|World of Westeros - People|
|Thursday, 20 May 2010 01:36|
Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West, was in his middle fifties, yet hard as a man of twenty. Even seated, he was tall, with long legs, broad shoulders, a flat stomach. His thin arms were corded with muscle. When his once-thick golden hair had begun to recede, he had commanded his barber to shave his head; Lord Tywin did not believe in half measures. He razored his lip and chin as well, but kept his sidewhiskers, two great thickets of wiry golden hair that covered most of his
— A Game of Thrones
Cunning, ruthless, and unforgiving, Tywin Lannister is also practical and pragmatic — the perfect man to rule the wealthiest House in Westeros. For 20 years, he was the Hand to King Aerys Targaryen II, despite Aerys’s madness and cruelty towards the realm. At the siege of King’s Landing, Tywin betrayed Aerys and took the city, flying the Lannister lion over the city until the usurper Robert Baratheon arrived. It was a show of pride and willingness to shift alliances when expedient, announcing Lannister’s long-term goal for all to see. His ambition is practically without limit. He would happily see all of the Seven Kingdoms under the rule of his House, regardless of who sits upon the Iron Throne.
Cruel and remorseless, Tywin is relentless when it comes to protecting his family’s interests and increasing their power base. The Lannister motto is “Hear me roar,” and Tywin is neither silent in deed nor word. He is closest with his brother Kevan, who is his most trusted ally. As for his children, he admires Jamie and considers him the favoured child, although their relationship is not close. In truth, Tywin is not close to any of his children, but he is also patient with his daughter, Cersei, ignoring any rumours of an “unsisterly” relationship with Jamie and indulging her ambitions.
Ultimately, however, Tywin regards Cersei and her son as little more than proxies through which he can rule Westeros. Though he loves them both, Tywin feels that Cersei is foolishly overconfident in her ability to rule as regent or to counsel Joffrey as king. He recognises her ambition and knows that she will be his rival in attempting to rule through Joffrey.
As for his third child, Tyrion the Imp, Tywin barely masks his disgust at the dwarf’s deformities and is openly contemptuous of Tyrion’s behaviour. Despite this, he has a grudging respect for Tyrion’s cunning and ambition. He still regards the dwarf as his son, to be called upon when needed. It is clear to Tyrion that Tywin does not view him as a proper heir and openly resents him for not being physically perfect. It is hard to guess how Tywin would treat Tyrion if his son behaved “properly” — a term which presumably includes Tyrion staying celibate and speaking no disrespect to his betters. Tywin does not acknowledge that the cruel world has given Tyrion few choices, nor does he accept any responsibility for his son’s behaviour. Instead, he settles for punishing Tyrion when he steps out of line — something that happens often in a world rigidly controlled by the Lord of Lannister.
Tywin never seems to forgive anyone for their failures, even when there is no true fault. Tyrion had just been born when he committed his first offence: causing the death of Tywin’s beloved wife, Joanna. When Tyrion married a whore unknowingly, he unthinkingly committed his second grave error: dishonouring the name of Lannister. Tyrion was all of thirteen years old, drunk on wine and his first taste of sex ... yet Tywin was merciless in his castigation. Still, though Tywin has little natural affection or sympathy for his deformed son, the Imp is still a Lannister. Tywin does not dismiss the bonds of blood lightly.
Despite Tywin’s ambition, he has respect for tradition and laments the rash and foolish actions of his grandson Joffrey when the youth takes the throne. Tywin knows Cersei is partially to blame, but even more so are the rest of Joffrey’s councillors. They have all sat with several kings, and seem happier to let their king play the fool in hopes of gathering power to themselves. The idea of raising Janos Slynt, a butcher’s son, to be Lord of Harrenhal, or dismissing Ser Barristan Selmy on the grounds of convenience is anathema to Tywin. Tywin is well aware that many of the problems caused by Joffrey’s reign could have been resolved quickly if Joffrey had been led by the hand, a realisation that does nothing to improve his temper.
To take the situation into control, Tywin sends Tyrion to act as the Hand of the King in his place. It’s a particularly shrewd move. Tywin knows the army will still be needed, and while he could take charge of the court, he is more useful in the field. Sending Tyrion to court cements Joffrey’s hold on the city and the kingdom, effectively bolstering Cersei’s poor leadership without undermining the Lannister family. Tywin knows Tyrion can be crafty and has the ability think his way out of the most dire situations. Tywin may also realise that times will get harder before they get better, and having a proxy who will do what must be done, yet also draw the people’s ire from the king and the queen regent may be very useful indeed. Ultimately, to Tywin, everyone is a pawn in the game of thrones, to be sacrificed or rewarded as appropriate.
In battle, Tywin wears a thick multi-layered cloth-of-gold cloak clasped by a pair of golden lions. His helm bears a golden lion atop it, raking the air in a roar. All the lions he wears have rubies for eyes. The armour itself is heavy steel plate, enamelled in dark crimson and engraved with golden scrollwork. He wields a golden sword, the rich pommel a lion’s head also set with rubies.