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Characters / Game of Thrones - Tywin Lannister

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Lord Tywin Lannister

Played By: Charles Dance

Dubbed By: Philippe Catoire (European French), Jorge Santos (Latin American Spanish/Season 1), Carlos del Campo (Latin American Spanish/Seasons 2-4), Tetsuo Kanao (Japanese)

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

The ruthless patriarch of House Lannister of Casterly Rock, father (and paternal first cousin once removed) of Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion, and grandfather to Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen. Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, and the Lord Paramount of Westerlands, the wealthiest region of the Seven Kingdoms, Tywin Lannister is the most feared and richest Lord in the Realm. Calculating, harsh, and ruthless, he is famed as a brilliant administrator, who managed the Realm masterfully during his twenty years as Hand of the King to Aerys Targaryen and is a capable battle commander. He resumes the post under his grandson, King Joffrey and he leads the fight against Robb Stark in the War of the Five Kings. Tywin's driving motive is in securing House Lannister's hold as the most powerful dynasty in Westeros, no matter the cost. Ironically, the coldness and brutality that Tywin demonstrates not only with his enemies, but also with his own family (especially Tyrion, whom he hates), may end up causing his downfall...

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  • Abusive Parents: Not physically abusive, but psychologically and emotionally abusive to horrific levels. There's no positive reinforcement and constant Disappointed in You speeches all around. He's especially vindictive to Tyrion, going out of his way to make his life a living hell. It's safe to say that his poor parenting is his most prominent negative quality, especially since fucking his cousin was indirectly responsible for Tyrion's birth defects. Tyrion even spelled it out to all 3 of them that if Tywin behaved to him as a decent father, he would still have been alive. It's very telling when Tywin himself admits that the one time he did something solely for the benefit of the family that didn't also somehow benefit himself was when he decided not to kill Tyrion at birth for being a dwarf.
  • The Ace: A darker than usual example, but he is the Lannister that sets the standard for all the others. He is ruthless and a better schemer than Cersei, he is a more renowned commander than Jaime and because he is willing to cross moral lines that Tyrion won't (such as say, violating guest right) he is a more effective war-time politician. He is The Dreaded for a very good reason.
  • Action Dad: He's still a fearsome fighter even by the time Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion are already adults.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • A Frontline General unlike the books as shown in Battle of the Blackwater.
    • When Tyrion shoots him in the books, Tywin has an Oh, Crap! moment when he realizes he's been shot. In the show, he grimly acknowledges Tyrion shot him and snarls out one more insult before Tyrion shoots him again.
  • Adaptational Hairstyle Change: He was bald in the books, here he sports a widow's peak.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Tywin is given some Pet the Dog moments to show a softer side whereas in the books, he never lets his guard down:
    • His 'disowning' of Jaime is not as harsh as in the book, either and instead he uses Tyrion's trial to con him into following in his original plan. He also tries to indulge in flattery to Cersei on occasion and even Tyrion in the moments before his death.
    • A major change in Tywin and Tyrion's relationship involves the subplot of Tyrion's first wife Tysha. Tyrion wed her after saving her from being raped, but Jaime later admitted she was a whore he had bought for him and Tywin made Tyrion watch his guardsmen sleep with her for money. In the books when Jaime helped Tyrion escape the capital, he confessed Tysha was not a whore and actually had loved Tyrion, but Tywin believed Tyrion shouldn't marry a commoner and so split them up, making Jaime lie to Tyrion. When Tyrion confronts Tywin about this, he is dismissive of the deception and insists she was just a whore. In the show, both The Reveal about Tysha and Tywin's attitude towards her are Adapted Out. Tywin's pretty much still a horrid bastard to his son, but perhaps not to the level the books made him out to be. Which really isn't saying much.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: When Arya poses as his cup-bearer, she brings out a softer and paternal side to him that's absent in the books. Although ultimately he's still willing to leave her to the mercy of Gregor Clegane.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • He is a huge jerk in the books as well, but in the show his treatment to Tyrion is largely unjustified. In the books, Tyrion has many more negative traits, including a willingness to some degree to harm his own relatives and use them in his schemes, which Tywin loathes since family is everything in his eyes. With such aspects of Tyrion toned down for the show, Tywin's hatred of him is more personal and spiteful.
    • In the books, Tywin (and Kevan) come up with the plan to send Tyrion to the Wall on their own, while here it takes Jaime begging for his brother's life. It is possible that this was Tywin's plan all along, given how quickly he decided Tyrion's punishment and made arrangements for Jaime's resignation from the Kingsguard, which implies that he was baiting Jaime into leaving the Kingsguard in exchange for Tyrion's life so he could get his prized heir back.
  • Affably Evil: Shows traces of this towards Arya when she was a noble fugitive incognito, where he drops his guard in a rare moment, and without abandoning his statesman persona, he's grandfatherly towards Tommen. Averted otherwise, as he puts on a cold, unsmiling, and stern front when dealing with everyone else, or Faux Affably Evil to Lady Olenna and becomes openly cruel in front of his son Tyrion.
  • Age Lift: While many characters were made older for the show, Tywin deserves special mention, as in the books, at this point he is 57 years old, yet in The Laws of Gods and Men, his age is listed as 67, a full 10 years older, versus Jaime, who was aged by less than a decade.
    • Also his age when he massacred House Reyne of Castamere, the inspiration of the Lannister's Theme-song. In the books, the DVD's history of the great houses featured and hinted in the lyrics of the song ("Who are you, the proud Lord said, that I must bow so low?") claims that Tywin started to repair his weak father's blunders once he came of age at around 16. But in the show, Cersei remembers the dead Reyne's corpses hanging in Casterly Rock for the whole summer, meaning it must have taken place at max 35ish years ago, or when Tywin was at the lowest 32 years old.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Almost everything Tywin accomplished is undone soon after his death. Even Cersei's brief seizure of the Iron Throne after Tommen's death was shaky at best, and she and Jaime both ended up dying after the Red Keep collapsed on top of them during Daenerys' attack on King's Landing. This leaves Tyrion, the son he despised and expressly forbade from inheriting Casterly Rock, the only one left who can inherit the place and carry on the family name. And by series' end, Tyrion is forced to live the rest of his life as Bran's Hand of the King, meaning that unless Tyrion decides to renounce his celibacy, what's left of Tywin's legacy will always be spent merely serving the king, rather than outright being a ruling power.
    • His betrayal of the Targaryen crown. His Sack of King's Landing was to specifically overthrow them and install Robert as the true King of the Seven Kingdoms, for which he personally ordered Gregor Clegane to kill Rhaegar's children, which he managed to achieve. But Tywin was unaware of the fact that Rhaegar had his marriage with Elia annulled, removing his kids from the royal line, in favor of Lyanna Stark, his love. This effectively meant the children whose murders sullied the Lannister's name for quite a long time were the wrong kids. The real heir to the Iron Throne was born far away beyond Tywin's reach, as Jon Snow. Ned Stark's Blatant Lies along with several unrelated factors made Jon ironically the person Tywin strictly wanted to avoid.
  • Ambition Is Evil:
    • He is ruthless when it comes to playing the game of thrones and will do anything to keep his house on top. In his own words, his dream is to "establish a [Lannister] dynasty that will last a thousand years". Robert is even more generous, summing Tywin's goal up as "wanting to own the world". As the ruling patriarch of the house which he nearly saw destroyed by his weak father, Tywin will do anything to maintain his family's greatness, no matter how vicious.
    • His ambition is also the main reason the Lannisters are a Big, Screwed-Up Family — in his eyes, his children have done nothing worthwhile with their lives and needed his help or name to achieve what little they did do. Jaime is a Master Swordsman and becomes Commander of the Kingsguard, but Tywin sneers that he's just a glorified bodyguard, first to a mad king and then a drunk one. Cersei is Queen, but Tywin points out she didn't do much with her power other than raise her children, poorly. For Tyrion, he plain never trusted Tyrion with any power or authority and thus Tyrion never had a chance to prove himself, thus Tywin sees him as nothing more than a lecherous drunk. While he eventually realizes Tyrion's true worth and appoints him acting Hand of the King, and later Master of Coin, Tywin still sweeps his accomplishments in under the rug, claiming Tyrion did little more than what was expected of him and otherwise is still a lecherous drunk.
  • Archnemesis Dad: To his son Tyrion, to almost absurd levels. They completely and totally hate each other. Tywin hates his son for killing his beloved wife in childbirth and being a whoremongering dwarf, while Tyrion hates his father for always treating him with contempt, and in particular for taking his first love Tysha from him and later sleeping with the woman he loved after hypocritically abusing him for his whoremongering all his life.
  • Asshole Victim: His murder at Tyrion's hands, after years of emotional abuse that Tywin had put him through, was definitely a long time coming. In a later interview, Charles Dance admitted that Tywin's time "was long overdue".
  • Badass Boast:
    • "The Rains of Castamere" is a famous song about a young lord who annihilated an entire family of vassals who crossed him, and its protagonist, Tywin himself, is still walking around and death-staring everyone in his presence. Jaime, for that matter (despite probably finding the extent of the brutalities horrific), can't help but speak highly of his father the whole affair—if his statement in Histories and Lore mean anything.
      Jaime Lannister: To celebrate the end of hostilities, Lord Roger [Reyne] feasted Tytos [Lannister] at Castamere, and the two lords proclaimed their friendship for eternity. My father allowed eternity to last a year.
    • When Arya asks him at Harrenhal if he had ever lost a war, he blithely tells her; "Do you think I'd be in my position if I'd lost a war?"
    • When Cersei dares him to rein Joffrey in, Tywin simply responds with "I will". Tywin once again walks the walk, and is able to control Joffrey with lines such as "I'll make sure you understand that when I've won your war for you."
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Was previously Hand of the King to Aerys II. He becomes Hand of the King once again after King Robert dies. His true genius lies in the craft of political intrigue and public administration within his capacity as a statesman.
  • Badass Longcoat: A black leather one in Season 3 and there is a reason he's considered as the Big Bad by the Starks instead of Joffrey or Cersei.
  • Bad Boss: Justifed in most cases, as he's Surrounded by Idiots. He's actually rather friendly with Arya, as he recognizes her as intelligent and competent. That is until he hands her over to the service of Ser Gregor Clegane.
  • Bait the Dog:
    • After saving Arya from the Mountain's prison pen, and spending a few weeks with Arya as his cupbearer, mentioning how she reminds him of his own daughter at that age, and generally making the audience smile at their father-daughter interactions, he leaves and specifically gives her to the Mountain, with strict orders to stop him from ever getting drunk no less, his less than stellar record with children and females notwithstanding.
    • Initially, it seems that Tywin has changed his mind, he wonders if he was wrong about Tyrion being a stunted fool. He then appoints Tyrion Acting Hand and this drives Tyrion to do a magnificent job, personally saving King's Landing and thus allowing the Lannisters to keep fighting the war, despite having all the odds against him and almost everyone else trying to sabotage him out of idiocy or spite (or both). When Tyrion asks for his reward (which is actually his birthright), Tywin proves that he hasn't changed one bit, bringing up his whoremongering, dismissing his successes and stating that Tyrion is a worthless freak who killed his mother and will never be more than the family embarrassment.
  • Batman Gambit: He's quite good at setting up these:
    • The Red Wedding is a result of his astute Flaw Exploitation of the fallout of the breakup of the Stark-Frey Marriage Alliance and the defection of the Karstarks after Lord Rickard's execution.
    • Tyrion's trial for regicide is another one. He decides to use Jaime's Big Brother Instinct at seeing Tyrion humiliated before the court to force him to bargain leaving the Kingsguard for Casterly Rock, and at the same time force a False Confession from Tyrion and use that to send him to the Wall. It almost works, had Tywin not decided to be petty and bring Shae to testify and humiliate Tyrion further, which prompts Tyrion to declare trial by combat out of spite.
  • Berserk Button: Tywin does not tolerate the slightest insubordination from his children or any slights on the family name, real or imagined.
  • Big Bad: In Seasons 3 and 4, he occupies this for the other War of the Five Kings factions, especially the Starks and Baratheons. Tywin is the real muscle of the Iron Throne, and responsible for the worst atrocities of the war, such as sending Gregor Clegane to make the Riverlands a blasted wasteland and turning Harrenhal into a nightmare garrison and then the Red Wedding. That said, Tywin only did this because Catelyn kidnapped Tyrion and as the story unravels it's revealed that Tywin was not the primary cause of the whole conflict. In the fourth season, he’s the primary power behind whether Tyrion will live or die in his trial for Joffrey’s assassination.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • At Harrenhal, when he stops the wanton torturing and killing of prisoners through Pragmatic Villainy, enslaving them instead and later in Season 2, when he and the Tyrells save King's Landing from being overtaken by Stannis' troops in "Blackwater", a straight example of The Cavalry, complete with triumphant Rains of Castamere over the credits.
    • Podrick Payne was almost hanged for the actions of his master, but Tywin heard his family name in time, commuted the sentence and sent him to squire for Tyrion as punishment for the two of them. Though the two saw it as Cool and Unusual Punishment.
  • Big "YES!": When Tommen answers wisdom after he asks him multiple times what he thinks would make a good king.
  • Blatant Lies: When Oberyn asks him if he denies involvement in Elia Martell's murder, Tywin answers, "Categorically", but the uncharacteristic, deflective tone of his voice hints he's at least uneasy with the assertion. From the books... 
    • His claims that he wouldn't let Tyrion be executed (while Tyrion was aiming a crossbow at him), despite Tywin ordering the execution himself. Charles Dance's delivery is so good and there's just enough of a kernel of truth to that speech that it's just possible to believe Tywin was telling the truth.
  • Break the Haughty: In "The Children", Cersei manages to hurt Tywin about the one thing he cares about — the family legacy — by simply revealing to him that the rumors about the incest were true all along. Tywin is shocked and in denial, and then later Tyrion finds out that Father was a hypocrite whoremonger himself, permanently destroying his credibility and removing any ability to bargain for his life with Tyrion.
  • Brutal Honesty: Lord Tywin makes no bones about anything. Probably his most noteworthy example is when he tells Tommen that his older brother was a horrible King. Right after he died. When his body was in the same room as them. And Tommen and his older brother's mother next to him.
  • The Can Kicked Him: He meets his demise in a most embarrassing position, that is, sitting on a latrine.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: During the last days of the Mad King, his army entered King's Landing as royalist allies and then proceeded to attack and pillage the city in Robert's name.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Slightly touched upon. He has Seven Kingdoms to run during an open rebellion and the ship of fools and schemers that he governs does not make it any easier. When Tyrion casually asks him if he's enjoying the position, Tywin finds the query outlandish and repeats back the question in disbelief From the books... .
  • Character Tics: When he's nervous or enraged, he may keep a straight face, but watch as his hands squeeze and flex around a small object.
  • The Chessmaster: Tywin is one of the most prolific in the series along with Varys and Littlefinger. His money, his army, his name, and his ability to verbally and physically dominate anyone he speaks to, make him one of the most powerful men in the kingdoms, and he's well-aware of it. Some examples of this are the calculated way he sacks kings landing and the way he orchestrates the red wedding. A smart-in theory but ultimately failed example is his plan to use Gregor Clegane to raid the riverlands so as to provoke Ned Stark into striking back so as to capture Ned and get a speedy resolution to the brewing conflict, unfortunately Jaime Lannister threw a Spanner in the Works.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Tywin's main hat is his prioritizing maximum victory with minimum losses and he'll use every trick he can think of to achieve his political and military goals.
    • What makes him a chessmaster here instead of an idiot that violated every principle of diplomacy and Sacred Hospitality in the worst way possible, however, is that he didn't take any active role in the matter — he simply made some assurances to an already traitorous, ambitious, selfish ally of Robb Stark's, giving the betrayal a guaranteed reward if actually carried out; the actual betrayal, its nature, and all of the extreme diplomatic and cultural taboos involved were not Tywin's idea or something he had a direct hand in.
      Tywin: Explain to me why it is more noble to kill ten thousand men in battle than a dozen at dinner.note 
    • In the History and Lore videos, he justifies the Sacking of King's Landing as this; in his mind it decisively ended the war in one fell swoop of bloody violence rather than prolong it indefinitely and prevent additional casualties.
  • The Comically Serious: Seen with interactions with Tyrion during his wedding, as Tywin unexpectedly slip in to the role of straight man to his son. Other incidents include giving a version of The Talk to Tommen in the Sept of Baelor, and trying to talk with Oberyn Martell in a brothel... with Oberyn offering him a seat right where a male prostitute had been laying with Oberyn.
  • Composite Character: His intro of butchering a stag is actually from Randyll Tarly, Sam's father. And his use of Arya as a cupbearer is taken from Roose Bolton.
  • Control Freak: Of the highest, most unhealthy order, in that he wants to control everything and everyone. Justified in that his father being the complete polar opposite and too laid back (Laughing Lion for a reason) caused House Lannister to be in the mess it was until Tywin restored them to power during his times as Hand of the King at least. This works against House Lannister after his death as no one else is able to do what he could and all their enemies know they are at a serious disadvantage without Tywin.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: His audiences are completely one-sided and anyone who dares to argue with him gets verbally demolished. The only exceptions have been Olenna Tyrell (who eventually conceded) and Oberyn Martell. In literal military terms, his utter annihilation of House Reyne of Castamere could be seen as this. The same goes for the Red Wedding, in which he all but annihilates the enemy forces in a single night, destroying their leadership and (to the best of his and everyone else's knowledge) male family line. Ironically, each of his children subsequently battled him in an increasing level, Cersei revealing about their incest, Jaime outright freeing Tyrion, and immediately later Tyrion killing him.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: After Tywin's death, Loras has to give his condolences to Cersei and he painfully struggles to say something nice about her father. He finally calls the deceased lord 'a force to be reckoned with', then pauses for a moment, then rephrases it, then pauses again and finally repeats the original phrase. While the moment is awkward, the departed would find the words highly praising because that's precisely the image Tywin cultivated and relished.
  • Dead Guy on Display: As noted by Oberyn Martell, after Clegane murdered Elia and her children, Tywin ordered their bodies to be brought to the Throne Room and wrapped in Lannister banners, and presented before Robert Baratheon as a token of fealtyFrom the books .
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Although not to the level of, say, his sons, and placing particular emphasis on deadpan. This is most evident during his dealings with his subordinates. For example:
      Polliver: (to Arya, while dressed as a boy) What are you looking at?! Kneel! Kneel or I'll take your lungs out, boy!
      Tywin: You'll do no such thing. This one's a girl, you idiot.
    • And again in "The Old Gods and the New":
      Tywin: (to Amory Lorch) My cupbearer can read better than you.
  • Death by Irony: Goes by the motto of "a Lannister always pays his debts"... then gets killed by a Lannister who is most certainly paying his debt.
    • For added irony, the episode of his death aired on Father's Day, and a father is one of the worst things he's at.
  • Death Glare: The non-verbal part of his imposing stance when someone antagonizes or displeases him. If looks could kill, his probably will. Special notice goes to his expression when Joffrey insults him at a Small Council meeting in "Mhysa" and the look he gives the crowd at Tyrion's wedding after they laugh when Joffrey humiliates Tyrion.
    • And even that pales in comparison to the look he sends to Tyrion in "The Laws of of Gods and Men" at the end of Tyrion's trial. Tyrion returns it in kind.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: He will go down as one of the great conquerors; a Four-Star Badass in war-time and a Reasonable Authority Figure in peace. It doesn't make him a nice person. Or mean that extremely Pragmatic Villainy has a long shelf-life if you neglect the grassroots in the form of Tyrion, Cersei and Jaime.
  • Defiant to the End: "You're no son of mine!". Whatever else you think of him, Tywin's decision to denounce the man who just mortally wounded him rather than whimper or plead is worthy of respect.
  • Dirty Coward: Downplayed. Although Tywin is a Frontline General during the Battle of Blackwater, Joffrey accuses him of being this during Robert's Rebellion, hiding at Casterly Rock and only joining once victory was all but guaranteed much like Walder Frey. Considering Tywin's reaction, it's heavily implied that Joffrey struck a nerve.
  • Ditzy Genius: He's a cunning grand strategist, shrewd businessman, very well read, effective politician and is as pragmatic as they come regarding everything, except how to be a remotely loving father. His tactical abilities on the battlefield are also substandard when compared to his son or Robb Stark.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Both his decision to convict Tyrion for Joffrey’s murder out of pure spite as well as indulging in his pettiness by getting Shae to humiliate him at the trial AND proceeding to bed her himself ultimately leads to events that completely destroy House Lannister’s future. Had he not given into his blind hatred of Tyrion, Tyrion likely wouldn’t have killed both Shae and Tywin himself, he wouldn’t have completely lost his sex drive in his heartbreak, and he likely could have repopulated House Lannister after Cersei and Jamie die. With Tyrion probably swearing off sex and his claim to Casterly Rock forever, the main branch of House Lannister will likely die with him.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Serves as the main threat for the Kings Landing / War of the Kings storyline for several seasons, but dies after the exact first half of the series.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Any slight against House Lannister is met with extreme prejudice. His establishing moment in the backstory was wiping out the entirety of the Lannister vassal House Reyne for daring to think that they could stand up to the Lannisters. When he gives his speech about family reputation and fear, he really, really means it. He responds to Catelyn Stark taking Tyrion as a hostage by launching a Rape, Pillage, and Burn campaign on the Riverlands to show everyone that you do not mess with the Lannisters, even if it's the most worthless-in-his-eyes of Lannisters.
  • Dragon-in-Chief:
    • Hierarchically, Joffrey is the King of Westeros; Tywin is only his Hand, and not even that until Season 3. Yet Joffrey is an incompetent fool of a ruler, and everyone on all sides of the war knows that Tywin is the real power behind the throne. This trope is lampshaded in "Mhysa".
      Tyrion: You just sent the most powerful man [Joffrey] in Westeros to bed without his supper.
      Tywin: You're a fool if you believe he is the most powerful man in Westeros.
      Tyrion: A treasonous statement. Joffrey is king.
      Tywin: You really think a crown gives you power?
    • He was also The Dragon as Hand to King Aerys until he resigned. When Robert's Rebellion tilted in favor of the rebels, Tywin became The Starscream and slaughtered Aerys' grandkids.
    • This is further cemented when Tommen names him Protector of the Realm (commander-in-chief of the Seven Kingdoms), which is a title reserved for the King; the kid knows who really runs things.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Tywin repeatedly states the importance of family throughout his time on the show, but seems to view the concept as merely a vessel for increased power and status, and repeatedly fails to realize that a family is only as strong as the trust and love each of its members have for each other. As such, while he constantly strives to glorify the Lannister name, and cement its place in history as a powerful family dynasty, he mistreats and abuses all his children, practically ensuring that they'd be too screwed up to maintain power in the long-term.
  • The Dreaded: The most feared person in the series during his life, someone who keeps Petyr Baelish, Varys, Tyrion, Olenna and even Joffrey intimidated from openly crossing him. The monstrous Ser Gregor Clegane, who is never shown to be respectful of anyone else before being zombified by Qyburn fears and respects him and carries out his orders dutifully. Robb Stark likewise sees Tywin as his enemy. Tyrion defines Westeros as "Seven Kingdoms united in fear of Tywin Lannister".
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: He has this attitude towards Tyrion, feeling that he should be more grateful as he wanted to just murder him when he was born but chose to raise him anyway. The fact that he expects the son he's treated like shit his entire life to be grateful for not murdering him as an infant speaks volumes about Tywin's character.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: He's perpetually unamused, given that his standards are inhumanly high, has no tolerance for incompetence and Joffrey's reign has been a long parade of follies and disasters.
    Tywin: Madness, madness and stupidity! (regarding Ned Stark's execution)
  • Establishing Character Moment: His aloof, stern patriarchy over the Lannister family is laid bare in his very first scene, a conversation in his war camp with Jaime, which produces many of his defining quotes. While he's butchering a stag, no less.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Missing the bigger picture, Tywin can hardly fathom it when Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion are successfully rebelling against the head of House Lannister. The line "You shot me", even shares the feeling of disbelief ("why, this is violence"); like that of which Julius Caesar expressed during his own assassination.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: It's implied he loved his mother, given the hints that his dislike of prostitutes stems from how some of his father's "companions" stole her jewelry and disrespected her memory.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved:
    • Regardless of how Tywin treated him and how Tywin treated Tyrion and Cersei, Jaime loved Tywin, at least enough that he promises to kill Tyrion for murdering Tywin the next time he sees him. He doesn't keep that promise, but still.
    • Despite being mistreated almost as horribly as Tyrion, Cersei still loved her father enough that she became furious upon learning Jaime had freed Tyrion from his cell, which gave the latter the opportunity to kill Tywin. She then plants a kiss on her father's forehead out of mourning.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Jaime is frequently the only evidence of Tywin Lannister being capable of feeling empathy for another living human being. Tywin even shows physical affection in the only scene they share before the war and is very anguished later by the captivity of his son. He is genuinely compassionate towards Jaime losing his hand and asks him to finally become his heir and leave the Kingsguard but Jaime's unexpected refusal makes him into a cold hard-ass again, mocking Jaime for not doing anything during the war, wasting his life as a glorified bodyguard and telling him that he can no longer count Tywin as his family.
    • He genuinely loved his late wife, and holds Tyrion in such high contempt partly for causing his wife's death.
    • He seems to like his brother Kevan, at least treating him as a good lieutenant and advisor, even though Tywin may have the final word.
    • Tywin also showed some outward paternal concern for Tommen and becomes The Svengali to him. While this is at least partially a manipulation tactic and way to set himself up as an invaluable mentor, Tywin does seem to genuinely care about him as a grandson and his claim that he believes Tommen will be a good king and has the right temperment for it are seemingly sincere. He is even seeing covering his eyes during Joffrey's death, to spare him the trauma. His happiness that Tommen understands that wisdom is what makes a good king is noticeably one of the only times he shows any pride in any family member besides Jaime.
    • He also admits that he loved his father Tytos, referring to him as a good man even if Tywin despised his weakness. In fact, one of the only genuinely heartfelt scenes he has in the show is the brief moment where he reminisces about growing up with his father. He almost even smiles for a second.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: It comes out of Pragmatic Villainy, but Tywin generally has little patience for the more vulgar form of evil indulged by Cersei, Amory Lorch and Joffrey.
    • He regarded Ned Stark's execution as a moronically stupid move on the part of Cersei and Joffrey, and specifically sent Tyrion to the capital to do crisis management. Likewise, he dresses down Cersei for her constant backbiting against the Tyrells and criticized her decision to fire Ser Barristan Selmy saying it was "as insulting as it was stupid" pointing out that despite his age, it was not on his watch that Joffrey died.
    • In Season 3, he rightfully calls Cersei out on being an Ungrateful Bitch towards the Tyrells helping them beat Stannis
    Tywin: Madness, madness, and stupidity.
    • Tywin does have a code about family honor, even if Tyrion, "the least of the Lannisters" (in his words) is kidnapped, Tywin will go Papa Bear though barely conceal his disappointment that Tyrion is alive. He repeatedly sends Tyrion on Uriah Gambit hoping he would die, because he can't kill him himself. He tells Tyrion that he didn't kill Tyrion the day he was born, even though he badly wanted to, because it would mean killing a Lannister.
    • Even Tywin doesn't approve of Joffrey's treatment of Tyrion during the Purple Wedding as can be seen on the look of his face. Likewise, he is unwilling to see Tyrion (or rather, another Lannister) publicly humiliated and demonstrates this with a withering death glare when the crowd laughs at Joffrey's attempt to humiliate Tyrion at Tyrion's wedding to Sansa.
    • When Joffrey gets poisoned at his own wedding, he immediately runs to Tommen and covers his eyes as even he knows that it would traumatize the young boy.
    • Tywin may be cold, ruthless and callous towards anyone whose name doesn't end with "Lannister", but while he has no qualms hiring rapists, pedophiles, psychopathic killers or just outright assholes to do his dirty work, Tywin himself is not a Sadist or a psychopath and doesn't derive any pleasure from senseless killing and torture. Oberyn Martell's assertion that he ordered The Mountain to kill Elia in the horrific way he did genuinely offended and discomforted him.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Shows shades of this:
    • In "Kissed by Fire", he expresses confusion and annoyance over Tyrion's protests over his reward of a forced marriage to Sansa Stark. From his perspective, he's found his son a beautiful, young, highborn wife, who's also heir to the North. The fact that she's an unwilling, pubescent child doesn't seem to enter his mind as a consideration, and he sees Tyrion's hesitancy about forcing her to consummate the marriage as ingratitude and betrayal, rather than basic humanity.
    • In "Mhysa", they once again have a clash of opinions over the Red Wedding. Tywin attempts to defend himself by insisting that it's no different than a victory on the battlefield, even sparing lives in the long run (conveniently ignoring that the Stark army were also killed during the wedding). However, Tyrion, despite not being adverse to cheating in war, believes that such an action crosses a line that will never be forgotten and may only serve to fuel a future conflict.
    • Even when Tyrion has him at crossbow-point on the privy and has made it very evident how he felt for Shae, Tywin continually dismisses her as "just a whore" when trying to compliment and reassure Tyrion of his esteem for him, not thinking Tyrion would be offended by such a callous dismissal of the woman he loved. Tyrion proves him dead wrong.
    • This also plays into the Red Wedding. Tywin believes that it was enough to crush the Northern Rebellion once and for all and that they will see Robb as a cautionary tale of why they shouldn't march against the crown, believing that because he says it's finished, it's finished. Tyrion however can see how the act will just embolden them further and increase their rage towards the crown and desire for independence. As we see later on, Tyrion was right that they wouldn't go down so easily and Robb ends up being seen as a martyr.
    • He tends to dismiss the Starks as weak due in part to their noble nature. It's clear that Honor Before Reason is a completely foreign principle to Tywin. House Lannister ends up paying dearly for this miscalculation in Season 6.
  • Evil Chancellor: Relatively speaking; after back-to-back runs at being The Good Chancellor to a pair of evil kings in Aerys II and Joffrey. With Joffrey is dead and Tommen is king, the alignment switches back to Good King/Evil Chancellor. He was only technically a Good Chancellor in the first place by managing to be only slightly less evil and insane than the two kings he served under.
  • Evil Genius: Even by the high standards of Westeros' top schemers, Tywin is regarded as The Ace. Littlefinger, Varys and Olenna Tyrell all have high respect for his intelligence and ruthlessness. His son Tyrion even allows that "father has a good mind for strategy".
  • Evil Gloating: Generally, he's not that vulgar in public but there are exceptions:
    • In a private moment, he enjoys a smug satisfied expression watching Ned Stark's sword 'Ice' melted into two Valyrian swords and then throws the sword's wolf pelt sheath in the flames, celebrating the Lannisters triumph over the Starks.
    • In the History and Lore videos, on King's Landing, he is positively proud of his cold and brutal betrayal of Aerys Targaryen, noting how the King "thought he was being clever" by keeping Jaime as a hostage against him. He also considers "The Rains of Castamere" as a quaint song and sends it as his go-to death threat to anyone who so much as thinks of resisting the Lannisters.
  • Evil Is Petty: For all of his dignified brilliance, the lord of Casterly Rock has done some extremely petty things:
    • When he discovered Tyrion had married Tysha he had the marriage annulled. This is reasonable and it serves as a message to his son. However, afterwards he had his garrison rape her while making Tyrion watch, which was completely unnecessary and only showed where Cersei got her pettiness fromFrom the books... .
    • When Tyrion asks him about inheriting Casterly Rock — being at this point the rightful heir — Tywin lashes out at him, blaming him for his wife's death, calling him stupid despite his brief and successful tenure as Hand of the King, and claiming he would rather die than make Tyrion his heir, despite Tyrion being the only one of his three children nearly as capable as himself.
    • Cersei points out that Tywin is obsessed with the idea of a great family line, at the expense of the next generation thereof.
  • Evil Old Folks: He's in his sixties and one of the most ruthless characters in the show.
  • Evil Overlord: Deconstructed Character Archetype. He only resorts to Kick the Dog and Disproportionate Retribution to ensure that his family name is respected and feared (unless the target happens to be Tyrion). He's also completely aware of his limitations, noting that his family is deeply mired in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos and they need a firm marital alliance with the Tyrells to meet their obligations. He's downright reverential to the Iron Bank, calling it "a temple", so he's not going to consider bribing them or getting in their bad books, that's way more foresight than most overlords ever show.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: His death creates one in Westeros. The hegemony he built crumbles almost overnight, with Lannister puppets like the Boltons going rogue and renegade religious factions like the Sparrows slowly take over the city and Cersei sabotaging his alliance with the Tyrells.
  • Exact Words: Near the beginning of Season 3, Tyrion insisted he be rewarded for saving King's Landing. Tywin's promise, among various vague assurances, was that he would be given a proper wife. In "Kissed By Fire", Tywin points out this demand when ordering Tyrion to marry Sansa Stark.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Despite being killed while in the privy, Tywin remains as belligerent and arrogant as ever. Though he initially tries to talk his way out of death, he grimly accepts his fate after Tyrion fatally wounds him but not without cursing his son one last time, though Tyrion gets the last word in:
    Tywin: You're no son of mine.
    Tyrion: I am your son. I have always been your son.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: For one nameday, Tyrion asked for a dragon, quickly becoming the family laughingstock. Tywin quickly beat it into his head that dragons are extinct.
  • Fatal Flaw: His obsession with the Lannister family glory results in a lack of emotional intelligence and in his utter inability to give a shit about his children as individuals. This turns into a literal fatal flaw, as his abuse of his son Tyrion earns him a terminal case of crossbow-to-gut.
    • He also shares his family's inability to just shut the fuck up when in mortal peril, which directly leads to his death.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Has shades of this in his negotiations with Olenna, he puts on a polite facade but it's not enough to hide his fury over how the Tyrells tried to marry Sansa behind his back (from his perspective).
  • Fiction 500: Is often called the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms; King Robert (through the Iron Throne) owed him around three million gold dragons, and he has no trouble forking over eighty thousand more to provide prize money for a tourney. A common saying is that Tywin Lannister is so rich that he "shits gold." According to Forbes magazine, he is worth 2.1 billion American dollars in the books. That makes him exceedingly wealthy even by the standards of a modern economy. Due to massive war debts, however, he doesn't stay that rich forever, the Lannister's gold mines having dried up and most of the Lannisters' wealth spent financing Joffrey's time on the throne during the War of the Five Kings; it's the reason why he ends up allying with House Tyrell.
  • First-Name Basis: Unusually, unlike most other lords in the series he is far more often referred to as "Lord Tywin" rather than "Lord Lannister".
  • Foil: Tywin is essentially what his son Tyrion would be if he had fewer morals and was more focused on preserving the family name. Both are intelligent and cunning strategists, as much on the battlefield as when it comes to political intrigue. They have also served as Hands of the King, with both of them being competent in the position. Not only that, but they also have no problem with hiring prostitutes, not that Tywin would admit to ever doing so.
  • Four-Star Badass: Has never lost a war, as he proudly remarks to Arya and is a cunning and gifted military strategist. The blood splatter on his face during Battle of Blackwater also gives away that he fought alongside his men. However, it's been noted that Tywin is only a decent battle commander and mainly relies on wealth and overwhelming numbers as well as dirty tricks to come out victorious, losing to the decades younger Robb Stark in straight battles on every occasion.
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason why he's such an hardass is because his father's magnanimity nearly led to the bankruptcy and ruination of his house. Despite this, he still has very fond memories of the man. The loss of his wife while giving birth to Tyrion is also a factor in his cold attitude toward life.

  • Godzilla Threshold: Tywin is in such a bad position after the execution of Ned Stark that he ends up relying on Tyrion to bring Joffrey and Cersei to heel. Once everything's calmed down to an extent, and Tyrion requests ownership of Casterly Rock, Tywin dispenses with the pleasantries and lashes out at his son, proving that all along he'd only valued Tyrion for his intelligence and nothing more.
  • The Good Chancellor: Surprisingly for his horrible personality, he seems this way for many people who aren't personally affected by him. His twenty-year reign as Hand to the Mad King was considered the most stable and prosperous period Westeros had experienced in recent memory. Under Joffrey (Mad King 2.0), he once again brings his competence to the table, making him the Puppet King, chewing out Cersei and actually running Westeros. When the main part of the war is officially over, he turns to consolidating the Kingdom with new alliances with the Tyrells and Martells, as well as focusing on solving the crown's debts. He's still a huge asshole but someone with a day-to-day grasp of administration. And of course, weeks after his death, everything he did fell apart spectacularly like a house of cards.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Deconstructed, his heartbreak over his wife's death is his main reason for being an abusive parent towards Tyrion but it doesn't stop him from using prostitutes in secret.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Has a fondness for black leather outfits.
  • Hidden Depths: A deleted Season 3 scene reveals Tywin likes to fish. Together with his stag-skinning, it suggests Tywin, in his spare time, does prefer eating fresh food he prepared himself.
  • Humiliation Conga: Season 4 starts with him at the height of his power as he destroys the ancestral Stark great sword and forges it into two swords for his own house, but it proves to be Pride Before a Fall. Throughout the season, he is gradually weakened. He is forced to concede to the Tyrells in order to avoid bankruptcy after the war drained his house's finances. Due to the looming threat of Dany and her army he has to make amends with the Martells who despise his family with a passion. Then Joffrey dies on his wedding day and his plan of getting Jaime to renounce the Kingsguard fails. His alliance with the Martells ends, and he even loses the services of Ser Gregor as The Brute. Then, Cersei confirms that her children were the product of incest with Jaime, to Tywin's shock and disbelief. And finally, Tywin gets offed by Tyrion, after finally being revealed as a hypocrite whoremonger much like his son.
  • Hyper-Awareness:
    • Sees through Arya's disguise at first glance, and is obviously aware that she's not a commoner.
      Tywin: This one's a girl, you idiot.
    • In a deleted scene, Tywin wonders if he's the only one who sees through Pycelle's act.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: He is much, much capable as a ruler than the Kings he has served as Hand.
  • Hypocrite: One of Tywin's most annoying attributes is that he holds others, particularly his children, to higher standards of behavior than he does himself.
    • He constantly preaches about the importance of family, while he is an emotionally abusive monster who repeatedly insults his children to their faces and reminds them of their shortcomings, ignorant that his poor parenting is a major reason they've turned out like they have.
    • The majority of his actions that he considers to be best for the Lannisters are really more about what's best for Tywin himself, and he expects his children to compromise what is in their best interests for the sake of his own. Tyrion calls him out on how he expects his children to make sacrifices when Tywin has never sacrificed anything, to which Tywin responds that his sacrifice was to let Tyrion survive after childbirth.
    • He forces his children into political marriages to secure the Lannisters more power and fathering heirs from them to secure that power, such as having Tyrion marrying Sansa and Cersei marrying Loras. The latter point, he specifically brings up that Cersei is still of fertile age and should have more children. Tywin himself married his cousin out of love, thus the marriage brought him nothing in terms of power or money, and after she died he never remarried even though he was in his prime of life in his 30s. It also heightens the hypocrisy of his disappointment in having no heirs he feels worthy of his legacy, when he never did anything to produce more heirs.
      • When Cersei is trying to convince him not to wed her to Loras, she brings up their rivalry with the Tyrells, and Tywin notes that the very reason he wants to wed Cersei to them is because they're rivals; if they were truly close allies, it wouldn't be necessary. In the backstory, Tywin was furious that King Aerys II refused to wed Prince Rhaegar to Cersei and instead married him to a Martell of Dorne, and the exact same justification would be applicable to him because (at the time) Tywin was Aerys' Hand and the Lannisters were completely loyal to the crown.
    • He constantly condemns Tyrion for sleeping with prostitutes, but is revealed in his final episode to have no problem bedding them himself. Namely, Tyrion's former lover Shae.From the novels... 
    • When Tyrion complains that his hill tribes in Season 1 are unruly Tywin is quick to preach that the responsibility of bad behavior from soldiers lies with their commander, but when Oberyn confronts him about Gregor Clegane however Tywin simply replies that men at war commit all kind of crimes without their superior's knowledge'From the novels... . Not to mention that Gregor is a monstrous, murderous animal and Tywin knows it, which is why he employs Gregor and sends him to Rape, Pillage, and Burn the Riverlands.
    • He rightfully calls Cersei for being ungrateful to the Tyrells' efforts during the Battle of Blackwater, when he is just as ungrateful to Tyrion's work during the same battle, not to mention his work in the capital before the siege.
    • He justifies his hand in the Red Wedding by questioning how it is more "noble" to kill ten thousand men in battle than a dozen at dinner. He's conveniently leaving out that most of Robb's soldiers were also killed at the Red Wedding, and that the Red Wedding broke the laws of Sacred Hospitality, an extremely taboo not to mention cowardly act. That said Tyrion's Stunned Silence indicates he was thinking of the countless soldiers he killed during the Battle of Blackwater Bay, meaning he has no real room to speak either.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: For entirely selfish reasons, Tywin is not thrilled when somebody else mistreats Tyrion, as no one messes with a Lannister publicly:
    Tywin: He's a Lannister! Maybe the lowest of the Lannisters, but he's one of us. And everyday that he remains a prisoner, the less our name commands respect.
    Tyrion (lukewarmly): Kind of you to go to war for me.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: They reflect his cold personality quite well.
  • I Have No Son!: He disowns Jaime in "Two Swords" for refusing to leave the Kingsguard and become eligible to inherit Casterly Rock. Also his last words after Tyrion mortally wounds him are that "you're no son of mine", for which Tyrion shoots him again.
  • Irony:
    • On account of You Are What You Hate and a great deal of self-aggrandizement, Tywin's end goal of the Lannisters becoming the new Targaryens falls flat since he's only obsessed with the idea of his family line dominating Westeros but all his actions to make it work fail. He has no stable and fixed heir, partially because he refuses to accept Tyrion. His bad parenting, wilful blindness, and outright abuse and neglect means that his children and his brother Kevan are left in almost the same precarious situation Lord Tytos left it.
    • Tywin's insistence on being The Man Behind the Man has led to him never actually teaching his family on how to effectively rule (barring Tommen, but he doesn't have much time to do so). This has left his heirs woefully unprepared with the reality of trying to run King's Landing. Jaime is completely disinterested, Cersei prides herself on being smarter than she actually is, Tyrion is constantly undermined by a family that hates him, Joffrey is sociopathic and incompetent, and Tommen is completely ineffective.
    • Tywin hates Tyrion for being a dwarf whose complicated pregnancy killed his mother/Tywin's wife Joanna, who was his first love. This was ironic on two counts:
      • Tywin and Joanna were first cousins. Children born of people that closely related have an ever-so-slightly increased risk of birth defects. For what it's worth, Tywin's decision to take up with a first cousin (which was for love and not the purely politically advantageous marriage he desires for his children) may have contributed to Tyrion's condition.
      • Tywin doesn't seem to understand, even on his deathbed (death toilet?), why Tyrion's so pissed off at him for taking away Tyrion's first love - despite Tywin hating Tyrion his whole life for that exact thing.
    • He continually emphasizes the importance of putting family first and claims that's what will keep the Lannisters in power. However, his treatment of his children and fixation on using them to further the Lannister name, turns the them into the most divided noble house and ultimately leads to their downfall. His relentless abuse of Tyrion leads to Tyrion killing him and fleeing to join Daenerys, his encouragement of Cersei's cruelty leads her to raising Joffrey in a similar manner and is murdered because he gets so out of hand. Even the marriages Twyin forces upon them don't help much, as Cersei's hatred of Robert leads to her killing him and ensuring she doesn't have any of his children. In contrast, families who he writes off as weak but genuinely care about each other manage to stay strong because of it. The Tyrells are a threat because they have good interpersonal relationships as well as cunning and the Starks — against all odds and expectations — are hanging in there and on the rise, thanks to their close ties and love for each other. And in fact the Starks take out the two dysfunctional families Tywin favoured — the Boltons and Freys — because they were such a mess.
    • In perhaps the ultimate irony, Tywin was devoted to seeing the Lannisters become a great house that would last for centuries and felt that his father's poor management nearly destroyed it but the methods he used to achieve his goal have done just as much, if not more, damage and left House Lannister completely broke and under the rule of Cersei whose awful behavior is at least partially attributed to Tywin and who will likely bring about the end of House Lannister than Tywin had sought to prevent. Everything he accomplished has been completely undone.
      • And at the end of the series, that's exactly what happens. Cersei and Jaime die in Daenerys's attack on King's Landing, leaving Tyrion, the son he despised, the last of the main line of House Lannister. Since Shae's death (ALSO indirectly Tywin’s fault for 1. Putting Tyrion on trial for Joffrey’s murder despite knowing he didn’t do it and 2. Then making her testify at the trial, which sent Tyrion over the edge) has killed Tyrion's sex drive to the point of near-celibacy, it's very unlikely he'll have children, meaning that with his death, House Lannister's main line will go extinct and House Lannister can only be carried on through the various cadet branches of Lannisport and other places mentioned and seen in the show. In the end, Tywin's attempt to bring about a lasting golden age for his family instead led them to their doom.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Tyrion calls him out on this, noting that Tywin automatically equates his personal ambitions with that of his family and that he makes his children compromise and face consequences that he himself has never done and will never do. Tywin's reply to that was that the great personal sacrifice he made was not killing Tyrion as a baby.
    • Likewise, Tywin could have resolved the seeming unfittingness of his children by naming his brother Kevan as heir but then Tywin couldn't well claim that it was his great family line. Likewise, Kevan himself has a Sketchy Successor in the soon to become Brother Lancel.
  • I Want Grandkids: ... as long as they're male grandkids from his eldest son. Ironically, he already has two of these but they're less than ideal, being officially Baratheons rather than Lannisters, and rather more importantly bastards born of incest between his son and daughter.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Tywin's insults often hit the mark. Whether it is calling Jaime a glorified bodyguard lacking ambition, Cersei not nearly as smart as she thinks she is, or Tyrion a fool for his drinking and whoring. In the case of the latter two, those prove to be Fatal Flaw for them.
    • When Tommen is about to become king, Tywin gives him a talk about how everything he does must be dictated by wisdom, and wise people listen to their advisors for wisdom and expertise. It's entirely self-serving (he, himself, being Tommen's chief advisor) and horribly insensitive (he derides Joffrey's lack of wisdom, next to Joffrey's dead body). Still, every point he makes is entirely reasonable.
    • His statement about how the House that places the family's needs first over its members is hypocritical, self-serving, and in the context of encouraging Tyrion to engage in Marital Rape License, absolutely repugnant, but in the long run, he's shown to be right. The Boltons are extinct precisely because their individual members would not get along, and ultimately ended up killing one another. House Lannister themselves are in dire straits by Season 7 due to Tyrion aiding Daenerys in overthrowing his hated sister, all as a result of the family's internal frictions and feuds. Meanwhile, the Starks are Back from the Brink precisely because its members love one another unconditionally, and are willing to put their House and family before their own ambitions and desires, with Sansa willing to sidestep her own claim on the North to support her half-brother Jon being a good example.
      • The latter is also a case of Evil Cannot Comprehend Good. Although Tywin is right about the need for families to stick together he fails to comprehend that it only works if there is genuine affection between family members.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: It is revealed in "Baelor" that Tyrion once made the mistake of falling in love with and marrying a whore his brother had secretly hired to sleep with him. So when Tywin found out, he ordered his entire garrison to rape her (each soldier paying, of course) and forced Tyrion to watch from beginning to end and then be the final participant — then paying her more because a Lannister is worth moreFrom the books... . However, he occasionally says something that might indicate that he's not as bad as people think but he usually tells them in no uncertain terms his entirely pragmatic reasons for saying it if he's questioned about it.
  • Just a Kid: The Rains of Castamere suggest that Tywin's own enemies once thought this of him. Ironic that Tywin then makes a similar underestimation of Robb Stark.
  • Karmic Death: The proud lord of House Lannister is killed in the most humiliating spot possible by the son who he has emotionally abused and treated like dirt for almost his entire life. Better yet, he died the same way most of the people at the Red Wedding were killed: feathered with crossbow bolts by someone they least suspected would have the nerve to kill them.
    • It's also rather fitting as Tywin made a point of being absolutely ruthless and pragmatic, striking when least expected, with the Red Wedding being the best example. In the end, he gets literally caught with his pants down and murdered while unarmed and in a compromised position, similar to how Robb died.
  • Knight Templar: Believes anything is justified it means House Lannister can keep on top.
  • Kick the Dog: MANY times, both in the past and present. Thus, for all his effectiveness as an administrator, he is NOT a good person.
    • He manages to zigzag between this and Pet the Dog with his treatment of Tyrion (more in Season 1 than later). On the one hand, he never hesitates to tell Tyrion he considers him a drunken, lecherous freak who killed his mother and dreams of killing him without any stain on his conscience. On the other hand, he sometimes acknowledges Tyrion's talents, speaks to him as an equal when he isn't insulting his lifestyle, and trusts him with power and authority — behaviors that he pointedly does not extend to Cersei or Joffrey. In a deleted scene, he clearly puts his faith in Tyrion before Pycelle.
      Tywin: [to Tyrion] I always thought you were a stunted fool. Perhaps I was wrong.
    • He also manages to zigzag it with Jaime: He can insult and disown him in a scene and still help him sheathe a Valyrian sword or let his son keep said sword:
      Tywin: [to Jaime] Keep it. A one handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.
    • He abandons Arya to personally serve Gregor Clegane when he leaves Harrenhal, which is like leaving a lamb in the care and protection of a wolf. While he is previously shown enjoying Arya's company, Tywin knows full well that Clegane is univerally recognised as a bloodthirsty brute, a serial rapist and child killer, so it's clear that he never had any real concern for her wellbeing.
  • Lack of Empathy: If you wondered where Cersei and Joffrey got it from, it's Tywin. He will let the North and Riverlands be ruled by psychotic monsters if it means his family can win the war. But to be fair, the Starks started it by capturing Tyrion.
  • Large and in Charge: Tywin is 6'3", all but runs Westeros and is usually both the tallest and most intimidating person in any room he's in, unless it's The Mountain he's talking to.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Being a nearly professional dog-kicker for all his life, Tywin finally gets bitten back by each of his children with suitably ascending level: his "golden son" Jaime doesn't try to harm him but ignores his orders by refusing to carry a family name and then releasing his sentenced brother Tyrion from prison behind Tywin's back, the daughter he thought nothing more of beside selling her off for the sake of family legacy crushes his illusions about said legacy with a few simple words, and his horribly mistreated youngest son, whom he always wished dead, ends up killing Tywin in a rather humiliating manner.
  • Lean and Mean: He has a fairly slender frame, accentuated by his height, and he really lives up to the mean part.
  • Legacy Seeker: Obsessed with ensuring that House Lannister endures long after he's gone. As a result, he will always prioritize the family's prestige over the mental well-being of his children, all three of whom grow up to be dysfunctional adults who simultaneously resent him and crave his approval. Plus, it's clear that Tywin's skill and fearsome reputation are the only things keeping House Lannister afloat. The lack of non-bastard grandchildren with the Lannister name has already left the family's future in question (a fact that Cersei rubs in his face during season 4). Combined with the dwindling competence of Tyrion, Jaime, and Cersei, it's doubtful that Tywin's legacy will survive for long without him. After Tyrion murders Tywin, House Lannister undergoes a swift decline, and several members are killed in a cascade of self-inflicted disasters; by the end of the series, Tyrion is the last Lannister remaining, and not only appears uninterested in furthering the family line but it is implied that he will spend the rest of his life serving the new king to rebuild the kingdom. Ultimately Tywin's abusive treatment of his children while hypocritically saying his cruel actions are for the good of the Lannister family destroyed both his legacy and family.
  • Like Father Like Children: As an Ace, Tywin has unrelenting ambition, martial skill, a brilliant mind, and forceful charisma. His children, while they surpass him in their own ways, unfortunately don't inherit all of his talents, to their detriment.
    • Cersei is more ruthless in her ambition, but not only lacks her father's mind, she is also petty, selfish, and thoughtless to the consequences of her actions.
    • Jaime is a fighter with skill several leagues higher than Tywin and has his (smaller) brand of cunning, but lacks the ambition to exercise his full potential.
    • Tyrion is as brilliant and charismatic as his father, pulling off impossible tasks often while seriously disadvantaged, but the dwarf has no grand desires other than debauchery and recognition, and his deformity always means that people hate him, but don't fear him.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: Three seasons after his death and all of Tywin's gains for his house have fallen apart entirely. Cersei's disastrous attempts at playing politics culminates with her openly murdering thousands of people and crowning herself queen in a short-sighted play at saving her own skin. House Tyrell and Dorne both side firmly against the Lannisters and are ally with Daenarys' invading army to take them down. His greatest victory of eradicating the noble Stark family is undone thanks to the rise of the overlooked Stark children, who take down the very families he raised to power. Jon Snow and Sansa Stark retake the North and destroy the Boltons who Tywin installed as Wardens of the North, while Arya Stark kills Walder Frey, sending the Frey and Lannister's shaky hold on the Riverlands into chaos. To top it off, the Lannister family itself is in complete shambles, with Tommen, Kevan, and Lancel dead, Jaime leaving Cersei, and Tyrion actively aiding Daenerys' war efforts as Hand of the Queen. By the end of the series, Tyrion is the only Lannister left and it's extremely unlikely he'll ever have an heir, meaning the Lannisters as a whole are doomed to end with him.

  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: Tywin's character arc serves as a closer examination of the trope (and Truer to the Text of Machiavelli's political theory, too). While Tywin ticks nearly all stereotypical fictional boxes of the trope (preferring fear over any overt affection—seeing as shallow shows of it is what ruined his father Tytos's rule), he falls fatally short of an important aspect: Avoiding being hated, mainly as Tywin couldn't care less if anyone likes him. With House Lannister running roughshod of nearly every significant major and minor player in the Seven Kingdoms, there was no shortage of people to band together against them—leaving the future of his House in terminal decline once he's gone and they no longer have his savvy and reputation to save them. Of course, even if he had lived, the fact that the Lannisters had long since gone broke meant it was only a matter of time before they fell.
  • Make an Example of Them: One of his primary philosophies when dealing with those in his way. If ever another family, be it a vassal or a rival, defies or insults House Lannister, Tywin will brutally, and thoroughly crush them, often in visible ways. He explains this to Jaime that if other groups are allowed to slight their house without response, then it sets a precedence which they can't afford.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Towards his own children and both grandsons.
  • Manly Man: While not burly or brawny, Tywin makes up for it with his intensely foreboding, patriarchal presence, his powerful social status and his pursuit of traditionally manly hobbies like hunting and fishing.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Twice has served as Hand of the King: first to Aerys Targaryen and secondly to his grandson Joffrey. His reign as Hand is seen (in-verse) as a time of prosperity, despite "The Mad King". He was also the true architect of the Red Wedding, by guaranteeing the Freys protection from retribution.
  • Mirror Character: Roose Bolton and Tywin Lannister. Both are the patriarchs of their families, both are Straight Edge Evil and Magnificent Bastards who usually lock down their emotions and both have evil descendants (Ramsay for Roose, Joffrey for Tywin), both employ other psychopaths as their top enforcers (Locke and Gregor Clegane, respectively) but while Tywin is defined by his Pragmatic Villainy and total devotion to his family's legacy, Roose every now and then lets slip that he just might be in it For the Evulz, although he's far more subtle about it than his son, and both betrayed their kings. It's also fun to point out that Michael McElhatton looks quite a bit like a younger Charles Dance. They also both die an Undignified Death at the hands of their respective sons.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The History and Lore videos cites this as his reason for betraying Aerys, largely due to the King refusing to allow Prince Rhaegar to marry Cersei, thus spurning the man who was running the kingdom for Aerys and insulting a vassal of one of the oldest houses of the kingdom, to say nothing of ordering Jaime into the Kingsguard to block him from being Tywin's heir. Tywin even Lampshades this, stating that if Aerys had been nicer to him and accepted his match, he would have remained loyal to the Crown.
    • And then of course there's Tyrion, who despite the impossibility of the thing went far and beyond for the sake of House Lannister in order to please his father... up until Tywin pushes him one time too many, causing Tyrion to snap and leave King's Landing and his family behind... with two fatal crossbow bolts in Tywin's chest.
  • Mock Millionaire: Tywin reveals to Cersei that the Lannisters are no longer as wealthy as they used to be, with the Lannisters' gold mines having dried up three years before and most of the Lannisters' wealth spent backing Joffrey in the War of the Five Kings. Worse yet, a lot of the debt that they're owed is held by the Iron Throne, which itself is heavily financed by debts owed to the Iron Bank of Braavos.
  • Money Is Not Power: Tywin swears by this, calling gold "just another rock." While their (formerly) outrageous wealth certainly helped, the Lord of Casterly Rock believes that true power comes from strong leadership. He was even able to maintain the illusion that all was well with their finances for some time.
  • Morality Pet: He has a soft spot for Tommen and is a lot less cruel to him than he is to other people. While he's not above manipulating him like he does most other people, he's a lot less manipulative towards him and there are times where he's actually sincere towards him, even outright stating that he’s not trying to trick him when offering advice to be a king.
  • Narcissist: While a brilliant statesman and a highly skilled military strategist, he is also extremely vain, unrepentantly cruel, and morbidly self-absorbed. In addition to having nothing but contempt for those less talented or of lower birth than himself, Tywin harbors no compassion or loyalty to anyone outside his family. By his own admission, he views anyone who is not a Lannister as either enemies or pawns to be exploited. Despite professing to do everything for his family's benefit, he regularly rides roughshod over its individual members' welfare to advance his own interests (which he selfishly equates with his entire household). Even when his own children protest his tyrannical grip over their lives, he coldly dismisses them or ruthlessly browbeats them into submission . Furthermore, he is pathologically obsessed with projecting an image of invincibility and infallibility as evidenced by his deep-rooted inclination to wipe out all who challenge his authority with extreme prejudice and his grandiose plan to establish a dynasty that will rule Westoros for a thousand years.
  • Nay-Theist: Cersei quotes him in "Blackwater" as saying "The gods have no mercy, that's why they are gods", and notes that Tywin does believe in the gods — he just doesn't like them. Along the lines of a typical Hollywood Atheist backstory, he developed this attitude after the death of his beloved wife. Tywin also views his son Tyrion, whom he intensely dislikes, as a cruel lesson by the Gods to teach him humility because Tyrion can still fly Lannister colors despite Tywin's disapproval of him.
  • New Era Speech: Gives one, masquerading as an exercise in the Socratic Method, to Tommen after Joffrey's death, indicating Tywin's vision of the future.
  • Nerves of Steel: Is very nonchalant of Tyrion threatening to kill him, even after finally being shot down with a crossbow.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Treats Arya, who is working as his cupbearer, with a surprising amount of respect, largely because he is amused by her and obviously enjoys the company of a bright youngster more than that of his rather pedestrian retainers and warlords. Of course, this doesn't stop him casually giving her over to the monstrous Gregor Clegane once he has to leave.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • Tywin is based in part on Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as the "Kingmaker" and The Man Behind the Man during the Wars of the Roses (along with Roose Bolton)note .
    • Some aspects of King Edward I Longshanks and King Philip le Bel are also at play. King Edward was tall, intimidating, ruthless (especially against overmighty and rebellious vassals)note  and has very little respect for his offspringnote , while King Philip was cold, unsmiling and icy. Edward won a famous victory in the Battle of Eversham against Simon de Montfort (whose sigil inspired that of House Reyne). King Philip ruthlessly purged The Knights Templar and introduced administrative efficiency only to have all his work wasted by his descendants who would start The Hundred Years War. The Accursed Kings which deals with King Philip was an acknowledged influence on the books.
    • His being an competent bureaucrat holding the realm together for problematic sovereigns note  may also take its inspiration from John of Gaunt, patriarch of the House of Lancasternote , who held England together during the problematic tenure of Richard IInote . Tywin's personality, however, borrows more from Shakespeare's fictionalization of his son, the elderly Henry IV (at least in his eponymous plays): an active leader and administrator disappointed with the incompetence of their more outgoing, personable offspring (Prince Hal for Henry IV, Jaime and Tyrion for Tywin).
    • There are also parts of him that can be traced to Henry VII of The House of Tudor: a man whose character grew colder and harsher with the death of his wife, while busying himself with the affairs of the realm. Humorously, Henry VII is the father of the hedonistic and eventually stout Henry VIII, while Tywin became the father-in-law, through Cersei, of the similarly-described Robert (and whose jovial character he never enjoyed).
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Tywin likes things concise and to the point and wastes no time when an opportunity is at hand. He dislikes beating around the bush, and is very vocal about the unnecessary behavior he regularly encounters, be it lavish, humorous, erroneous or plain foolish.
  • No-Sell: After four seasons of Tywin cowing his children with a mere Death Glare and "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Cersei and Tyrion finally reject his efforts to dominate and manipulate them in "The Children": Cersei confirms that her children are bastards born of incest and therefore his legitimate bloodline is cut short, and Tyrion straight-up shoots him dead.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Done intentionally as an intimidation tactic to psyche out Joffrey: As he not-so-subtly explains just how little concern he has for Joffrey as a person compared to his concern for the realm, he steps closer and closer up to the Iron Throne until he's looming over the little shit.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: When Tywin approaches Oberyn in a whorehouse to talk, there are several naked whores on the bed, and they walk past Tywin. In the entire scene, Tywin never ogles any of them, remaining with his undisturbed icy glare at face-level. (Given that one of the first things we find out about Tywin is his public distaste for whores, this is probably very justified.)
  • Not So Above It All: Even though Tywin has little patience for Joffrey's antics, he's shown suppressing a grin during Joffrey's "War of the Five Kings" reenactment-by-dwarf, which mocks his former rivals. Despite his aura of invincibility, he has never won a battle without overwhelming numerical superiority and once lost a battle to Edmure Tully, with greater numbers to boot.
  • Number Two: Has served as Hand of the King twice in his life, with the first one lasting twenty years.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Robert used to rub him the wrong way by patting him on the back. Knowing how Robert was more savvy and astute than he let on, and that Tywin and Robert did not get along, one can easily surmise that Robert did this on purpose.
  • Odd Friendship: With Arya Stark. The two quickly recognize each other as being the two smartest people in Harrenhal, and have personal and intellectual conversations that neither can have with anyone else at the castle. Tywin respects Arya for her fearlessness and cleverness, while Arya appreciates Tywin's intelligence. Tywin even says that he enjoys Arya's company. However, this does not stop Arya from trying to assassinate Tywin, nor from Tywin leaving Arya in the care of Gregor Clegane - a notorious child rapist.
  • Offing the Offspring: He would never outright do it to Tyrion but he dreams about it and if he sees a chance to make it happen with a clean hand and guilt-free conscience, he'll make it happen.
    • In Season 1, Tyrion speculates that his father is putting him on the vanguard of a battle to invoke this, and Tywin is not amused to see his son still alive in the aftermath.
    • He reveals to Tyrion that he intended to kill him on the day he was born but Tywin could not bring himself to do it because Tyrion was ultimately still a Lannister.
    • In Season 4, Tywin tells Jaime that he intends to declare Tyrion guilty in his trial for regicide, normally an instant death sentence, but provide Tyrion the chance to go to the Wall to join the Night's Watch, which itself puts his odds on surviving, what with the taint of regicide and the bitter cold of the North, at great risk. There's also the Wildling army that's approaching the Wall, as he admitted to Oberyn Martell.
    • After the Trial by Combat, Tywin finally has the legal mandate to officially sentence Tyrion to death and he does it without a second thought. When Tyrion confronts him after the prison escape, Tywin says that he wasn't going to do it but it's impossible to know if he was telling the truth.
  • Old Soldier: Tywin has fought in at least two country-wide wars and the annihilation of rebel bannermen before that:
    Tywin: 'The War of Five Kings' they're calling it. This will be my last war. The one I'll be remembered for.
  • Only Sane Man: Tywin sees himself as this more often than not, much to his own chagrin. As a result, Tywin has some small affection for anyone who proves to be more intelligent than his usual company.
    • Inverted in relation to Jaime and Cersei's relationship. Despite it and Joffrey's true heritage being an open secret among characters, Tywin is genuinely shocked when Cersei confirms it, indicating that he either had no idea or just refused to believe it. It's also partially inverted with Tyrion as, while Tywin sees that he's useful, he insists on still treating him as a drunken hedonist who embarrasses the Lannister name.
  • Only Sane by Comparison: Despite having more common sense than most people as stated by the trope above, he's also cruel, narcissistic, apathetic, hypocritical, and emotionally stupid.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Joffrey himself points it out during Robert's rebellion where Tywin effectively hid underneath Casterly Rock and only supported King Robert when all was decided. He effectively pulled a Walder Frey before Walder Frey. He did not see Joffrey's murder coming at all despite knowing how hated he was, but he still finds some utility to it by grooming a less psychotic king (and thus more amenable to Tywin's advice) to replace him in Tommen, and force Jaime into becoming Tywin's successor with promises to spare Tyrion's life by exiling him to the Night's Watch.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil:
    • Whenever he chastises Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch for making very obviously stupid mistakes.
    • He chooses to give a lecture to Tommen (a full on Pet the Dog moment by itself) right next to Joffrey's body (albeit a dead body that ordered Ned Stark's death and started an expensive, bloody war) as Cersei is grieving for her son. He even mentions what a terrible king Joffrey was and coldly ignores Cersei's "this is not the time or place" feeble complaint. Although its insensitive it doesn't change the fact Joffrey still was a terrible king and Cersei did do a poor job at raising him.
  • Papa Wolf: To Jaime at least. When Amory Lorch accidentally sends a letter bearing valuable information to a House allied with the Starks, Tywin goes (by his standards) berserk and tells him that should any more harm befall Jaime as a result of this, Amory will be in a world of hurt. He intentionally defies it with Tyrion, admitting that he only went to war after Tyrion's capture to defend House Lannister's reputation and being annoyed when Tyrion turns out to still be alive.
  • Parental Favoritism: He favors Jaime (by manipulating him to do what Tywin wants), while generally ignoring Cersei (because she's just a woman) and openly despising Tyrion (who is a dwarf). He trusts him with half of his army, praises him on occasion and considers him his heir even though by law Jaime cannot inherit as a member of the Kingsguard. Cersei and Tyrion, who both love Jaime, are still resentful of this blatant favoritism. Tyrion in particular points out that he will never be recognized for all his accomplishments even though he's by far Tywin's most capable descendant, while Jaime is still Tywin's designated heir even after forfeiting his inheritance, murdering a king, losing his sword hand and screwing his own sister, which caused a countrywide scandal and a Succession Crisis that almost destroyed the Lannister bid for the Iron Throne.
    Tyrion: You're the golden son. You could kill a king, lose a hand, fuck your own sister, you'll always be the golden son.
  • The Patriarch: His very first appearance has him giving Jaime an impassioned speech about the importance of the family legacy while skinning a deer. He orders his children around all he wants, and even his psychopathic boss and grandson King Joffrey (who outright threatens to kill his own mother and tried to assassinate his uncle) is scared of him.
    Tywin: Your mother's dead, before long I'll be dead, and you...and your brother, and your sister, and all of her children. All of us dead, all of us rotting in the ground. It's the family name that lives on. It's all that lives on. Not your honor, not your personal glory, family.
  • Patricide: His final fate, at the hands of Tyrion.
  • The Perfectionist: A defining feature. Tywin is obsessed with House Lannister's reputation, never misses an opportunity to point out his children's flaws and disrespects anyone that does not live up to his standards... which is everyone else but himself. On the other hand, his perfectionism is one of the major reasons he is aware of everything that goes on around him and what makes him a deadly strategist.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Tywin's face is always a window to his discontent, or worse, and he rarely smiles. From the books... 
  • Pet the Dog: To those who show some modicum of competence in the sea of idiots he regularly deals with:
    • While he may treat Tyrion with contempt most of the time, he does occasionally acknowledge him, such as appointing him as the (acting) Hand of the King. Granted, it was for pragmatic reasons, but it was still a big sign of respect and trust, especially when there were other male Lannisters about... too bad that Tywin seemed to feel that he had to dial up the insulting afterward as if to balance that out.
    • Also, to Arya while she's his cupbearer. He shares with her personal anecdotes that Tywin would likely never share with anyone else, and she even manages to get a genuine laugh out of him with a joke she makes. He later tells her directly that he's taken a liking to her, though when she oversteps her bounds as his servant he sternly rebukes her.
    • He also mentions that when Jaime was young, he couldn't read because of being dyslexic, so he sat down with his son for four hours every night and struggled through the arduous process of teaching his son how to read:
      Tywin: I taught my son Jaime to read. The Maester came to me one day, told me he wasn't learning. He couldn't make sense of the letters. He reversed them in his head. The Maester said that he had heard of this affliction, and said that we must just accept it. HA! After that I sat Jaime down for four hours every day until he learned. He hated me for it. For a time. For a long time. But he learned.
    • In "The Lion and the Rose", Tywin immediately rushes to shield Tommen from having to watch Joffrey's nightmarish death. In the next episode, he gives Tommen a lecture on how to be a good king. Granted that his advice is clearly self-serving (the central message being that he should listen to his advisers, which really means Tywin), the substance of his advice is good, and he delivers it in an uncharacteristically kindly, supportive, and even affectionate manner and seems genuinely proud of Tommen for understanding his teachings and his sincere desire to be a good king. In contrast to his dealings with most other people, he uses gentle guidance rather than intimidation, and reassures Tommen that he'll be a good king. Outside of his moments with Arya, it's about the only time we've seen Tywin actually act in a paternal manner.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Downplayed in that whilst he's certainly a man of his time, he knows when not to let his prejudices trump pragmatism or common sense.
    • He refers to the Northerners as "unwashed", but would treat women and savages with fairness according to their competence.
    • He knows Ser Loras is gay and considers him to be mentally ill. Despite his personal feelings on the matter, he is nevertheless okay with the idea of Loras guarding Joffrey as he recognizes the knight's worth as a warrior. His views are also less intense in comparison to Joffrey's, who wants all homosexuals put to death. All in all, Tywin's opinion on gay men border on Condescending Compassion.
    • In terms of his own family, Cersei assumes he doesn't let her 'contribute' because she's a woman, but he (quite correctly) states that she isn't as smart as she thinks she is. He names The Unfavorite Tyrion as Hand of the King in his stead after Joffrey kills Ned Stark because he wants Tyrion to do damage control, something he rightly assumes Cersei isn't capable of doing. However, despite Tywin's opinion of her intelligence, it becomes clear that he sees Cersei as a brood mare to be married off to make connections and babies precisely because she's a woman. As for Tyrion, though he's willing to put Tyrion to work and doesn't deny his skills, he still hates Tyrion because he's a dwarf and thus 'not a presentable Lannister', refusing to name Tyrion as his heir so long as Jaime, the Golden Boy of the family, may potentially take up that role. Though Jaime's vows to the Kingsguard disqualify him from serving that role, Tywin is convinced he can talk/bribe/extort Jaime into quitting somehow, coming awfully close in Season 4.
    • He's also an avowed classist and makes it clear he thinks little of the smallfolk.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: One of his defining features, as Tywin saw his house nearly destroyed by his good-hearted and gentle father. As a result, Tywin is brutal and vicious, but (he believes) only when there is a profit to be gained from it; for example, he stops the torture of prisoners in Harrenhal upon arrival, because exploiting their skills for free is more useful. But when he suspects an assassin attempting to kill him, he immediately orders a decimation of the garrison, along with torture and interrogation of anyone suspected of aiding or knowing about the assassin. He is also fair and generous to his enemies after they surrender to him, not because he cares about them in any way... but because, as he points out to Joffrey, if you crush people who submit then no one will be willing to surrender in the future. From the books...  He also grudgingly respects Tyrion's political acumen and adaptability, putting his skills to use instead of just ignoring him altogether. Even naming Tyrion the Master of Coin, a job Tyrion himself balks at because he's never managed wealth in his life, seems to be because he believes Tyrion will do a good job.
  • Pride: His most defining trait. While this trope is precisely what drove Tywin to make House Lannister the most powerful one in Westeros, it also drove him to make it the most hated as well.
    Tywin: The lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Has a larger screen-presence in Season 2.
  • Pulling the Thread: He casually begins picking apart Arya's deception over time, noting small things like addressing him as "my lord" instead of "milord" to figure out that she's actually nobleborn instead of a commoner like she's pretending. However, he seems more amused by how clever Arya is than upset at the deception. It is also possible that, precisely because he thinks the Starks are Good Is Dumb (as discussed earlier), it never came to him that one of them would ever be as daring, cunning and desperate enough to survive by any means—even to the point of Keeping the Enemy Close.
    • Can be considered a case of Deliberate Values Dissonance because he lives in a world where sex within marriage cannot legally qualify as rape.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Tywin is a two-time Hand of the King, and the Warden of the West (a position only equal to three others and only inferior to the King himself and his Hand). Hand in hand with his titles, Tywin is a ruthless yet highly effective commander who struck the killing blow to King's Landing and the Targaryen royal family in Robert's Rebellion.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: An indirect example. Tywin himself never engages in such activities, but this was pretty much his strategy in the War of the Five Kings, utilizing scorched earth tactics across the Riverlands. Ironically, this backfires in the long run, as it means one of Westeros' primary bread baskets is lost, which puts him at a disadvantage with the Tyrells.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: If ever there were a grand master at this, it is Tywin Lannister. He's given at least one to each of his children — telling Jaime that his personal glory is ultimately worthless, Tyrion that he'll never honor any claim Tyrion has to Casterly Rock because of his irresponsible and lecherous behavior (also because he's a dwarf who killed his mother during childbirth), and Cersei that his lack of confidence in her is not because she's a woman but because she's not as smart as she thinks she is. He always has one on hand for moronic subordinates as well and has no problem with summarizing the flaws of past rulers, Joffrey included, while the guy is lying in state with his mother by his side, and over her feeble and rather pathetic protests no less.
    • In the last episode of Season 4, he suddenly becomes on the receiving end, first from Cersei who interrupts his speech to her to inform her father about her and Jaime's relationship, consequently ruining the former's delusions about the family legacy and becoming the first person in the series to shut Tywin up. After that comes Tyrion's turn... who brings a crossbow for the conversation and after giving a piece of his mind to Tywin shuts him up forever.
    • Ultimately, there's no speech he gives out that matches the spite and loathing when it comes to that which he gives to Tyrion, when the guy asks for a land that's his by birthright.
    Tywin: And I would let myself be consumed by maggots before mocking the family name and making you heir to Casterly Rock.
    Tyrion: ...Why?
    Tywin: Why? You ask that?! You who killed your mother to come into the world? You are an ill-made, spiteful little creature. Full of envy, lust and low-cunning. Mens laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors since I cannot prove that you are not mine. To teach me humility the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion which was my father's sigil, and his father's before him. But neither gods nor men will ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whore house.
  • Realpolitik: Tywin's political philosophy is largely seizing any opportunity for success and doing whatever must be done to see it through. To wit, the continued success of the Lannisters — beyond military might, and the sheer amount of gold the family rests upon — is due largely to Tywin's cold, critical knack for impersonal politicking. He'll ally with the enemy houses of the Boltons and Freys to betray the Starks, he'll marry his own grandsons into the rival Tyrell family, and (as much as he'd prefer not to) he'll even sell out his own attack dog Ser Gregor Clegane to the Martells if it means solidifying the Lannister power base.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He'll push through his ultimate decision at the end of every dispute, but he's willing to listen to reason if it genuinely suits his purposes. He was a very capable Hand to the Mad King for nearly two decades, for a reason.
    • Despite his relationships with his children, he continues to practice Pragmatic Villainy with them. While he loathes Tyrion, he trusts him as Hand until Tywin himself arrives to fill the role, and preludes a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech in Season 3 by telling Tyrion he will be given quarters and a position more suitable for his talents and standing, and keeps his word by naming him Master of Coin. Cersei, on the other hand, is told outright that she is "not as clever as she thinks she is" and kept out of important decisions to the best of his ability.
    • He is disgusted by Loras Tyrell's homosexuality, but still respects the young man's fighting skills and wishes to use them — Tywin did allow Loras to command the vanguard at the Battle of Blackwater, after all, and even to do so wearing his late lover's armor.
    • He thinks Ser Gregor's torture of prisoners is a waste of time and stops it.
    • He recognizes Arya as a girl very quickly. Later, he deduces (correctly) that she is i) a Northerner and ii) highborn, but realises that she is alone in the world and her actions are to protect herself.
    • Despite his behavior before Joffrey, he is fully aware that Daenaerys will eventually bring her three dragons to Westeros; Tywin knows Dorne was the only country to withstand Aegon I and his dragons, so he is willing to bargain with Oberyn Martell.
  • Replacement Goldfish: He tells Arya that she reminds him of Cersei when she was young, and something in his voice makes it sound like he regrets how things went. From the books... 
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: He's absolutely correct about the importance of strong family ties as we see with the Starks. However, Tywin doesn't see any difference between what is best for the family and what will benefit him personally.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: A very hard-working and able administrator. Revealed as a character trait in his very first scene when he has a conversation with Jaime while skinning a deer, work he could easily have left to servants.

  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Implied to be a philosophy of his in particular, and the Lannisters in general.
  • Selective Obliviousness: He genuinely never believed the "rumors" about Cersei's children all being Jaime's, despite what should have been obvious and indeed was deduced by Ned Starknote , and Tywin only finds out because Cersei told him point-blank to his face to spite him... and he still claims not to believe her right after mumbling "nonononoNO"!
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Tywin's ultimate goal was to bring House Lannister back from the brink and make it a great and feared house again but the methods he used to achieve his goal have left them on the brink of extinction.
  • Shoot the Dog: The Red Wedding was Walder Frey's idea, yet Tywin gave the plan his blessing and offered him protection from reprisals as the most expedient means of disposing of the threat of the Stark army. When Tyrion comments on how wantonly cruel it was to assassinate their enemies who should have been protected by Sacred Hospitality at the time, Tywin retorts that he sees nothing less moral about killing a dozen people at dinner instead of ten thousand in battle (which discounts the fact that said ten thousand were also killed).
  • Slave to PR: To an extent. Tywin does not care about winning the people's love, but is absolutely dedicated to ensuring that the name of House Lannister is respected, if not feared. As such, Tywin cannot stomach any slight upon his house or any of his family members (even if the object of ridicule is his most despised son Tyrion), and will wreak havoc upon anyone bold enough to slander the Lannister name. All to retain the image that House Lannister is a house that will not tolerate any humiliation.
  • The Sociopath: Played With. Tywin certainly has the attributes of a sociopath: he lies as easily as he breathes, he has no regard for anyone who isn't Tywin Lannister, has a high opinion of himself, he's exceedingly cruel, he lacks empathy towards others, and isn't afraid to use violence to get what he wants. That said, he is capable of genuine feelings, such as his love for his wife Joanna.
  • The Stoic: Though he is very often contemptuous and snarky, he has little emotional range beyond this. However he does show more emotion than in the novels, where he only loses his icy cold demeanor once, when Tyrion asks him to acknowledge his rights to Casterly Rock. TV Tywin loses his temper (though never his control) in several episodes, either because he's Surrounded by Idiots or putting his children in line, and once even gives a genuine (albeit short) laugh.
  • The Strategist: Very much so, both as a military commander and a diplomat. What makes this combination deadly is that when Robb Stark outmatches him as a battlefield commander, Tywin can fall back on his secondary skills while Robb is still a raw youth in the case of politics and diplomacy.
    • Subverted in Season 2 where even with Kevan and his other advisers, Tywin is at a complete loss at to what to do with Robb.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: He considers his eldest two children to be stupid in their ways, and he makes it clear when he notices Arya that he considers everyone else in the fortress to be the equivalent of blind cattle in terms of intellect, both for wasting good talent and for not noticing a girl dressed as a boy. The only subordinates that he considers remotely competent on a mental level are Tyrion and, ironically, Arya... then again, most of the Lannister army is made up of psychopaths and dumb thugs. His reaction to Amory Lorch's death is less "Guard! There's an assassin loose in the castle!" and more "Guard! Ugh, now I have to replace this moron with some other moron...."
    • In a deleted scene on the Season 3 DVD, Tywin reveals in a private meeting that he knows full well that Pycelle's appearance of a doddering old man is all an act and asks "am I really the only one who sees through this performance? Is it possible so many have been so stupid for so long?" (Pycelle admits even he can't believe it works so well).
  • The Svengali: To Tommen, the new king due to Joffrey's death, and who Tywin clearly intends to mold into a vehicle for Lannister dominance of the Seven Kingdoms, with the side effect that Tommen could probably have become one of Westeros' better kings, whereas Joffrey was already a lost cause before he came under Tywin's influence. Remember that Tywin was Hand of the King to Aerys Targaryen II for 20 years, and despite that king's madness those years are regarded as some of the best in living memory thanks to Tywin's administration.
  • Swan Song: Played with as Tywin is still extremely capable and skilled but he also knows he's in his later years and won't be around forever and wants to make House Lannister as powerful as he can, to outlast him for centuries to come. Unfortunately, his methods end up doing the opposite.
  • Tranquil Fury: Very calmly establishes his power by sending Joffrey to his room. All without raising his voice. Indeed, one gets the impression that Tywin's just straight-up pissed at everyone all the time, namely because he has no patience for stupidity and thinks he's Surrounded by Idiots for a good portion of his day.
  • Technician Versus Performer: His leadership of the royalist forces against Robb Stark, essentially. Lord Tywin is a good soldier and strategist due to hard and careful work, while Robb is a born conqueror. Ultimately, Tywin's exploitation of the strategic imbalance between the Iron Throne and the Stark kingdom and plus Robb's personal missteps proves decisive in the Riverlands theater. Robb, on the other hand, had bet the whole war on winning enough battles.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: As much as he hates it, he does respect Tyrion as the most capable (or at least most trustworthy) of the lords in King's Landing. While he is harsh and abusive towards Tyrion, he does also speak to him as somewhat of an equal.
  • This Cannot Be!: When Tyrion finally shoots him with the crossbow, his reaction is not one of fear or even pain but a very detached "You shot me..." as if he never could've imagined Tyrion would actually do it.
  • Thousand-Year Reign: His aim for the Lannister legacy.
  • Tempting Fate: He sarcastically asks if Tyrion is going to kill his own father, which he does.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He really drops the ball when calling Shae a whore when his son at crosspoint clearly told him not to.
  • Tragic Mistake: Only tragic from the viewpoint of his own family, mind you, but his having Shae testify at Tyrion's trial ends up setting off a chain of Disaster Dominoes that all but destroys the Lannisters. Had he not done that, then odds are Tyrion would have taken the plea bargain that Jaime brokered and pleaded guilty in exchange for being Reassigned to Antarctica instead of executed, leaving Tywin free to mould Tommen into a capable monarch, while keeping Cersei's worst aspects in check. Instead, having Shae offer up a testimony filled with Blatant Lies causes Tyrion to demand trial by combat in an effort to win a full acquittal, which goes horribly wrong when his champion, Oberyn Martell experiences a lethal case of the Idiot Ball during the ensuing duel with Gregor Clegane, causing Tyrion to be found guilty. Tyrion then murders both Shae and Tywin himself during the course of his subsequent escape, leaving Cersei to turn Tommen into a puppet ruler, which results in him being Driven to Suicide and leads to Cersei's own, even more disastrous reign on the Iron Throne. By the end of the show, the only prominent Lannister remaining is Tyrion himself.
  • Tragic Villain: It can be hard to sympathise with him given how ruthless he is, but he does have shades of this. First of all, he was forced to grow up VERY quickly when his father proved too weak to rule and even had to watch as his late mother's jewellery was stolen by his father's whores (the whores' disrespect of his mother's memory and their mementos of her is hinted to be the reason he hates them so much), he was frequently underestimated, belittled and humiliated by the Mad King (despite Tywin being the one to actually keep the peace in the land) and lost his wife giving birth to their third child, who came out deformed. He's an unscrupulous rich bastard who's treatment of Cersei and Tyrion is horrific, but his life hasn't been easy. It's heavily implied his cruelty and pragmatism is his way of coping with growing up in such a harsh world, one that taught him a long time ago that he could never live as a good man. His conversation with Arya about his father also show hints of this.
    Arya: Did you know your father?
    Tywin: I did. I grew up with him. I watched him grow old. He loved us. He was a good man, but a weak man. A weak man who nearly destroyed our house and name... I'm cold.
  • Troll: Doesn't show up very often but it comes up in his negotiations with Lady Olenna, "The uncertainty makes you uncomfortable".
  • Try to Fit That on a Business Card: Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Lord Paramount of the Westerlands, Hand of the King and Savior of the City, which is ironic considering the previous time he led an army to King's Landing was to sack it. From the books... 
  • Übermensch: He has a grand vision for the Lannister family, values competence and intelligence over titles and dominates every room he enters with his presence.
  • Underestimating Badassery: His arrogance and successful record often leads him to assume that his foes are incompetent more often than they actually are, which sometimes comes to bite him:
    • He totally underestimates Robb's skill as a commander in their early battles, especially glaring given 1: who his father was, and 2: the fact that Tywin himself was treated the same way as a youth. However, he quickly learns from his previous mistake and successfully conspires with Walder Frey and Roose Bolton to have Robb brutally assassinated.
    • More subtly, on the diplomatic field it happens with Olenna Tyrell. While negotiating marriage arrangements between the family he acts wilfully and blackmails the Queens of Thorns into accepting his ultimatum... Olenna relents and then goes the way around to protect her family's interests — by murdering Tywin's grandson, the king, right under Tywin's nose. The best part? Tywin doesn't even know.
    • And, of course, he underestimated Tyrion's ability to survive time and time again... until Tyrion held him at crossbow-point.
  • Undignified Death: Dies by getting shot by his abused and loathed son Tyrion with two crossbow bolts whilst he was in the privy with his pants downFrom the books... . While he even lampshades it, thanks to Tywin being Tywin, he is still able to bring forth ''some'' gravitas during the whole debacle in contrast to his book counterpart, who in his final moments was left flabbergasted that Tyrion had shot him. This even extends to his funeral: Show!Tywin appeared regal as his body lay in the Sept, while Book!Tywin's corpse apparently still stank to high heaven that left Tommen puking and Olenna making a jape at his expense.
  • The Unfettered: His ruthlessness is only hampered by pragmatic concerns.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Tyrion not only carried out his father's orders in Kings Landing in reigning in Joffrey and Cersei, but he personally planned the city's defense, fatally weakened Stannis' forces, and personally led the fight against the remaining attackers despite Cersei and Joffrey's idiocy and spitefulness hampering him at every turn, including trying to assassinate him on the battlefield. Without these efforts Tywin's relief force would have been facing a far larger, better organised, and untouched army, who by the time he arrived would have likely killed both his grandson and daughter, as well as have taken the city and thus making his attempted counter attack both pointless and nigh suicidal. Tywin thanks Tyrion by ignoring him for several weeks as he was wounded, and when Tyrion brings up his grievances, he gives his son a few concessions such as a larger room "more suited to your name", a position where he can continue serving his family, and a suitable wife in due time... then he flatly refuses to officially make Tyrion his heir, unleashes a spiteful tirade about how much he hates Tyrion, and threatens to kill the next whore he catches him with.
    • In Season 4, Tywin admits, in front of his dead body no less, that Joffrey was not a wise king. So even if Tyrion was guilty, which of course he wasn't, Tywin and company should really be thanking him for the getting the millstone out of the way. Instead, Tywin lets him take the fall for Joffrey's oh-so-terrible murder. It's the equivalent of a wife and husband having a domestic argument and the husband grounding the child for daring to speak out against the horrible wife causing problems. Never have the words No Good Deed Goes Unpunished been more appropriate as far as Tyrion's concerned.
  • Unwitting Pawn: For all his intelligence, experience and ruthlessness, Tywin Lannister falls prey to the same mistake Ned Stark did; he trusted Littlefinger and raised him to a position of supremacy in the Riverlands and allowed him to marry the widowed lady of the Vale, making him arguably the second most powerful man in Westeros besides Tywin himself. In return, Littlefinger killed Joffrey with the Tyrells, in part because Tywin got Catelyn killed and partially because it would plunge the Seven Kingdoms into yet more chaos, which was a goal he stated aloud to Tywin and kidnapped Sansa Stark from Kings' Landing, giving Littlefinger an avenue for control of yet another of the Seven Kingdoms... and Tyrion discovers that his predecessor's supposed "magic" at financing the Iron Throne was really heavy borrowing from the Iron Bank of Braavos, an entity which even Tywin doesn't dare cross.
  • Uriah Gambit: While he likes to give himself brownie points for not killing Tyrion at birth, he was not above sending his youngest son on dangerous missions hoping for his death whenever the opportunity presented itself. When the Hill Tribesmen insist that Tyrion fights alongside them on the front lines during the war, for example, you can definitely feel Tywin's satisfaction at the notion under his usual stern demeanor.
  • Villainous Breakdown: A downplayed example at the beginning of the war, "They have my SON!". When Cersei reveals the truth about the "family legacy" he'd been so obsessed over, he is overcome by enraged silence, unable and unwilling to process what she tells him.
  • Villain Has a Point: Tywin is absolutely correct about Joffrey neither being a wise or a good king. His advice to Tommen about wisdom being important for a leader is also sound, as is his point that wisdom in turn requires that the wise consider the advice and viewpoints of others. In practice, though, he's clearly bringing it up to manipulate and cement his influence over Tommen.
    • Even though he was the Big Bad, he was the one actually ruling the Seven Kingdoms pretty effectively, which his death manages to undo.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: A sharp blonde one. In the books 
  • Visionary Villain: His speech to Jaime and his discussions with his cupbearer Arya reveals that he aspires to the legacy of Aegon the Conqueror and wants to create with gold and sheer will what Aegon had done with three dragons: a dynasty of Lannister hegemony that would rival and even surpass the Targaryens.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: When asked by Tyrion when has he ever done something that was for the family and not for his own interests, he angrily reveals that he wanted to kill Tyrion at birth but refused to do so since Tyrion was still a Lannister; Tywin considered it going above and beyond that he didn't kill his son but instead raised and acknowledged him as such.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: His children regularly seek his validation, but Tywin ignores their virtues just as often and is instead quick to highlight their shortcomings, much to their chagrin
    Tywin: [to Jaime] You are blessed with many abilities few men possess...and what have you done with these blessings, eh? You served as a glorified bodyguard to two kings. One a madman, the other a drunk.
    [to Tyrion] You are a low-born, ill-made, spiteful little creature filled with envy, lust, and low cunning.
    [to Cersei] I don't distrust you because you are a woman. I distrust you because you are not as smart as you think you are.
  • We Have Reserves: While certainly more competent than many generals with this mentality, Tywin primarily relies on the overwhelming numerical superiority of his forces rather than tactics to defeat his enemies on the battlefield. This is how he won his war with Robb in the long run. Tywin could afford to replace every man the Starks took, while Robb couldn't.
  • We Used to Be Friends: The History and Lore videos indicate that he and King Aerys were tight as nails until the latter's madness and jealousy kick in. Though it's not till it becomes absolutely clear that Aerys is doomed for deposal at Robert's hand that he fully turns on him.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Tywin is highly resentful at Tyrion for his malformations (which caused Tywin's wife to die giving birth) and whoring ways. What's worse from his point of view is that Jaime chose to join the Kingsguard and thereby be ineligible to inherit the titles and lands of House Lannister, and despite Tywin's exhortations to ask him to abandon the post Jaime is determined to reclaim his honor, something which Tywin regards as pointless.
    • All three of his children only possess one of the qualities he values in a potential perfect heir: Cersei is ruthless, Jaime is strong, and Tyrion is clever. All three posses touches of the others' defining qualities, but none of them have that perfect balance Tywin seeks and seems to see in himself.
  • Wicked Cultured: As one would expect of a massively rich upper-class patriarch, Tywin is very well-read, particularly when it comes to history.
  • Worthy Opponent: Few people manage to hold their own against him, and he shows a certain respect for each of them in return:
    • He considers Lady Olenna to be his intellectual equal and recognizes that she's the true head of House Tyrell (which, in turn, is the only rival to House Lannister in wealth and power), as he deals with her directly when arranging a marriage between their two families, and not with her son Mace, who is technically the Lord of Highgarden. She respects Tywin and considers him a quality rival.
    • Tywin gains respect for Robb Stark, seeing him as an excellent battlefield tactician and an incredibly popular leader who is not going to lose through conventional means.
    • While his hatred and contempt for Tyrion is very evident, he still (ever so grudgingly) is aware of his son's intelligence, perception, and cunning, which is why he was willing to name him Hand in his stead and give him power during crucial times.
    • He views his cup bearer at Harrenhal as more competent than all his advisers and she's one of the few people to get away with snarking at him, because Tywin enjoys that she's sharp and gutsy enough to match him. Of course ironies of ironies, what he doesn't know is that she's actually Arya Stark, the daughter of his archenemy. Whether he would have been more impressed with her if he'd known she was the runaway Stark daughter and managed to survive right under his nose, or just angered at her brazenness was never explored.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Infamously so, as discussed by Lady Stark who was dead worried about Sansa and Arya because the Targaryen children were butchered in their sleep on the orders of Tywin Lannister. The children of House Reyne weren't spared either, as Cersei boasts to Margaery.
    • Made ironical and tragic that the Targaryen children who were murdered were completely innocent and unrelated to the Iron Throne anymore (thanks to Rhaegar).
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: Rage is ultimately the source of Tywin's ruthlessness. With both the Red Wedding, and the rebellion of House Reyne, he has proven that anyone who even considers attacking or resisting him will be terminated with extreme prejudice. When one considers how his father's kindness and benevolence was abused and mocked while Tywin himself grew up this makes some sense.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: States so regarding Tyrion when his son is pointing a crossbow at him. Tywin really doesn't believe that Tyrion has it in him to kill his father. When Tyrion does shoot him, it's obviously partly to prove that he can, damn you — and it takes Tywin quite a bit of time to comprehend that it in fact happened.
  • Zerg Rush: His method for fighting Robb's forces is to continue to send wave after wave of enemies at him as opposed to actually use legitimate tactics or rely on skill. Although Robb wins every battle, Tywin has a greater number of forces. Naturally, this comes back to bite him in the ass when the losses finally pile up so that House Lannister is forced to band with House Tyrell for security.


Video Example(s):


Tywin Lannister

After helping defend King's Landing, Tyrion asks his father Tywin for the right to Casterly Rock, their family's ancestral home. Tywin does not take this well.

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