"Tywin" redirects here. For other characters named "Tywin", see Tywin (disambiguation).
Tywin Lannister is Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport, and Warden of the West. The head of House Lannister, Tywin is one of the most powerful lords in Westeros, and he is the father of Queen Cersei, Ser Jaime of the Kingsguard, and Tyrion. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, Tywin is portrayed by Charles Dance.
Appearance and Character
See also: Images of Tywin Lannister
Tywin is a tall, slender, broad-shouldered man in his fifties. His arms are thin but muscled. Tywin has kept his head shaved ever since his golden hair started going bald, but he grows out bushy golden side-whiskers. Tywin has pale green eyes flecked with gold.
Tywin is a calculating, intelligent, politically astute, ruthless, and controlling man. He dedicates his life and efforts towards maintaining the Lannisters' prestige, and ensuring House Lannister is respected, or at least feared. Tywin is a proven battle commander who leads from the rear, and he has a powerful presence combined with an intimidating gaze. He is harsh with betrayal. According to his sister Genna, Tywin mistrusts laughter because of how his father, Lord Tytos, had been laughed at.
Though ruthless, Tywin Lannister is an able and shrewd ruler who brought great prosperity during his tenure as the King's Hand. He is especially talented at the raising of funds, leading to a persistent jest that he must "shit gold." Tywin is more respected than loved in the westerlands, and he is remembered in King's Landing for the Sack.
Tywin loves his elder children, Queen Cersei and Ser Jaime, but despises Tyrion. This is partly because Tyrion is a dwarf, but also Tywin blames his youngest son for causing his beloved wife Joanna's death during his birth, as well as for shaming the family name with his frequent whoring. Tywin often relies on his brother, Ser Kevan Lannister. Ser Addam Marbrand is said to be Tywin's most daring commander. Genna's husband, Ser Emmon Frey, is terrified of his brother-in-law.
Tywin's steel plate armor is enameled in deep crimson and highlighted with gold, and its rondels are golden sunburts. Tywin's heavy cloth-of-gold greatcloak is clasped with gold miniature lionesses, and his greathelm is decorated with a roaring lion with ruby eyes. He also owns a thick ermine cloak. Tywin's longsword has a gold pommel. His charger is a stallion with its own gilded armor. The destrier has a blanket with enameled crimson scales and gilded crinet and chamfron, as well as crimson silk bardings decorated with the lion of the Lannisters.
Tywin was the first born of Tytos Lannister and Jeyne Marbrand. According to legend, the baby bit the finger of his grandsire, Lord Gerold Lannister.
Lord Tytos agreed to marry his daughter Genna to Emmon Frey, the second son of Lord Walder Frey, just to please the Lord of the Crossing. The betrothal was announced at a feast in 252 AC, with most of the western lords in attendance. Upon the announcement, Lord Roger Reyne left the hall in anger and Ellyn Reyne laughed aloud. Only the ten-year-old Tywin spoke out against the wedding because he thought it an uneven match.
Shortly after that incident, Tytos sent Tywin to King's Landing to serve as a royal page and cupbearer at King Aegon V Targaryen's court, where Tywin befriended the young Prince Aerys Targaryen and Steffon Baratheon, the heir to Storm's End. His cousin, Joanna Lannister, also served at the royal court as a companion and lady-in-waiting to Princess Rhaella Targaryen since 259 AC.
During the War of the Ninepenny Kings in 260 AC, eleven thousand westermen under the leadership Tywin's uncle, Ser Jason Lannister, were sent to fight beside other forces of the Iron Throne in the Stepstones. Tywin, who was already a knight, joined the Lannister force, as did his brothers Kevan and Tygett as squires. The young Prince Aerys served as a squire during the war and when he won his knighthood, Tywin was granted the honor of knighting his friend.
Reynes and Tarbecks
Since Lord Tytos Lannister was a weak ruler who was taken advantage of by his bannermen, Tywin and his brothers sought to restore the prestige of House Lannister after their return from the Stepstones. Tytos protested feebly before returning to his mistress.
Tywin demanded repayment of gold his father lent out, and those who could not repay immediately had to send a hostage to Casterly Rock until their debt was settled. Ser Kevan Lannister was given command of five hundred veterans knights tasked with ridding the westerlands of robber knights and outlaws. Ser Harys Swyft, the Knight of Cornfield, surrendered his daughter Dorna into Kevan's custody, but Roger Reyne, Lord of Castamere, reportedly laughed at Tywin's edicts. When Lord Walderan Tarbeck of Tarbeck Hall rode to confront Tytos, who was not present at the Rock, the young Tywin ordered Walderan imprisoned for disloyalty. Walderan's wife Ellyn responded by seizing Tywin's cousin Stafford and two Lannisters of Lannisport. Lord Tytos ordered the hostages to be exchanged and forgave House Tarbeck's debt to House Lannister.
Late in 261 AC Tywin provoked Houses Reyne and Tarbeck by ordering that Roger and Walderan appear at Casterly Rock to answer for their crimes. When the accused instead renounced their allegiance to House Lannister, Tywin raised an army without his lordly father's leave. Tywin defeated Walderan in battle and then destroyed Tarbeck Hall, with Ellyn dying during its collapse. Tywin then defeated Roger, who fled back to Castamere. Instead of waiting for the subterranean castle to surrender, Tywin ended the Reyne-Tarbeck revolt by diverting a nearby stream into Castamere, drowning the Reynes within.
The ruined castles were left as reminders of the fate that awaits those who scorn the power of Casterly Rock, and "The Rains of Castamere" was written as a tribute to the event. When Lord Farman of Faircastle grew truculent years later, Tywin had an envoy perform the song with a lute; Lord Farman caused no further trouble after hearing the message.
Hand of the King
Upon the death of King Jaehaerys II Targaryen in 262 AC, the newly-crowned King Aerys II Targaryen retired the cautious Edgar Sloane as Hand of the King. Aerys choose his friend Tywin as the new Hand, impressed by the ruthlessness demonstrated in the Reyne-Tarbeck revolt. Ser Tywin was the youngest man to yet serve as Hand.
With Tywin proving himself to be a brilliant administrator, the Seven Kingdoms prospered during the first decade of Aerys's rule. Tywin covered King Jaehaerys's debts to the Iron Bank of Braavos with gold from Casterly Rock. He gained the loyalty of many lords by repealing reforms enacted by Aerys's grandsire, King Aegon V Targaryen, and he supported the merchants of King's Landing, Lannisport, and Oldtown.
In 263 AC Tywin married his cousin Joanna Lannister;Genna Lannister said that her brother smiled on the day he wed Joanna. According to Ser Barristan Selmy of the Kingsguard, Aerys lusted after Tywin's wife during the bedding custom. Queen Rhaella Targaryen dismissed Joanna from her service, so the young bride returned to Casterly Rock. In 266 AC Joanna gave birth to twins, Cersei and Jaime.
When Lord Tytos Lannister keeled over of a burst heart in 267 AC while climbing a flight of steps to visit his second mistress, Ser Tywin succeeded his father as Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West. Upon his return to the Rock, Tywin forced the mistress on a walk of atonement through Lannisport before banishing her from the westerlands. Aerys and Tywin ruled the realm from Casterly Rock that year.
Relations were frayed between the king and his Hand when they returned to King's Landing in 268 AC, and Aerys began to overrule many of Tywin's decisions and appointments. Tywin offered to resign after Aerys insulted Joanna at the Anniversary Tourney in 272 AC, but Aerys refused the resignation. Disaster struck in 273 AC when Joanna died giving birth to Tyrion, a dwarf considered a hideous monster. Tywin was devastated by her untimely death and took no further wife. Gerion Lannister once told his nephew Tyrion that the best part of Tywin died when Joanna did, and Tywin has blamed Tyrion for Joanna's death.
Some people joked it was Tywin and not the king who really ruled the land. When Ser Ilyn Payne, the captain of Tywin's guards, made such a comment, Aerys had the knight's tongue removed. Tywin once visited Lys while serving as Hand.
During the tournament in honor of Viserys's birth in Lannisport in 276 AC, the smallfolk of Lannisport cheered twice as loud for Tywin as they did for their king. Tension increased during the tourney when Aerys refused Tywin's offer to betroth Cersei to his heir, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, as Aerys considered Tywin to be a servant. Aerys also refused to allow Jaime to serve as Rhaegar's squire.
In 277 AC, Tywin advised Aerys against meeting with Denys Darklyn, Lord of Duskendale, over a trade issue, and the king ended up imprisoned by House Darklyn in the Dun Fort. In response to the Defiance of Duskendale, Tywin blockaded the town by land and sea. Tywin eventually threatened to storm the town, but Barristan of the Kingsguard was able to infiltrate Duskendale and rescue the king, however.
In the aftermath of his captivity, Aerys came to believe that Tywin had intended for the king to die at Duskendale and be replaced by Rhaegar, who would then marry Tywin's daughter, Cersei. When Steffon Baratheon drowned in the sinking of Windproud in Shipbreaker Bay, Aerys feared that the Lord of Storm's End had somehow been assassinated by Tywin. Aerys decided to only meet with Tywin in the presence of Kingsguard.
Tywin hoped to betroth Jaime to Lysa Tully, the second daughter of Lord Hoster Tully. In 281 AC, however, Aerys raised the fifteen-year-old Jaime to the Kingsguard to replace Ser Harlan Grandison, robbing Tywin of his prized heir and making Jaime a hostage to use against his father. Pleading illness, Tywin resigned and returned to Casterly Rock. He was replaced as Hand with Lord Owen Merryweather. Tywin chose not to attend the great tourney at Harrenhal in 281 AC.
When Robert's Rebellion began, Lord Tywin ignored calls to arms from both King Aerys II Targaryen and rebels. After the king dismissed Lord Owen Merryweather, Tywin disapproved of Jon Connington, Lord of Griffin's Roost and a headstrong friend of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, as the new Hand of the King.
Tywin took no side until after the Battle of the Trident, in which Robert Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End, slew Rhaegar. Tywin rode from Casterly Rock to the capital of King's Landing. After Aerys was convinced by Grand Maester Pycelle that Tywin had come to aid him, the king ordered the gates of the city opened for Tywin. His westermen proceeded to sack the city, however. Aerys was killed by Ser Jaime Lannister before Tywin's forces arrived at the Red Keep, but Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch, knights sworn to Tywin and under Tywin's orders, slew Rhaegar's wife, Elia Martell, and her two young children, Rhaenys and Aegon. Tywin wrapped the bodies in crimson Lannister cloaks to better conceal the blood and presented them to Robert as a token of fealty.
While earning House Lannister the hatred of both House Martell of Dorne and the population of King's Landing, this act led to the marriage of the new king, Robert I Baratheon, to Tywin's daughter, Cersei. Tywin offered Targaryen loyalists like Alliser Thorne and Jaremy Rykker the choice between taking the black or facing execution.
After Robert's Rebellion, Lord Tywin returned to Casterly Rock, where he continued to serve as Warden of the West.
When Tywin discovered his son Tyrion had wed a common girl, Tysha, which in Tywin's eyes would make House Lannister a laughingstock again, Tywin taught him a sharp lesson. He commanded Tyrion's older brother, Ser Jaime, to name Tysha a prostitute and made Tyrion watch as Tywin gave her over to his garrison, having each man pay the girl a silver coin after raping her. He forced Tyrion to do the same but pay Tysha a gold coin. Tywin earned the enmity of his son forever for that act, but Tywin did not care, for it was on his other children that he placed all his hopes.
When Tyrion was turning sixteen, Tywin refused to allow him to travel and see the world as Tywin's brothers had in their youth, fearing Tyrion would bring further shame on House Lannister. Tywin instead put his son in charge of the drains and cisterns of Casterly Rock.
In 289 AC, Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, began Greyjoy's Rebellion against King Robert I Baratheon through the burning of the Lannister fleet anchored at Lannisport. After the defeat of the Greyjoys, Tywin rebuilt his fleet and hosted another tourney at Lannisport. Tywin sent men in search of Gerion Lannister after his brother disappeared, but the Laughing Lion was not found.
Due to Robert's financial mismanagement of the realm, as well as his own new connection to the throne by marriage, Lord Tywin frequently lent money to the crown, placing the court in King's Landing in debt of over three million gold dragons to House Lannister. Tywin was unsuccessful in three attempts to purchase Valyrian steel longswords from impoverished lesser houses.
Tywin brought a retinue to King's Landing for the tourney on Prince Joffrey's name day.
A Game of Thrones
Believed to be responsible for hiring an assassin to murder Bran Stark while he lay in a coma, Tywin's son Tyrion is arrested at the inn at the crossroads by Catelyn Stark, the wife of Eddard Stark, the new Hand of the King. Catelyn takes Tyrion to her sister, Lysa Arryn, at the Eyrie. Though Tywin does not care about Tyrion's welfare, he sees the arrest and kidnapping as a direct slight on House Lannister's honor which he will not tolerate. In response Tywin sends Ser Gregor Clegane and the Mountain's men, disguised as brigands, to sack and pillage various villages and hamlets across the riverlands, Catelyn's homeland.
Tywin's aim is to draw Lord Stark out of King's Landing, capture him, and exchange him for the freedom of his son. Eddard, however, is injured in a skirmish on the streets of the capital with Tywin's other son, Ser Jaime Lannister, who is unaware of Tywin's plans, and Eddard sends Lord Beric Dondarrion after Gregor in his stead. Soldiers of Tywin and Gregor rout Beric's host in a battle at the Mummer's Ford. After the death of King Robert I Baratheon, Tywin is named Hand of the King for his grandson, Joffrey I Baratheon.
While Jaime leads a Lannister army to victory at the Golden Tooth and Riverrun, Tywin and his younger brother, Ser Kevan Lannister invade the riverlands with a second Lannister host. Raventree and Harrenhal fall to the brothers, and Gregor burns Stone Hedge and Pinkmaiden. Tywin closes off the kingsroad. Beric Dondarrion, Lord Karyl Vance, and Ser Marq Piper continue to harass Tywin's host, however. Tyrion, having won his freedom from the Vale of Arryn via trial by combat and earned the loyalty of several mountain clans along the way, joins Tywin's host at the crossroads inn.
Tywin commands the reserve from the high ground during the battle on the Green Fork. He has Tyrion and his clansmen serve on the left flank, believing the undisciplined men likely to rout, but giving the northern commander, whom Tywin believes to be the young and inexperienced Robb Stark, a chance to over-commit and be annihilated. The clansmen do not rout, however, and the northern commander is actually the cautious and experienced Lord Roose Bolton. The battle is a Lannister victory, but it buys enough time for a separate northern force under Robb's command to cross the Green Fork at the Twins. Although Tywin leads his host on a forced march south, Robb captures Jaime in the Whispering Wood and lifts the siege of Riverrun with the Battle of the Camps.
Tywin holds a war council of his bannermen at the crossroads inn after learning of Jaime's defeat, and he considers Joffrey's execution of Eddard Stark in the capital to be madness. Tywin sends Tyrion to King's Landing to serve as Hand in his stead, control the small council and Joffrey, and to prepare the city's defenses in anticipation of an attack from one or both of Robert's brothers, Stannis and Renly. Tywin forbids his son from bringing the whore Shae with him, however. Meanwhile, Tywin plans to march to Harrenhal to manage the war with the north and the riverlands. Tywin has Kevan arrange for the riverlands to be reaved by Gregor Clegane, Amory Lorch, and Vargo Hoat.
Renly claims the crown at Highgarden, while Robb Stark is proclaimed King in the North at Riverrun.
A Clash of Kings
Tywin angers his daughter, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, by fortifying Harrenhal instead of marching to King's Landing. He occupies Kingspyre Tower at the great castle. When Maester Tothmure receives Stannis Baratheon's letter claiming that King Joffrey I Baratheon is the bastard son of Cersei and Ser Jaime Lannister, Tywin orders the letter destroyed. Tywin walks the battlements with the captive Ser Wylis Manderly, and he allows Frey prisoners to be ransomed. Lannister men in the riverlands are harassed by the outlaw brotherhood of Lord Beric Dondarrion, despite Beric having been reported as slain several times.
Instead of facing Tywin at Harrenhal, Robb Stark, now the King in the North and King of the Trident, marches from Riverrun and invades the westerlands. Robb smashes a new Lannister host being raised and trained by Tywin's cousin, Ser Stafford Lannister, at Oxcross and turns his forces loose to scour the westerlands.
With Renly Baratheon mysteriously killed and the loyalties of his men disputed, Tywin leaves Harrenhal and marches his forces west in pursuit of Robb, gambling that Stannis will be occupied with a lengthy siege of Storm's End.Arya Stark regrets not having asked Jaqen H'ghar to assassinate Tywin. With Tywin gone, the Brave Companions abandon the Lannister cause and betray Harrenhal to Lord Roose Bolton. Several servants at Harrenhal are executed at Harrenhal for having aided Tywin during his stay.
Ser Edmure Tully, who has been tasked with holding Riverrun and guarding Robb's rear, gathers the riverlords to prevent Tywin from crossing the Red Fork. Edmure hopes to trap Tywin between Riverrun and Harrenhal. Tywin's forces are bloodied in the Battle of the Fords and thrown back, but the delay allows word to reach Tywin that Stannis has unexpectedly taken formidable Storm's End and laid claim to much of Renly's army, and that he is marching and sailing on King's Landing with an enormous force.
Tywin turns his host southeast on a forced march to the headwaters of the Blackwater Rush, where he meets Lords Mathis Rowan and Randyll Tarly of the newly-allied Reach. They then join with the forces of Lord Mace Tyrell at Tumbler's Falls. Sailing together on barges down the Blackwater, the Lannisters and Tyrells arrive in time for the waning moments of the Battle of the Blackwater, where they break and drive away the majority of Stannis's army, which had been on the cusp of victory, by taking them in the flank. Tywin commands the host's right flank during the battle. Tywin's son Tyrion is critically wounded in the fighting.
Tywin is declared Savior of the City by King Joffrey I Baratheon, who asks his grandfather to take governance of the Seven Kingdoms as Hand of the King. Tywin takes up residence in the Tower of the Hand.
A Storm of Swords
Robb Stark and Ser Brynden Tully return to Riverrun. They claim they had planned to lead Tywin's army on a long chase across the westerlands, bleeding his forces and living off his lands, but that Ser Edmure Tully had disrupted their plan by stopping Tywin with the Battle of the Fords.
Fearing Tywin's retribution for the fall of Harrenhal, Vargo Hoat has Zollo chop off the sword hand of Ser Jaime Lannister, hoping that this act will prevent his commander, Lord Roose Bolton, from allying with Tywin in the aftermath of the Battle of the Blackwater.
Tywin's timely arrival at the Blackwater allows him to take the majority of the credit for the Lannister victory. He appoints Ser Addam Marbrand to lead the gold cloaks and tasks him with finding the missing Tyrek Lannister. Tyrion asks to be named heir since Jaime is ineligible as a Kingsguard, but Tywin refuses to allow his dwarf son to inherit Casterly Rock. He instead gives Tyrion, after his recovery, the position of master of coin, which Tyrion sees as a demotion and an insult.
Tywin arranges for Tyrion to be wed to Sansa Stark before she can be betrothed to Willas Tyrell, giving him claim over Winterfell and directly denying Tyrion's ambition to inherit the Rock. He also makes plans to find a suitor to marry his widowed daughter, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, though they are never realized. Tywin offers her to Willas but Lord Mace Tyrell, after being hectored by his mother, Olenna Tyrell, refuses the match. Tywin demands that Tyrion act as if the offer were never made.
After learning that Robb Stark has unexpectedly wed Jeyne Westerling and that House Westerling has gone over to the Starks, Tywin remains in communication, via raven, with Jeyne's mother, Sybell Spicer. He also communicates with Lord Bolton, who releases the mutilated Jaime from captivity, and Lord Walder Frey, who sees Robb's marriage to Jeyne as an insult to House Frey, as it breaks a marriage pact Robb had previously made to wed a Frey girl. The Red Wedding is the direct result of their correspondence, which sees Robb betrayed and murdered along with the vast majority of his host, effectively ending the war with House Lannister the victor.
Tywin names Roose as Warden of the North. While Tywin offers generous terms to defeated rebel lords, he orders Gregor Clegane to extinguish Vargo and the Brave Companions at Harrenhal. Prince Oberyn Martell seeks justice for the death of his sister, Elia Martell, and her children during the Sack of King's Landing, so Tywin claims that the late Ser Amory Lorch was solely to blame.
Tywin Lannister has Tobho Mott reforge Ice, the Valyrian steel greatsword of the late Lord Eddard Stark, into two longswords as gifts, one for Joffrey on his wedding day and the other to Jaime. Not long after, King Joffrey is poisoned and dies at the feast following his wedding to Margaery Tyrell. Cersei accuses Tyrion of murder, although the crime was actually arranged by Olenna and Petyr Baelish. When Jaime returns to King's Landing in the company of Brienne of Tarth, Tywin plans for his son to be released from the Kingsguard. Jaime insists upon remaining Lord Commander, however, angering his father.
Tywin agrees to be one of Tyrion's three judges, alongside Oberyn Martell and Mace Tyrell, at the trial for Joffrey's murder. When it becomes clear that he is going to be found guilty, Tyrion demands trial by combat, and Oberyn volunteers to champion him, as he does not accept that only Amory was to blame in the Sack. Cersei, being Tyrion's accuser, selects Gregor to represent the crown. During the duel, Gregor roars his guilt in slaying Elia and her son, Prince Aegon. Despite being poisoned by Oberyn's spear, the Mountain slays the Red Viper, and Tyrion is thus found guilty.
Because of Gregor's confession, Tywin fears Dorne might join Stannis Baratheon, which could prolong the War of the Five Kings for years. He plans on having Gregor executed to appease House Martell, but needs it to be seen to be the King's Justice who carries out the deed, not poison. Tywin commands Grand Maester Pycelle to heal Gregor, but Pycelle's efforts prove fruitless.
Awaiting his sentencing, Tyrion is freed from the Red Keep's dungeon by Jaime and a reluctant Varys. Jaime admits that Tywin had forced him to claim that Tyrion's first wife, Tysha, was a whore. Tyrion is enraged by this and has Varys show him to a ladder that leads directly into the Tower of the Hand, Tywin's residence. When Tyrion finds his former lover Shae in Tywin's bed, wearing nothing but his father's golden chain of office, Tyrion strangles her to death with it. He then takes a crossbow from the wall and finds Tywin in the privy and confronts him about Tysha. Tywin remains belligerent, repeatedly calling her a whore, which Tyrion sees as the final insult. Tyrion shoots Tywin him through his bowels with the crossbow, and Tywin dies on the privy, his bowels loosening in the moment of death.
A Feast for Crows
After Tywin's body is discovered, it is prepared for a state burial. Queen Regent Cersei Lannister has the Kettleblacks remove the body of Shae and swears she will have the tongue removed of any man who mentions the whore was ever there. The remains of Lord Tywin are shown in his crimson armor for seven days in the Great Sept of Baelor. The smell of the body is so bad many of the mourners grow sick or faint from being too near. A drying of the mouth also causes Tywin's lips to curl up and make him appear to smile. Six silent sisters eventually take his bones west with an entourage of knights and lords from the westerlands.
Cersei considers herself to be a worthy heir to Tywin. She offers a lordship to whomever brings her the head of Tywin's murderer, Tyrion Lannister, and she appoints Ser Harys Swyft as Hand of the King. Lord Gyles Rosby hires a stonecarver to make a statue of Tywin for the Lion Gate. Cersei consents to Alyce Graceford naming her child Tywin if she has a boy, but she refuses to allow Lollys Stokeworth to do the same. One of Cersei's dromonds is named Lord Tywin.
Doran Martell, Prince of Dorne, has been plotting vengeance against Tywin for the Sack of King's Landing.
A Dance with Dragons
With Tywin dead and the Seven Kingdoms in disarray, the Golden Company feels the time is right for their invasion.Jon Connington recalls the belief of Ser Myles Toyne that Tywin would have avoided the Battle of the Bells by simply burning down Stoney Sept.
Quotes by Tywin
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