Tywin Lannister

Lord Tywin Lannister was the Lord of Casterly Rock and head of House Lannister. He served as the Hand of the King to King Aerys II Targaryen.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

As the Warden of the West, Tywin Lannister restored the past glory of House Lannister by bringing his bannermen to submission after his father, Lord Tytos Lannister’s, weak rule. However, he grew cold after the woman he loved died giving birth to his last child. After Robert Baratheon won, Tywin agreed for his daughter, Cersei Lannister, to marry the Demon of the Trident. However, she fathered bastards, and though Tywin got wind of his daughter’s actions, he did nothing as he knew her children’s biological father.

Tywin Lannister Personal Details

  • Name: Tywin Lannister.
  • Year of Birth: 242 AC in Casterly Rock.
  • Year of Death: 300 AC.
  • Aliases: The Old Lion, The Great Lion of the Rock.
  • Titles: Ser, Hand of the King, Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport, Warden of the West, Savior of the city.
  • Culture: Westernmen.
  • Religion: Faith of the Seven.
  • Allegiance: House Lannister.
  • Parents: Lord Tytos Lannister and Jeyne Marbrand.
  • Wife: Lady Joanna Lannister.
  • Lover: Shae.
  • Children: Jaime Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister.
  • Siblings: Kevan Lannister, Tygett Lannister, Gerion Lannister, Genna Lannister.
  • Hair Color: Golden.
  • Eye Color: Green.

Appearance and Personality

Tywin Lannister is a tall, middle-aged slim-framed man with broad shoulders. He is slightly muscular and has a bald head, which he got after he began losing some of his golden hair. Though he is bald, Tywin has bushy golden side whiskers, no beard, and his pale green eyes perfectly accentuate his persona.

Tywin is a ruthless, cold, and calculating political genius. He is an incredible military commander focused on making House Lannister the biggest of the seven kingdoms. As a great military commander, Tywin has a stiff persona that dominates others; this gives him an intimidating presence. Besides being intimidating, Tywin has a sense of justice and treats betrayers harshly. He also rarely laughs, and the only person that made him laugh thrice was his wife.

Besides being a great commander, Tywin is an incredible ruler who uses good policies to ensure his rule is stable, secure, and prosperous. When he was the Hand of the King for Aerys, many stated that Tywin was the true King as he governed incredibly.

Although he was an excellent commander and ruler, he hated his last son Tyrion Lannister because his wife died giving birth to him. As someone proud of his family name, Tywin will do anything to ensure the House Lannister’s legacy continues. Also, Tywin was intensely dedicated to family and even went to war because of Tyrion.


Early Life

Tywin was born in Casterly Rock as the first son of Lord Tytod Lannister and Jeyne Marbrand. As the heir to Casterly Rock, Tywin hated how his father got mocked. When Lord Tytos agreed to marry Lord Walder Frey’s second son, Emmon Frey, to Tywin’s sister Genna, he hated the idea. When Lord Tytos announced the wedding plans to the western lords at a feast, a 10-year-old Tywin spoke against the wedding.

After speaking out against his sister’s wedding, Tytos sent Tywin to King’s Landing to serve as a royal page in King Aegon V Targaryen’s court. Tywin met Aerys II Targaryen and became friends with him. He also met Steffon Baratheon and Joanna, who served as a lady-in-waiting to Princess Rhaella Targaryen.

When the so-called Band of Nine assembled under the Tree of Crowns, they decided to conquer kingdoms. Among the band was Maelys I Blackfyre, who desired the seven kingdoms. The War of the Ninepenny Kings began when they tried fighting Westeros.

Eleven thousand men, under the command of Ser Jason Lannister, marched against the Band of Nine for the Iron Throne. Tywin, who was already a knight, joined the fight, and after the Band of Nine got defeated, Prince Aerys, who followed as a squire, got knighted by Tywin.

The Reyne-Tarbeck Revolt

After their return from the Stepstones, Tywin and his brothers decided to raise House Lannister to glory. Though a weak Tytos protested, he retreated to the comfort of his mistress. To bring his family’s respect back, Tywin demanded that everyone who owed the Lannisters pay back or send hostages to Casterly Rock till their debt got settled.

To enforce his decree, Tywin gave his brother Kevan 500 veteran knights and tasked him with riding the westerlands of outlaws and robbers. When Lord Walderan Tarbeck traveled to the Rock to protest Tywin’s new decree, he got arrested. In retaliation, his wife, Ellyn, captured members of House Lannister and kept them as hostages. Later, an exchange got made, and Lord Tytos forgave House Tarebeck’s debts.

In 261 AC, Tywin ordered Walderan and Roger, the leaders of House Tarbeck and Reyne, to appear in Casterly Rock. When they refused and renounced their allegiance to House Lannister, he raised an army, and without permission from his father, he attacked them. Tywin defeated the Tarbecks in battle and destroyed Tarbeck Hall, killing Ellyn.

Later, he defeated Roger Reyne, and when the lord ran back into his castle, Tywin diverted a river into Castamere, drowning the Reynes; this led to the creation of the song ‘The Rains of Castamere.’

The Mad King

After defeating the Tarbecks and Reynes, King Aerys Targaryen asked Tywin to become the Hand of the King, and he obliged, making him the youngest person to have taken the position at the time. Upon becoming Hand of the King, Tywin began reforming King’s Landing. He settled the old debts of the crown and made reforms that made King’s Landing prosperous. For ten years, Tywin supported Westerosi merchants and built the economy of the seven kingdoms.

In 263 AC, Tywin married his cousin Joanna Lannister, and according to Ser Barristan Selmy, Aerys lusted after her. Three years later, Joanna gave birth to Cersei and Jaime. When Lord Tytos died in 267 AC, Tywin took over as Lord of Casterly Rock and became one of the most powerful lords in Westeros. 

As Aerys had been at Casterly Rock for a year, he and Tywin returned to King’s Landing. However, on returning, tension grew as their relationship began to get strained. When Aerys insulted Joanna, Tywin offered to resign, but his resignation got rejected. After Viserys Targaryen was born, Aerys’s madness began growing, and his relationship with Tywin strained even more. After denying Tywin’s daughter Cersei as a bride for Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, Aerys decided to meet with Denys Darklyn against the advice of Tywin and got kidnapped.

When Ser Barristan Selmy infiltrated Duskendale and retrieved Aerys, his paranoia skyrocketed. Upon learning Steffon Baratheon died in a shipwreck, he began suspecting Tywin of assassinating Steffon. Tywin began planning on betrothing his son Jaime to Lysa Tully, Hoster Tully’s daughter, but Aerys made Ser Jaime a knight of the kingsguard ruining Tywin’s plan and robbing him of his heir. He then resigned and returned to Casterly Rock.

Robert’s Rebellion

When Aerys ordered Jon Arryn to kill Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, he raised his banners and went to war. During the conflict, Tywin chose no sides and refused to send a Lannister force when Aerys requested one. After Rhaegar got killed at the Battle of the Trident, Tywin rode to King’s Landing, and after Maester Pyclle convinced Aerys to open the gates, he did.

Tywin sacked King’s Landing, and Jaime killed Aerys before the Lannister forces reached the Red Keep. Rhaegar’s wife, Elia, and her children, Aegon and Rhaenys, were brutally killed by Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch under Tywin’s orders. Upon seeing their bodies, he wrapped them in red Lannister cloaks. Later, he gave Targaryen loyalists like Ser Alliser Thorne and Jaremy Rykker the choice of joining the Night’s Watch or getting executed; they chose the former.

Recent History

When Tyrion married Tysha, a smallfolk woman, Tywin ordered Jaime to name her a prostitute and have men pay her a coin before raping her. He then gave Tyrion a gold coin and ordered him to rape her; this made Tyrion hate his father even more.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

When Robert Baratheon travels to King’s Landing, Bran Stark gets thrown off a tower window after seeing Jaime Lannister and his sister Cersei sleeping together. Catelyn suspects the Lannisters as she receives a letter from Lysa Arryn, her sister, blaming Cersei for her husband’s death.

After Lord Eddard Stark travels to King’s Landing, an assassin tries to kill Bran, and Catelyn travels to King’s Landing to learn more about the dagger used. Upon reaching the city, she discovers that Tyrion won the knife from Petyr Baelish

On her way back to Winterfell, Catelyn comes across Tyrion and has him arrested. Upon hearing about his son’s capture, Tywin sends Gregor Clegane into the Riverlands to raid with the hope of drawing out Eddard Stark and capturing him to exchange for his son. When Robert Baratheon dies, Eddard gets arrested, and Joffrey becomes King. When Eddard gets killed, Tywin gets appointed the Hand of the King for his grandson.

Jaime leads an army to victory at the Golden Tooth, and Tywin conquers Raventree and Harrenhal. Tywin shuts off the Kingsroad, but Lord Beric Dondarrion terrorizes him by killing some of his men.

When Robb Stark decides to march against Tywin, he shares his army into two and gives one to Lord Roose Bolton. Roose then attacks Tywin in the Battle of the Green Fork but loses. However, the loss causes Robb to cross the Gree Fork at the Twins. Later, Robb captures Jaime Lannister after defeating him in the battle of the Whispering Woods.

When Tywin learns that Joffrey beheaded Eddard, he sends his son Tyrion to serve as the acting Hand of the King. He forbids Tyrion from sleeping with Shae, but his son sneaks her to King’s Landing. The war intensifies as Renly Baratheon claims the Iron Throne, and Robb becomes the King in the North.

A Clash of Kings

Tywin Lannister chooses to remain at Harrenhal after taking over the castle. He gets a letter from Stannis Baratheon claiming that Cersei’s children were illegitimate. Meanwhile, in the Riverlands, his troops get terrorized by Beric, who gets killed many times. 

Robb marches from Riverrun into the Westerlands and begins raiding the region. Renly Baratheon gets killed by a mysterious shadow, and when Robb sends Theon Greyjoy to negotiate with his father, Balon Greyjoy, he turns cloak and joins his father’s cause. Tywin leaves Harrenhal and chases after Robb to prevent any further raids. With him gone, the Brave Companions, led by Vargo Hoat, abandon the Lannisters and side with the Boltons.

Tywin’s troops begin marching to reach the Westerlands, but before they cross the Red Fork, Ser Edmure Tully attacks them. Though he smashes Tywin’s troops, the battle delays Tywin long enough for him to hear that Stannis has suddenly changed course for King’s Landing. He then marches to the headwater of Blackwater Ruch and meets Lord Mace Tyrell. With Renly dead, Mace joins Tywin and marches to King’s Landing; this leads to Stannis getting defeated.

A Storm of Swords

Robb Stark returns to Riverrun after hearing of Stannis’s defeat. Meanwhile, Catelyn frees Jaime and tasks Brienne with taking him to King’s Landing in exchange for her daughters Arya Stark and Sansa Stark. When Edmure learns of his sister’s deeds, he releases word of a reward for the man that brings Jaime back.

When Vargo Hoat hears of the compensation, he captures Jaime and cuts off his hand. In King’s Landing, Tywin resumes his duties and Hand of the King and thanks Tyrion for protecting the city but refuses to give him Casterly Rock, his rightful inheritance.

When Robb marries Jeyne Westerling instead of one of Walder Frey’s daughters, Tywin begins communicating with her mother. He also talks with Lord Roose Bolton, who betrays Robb and kills him during the Red Wedding. When Prince Oberyn Martell asks for justice for his sister’s death, Tywin blames the dead Ser Amory Lorch for her death.

After a meeting with the small council, Tywin forces Tyrion to marry Sansa Stark. After a marriage proposal from Mace Tyrell, Margaery Tyrell gets betrothed to Joffrey. However, on the wedding day, he chokes to death, and Tyrion gets blamed for it.

During the trial, Shae testifies against Tyrion, and in anger, he declares he wants a trial by combat. However, Tyrion’s champion gets killed by Ser Gregor Clegane, who reveals he killed Elia and her son. Tyrion gets locked up but gets freed by this brother. As he gets smuggled out of King’s Landing, he sneaks into the Tower of the Hand and meets a naked Shae on his father’s bed; this increases his hatred for his father, and after killing Shae, he uses a crossbow to kill his father.

Appearance in Adaptations

In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister got portrayed by Charles Dance. HE appeared in seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 and starred in 27 episodes. Like the novel series, Tywin got killed by his son, Tyrion, after he saw Shae on his bed.

Tywin Lannister: The Brutal Commander

Tywin Lannister is one of the most intricately designed characters in A Song of Ice and Fire. As one of the best villains in the series, his presence gave intensity to the events occurring in Westeros. Tywin is a man feared throughout the seven kingdoms. His intelligence made him the most powerful man in Westeros, as the crown owed him so much that he could decide what happened in King’s Landing’s politics.

Even though he was a terrible human with no regard for life, Tywin valued his family and did everything to defend its honor. However, he was a terrible father and a brutal commander who never cared about life. Though he may have been one of the best Hand of the Kings, he was still one of the worst humans in Westeros.


Was Tywin an evil person?

Yes. Tywin Lannister was an evil hypocrite who ordered the death of many people for the sake of his family. Though he was a political genius, he was cold and heartless. He sent Ser Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch to kill Elia and her children.

Would Tywin Lannister make a good King?

Though he is cold, Tywin Lannister would make an almost perfect King. He has every quality of a great ruler as he is incredibly good at making policies, cold and calculating, and is a strict commander.

Why was Shae with Tywin Lannister?

Shae was an oppurtunist. When she realized Tyrion was no longer in a position to give her all she wanted, she switched to Tywin Lannister. Tywin, on the other hand, was a hypocrite who slept with whores even after threatening his son for doing the same.

Did Tywin love Joanna?

Tywin was sincerely in love with his wife, Joanna. She was the only one that ever made him laugh, and he cared for her. When she died giving birth to Tyrion, Tywin placed the blame on his son and would go on to torment him for his mother’s death.

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