Olenna Tyrell

Olenna Tyrell was Lord Luthor Tyrell’s wife before he died. She plays a vital role in King Joffrey Baratheon’s reign and plots his murder.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Lady Olenna Tyrell is a House Tyrell member and is the mother of Lord Mace Tyrell, Lord of Highgarden. She got called the Queen of Thorns because of her sharp tongue. Though she was fond of mocking her family members, Olenna was devoted to keeping the Tyrell name high, and she ensured there were no hurdles for her family by using her wit to avert future crises. After Renly Baratheon’s death, Petyr sows the seeds of distrust in Joffrey’s character. To prevent her granddaughter from marrying a monster, Olenna plots with littlefinger and uses an unsuspecting Sansa to smuggle poison into Joffrey’s wedding.

Olenna Tyrell Personal Details

  • Name: Olenna Tyrell née Redwyne.
  • Year of Birth: 228 AC at the Arbor.
  • Allegiances: House Redwyne, House Tyrell.
  • Aliases: Queen of Thorns, Olenna Redwyne.
  • Title: Dowager Lady of Highgarden.
  • Husband: Lord Luthor Tyrell.
  • Children: Mace Tyrell, Mina Tyrell, Janna Tyrell.
  • Culture: Reachmen.
  • Religion: Faith of the Seven.

Appearance and Personality

Olenna is a small woman sized as a child. She has white hair, wrinkled skin, soft spotted hands, and thin fingers. She has an old woman’s sour breath and a toothless smile. Due to her age, she walks with a cane and tries to appear weaker than she is. She is older than Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun but still is a bit agile.

Olenna is a cunning and deviously intelligent woman who does not hide her opinion. She got called the Queen of Thorns, but though others fear her mouth, her granddaughter and grandson, Margaery and Ser Loras Tyrell, love her. Olenna is also known for insulting her family members, especially her son Mace, whom she calls an oaf.

Olenna Tyrell Biography

Early Life

When she was nine, Olenna got betrothed to Prince Dareon Targaryen, but she claims she did everything to ensure the marriage never happened even though Prince Dareon called off the engagement at eighteen. She later met Luthor Tyrell, who also got rejected by Shaera Targaryen.

After they met, Olenna and Luthor married and had three children, Mace, Mina, and Janna. The Queen of Thorns stated she loved her husband before he died but called him an oaf for falling to his death while hawking. She also regretted not beating Mace Tyrell enough, as he would have listened to her advice more if she had. She got two twin guardsmen, Errys and Arryk but called them left and right as she could not differentiate between them.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire Novels

A Clash of Kings

When Tyrion Lannister learns that Renly Baratheon got killed, he sends Lord Petyr Baelish to negotiate an alliance with the Tyrells. Though Petyr is successful, he also plants seeds of information about Joffrey’s cruelty among the servants of Highgarden; this creates uncertainty in Olenna’s mind.

A Storm of Swords

Lady Olenna arrives at King’s Landing with Margaery’s mother, Lady Alerie Hightower. She questions Sansa about Joffrey’s character and refuses to believe her when she evades and gives half-truths about Joff. To prevent anyone from learning what she said, Olenna orders her jester Butterbumps to sing loudly, and Sansa confesses how brutal Joffrey has been to her.

Olenna tells Sansa she will marry her grandson Willas Tyrell. However, when Sansa tells Dontos Hollard, the knight tells Lord Petyr Baelish, who warns Lord Tywin Lannister of the Tyrells’ plan. To avert Sansa from getting married off, Tywin forces his son Tyrion Lannister to marry Sansa Stark.

In retaliation, Olenna foils Tywin’s plans to marry his daughter Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, to Willas Tyrell. When the envoy of House Martell arrives, Olenna insults Ellaria Sand in an ugly confrontation at the Red Keep calling her the serpent’s whore.

During Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding at the Great Sept of Baelor, Olenna gets escorted out of the procession by Ser Kevan Lannister. Before the wedding feast, she approaches Sansa and gives her condolences for the deaths of Robb Stark and Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding. During their conversation, Olenna adjusts Sansa’s silver hair net.

Later during the feast, Joffrey begins to choke after drinking from his chalice. He dies, and Cersei accuses Tyrion of murdering her son. Later, Petyr Baelish reveals to Sansa that he and Olenna had planned Joffrey’s death as she did not want her grandchildren to get caught up in a terrible mess. Tyrion gets freed by his brother Ser Jaime Lannister. While escaping from King’s Landing, Tyrion sneaks into his father’s tower and kills him.

A Feast for Crows

After Tywin’s death, Qyburn tells Cersei about a gold coin found in the quarters of an undergaoler Rugen; this leads to Cersei suspecting Olenna of working with her brother to kill her father. Later, Olenna pushes for the immediate wedding between Tommen and Margaery. She tells Cersei that Tommen and his new bride will share a bed. After much negotiation, Cersei agrees. Later she allows the High Sparrow to restore the Faith Militant. She then frames Margaery and has her arrested. However, she also gets arrested.

Appearance in Adaptations

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Dame Diana Rigg portrayed Lady Olenna Tyrell. She appeared in seasons 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and starred in 18 episodes. Tyrion allies the Lannister army and the Tyrells against Stannis Baratheon. After the battle, Joffrey and Margaery get betrothed. In the guise of inviting Sansa for Lemoncakes and cheese, Olenna questions her about Joffrey’s character. 

When she meets Tyrion, Olenna expresses disappointment by calling him a browbeaten bookkeeper. While choosing a necklace for Margaery for her wedding, Olenna meets Brienne of Tarth and praises her for her courage. Later, Joffrey gets killed by poison in a shocking scene.

When Cersei allows the formation of the Faith Militant, Petyr Baelish gives Olenna a piece of information, leading to Queen Regent Cersei’s arrest. In revenge, Cersei destroys the Great Sept with wildfire, killing Margaery and the High Sparrow.

After the dragon’s mother, Daenerys, arrives in Westeros, Olenna joins her cause. When Dany orders the capture of Casterly Rock, Jaime leads an army to Highgarden, and after capturing the city, he offers Olenna an easy way to die. However, before taking the poison, Olenna reveals she killed Joffrey but never knew what would have happened as she never saw the poison work before.


On the 10th of September 2020, Dame Diana Rigg passed away aged 82. The cast of Game of Thrones, including Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime), Kit Harrington (Jon Snow), and Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo), mourned her death. They praised her acting and contribution to the film industry.

Olenna Tyrell: The Fierce Protector

Olenna Tyrell is one of the most influential women in A Song of Ice and Fire. She was smart and used her frail appearance to make people underestimate her. As a fierce protector of her family, she knew Joffrey had to die to ensure her grandchildren remained safe in a brutal world. Olenna’s dedication to House Tyrell, her children, and her grandchildren made her an incredible woman.


Why did Olenna kill King Joffrey?

After learning from Sansa how wicked Joffrey was, Olenna knew she had to kill him because if he married Margaery and hurt her, then Loras would kill him. To avert a future crisis, she poisoned the King.

How does Olenna die in the books?

The Queen of Thorns is alive and well in A Song of Ice and Fire. She returned to Highgarden after Margaery’s wedding to Tommen Baratheon. In the tv series, she got killed by poison. However, she revealed she killed Joffrey.

Is Olenna smart?

Olenna Tyrell is among the wisest people in A Song of Ice and Fire. She is cunning and deceptively brilliant at formulating plans. She is also good at theorizing future events; this makes her poison Joff.

Did Olenna love her son?

Though she called him an oaf, Olenna loves Mace and his siblings. She does everything to ensure her family remains on top.

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