Follow TV Tropes


Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - Tywin Lannister

Go To

For the main House Lannister entry, see here

Lord Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Shield of Lannisport, Hand of the King and Savior of the City

The Lion of Lannister, The Old Lion, The Great Lion of the Rock
"If your enemy defies you, serve him steel and fire. But if he bends the knee, you must help him back to his feet, else no man will ever kneel to you."

Oldest child of Tytos Lannister and his wife Jeyne Marbrand. Was married to his cousin Joanna, with whom he had three children, twins Cersei and Jaime and Tyrion. The patriarch of House Lannister, and former Hand of the King. He is the archetype of the powerful father. Obsessed with control and absolutely ruthless to enemies, he will destroy anyone who stands in his or his children's way. Tywin became cold and hard after spending a lifetime watching his kind and generous Lord Father being constantly manipulated and walked over by his bannermen and mistresses. He only became utterly cold after the death of his beloved wife, who was giving birth to Tyrion. Tywin is an extremely harsh and unforgiving man, terribly efficient at his job, and can't stand it when people laugh at him. It is well known that Tywin has never been seen smiling except on his wedding day and at the birth of Cersei and Jaime.


    open/close all folders 

  • 0% Approval Rating: Tywin's brutal and selfish ideologies has won him few friends, not that he wants any, and he tends to be hated by his enemies and allies alike.
    • Smallfolk hate Tywin for taking away the privileges granted to them by Aegon V. The citizens of King's Landing particularly despise him for sacking the city at the end of Robert's Rebellion.
    • It is said that Tywin found most of his support in the noble classes, who benefited the most from his elitist ideals. These same nobles were known to be amused by the various insults he suffered under the Mad King and were delighted to hear rumors that Aerys was planning to have him executed on false treason charges.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Tywin has never forgiven Tyrion for Joanna's death. When Tywin found out Tyrion wedded a common girl, he commanded Jaime to say that Tysha was a prostitute, whom Jaime had hired for to take Tyrion's virginity. Because the “whore” had presumed to marry a Lannister, Tywin had his guards rape Tysha for a silver each and then made Tyrion go last for a gold coin, stating that a Lannister was worth more. He also doesn't believe his children should decide who they marry, keeping the right of marriage selection to himself, even if it causes great distress in his children.
    • While Tyrion is especially abusive to Tyrion, he doesn't have a stellar relationship with Jaime or Cersei either. He keeps trying to pressure Jaime into quitting the Kingsguard (ignoring that Jaime doesn't want to leave) and doesn't really trust Cersei, nor does he think highly of her parenting (not without reason). It's rather telling that his Parental Favoritism shifts from Jaime to Cersei and back again depending on who is most obedient, rather than who is most effective.
  • The Ace: He is the most powerful man in Westeros during his time and with good reason. He's a great business man and an even better politician. Singlehandedly brought back House Lannister from the brink, restored its reputation and made it into the most powerful family in Westeros.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: Stannis Baratheon recalls a time when he and his brother Robert visited King’s Landing as boys. While there, they viewed a man on the Iron Throne, agreeing that the King was as noble as the dragons. Years later, their father told them that the man that impressed them so much was actually Tywin, because King Aerys had cut himself on the Iron Throne that day and Tywin had stood in for him.
  • Aloof Older Brother: To Tygett and Gerion apparently, much to their resentment. Somewhat averted with Kevan and Genna, whom he had been closer to, if only because they submitted to his authority early on.
  • Ambiguous Situation: With the revelation that he was not above cavorting with whores himself, there is a possibility that Tywin might have sired bastards of his own, with the prostitute Marei possibly being one of them. When asked of this, GRR Martin said that "[Tywin] would have you flogged for the mere suggestion."
  • Ambition Is Evil: He's ruthless when it comes to the game of thrones, and will do anything to keep his family on top.
  • Animal Motifs: His sideburns evoke the look of dominant male tomcats.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: It's general in the books, but Tywin has a thoroughly patriarchal, feudal, hierarchical notion of power and will do anything to ensure that people know their place and that power favors the wealthy and high-born. A great reason for his popularity as a Hand among high lords is the fact that he undid many of the pro-smallfolk reforms of King Aegon V ("Egg") which curbed several aristocratic privileges and has a zero-tolerance policy regarding family-smallfolk relations among his family.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: He was already the lord of Casterly Rock in all but name before his father died. Notably, during the Reyne-Tarbeck rebellion, Tytos ordered Tywin to stand down, but Tywin was such an accomplished warrior that all the vassal Houses of the Westerlands disobeyed Tytos's order and followed Tywin to war.
  • Asshole Victim: He is killed by Tyrion at the end of A Storm of Swords. Tywin had it coming in general, but the specific thing that sent Tyrion after him? Orchestrating the gang-rape of Tyrion's first wife, just because she was a commoner.
  • Badass Boast: He had "The Rains of Castamere" played whenever he wanted to remind people how dangerous it was to cross him. Listening to the song is often enough to make his enemies reconsider their positions.
  • Badass in Charge: There's a reason he's considered the Big Bad by the Starks and not Joffrey. Tywin is one of the most powerful lords in Westeros, a master strategist and despite being in his fifties, still a capable warrior.
  • Battle of Wits: Tywin is known to be a great strategist both on and off the field of battle. For all the victories he won with the strength of arms, he actually prefers the pen or any other "softer" option ("soft" is, of course, relative — there's nothing at all soft about the political, social, financial or legal binds he can effectively bully other people into using ink-backed-up-with-blood): it's usually cheaper and more effective.
  • Bling of War: An Invoked Trope; his gilded armour and cloak projects an awe-inspiring picture of the wealth and power of House Lannister. Given that he's not a Frontline General, practicality doesn't have to outweigh appearance.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Sees killing the Targaryen children is seen as this.
    Tywin: And Robert's relief was palpable. As stupid as he was even he knew Rhaegar's children had to die if his throne was ever to be secure. Yet he saw himself as a hero and heroes do not kill children.
    • He's also invoked the trope from the other direction: He keeps brutes like Ser Gregor Clegane in his employ, and "delegates" other schemes to men like Walder Frey and Roose Bolton, because their very natures make them the perfect scapegoats should these associations become embarrassing in the long run, despite the fact that they themselves are acting on Tywin's orders or in accordance with his wishes.
  • Bald of Evil: When he started to lose his hair, he had his head shaved completely; Tywin Lannister does not believe in half-measures. He kept his prodigious sideburns, though.
  • Batman Gambit: The Red Wedding. Between the Freys, the Spicers and the Boltons, Tywin has capitalized on a single mistake by Robb Stark and turned it into a victory. Throughout the entire book he is just sitting there waiting for his plan to come together because he has already won and nobody else knows it. Holy. Shit.
    • He also commanded the Reynes and Tarbecks to appear at Casterly Rock to "answer for their crimes", knowing the two overly proud Houses would revolt against him in response, giving Tywin the pretext he needed to exterminate them utterly.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He wanted his son to be a great warrior and his daughter to be a queen — it came true, but the son became a warrior so great that he got accepted into the Kingsguard, meaning that all he would ever be would be a warrior (Kingsguards cannot marry or inherit lands), and the daughter's queenship caused a string of disasters. He desired to see a king with Lannister blood on the Iron Throne — and he did, with the king (unknowingly to Tywin) having even more Lannister blood than Grandpa would have wished, being the child of the two "model" Lannister children to boot... and The Caligula, undermining every sensible thing his more competent relatives tried to do. And lastly, Tywin longed for a son who would be a suitable heir and a man as competent as politician as Tywin himself — and stubbornly tried to push Jaime into this role, refusing to notice how well his other, hated son, Tyrion, fit in it. It resulted in Tyrion performing the ultimate act of Tywin's "true" son: shooting his father with a crossbow.
  • Berserk Button: Insult this man or his family at your peril.
    • He has an even bigger one which involves Lannisters dishonoring the family name by taking smallfolk as lovers. It seems very needlessly cruel what he did to Tyrion and his wife, Tysha, when it is first brought up. Then later it is revealed that he did something similar to his Extreme Doormat father's mistress after Tytos died, having her stripped and made to walk through Lannisport naked and shamed. The fact that he considered Tysha "a whore" who married Tyrion for his money, and Tyrion a fool for not seeing it (even when it wasn't true) is just more proof that this is a bit of a touchy subject for him. In Tywin's mind, lions do not lay with lambs... But if they do, they definitely do not let the world know.
    • Also, if you value your life and that of your entire family, do not laugh at him.
    • His sister was able to make her brother angry enough that he refused to speak to her for six months. What did she do to make him so angry? She told him to his face that Tyrion was like him, while Jaime was not.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Isn't happy when Tyrion uses the word "plotting" when asking how long he and Walder Frey have been plotting the Red Wedding, presumably because the word implies they are co-conspirators with equal moral responsibility, as opposed to Lord Tywin just giving Frey the go-ahead, which is how Tywin likes to portray it.
  • Big Bad: Of the War of the Five Kings. Tywin is the most important antagonist to the Starks for the first few books, and doesn't hesitate to be a cold bastard when he has to. He's also the true muscle and brain behind Cersei and Joffrey's less than stellar rule.
    Jaime Lannister: Every crow in the Seven Kingdoms should pay homage to you, Father. From Castamere to the Blackwater, you fed them well.
  • Big Brother Instinct: To Genna certainly, and Kevan as well, most likely. Genna notes that she loved him for being the only one to protest at their father marrying her off to Walder's Frey's second son.
    Genna Frey: I was seven when Walder Frey persuaded my lord father to give my hand to Emm. His second son, not even his heir. Father was himself a thirdborn son, and younger children crave the approval of their elders. Frey sensed that weakness in him, and Father agreed for no better reason than to please him. My betrothal was announced at a feast with half the west in attendance. Ellyn Tarbeck laughed and the Red Lion went angry from the hall. The rest sat on their tongues. Only Tywin dared speak against the match. A boy of ten. Father turned as white as mare's milk, and Walder Frey was quivering. How could I not love him after that? That is not to say I approved of all he did, or much enjoyed the company of the man he became ... but every little girl needs a big brother to protect her. Tywin was big even when he was little.
  • Big Damn Heroes: From Tyrion and Sansa's perspective, Tywin's timely arrival during the Battle at Blackwater Bay saw King's Landing saved from Stannis's onslaught just as the tide turned against the Lannisters.
  • Born Lucky:
    • Tywin's victory of the War of the Five Kings ultimately comes down a series of amazing strokes of good fortune. The decisive factors for his victory over the Starks and the Baratheons come from Tyrion Lannister sending Littlefinger to form an alliance with the Tyrells after recieving word of Renly's death as well as his innovative and competent siege prepearations and defense of King's Landing. However, even then that would not have been enough as Tywin had ridden west taking Robb Stark's bait of leaving the Riverlands by returning home. Had it not been for Edmure Tully's engagement which Tywin lost, he would have been too far to receive word of Stannis' attack and the Tyrells change of alliances. This created the conditions for his timely intervention at Blackwater, grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat.
    • Likewise, Tywin and his army would have been blown up by Aerys II's wildfire, which he kept secret from both Grand Maester Pycelle and Varys but not to Jaime and his pyromancers. Had Jaime not abandoned his oaths at that moment, or Aerys not seen fit to keep him in his company, Tywin and his army would have been burnt to smithereens.
  • Broken Ace: Tywin's drive to make his family the greatest in the land is motivated by fear of his father's failings.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The song Reynes of Castamere may well have the alternative title of Or "Seriously, Don't Bully This Dragon".
  • Burning the Ships: Tywin's sack of King's Landing was deliberately done to evoke this. Tywin was aware that the rebels saw him as a fence-sitter (which he was) during Robert's Rebellion and that they would never be certain if they could trust him or depend on him. So Tywin felt that he had to betray the Targaryens and side with their enemies in such a way that House Lannister would never make peace with the dragons again, convincing the rebels that House Lannister wouldn't turn back to the Targaryens even if they wanted to.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Tyrion asks him about Tysha, he doesn't even remember her name.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: One of Tywin's infamous acts was professing loyalty to the Mad King then having his army sack the capital after they were let inside.
  • The Chessmaster: One of many, skilled at playing his opponents both in the battlefield and politics.
  • Control Freak: Views his family as chess pieces in his various political gambits, and doesn't like it when they refuse to play along — his two sons and his sister Genna all end up earning Tywin's wrath in this regard. Tywin's only true confidant is his brother Kevan who made the decision early in life to willingly become his unquestioning supporter.
  • Covert Pervert: Possibly the greatest example in the series. Tywin expresses distain at Tyrion for having sex with whores, but secretly has sex with whores himself. In fact, Tywin slept with Tyrion's former mistress! It's also implied that Tywin build a tunnel in the Tower of the Hand that would allow him sneak off to a brothel without being seen.
  • Cult of Personality: He's one of the few figures in the series to base much of his power on creating an aura of reputation around himself and weaponizing it, and having a rather sophisticated understanding of image politics. This is reflected in his weaponizing the "Rains of Castamere" which he dispatches to rebellious lords, patronizing Grand Maester Pycelle to subvert the neutrality of The Citadel and more or less work as his apparatchik and propagandist, putting on an aura of invincibility in public while hiding his mistakes and weak military skills, and going to great lengths to hide the fact that he is a whoremonger hypocrite like most nobles. Indeed Tyrion, after killing Tywin, notes that almost everything about Tywin is a lie.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: It must be noted that Tywin has never won a battle without an overwhelming military superiority. As such he generally likes his battles to be quick, brutal and decisive. Indeed, Tywin's main philosophy is to avoid battle whenever possible by means of unconventional warfare. Examples include rerouting a nearby river into the mines of Castamere, a False Flag Operation to brutally sack King's Landing and using leverage over the Spicers, Westerlings, Freys and Boltons to betray Robb Stark at the Red Wedding after failing to beat him militarily.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Emphasis on the "deadpan" far more often than the "snark". But, when he wishes to, he can seriously drop those verbal bombs, though. When he's not being silent about it and using significant looks, actions or gestures, that is.
  • Death Glare: A man once made the joke about him shitting gold in his hearing at a feast. Tywin just stared at him throughout the entire meal until the man couldn't stand it anymore and left the hall.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: He will go down as one of the greats. It doesn't mean that he was a nice or charismatic. His penchant for Disproportionate Retribution, which he considers to be Pragmatic Evil, is actually a constant attempt to quiet out the laughter and mockery he heard thrown at his father when he was a child. In a dream in which his mother appears, Jaime is told this:
    Joanna Lannister: He could never abide being laughed at. That was the thing he hated most.
    • Most of the ones who think well of Tywin tend to be Lannister supporters and the nobility. He isn't popular among the smallfolk as seen A Feast For Crows when Jaime notes how few people attended Tywin's public funeral. He is still hated by several denizens of Kings Landing for his sack during Robert's Rebellion. As The World of Ice and Fire shows, the major reason why Tywin was seen as a Hand who restored order was because he removed all of Aegon V's pro-smallfolk reforms. The knock-on effect of that? Is seen in AFFC: the rise of the Faith Militant in a Westerosi-style, religiously themed peasants' revolt. So... he turned out to be a temporary "fix".
    • Likewise, his image as a powerful, effective military commander and politician, while not necessarily unearned, is largely engineered by his acumen for image politics and is more or less an exaggeration of whatever skills he truly possesses. Throughout the War of the Five Kings, Robb Stark is always one step ahead of him; the Red Wedding, one of his "greatest accomplishments" happened largely as a result of luck and a combination of events rather than strategic skill on his part. His image as a humorless patriarch with a distaste for whores is also a lie, born out of a desire to maintain the reputation of the House. He's also not as smart as he wants himself to be perceived as; he dies because he is unable to conceive the idea that so cruelly dismissing his son's first wife as just a whore (even when Jaime had outright told Tyrion she wasn't) could possibly get him killed.
    • And for all his efforts on ensuring a Lannister dynasty, his legacy is Cersei and Tyrion seeking each other's deaths and Jaime abandoning Cersei to her imprisonment.
  • Desecrating the Dead: Very possibly. After his death, the silent sisters should have performed the standard procedure by making his body presentable for his funeral, draining bodily fluids, removing organs and stuffing the thing with salts and herbs. Yet his rotting corpse gives off a stink so vile that his grandson runs vomiting from the sept. Come to think of it, the list of people who would want to see the great Tywin Lannister suffer indignity in death is pretty high...
  • Disappeared Dad: Would be if the fan theory that Marei, a whore at Chataya who is described as blonde and solemn, is his bastard daughter is proven true.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: For nearly half of the series he serves as the Big Bad, only to be killed at the end of book three by Tyrion.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Played With but often Justified. It's a bit of an ongoing theme with him.
    • His handling the Tarbecks and the Reynes (see ""The Villain Sucks" Song" below). It led to their destruction and to the Westerlands houses being extremely loyal to their overlord. No bannerman even thinks about defying Tywin.
    • His betrayal of Aerys. According to both Jaime's and Cersei's narration, he resigned his Handship not because Aerys was steadily losing his mind, but because of the endless slights he was subjected to, culminating in Aerys's refusal of the offer of Cersei's hand for Prince Rhaegar, claiming Tywin had not earned such an honor. This was a pretty mad thing to say to the man who has been running your kingdom for you for twenty years (though that itself was a Berserk Button for Aerys II), especially when Aerys then turned around and explained that Tywin was his most faithful servant but princes don't marry their servants' children. It's also implied that Aerys did it to spite Tywin for marrying Joanna, who he desired for himself (and "took liberties" at her wedding in Tywin's presence).
    • Implied for what Ser Gregor did to Elia Martell; her brother recounts that their mother, the Princess of Dorne, took them to Casterly Rock as children to try and arrange marriages between the families, him to Cersei and Elia to Jaime. Tywin refused them, explicitly stating that Cersei was to marry prince Rhaegar (see above) and insultingly offering to arrange a marriage between Elia and the newly born — and deformed — Tyrion. In the end, the Martells' mother arranged for Elia to marry Rhaegar instead of Cersei. Her brother Oberyn speculates that Tywin ordered Gregor to rape and murder her as a way of "paying the debt". Tywin himself denies this, claiming to Tyrion that he only ordered the deaths of the children to remove their claim to the throne and that he didn't mention Elia to Gregor at all.
    • His dwarf son marries a commoner? He besmirches the wife by claiming she's a whore, has her gang-raped his his household guard before the sons's eyes and then forces said son to be the last of the rapists.
    • Catelyn Tully arrests Tyrion with the help of several Riverlands bannermen. Even though Tyrion is his least favorite son, Lord Tywin invades the Riverlands in a deliberate campaign of atrocity, just to show that nobody messes with House Lannister. The reason he does is to ensure that House Lannister's name remains feared throughout Westeros, as houses that don't protect their members tend to fall quickly.
    • Basically, if Tywin feels you have slighted him, he will make you pay dearly for it, one way or another.
  • The Dog Bites Back: It took him a rather long while to pay Aerys back for all the slights to him and his wife Joanna, but when he did, it was with interest. See Disproportionate Retribution above.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: When Tywin returned to Westeros as a battle-hardened veteran of the War of the Ninepenny Kings, having made it his mission to restore House Lannister to its proper place, and ordered his family's bannermen were to pay their debts to Casterly Rock or give over a hostage if they couldn't, most of the Westerlands' nobility got the message that the free ride they'd enjoyed under Tytos was over, that the heir to the Rock wasn't a pushover like his father or a man to cross and quickly fell back into line.
    Harys Swyft: [speaking of Tywin's return] The lion has awoken.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: To both kings, but especially his grandson, who basically takes the position in name only, with Tywin manipulating Joffrey to use being king to put in place policies and decisions that benefit his Chessmaster grandfather.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone in the Seven Kingdoms fears him for his power and prodigious mind. So much so that his death starts a number of conspirators thinking they can now take on the Lannisters, even though they'd just won the War of the Five Kings.
  • Dying Alone: His last moments are spent in agonizing pain, dying on the privy after taking an arrow to the bowels, courtesy of Tyrion before he departs for the Free Cities.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He's sincerely baffled by Tyrion not wanting to marry Sansa, who is young, beautiful, demure, and the heiress to Winterfell, an especially desirable prize and possible compensation for never inheriting Casterly Rock. Never mind the fact that she's hardly older than a child, or that Tyrion has no desire to force her to marry into the family that killed her father and is waging war against her brother and lady mother.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Neither of his sons can ever remember seeing him smile, though other relatives report Tywin doing so on rare occasions. Because of the way his father was mocked, Tywin distrusts laughter and japes; yet another reason for his conflicts with Tyrion, who uses mockery as a defense mechanism.
  • Evil Virtues: Ambition, Determination, Courage, Patience, Pragmatism, and (to a degree) Familial Love.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Kevan Lannister speaks earnestly about how Tywin is a stern but just man doing a tough job for decades with little appreciation or reward, Tyrion is dumbfounded to realize that the uncle he dismissed as a mere Yes-Man actually loves (and is loved by) his brother just as Tyrion loves Jaime. Tywin was also truly and deeply in love with his wife Joanna, which is one of the main reasons for his loathing of Tyrion. He also apparently somewhat doted on Cersei when she was younger (Tyrion believes Tywin to never smile but Cersei remembers her father smiling at her often and even sharing some of his plans with her), and while he does not like the fact that his father almost ran his house into the ground, he still loves him.
    • He took good care of all of his brothers in one way or another. He rewarded Kevan handsomly and as a result, Kevan was a very rich man by the time Tywin died. He recommended Tygett for the position of master-of-arms of King's Landing, but Aerys opposed it. He also made sure that Gerion's bastard daughter was cared for.
    • It can be inferred that Tywin, like the rest of his family, genuinely loved his mother, Jeyne Marbrand, as well. While he never mentions her directly, it's implied that he grew to hate whores because his father's mistress would disrespect his mother's memory by wearing her finery. He promptly banished and humiliated her for that upon his father's death.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Tywin becomes uncharacteristically troubled and upset when Tyrion notes Joffrey's similarities with the Mad King, considering that Tywin had spent two decades as Hand to said Mad King. Tywin has performed harsh actions many times, but he's worried by the idea of a family member being mindlessly cruel and insane.
    • He expresses disgust at what his men did to the Targaryen children, even when he gave the order; while he did order the children's deaths, he did not expect them butchered almost beyond recognition. To be fair, he is almost as concerned with the way it made him look, as this event and the sack of King's Landing gained the Lannisters the scorn of House Stark, House Martell and the people of King's Landing.
    • While he ordered the deaths of Rhaegar Targaryen's children — and displayed the bodies in front of Robert Baratheon to assure everyone of his loyalty — even he appears to have been shocked and disturbed by how violent said deaths were. He was also rather insulted when Tyrion assumes that he ordered Elia Martell's rape and murder, claiming he never mentioned her and assumed she'd be left alonenote . He also reprimanded Amory Lorch for being so stupid as to stab Princess Rhaenys fifty times instead of calming her with sweet words and then using a pillow to smother her.
    • When confronted by Tyrion after he's busted out of prison, he says that he has no intention of executing Tyrion for Joffrey's death, unlike Cersei who would very much love to have him killed. He intends to send Tyrion off to the wall instead. However, his callous response to Tyrion's questions about what really happened with Tysha end up costing him his life anyway.
  • Evil Chancellor: Yes, both this and The Good Chancellor at the same time. As bad as he is, Kings Aerys and Joffrey were even worse, and he's a vastly better administrator than them.
  • Evil Overlord: Downplayed. He is cruel, but only to further his aims... or to avenge a slight. ''Any'' slight.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: His death is considered an End of an Era, at least for the Lannisters, and the hegemony he builds crumbles in a short span of time in A Feast for Crows as new threats as well as long dormant factions start making their moves — The Golden Company, the Faith Militant and Doran Martell.
  • Evil Smells Bad: At his funeral, his rotting corpse smells so terrible that his grandson Tommen runs vomiting from the Great Sept.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Say what you will about him, but he doesn't express fear at all before he is shot by Tyrion's crossbow. But that all goes away when he is shot. After that, he's described as being stuck, in a "glassy-eyed" state of shock, since he didn't really think that Tyrion would kill him after all. After he does die, he loosens his bowels and his corpse absolutely reeks.
  • Family-Values Villain: He does what he does to preserve the honor, dignity, and position of his family... and subverted in that this often includes doing horrible things to individual members of said family.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: How Tyrion remembers him in A Dance with Dragons. When the young Tyrion would do somersaults and earn applause and laughter (even from Cersei), Tywin mocked him for acting a dwarf. When Tyrion asked his father for permission to visit the Free Cities, his father told him that he won't let his embarrassing son humiliate the family abroad.
    • Tywin also won't stop grooming Jaime as his heir despite him only wanting to be a Kingsguard.
  • Fatal Flaw: Tywin's biggest flaw is that he was unable to see past first impressions and basically being blind to Character Development. In his mind, Tyrion was still just a hedonistic dwarf whose birth lead to his wife's death, rather than the brilliant politician who saved a city. He also Failed a Spot Check when he underestimated how horrible Gregor Clegane was, such as during the Sack of King's Landing. The flip-side of this is that he's also unable to see the faults in his favorite son, Jaime. He's got a few more in there, too:
    • Lack of forethought. Following on with his blindness to Character Development, he didn't plan for possibilities like Jaime not inheriting Casterly Rock or Cersei running the crown regency, much less train her accordingly, the lack of which almost certainly influenced her actions in A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons.
    • Callousness. He's also determined to stamp out any human weakness in himself — such as love, empathy and the need for approval. The result is a Big, Screwed-Up Family whose children are well on the way to destroying everything he's built over the years.
    • Denial. His refusal to believe that his twins had an incestuous relationship that yielded illegitimate offspring would have meant that otherwise the Lannisters should have been as preoccupied with Jon Arryn's death as the Starks were, letting the family be blamed for a crime they didn't commit and allowing this escalating beyond control. His lack of acknowledging this fact and taking it as seriously as he should only serves as fuel to the rumors against his family, tarnishing his legacy forever.
    • Control. His obsession with being a Control Freak over the actions of his children, aimed at ensuring the future of House Lannister, have led to House Lannister to crumble, with one of his sons joining a faction intent on destroying it.
  • Foil:
    • To Walder Frey.
      • Tywin is just as much of a petty and treacherous schemer as Lord Frey, probably even more so, and they're both widely hated throughout Westeros. However, the difference between them is that Tywin has enough power and prestige to demand respect from those around him no matter how dishonorable his actions are.
      • They are both notorious fence sitters. Walder Frey only sided with the rebellion once it was clear they would win, something that people mock him for to this very day. Tywin did the same thing when he sacked King's Landing in Robert's name at the end of the war and only Ned Stark and House Martell were willing to call him out on it.
      • Walder Frey is a Dirty Old Man who has dozens of wives and mistresses and countless offspring. Tywin married once and had three kids. When Joanna died, he refused to remarry and makes it his children's responsibility to produce heirs. Also, while Walder Frey wears his debauchery on his sleeves, Tywin keeps his use of whores secret to avoid public scrutiny.
      • Both of them have very low opinions of their children, but they'll be damned if anyone else disrespects them. Also, both of them to are desperate to get their children married into Great Houses. Walder Frey struggles to find appropriate matches for his children because no one wants to marry into his family, Tywin struggles to get his kids married because they fight against it every step of the way.
    • He is also one to Eddard Stark:
      • While Tywin's main aim is ensuring his family's and nobility's supremacy and rules the Westerlands through fear, Eddard is driven by good government, doing the best he can for his people.
      • Tywin's only use for his children is how well they will fit in his plans, ignores them when what they say doesn't fit with his thoughts and hates Tyrion for something that is not his fault. Eddard loves his children equally, is willing to fulfill their wishes (up to a point), doesn't force them into unwanted marriages and hears them out if they have a problem.
      • Tywin is never happy with the level of power he has, and seeks to increase it whenever he can. Eddard was perfectly content with his role as Lord of Winterfell and became the Hand only out of worry for his friend and wanting to find out what happened to Jon Arryn.
      • Tywin is The Unfettered, willing to do anything if it will give him victory, up to and including Disproportionate Retribution on whoever he perceives as an enemy. Eddard is The Fettered, willing to go against his best friend's orders when he orders Daenerys' assassination.
      • Tywin had Rhaegar's children murdered to eliminate an obstacle to Robert's accesion to the throne. Eddard sought to protect Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen from being killed when he decided to support Stannis.
      • Eddard died in public, under the light of day, without fear, his last act helping his daughters, and is mourned across the North, the Riverlands and the Vale. Tywin dies alone, enclosed in the privy, scared out of his mind, his last act cursing his son, and people celebrate his passing.
      • After Tywin's death, his children proceed to bring down his entire legacy, and multiple conspiracies spring out in an attempt to end House Lannister's hold on power. After Eddard's death, his children struggle to maintain his legacy, and conspiracies form to restore House Stark to power - up to being willing to fight in the middle of winter for the chance of rescuing one of his daughters.
    • Both Tyrion and Tywin are intelligent, capable men with a keen sense of strategy and a tight grasp on how to properly play the game of thrones. But Tywin's refusal to openly show any kind of perceived weakness stands in stark contrast to Tyrion's willingness to bear his flaws on his sleeve. Tywin's ruthlessness and unpleasant personality is also often juxtaposed with that of the more noble Tyrion.
    • He's also one to Otto Hightower. Both were ruthlessly ambitious men determined to see a grandson of theirs on the Iron Throne, with their only daughter married to the King. Both were Hands of the King but were stripped of that position when their relationship with the monarch they served turned sour (Viserys I fired Otto as Hand for overreaching himself by consistently urging Viserys to make Aegon his heir rather than Rhaenyra, while Aerys II turned on Tywin for his constant badgering the former for a royal union between Cersei and Rhaegar), but both would later serve as Hand of the King to their grandson. Both saw their efforts to prevent an unstable political situation from degenerating into Civil War destroyed when one of their grandchildren (Joffrey and Aemond) impulsively killed the loved one of a rival (Eddard Stark and Lucerys Velaryon), prompting the opposing faction to declare the murder an unforgivable war crime and retaliate. Finally, both died in humiliating positions of weakness (Otto was stripped of his titles and executed for treason when King's Landing fell to Rhaenyra, while Tywin was murdered in the privy by the dwarf son Tywin had abused all his life. Unlike Tywin, who had the military acumen to back up his political and diplomatic skills, Otto was primarily a politician and scholar, which ended up causing him to lose favour with Aegon II.
  • Freudian Excuse: Tywin's own father was a kind, light-hearted man who was thought to be weak and laughed at by his own bannermen, so Tywin resolved not to let this happen to himself.
  • Frontline General: Averted; the one time we see Tywin in battle he waits with the reserve so he can see the entire battlefield, only going in when victory is already assured.

  • Go Out with a Smile: Subverted; Tywin's corpse looks like it's smiling peacefully (which is especially significant since he never smiled while alive), but the maesters say it's just the facial muscles contracting as he starts to decompose. Tywin actually died in astonishment that Tyrion actually shot him, and disowning him with his last words.
  • Green and Mean: A Death Glare from Tywin's icy green eyes is enough to quiet almost anyone.
    Cersei's thoughts: Her father’s eyes had always been unsettling; pale green, almost luminous, flecked with gold. His eyes could see inside you, could see how weak and worthless and ugly you were down deep. When he looked at you, you knew.
  • Groin Attack: The crossbow bolt that kills him nails the area right above his crotch, and Tywin bleeds to death very quickly, in the privy.
  • The Gwen Stacy: Tywin was never the same after his wife Joanna died giving birth to Tyrion.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Not as obvious as Tywin keeps such a tight hold on his emotions, but it's said he was a better person when Joanna was alive, and even though a second marriage might be useful politically and provide an alternate heir to Tyrion, he never even mentions the idea. There may be trust issues as well — It's said that "Tywin ruled the Seven Kingdoms, but his wife ruled Tywin." It's likely Tywin simply doesn't trust anyone to get that close to him.
  • Henpecked Husband: It's said that Tywin ruled the Seven Kingdoms but was ruled at home by Joanna.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Aerys, until their falling-out.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: In The World of Ice & Fire Yandel shows him as a man that puts the realm above all else and makes no mention or even a hint of his role in the deaths of Princess Elia Martell and her children.
  • Hobbes Was Right: And even Hollywood Hobbes didn't go quite far enough, in Tywin's never-humble opinion: the lion doesn't concern itself with the opinions of the sheep. And people generally suck, so the only thing to do is intimidate them until you can rule them. Conveniently ignoring the two-way or even multi-way give-and-take dynamic of the social contract whenever it doesn't please him (or just ignoring the crucial input of lesser mortals for the warning/ check it should be treated as) winds up costing his entire family down the line. Since, you know, real Hobbes had several points — as well as actual Adam Smith and genuine John Locke, too. Had Tywin focused rather less on being the biggest, most intimidating bastard in a system geared primarily to serve the high nobility more than the realm and rather more on reinforcing the sovereignty and security of the Kingdom as a whole with a web of regulations, oversight, accountability, checks and balances within wider governance as a general service during his spells as Hand, Varys, Littlefinger, the Faith, the Tyrells, the Martells, Aerys and even the Alchemists would have run into a lot more trouble trying their various highly destabilizing schemes without tripping alarms. Nice job ultimately undermining the very foundations of both the Kingdom and your own House in your push to be the best iron-fisted noble ever, Tywin.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Tywin tends to fill his army with as many violent psychopaths as possible, which causes his enemies and rivals to fear him and think twice about challenging him. However, this causes his forces not to be useful when a situation calls for restraint or strategy, causing Tywin to suffer various military defeats and public controversies.
    • He hired the Brave Companions, one of the most violent and insane sellsword companies, and brought them to Westeros to help terrorize the Riverlands. They end up betraying him at the first opportune moment and allied themselves to Roose Bolton, which eventually lead to Jaime getting maimed by them.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: In a strange, roundabout way. Because he's usually good at reading people in one Sherlock Scan, he tends to hold fast to his first impression and rarely revises his opinion, even when he's made a bit of a mistake, not taken the observation far enough, or they've changed since his last evaluation. He remains firmly convinced that Tyrion is just his Too Clever by Half, disappointment of a son, Jaime will come around in time even though he's stubborn with an honor-streak he doesn't admit he's got, Cersei will do as she's told like a daughter should, Sansa is a biddable pawn who won't move on her own even if you go boo, and Littlefinger is just so glad to get away from the Fingers that he'll do practically anything interesting to keep from going back there. He's never entirely wrong, but he's just wrong enough.
  • Hypocrite: He has no problem sleeping with whores despite all the hell he gives Tyrion about it and what he had done to Tysha, since Tywin keeps it secret while Tyrion boasts about it. There's also his borderline obsession with marrying his children and grandchildren off to other families to create powerful alliances, when he himself married his cousin for love (and their marriage didn't bring any new armies, gold, or lands into House Lannister), and he never re-married.
    • It might be that Tywin has no problem with prostitution in itself, but with his son's public association with whores (and his tendencies to fall in love with them), which disgrace House Lannister and remind Tywin of his father's flaws.
    • He tells Tyrion that when soldiers act out of line, the fault always lies with their commander. Yet when his own troops do the same, Tywin insists that he can't possibly be held responsible. For example, he claims that he had nothing to do with the rape and murder of Elia Martell because he didn't specifically order Gregor Clegane to do it.
    • He also acts offended when Tyrion questions him about the mentioned incident, claiming that Tyrion can't possibly accuse him of ordering a rape... even though he has done it at least once, involving a 14-year-old girl and a garrison of soldiers.
    • His sister Genna adores him for being the only person to object to her marriage to Emmon Frey when he was a child, pointing out that the marriage was beneath her status. As an adult, however, he has no problem in trying to force his children in to unhappy marriages and he doesn't hesitate to impose demeaning demands on others, regardless of their social rank, if it will benefit him. For example, the spontaneous marriage he enforces on Sansa and Tyrion is much worse than the marriage arrangement his father forced on Genna. Though Sansa being a Stark (and seemingly Heir to Winterfell) would make her a fit match for a Lannister in terms of status, as would Robert for Cersei.
    • He expects complete obedience from all three of his children, and yet he was more than willing to defy his own father when it suited him. Such as when he chastised his father for agreeing to betroth Genna to Emmon Frey, and in front of several of Tytos' bannermen no less. And several years later, Tywin amassed an army to subdue the disloyal Reynes and Tarbecks without permission from Tytos, who favoured a peaceful solution to the crisis.
    • Tywin cares little for how his children feel about who they wed, as long as it serves the interests of House Lannister and his own plans. This is despite the fact he wed his own wife Johanna out of love, and her being his cousin meant the match offered nothing in terms of political benefits. He also never remarried after her death, despite being more than young enough and could've garnered further allies. It is possible his views of matches evolved as he grew older, as Jaime wasn't overly opposed to marrying Lysa and Cersei badly wanted to marry Rhaegar, while Kevan wed the daughter of one of Tywin's own lesser vassals without issue.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: His general defense for all his atrocities and something which a loyal toady like Pycelle readily regurgitates, describing Tywin as a man who made tough decisions and as such was above the petty judgment of most people. However as we get to know Tywin more closely it becomes increasingly clear that is not the case.
  • Idiot Ball: For all his Chessmastering ability, Tywin carries this from time to time. His disdain for Tyrion causes him to believe what Cersei and others tell him about the defense of King's Landing (which was pretty much all Tyrion), and only allow that Tyrion's chain across the river was "clever." He also fails to understand the depth of Littlefinger's ambitions, believing that he would be content with marrying Lysa.
  • I Have Many Names: Tyrion introduces his father to the Mountain Clans as "Tywin, Son of Tytos of House Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Shield of Lannisport, and once and future Hand of the King." He's probably the only character with the stones to justify their grandiose title. He's also the Lord Paramount of the Westerlands. Later on he gains the honorific of "Savior of the City".
  • I Have No Son!: When Jaime refuses to leave the Kingsguard to inherit Casterly Rock, Tywin tells him that he is "no son of mine." The fact that that would only leave Tyrion to inherit the Rock probably played a big part of this. He also has this unspoken attitude toward Tyrion in general, if Tyrion's "all dwarves are bastards [illegitimate] in their father's eyes" is any indication. He outright says it with his last breath when Tyrion kills him.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Immediately after the gang rape of Tysha, Tyrion's first wife, he tells Tyrion to his face that only a whore will ever love him or have sex with him because she's being paid for it. He then becomes enraged when Tyrion hangs out with prostitutes and sellswords in earnest, having taken the lesson to heart. He also somehow thinks that a woman who been raped and then gets money thrown at her after the fact by (one of) rapist(s) is a de-facto whore, because paid sex was paid for. Worse, he declares that he would never outright order the rape of a woman. Ladies like Elia Martell, probably not — but, smallfolk? Not real women, apparently. He also downplays the severity of the Red Wedding, saying "Explain to me why it is more noble to kill 10,000 men in battle than a dozen at dinner." Well, beyond the violation of Sacred Hospitality, how about the thousands of soldiers sitting outside the castle that were attacked with catapaults while getting drunk on the ale provided to them?
  • Irrational Hatred: He hates Tyrion for the death of his wife and nothing Tyrion does will ever change that. While he cannot bring himself kill him, he would not mind getting rid of him in a indirect way.
  • Irony:
    • When Tytos passed away, the first thing Tywin did on his ascension was having his lowborn mistress, who dared to raise herself above her condition, stripped and sent forth naked to walk through the streets of Lannisport. Many years after, his daughter the Queen, of all people, receives the same treatment. Fortunately for him, he doesn't live long enough to see that happening, but the irony is not wasted on Cersei herself.
    • He has done atrocities all around the kingdom and has plenty of enemies, but he's killed by his own son for a slight he barely remembers.
    • He's infamously known for never smiling, but his corpse seems to smile as a result of his rotting flesh, which causes him to grin.
    • After giving him his Karmic Death, his son sails to the Free Cities — which he once forbade him to visit — and plans to serve his friend-turned-archenemy Aerys' daughter and helping to restore the Targaryens, which he thought he had neutralized for good.
    • He sought to attain as much power and status as he could, but it was his brother Kevan, a landed knight, who achieved the highest position a Lannister man ever reached in the Seven Kingdoms as Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm for King Tommen. Kevan didn't even have to try nearly as hard as Tywin did, but his promise to be a bringer of stability cost him his life at the hands of Varys.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: A rare example for a villain. Although he is The Dreaded for Westeros he's neither a great warrior nor an especially great general, but a man who matches his middling and competent military skills (he has never won a battle without an overwhelming numerical advantage) with razor sharp political acumen via Flaw Exploitation of his enemies, opportunism and an unmatched appetite for ruthlessness. Indeed, Tywin's main philosophy is to avoid battle whenever possible by means of unconventional warfare. Examples include rerouting a nearby river into the mines of Castamere, a False Flag Operation to brutally sack King's Landing and using leverage over the Spicers, Westerlings, Freys and Boltons to betray Robb Stark at the Red Wedding after failing to beat him militarily.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • The few times that he actually listens to Tyrion's advice, he only does so grudgingly, and even then he never acknowledges that he's actually doing it.
    • While his disdain for Tyrion has been thoroughly established, he expresses annoyance at the fact that even when he gave him the opportunity, Tyrion opted to be contrarian to his instructions and ostensibly failed at the very task he had given him; meaning, the only one time that Tywin entrusted Tyrion to do something, he didn't do it. Still, Tywin himself failed to acknowledge what Tyrion did accomplish while in office.
  • Jerkass to One: While Tywin has no problem treating everyone around him as pawns, the fact that Tyrion's birth killed his mother means that he is the only person Tywin exhibits outright hatred towards.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Few come as mercilessly and relentlessly hard as Tywin Lannister. For proof, you just need to ask his children what they think of Daddy Dearest. There are hints that he had a heart of gold hiding under there, once. Except, it died with Joanna.
  • Karmic Death: His lifelong stubbornness and disdain for his youngest son kills him; even as Tyrion has him at crossbow-point with his pants down, he keeps badmouthing Tyrion's wife and treating his son like a joke. Tyrion does not take it well. Moreover, Tywin had previously pointed out to Tyrion that his son talks too much, and yet Tywin couldn't keep his own mouth shut when Tyrion had him at crossbow-point. In addition, Tywin made sure throughout his life that he was so powerful no one would ever dare laugh at him, which is what he hated most. At his funeral, the crowd is snickering about how he died by being shot in the groin on the toilet.
  • Kick the Dog: MANY times, both in the past and present. The standout examples are his orders to take innocent lives for the sake of his own ambition and his treatment of Tyrion, thus proving that for all his effectiveness at stabilising the realm, he is NOT a good person.
    • What is far and away his single most cruel action is slandering Tyrion's wife Tysha as a whore by forcing Jaime to lie, ordering the gang-rape of her, then also forcing Tyrion to rape her and then dispatching her. Tyrion hated his father for this but upon learning that Tysha truly loved him and wasn't a whore, Tyrion flew into newfound levels of hatred and brutally killed him. He even tells Varys:
      "I never knew what he was."
  • Kill 'Em All: His usual method of eliminating his enemies, accurately summarized by Tyrion as, "Heads. Spikes. Walls." He's so famous for this that in A Dance with Dragons Lord Jon Connington, still haunted by the defeat of the Battle of Stoney Sept where he had moved from house-to-house to search for Robert Baratheon, remembers what his friend Myles Toyne told him, vis-a-vis "What Would Tywin Do?" in that situation:
    Myles Toyne: Lord Tywin would not have bothered with a search. He would have burned that town and every living creature in it. Men and boys, babes at the breast, noble knights and holy septons, pigs and whores, rats and rebels, he would have burned them all.
  • Kissing Cousins: Was married to his cousin Joanna Lannister, since first-cousin marriages are socially acceptable in Westeros. (But not brother-sister, Targaryens aside.)
  • Lack of Empathy: Tywin doesn't let things like empathy or compassion affect his judgement. Ever. If you are not a Lannister or in any way useful to furthering the goals of House Lannister (i.e. his goals), you are completely expendable to him. This goes for the rest of his family too; he will look out for them, but he doesn't care about what they want or how they feel.
  • Lonely Funeral: He is despised by the smallfolk for his sack of King's Landing at the end of Robert's Rebellion and for repealing pro-smallfolk laws that King Aegon V put into place. As a result, the number of people that show up to his public funeral is even smaller than the number of goldcloaks keeping watch that day. His daughter Cersei notes that he probably wouldn't care, though; he never wanted their love.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Not necessarily a weakness, just something that has no value to him. He never desires to be liked or loved by anyone. All that matters to him is gaining power for his House in the most ruthless, efficient, and expedient manner possible.
    Tywin: You cannot eat love, nor buy a horse with it, nor use it to warm your halls on a cold night.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He was this to King Aerys in large part, though everyone knew Tywin was in charge and loved him for it (and Ilyn Payne lost his tongue for outright saying as much in the king's presence). He's also this during Joffrey's rule and briefly Tommen's as well.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Is sufficiently powerful and feared to be more domineering and openly bullying than most manipulative bastards, but people do usually end up doing exactly what he wants even if the manipulation is fairly indirect.
  • Marry for Love: As stated above, he married his first cousin Joanna for love, something Cersei and Tyrion both resent him for because of his desire to marry them off to the Lannisters' advantage.
  • Memetic Badass: His destruction of the Reynes and the Tarbecks grants him this status in-universe. A single verse of The Rains of Castamere is often enough to quell any resistance. Even Roose Bolton respects his villainy and agrees to become a middle manager in Tywin's schemes.
  • The Mourning After: He never quite got over his wife's death. He did not remarry, and is said to not have smiled again. This, however, did not prevent him from employing whores.
  • Morality Pet: Apparently he sincerely loved his wife Joanna. Unfortunately, she died years prior to the main events of the series, and the best parts of Tywin were said to die with her.

  • Near-Villain Victory: Manages to quash Robb Stark's forces during the Red Wedding and pretty much has everything going well for him, until his grandson Joffrey chokes to death during his own wedding. Then it spirals so far out of control that Tywin ends up dying basically naked, on the toilet, from a crossbow bolt to his groin, fired by the disfigured dwarf son he's loathed since the day he was born.
  • Never My Fault: Likes to complain about his children's incompetence and their inability to be as good as he is. Never considers that it might have to do with how he educated his children, his cold attitude and his own personality.
    • Likes to claim that when a soldier makes a mistake, it is the commander's fault. When one of his soldiers makes a "mistake" (e.g. Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch's brutal murder of Rhaegar's wife and children, Walder Frey for the Red Wedding) he claims he cannot be held responsible.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Averted. "Tywin Lannister did not, in the end, shit gold."
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • His original role in Robert's Rebellion is inspired by Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, known as "The Kingmaker", i.e. a wealthy fence-sitter who decisively tilts the balance one way and is too valuable an ally to ignore altogether.
    • In terms of personality, reputation and physique, Tywin resembles Edward Longshanks — tall, intimidating and ruthless, the scarily competent son of a relatively ineffectual father. Longshanks' suppression of the Second Barons' War, which included the defeat of Simon de Monfort (who had a Silver Lion on Red Field sigil) at the Battle of Eversham and his reputation as the Hammer of the Scots (whose national sigil is the Lion Rampant — a Red Lion) both of which are combined in the suppression of House Reyne of Castamere (Red Lion on Silver Field) and his successful defeat of the Northmen (a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Northen England and Scotland). This is alluded to when Pycelle at Tywin's funeral notes that while Tywin was never King, he was all a King should be. As with Edward's marriage to his second cousin Eleanor of Castile, the otherwise harsh Tywin was also Happily Married to his cousin Joanna and devastated by her death.
    • He also resembles King Philip IV "le Bel", the French King famous for his ruthless purge of The Knights Templar. King Philip IV was famous for being icy and unsmiling, for his relative celibacy for a French King. He took France to a position of great power in Europe only to die before his time in an anti-climactic fashion and have his children (one of them, Queen Isabella of England, being a Cersei analogue) ruin all his gains and eventually spark The Hundred Years War. The books dealing with Philip IV and his descendents, The Accursed Kings was cited by Word of God as an influence for the whole series. invoked
  • Nothing Personal: How he justified betraying the Mad King. Borders on Blatant Lies since it's known that Aerys slighted Tywin any way he could and in the last years they were on very bad terms.
  • Not So Above It All: Although Tywin indeed is a remarkable figure, he doesn't really always hold himself to the standards he holds other to.
    • He may show contempt for both his father Tytos and his son Tyrion for openly indulging their lusts, but the fact that he has his own implied weakness for prostitutes shows that he's subject to the same weaknesses (if more discreet about it). His own hypersensitivity to any slight, however minor, also demonstrates that even his seemingly-stoic patience has its limits (though he rarely blows up openly).
    • While he has the reputation for being The Dreaded and an aura of invincibility, Tywin never wins a battle without numerical superiority and has indeed suffered famous defeats, being repeatedly outsmarted and outfought by Robb Stark in the field, and in the backstory being humiliated by Victarion and Euron Greyjoy who torched his fleet at Lannisport, leaving the Westerlands to have to be rescued by Stannis Baratheon at Fair Isle. Not only that, he personally loses a pitched battle against Ser Edmure Tully. With greater numbers.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • When Tyrion demands his rights to Casterly Rock, his father has a rare outburst of temper and tells his son exactly what he thinks of him.
    • After the Red Wedding, Joffrey demands that the Freys deliver Robb Stark's head to him so that he can make Sansa kiss it. Tywin shuts him down and orders him taken to bed, but afterward his agitation makes him get up from his desk and go to the window, which Tyrion notes is a sign that he's more upset than he wishes to show.
    • When he is confronted by Tyrion while on the privy and held at crossbow-point, Tywin acts like his usual cold, serious, no-nonsense-self in a clear attempt to show no fear or humiliation. We discover just how fake this demeanor is when Tyrion finally makes good on his promise to shoot him and Tywin's reaction is one of wide-eyed shock and horror: "You... you shot me!" As he dies, we're seeing a man overwhelmed with panic and distress, not the unflappable, dignified badass he's presented himself as throughout the series.
  • Odd Friendship: A Dance with Dragons explains why Aerys would pull Tywin (of all people) to Hand for him: they were close friends in their youth.
  • Offing the Offspring: It's heavily implied that he hopes Tyrion will get killed in one of the many dangerous tasks he assigns to him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Despite his unflappable nature, Tywin has perhaps one of the greatest in fiction. When Tyrion catches him on the privy and shoots him when Tywin tries to call his bluff. Tywin barely reacts when he's initially ambushed, but he is absolutely shocked once he's struck. He dies freaking out, blood gushing from the crossbow bolt in his groin while his dwarf son taunts him and leaves him in the dark.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • The only time Tywin expresses worry and doubt is when Joffrey makes a foolish outburst that shows he idealizes Robert. Tyrion actually notes how bad it is when Tywin turns away from him and stares out a window.
    • And earlier in AGOT, when he learns that Robb Stark tricked him and used the diversion to capture his son and heir, Jaime. Tywin has a rare explosion of anger in front of Tyrion, Kevan and all of his chief bannermen.
      Tywin: They have my son... (the lords in the tent argue over strategy until...) THEY HAVE MY SON!
    • Shortly after that, when Tywin decides to appoint Tyrion as Acting Hand because he considers Tyrion "his son", Tyrion realises to his anger that for his father to actually acknowledge him for once meant that Tywin had already given up on Jaime.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Despite his ruthlessness he has moments of this, he pulls a Walder Frey during Robert's Rebellion, committing his forces only when the result of the war is clear and then slaughtering the Targaryen Royal Family to overcompensate for being a Johnny-come-lately.
  • Out-Gambitted: It doesn't usually happen to him, but a notable one happens at the Battle of the Green Fork. Tywin sets up his force and plans for the left flank to break; he thinks that Robb Stark will be green enough to see this and over-commit, and then Tywin's reserve force can flank him. However, Tywin is Outgambitted on two counts: the more experienced Roose Bolton is actually the commander of the Northern force, and he doesn't fall for it; and more importantly, Robb isn't even there — this attack is a diversion while Jaime's force is destroyed by Robb himself. In a particularly delicious irony, Robb himself uses the same sort of tactic in his own battle to successfully capture Jaime.
  • Papa Wolf: He's very protective towards Jaime and Cersei, even believing the latter's claim that she organised the defense of King's Landing during the siege of Stannis. Never to Tyrion. If he ever does do anything to protect Tyrion, it's only for the sake of defending the honor of the family name.
  • Parental Favoritism:
    • Greatly prefers Jaime and Cersei to Tyrion. The fact that his relationship with Jaime and Cersei is cold at best shows just how badly he mistreats and disregards Tyrion, although generally he favors whichever of his children is most obedient to him. He was thrilled with Jaime until Jaime joined the Kingsguard behind his back (which threw a wrench into most of Tywin's plans, since it meant that he couldn't marry anyone or inherit Casterly Rock). Since then, he's been focused on trying to talk Jaime into quitting the Kingsguard, and disowns him completely when Jaime finally makes it clear that that is never, ever going to happen, despite the fact that that would force Tyrion to the front of the line.
    • Nevertheless, he acknowledges Tyrion's acumen enough to name him acting Hand of the King. Jaime had just been captured and Cersei has proven ineffective in controlling Joffrey, so Tyrion's status rises somewhat. When Tywin takes over the position of Hand, he doesn't hesitate to put both his children in their place.
  • Pet the Dog: Towards Ilyn Payne, the loyal former captain of his guard. He was upset that Aerys' cut out his tongue so after the rebellion he arranged for Ilyn to become the King's Justice to make up for it. Likewise, when Tywin took Ice, Ned Stark's valyrian great sword, from Ilyn, he gave him a beautifully decorated sword as a replacement.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Tywin is known to almost never smile, his wedding day and when Tarbeck Hall came crashing down being rare exceptions.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: So pragmatic that how "villainous" he is is one of the most debated questions in the fandom. He acts as a very competent Hand to both crazy kings he served under, though he is quite ruthless. His pragmatism shows following the Red Wedding, when he offers pardons to the Northern and Riverlands houses who bend the knee, whereas Joffrey wanted all rebellious houses exterminated.
    • Although while pragmatic, he has no problem releasing every Psycho for Hire he can get his hands on loose across the land. Sure, he is magnanimous but he knows that people like the Mountain's men or the Brave Companions are gonna bring more than their share of pointless sadism and the Frey and the Boltons are more tyrants than pragmatic rulers like him. It's easy to be reasonable when everyone who is unreasonable is in your pocket. There's also the fact that his policies tended to favor the big folk in most cases.
    • Also his pragmatism is seen to backfire in the long term. While the Red Wedding may have enabled a short-term victory it hasn't bought true loyalty, the Riverlands and North hating the new regime and unwilling to truly work with them. Also Tywin has a habit of massively overreacting with violence, such as his invasion of the Riverlands in response to Tyrion's arrest, meaning how pragmatic he is is up for debate.
  • Psychological Projection: Shows a great talent at this. He married for love and yet demands his children enter into loveless unions to suit his own family ambitions. He hates his son Tyrion for frequenting prostitutes which is something he is equally guilty of, accuses Joffrey and Tyrion and others of military incompetence when he only won because of pure luck, counsels mercy and restraint in Joffrey when his response to a slight is to unleash Gregory Clegane on the Riverlands smallfolk.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: While he managed to gain victory for the Lannisters in the War of the Five Kings with his victory at the Battle of the Blackwater and him orchestrating the Red Wedding which decapitated the Northern-Riverland opposition, Tywin's success is short-lived as his long and cruel abuse of Tyrion causes his son to finally snap and to murder him in his privy. His neglect of his children, refusal to see the truth of the incest affair between Cersei and Jaime, and the fact that he never trained Cersei to rule, causes them to tear apart his work as soon as he's gone, with Cersei proving to be a disastrous ruler due to her undermining the Lannister alliance with the Tyrells and reviving the Faith Militant. His overuse of violence, atrocities and Disproportionate Retribution also have earned him, his family and his allies the mortal and long-lasting hatred of the Northerners, Riverlanders and the Dornish who are only waiting the right moment to take revenge on House Lannister and it's allies.
  • Retired Badass: While he is well known as a strict believer in Armchair Military tactics, it appears that he was likely a much more martial figure in his youth, having been knighted at a young age and having led the Lannister forces in the War of the Ninepenny Kings at the age of 18, becoming distinguished enough in battle that he was allowed to personally knight Aerys II. One of the many frustrations his younger brother Tygett had was that he was never able to surpass Tywin as a warrior.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Firmly on the Enlightenment side, as he has an extraordinarily unromantic view of power, war and even love.
  • Selective Obliviousness:
    • Absolutely cannot, or will not, see Tyrion's full value. Most characters, even those who acknowledge Tyrion's cunning, underestimate him because he's a dwarf. Even so, this is Tywin's one major weakness, and the thing that eventually gets him killed.
    • Generally believed to have been blind to Jaime and Cersei's incest.
    • He regards the lives his children live as failures, not realizing how his own actions helped to shape them those ways.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • When Tyrion was born, Aerys' toadies and other critics of Tywin called the dwarf baby and the loss of his wife as a lesson from the gods to teaching Tywin humility. Tyrion was even called Tywin's Bane. Years of self-loathing, downright evil abuse later, Tyrion indeed becomes his father's bane when he brutally kills him.
    • Likewise, Tywin's desire to maintain the Lannisters' iron grip over Westeros manifests in his deeply-rooted disdain for the traits he deems unsavory and unbecoming in his children. To Tywin, upholding the Lannisters' name is what matters most of all, and reacts with extreme prejudice towards anyone (especially those of his own blood) tarnishing the nobility of the House in any manner. He never quite grasps that his repeated mistreatment and abuse of his children exacerbates their worst traits, and practically ensures they'd be too screwed up to properly exercise the power of House Lannister in future generations. After his death, his children are scattered across Westeros and his legacy's been completely trampled upon.
  • Shout-Out: His backstory of becoming a great leader to rise above the reputation of his weak and ineffectual father, hating laughter and levity because it reminds him of said father, and becoming an abusive parent in an attempt to not repeat his mistakes is reminiscent of Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart.
  • Solid Gold Poop: It is joked that he produces this, the Lannisters being as rich as they are. Becomes a Brick Joke later. (Yes, seriously.)
  • The Starscream: He was the Mad King's Hand, but after their relationship became strained due to multiple slights Tywin resigned from his post and finally betrayed him during Robert's Rebellion. The Lannisters remained neutral until the Battle of the Trident, when Tywin's troops marched to King's Landing and Grand Maester Pycelle convinced Aerys that the Lannisters had answered his call to arms and were there to help. After the Mad King opened the gates, Lannister forces began sacking the city.
  • The Stoic: A Tyrion chapter notes that Tywin never, ever smiles. He is perpetually grim, and seems to be immune to surprise. Cersei claims that she and her mother were the only people Tywin ever smiled at.
  • Straight Edge Evil: He is a hardworking man of great dedication and discipline, and the joke about him shitting gold is not only a reference to his vast wealth, but also to him seeming too perfect to defecate like ordinary people. It turns out that not only does he not shit gold, but he will use whores himself, despite berating Tyrion for it. It is even hinted that the "previous Hand" that used secret passages to visit brothels was Tywin himself.
  • The Strategist: His one mistake of underestimating Robb Stark in their first clash notwithstanding, Tywin is very good at this, and is greatly feared as a battle commander. In some ways, he is the finest example in the series. Unlike Robb, he builds the alliances and conducts the diplomacy to gain any possible advantage. And it works.
    • However this was only due to a lot of luck, such as Balon Greyjoy's moronic attack on the North which didn't work but did lead to the fall of Winterfell and the supposed death of Robb's brothers, Renly's death and Stannis being delayed in getting to King's Landing, and Edmure misinterpreting Robb's instructions and preventing Tywin leaving the Riverlands. Tywin spent much of the war being thoroughly beaten by a man young enough to be his grandson, meaning his supposed strategic genius is up for debate. There is also speculation that his relative dismissal of Tyrion's accomplishments at the Battle of the Blackwater was a way for him to reclass the event as Tywin's victory to help his soldiers forget the extensive set of defeats at the hands of younger men throughout the war. So, he's attempting to gaslight his own son in order to save face.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The Mad King ordering Jaime to kill Tywin was the last straw which lead to his infamous kingslaying. Tywin, in turn, had Prince Rhaegar's family murdered. This act still haunts Jaime's dreams.
  • Too Clever by Half: His kids had to get it from somewhere, after all. It's less obvious with Tywin, because he's genuinely very good at playing the game of thrones, to the point where even his backup plans have backup plans. Nevertheless, his downfall comes from the one quarter he never expected: His supposedly spineless, weak-willed dwarven disappointment of a son Tyrion, who he assumes will once again be cowed into submission simply because that's how it's always played out in the past. Except it doesn't this time, and Tyrion pulls the trigger.
  • Undignified Death: Being shot in the groin by your dwarf son with a crossbow while on the crapper (and crapping as you die) is a pretty undignified way to go, especially for someone like Tywin. The dead prostitute found in his bed makes it even worse. His body stinks to high heaven when laid in state and is an ugly sight for everyone.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Doesn't show appropriate gratitude for Tyrion's efforts in the Battle of Blackwater.
    • King Aegon V sent out his soldiers at least three times to remove bandits and robbers from the Westerlands when Tywin's father proved hopeless at the job. How does Tywin repay this? He erases all of Egg's pro-smallfolk reforms the first chance he gets!
  • The Unfettered: Ruthless as can be. Tywin will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
  • Unknown Rival: Tywin secretly bedding whores is one thing, but bedding Tyrion's mistress puts a whole new spin on their relationship.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Not 'sweet' as such, but his siblings have fonder memories of Tywin before Joanna's death. His role in restoring the prestige of their House is also respected.
  • Villain Ball: He just had to keep calling Tyrion's wife a whore despite Tyrion holding a crossbow in his face.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "The Rains of Castamere", narrated from the perspective of the Reynes of Castamere, who along with the Tarbecks of Tarbeck Hall rebelled against his rule. It ends with him killing them all. Tywin loves hearing it. His enemies don't.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Although he is feared, it is widely accepted he was a good Hand under Aerys II, ensuring peace and stability for the Seven Kingdoms. He is also careful not to stain his own hands, letting the shame of besmirching the ancient laws of hospitality during the Red Wedding fall on the Freys, even though he was one of the core orchestrators. However, even this reputation fades as time goes on as many people of King's Landing have never forgiven him for leading the climactic sacking of the city at the conclusion of Robert's Rebellion and Jaime notes at his father's funeral that the number of mourners are very few because people had little love for him.
    • Even this gets deconstructed. A good part of his work was to dismantle Aegon V's pro-smallfolk reforms, which did, indeed, make him popular among the nobility, but few smallfolk ever liked him.
  • We Used to Be Friends: A Dance With Dragons reveals that Tywin and Aerys were once close friends, but fell out once Aerys' jealousy and madness got the best of him. It's further expanded upon in The World of Ice & Fire where Tywin was a page in the Red Keep and grew up with Aerys and Steffon Baratheon as friends.
  • When He Smiles: Played with. As mentioned above, he has not smiled in recent memory, but Tyrion is present on several occasions when Tywin almost smiles, but instead of being a heartwarming moment, the look is described as "terrible", probably because the context suggests it would be a Slasher Smile. The only time a true smile appears on Tywin's face is after he has been killed, and even then the maesters say the smile is not genuine, and is only a tightening of the facial muscles as the body starts to decompose.
  • Worthy Opponent: A villain from the Starks perspective especially, but a very impressive and competent one.
  • Wicked Pretentious: Tywin makes a big deal about maintaining regal composure in public, but he can stray into hypocrisy sometimes, like when he arranges for his enemies to be killed over dinner, something that's the epitome of bad taste in Westeros; plus, despite calling it unfitting, he's apparently been seeing whores secretly for some time.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Tywin will order the slaughter of men, women, and children alike as long as it benefits him. He certainly seemed to have no qualms over the murder of Rhaegar's children.
    • Only Tyrion didn't inherit this quality from Tywin.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: He wants his children to be proper inheritors of House Lannister. But his daughter's a neurotic, psychotic mess; his eldest son is a Blood Knight Kingslayer who's more interested in serving as a Kingsguard than managing household affairs; and the child who's most like him is the person Tywin despises more than anyone else. A large part of his resentment towards his children comes in how they fail to live up to the standard he sets for them time and again, failing to see how his manipulative and abusive tactics hardly help bolster familial loyalty to the Lannister name.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Given that this is a medieval fantasy setting where everything, especially communications and troop movements, require several days (at minimum) to happen, it's debatable whether he qualifies for this. However, it is certain that his being outmaneuvered by Robb Stark in their first clash, while a very serious blow, did not stop him from regaining control of the situation. It should also be noted that any decent battle commander would need to be quite good at this to get anywhere, and he is greatly feared and very experienced. However, as noted above, he was very lucky in other events during the war, and for much of the earlier part was being beaten by Robb, who is over 40 years younger then him.
  • Young and in Charge: He was the youngest Hand of the King in the history of Westeros, coming to power at age 20!
    • He was approximately eighteen or so when he put an end to the Tarbecks and the Reynes.
  • Young Conqueror: Tywin fought in the War of the Ninepenny Kings and dealt with the rebellion of the Reynes and Tarbecks in his late teens.
  • You Are What You Hate: It's heavily implied that the true reason behind Tywin's hatred of Tyrion is that he views his younger son as a twisted reflection of himself.
    Genna: Jaime, I've known you since you were a child still suckling at Joana's teat. You laugh like Gerion; you fight like Tyg; there is even some of Kevan in you, else wise you would not wear that cloak; but Tyrion is Tywin's son, not you. I once said so to your father's face and he refused to speak to me for half a year. Men are such thundering great fools. Even the sort who come along once in a thousand years.