I needed to go ahead and write this before Tywin gets killed off in an upcoming episode. No, that’s not a spoiler. If you know anything about Game of Thrones, you know that any character is susceptible to a gruesome death at any moment, especially during a wedding. Have you seen the Purple Wedding? The Red Wedding? I had to go take a walk and ponder the meaning of life after that last one.
Now, I have a legitimate excuse to decline future wedding invitations. If I do end up going, though, I’ll be sure to not to drink any alcoholic beverage or let anyone suspicious stand directly behind me.
“As if men need more reasons to fear marriage.” Well put, Lady Tyrell.
I have a feeling the series finale will just be a bloody massacre of all the main characters we hold near and dear. Daenerys, Tyrion, Arya, Snow, and anyone else who’s had a minute of screen time. They’ll all be killed off in the most horrific scene as they stare into the camera and the light leaves their eyes. Then, the crows will eat their flesh. A caption in Old Times font will fade in, revealing the morale of the series: “Enjoy life…while you still have it. Everyone dies.” But I digress.
The name of the series is Game of Thrones, but everyone’s being played. You have all these clowns vying for the throne but there’s only one true king. And he doesn’t wear a crown. His name is Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King, Head of House Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport, Warden of the West.
He himself admits a king doesn’t need a crown. In a conversation with Tyrion, he asks the rhetorical question, “you really think a crown gives you power?”
No, Lord Lannister, it doesn’t.
Like the emblematic lion embossed on the Lannister banners, his gaze strikes fear into the hearts of men. HBO chose the perfect actor to portray the Head of House Lannister. His imposing presence is felt in every scene. Part of me would love to meet Charles Dance. Another part of me knows that seeing him would trigger a personal “fight or flight” reaction as if I were a gazelle standing before a lion.
Save for The Joker, the best villains in fiction are never the ones who are evil just to be evil. No, they are the empathetic ones. We understand why they make the choices they do. We may not agree with them, but we see where they are coming from.
Say Scar, from the Lion King, for instance. In his very first line of the film he confides in a mouse he’s about to eat, lamenting the fact that he will never be king. From that moment you get him. Like Hamlet’s uncle, he wants the throne more than anything and is willing to kill his own brother for it. We dislike his motivation, and sometimes tear up during the wildebeest scene where he executes his plan (gets me every time), but we understand it.
Similarly, Tywin has a singular motivation that drives him throughout the series: his family name. It’s the reason he pays large sums of money to have his opponents assassinated. It’s the reason he marries off his children to amass wealth and territory. It’s the reason he didn’t discard his deformed son when he was born, though he really (really) wanted to. Family comes first for Tywin. Get in the way of his family and you risk your life.
Almost every major event that has occurred in the game of thrones can in some way be linked back to Lord Lannister. In an effort to avoid spoilers I won’t mention specific details, but think about it. Who had beloved characters killed off in the most shocking way possible? Whose timely arrival saved the kingdom by being overrun by its enemies? Whose marriage arrangements are the cause of so much controversy and strife among characters? That’s right, Tywin Lannister.
“Any man who must say ‘I am the King’ is no true king.” That’s why Tywin never has to say it. He knows the deal. He sits comfortably in his chair and meticulously plots the demise of all the other Houses while everyone else runs themselves through over some silly crown and a throne made of a bunch of swords melted together. It’s really not that serious. Tywin lets his horse defecate at the threshold of the throne room. Like a boss.
The Lord of Casterly Rock understands true power. It’s not behind a diadem or fancy title. Tywin would be among the 1% in this day and age. He knows true power comes from wealth and influence. He uses it to gain even more wealth and influence. Can anyone stop this man?
A Lannister always pays his debts. You’d best not forget that lest you end up with a slit throat or a knife in your gut.