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Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - Tyrion Lannister

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For the main House Lannister entry, see here

Tyrion Lannister, Acting Hand of the King, Master of Coin

The Imp, Halfman, the demon-monkey, Giant of Lannister, The Boyman, Lord Tywin's Doom, Hugor Hill, Yollo, No-Nose
"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge."

The last and least son of Tywin and Joanna Lannister, Tyrion is a deformed dwarf nicknamed "the Imp." Many scorn him for his hideous appearance and his father Tywin considers him an embarrassment to the perfectionist Lannisters. Despite this, Tyrion is the most compassionate and genuinely heroic of his family. He is also extremely smart and cunning like his father Tywin, but his family never appreciates what he does (except for Jaime). Tyrion is a favorite of author George R. R. Martin.

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  • 0% Approval Rating: What the commons, particularly in King's Landing, call him (not just behind his back) basically says it all, really: The Imp. The Halfman. The Demon Monkey. Heck, just calling him "The Dwarf" is positively cheery by comparison. Granted, he wasn't helped by the tax on whorehouses being accounted solely his fault or every last one of his sister's and nephew's mistakes being placed at his door during his time as Hand. Let alone his own acid tongue dumping him in it. Will probably go down in Westerosi folklore as an Evil Uncle, Kinslayer and Kingslayer, as well, just to top things off. One out of three actually not being so bad.
    • By the time of The Winds of Winter he's even the subject of a play called The Bloody Hand in which he's depicted as a Card-Carrying Villain in the vein of Richard III
  • Accidental Truth: In the book, he mocks a messenger from The Wall who brings him proof of the rising Wights, by first delaying him until the frozen, and moving corpse, melts and rots, and then when called out on it, because he deliberately destroyed the evidence, he tells the hapless messenger "if the dead are walking, it's because they're not being buried properly." House Frey defiles the Tully funeral traditions by throwing Catelyn Stark in a river and leaving her to rot. Guess what happens with her.
  • Action Survivor: He does take up a weapon at some points (he seems to prefer axes, which almost certainly is a reference to the kind of dwarfs more commonly found in fantasy novels), but because of his stature he normally does his best to just stay out of the way.
  • Agent Scully: Despite or because of being well-versed in ancient lore, Tyrion is shown on several occasions to be extremely skeptical of manifestations of magic returning to the world. It's implied, especially where dragons are concerned, that as in other aspects of his life, he used to believe but had his idealism crushed.
  • The Alcoholic: From the start, Tyrion is well-known for his drunken escapades with outlaws and prostitutes. The alcoholism, which is already standard for the current line of Lannisters, only gets worse as the stress of his situation keeps weighing down on him.
  • Alliterative Name: Hugor Hill, the alias he travels under in Essos.
  • An Axe to Grind: Has never handled axes before the series starts, but makes good use of one in the Vale and the Battle of the Blackwater.
  • Anti-Hero: Tyrion is far more noble than either his father or sister, but he's capable of some considerably appalling deeds—Martin has described him as "the grayest of the gray." Originally a Pragmatic Hero, complete with snark and some darker moments, but performs many good deeds even though bad ones may have suited him better. After discovering the truth about his estranged wife Tysha, he starts becoming even darker, more prone to lashing out and ultimately becoming more vindictive.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: While talking with Jaime about Bran being crippled:
    Jaime: Even if the boy does live, he will be a cripple. Worse than a cripple. A grotesque. Give me a good clean death.
    Tyrion: Speaking for the grotesques, I beg to differ. Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.
  • Anti-Villain: While very sympathetic on a personal level, many of his actions throughout the first part of the series help further the cause of House Lannister, and therefore tighten Joffrey's grip on the throne. It's to the point where Martin himself even identifies Tyrion as a villain, despite being his personal favorite character.
  • Arc Words: As of A Dance with Dragons, Tyrion is haunted by his father's Famous Last Words: "Wherever whores go."
    • More pertinent for Tyrion's whole story line is Varys' statement that: "A very small man can cast a very large shadow." Moqorro's prophecy similarly mentions Tyrion with a very big shadow, as does the narration in Jon's chapter encountering Tyrion.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When he volunteers to lead a sortie during the Battle of the Blackwater. Most of the soldiers gathered are more disposed to laugh off the idea, but he shuts them all down.
    Tyrion: They say I'm half a man. What does that make the lot of you?
  • Arranged Marriage: With Sansa. While he's uncomfortable with it (not least due to Tywin's demanding that he deflower a barely-pubescent girl) he does initially hold out some hope that perhaps they could eventually have a marriage of at least friendship if not actual love. When he realizes this isn't going to happen either, he descends further into bitterness.
  • Association Fallacy: Most Westeros nobles, especially the Starks, treat him coldly just for being a Lannister. His mistreatment from the Lannisters for being a dwarf and his mistreatment by everyone else for being a Lannister drive him further into bitterness and amorality.
  • At Least I Admit It: Most Lannisters are morally bankrupt and sexual deviants behind closed doors, while Tyrion flaunts his personal flaws and whoring exploits, much to his family's chagrin.
  • Badass Boast: As part of his attempt to manipulate Cersei prior to the battle of King's Landing.
    Tyrion: I have never liked you, Cersei, but you were my own sister, so I never did you harm. You've ended that. I will hurt you for this. I don't know how yet, but give me time. A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you'll know the debt is paid.
  • Badass Bookworm: While not a scholar, he's very intelligent and is fond of reading, and despite his lack of size and training proves very capable whenever he's forced into battle.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Like father, like son. Hand him any job in administration, however slight it seems... and he will excel at it. From the sewers and drainage in Casterly Rock, to the defense of King's Landing as Hand. And, even when you try shoving him in a position he's not comfortable with, he'll study up and quickly get to grips with it: hello, Master of Coin (it didn't take him long to start twigging that Littlefinger had been up to something bigger than it looked on paper). It's a real pity that his father has a habit of yoinking any position away from him just as he's started to make a real mark on it... Jealousy, much?
  • Battle of Wits: Note to anybody getting into one of these with Tyrion — you'll wind up hurting. Usually much more than he will, no matter how much better you might consider yourself to be at winning the Game. He uses his wits as his main methods of both attack and defense, and you've just engaged him in his natural environment. More fool you.
  • Berserk Button:
    • He has angry — but fairly calm — reactions to anyone talking crap about or attempting to abuse Shae. But he completely loses his shit whenever Joffrey mistreats Sansa, even going so far as to threaten to cut off Joffrey's dick in front of the entire court at Tyrion and Sansa's wedding. It's very clear that he doesn't love Sansa, but given everything that his family has done to hers, he seems to want to at the very least keep her safe.
    • Shae gives false testimony against Tyrion at his trial, claiming he'd boasted of his plans to murder King Joffrey, and humiliates him further by claiming Tyrion insisted on being called the "giant of Lannister" (actually Shae's pet name for Tyrion). When Tyrion finds Shae in his father's bed she makes the fatal mistake of using this pet name again — Tyrion responds by choking her to death.
    • When he finds out that his former wife Tysha was not a whore, and that his father tricked him, Tywin referring to her as a whore becomes this to him. It only takes two mentions of her as a whore for Tyrion to kill his father via crossbow bolt to the bowels.
  • Big Brother Worship: Worships his elder brother because he treated him like a brother instead of a Black Sheep, and because Jaime is everything Tyrion is not — handsome, fearless, loved by his father and sister, capable of inspiring loyalty in those under him. This all comes crashing down when Jaime confesses that he lied about Tysha being a whore, although Tyrion still harbors some mixed feelings towards him.
  • Black Sheep: His character is used to play with this and White Sheep. He's initially portrayed as the one decent member of a family of amoral, over-privileged villains, unfairly treated by them as an embarrassing misfit. As we learn more about the other members of his family, and as the plot pushes him toward making uglier and more cynical choices, the picture becomes more complex.
  • Book Worm: His words say it best and are an ode to/battle-cry for bookworms everywhere:
    Tyrion: My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind... and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.
  • Brutal Honesty: Tyrion doesn't hesitate to speak his mind when he thinks the situation calls for it. This often gains him respect for his earnestness, but also lands him in problems from time to time when his abrupt input is not appreciated. Along with his dry humor, it's all part of his Stepford Snarker armor, and he doesn't spare even himself from this treatment. As he tells to Jon Snow before befriending him.
    Tyrion Lannister: Did I offend you? Sorry. Dwarfs don’t have to be tactful. Generations of capering fools in motley have won me the right to dress badly and say any damn thing that comes into my head.
  • Butt-Monkey: His immediate family all treat him callously, with the exception of Jaime and his uncle, Kevan.
  • Byronic Hero: Tyrion Lannister seems to be almost exactly this, sans the good looks. He is an extremely cunning, intelligent man who would make a supreme politician, if only someone gave him the credit he deserves. The tragedy of his life is that in a world that believes in Beauty = Goodness, it's very difficult for him to achieve the power and respect that he longs for. The few problems he was not able to completely correct are blown widely out of proportion and all the good work he does is dismissed by his father, that is, if the credit is given to others, and Tywin will still insult and degrade his son anyway. And the cherry on top of it all, he was led to believe that the first woman he ever loved only loved him for his money. This led to Tyrion giving up on ever being accepted for anything besides his gold and to treasure his brother (the one person he believed to love him and be honest with him) all the more. Since he sides with his family (essentially the bad guys) he's an Anti-Villain whose actions throughout the first part of the series help further the cause of House Lannister. In the latter half, he becomes darker and more cynical after discovering his commoner wife was not a prostitute hired for him. The realization that Tysha truly loved him, that Tywin hated his son so much that he fabricated this lie and then treated Tysha like a whore and had her gang-raped anyway, culminates in Tyrion snapping and killing his father. And since Jaime contributed to the lie, Tyrion now hates Jaime as well, though he at least has some reservations about hurting his brother. Since then he has defected from his family and is siding with the Targaryens, all in pursuit of his of revenge.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: Sort of. While the clansmen of the Mountains of the Moon who make up Tyrion's own personal guard are from the Vale, they've never acknowledged the rule of the Iron Throne.
  • Characterization Marches On: He's introduced doing an acrobatic leap off a gargoyle, which Martin has said is an artifact of his original ideas for the character. Soon afterward, he's firmly established as someone with few physical strengths, who must rely almost purely on his wits. Although interestingly, in the fifth book we learn that he has some tumbling skills learned when he was younger, and could walk on his hands along the length of a table — until Tywin found out about it.
    • It's also stated that Jaime was the only member of his family who treated him decently. Later comments show that Tyrion liked all of his uncles (though only Kevan is now alive) because they were kind to him, though this attitude could be justified by his father's attitude casting such a large shadow.
  • The Chessmaster: In most works of fiction, he'd count as a full-fledged Magnificent Bastard. The standards of Westeros, however, are much higher, although Tyrion still has his shining moments.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: When Tyrion is accused of murdering Joffrey, it doesn't take much evidence to convince the majority of people of his guilt due to his hideous appearance and evil reputation.
  • Cyanide Pill: He steals some poisonous mushrooms from Illyrio's gardens in case of capture or suicidal impulse. It's implied he used one of these mushrooms to poison Nurse, the slave overseer of Yezzan zo Qaggaz.
  • The Cynic: While he's hardly an optimist early in the series, he becomes this more and more after murdering his father.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Deconstructed. Tyrion's wittiness is a defense mechanism formed as a result of the abuse he suffers at the hands of his family members, as well as the loathing he generally receives for being a deformed dwarf. He isn't particularly concerned with pleasantries or politeness (since he figures people would loathe him regardless), and as such, he relies on snark as a means to agitate his enemies (even when directly threatened with violence). Tyrion can't stop snarking, even when it's not very appropriate, and it lands him in serious trouble. On the occasions he does manage to exert enough self-control to vaguely bottle it in, he's a premier First-Person Smartass to make up for it.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the Token Good Teammate. Yes, Tyrion tries to do justice during his tenure as Hand and curb Joffrey's cruelty. Yes, he tries to protect the people of King's Landing from a second sack. Yet he's still working to keep The Wrongful Heir to the Throne in power and "feeding" him those who are opposed to the Lannister reign. Yes, he punishes the corrupt Janos Slynt and the child-murdering Allar Deem, yet he makes no move to oust Cersei, the one who gave the order to kill Robert's bastards.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: While he deems the city's democratic system as progressive, Tyrion finds it amusing, and even flawed, that women in Volantis are allowed to vote.
  • Depraved Dwarf: Subverted. Though this is what he is widely believed to be, he is actually a generally decent and honorable person (despite a few moments of cruelty and a penchant for boozing and whoring). But after discovering the truth about Tysha, and later on murdering his father after this revelation, Tyrion actually begins playing this trope pretty straight. One mustn't forget that at this point he's horribly depressed, so while one may feel sympathy for him, the fact that he ends up raping a foreign prostitute on a whim is still pretty depraved.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Learning that Tysha really did love him, after years of thinking she was paid whore. He is crushed to realize that Jaime kept this from him for so long and has a falling out with the only member of his immediate family that he really loved. Then, still reeling from this revelation, Tyrion murders both his father and ex-lover. In exile Tyrion sinks to new lows: becoming nihilistic, callous, and depressed; raping a sex slave who has long overdue passed the Despair Event Horizon; endlessly brooding about his misfortunes and how much he wants to hurt the people who hurt him. At several points he even contemplates suicide by ingesting poisonous mushrooms. Part of his arc in A Dance With Dragons is about trying to get himself out of this emotional abyss and find the will to live.
  • Deuteragonist: In a series of novels with more than a thousand named characters and more than thirty POV characters, Tyrion, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, and Arya Stark are the closest thing to main protagonists available in the books. Tyrion is far and away the character with the most POV chapters in the five published books with 47, a six-chapter lead over second place Jon Snow.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Tyrion heads to Tywin after his demotion from Hand to demand his birthright from him, not taking into consideration that he certainly did not accomplish what Tywin sent him to King's Landing for in the first place; he brought Shae to the capital even when Tywin expressly told him not to; he got into petty squabbles with Cersei instead of placating her like he was supposed to, causing the city to be utterly unprepared for the battle that Tywin had to later salvage because, as a matter of fact, they were losing it. Then, even after almost losing King's Landing to Stannis, Tyrion comes to Tywin to claim Casterly Rock even when he failed in Tywin's eyes. Even though it wasn't entirely Tyrion's fault (as Cersei did little more than sit on her hands), Tywin indeed had put the task on Tyrion and he fell short (no pun intended).
  • The Dog Bites Back: His murder of Tywin, which was payback for years of abuse, as well as arranging the rape of Tysha.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: He's genuinely fond of Sansa and tries to protect her after they're married, even striking idle conversation with her to make her feel more comfortable. Sansa, however, is mistrustful and cold towards him since he's a Lannister.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Feels this after the Battle of Blackwater. He was largely responsible for helping the Lannisters defeat Stannis, yet doesn't receive as much gratitude as he would like.
  • Enemy Mine: In A Dance with Dragons, he intentionally seeks out an alliance of this sort with Daenerys Targaryen, united only by a common hatred for his family.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Usually vents it with derision when it comes to people of average intelligence and below, Tyrion has a limit and takes out his wrath on Joffrey, with very good reasons as his royal nephew's stupidity could potentially cost them the war.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Rather snarkily comforts Jon after the poor boy humiliates himself by loudly declaring how much he hates being a bastard at a royal feast, and advises him to turn his weakness into a strength (being a dwarf in Tyrion's case, being a bastard in Jon's case), despite their families being on bad terms. This shows his compassion and friendliness under his blithe exterior, and greater moral compass than the rest of his family.
  • Ephebophile: Despite being in his late twenties, Tyrion's mistress Shae is implied to be no older than 17, and his arranged bride Sansa is 13 when they marry. Tyrion is disgusted with himself for finding these girls attractive partly because of their extreme youth, but admits he can't help it. It may have something to do with his first romance/marriage, which happened when both he and the girl were still in their early teens, and the tragic way it ended.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: When he finds out that Jaime knew the truth about Tysha.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Tyrion uses gold and his family name to buy loyalty (and sex), as he assumes no one will follow him or like him for any other reason. We discover in the course of the series that he can inspire loyalty and affection, but at this stage he seems unaware of it.
  • Evil Uncle: Subverted — everyone thinks he's this, but he's actually one of the more decent and honorable members of his family. Ironically, the two people who seem most capable of seeing his true character are his niece and nephew, Tommen and Myrcella. In this aspect, he is very much like his own uncle Gerion (another subversion), though unlike him, he carries a great burden of spite and abuse.
  • Expy: Of Frankenstein's Monster; a highly intelligent being born with crippling and hideous deformities who desires only to be accepted, but who because of his appearance is treated with nothing but hatred by his father and the world at large, and as a result becomes a monster inside-and-out.
    • Of Richard III. In-universe, he even becomes the protagonist of a played called The Bloody Hand, in which a character based on him gets the equivalent of Richard III's opening monologue.
  • Facial Horror: He spends most of the books without his nose.
  • Failed a Spot Check: During his second trial, Tyrion notes that there are six members of the Kingsguard helping with crowd control. Unless Lord Commander Jaime Lannister was demoted (unlikely, given Lannister nepotism) or Ser Arys Oakheart magically got home from Dorne, this sixth member must be Jaime, but Tyrion never makes this connection.
  • Famed In-Story: Well notorious more like. But not even two years after his exile from Westeros, he's become notorious in Westeros and parts of Essos. A play on his adventures and misdeeds, "The Bloody Hand", in the style of Richard III, is performed in Braavos and many of the dialogues quote his speeches from his trial.
  • Foil:
    • Cersei Lannister. Cersei is considered the World's Most Beautiful Woman, while Tyrion is ugly and stunted. Though Tyrion proves to be a much more competent leader, Cersei is favored over him by their father. Cersei thinks of herself as Tywin 2.0, but it's Tyrion that has the most in common with him.
    • Robert Baratheon. While they're both hard drinking and depressive hedonists who desire most of all to be liked, they are completely opposite in everything else. Where Robert's strength is physical on the battlefield who knows how out of his depth at politics he is, Tyrion essentially tries to stay off in the corner of the battle while he is a master politician.
    • Stannis Baratheon. Both are second sons who are hated by the majority of the Seven Kingdoms and thought of as evil uncles to Joffrey who were plotting to usurp the crown themselves. The difference is Stannis knows Joffrey isn't his nephew, making him the rightful Head of House Baratheon. Tyrion is accused of poisoning Joffrey and found guilty, but was actually innocent. Both have terrible relationships with their siblings, though Tyrion at least had a good relationship with Jaime for most of his life, Stannis was never treated well. Both have brilliant minds and win great victories, but don't receive their due appreciation for this. Both show some respect for lower folk, with Tyrion this is because, being a dwarf, he holds sympathy for those in similar positions. Stannis shows more respect for the lower folk out of his obsession with giving everybody their due, regardless of social rank. However, Stannis is a stern Principles Zealot who's uncomfortable with sex and terrible socially, though with a dry deadpan sense of humor. Tyrion is a hedonistic figure who regularly consorts with prostitutes and is able to find witty answers most of the time.
    • Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers. Both served as hand of the king and both during a time of war, and were instrumental in their side's victory. Even though they were far more competent Hands than the kings they served (who also happened to be their nephews), they were disliked and distrusted by most people because of their physical appearance, Tyrion being a dwarf and Bloodraven an albino, and also they get in battle a serious injure that makes them even more menacing. They were imprisoned after their time as Hand (though Tyrion was definitely unjustly imprisoned) and were offered to go to the Wall — Bloodraven accepted, Tyrion escaped before it would have happened. Finally, they're both kinslayers — Branden's archers killed Daemon Blackfyre and his sons at his orders and also murdered his nephew Aenys Blackfyre by himself, Tyrion is accused of Joffrey's murder and eventually kills his own father.
    • Sansa Stark. Though they are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to physical beauty, gender and size, they are intertwined in their stories. They come to the bitter realization that no one will ever marry them for love. They are both rather intelligent, if naive and they have to contend against the same people in King's Landing. They end up married to each other against their will and they have both currently fled King's Landing, as they are accused of conspiring to kill Joffrey.
  • The Four Loves: What he is deficient of. He is consistently broken by the fact that nearly everyone who he thought would stand by him desert him to pursue their own interests. It finally came to a head in book 3 when he rejected his brother Jaime, the last person who truly loves him.

  • Gadgeteer Genius: Tyrion is one of the few characters in this world of Medieval Stasis who tries to invent anything new. Among his inventions are a saddle for paraplegic people and an anti-ship defense in the form of a great chain.
  • Gaslighting: What Tywin, and indirectly Jaime, do to him when they successful slander his wife Tysha as a whore. This amounted to Tyrion being made to feel that the only reason anybody loved him was because of his family name and fortune, it made him into a regular brothel visitor and he resorted the rest of his life to remain aloof from any chances at "real relationships", in addition to forcing him to rape a woman, he was led to believe was a prostitute leading to him build his famous personality of an At Least I Admit It Depraved Dwarf and his basic Byronic Hero personality as a defense mechanism. This causes him no end of suffering when Tyrion finds out the Awful Truth, almost leading him to Go Mad from the Revelation that his entire adolescent period was a lie, causing him to lash out and in A Dance with Dragons actually rape a prostitute near Volantis and slowly develop a profound personality crisis out of rage, grief and guilt.
  • Generation Xerox: Fire & Blood reveals that his ancestor Tyland Lannister was also a physically disfigured Hand to a child king who became a Hero with Bad Publicity for his bad looks, despite being competent and efficient with a keen mind.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: During the Battle of the Blackwater, Tyrion gets a massive scar across his face and even loses most of his nose. Despite being the nicest and among the most heroic of all the Lannisters, most people in the setting believe Beauty = Goodness, so the disfigurement only serves to make them distrust and hate him even more.
  • The Grotesque: Even his own descriptions paint him as incredibly ugly, with mismatched eyes and stunted limbs. He becomes even more deformed after the Battle of the Blackwater, where he receives a hideous scar and loses half his nose.
  • Guile Hero: He's a Chess Master, with no physical prowess but plenty of brains to keep himself going, and one of the least villainous Lannisters.
  • Handicapped Badass: Tyrion's entire arc shows just how little his very real physical condition bothers him... when compared with the heaping piles of social crap the warrior culture of the Seven Kingdoms regularly dumps on him simply for being a dwarf. Sure, he doesn't always help his case, but he has a massive, massive point. Tyrion is capable, badass in a fight (even with caveats), can outwit most comers and often means well. Just try telling most other people that, though. Or, getting them to acknowledge his successes, not just his failures.
  • He's Back: After wallowing in self-pity and learned helplessness in ASOS, and drunken self-loathing in the first half of ADWD, Tyrion masterminds their escape from a slave camp, talks a sellsword company over to his cause, and is last seen plotting their defection to Daenerys.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Like most of the characters in the series he's pretty morally ambiguous, but thanks to the beliefs of everyone around him he never gets any credit for his heroic actions while being frequently blamed for crimes he didn't commit. For instance, while being acting Hand of the King, he's blamed for Joffrey's unpopular edicts while getting no credit for his actions for the benefit of the city. This only becomes worse after being falsely accused of Joffrey's death. After being sentenced to die, he gets released from prison, but before escaping, he decides to commit a real crime and kills two people on his way out, one of them his father. This makes him the most wanted man in Westeros and permanently tarnishes his reputation.
  • Honest Advisor: In a world of hedge knights, Tyrion may as well get called a hedge half-maester. He fulfills the role, despite his lack of a chain, both officially (as Hand and Master of Coin) and unofficially (to anybody, anywhere at any time). If there's a problem, he's likely to spot it and point it out... as well as give a list of possible solutions — sometimes, with diagrams (Bran's modified saddle). He has a wide knowledge base with which to bolster his opinion and accuracy — and, tends to be upfront and on the level (more or less), even if he dislikes the person he's trying to make see reason (he might withhold aspects, but he doesn't tend to outright warp what he sees as the truth into downright lies — agenda or not). However, his cutting humor, tendency to act The Jester when faced with towering idiocy and the often unwanted nature of his advice comes back to repeatedly bite him.
  • Hypocrite:
    • While genuinely sympathetic and mistreated (and a good mate to any he commits himself to), the fact is Tyrion wants gorgeous young women like Shae and Sansa to look past his undesirable appearance, while Tyrion himself won't tolerate an unattractive mate. It's implied that he only chooses attractive prostitutes when he goes out whoring, specifically orders Bronn to bring him an attractive whore when he first gets Shae (and Tyrion scrutinizes her appearance, prepared to send her back if she isn't pretty enough), and shudders at the idea of marrying Lollys, who isn't ugly so much as plump, plain, and "soft in the head."
    • He is frustrated that Penny has such a cheerful and hopeful personality, thinking her naive to how terrible the world around her is. However, he himself struggles to accept the fact that without his nobility backing him, he's just another dwarf and his disrespectful attitude and reluctance to submit to others could easily get him killed.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Imp. Also "Halfman" and "Demon Monkey". He has many nicknames.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tyrion isn't the nicest guy around, but he tries to keep his family happy.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The cold-blooded killing of his father is pretty brutal, but his victim is such an unlikable character that it's hard not for many readers to cheer him on.
  • Kicked Upstairs: His father's plan of marrying him off to Sansa Stark and ruling the North in her name once Robb Stark is defeated for good has an element of this. It's made mostly to prevent him from ever inheriting Casterly Rock, and clear the way for an heir thought worthier by Tywin.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Tyrion destroys Stannis' fleet during the Battle of the Blackwater.
  • Heir-In-Law: Lord Tywin's desire for Tyrion to go through with a marriage to another member of the Stark family, Sansa, since she's supposed to be the last heir of the family and also Tywin has no wish of ever letting Tyrion inherit Casterly Rock. Robb Stark goes so far as to disinherit Sansa to stop her marriage being used as an excuse for House Lannister to rule the north, naming Jon Snow his heir instead.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Though Tywin would rather die than admit it. Lampshaded by Tywin's sister Genna, when Jaime attempts to offer reassurances by casting himself as his father's son. His aunt replies that Jaime is many things, but Tywin's true son is Tyrion. True to the above statement, when she told Tywin that, he refused to speak to her for six months. This itself is a Meaningful Echo of one of Tyrion's first lines: "All dwarfs are bastards" (illegitimate) "in their father's eyes."
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Subverted, then double subverted. He had actually found it with Tysha, the first girl he loved. He was led to believe this wasn't the case, however, thanks to Lord Tywin. He then tries to recreate the experience with Camp Follower Shae; as she's Only in It for the Money, she betrays him once it's in her interest to do so.
  • The Lost Lenore: His first wife Tysha, even when he thought she was a whore, the revelation that she was an innocent who genuinely loved him made her even more so for Tyrion, who is haunted by her horrific fate and the possibility that she is still alive someplace out of reach.
  • Lovable Rogue: Tyrion might be an oversexed alcoholic who's not above manipulating or inflicting pain, but he's shrewd, educated, and has great sympathy for fellow outcasts and mistreated, making him one of the most popular characters of the series.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Became infamous in Westeros for seemingly knowing every brothel possible. Then again, this sex drive all started because of what happened with Tysha.
  • Love Hurts: He's had some horrific romantic experiences.
  • Made a Slave: In A Dance With Dragons, though he eventually manipulates his circumstances so that he ends up freed... with a sellsword company at his back, to boot.
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child: Tywin seems to actively loathe Tyrion for killing his beloved Joanna, and the fact that he's a stunted dwarf doesn't help matters.
  • Morality Pet: When Tyrion appears to be going off the rails in A Dance with Dragons, his need to protect the life and feelings of fellow dwarf, Penny, stops him from doing so. Go on, pick on her: he'll make you pay.
  • My Greatest Failure: How he regards his betrayal of his wife, Tysha, who truly loved him. He hates himself for listening to the lies of Jaime and his father and participating in her gang rape, which Tywin ordered but which he blames himself for as well.
  • My Nayme Is: Tyrion instead of Tyrone. His alias in Essos is Hugor, seemingly a corruption of Hugo.

  • Named After Somebody Famous: As revealed in The World of Ice and Fire, Tyrion II "the Tormentor" was a king of the pre-conquest Westerlands who "enjoyed making women bleed". Tywin likely named Tyrion after him out of spite for killing Joanna in childbirth.
  • Nasal Trauma: ends up having most of his nose hacked off during an attempt on his life. Already regarded with disdain for being a dwarf, the hideous scars make him even more reviled than before - and make him a very recognizable fugitive when he has to go on the run.
  • Noble Fugitive: Forced to go on the run in Essos after being convicted for killing Joffrey, escaping the Red Keep, and killing his father.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • Alongside Stannis, Ned Stark and Theon Tyrion is a version of Richard III, with his Deadpan Snarker rhetoric and angst about his disability and flirtations with Then Let Me Be Evil coming from Shakespeare's Richard III. In addition, there is a Show Within a Show play made of his exploits, called "The Bloody Hand" which submits Tyrion to a Historical Villain Upgrade analogous to the posthumous reputation of the Duke of Gloucester as a result of Shakepeare.
    • He also has a lot in common with Jeanne "le Boiteuse" de Bourgogne, Philip VI's queen who ran the country while her husband was fighting in the Hundred Years' War. Both are very intelligent, love books, and are capable rulers, but due to their deformities, they get no thanks for it and are often blamed for things completely out of their control.
    • Also of the Emperor Claudius, specifically as portrayed in I, Claudius, who made up for being the runt of the litter in a powerful family by exercising his intellect through study. Also, Claudius' marvelous relationship with his nephew Caligula and inferiority complex towards his elder brother Germanicus mirrors Tyrion's one with Joffrey the Adorable and big brother Jaime.
  • No Respect Guy: Tyrion is simply one of the most talented people on the Lannister side, a superb administrator, a cunning player of the Game of Thrones and even an outright badass in battle. Yet no one, save for a few people, least of all their father, gives him any credit for anything. During his time as Hand he does much to try to improve the situation in King's Landing, but winds up getting the blame for the problems he's trying to fix instead, and none of the credit for things he does get to fix, just because he's a dwarf. He practically saved King's Landing single-handedly at the Battle of the Blackwater, but only receives any credit for coming up with the strategy to block the river with a giant chain.
  • No True Scotsman: Fellow dwarf Penny points out that Tyrion doesn't behave like a real dwarf in that where most dwarfs have to be careful around "the big people" and avoid antagonizing them, Tyrion has too much Pride and speaks and acts like one of them. Tyrion for his part concedes that his father refused to allow him to interact with other dwarfs growing up:
    "It seems I have much to learn about being a dwarf".
  • The Noseless: Tyrion gets his nose hacked off during the Battle of the Blackwater.
  • Not Helping Your Case: His lack of tact is one of his major weaknesses, and his inability to resist making snarky jibes at inopportune times costs him, most notably when he is on trial for murdering Joffrey.
    Tywin: You have a certain cunning, Tyrion, but the plain truth is you talk too much.
    • For the first time in his life, Tyrion's father puts him in a position of power and responsibility. Tyrion does well, but gets so caught up in his conflict with Cersei that he threatens her son to protect a whore she's holding hostage, thus hitting one of Tywin's Berserk Buttons.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Killing his own father brought him enormous pain, and he dedicates most of the time henceforth getting plastered silly until necessity and the blunt force of the reality around him forces him to climb out of the funk.
    • He falsely confesses to Jaime that he indeed killed Joffrey just out of sheer spite and even deems him to have sunk at the level of Cersei; he later comes to regret this.
  • Not So Different: When he receives word of the atrocities carried out by his father's forces on the smallfolk of the Riverlands, he dismisses it as just "war", with the same callousness that Tywin and Kevan.
    • Like his father, Tyrion can't stand being being the butt of laughter and jokes.
  • N-Word Privileges: Tyrion doesn't like being called "Halfman" or "The Imp", but accepts it from Bronn and Shagga as they're the closest things he has for friends.
  • Odd Friendship: Jon Snow befriends him, of all people.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: In spite of being a human with a medical condition rather than a fantasy dwarf, he manages to nail most of the traits perfectly. Short, drinks heavily, wears a beard (at least on occasion), prefers axes and crossbows, obsesses over gold and legacy (his claim to Casterly Rock), likes technology, short-tempered, holds grudges like no-one's business and, in what must be a deliberate Shout-Out to The Hobbit, at one point gets smuggled past a guard in a barrel.
    • Needless to say each of these traits are justified, Played With and deconstructed. His preference of axes and crossbows comes in as a result of Combat Pragmatism due to his short height, his obsession over his legacy to Casterly Rock is sorely because it is his by birthright, but not recognized by society and family, his sense of self-loathing and ableist prejudice means that it is only his wealth that gives him any kind of leverage. As for holding grudges, he is on a personal level generous, but people keep stabbing him and mistreating him all his life, and he wouldn't be human if it didn't get to him eventually.
  • Patricide: Not that most readers would get on his case for it. Most of Westeros is a different matter.
  • The Peter Principle: When not outright trying to get him killed as indirectly as possible while still being fairly obvious about it, his father is less than subtle in trying to invoke this trope on him by throwing him in dangerous (or just really tedious) positions. So far, it hasn't worked as planned for Tywin; again and again Tyrion proves he has managerial skills. Leaving Tywin to fall back on exaggerating perceived failures as an excuse to prove him incompetent.
  • Portent of Doom: Tyrion's birth was regarded as a punishment from the gods for Tywin's arrogance in regarding himself as greater than a king, portending the doom of the realm and the fall of Lord Tywin. Tywin being the upstanding kind father that he is, ensures that this becomes a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, culminating in Patricide.
    • Later while travelling on a ship together, Tyrion meets the Red Priest Moqorro who gives Tyrion a hint of what awaits him in the coming books:
    Moqorro: Dragons old and young, true and false, bright and dark. And you. A small man with a big shadow, snarling in the midst of it all.
  • Prank Date: Horrifyingly subverted, when Tywin had the whole garrison gang-rape Tyrion's wife Tysha. Except it wasn't a Prank Date at all. Tywin was angry at his son's actions and wanted to punish him, so he forced Jaime to lie that Tysha was a whore. Jaime admitting this seems to shatter their bond, as Tyrion realizes that the one person he's always trusted has also lied to him.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Given his considerable wit and morally ambiguous nature, he's rather fond of delivering these.
    • During the Battle of the Green Fork, he is nearly killed by a soldier who keeps screaming "Die!" but is luckily able to put his axe through the man's skull:
      "You die." Tyrion told him, and he did.
    • This gem from The Battle of the Blackwater:
      "Those are brave men. Let's go kill them."
    • When he kills Tywin.
      Tywin: You are no son of mine.
      Tyrion: Now that's where you're wrong, father. Why, I believe I'm you writ small. Do me a kindness now, and die quickly. I have a ship to catch.
    • After he grows tired of the abusive and cold-blooded Nurse, Tyrion slips him some poison mushrooms in his food. As he dies, the slave driver gets this bit of wisdom.
      "A Lannister always pays his debts."
  • Pride: Whatever else you might say of him, Tyrion is very much a Lannister in this regard.
  • Put on a Bus: He's one of the characters who doesn't appear at all in A Feast For Crows, which, given his popularity, resulted in some unhappy readers.
  • Red Right Hand: Inverted. Most characters believe his dwarfism is a physical manifestation of some underlying moral defect to rival (if not reflect) that of the rest of his family, but the prejudice he receives for being a dwarf is exactly why he's more decent and compassionate than most of the rest of his beautiful, haughty family. That is, until the widespread mistreatment he receives causes him to snap and kill his father and flee Westeros.
  • Renaissance Man: Tyrion's dwarfism forbade him to ever be trained in combat but the guy knows his stuff with a terribly vast knowledge that spaces from politics to war strategy to engineering to municipal works administration, and despite his dwarfism he's also brave enough to lead men in battle when it's required.
  • Replacement Goldfish: After being told the girl he'd fallen for was a prostitute, Tyrion spends the next few years losing himself in hedonism, convinced that a woman would only love him for his gold. He falls in love with Camp Follower Shae, with tragic consequences as the amoral Shae turns against Tyrion the moment it's in her interest to do so. Then it turns out that Tysha, his first love, was never a prostitute to begin with.
  • Sanity Slippage: Starts going into this after the Trauma Conga Line at the end of A Storm of Swords. In A Dance with Dragons he is in serious depression and contemplates suicide with considerable interest. Also his last dialogue with Tywin about "where do whores go?" continues to play in his head like a Madness Mantra.
  • The Scapegoat: His tenure as Hand was not well-received despite all his efforts that saved King's Landing. He got blamed for the famine in the city caused by the Tyrells.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Eventually, Jaime admitted that poor Tysha was not a prostitute, but rather everything she seemed and cared for him genuinely. Tyrion, as you can see, was not amused and confronted Tywin on it. With a crossbow. And found a naked Shae in Tywin's chambers.
  • Shaming the Mob: He does this during the Battle of the Blackwater when his soldiers are reluctant to charge into the wildfire-strewn battlefield:
    Tyrion: They say I'm half a man. What does that make the lot of you?
    That shamed them well enough.
    • Also in the Eyrie, when he demands if this is how justice is done there, and argues his right to a trial.
  • Sherlock Scan: Starts exhibiting this in A Dance With Dragons. Upon meeting Griff, he instantly has suspicions about the man, whom it should be pointed out, Tyrion has probably never met in his life, as he was nine the last time Griff was famous. It could just be Tyrion being suspicious of anyone associated with Illyrio and Varys, but then again he's dropping veiled hints about "winged lions" within a couple of pages. Granted, he doesn't piece everything together until he gets some information out of Haldon during a game of cyvasse, but he got enough to start actively digging in targeted places to find the rest.
    • Also seen with sellsword commander Ben Plumm; Daenerys trusts his friendly face and so is shocked by Plumm's later betrayal. Tyrion instantly sees through it, but his familiarity with Bronn, the Mountain Clan and the various brands of anti-social (both the charming and/or vile) he'd had to work with care of Tywin's hiring policies over the years probably helped him a fair bit.
  • Shout-Out: Tyrion has mismatched eyes, one green one black, as does Satan in The Master and Margarita.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Or, smart people play the people game while playing several games of cyvasse. Take your pick.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: While Tyrion and Sansa suffer more horrific and relentless abuse under Joffrey than anyone else in King's Landing, they feel perhaps more genuine pity for his death that anyone else (except his mother), as they realize during his dying moments, as he's choking to death that in the end he's just a spoiled, helpless 13-year-old boy.
    Tyrion's thoughts: He has Jaime's eyes. Only he had never seen Jaime look so scared. The boy's only thirteen.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Since he's not fit for battle, Tyrion utilizes wit and a silver tongue to survive and get what he wants.
  • Terms of Endangerment: He and Cersei have loathed each other since childhood. Tyrion sarcastically calls her his "sweet sister".
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After all the crap he goes through just because of what he looks like, this is probably forgivable. Subverted, at least when he says it. He claims to Jaime that he is "the monster they all say I am," and that he murdered Joffrey, but the latter isn't true, and while he has been lashing out at the people who have hurt him, his fundamentally decent nature hasn't changed. Thank you, Penny.
  • Too Clever by Half: There are times his scathing mouth ends up backfiring on him, such as when he's auctioned in a slave bazaar.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Progressively so, but most prominently in A Dance with Dragons, especially in his treatment of prostitutes he engages, taking his cruelty and self-loathing out on them, where he was earlier respectful to Alayaya.
  • Tragic Hero: And happy to meander the whole scale rather than stick to just one section of it: both in anti-heroism and tragedy-comedy.
  • The Trickster: Ask anybody who has tried to box him in: it's a lot of hard work that rarely pays off as he will find a way to sneak out or otherwise turn the tables on them. Even if it bites him in some way to do so. Isn't that right, Catelyn Stark and Lysa Arryn? If you cross a line and hurt others needlessly in front of him, though, he will do his best to break out the full-scale Karmic Trickster schtick on you rather than just keeping his trickster ways genial, low-key, reflexive, and/or for personal survival, only. Just ask his sister. Or Joffrey. Or his dad.
  • Troll: Like Jaime, a lot of his problems are down to failures to control the impulse to verbal baiting.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Though not for the usual reasons.
  • The Un Favourite: Being an incredibly ugly dwarf along with his mother's death while birthing him has made Tyrion the last of the least to his father.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Largely to Sansa, who understandably despises him for being a Lannister, the main source of her family's fall from grace.
  • Villain Ball Magnet: There is no way anyone will see Tyrion as an okay person. His good deeds are either kept behind the scenes, attributed to others or outright swept under the rug. By contrast, any perceived and/or actual dodgy dealings he does? Routinely blown out of all proportion, and quick to spread on the rumor mill.
  • Villain Protagonist: Despite having decent morals and a sympathetic backstory, Tyrion is still a selfish, petty hedonist who's motivated by his desire to be accepted by his morally bankrupt family or his desire for revenge on anyone who's ever slighted him. He dismisses the war crimes ordered by his father against the population of the Riverlands as "war". Likewise, while he was the only person holding Joffrey's rule together during his tenure as Hand, it's important to remember that he was helping secure the reign of his sadistic, psychotic, ineffectual and illegitimate nephew against the legitimate claim to throne by Stannis and the legitimate grievances of Robb Stark - against whom he engages in bad faith diplomacy. And after his downfall and exile, he becomes much more darker and apathetic than ever before.
  • Younger Than They Look: He's somewhere in his 20s, but looks considerably older.
  • You Talk Too Much: Lampshaded by his own father, who says it will be Tyrion's undoing. Sure enough at Tyrion's trial every snarky insult he made to King Joffrey is used as proof of his malign intent to murder the King. Joffrey pointing an accusing finger at Tyrion as he's dying doesn't help either — Tyrion had earlier hinted that he knew Joffrey had sent the hired dagger to kill Bran Stark. Joffrey presumably thought he was being poisoned out of revenge.


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