than a dozen at dinner.
    • In the History and Lore videos, he justifies the Sacking of King's Landing as this; in his mind it decisively ended the war in one fell swoop of bloody violence rather than prolong it indefinitely and prevent additional casualties.
  • Comically Serious: Seen with interactions with Tyrion during his wedding, as Tywin unexpectedly slip in to the role of straight man to his son. Other incidents include giving a version of The Talk to Tommen in the Sept of Baelor, and trying to talk with Oberyn Martell in a brothel... with Oberyn offering him a seat right where a male prostitute had been laying with Oberyn.
  • Composite Character: His intro of butchering a stag is actually from Randyll Tarly, Sam's father. And his use of Arya as a cupbearer is taken from Roose Bolton.
  • Control Freak: Of the highest, most unhealthy order, in that he wants to control everything and everyone.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: His audiences are completely one-sided and anyone who dares to argue with him gets verbally demolished. The only exception has been Arya Stark and Lady Olenna. In literal military terms, his utter annihilation of House Reyne of Castamere could be seen as this. The same goes for the Red Wedding, in which he all but annihilates the enemy forces in a single night, destroying their leadership and (to the best of his and everyone else's knowledge) male family line.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: After Tywin's death, Loras has to give his condolences to Cersei and he painfully struggles to say something nice about her father. He finally calls the deceased lord 'a force to be reckoned with', then pauses for a moment, then rephrases it, then pauses again and finally repeats the original phrase. While the moment is awkward, the departed would find the words highly praising because that's precisely the image Tywin cultivated and relished.
  • Dead Guy on Display: As noted by Oberyn Martell, after Clegane murdered Elia and her children, Tywin ordered their bodies to be brought to the Throne Room and wrapped in Lannister banners, and presented before Robert Baratheon as a token of fealtyFrom the books .
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Although not to the level of, say, his sons, and placing particular emphasis on deadpan. This is most evident during his dealings with his subordinates. For example:
      Polliver: (to Arya, while dressed as a boy) What are you looking at?! Kneel! Kneel or I'll take your lungs out, boy!
      Tywin: You'll do no such thing. This one's a girl, you idiot.
    • And again in "The Old Gods and the New":
      Tywin: (to Amory Lorch) My cupbearer can read better than you.
  • Death by Irony: Goes by the motto of "a Lannister always pays his debts"... then gets killed by a Lannister who is most certainly paying his debt.
  • Death Glare: The non-verbal part of his imposing stance when someone antagonizes or displeases him. If looks could kill, his probably will. Special notice goes to his expression when Joffrey insults him at a Small Council meeting in "Mhysa".
    • And even that pales in comparison to the look he sends to Tyrion in "The Laws of of Gods and Men" at the end of Tyrion's trial. Tyrion returns it in kind.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Any slight against House Lannister is met with extreme prejudice. His establishing moment in the backstory was wiping out the entirety of the Lannister vassal House Reyne for daring to think that they could stand up to the Lannisters. When he gives his speech about family reputation and fear, he really, really means it. He responds to Catelyn Stark taking Tyrion as a hostage by launching a Rape, Pillage, and Burn campaign on the Riverlands to show everyone that you do not mess with the Lannisters, even if it's the most worthless-in-his-eyes of Lannisters.
  • The Dreaded: The most feared person in the series during his life, someone who keeps Petyr Baelish, Varys, Tyrion, Olenna and even Joffrey intimidated from openly crossing him, Robb Stark likewise sees Tywin as his enemy. Tyrion defines Westeros as "Seven Kingdoms united in fear of Tywin Lannister".
  • Dragon-in-Chief:
    • Hierarchically, Joffrey is the Big Bad, at least in terms of the War of the Five Kings story. But Tywin serves as his military surrogate and all Lannister enemies sees him as the Final Boss to defeat. When he becomes Hand of the King, he is seen as the true face of the government and unlike his children he does manage to completely nullify Joffrey. His status as the real power in the land is lampshaded in "Mhysa".
      Tyrion: You just sent the most powerful man [Joffrey] in Westeros to bed without his supper.
      Tywin: You're a fool if you believe he is the most powerful man in Westeros.
      Tyrion: A treasonous statement. Joffrey is king.
      Tywin: You really think a crown gives you power?
    • He was also The Dragon as Hand to King Aerys until he resigned. When Robert's Rebellion tilted in favor of the rebels, Tywin became The Starscream and slaughtered Aerys' grandkids.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: He's perpetually unamused, given that his standards are inhumanly high, has no tolerance for incompetence and Joffrey's reign has been a long parade of follies and disasters.
    Tywin: Madness, madness and stupidity! (regarding Ned Stark's execution)
  • Establishing Character Moment: His aloof, stern patriarchy over the Lannister family is laid bare in his very first scene, a conversation in his war camp with Jaime, which produces many of his defining quotes. While he's butchering a stag, no less.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Missing the bigger picture, Tywin can hardly fathom it when Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion are successfully rebelling against the head of house Lannister. The line "You shot me", even shares the feeling of disbelief ("why, this is violence"); like that of which Julius Caesar expressed during his own assassination.
  • Evil Is Petty: For all of his magnificence, the lord of Casterly Rock has done some extremely petty things:
    • When he discovered Tyrion had married Tysha he had the marriage annulled. This is reasonable and it serves as a message to his son. However, afterwards he had his garrison rape her while making Tyrion watch, which was completely unnecessary and only showed where Cersei got her pettiness fromFrom the books... .
    • When Tyrion asks him about inheriting Casterly Rock — being at this point the rightful heir — Tywin lashes out at him, blaming him for his wife's murder, calling him stupid - despite organizing the defence of Kings's landing and actually keeping Joffrey and Cersei in control, which was the entire point of him becoming Hand - and claiming he would rather die than make Tyrion - the one most suited to lead House Lannister in the future - the heir.
    • Cersei points out that Tywin is obsessed with the idea of a great family line, at the expense of the next generation thereof.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Jaime is frequently the only evidence of Tywin Lannister being capable of feeling empathy for another living human being. Tywin even shows physical affection in the only scene they share before the war and is very anguished later by the captivity of his son. He is genuinely compassionate towards Jaime losing his hand and asks him to finally become his heir and leave the Kingsguard but Jaime's unexpected refusal makes him into a cold hard-ass again, mocking Jaime for not doing anything during the war, wasting his life as a glorified bodyguard and telling him that he can no longer count Tywin as his family.
    • He genuinely loved his late wife, and holds Tyrion in such high contempt partly for causing his wife's death, and seems to like his brother Kevan, at least treating him as a good lieutenant and advisor, even though Tywin may have the final word. He also showed some outward paternal concern for Tommen and becomes The Svengali to him. He also admits that he loved his father Tytos even if Tywin despised his weakness.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It comes out of Pragmatic Villainy generally, but Tywin generally has little patience for the more vulgar form of evil indulged by Cersei, Amory Lorch and Joffrey.
    • He regarded Ned Stark's execution as a moronically stupid move on the part of Cersei and Joffrey, and specifically sent Tyrion to the capital to do crisis management. Likewise, he dresses down Cersei for her constant backbiting against the Tyrells and criticized her decision to fire Ser Barristan Selmy saying it was "as insulting as it was stupid" pointing out that despite his age, it was not on his watch that Joffrey died.
    • Tywin does have a code about family honor, even if Tyrion, "the least of the Lannisters" (in his words) is kidnapped, Tywin will go Papa Bear though barely conceal his disappointment that Tyrion is alive. He repeatedly sends Tyrion on Uriah Gambit hoping he would die, because he can't kill him himself. He tells Tyrion that he didn't kill Tyrion the day he was born, even though he badly wanted to, because it would mean killing a Lannister.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Shows shades of this:
    • In "Kissed by Fire", he expresses confusion and annoyance over Tyrion's protests over his reward of a forced marriage to Sansa Stark, remarking that she's both beautiful and the remaining heir to Winterfell once Robb's dealt with. Thus, in Tywin's eyes Tyrion is ungratefully complaining about becoming one of the most powerful men in Westeros, rather than forcing a child who's suffered at Joffrey's hands to have to marry him and essentially ordered to exert Marital Rape License.
    • In "Mhysa", they once again have a clash of opinions over the Red Wedding. Tywin attempts to point out that it's no different than a victory on the battlefield, even sparing lives in the long run. However, Tyrion, despite not being adverse to cheating in war, believes that such an action crosses a line that will never be forgotten and may only serve to fuel a future conflict.
    • Even when Tyrion has him at crossbowpoint on the privy and has made it very evident how he felt for Shae, Tywin continually dismisses her as "just a whore" when trying to compliment and reassure Tyrion of his esteem for him, not thinking Tyrion would be offended by such a callous dismissal of the woman he loved. Tyrion proves him dead wrong.
  • Evil Chancellor: Relatively speaking; after back-to-back runs at being The Good Chancellor to a pair of evil kings in Aerys II and Joffrey, now that Joffrey is dead and Tommen is king, the alignment has switched back to Good King/Evil Chancellor. He was only technically a Good Chancellor in the first place by managing to be only slightly less evil and insane than the two kings he served under.
  • Evil Genius: Even by the high standards of Westeros' top schemers, Tywin is regarded as The Ace. Littlefinger, Varys and Olenna Tyrell all have high respect for his intelligence and ruthlessness. His son Tyrion even allows that "father has a good mind for strategy".
  • Evil Gloating: Generally, he's not that vulgar in public but there are exceptions:
    • In a private moment, he enjoys a smug satisfied expression watching Ned Stark's sword 'Ice' melted into two Valyrian swords and then the sword's wolf pelt sheath in the flames, celebrating the Lannisters triumph over the Starks.
    • In the History and Lore videos, on King's Landing, he is positively proud of his cold and brutal betrayal of Aerys Targaryen, noting how the King "thought he was being clever" by keeping Jaime as a hostage against him. He also considers "The Rains of Castamere" as a quaint song and sends it as his go-to death threat to anyone who so much as thinks of resisting the Lannisters.
  • Evil Old Folks
  • Evil Overlord: Deconstructed. He only resorts to Kick the Dog and Disproportionate Retribution to ensure that his family name is respected and feared (unless the target happens to be Tyrion). He's also completely aware of his limitations, noting that his family is deeply mired in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos and they need a firm marital alliance with the Tyrells to meet their obligations. He's downright reverential to the Iron Bank, calling it "a temple", so he's not going to consider bribing them or getting in their bad books, that's way more foresight than most overlords ever show.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: His death creates one in Westeros. The hegemony he built crumbles almost overnight, with Lannister puppets like the Boltons going rogue and renegade religious factions like the Sparrows slowly take over the city and Cersei sabotaging his alliance with the Tyrells.
  • Exact Words: Near the beginning of Season 3, Tyrion insisted he be rewarded for saving King's Landing. In "Kissed By Fire", Tywin points out this demand when ordering Tyrion to marry Sansa Stark.
  • Expy: Tywin is based in part on Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as the "Kingmaker" and The Man Behind the Man during the Wars of the Roses (along with Roose Bolton)note . Some aspects of King Edward Longshanks and King Philip le Bel. King Edward was tall, intimidating and ruthless, while King Philip was cold, unsmiling and icy. Edward won a famous victory in the Battle of Eversham against Simon de Montfort (whose sigil nspired that of House Reyne). King Philip ruthlessly purged The Knights Templar and introduced administrative efficiency only to have all his work wasted by his descendants who would start The Hundred Years War. The Accursed Kings which deals with King Philip was an acknowledged influence on the books.
    • His being an competent bureaucrat holding the realm together for problematic sovereigns note  may also take its inspiration from John of Gaunt, patriarch of the House of Lancasternote , who held England together during the problematic tenure of Richard IInote . Tywin's personality, however, borrows more from Shakespeare's fictionalization of his son, the elderly Henry IV (at least in his eponymous plays): an active leader and administrator disappointed with the incompetence of their more outgoing, personable offspring (Prince Hal for Henry IV, Jaime and Tyrion for Tywin).
  • Face Death with Dignity: Despite being killed while in the privy, Tywin remains as belligerent and arrogant as ever. Though he initially tries to talk his way out of death, he grimly accepts his fate after Tyrion fatally wounds him but not without cursing his son one last time, though Tyrion gets the last word in:
  • Fatal Flaw: His obsession with the Lannister family glory results in a lack of emotional intelligence and in his utter inability to give a shit about his children as individuals. This turns into a literal fatal flaw, as his abuse of his son Tyrion earns him a terminal case of crossbow-to-gut.
  • Fiction 500: Is often called the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms; King Robert (through the Iron Throne) owed him around three million gold dragons, and he has no trouble forking over eighty thousand more to provide prize money for a tourney. A common saying is that Tywin Lannister is so rich that he "shits gold." According to ''Forbes'' magazine, he is worth 2.1 billion American dollars in the books. 'That makes him exceedingly wealthy even by the standards of a modern economy''. Due to massive war debts however he doesn't stay that rich forever, the Lannister's gold mines having dried up and most of the Lannisters' wealth spent financing Joffrey's time on the throne during the War of the Five Kings; it's the reason why he ends up allying with House Tyrell.
  • First Name Basis: Strangely, unlike most other lords in the series he is usually referred to as "Lord Tywin" rather than "Lord Lannister".
  • Foil: Tywin is essentially what his son Tyrion would be if he had fewer morals and was more focused on preserving the family name. Both are intelligent and cunning strategists, as much on the battlefield as when it comes to political intrigue. They have also served as Hands of the King, with both of them being competent in the position. Not only that, but they also have no problem with hiring prostitutes.
  • Four-Star Badass: Has never lost a war, as he proudly remarks to Arya and is a cunning and gifted military strategist. Also a Frontline General unlike his book counterpart.
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason why he's such an hardass is because his father's magnanimity nearly led to the bankruptcy and ruination of his house. Despite this, he still has very fond memories of the man. The loss of his wife while giving birth to Tyrion is also a factor in his cold attitude toward life.
  • The Good Chancellor: Surprisingly for his horrible personality, he seems this way for many people who aren't personally affected by him. His twenty-year reign as Hand to the Mad King was considered the most stable and prosperous period Westeros had experienced in recent memory. Under Joffrey (Mad King 2.0), he once again brings his competence to the table, making him the Puppet King, chewing out Cersei and actually running Westeros. When the main part of the war is officially over, he turns to consolidating the Kingdom with new alliances with the Tyrells and Martells, as well as focusing on solving the crown's debts. He's still a huge asshole but someone with a day-to-day grasp of administration.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Has a fondness for black leather outfits.
  • Humiliation Conga: Season 4 starts with him at the height of his power but it proves to be Pride Before a Fall. Throughout the season, he is gradually weakened. He is forced to concede to the Tyrells in order to avoid bankruptcy after the war drained his house's finances. Due to the looming threat of Dany and her army he has to make amends with the Martells who despise his family with a passion. Then Joffrey dies on his wedding day and his plan of getting Jaime to renounce the Kingsguard fails. His alliance with the Martells ends, and even loses the services of Ser Gregor as The Brute. Then, Cersei confirms that her children were the product of incest with Jaime, to Tywin's shock and disbelief. And finally, Tywin gets offed by Tyrion, after finally being revealed as a hypocrite whoremonger much like his son.
  • Hyper Awareness:
    • Sees through Arya's disguise at first glance, and is obviously aware that she's not a commoner.
      Tywin: This one's a girl, you idiot.
    • In a deleted scene, Tywin wonders if he's the only one who sees through Pycelle's act.
  • Hypocrite:
    • The man who constantly preaches the importance of family destroys the bonds he has with his kids by psychologically abusing them. Tywin often wastes no time reminding his children of their shortcomings, all whilst ignoring his poor parenting as a huge reason why they are so flawed.
    • The majority of his actions which are considered "best for the family" often boil down to what will most benefit himself first. Tyrion even calls him out on how Tywin never makes any personal sacrifices for the sake of the Lannisters, but expects his kids to do so in return... to which Tywin answers that his sacrifice was to let Tyrion survive childbirth.
    • Case in point, consider that at one point or another Tywin has tried to force all three of his children into political marriages for the sake of the family legacy, while Tywin himself married for love his first cousin Joanna, who as another Lannister brought no new wealth, lands, or armies with her. Likewise, he constantly condemns Tyrion for sleeping with prostitutes, but is revealed in his final episode to have no problem bedding them himself. Namely, Tyrion's former lover Shae.
    • When Tyrion complains that his hill tribes in Season 1 are unruly Tywin is quick to preach that the responsibility of bad behavior from soldiers lies with their commander, but when Oberyn confronts him about Gregor Clegane however Tywin simply replies that men at war commit all kind of crimes without their superior's knowledge'From the novels... .
    • He is very disappointed that he has no suitable heir and criticizes Jaime for remaining on the Kingsguard and Tyrion for being a deviant. He also arranges for Cersei to marry Loras and his children while she is still fertile. Not once does he ever consider remarrying, even though as a man his reproductive system has no expiry date and he could have more children.
    • Also, his justification for the Red Wedding is that it's more noble to kill dozens at a diner rather than thousands in battle.....which conveniently leaves out the fact that not only Robb and his court were slaughtered, but also his entire army, in a very cowardly way.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: For entirely selfish reasons, Tywin is not thrilled when somebody else mistreats Tyrion, as no one messes with a Lannister publicly:
    Tywin: He's a Lannister! Maybe the lowest of the Lannisters, but he's one of us. And everyday that he remains a prisoner, the less our name commands respect.
    Tyrion (lukewarmly): Kind of you to go to war for me.
  • Icy Blue Eyes
  • I Have No Son: He disowns Jaime in "Two Swords" for refusing to leave the Kingsguard and become eligible to inherit Casterly Rock. Also his Famous Last Words after Tyrion mortally wounds him are that "you're no son of mine", for which Tyrion shoots him again.
  • Irony: On account of You Are What You Hate and a great deal of self-aggrandizement, Tywin's end goal of Lannisters becoming the new Targaryens falls flat since he's only obsessed with the idea of his family line dominating Westeros but all his actions to make it work fails. He has no stable and fixed heir, partially because he refuses to accept Tyrion. His bad parenting, wilfull blindness and outright abuse and neglect means that his children and his brother Kevean are left in almost the same precarious situation Lord Tytos left it.
  • It's All About Me: Tyrion calls him out on this, noting that Tywin automatically equates his personal ambitions with that of his family and that he makes his children compromise and face consequences that he himself has never done and will never do. Tywin's reply to that was that the great personal sacrifice he made was not killing Tyrion as a baby.
    • Likewise Tywin could have resolved the seeming unfittingness of his children by naming his brother Kevan as heir but then Tywin couldn't well claim that it was his great family line. Likewise, Kevan himself has a Sketchy Successor in the soon to become Brother Lancel.
  • I Want Grandkids: ... as long as they're male grandkids from his eldest son. Ironically, he he already has two of these but they're less than ideal, being officially Baratheons rather than Lannisters, and rather more importantly bastards born of incest between his son and daughter.
  • Jerkass: It is revealed in "Baelor" that Tyrion once made the mistake of falling in love with and marrying a whore his brother had secretly hired to sleep with him. So when Tywin found out, he ordered his entire garrison to rape her (each soldier paying, of course) and forced Tyrion to watch from beginning to end and then be the final participant — then paying her more because a Lannister is worth moreFrom the books... .
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He occasionally says something that might indicate that he's not as bad as people think but he usually tells them in no uncertain terms his entirely pragmatic reasons for saying it if he's questioned about it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Some of Tywin's insults often hits the mark. Whether it is calling Jaime a glorified bodyguard lacking ambition, Cersei not nearly as smart as she thinks she is, or Tyrion a fool for his drinking and whoring. In the case of the latter two, those prove to be Fatal Flaw for them.
  • Just a Kid: The Rains of Castamere suggest that Tywin's own enemies once thought this of him. Ironic that Tywin then makes a similar underestimate of Robb Stark.
  • Karmic Death: The proud lord of House Lannister is killed in the most humiliating spot possible by the son who he has emotionally abused and treated like dirt for almost his entire life. Better yet, he died the same way he had Robb Stark and his men killed: feathered with crossbow bolts by someone they least suspected would have the nerve to kill them.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • He manages to zigzag between this and Pet the Dog with his treatment of Tyrion (more in Season 1 than later). On the one hand he never hesitates to tell Tyrion he considers him a drunken, lecherous freak who killed his mother and dreams of killing him without any strain on his conscience. On the other hand he sometimes acknowledges Tyrion's talents, speaks to him as an equal when he isn't insulting his lifestyle, and in contrast to Cersei and Joffrey he trusts Tyrion with power and authority.
      [To Tyrion]: I always thought you were a stunted fool. Perhaps I was wrong.
    • He also manages to zigzag it with Jaime: He can insult and disown him in a scene and still help him sheathe a Valyrian sword or let his son keep said sword:
      [To Jaime]: Keep it. A one handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.
    • He chooses to give a lecture to Tommen (a Pet the Dog moment by itself) right next to Joffrey's body as Cersei is grieving for her son. He even mentions what a terrible king Joffrey was and coldly ignores Cersei's "this is not the time or place" feeble complaint.
  • Lack of Empathy: If you wondered where Cersei and Joffrey got it from, it's Tywin. He will let the North and Riverlands be ruled by psychotic monsters if it means his family can win the war.
  • Large and in Charge: Tywin is 6'3" and is usually both the tallest and most intimidating person in any room he's in, unless it's The Mountain he's talking to.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Being a nearly professional dog-kicker for all his life, Tywin finally gets bitten back by his each of his children with suitably ascending level: his "golden son" Jaime doesn't try to harm him but ignores his orders by refusing to carry a family name and then releasing his sentenced brother Tyrion from prison behind Tywin's back, the daughter he thought nothing more of beside selling her off for the sake of family legacy crushes his illusions about said legacy with a few simple words, and his horribly mistreated youngest son, whom he always wished dead, ends up killing Tywin in a rather humiliating manner.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Twice has served as Hand of the King: first to Aerys Targaryen and secondly to his grandson Joffrey. His reign as Hand is seen (in-verse) as a time of prosperity, despite "The Mad King". He was also the true architect of the Red Wedding, by guaranteeing the Freys protection from retribution.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The History and Lore videos cites this as his reason for betraying Aerys, the fact that the King refused to allow Prince Rhaegar to marry Cersei, spurning the man who was running the kingdom for Aerys and insulting a vassal of one of the oldest houses of the kingdom, to say nothing of ordering Jaime into the Kingsguard to block him from being Tywin's heir. Tywin even Lampshades this, stating that if Aerys had been nicer to him and accepted his match, he would have remained loyal to the Crown.
    • And then of course there's Tyrion, who despite the impossibility of the thing went far and beyond for the sake of House Lannister in order to please his father... up until Tywin pushes him one time too many, causing Tyrion to snap and leave King's Landing and his family behind... with two fatal crossbow bolts in Tywin's chest.
  • Mock Millionaire: Tywin reveals to Cersei that the Lannisters are no longer as wealthy as they used to be, with the Lannisters' gold mines having dried up three years before and most of the Lannisters' wealth spent backing Joffrey in the War of the Five Kings. Worse yet, a lot of the debt that they're owed is held by the Iron Throne, which itself is heavily financed by debts owed to the Iron Bank of Braavos.
  • Money Is Not Power: Tywin swears by this, calling gold "just another rock." While their (formerly) outrageous wealth certainly helped, the Lord of Casterly Rock believes that true power comes from strong leadership. He was even able to maintain the illusion that all was well with their finances for some time.
  • Narcissist: While a brilliant statesman and a highly skilled military strategist, he is also extremely vain, insensitive and self-absorbed. He equates his ambition with that of his House and the Kingdom and so, expects nothing less than total obedience from those around him.
  • Nay-Theist: Cersei quotes him in "Blackwater" as saying "The gods have no mercy, that's why they are gods", and notes that Tywin does believe in the gods — he just doesn't like them. Along the lines of a typical Hollywood Atheist backstory, he developed this attitude after the death of his beloved wife. Tywin also views his son Tyrion, whom he intensely dislikes, as a cruel lesson by the Gods to teach him humility because Tyrion can still fly Lannister colors despite Tywin's disapproval of him.
  • New Era Speech: Gives one, masquerading as an exercise in the Socratic Method, to Tommen after Joffrey's death, indicating Tywin's vision of the future.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Treats Arya, who is working as his cupbearer, with a surprising amount of respect, largely because he is amused by her and obviously enjoys the company of a bright youngster more than that of his rather pedestrian retainers and warlords. Of course, this doesn't stop him casually giving her over to the monstrous Gregor Clegane once he has to leave.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Tywin likes things concise and to the point and wastes no time when an opportunity is at hand. He dislikes beating around the bush, and is very vocal about the unnecessary behavior he regularly encounters, be it lavish, humorous, erroneous or plain foolish
  • No Sell: After four seasons of Tywin cowing his children with a mere Death Glare and "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Cersei and Tyrion finally reject his efforts to dominate and manipulate them in "The Children": Cersei confirms that her children are bastards born of incest and therefore his legitimate bloodline is cut short, and Tyrion straight-up shoots him dead.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Done intentionally as an intimidation tactic to psyche out Joffrey: As he not-so-subtly explains just how little concern he has for Joffrey as a person compared to his concern for the realm, he steps closer and closer up to the Iron Throne until he's looming over the little shit.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: When Tywin approaches Oberyn in a whorehouse to talk, there are several naked whores on the bed, and they walk past Tywin. In the entire scene, Tywin never ogles any of them, remaining with his undisturbed icy glare at face-level. (Given that one of the first things we find out about Tywin is his public distaste for whores, this is probably very justified.)
  • Offing the Offspring: He would never outright do it to Tyrion but he dreams about it and if he sees a chance to make it happen with a clean hand and guilt-free conscience, he'll make it happen.
    • In Season 1, Tyrion speculates that his father is putting him on the vanguard of a battle to invoke this, and Tywin is not amused to see his son still alive in the aftermath.
    • He reveals to Tyrion that he intended to kill him on the day he was born but Tywin could not bring himself to do it because Tyrion was ultimately still a Lannister.
    • In Season 4, Tywin tells Jaime that he intends to declare Tyrion guilty in his trial for regicide, normally an instant death sentence, but provide Tyrion the chance to go to the Wall to join the Night's Watch, which itself puts his odds on surviving, what with the taint of regicide and the bitter cold of the North at great risk. There's also the Wildling army that's approaching the Wall, as he admitted to Oberyn Martell.
    • After the Trial by Combat, Tywin finally has the legal mandate to officially sentence Tyrion to death and he does it without a second thought. When Tyrion confronts him after the prison escape, Tywin says that he wasn't going to do it but its impossible to know if he was telling the truth.
  • Old Soldier: Tywin has fought in at least two country-wide wars and the annihilation of rebel bannermen before that:
    Tywin: 'The War of Five Kings' they're calling it. This will be my last war. The one I'll be remembered for.
  • Only Sane Man: Tywin sees himself as this more often than not, much to his own chagrin. As a result, Tywin has some small affection for anyone who proves to be more intelligent than his usual company.
  • Not So Above It All: Even though Tywin has little patience for Joffrey's antics, he's shown suppressing a grin during Joffrey's "War of the Five Kings" reenactment-by-dwarf, which mocks his former rivals.
  • Papa Wolf: To Jaime at least; When Amory Lorch accidentally sends a letter bearing valuable information to a House allied with the Starks, Tywin goes (by his standards) berserk and tells him that should any more harm befall Jaime as a result of this, Amory will be in a world of hurt. He intentionally defies it with Tyrion, admitting that he only went to war after Tyrion's capture to defend House Lannister's reputation and being annoyed when Tyrion turns out to still be alive.
  • The Patriarch: His very first appearance has him giving Jaime an impassioned speech about the importance of the family legacy while skinning a deer. He orders his children around all he wants, and even his psychopathic boss and grandson King Joffrey (who outright threatens to kill his own mother and tried to assassinate his uncle) is scared of him.
    Tywin: Your mother's dead, before long I'll be dead, and you...and your brother, and your sister, and all of her children. All of us dead, all of us rotting in the ground. It's the family name that lives on. It's all that lives on. Not your honor, not your personal glory, family.
  • Patricide: His final fate, at the hands of Tyrion.
  • The Perfectionist: A defining feature. Tywin is obsessed with House Lannister's reputation, never misses an opportunity to point out his children's flaws and disrespects anyone that does not live up to his standards... which is everyone else but himself. On the other hand, his perfectionism is one of the major reasons he is aware of everything that goes on around him and what makes him a deadly strategist.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Tywin's face is always a window to his discontent, or worse, and he rarely smiles. From the books... 
  • Pet the Dog: To those who show some modicum of competence in the sea of idiots he regularly deals with:
    • While he may treat Tyrion with contempt most of the time, he does occasionally acknowledge him, such as appointing him as the (acting) Hand of the King. Granted it was for pragmatic reasons, but it was still a big sign of respect and trust, especially when there were other male Lannisters about... too bad that Tywin seemed to feel that he had to dial up the insulting afterward as if to balance that out.
    • Also, to Arya while she's his cupbearer. He shares with her personal anecdotes that Tywin would likely never share with anyone else, and she even manages to get a genuine laugh out of him with a joke she makes. He later tells her directly that he's taken a liking to her, though when she oversteps her bounds as his servant he sternly rebukes her.
    • He also mentions that when Jaime was young, he couldn't read because of being dyslexic, so he sat down with his son for four hours every night and struggled through the arduous process of teaching his son how to read:
      Tywin: I taught my son Jaime to read. The Maester came to me one day, told me he wasn't learning. He couldn't make sense of the letters. He reversed them in his head. The Maester said that he had heard of this affliction, and said that we must just accept it. HA! After that I sat Jaime down for four hours every day until he learned. He hated me for it. For a time. For a long time. But he learned.
    • In "The Lion and the Rose", Tywin immediately rushes to shield Tommen from having to watch Joffrey's nightmarish death. In the next episode, he lectures Tommen on what it means to be a good king, gently coaxing him to tell Tywin what he thinks that means and Tywin carefully explaining why his suggestions are incorrect. He assures Tommen "I'm not trying to trick you", he wants to be sure Tommen understands what he's getting into so that he doesn't end up like his brother. Outside of his moments with Arya, it's about the only time we've seen Tywin actually act in a paternal manner.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Played with.
    • He refers to the Northerners as "unwashed", but would treat women and savages with fairness according to their competence.
    • He knows Ser Loras is gay and considers him to be mentally ill. Despite his personal feelings on the matter, he is nevertheless okay with the idea of Loras guarding Joffrey as he recognizes the knight's worth as a warrior. His views are also less intense in comparison to Joffrey's, who wants all homosexuals put to death. All in all, Tywin's opinion on gay men border on Condescending Compassion.
    • In terms of his own family, Cersei assumes he doesn't let her 'contribute' because she's a woman, but he (quite correctly) states that she isn't as smart as she thinks she is and he would hand authority to The Unfavorite Tyrion after Joffrey killing Ned Stark to bring damage control. But it becomes clear that he sees Cersei as a brood mare to be married off to make connections and babies precisely because she's a woman. He hates Tyrion because he's a dwarf and thus 'not a presentable Lannister'. The Golden Boy of the family is Jaime, the Master Swordsman and picture (if not in deed) of Westerosi Chivalry, and insists that Jaime be his only heir.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: One of his defining features, as Tywin saw his house nearly destroyed by his good-hearted and gentle father. As a result, Tywin is brutal and vicious, but (he believes) only when there is a profit to be gained from it; for example, he stops the torture of prisoners in Harrenhal upon arrival, because exploiting their skills for free is more useful. But when he suspects an assassin attempting to kill him, he immediately orders a decimation of the garrison, along with torture and interrogation of anyone suspected of aiding or knowing about the assassin. He is also fair and generous to his enemies after they surrender to him, not because he cares about them in any way... but because as he points out to Joffrey, if you crush people who submit then no one will be willing to surrender in the future. From the books... 
  • Pride: His most defining trait. While this trope is precisely what drove Tywin to make House Lannister the most powerful one in Westeros, it also drove him to make it the most hated as well.
    Tywin: The lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.
  • Pulling The Thread: He casually begins picking apart Arya's deception over time, noting small things like addressing him as "my lord" instead of "milord" to figure out that she's actually nobleborn instead of a commoner like she's pretending. However, he seems more amused by how clever Arya is than upset at the deception.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: If ever there were a grand master at this, it is Tywin Lannister. He's given at least one to each of his children — telling Jaime that his personal glory is ultimately worthless, Tyrion that he'll never honor any claim Tyrion has to Casterly Rock because of his irresponsible and lecherous behavior (also because he's a dwarf who killed his mother during childbirth), and Cersei that his lack of confidence in her is not because she's a woman but because she's not as smart as she thinks she is. He always has one on hand for moronic subordinates as well and has no problem with summarizing the flaws of past rulers, Joffrey included, while the guy is lying in state with his mother by his side, and over her feeble and rather pathetic protests no less.
    • In the last episode of Season Four he suddenly becomes on the receiving end, first from Cersei who interrupts his speech to her to inform her father about her and Jaime's relationship, consequently ruining the former's delusions about the family legacy and becoming the first person in the series to shut Tywin up. After that comes Tyrion's turn... who brings a crossbow for the conversation and after giving a piece of his mind to Tywin shuts him up forever.
  • Real Politik: Tywin's political philosophy is largely seizing any opportunity for success and doing whatever must be done to see it through. To wit, the continued success of the Lannisters - beyond military might, and the sheer amount of gold the family rests upon - is due largely to Tywin's cold, critical knack for impersonal politicking. He'll ally with the enemy houses of the Boltons and Freys to betray the Starks, he'll marry his own grandsons into the rival Tyrell family, and (as much as he'd prefer not to) he'll even sell out his own attack dog Ser Gregor Clegane to the Martells if it means solidifying the Lannister power base.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He'll push through his ultimate decision at the end of every dispute, but he's willing to listen to reason if it genuinely suits their purposes. He was a very capable Hand to the Mad King, for nearly two decades.
    • Despite his relationships with his children, he continues to practice Pragmatic Villainy with them. While he loathes Tyrion, he trusts him as Hand until Tywin himself arrives to fill the role, and preludes a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech in Season 3 by telling Tyrion he will be given quarters and a position more suitable for his talents and standing, and keeps his word by naming him Master of Coin. Cersei on the other hand, who he tells her is "not as clever as she thinks she is", he tries to keep her influence on matters low.
    • He is disgusted by Loras Tyrell's homosexuality, but still respects the young man's fighting skills and wishes to use them — Tywin did allow Loras to command the vanguard at the Battle of Blackwater, after all, and even to do so wearing his late lover's armor.
    • He thinks Ser Gregor's torture of prisoners is a waste of time and stops it.
    • He recognizes Arya as a girl very quickly. Later, he deduces (correctly) that she is i) a Northerner and ii) highborn, but realises that she is alone in the world and her actions are to protect herself.
    • Despite his behavior before Joffrey, he is fully aware that Daenaerys will eventually bring her three dragons to Westeros; Tywin knows Dorne was the only country to withstand Aegon I and his dragons, so he is willing to bargain with Oberyn Martell.
  • Replacement Goldfish: He tells Arya that she reminds him of Cersei when she was young, and something in his voice makes it sound like he regrets how things went. From the books... 
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Implied to be a philosophy of his in particular, and the Lannisters in general.
  • Selective Obliviousness: He genuinely never believed the "rumors" about Cersei's children all being Jaime's, despite what should have been obvious and indeed was deduced by Ned Starknote , and Tywin only finds out because Cersei told him point-blank to his face to spite him... and he still claims not to believe her right after mumbling "nonononoNO"!
  • The Stoic: Though he is very often contemptuous and snarky, he has little emotional range beyond this. However he does show more emotion than in the novels, where he only loses his icy cold demeanor once, when Tyrion asks him to acknowledge his rights to Casterly Rock. TV!Tywin loses his temper (though never his control) in several episodes, either because he's Surrounded by Idiots or putting his children in line, and once even gives a genuine (albeit short) laugh.
  • The Strategist: Very much so, both as a military commander and a diplomat. What makes this combination deadly is that when Robb Stark outmatches him as a battlefield commander, Tywin can fall back on his secondary skills while Robb is still a raw youth in the case of politics and diplomacy.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: He considers his eldest two children to be stupid in their ways, and he makes it clear when he notices Arya that he considers everyone else in the fortress to be the equivalent of blind cattle in terms of intellect, both for wasting good talent and for not noticing a girl dressed as a boy. The only subordinates that he considers remotely competent on a mental level are Tyrion and, ironically, Arya... then again, most of the Lannister army is made up of psychopaths and dumb thugs. His reaction to Amory Lorch's death is less "Guard! There's an assassin loose in the castle!" and more "Guard! Ugh, now I have to replace this moron with some other moron...."
  • The Svengali: To Tommen, the new king due to Joffrey's death, and who Tywin clearly intends to mold into a vehicle for Lannister dominance of the Seven Kingdoms, with the side effect that Tommen could probably have become one of Westeros' better kings, whereas Joffrey was already a lost cause before he came under Tywin's influence. Remember that Tywin was Hand of the King to Aerys Targaryen II for 20 years, and despite that king's madness those years are regarded as some of the best in living memory thanks to Tywin's administration.
  • Technician vs. Performer: His leadership of the royalist forces against Robb Stark, essentially. Lord Tywin is a good soldier and strategist due to hard and careful work, while Robb is a born conqueror. Ultimately, Tywin's exploitation of the strategic imbalance between the Iron Throne and the Stark kingdom and plus Robb's personal missteps proves decisive in the Riverlands theater. Robb, on the other hand, had bet the whole war on winning enough battles.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: As much as he hates it, he does respect Tyrion as the most capable (or at least most trustworthy) of the lords in King's Landing. While he is harsh and abusive towards Tyrion, he does also speak to him as somewhat of an equal.
  • Thousand Year Reign: His aim for the Lannister legacy.
  • Tempting Fate: He sarcastically asks if Tyrion is going to kill his own father, which he does.
  • Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, Hand of the King and Savior of the City, which is ironic considering the previous time he led an army to KL was to sack it. From the books... 
  • ‹bermensch: He has a grand vision for the Lannister family, values competence and intelligence over titles and dominates every room he enters with his presence.
  • Underestimating Badassery: His arrogance and successful record often leads him to assume that his foes are incompetent more often than they actually are, which sometimes comes to bite him:
    • He totally underestimates Robb's skill as a commander in their early battles, especially glaring given 1: who his father was, and 2: the fact that Tywin himself was treated the same way as a youth. However, he quickly learns from his previous mistake and successfully conspires with Walder Frey and Roose Bolton to have Robb brutally assassinated.
    • More subtly, on the diplomatic field it happens with Olenna Tyrell. While negotiating marriage arrangements between the family he acts willfully and blackmails the Queens of Thorns into accepting his ultimatum... Olenna relents and then goes the way around to protect her family's interests — by murdering Tywin's grandson, the king, right under Tywin's nose. The best part? Tywin doesn't even know.
    • And, of course, he underestimated Tyrion's ability to survive time and time again... until Tyrion held him at crossbowpoint.
  • Undignified Death: Dies by getting shot by his abused and loathed son Tyrion with two crossbow bolts whilst he was in the privy with his pants downFrom the books... . While he even lampshades it, thanks to Tywin being Tywin, he is still able to bring forth ''some'' gravitas during the whole debacle.
  • The Unfettered: His ruthlessness is only hampered by pragmatic concerns.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Tyrion not only carried out his father's orders in Kings Landing in reigning in Joffrey and Cersei, but he personally planned the city's defense, fatally weakened Stannis' forces, and personally led the fight against the remaining attackers despite Cersei and Joffrey's idiocy and spitefulness hampering him at every turn, including trying to assassinate him on the battlefield. Without these efforts Tywin's relief force would have been facing a far larger, better organised, and untouched army, who by the time he arrived would have likely killed both his grandson and daughter, as well as have taken the city and thus making his attempted counter attack both pointless and nigh suicidal. Tywin thanks Tyrion by ignoring him for several weeks as he was wounded, and when Tyrion brings up his grievances, he gives his son a few concessions such as a larger room "more suited to your name", a position where he can continue serving his family, and a suitable wife in due time... then he flatly refuses to officially make Tyrion his heir, unleashes a spiteful tirade about how much he hates Tyrion, and threatens to kill the next whore he catches him with.
  • Unwitting Pawn: For all his intelligence, experience and ruthlessness, Tywin Lannister falls prey to the same mistake Ned Stark did; he trusted Littlefinger and raised him to a position of supremacy in the Riverlands and allowed him to marry the widowed lady of the Vale, making him arguably the second most powerful man in Westeros besides Tywin himself. In return, Littlefinger killed Joffrey with the Tyrells, in part because Tywin got Catelyn killed and partially because it would plunge the Seven Kingdoms into yet more chaos, which was a goal he stated aloud to Tywin and kidnapped Sansa Stark from Kings' Landing, giving Littlefinger an avenue for control of yet another of the Seven Kingdoms... and Tyrion discovers that his predecessor's supposed "magic" at financing the Iron Throne was really heavy borrowing from the Iron Bank of Braavos, an entity which even Tywin doesn't dare cross.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Cersei directly confronts him with her and Jaime's incest Tywin's trademark stoicism cracks, as he finally comes to realize that his family's claim to ultimate power — and hence his legacy — is predicated on a fiction that had been obvious to everyone but himself.
  • Villain Has a Point: Tywin is absolutely correct about Joffrey neither being a wise or a good king.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: A sharp blonde one. In the books 
  • Visionary Villain: His speech to Jaime and his discussions with his cupbearer Arya reveals that he aspires to the legacy of Aegon the Conqueror and wants to create with gold and sheer will what Aegon had done with three dragons: a dynasty of Lannister hegemony that would rival and even surpass the Targaryens.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: When asked by Tyrion when has he ever done something that was for the family and not for his own interests, he angrily reveals that he wanted to kill Tyrion at birth but refused to do so since Tyrion was still a Lannister; Tywin considered it going above and beyond that he didn't kill his son but instead raised and acknowledged him as such.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: His children regularly seek his validation, but Tywin ignores their virtues just as often and is instead quick to highlight their shortcomings, much to their chagrin
    [To Jaime] You are blessed with many abilities few men possess...and what have you done with these blessings, eh? You served as a glorified bodyguard to two kings. One a madman, the other a drunk.
    [To Tyrion] You are a low-born, ill-made, spiteful little creature filled with envy, lust, and low cunning.
    [To Cersei] I don't distrust you because you are a woman. I distrust you because you are not as smart as you think you are.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Tywin is highly resentful at Tyrion for his malformations (which caused Tywin's wife to die giving birth) and whoring ways. What's worse from his point of view is that Jaime chose to join the Kingsguard and thereby be ineligible to inherit the titles and lands of House Lannister, and despite Tywin's exhortations to ask him to abandon the post Jaime is determined to reclaim his honor, something which Tywin regards as pointless.
  • Wicked Cultured: As one would expect of a massively rich upper-class patriarch, Tywin is very well-read, particularly when it comes to history.
  • Worthy Opponent: Few people manage to hold their own against him, and he shows a certain respect for each of them in return:
    • He considers Lady Olenna to be his intellectual equal and recognizes that she's the true head of House Tyrell, as he deals with her directly when arranging a marriage between their two families, and not with her son Mace, who is technically the Lord of Highgarden. She respects Tywin and considers him a quality rival.
    • Tywin gains respect for Robb Stark, seeing him as an excellent battlefield tactician and an incredibly popular leader who is not going to lose through conventional means.
    • While his hatred and contempt for Tyrion son is very evident, he still (ever so grudgingly) is aware of his son's intelligence, perception, and cunning, which is why he was willing to name him Hand in his stead and give him power during crucial times.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Infamously so, as discussed by Lady Stark who was dead worried about Sansa and Arya because the Targaryen children were butchered in their sleep on the orders of Tywin Lannister. The children of House Reyne weren't spared either, as Cersei boasts to Margaery.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Rage is ultimately the source of Tywin's ruthlessness. With both the Red Wedding, and the rebellion of House Reyne, he has proven that anyone who even considers attacking or resisting him will be terminated with extreme prejudice. When one considers how his father's kindness and benevolence was abused and mocked while Tywin himself grew up this makes some sense.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: States so regarding Tyrion when his son is pointing a crossbow at him. Tywin really doesn't believe that Tyrion has it in him to kill his father. When Tyrion does shoot him, it's obviously partly to prove that he can, damn you — and it takes Tywin quite a bit of time to comprehend that it in fact happened.
  • Zerg Rush: His method for fighting Robb's forces is to continue to send wave after wave of enemies at him. Although Robb wins every battle, Tywin has a greater number of forces. Naturally, this comes back to bite him in the ass when the losses finally pile up so that House Lannister is forced to band with House Tyrell for security.

    Queen Regent Cersei Lannister 

    Ser Jaime Lannister 

    Tyrion Lannister 

    Ser Kevan Lannister 

"I did not return to the capital to serve as your puppet."
Played By: Ian Gelder

"Both Baratheon brothers have taken up against us. Jaime captured, his armies's a catastrophe."

Lord Tywin's younger brother and second in command. Uncle to Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion, and father to Lancel, Martyn, and Willem Lannister.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books, he's described as being a little chubby and having round shoulders.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books, Kevan is blonde whereas TV Kevan has Gelder's gray hair. Doesn't help him look like he's younger than Tywin, even though Gelder is actually younger than Charles Dance.
  • Ascended Extra: His scene in 5x02 alone is more memorable than all his previous screentime put together. Many viewers should be excused if they take this as a Remember the New Guy situation.
  • The Bus Came Back: After two seasons of being absent, he returns, in an understatedly triumphant fashion, in the first episode of season 5. He is briefly Put on a Bus again after he storms out from Cersei's puppet council and goes back to Casterly Rock, but returns again to serve as Hand of the King when Cersei falls from grace.
  • Demoted to Extra: Has a single appearance in Season 2. Adapted Out of Season 3, whereas in the books he becomes the Master of Laws following the Battle of the Blackwater. Also in Season 4, his interactions with Tyrion as a Go-Between for Tywin and quasi-lawyer are taken over by Jaime Lannister.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Refuses to meet Cersei as soon as he returns to the Capital. In the books, Cersei wasn't allowed to meet anyone until they got a forced confession from her. But Qyburn comes and meets her before so apparently she does have visitation rights.
  • Honest Advisor: Although he refuses the job, it's clear he would be one for Cersei. Being an experienced soldier and a member of her family, he's no Yes-Man.
    Kevan: I did not return to the capital to serve as your puppet. To watch you stack the Small Council with sycophants.
  • Minor Major Character: A senior officer and member of the family who is given a very limited role, as Tywin employs him all over the kingdom. Late in season 5 he is appointed Hand of the King, despite having barely appeared since season 1, except from two episodes at the start of the season.
  • Number Two: To his brother, Lord Tywin.
  • Rank Up: Besides becoming Lord of Casterly Rock in Season 5, due to his brother's death and Tywin's lack of a suitable heir, Kevan is appointed Hand of the King by Grand Maester Pycelle after Cersei is arrested by the Faith.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Drops an epic one on Cersei in the small council chamber.
    Kevan: I returned to the capital to pay my respects to my brother, and to you, and to serve the King. I did not return to the capital to serve as your puppet. To watch you stack the Small Council with sycophants. Sending your own brother away -
    Cersei: My brother has left the capital to lead a sensitive diplomatic mission.
    Kevan: What mission?
    Kevan: I do not recognize your authority to dictate what is and is not my concern. You are the Queen Mother. Nothing more.
    Cersei: You would abandon your king in his time of need?
    Kevan: If he wants to send for me, I'll be waiting for him. At Casterly Rock!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • In "Fire and Blood", Kevan is willing to make peace with the Starks since the Lannisters only went to war with the Starks and Tullys because Catelyn humiliated Tywin by kidnapping Tyrion, which pales in comparison to their bigger problem of Robert's brothers challenging Joffrey's claim to the throne. As Tyrion explains, the peace deal would have worked if Joffrey hadn't killed Ned, destroying any chance of Robb stopping his war efforts.
    • In Season 2, he advises Tywin to tell Joffrey and Cersei to flee King's Landing before Stannis attacks, and regroup at Casterly Rock. Tywin completely rejects this idea, and while it would be politically disastrous for the Lannister family if they fled, it is clear that his refusal is largely because of his own pride.
    • In Season 5, he is the only person to speak out against Cersei, pointing out that she is stacking the council with her own sycophants, and refuses to act as her puppet. He states he is loyal to the King, but only to the King, not his mother.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Refuses to be a puppet dancing on the strings of Cersei, quits the Small Council the very moment he's appointed Master of War, and returns to Casterly Rock, declaring he's willing to return if the King calls for him.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Is far nicer than his brother, as demonstrated by his relief in seeing Tyrion back safe and sound in "The Pointy End" — a stark contrast to Tywin's own reaction.
  • Spare to the Throne: Is this to his elder brother Tywin.
  • Token Good Teammate: Compared to the rest of Tywin's bannermen. He's the brother who inherited some of Lord Tytos' mild traits.

    Ser Lancel Lannister 

See Game Of Thrones The Faith Of The Seven for tropes associated with Lancel Lannister.

    Martyn and Willem Lannister 

Played By: Dean-Charles Chapman & Timothy Gibbons

The younger sons of Ser Kevan Lannister. Taken hostage by the Northern armies and held at Riverrun.
  • Ascended Extra: In the books, they are just mentioned. Now, they have two scenes. In an amusing sense, Dean Charles Chapman is this. He went from one of the Lannister twins to King Tommen himself.
  • Character Death: Lord Rickard Karstark murders them both in a Revenge by Proxy.
  • Children Are Innocent: They — or at least Martyn — believe the tales that Robb turns into a wolf and devours the flesh of his enemies.
  • Child Soldiers: Squires, to be exact.
  • Composite Character: Martyn takes the place of his cousin Tion Frey, who is a Lannister on his mother's side.
  • Death by Adaptation: While Willem Lannister meets his end in the books, his twin Martyn is also killed in the show, instead of Tion Frey. This is in keeping with the show's substituting the Frey descendants of Tywin's sister Genna with Lannisters to avoid the explanation of there being Freys both on the Stark and the Lannister side.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Probably the only Lannisters where this trope applies, rather than that other one.
  • I Have Your Wife: Averted, because they are rather worthless hostages when compared to Sansa.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Instead of going through the trouble of finding twin actors or having one actor play the two brothers, they are made into younger and older brother.
  • The Quiet One: Willem.
  • Revenge by Proxy: In revenge for the deaths of his sons (one in battle, the other at the hands of the Kingslayer) Lord Rickard Karstark and his men murder the twins despite them only being guilty of being born Lannisters.
  • You Look Familiar / Uncanny Family Resemblance: Tommen grew up to look identical to his cousin Martyn in the next season. But given how much incest is in their family, can anyone blame them?

    Ser Alton Lannister 

Played By: Karl Davies

Another cousin to the main three, captured by Robb Stark and used as a negotiator.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Of Jaime, since he got to squire for him when he was younger.
  • Canon Foreigner: Partly substituting Cleos Frey, to avoid spending time explaining his connection to the Lannisters. Although Cleos didn't get killed by Jaime.
  • Character Death: Jaime murders him in captivity to help an escape attempt.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Killed by Jaime, his own older cousin, after telling him that he's his number one fan and that he would do anything to help him.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Is not mentioned after his death, neither by his murderer nor his jailers. All we see is his bloodied face. The only reference is vague, when Jaime tells Cersei about how he 'murdered people' in order to make it back to her. Averted in "The Mountain and the Viper"; when talking with Tyrion before the trial by combat, Jaime brings up cousin-killing, and looks rather awkward and guilty while he and Tyrion then chat about another deceased cousin of theirs, called Orson.
  • Hero-Worshipper: The sheer depth of his admiration for Jaime is apparent in nearly his every word, which only makes it more shocking and tragic when Jaime kills him in a bid to escape captivity.
  • Mauve Shirt: He exists mostly as just a device, but he does get some decent character-building prior to his brutal death.
  • Mythology Gag: When Jaime is trying to locate Alton in the family tree, he asks him if his mother is "the fat one", only to correct himself by saying "No, there is only one fat Lannister. If she was your mother, you would know it." The book counterpart to Alton, Cleos Frey, is the son of Genna Lannister, an aunt of Jaime that is notoriously obese.
  • Nice Guy: No wonder he's just a distant cousin.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Killed in the first scene where he is given real dialogue.

    Lady Joanna Lannister 

Played By: N/A

Cersei Lannister: You've always been funny. But none of your jokes will ever match the first one, will they? You remember? Back when you ripped my mother open on your way out of her and she bled to death?
Tyrion Lannister: ...She was my mother too.

The wife of Tywin Lannister and the mother of Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion. She died giving birth to Tyrion before the beginning of the series.
  • Death by Childbirth: She died giving birth to Tyrion. Tywin and Cersei loathe Tyrion, and regard him as some sort of murderer because of it.
  • Kissing Cousins: Joanna was actually Tywin's first cousin, though such marriages actually aren't unusual among the aristocracy of the Seven Kingdoms. The practical result is that her surname was already "Lannister" even before she married Tywin. In part, this also informs how much of a hypocrite Tywin is. He plans to force all three of his children to marry against their will to secure political alliances, demanding that they put the good of the family above their own personal happiness. Problem is, Tywin himself married for love - marrying a first cousin meant he didn't secure a marriage alliance with another powerful Great House.
  • The Lost Lenore: For Lord Tywin; she was the only thing that gave him any real happiness.
  • Missing Mom: For Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion.
  • Morality Chain: She seemed to serve as this for Tywin and Cersei, who both loved her dearly.
  • Posthumous Character: She died long before the events of the series.

     Lord Tytos Lannister 

Played By: N/A

Tywin Lannister: He was a good man. But a weak man... a weak man who nearly destroyed our House and name.

The late father of Tywin and Kevan Lannister. He was a kind and generous lord, but his time as the head of the Lannisters was a period marked by decline for the House due to several poor investments, which nearly bankrupted the family. He also allowed himself to be openly mocked at court, which eventually resulted in the rebellion of the vassal House Reyne of Castamere and Tywin's rise to infamy as he personally put down the rebellion in his father's place, completely eradicating House Reyne in the process.

    Reginald Lannister 

Played By: Patrick Fitzsymons

"We've worked through the night, my lord. Perhaps we'd profit from some sleep."

An officer in the army of House Lannister. He is a distant relative of Lord Tywin and is sent home to the Westerlands for insubordination.
  • Canon Foreigner: There is no such Reginald Lannister in the books, as the Tywin at Harrenhal subplot was entirely original to the series.
  • Get Out: As told to by Tywin Lannister for his blatant disrespect.
  • Nepotism: As usual in Westeros, but Reginald is a peculiar case that openly annoys his benefactor.
    Reginald: We've worked through the night, my Lord. Perhaps we'd profit from some sleep.
    Tywin: Yes, I think you would, Reginald. And, because you're my cousin, I might even let you wake form that sleep! Go! I'm sure your wife must miss you.
    Reginald: ... My wife's in Lannisport...
    Tywin: Well, then you'd better start riding. (beat) Go, before I change my mind and send her your head! If your name wasn't Lannister, you'd be scrubbing out pots in the cook's tent. Go.
  • Too Dumb to Live: It's an absolute miracle (aided by the fact that his surname is Lannister) that Reginald is still alive after his ridiculous behavior at Tywin's war council. He begins eating when Tywin hasn't started eating, keeps eating as Tywin speaks (both are signs of disrespect that even Amory Lorch doesn't dare engage in) and then makes a sarcastic comment directly to Tywin's face! Anyone in Westeros with half a brain knows to be afraid of Tywin at the best of times. Reginald is missing half that brain. Tywin outright promises him that he will kill him if he doesn't Get Out.
  • Upper-Class Twit: It's clear that Reginald has spent his life in easy comfort, acting entitled and irritable to the point of bitching to Tywin.

    Orson Lannister 

Played By: N/A

Tyrion Lannister: It filled me with dread. Piles and piles of them, years and years of them. How many countless living, crawling things smashed and dried out and returned to the dirt? In my dreams I found myself standing on a beach filled with beetle husks, stretching as far as the eye could see. I woke up crying, weeping for their shattered little bodies.

A deceased cousin of Jaime, Tyrion and Cersei, who was brain-damaged from infancy.
  • Almighty Idiot: He was God among the beetles he smashed. A common theory is that Orson is a metaphor for a mindless God/nature/evolution.
  • Animal Motifs: His name Orson means "Bear Cub" which clashes with the Lion theme of the family but also supports his blind, animal-like nature.
  • Butt Monkey: He was the only Lannister even less respected than Tyrion. In fact, Tyrion often picked on Orson and was one of the most vocal bullies, since tormenting the mentally ill was the only time Tyrion could feel like All of the Other Reindeer.
  • Canon Foreigner: There's no counterpart to Orson in the books. The closest thing he has is Tyrion's joking claim that his father locked up "drooling cousins" deep within Casterly Rock for being embarrassments.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: His wet nurse dropped him on his head as an infant.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: According to some interpretations, Orson represents the blind randomness of a world that has no higher purpose. We can try to look for things like "reasons" or "purpose" as much as we want, or we can make up our own. In the end, the world goes on grinding all the little living creatures into the dust while we search for meaning.
    Tyrion reminisces about his brain-damaged cousin Orson, whose one joy in the world was crushing beetles in the garden. The young Tyrion was deeply troubled both by the senseless deaths of all the insects, and his inability to understand what was in it for his cousin. (...) The mystery remains unsolved; what troubles the siblings is that it may well be unsolvable. If there is a God at all, "The Mountain and the Viper" suggests he's some kind of cosmic Orson, killing things at random for no rhyme or reason.
  • Foil: To his cousin Tyrion, as they are both Lannisters with disabilities. But while Tyrion is an extremely intelligent dwarf who dislikes killing, Orson was mindless and lived only for senseless violence.
  • Posthumous Character: He died years ago, when he was kicked in the chest by a mule.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Tyrion has spent several years wondering why Orson was obsessed with smashing beetles in the garden. Fans of the show seem to believe Orson represents either the author George R. R. Martin himself (he senselessly kills his characters while the fans wonder why), or the random cruelty of the Gods, or the meaningless nature of the universe.
  • Shadow Archetype: Orson (the actual character, not what he metaphorically represents) sounds like he was the Lannister equivalent of Hodor, though more tragic and disturbing than everyone's favorite Gentle Giant.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Tyrion spent several years in intellectual contemplation, wondering why Orson killed all those insects, and trying to find a deeper meaning or purpose for their deaths. He couldn't find one.

    Ser Stafford Lannister 

Played By: N/A

Lancel: Using some vile sorcery, your brother fell on Stafford Lannister with an army of wolves. Thousands of good men were butchered.

An officer of House Lannister, and one of Tywin's many cousins. Killed at the Battle of Oxcross by the Northmen.
  • Character Death: He's killed by Robb's men at the Battle of Oxcross.
  • General Failure: As with most Lannister commanders not named Tywin. Even though the Lannister forces had surrounding Oxcross completely under lockdown, they failed to account for the Stark direwolves, allowing Robb to get the jump on him and his men with the help of Grey Wind. From the books... 
  • In the Back: How he was killed. Rickard Karstark was the one who ended Stafford's life when he personally drove a spear through him.
  • The Ghost: He doesn't even appear onscreen. Not alive, anyway. He's certainly among the many Lannister casualties shown in the battle's aftermath.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Doesn't even get any screen time before being killed. The same is true of the books, as he's only mentioned briefly before and after the battle.