(Note: I’m just finished with A Clash of Kings, so if Tyrion ends up killing everyone later on in a drunken rage, don’t tell me kthxbai. Oh, and TW: rape and incest.)
As I’m working through both A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, I’ve come to realize that Tyrion Lannister is the only Lannister I don’t absolutely loathe, and with good reason.
Despite being a booze-guzzling, sex-driven dwarf in a world of “noble and strong men,” Tyrion is a better person than most of the main characters. And Tyrion is definitely one of the most compelling characters in the series.
The reason Tyrion is so beloved by me is that he’s so hated by his family. In their minds, he’s unworthy of their love and affection because of his Dwarfism.
Every one of Tyrion’s character flaws comes back to the fact that his family hates him for being born with Dwarfism, killing his mother as he was born.
But as the books and the television series press on, the audience learns more and more about Tyrion’s mindset just by reading about the Lannister family dynamic.
The Lannister family view Tyrion as a lesser person because of his disability. Tywin, the head Lannister and dad to the incest twins and the Imp, puts Tyrion at a lesser step than the others. But, as I’m reading/watching this series, I find that the entire Lannister family is mentally disabled. In fact, I would say that Tyrion is the least mentally deranged because he does not fall into the impulsive trap that is so seen in special needs children.
I mean, come on. Jaime shoved Bran out a window because he was caught sleeping with Cersei. Tywin is so impulsive he got half his army beat up by Robb Stark and got his son captured. Joffrey is… so fucked up in so many ways that I’m giving him my Wednesday post.
Tywin’s impulses also reflect directly onto Tyrion’s childhood. Remember, Tyrion’s first love was raped by his father’s guards at the behest of his father. That trauma doesn’t go away for Tyrion, but I’d bet Tywin doesn’t even remember the details.
That’s why Tyrion is such a respectable character. He could be just like his father, sister, and brother. Instead, Tyrion has become a man who, despite his love for the physical pleasures of the world, also shows goodness in his heart.
This comes out the most in his scenes with Sansa. The scene that I always focus on is the scene where Joffrey “punishes” Sansa for Robb’s actions in the war.
The scene shows two sides of Tyrion. He’s disgusted by his nephew’s actions and impressed with Sansa’s ability to just take the punishment. His contempt for a family that has belittled him and now belittles Sansa is obvious. Likewise, his impressed nature when Sansa takes the belittlement, exactly the way Tyrion takes it, is obvious.
Throughout Tyrion’s part in the actions of Game of Thrones, he’s trying to keep as many people, both the common rabble and the main characters, from dying horrible deaths. And it’s because of the hatred he gets for being both disabled and the last child of the Lannisters’ mother that he has become a great character that is just trying to keep everyone alive. And I respect him for that.
The rest of the Lannisters? Eh…