A Song of Ice and Hot Takes
The Curious Case of Tyrion Rivers
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, and to be honest there really wasn’t much of anything in the last episode to support this theory, so I don’t know why I’m writing it now, other than it just feels like it’s finally time.
I’ve been pondering this thought for about a year, losing sleep over it night after night. Well, not really losing sleep because I’m a really good sleeper, but if it turns out to be true it will really rattle the foundation of everything we thought to be true in the entirely fictional world of Ice and Fire. It’s a theory that has been floating around for a little while:
I believe Tyrion Lannister is actually a Targaryen. More specifically, a Targaryen bastard which would in fact make him a Rivers (the Targaryen bastard name).
Your first reaction is probably to recoil and say “no fucking way.” But take a deep breath, grab a cup of tea and think about it for a second. Wouldn’t it explain so much? Wouldn’t it create a narrative parallel between he and Jon Snow (assuming R+L=J is true)?
I’ll take you through the thinking:
Prophecies are important in the world of “Thrones.” We know this to be the case via Melisandre and her Jon Snow prophecies, The Three-Eyed Raven and his Bran prophecies, Cersei and the prophecy from that old hag about her life that has all come true, and even Daenerys and all the prophecies she’s encountered overseas.
There is precedent for prophecies coming to fruition, and perhaps the most important prophecy we’ve encountered in both the show and the books is that “the dragon has three heads.”
We don’t entirely know what this means, other than to speculate that it will take more than just Daenerys Targaryen to take back Westeros and protect the realm. It’ll take three dragons (which she has), and three Targaryens (which she doesn’t have yet). Now assuming Jon is the second of those Targaryens, we have no idea who that third could be, but we do know that he or she is out there, because the prophecy says so… And think about this: the mothers of Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister all died during child birth. Could be coincidence, could be some sort of shared power that they all have.
2. The Mad King and Joanna Lannister
From the books more so than the show, although it is mentioned in passing in the show, we know that the Mad King Aerys Targaryen had an unhealthy infatuation with Tywin Lannister’s wife Joanna. It is said that the Mad King took some liberties with Tywin’s wife during the bedding ceremony at their wedding.
He was always oggling over her, and we know the Mad King had many mistresses. Is it that farfetch’d to think that this power hungry lunatic would want to assert his power over Tywin Lannister by taking his wife as a mistress? It would also help explain why Tywin Lannister sent his pregnant wife back to Casterly Rock, far away from King’s Landing, got into a fight with the Mad King over it and that is what led to Tywin essentially with being fired as Hand of the King.
Perhaps Tywin found out about the affair, sent his wife home to keep her away from the Mad King, which in turn infuriated the Mad King and led to him firing and banishing Tywin Lannister from King’s Landing.
3. “You Are No Son of Mine” — Tywin Lannister
Tywin hates his son Tyrion, and the only explanation we have is that he is still angry at him for killing his wife during child birth. But what if the real reason he was so angry at Tyrion was that he knows in his heart of hearts that Tyrion isn’t really his son. He knows that Tyrion is a bastard, and every time he looks at him he’s reminded of the affair that went on between his wife and the Mad King right under his nose.
I mean for fucks sake, Tywin’s last words to Tyrion as he lay on the toilet dying were “You are no son of mine.” We all assumed at the time that those words were figurative, but what if they were literal? What if this was Tywin being as direct as possible in his final moments?
But why would Tywin raise Tyrion as his son? Why not just kill baby Tyrion and be done with it? Well, from what we know of Tywin, he is a man who cares tremendously about what other people think of him. Killing Tyrion would be akin to admitting to the entire world that he was cuckolded by the Mad King, and I think that might have been even more disgraceful to him than having a dwarf son. He probably thought, “if I can just put on a straight face, no one will know.”
Another thing we know about Tywin is that he truly did love his wife Joanna, so while baby Tyrion wasn’t his, he was Joanna’s, and perhaps that love made it impossible for him to kill the blood of his one true love.
3. Tyrion is Who He Is
One explanation that I saw someone else float out there was that Tyrion’s dwarfism may be the result of a failed abortion or some failed potion given to Joanna by Tywin to kill the baby. Seems possible, but putting his dwarfism aside, Tyrion’s behavior, superior intellect and general sensitivity are all behaviors and personality traits we associate more with the Targaryen’s than we do the Lannisters.
He’s book smart, he cares about people of lower classes than he, and he has an infatuation with dragons. He admits to having had dreams about dragons, which we know Daenerys had too, and he says whenever he asked his father about dragons his father clammed up and said “dragons are dead.” We also saw Tyrion two episodes as a sort of dragon-whisperer. He clearly has some connection with the dragons and an infatuation that seems to be deeply engrained in who he is.
Tywin also essentially laughs in Tyrion’s face when Tyrion brings up the fact that he’s Tywin’s heir and will inherit Casterly Rock when the old man dies. So let’s move on to that…
4. Casterly Rock
Jaime Lannister is the oldest son of House Lannister, but his inheritance was thrown away when the Mad King made him a member of the Kingsguard. Tywin was furious when this happened because he lost his strapping, perfect heir, and many thought the reason the Mad King appointed Jaime to the Kingsguard was just to say “fuck you” to Tywin, but what if it was far more calculated than that?
What if the real reason the Mad King made Jaime a member of the Kingsguard was to put his bastard son Tyrion in line to inherit Casterly Rock and all the Lannister fortune? The Mad King may have been crazy, but he was also crazy smart.
5. The Prince and the Pauper
This is maybe my favorite piece of evidence supporting Tyrion as a secret Targaryen bastard… Think about how perfect it would be if Jon grew up his whole life thinking he was a bastard, only to find out that he’s the rightful heir to one of Westeros’ most prestigious houses, while Tyrion spent his whole life thinking he was the heir to one of Westeros’ most prestigious houses, only to find out he’s actually a bastard.
These two characters who had a bond in season one, have actually in many ways been living one another’s lives. And both of their identities are so intensely associated with the lie they’ve each been living. Being a Lannister is perhaps the most significant part of Tyrion’s identity, while being a bastard the most significant part of Jon’s. The irony of those both being lies is just too perfect.
Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister are the three heroes of this show. That’s unquestionable. Together they represent in essence all of the struggles and wars that exist in the world. They’re all three misfits, cast-offs, who killed their mothers during child birth. And perhaps they’ve all been living lies with regards to their true identities. Jon Snow isn’t a bastard. Tyrion isn’t a rich highborn heir. Daenerys isn’t the rightful Queen.
Jon Snow is the rightful King, and Daenerys and Tyrion are his aunt and uncle who will help him reach his place atop the Iron Throne.