Happy weekend! Mine is already off to a great start: tons of sunshine, lots of coffee, and fresh-smelling laundry.
Weekends mean another thing: new episodes of Game of Thrones! Before that, though, let’s take a look at one of my favorite characters, Tywin Lannister—whom I kind of feel like I’m supposed to hate, but can’t help but totally respect—and why he totally rocks.
1. He always keeps his cool (even with little fuckwits like Joffrey)
Tywin Lannister did not rise to his current position without learning to drown out noise. After Tywin’s plot to eliminate the King in the North succeeds, Joffrey looks directly at his grandfather, asserts his kingship, and blasts Tywin for hiding under Casterly Rock while his “father” Robert won the real war.
Despite his devotion to his family (and king), Tywin doesn’t blink an eye, states that his grandson is tired, and dismisses the young king to bed. As Tyrion astutely observes, “You just sent the most powerful man in Westeros to bed without his supper,” to which Tywin scoffs, “You really think the crown gives you power?” This leads to our second point…
2. He understands how to actually win wars
As Tywin once schooled Tyrion, “Some battles are won with swords and spears, others will quills and ravens.” He was only able to wipe out any threat from Robb Stark (you can’t help but feel that these King’s Landing guys refer to this as the War of Northern Aggression) by forming an alliance with Walder Frey, insisting that killing a “dozen” (ahem, it was more than that) men at dinner instead of 10,000 in battle is a lot more efficient “to end the war, to protect the family.” (Hey, I’m not nominating him for a Nobel Peace Prize or anything, but he sort of has a point.)
Tywin also cannily married Tyrion to Sansa Stark (heir to the North now that Robb is dead, and Bran and Rickon are presumed so), and once plotted to marry Cersei to a Tyrell of Highgarden and Jaime to Lysa Tully of Riverrun (and also considered pairing them with the Martells of Dorne). Whether these plans came to fruition or not is irrelevant: As Tywin told his younger son, “The house that puts family first will always defeat the house that puts the whims and wishes of its sons and daughters first.”
He may have been referencing Tyrion’s unwillingness to consummate his marriage to Sansa, but this is clearly true with regard to the Starks: If Robb had kept his promise to marry a Frey, he would still be alive…as would be the Northern cause.
(YEAH, I said it. Robb Stark didn’t deserve to be slaughtered at a wedding [gods be good, Walder Frey—they’re a-comin’ for you for violating the sacred guest right], but he was in the wrong. This is 299AL! Marriage isn’t for love or honor; it’s for duty and Tywin Lannister understands that.)
3. He gets what he wants
The Lannisters are one of the most powerful families in Westeros, known for having plenty of gold and influence. They have always, however, lacked one thing that money could not buy: Valyrian steel, so status-worthy that the few who possessed it would probably give up their daughters before letting an outsider threaten this priceless item.
Of course that all changed after Joffrey ordered the beheading of Ned Stark, whose “absurdly large” Valyrian-steel sword, Ice, was so big that it provided enough of the priceless and rare metal for not one but two swords for the next two generations of heirs.
4. He expects the best from his children
After Tyrion secures a victory at the Battle of the Blackwater against Stannis Baratheon, he tells his father that he expects a reward, Casterly Rock, especially since his older brother is part of the Kingsguard and cannot inherit that land. The Lannister patriarch coldly informs him that he’s out of his g.d. mind if he thinks that will happen.
Yeah, I know, Tyrion is well-read and incredibly clever (don’t get me wrong, I love this character), but he does not comport himself like a Lannister should. Shamelessly whoring and drinking? That’s what King Robert also openly did, and everybody in the Seven Kingdoms (low- and highborn) jeered about it.
Look, Tywin needs a William (dutiful, respectful, uncontroversial to the point of boring), not a Harry (weed, swastikas, racial slurs, womanizing). At least Jaime and Cersei have the decency to be discreet about their incest!
5. He wants better things for his children…
Now serving as Hand to King Joffrey, Tywin does not expect to return to Casterly Rock, the seat of House Lannister. After pooh-poohing Tyrion’s request, Tywin tells Jaime that he expects him to leave the Kingsguard and rule the family fortress.
Still thinking that he wants to be with Cersei at King’s Landing, Jaime refuses, saying that he doesn’t want a wife nor children and that he can remain in the Kingsguard despite having lost a hand.
Tywin’s like, whatever: “If serving as a glorified bodyguard is the sum of your ambition, go serve.” Well, when he puts it that way…
6. But he can sense weakness…and keeps it at bay
Unfortunately for the Queen Regent, Tywin doesn’t really require too much from his only daughter. Throughout her entire life, Cersei has seen how differently she was treated from her brothers and all, “Wah, if I had a cock, people would respect me and give me power!”
When she finally confronts her father about it, he tells her straight up that he doesn’t exclude her from his plans because she is a woman; he does so because she isn’t nearly as clever as she thinks she is.
Besides, Cersei’s basically a high-functioning alcoholic at this point. Not that I blame her. If my firstborn son were a sociopath and my only daughter were sent off to one of my family’s mortal enemies, I’d probably hit the bottle too.
7. Charles Dance can rock a scarf like nobody’s business
Okay, this isn’t actually about Tywin, but Charles Dance sure knows how to accessorize. Here he is mugging for the camera at the season-four premiere party at Lincoln Center, rocking a sweater-and-scarf combo, and strolling out of a club in a more casual look.
And if you’re still feeling intimidated by the formidable Tywin Lannister, just watch this on repeat: