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Tywin Lannister (played by Charles Dance), is one of HBO's Game of Thrones' most cunning characters. Father to Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister, and Cersei Lannister, and grandfather to King Joffrey Baratheon, Tywin is intent on securing the Lannister family legacy - at any cost. Luckily, he is the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms.
We first meet Tywin in Season 1, Episode 7: “You Win or You Die” when he commands Jaime to attack Riverrun, the seat of House Tully and childhood home of Catelyn Stark. Catelyn has kidnapped Tyrion and, though Tywin hates Tyrion (who he blames for his wife’s death in childbirth), he sees his capture as an affront against House Lannister that must be punished.
When King Robert Baratheon dies and Joffrey ascends to the throne, Ned Stark challenges Joffrey’s claim and is imprisoned. This prompts Robb Stark and the men of the North to meet Tywin in battle. Tywin’s forces win, but quickly discover that a majority of Robb’s forces (including Robb) are at Riverrun where they have successfully defeated and captured Jaime. Tywin sends Tyrion, who has since escaped Catelyn’s clutches, to King’s Landing to act as the Hand of the King in his stead.
Season 2 sees the Lannister patriarch leading King Joffrey’s army against the forces that represent the other claimants to the throne. Tywin has underestimated Robb’s army, losing battle after battle to the young King of the North. In one of the biggest departures from the book so far, Arya Stark serves as Tywin’s cupbearer at Harrenhal, the castle Tywin uses as his army’s base. Tywin seems to take a liking to the clever, feisty girl.
With the help of the Tyrell bannerman, Tywin brings reinforcements to the Battle of the Blackwater in King’s Landings to defend the city from King Stannis’ attack. Tyrion has cleverly held off Stannis’ forces, but it is Tywin who is credited with the victory. The Lannisters win the battle and Tywin is reinstated as Hand of the King and “Savior of the City.” Huzzah!
In Season 3, Tywin has a chance to stretch his political muscle. He quickly takes control of King’s Landing, though does not take the time to visit a wounded Tyrion. When Tyrion comes to find him, Tywin calls him an abomination and a curse. Tywin also chastises Cersei for not keeping Joffrey in control, telling her he doesn’t trust her because she is not that bright. His children continue to follow his orders, however. Tyrion serves as Master of the Coin, though he feels he has no talent for it and, when Tywin tells his children he will be marrying them off to secure alliances for House Lannister — Tyrion is forced to marry Sansa Stark and Cersei is engaged to marry Loras Tyrell — his children do not defy him. He also orchestrates the Red Wedding.
Tywin was introduced in Season 1, Episode 7: "You Win or You Die."
Memorable Quotes (and Moments)
— On public opinion: “A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinion of a sheep.”
— On legacy: “Your mother's dead. Before long I'll be dead, and you and your brother and your sister and all of her children, all of us dead, all of us rotting underground. It's the family name that lives on. It's all that lives on. Not your personal glory, not your honor... but family. You understand?”
— On war: “Burn the villages, burn the farms. Let them know what it means to choose the wrong side.”
— On Tyrion: “You are an ill-made, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning. Men's laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors since I cannot prove that you are not mine. And to teach me humility, the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion that was my father's sigil and his father's before him. But neither gods nor men will ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.”