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The Misogyny of Tyrion Lannister


Pretty much everyone loves Tyrion Lannister, at least at first.

In a series full of ruthless trope subversions, Tyrion-as-hero (or at least as sympathetic underdog) is a plot that’s easy to get behind. He’s highly intelligent and well-read, he speaks bluntly about how things “really are,” he’s constantly making sarcastic comments, and, unlike most powerful people we see in the series, he wants to do right by the people of Westeros. Throw in the fact that his efforts and intelligence go unrecognized, due to the fact that he’s ugly and a dwarf, and he makes the perfect reader stand-in as the unappreciated (but highly deserving) hero.

But Tyrion’s plotline is not only a subversion of “the handsome man is the hero, the ugly man is the villain.” It’s also a subversion of the entire concept that the underdog is the true hero. Although Tyrion is an interesting character, he is not always an admirable one, whatever he might believe. He deals with his own feelings of powerlessness by asserting his power and his superiority over others who are even more powerless, aka women. He is, despite his own feelings of benevolence, deeply misogynistic.

And, as compelling as Tyrion’s storyline may be, readers’ eagerness to defend him is more than a little uncomfortable.

This post contains spoilers through A Dance with Dragons.

Tyrion makes little comments and observations throughout the books that hint at his misogyny, but the first time it became clear, to me, was through his relationship with Shae. It is difficult to figure out the truth of their relationship, as we are stuck in Tyrion’s head and Shae is quite enigmatic, but Shae’s frequent references to jewels and money, and Tyrion’s initial insistence to himself that she’s a “whore” who doesn’t truly care for him, strongly suggest that Shae is pretending to love him for her own security and advantage. She is clearly a survivor, a savvy young woman who has lived through a lot, and The Hand of the King provides the best opportunity for her in a land that is being ripped apart by war.

And she provides an excellent opportunity for Tyrion as well. After his experience with Tysha, Tyrion has convinced himself that no one other than a whore would ever want to be with him — and this suits him, as any relationship with a prostitute puts him in the powerful position he craves. Shae, as the beautiful, strong young woman who acts like she loves him, is the perfect person for him to fall in love with (or at least, believe that he loves). He is always in a position of benevolent power over her, providing her with money and jewels, manipulating her into a position as Sansa’s maid, and acting as her protector against forces that only threaten her because of his own interest.

This same sense of benevolent power pervades his marriage with Sansa. He is appalled at the idea of marrying her, as she is “no more than a child,” but when the wedding night comes, he is highly attracted to this innocent, pure, beautiful, terrified, defiant girl who is completely under his power. He will not sleep with her — not until she wants him to — but there’s a sense that this basic decency also gives him great pleasure, as it bolsters his opinion of himself as the heroic figure. He then becomes frustrated that she does not recognize the benevolent part of his power or grow to trust him. The same defenses that he admired in her before their marriage become frustrating to him, because she should recognize that he is different. He is good.

Of course, there are many male characters who display far worse misogyny than this strange virgin/whore dichotomy, benevolent power complex that Tyrion expresses. But Tyrion’s luck changes drastically at the end of A Storm of Swords, when the idea of him as the underdog is ripped to shreds by a family that will never appreciate him and by his own response to these events.

He strangles Shae for “betraying” him in court, but it is hard to know what was really going on. Was she acting when she delighted in embarrassing him before the crowd, in order to save herself from Cersei? Or was she acting when she cried in front of him and begged him to save her? In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Tyrion kills her for betraying him… but he also kills her for failing to live up to the woman he had created in his head, the prostitute who loves him exactly as he hopes. For failing to appreciate the benevolent way he treated her, and all the advantage he brought. As he strangles her, using the chain of the Hand of the King, the benevolent power that protected her turns into a death sentence. Because he is only benevolent when others support his self-image as the unappreciated hero. And throughout A Dance with Dragons, he never expresses regret or shame for what he did (except, perhaps, regret that she made him do it).

At the start of A Dance with Dragons, Tyrion is a broken man — betrayed by Shae, betrayed by his brother, set up to die by his family, having lost everything — and he channels that into asserting his own, not-so-benevolent power, making others feel even more powerless than himself. He thinks of all women as “whores,” and is determined to evoke fear in the first one he meets, threatening to strangle her not because he intends to, but because he wants her to recognize, and fear, that he is the one with the power here. He is certainly not a noble character here. Tyrion has good traits, but his experiences have forced them out of him, leaving him as twisted as everyone expects him to be.

Finally, there’s his planned punishment of Cersei: he intends to rape and kill her when he returns to King’s Landing. From the perspective of an underdog, Cersei deserves punishment. She attempted to kill him multiple times, she set him up, and she betrayed him. But perhaps worst of all to Tyrion, she outplayed him, beating him at his own game of intelligence and manipulation. He wants to both punish her and reassert his authority over her before killing her, and the best way to do that, it seems, is to punish her for being a woman, by reminding her that, as a man, he still has one major power advantage over her.

Tyrion shifts from a subtle, benevolent kind of misogyny to a twisted, overt sort in one moment, but readers are often still eager to excuse him and his behavior. “He had to kill Shae. She betrayed him!” “His threat to rape Cersei wasn’t misogynistic; he only said that because she is evil.” The TV show, by turning him into the noble protagonist and making his relationship with Shae into a true love story, seems to be following the same path. And it is easy to want Tyrion to be the hero. We want him to be the underdog and represent good in the series, and the fact that the underdog, as an ugly and unappreciated figure, feels like a trope subversion lulls us into believing that this narrative is safe from George RR Martin’s ruthless plots twists. And once we identify with his character, it is hard to let go. Yet the underdog and the unappreciated hero are both also tropes, and George RR Martin twists it again, so that the character who is ugly on the outside actually is sometimes ugly on the inside. Because if everyone treats you as though you are wicked and broken, you might well end up fitting their beliefs. Tyrion is a fascinating, frequently enjoyable character. But he also is frequently repulsive, not in appearance, but in his thoughts and actions. And that, in some ways, makes him more interesting. But it does not make him a hero.

Rhiannon

Rhiannon Thomas is the author of A WICKED THING and KINGDOM OF ASHES. She lives in York, England.

87 thoughts on “The Misogyny of Tyrion Lannister

  1. I always considered Tyron (and almost everyone else in the series) misogynistic. Yet, I had never considered the planned rapping of Cersei’s one of the proofs. Actually –and by this I’m in no way condoning Tyron’s despicable thoughts- I think his wish to rape Cersei is just a manifestation of *all the things I always wanted to do to my family members, although not really, but now is the time* dark part of the character…
    Still, a reading worth to consider. .
    By the way, I just discovered this site and it is amazing, specially the ASOIAF articles.

  2. I’ve never seen Tyrion in terms of tropes (or the subversion of them). I’ve always seen him as a whole human being, too complex to fit these shallow categories. And I certainly don’t think he’s a hero and I’ve been repulsed for some of his misogynistic actions a few times. But I think it’s important to note that, although he’s broken and twisted in the beginning of ADwD, as the book progresses, he slowly returns to his old self, to his own surprise sometimes. By the end of the book, one of his main concerns, along with saving himself, is helping Penny (even though he’s quite condescendent in the process by treating her like dumb or too emotionally weak, like when he lies to her about her pets being alive). This doesn’t excuses his actions at all, not only the misogynistic ones, but also the murdering of his father, no matter how he may have treated him. But, in my point of view, it shows that the Tyrion we see at the end of ASoS is in crisis by the recent events and in shock by discovering the truth about Tysha, and therefore is not someone who would do those things in normal circumstances.

  3. Tyrion didn’t kill Shae because she betrayed him. He killed her because she pretended she was in love with him and sided with the family he disliked so much, when he just discovered that his father made that terrible thing to him and his beloved. Seduction can be a dangerous game, Shae, when you don’t know who you think you are toying with. Specially when you could kill the victim.

    It’s also pretty naive to think that a man is evil because he has rape fantasies… it’s a very common dream in masculine’s minds because of the predominant active role most men develop in relationships. Men are way more agressive, and that agressiveness is also translated into their sexual behavior.

    1. Wow, saying that ” he has rape fantasies… it’s a very common dream in masculine’s minds because of the predominant active role most men develop in relationships. Men are way more agressive, and that agressiveness is also translated into their sexual behavior” = most men are rapists and this is normal. Thank you for your mysoginistic comment as a whole.

      1. I don’t think he actually wants to rape her. I think he was just mouthing off. He clearly hates her and she deserves that hate. Though just because he says mean stuff about her doesn’t mean he would actually do that sort of thing.

    2. Did you actually read the book? Tyrion literally PAYS her to pretend to love him. HE is to blame for duping himself into thinking she really loves him when it was made clear by both parties originally that she was being payed to be his girlfriend. Don’t blame Shae for Tyrion’s mistake.

      1. Hmmm it seems like something really important was lost in translation from book to screen. The writers of the show kept the plot points but forgot to account for the changed characters.

        I haven’t read the book but from what you’re writing it sounds like the relationship was almost completely different. In the show it’s pretty clear they both like each other while in the book it’s not clear at all and it seems like the relationship was severely one-sided.

        Jeez louise. It makes me wonder what other things they changed without consideration to the context…. then again they also add gratuitious sexy deaths for the hell of it.

    3. He told her to pretend. That was literally one of the first things he told her to do. He paid for the “girlfriend experience” and that’s what he got. He has no right to hold a grudge against her for doing exactly what he paid her to do.

      Shae also had absolutely no choice in her situation. I don’t know why you think a lowborn sex worker has the power to refuse a highborn lord, Hand of the King, richest man in Westeros, etc, but I can assure you you’re mistaken on that point.

      Thirdly, Tyrion doesn’t just have “rape fantasies”. He has actually raped at least one woman (the slave in Voltantis) and has murdered a former sex partner (Shae). He forcibly marries a child and finds her fear and grief alluring (Sansa). That is not a hero.

      1. Thanks for this comment, I totally agree with you ! And find it creepy that many don’t even see these as it is ! I barely liked Tyrion in the beginning and now I could care less if he died because he reached a point where his character flaws outstepped his qualities and this article talk about it in great details, thanks ! Same for Jaime btw, who raped Cersei.
        People say that “Cersei is evil it’s OK to wish her been raped by someone” shows how normalized this mysognisitic thoughts are. Cersei made lot of wrong things as many characters, but I don’t remember her planning or actually raping someone, am I wrong ?
        I agree with the author of the article, especially this part : “From the perspective of an underdog, Cersei deserves punishment. She attempted to kill him multiple times, she set him up, and she betrayed him. But perhaps worst of all to Tyrion, she outplayed him, beating him at his own game of intelligence and manipulation. He wants to both punish her and reassert his authority over her before killing her, and the best way to do that, it seems, is to punish her for being a woman, by reminding her that, as a man, he still has one major power advantage over her..”
        Rapes aren’t fantasies, there are a tool to reassert fear and dominance over the victim if they try to free themselve from the agressor. Which explain the overhelming number of men agressors and women/girls victims btw.

  4. How does Tyrion is misogynistic, if he PAYS to sleep with women? How would you waste money on something you hate?
    You can call him a machist. But misogynistic, that’s just not right.

    1. because he just relates to women as sexual objects. not as human beings.
      he has a need to have his dick clenched, doesn’t find men sexually attractive, also vaguely needs a cuddle (Harry Harlow demonstrates that physical affection is necessary for our mental and physical health), but he actually doesn’t like women as people.
      Which is revealed repeatedly in the appalling things he says about women.

      1. He has never been in the company of a woman who didn’t find him physically repulsive or wasn’t crooked in some way, like Cersei. How can he find the good in women when they have never seen the good in him? Where is the strong, decent women for him to learn this benevolent behaviour from? His mother died birthing him. His paid whores are just pretending to like him and he knows this, it will obviously hurt him on levels a “normal” person can’t even comprehend. I don’t think he is misogynistic. He does have bad thoughts (who doesn’t?), but about awful people, not about women in general.

      2. Tyrion is sexist – without a doubt – but nothing in what he does shows him to be a misogynist. People throw the word misogyny around as if it means the same thing as sexism. The two are completely different.

        1. Sexist and misogynistic DO mean different things: sexism is the conscious or subconscious attitude that women are lesser than men, while misogyny is the HATRED of women. Tyrion’s thought in a Dance with Dragons are definitely on the misogynistic side of things.

          1. Not entirely true. Sexism simply means a belief based upon sex, good or bad. It also doesn’t pertain strictly to men or woman, as both can be sexist.

            You are right about misogyny, it’s the contempt or dislike of women. Just like misandry is the contempt or dislike of men.

    2. Oh my god, so you’re saying he’s not misogynistic because he sees women as sexual objects? Cuz that’s what he does.

        1. Paying women for sex doesn’t prove that you respect them as people. There are certainly misogynists who use sex workers. Saying Tyrion can’t be a misogynist because he’s a john just doesn’t compute at all.

  5. I actually agree with you even though I like Tyrion. Also about people making excuses for him. It demonstrates how hard it is to tolerate ambiguity: he can be a good person in some ways and a nasty person in others.

    I think his misogyny is obvious even though he can be sympathetic to particular women. Partly I think modern concepts of feminism are meaningless in the context of Westeros, people would have no idea what they even mean. But partly it is plain ageless.

    I think it is a form of externalized self-loathing, and the Tysha episode was a central building block of it. It becomes more and more pronounced as the books advance, as well as his bad points and self-loathing. That he is nice to Penny is because he is not sexually attracted to her.

    1. I actually agree with you even though I like Tyrion. Also about people making excuses for him. It demonstrates how hard it is to tolerate ambiguity: he can be a good person in some ways and a nasty person in others.

      I think his misogyny is obvious even though he can be sympathetic to particular women. Partly I think modern concepts of feminism are meaningless in the context of Westeros, people would have no idea what they even mean. But partly it is plain ageless.

      I think it is a form of externalized self-loathing, and the Tysha episode was a central building block of it. It becomes more and more pronounced as the books advance, as well as his bad points and self-loathing. That he is nice to Penny is because he is not sexually attracted to her.

  6. “He will not sleep with her — not until she wants him to — but there’s a sense that this basic decency also gives him great pleasure, as it bolsters his opinion of himself as the heroic figure.”

    -Actually, if I recall correctly, he

    1) offered to cancel the wedding if she wanted Sir Lancel instead.

    2) Yes, he is attracted to her, but I took a different read than the fact he want to look heroic. He realized in the end, he is a cripple with no hope of winning a flower like Sansa. It is literally like a nerd who realize he have no hope with a cheerleader, and got off the bed.

    “She attempted to kill him multiple times, she set him up, and she betrayed him. But perhaps worst of all to Tyrion, she outplayed him, beating him at his own game of intelligence and manipulation”

    Did she really outplay him? No, she only manage to take credit for his victories while the man was on the bed and dying from battle of Blackwater. That was his ultimate hate. Joff and Cersei screwed over the people, screwed over the army, screwed over anyone they like….and they get cheers and platitudes. Tyrion saved people’s lives and they hated him for it. That was the ultimate irony of it all, Joff the Jock who burn down the town while Tyrion the nerd saved it all, Joff is the hero, and Tyrion become the villain.

    Also, regarding whores. You forgot two other one. Chabytta’s daughter (Ayloya?) who was caught by Cersei, and the other nameless whore who had Robert’s bastard.

    Tyrion avenged the latter by killing her killer (Allard Deem), and saved the former at the risk of his own life and made him an enemy of his own family (by threatening Tommen with punishment if Cersei touched Ayloya)

    So tell me how misogynistic is risking your own life without payment? He is clearly not expecting any sexy time from both women, and he could said LOLZ U GOT WRONG WHORE and let the poor girl die.

    Tell me, which other male in Westeros is willing to do that?

    1. But Tyrion’s attitude to Alayaya is basic human decency, and I think many male characters in Westeros would have also protected her (Robb, Jon, potentially Jaime).

      The problem is that characters aren’t black or white, good or evil, kind or misogynistic. Tyrion can do some selfless things to protect others and have a general sense of decency AND have more problematic thoughts and moments that are basically triggered at the end of A Storm of Swords. He starts the series as an interesting and mostly good character with some dark stuff lurking. By A Dance with Dragons, he’s mostly a messed up, misogynistic character who is obsessed with whores, wants to rape his sister, purposefully terrifies prostitutes, is cruel to others, and is generally unpleasant… with some good notions and character traits left underneath.

    2. I agree with you concerning a number of things about Tyrion’s character. 1 Cersei could never outplay Tyrion; she’s not capable. If we really analyze the situation for what it is up until the last episode of season 4 Cersei held the trump card – her father, who also hated Tyrion. As long as Cersei possessed this card she cold literally get away with murder! Left on her own She would be quickly devoured by the other beast residing in King’s Landing. An example of her poor thinking was believing that wild fire by itself could save King’s landing from Stanniss. It took Tyrion to deploy it properly. If there is one thing Cersei is good at its taking advantage of a poor situation that’s all, but she does not possess the ability to play it out for all its worth. Cersei has never outplayed anyone to be honest not even Eddard Stark; she’s just been more underhanded and ruthless than anyone else that doesn’t require brains — just bad character. Is he a woman hater no; sexist yes, but they all are including the women! And to defend Tyrion, lets be real about that reality in which he exist — no high born woman would want him, he’s a dwarf! A joke to other men and women, any woman that would spend her time with him wants something! Tysha was rare and he realizes that too late which is why he hates himself for what happened to her. No woman would want him because he couldn’t defend them. IN that reality your man had better be a man!

      1. Yes, it’s a woman’s fault because she doesn’t find him attractive. She should just put her personal feelings aside and be with the poor wounded male to appease his loneliness. As a teenager, most males found me unattractive, yet I didn’t hate males as a result. I love how women are evil for not wanting a male, but when a woman is upset that a male doesn’t want her, she should get over it because he’s “just not that into her.” That’s why the friend zone was created. It was a way of shaming women for not being attracted to the poor guy with hurt feelings who needed female companionship. I don’t care that women weren’t attracted to him. That’s no reason to hate them. He should get over it. They were “just not that into him.”

  7. But Tyrion’s attitude to Alayaya is basic human decency, and I think many male characters in Westeros would have also protected her (Robb, Jon, potentially Jaime).

    The problem is this is risking his life. Remember, he took Tommen, and threaten to use the body of a ROYAL PRINCE to save a nameless whore. And unlike any other boy there, he is not a dashing hero. Only through wits and leverage can he win. And pulling the Royal Prince card his threatening to lose it all.

    Also, Robb, Jon, etc would be locked by their wonderful code of honor to obey the Queen and yada yada. One could just look at the knight of punched Sansa silly because the king ordered it. Jamie maybe, but that is the Jamie hand less 2.0, not Jamie toss boy out of tower 1.0.

    “he’s mostly a messed up, misogynistic character who is obsessed with whores, wants to rape his sister, purposefully terrifies prostitutes, is cruel to others, and is generally unpleasant… with some good notions and character traits left underneath.”

    And for what reason he is like that? Oh right, not only betrayed by his entire family (Cerei stealing his credit, Dad deny him his due, Joff with his dwarf act, the list is HUGE), but the fact his one love, the one girl in his life that saw past his cripples was really in love with him and not a whore… just finally put him over the edge.

    He was denied every last scrap of happiness in his life. So why is anyone shocked he would have dark revenge fantasies on sister dear? I can’t believe the author just saw rape and immediately called Tyrion an misogynistic monster. If the role was reversed, I bet she would cheer for a female version of Tyrion doing anything she want on someone like a male Cersei (and certainly Joff)

    1. Feminists do cheer for the female version of Tyrion, in fact she’s worse, her name is Ygritte. She basically bullies and manipulates a virgin teenage boy into having sex with her. I could write an essay on how much her character creeps me out, if she was a man the feminists would be lining up to bring her down but no, she’s called “strong” and “kickass” for her crude, bullying ways. She also kills that old man the scouting party find in cold blood as if he was worth nothing. In the tv series this was whitewashed to make her look like she was doing it so Jon wouldn’t have to, but that doesn’t make her any better.

      1. Ygritte doesn’t bully Jon in the books (in the TV yes, and I don’t appreciate her much). She protects him and defends him from the other wildlings, and she seduces him. Don’t forget she is a little older than him, but not much… she is about twenty. And she doesn’t pay him or humiliates him. You misunderstood her.

    2. You’re obviously a male who worships other males (I really hope it’s not the female worshipping male). So much so, that you’ve probably never stood up for a female in your life. You also probably take the tiny problems males face as a result of sexism against women and act like you’re just as oppressed as women. Tyrion IS misogynistic. You wouldn’t notice because, as a male, it doesn’t affect you. His misogyny is hidden beneath the surface. It’s subtle, but it’s there if you actually bothered to look. And if you’re seriously defending him for wanting to rape her, you’re disturbed. If you’re so against females, why are you here? Just like a sexist male, putting your nose in where it doesn’t belong because your alpha male pride prevents you from keeping your trap shut when faced with women who actually care about their rights and call you out on your garbage. I’m a female and a victim of rape. At no point would I EVER condone it, regardless of gender, but it’s nice to know that, under certain circumstances, you’d approve of it.

  8. Also, RE: Shae.

    What really got Tyrion is not the fact Shea betrayed him in court, but the quote “A giant of a Lannister”. He can forgive her trying to save her own life, but quoting something so private about his sex life that has nothing to do with the case was driving the hammer home.

    Not only Tyrion had to put up with the trial, he had to be personally humiliated before death. Of course she needed to die.

  9. I disagree completely. Shae and Bronn’s betrayal are not equal at all. Tyrion did not kill her due to misogyny. He did not kill her for humiliating him. He killed her for fucking his father. I think this makes her betrayal run deeper than Bronn’s, don’t you think?

    1. I think that if he killed her for sleeping with Tywin, then that’s even worse, and even more misogynistic.

      1. Let me think.
        Tyrion-
        -avenged a nameless whore who had the King’s bastard.
        -Saved Ayayola(sic) risking his life.
        -Avenged Tysha, his first wife, by killing Tywin.
        -Helped Penny when he didn’t have to.
        -Did not fuck Sansa when he was SUPPOSE to. Defy Tywin “Rain of Castamere”

        Cersei:
        -Murdered childhood friend. Merla Heatherspoon.
        -Raped her own maid (HEY! Tyrion actually ask Sansa to consent)
        -Send several women to a torturous death at the hand of that crazy ex-Maeister.
        -Threaten to chop Sansa’s head off.
        -Order guards to inflict damage on Ayaolya, thinking she is Tyrion’s whore.
        -Oh, accuse daughter in law to an adulteress, sent 4 innocent women to prison/death.

        CLEARLY Tyrion is the Misogynistic monster!

        So we have a woman who is a rapist, murder, and whose victims are usually female.

        1. No one said Cersei wasn’t misogynistic or a monster. I’d argue that she’s becoming more and more insane as the books go on. But it isn’t an exclusive club where only one Lannister can apply. The fact that Cersei is a misogynistic character doesn’t mean that Tyrion isn’t also. He does some good things, and some minimally decent things (like not sleeping with Sansa), and some things that are shitty and selfish but can be framed as “good” (like killing Tywin “for Tysha,” after killing Shae because of his own rage and jealous). The characters aren’t black and white, good and bad. And Tyrion has a lot of bad, especially once we get to the later books.

          1. At the later book (I don’t think Wind of Winter is out yet), Tyrion is a broken man hunting by half of the world, by saying he is “bad”, you really aren’t giving him enough credit.

            He is not meant to be Superhero A la Superman, who can take shit by the tons and still believe in freedom, honor, liberty, and apple pie. He is a guy who has been oppressed and screwed over since Day 0.

            I think you need see he is not trying to be a hero in a land filled with DEAD HEROES, but yet he still stick up his neck for people he shouldn’t care about. When you judge him not as a Knight in Shining armor classic archetype (Like Ned or Snow), but as a “evil dwarf villain”, then you realize how amazing the guy is.

            1. I don’t think he’s meant to be either of those tropes. He’s set up as a subversion of the “anti-hero” trope, with the idea that these “dark heroes” and underdogs can still be pretty damn dark. He doesn’t have to be either “evil” or “amazing.” He does some good stuff, and he also does some seriously messed up stuff. Like pretty much every other character in the series, his morality isn’t black and white.

          2. Then why are you so hard on him? The man is flawed, imperfect, but yet still respect women more than 2/3 of the cast. Yes, he sarcastically go whore this and whore that, but it is all really toward himself than toward the women. And just to drive the point home, Peter Dinkage, the guy who play Tyrion, upon hearing a lot of women want to bang him upon seeing Tyrion on the show, (I.E DIWF, a play on MILF) , his answer was “Yes, women will say that, but they will go turn around and sleep with the 6’2″ guy”

            Ironic, how art mirror life.

            Finally, upon re-reading of the books, regarding Sansa. When you say how “minimal” that Tyrion didn’t fuck her, think of the “decent” men you named.

            -NED-Fucked Cat even though Cat loved Brandon and did not want “Ice Ned”, just in the name of alliance. Same boat as Tyrion.

            -Snow-Betrayed a certain Wilding woman even though she gave her heart (and everything else) to him. Do you think he will disobey an order to fuck Sansa in Tyrion’s place?

            -Robb-See Snow.

            And think who Tyrion was defying. He was defying the IRON THRONE AND HOUSE LANNISTER. He dared to insult THE KING to stop him from tormenting Sansa. He dared to defy his father, a man who can order entire castle depopulated. With no power base of his own. Now THAT, is really, true heroism.

            1. Tyrion has many good points. He’s also not a saint, and has many problematic elements, as do most if not all of the characters. I completely disagree with your assessment of Ned, Jon and Robb, but either way, Tyrion doesn’t need to be turned into a pure amazing hero just because he’s often likeable or less evil than the rest. Book-Sansa is a child. It’s a point in the “Tyrion’s good points” that he doesn’t hurt her, although he WANTED to, which is a point in the “not so good column.” However, it’s not a pure act of heroism. But, as I’ve said, my problems with Tyrion are mostly based on the things he does later, because he can do good things at one point in the story, and then go off the rails. And he does.

            2. Peter Dinkage, the guy who play Tyrion, upon hearing a lot of women want to bang him upon seeing Tyrion on the show, (I.E DIWF, a play on MILF) , his answer was “Yes, women will say that, but they will go turn around and sleep with the 6’2″ guy”

              If the actor really said that, that’s totally sexist you know (and btw so false, it’s usually the opposite, since you know, we live in patriarcal society)? And seriously the more I read about Tyrion, the more I see how people think about it in a “nice guy” way, creepy !!

        2. Do tell, how would Ned, Snow, or Robb act if they had Tyrwin for daddy and the command of the Iron Throne, their legal BOSS and RULER, who told them to preggo a girl. Gimme an alternative scenario. Surprise me.

          Please skip the 14 years old as a defense. Please skip “she is too young”. Medieval girls pretty much get married as soon as they have period (Moon blooded). It may sounds odd in today’s time, but frankly a girl unmarried by 20 back then is an “old maid”

          (But, as I’ve said, my problems with Tyrion are mostly based on the things he does later, because he can do good things at one point in the story, and then go off the rails.)

          But yet, in your original blog, your attack points are pretty much all pre-book 5, with Shae and Sansa. ~

          1. If they had Tywin as their father, they would probably be completely different characters, so it’s impossible to say. I’m hardly a major fan of any of those characters, so please don’t act like I’m pitting them against Tyrion in a competition for niceness. And I’ve been nothing but polite to you, so please cool the extreme sarcasm.

            You can also skip the historically inaccurate arguments about “medieval girls.” Partly because what you say isn’t true (most women in the medieval period got married closer to 20, political marriages might take place younger but not be consummated), and partly because this isn’t medieval England, it’s a society where marrying at Sansa’s age isn’t normal.

            I’m fairly sure that his murder of Shae counts as later. His treatment of Sansa is problematic, but not as bad as some of his later deeds.

            We’re clearly not going to agree with one another, so this conversation is closed. All we’re doing now is going around in circles.

      2. Your past lover fucks your father on the eve of your execution, and you think that is not a personal issue but a misogynist one? If a person insults you and you react, that is not a statement on anything other than that insult.

        Bronn did not even betray Tyrion. He did not testify against him, or offer Cersei or Tywin any information on him. He simply let their business arrangement run its course. Had Shae simply disappeared in a likewise manner, you can bet he would not have killed her, especially not as a “hate crime”.

        Honestly, no offense, but the fact that you tag yourself with the name feminist and make such an inflammatory article that harps about a non issue (like a goddamn fake character) is why most men and women do not take the feminist movement seriously anymore.

            1. I did read it. I just disagree with everything you said on such a fundamental level that there’s no point arguing it out. Especially as the reasons I disagree are already explained pretty clearly on this page.

              I am glad to hear that my pointing out that a popular character can be a bit of a shit and does some problematic things is the reason the world hates feminism, though. I never knew I had such power. Just as you don’t have the power to declare whether something is or isn’t a feminist issue, just based on things like “I like that character,” “I disagree,” and the best one, “but it’s not real!”

        1. Males don’t take the feminist movement seriously because it’s a movement devoted to making women, a gender they see as inferior, equal. Women don’t take feminism seriously because living in a male-dominated world has made them male worshipping, brainwashed, submissive dolts who hate it when a woman dares to call males out on their garbage and display a dominant stance on themselves and their own bodies. As to the fictional characters, if you don’t believe fictional characters are created from the viewpoint of real life people living in a real life male-dominated society, you’re an idiot.

        2. If an article you disagree with is enough to make you not take feminism seriously anymore, it’s pretty obvious you never did to begin with, and probably never will. Likely for the simple reason that you never thought women were equal to begin with. Stop concern trolling, you’re not fooling anybody.

    2. Shae didn’t betray Tyrion at all. That’s a total misread of the situation that requires you to ignore the facts that (A) Tyrion TOLD Shae to pretend to love him so any misunderstanding there is his own damn fault, and (B) Shae is a lowborn and has zero agency vs Tywin. She can either go along with what Tywin tells her to do, or be tortured/killed. Remember, we already know how kind Tywin is to lowborn women who displease him.

  10. I found this article more agreeable than I thought I would, but I still have a couple of points to make.
    He kill’s Shae, because she was too good at what she was doing, he made sure, after Tysha, that he would never fall in love again, and he maintained that mentality when he met Shae, as he thinks love can only bring him pain. But Shae lowers his guard and he does develop feelings for her, then she goes to court to testify how evil he is, his cynicism is reenforced and he grows even greater self loathing.
    As for the Cersei rape thing, this is just the way his society works and thinks, he wants to hurt his family, including, and especially Cersei. How do men hurt women? Rape. Plus he threatens to rape Tommen as well, is that a sign he hates little boys?

  11. Not sure that my two cents would be worthwhile after all that, but I’m going to go ahead and pitch in anyway…

    I don’t quite think that reading a piece of literature with the primary consideration of whether you “like” the characters or not is very…illuminating I guess is the right word. Obviously we all have opinions about how much we “like” a character, but I think that tends to color how we view the text.

    I “liked” Tyrion a lot…he was fun to spend time with and his chapters were always pretty action packed. But, at the end of ASoS, I found his actions towards Shae pretty much unforgivable. From my modern, western, secular viewpoint, there isn’t anything that excuses strangling a woman to death. Not betrayal, not sexual humiliation, nothing. It is not a justifiable act. Maybe in Westeros, it is, but none of us live in Westeros — the book is meant to be read through the lens of a modern morality (right? who else could the intended audience possibly be?). We can’t and shouldn’t just turn off our brains and say “Well, his upbringing made him do it,” and “It has nothing to do with modern life — it’s just a fantasy.” Instead, we should be thinking about WHY his upbringing made him do it, and how that reflects our own moral systems. Do we think there’s flexibility on the Do Not Kill rule if a woman shames a man publicly and then sleeps with his father? Why does it make us uncomfortable to see such ugly deeds and thoughts committed by an otherwise likable character? Does likability excuse ugly deeds? How about previous good deeds, does that help repay the moral debt of the bad things? I just don’t really believe in making up some big moral tally sheet where you can say “Tyrion did A good things and B bad things, which makes him a better person than Jon, who did C good things and D bad things, but might have acted worse than Tyrion in X situation” I’m not sure what such an accounting really brings to the table.

    I think instead of trying to defend characters against some kind of slander, it makes more sense to question our own reactions to their deeds and thoughts. Which is what Rhiannon is trying to do, I think.

    Also, as a side note, I was extremely disappointed in Martin for his treatment of Shae. I always wanted to know more about what was going on in her head — which was probably some combination of fondness for Tyrion and desire for a better life — and now all she gets to be is a whore with no other mitigating factors. She was on my top five list of characters who I wanted to have their own chapters. Holding out hope for Margaery Tyrell.

    1. Thanks for this comment! I think this is very well put. Morally questionable characters can be very likeable (I love Jaime Lannister, for one example!), but the fact that their snark and general attitude makes them fun characters to watch or read doesn’t mean they should then be exempt for criticism of the questionable things that they do.

  12. I’m just gonna weigh in here with a simple statement agree or disagree it’s your choice. But see this post through to the end. The article is judging Tirion from a distance. Unless you’ve been in Tirion’s position and can understand the way Tirion thinks. His actions will seem like a lot of things because you can’t emotionally understand what’s going on because you’ve never felt it, you have a different baseline for life and that means you see his actions differently.

    Guaranteed there are two things happening with Tirion from the beginning.

    1) Tirion suffers from depression. A bad one, probably the one I suffer from since it doesn’t leave him bed ridden. It’s called Dysthymia. There is no joy, no happiness. Fleeing moments of happiness that -do- happen come with a horrible backlash of misery that makes further moment’s less joyful as it lessens the backlash. And when someone with Dysthymia crashes which is the nature of depression it’s considered worse then a Major Depression sufferer. It’s one of the most personally dangerous kinds of depression because if you aren’t strong like I am (and Tirion from what I’ve seen) it will kill you. The later point that ever so dark point which Tirion hits, I suspect that’s exactly what happened, he crashed. He hides it behind a mask so no one will judge him harshly for his emotions. There is no sympathy for those who suffer from depression, only more hate and anger from the people around them that can’t understand what’s wrong. So we create masks, learn to make our fake smile’s genuine enough to fool anyone and hide our shame. Because if anyone finds out, they’ll give such nice suggestions as “Just get over it.” or “I don’t understand why you can’t just be happy.”

    2) He was literally powerless his entire life. Tywin hammered home in the most detrimental way possible by destroying a young woman’s life. That Tirion would not suffer his father’s anger, the people Tirion -loved- would suffer Tywin’s anger. Tywin would do any horrible vile thing he needed to, to make sure Tirion suffered a pain worse then anything Tywin could physically do to him. Tirion at that point had two choices isolation, or risk everyone he loved. So he chose Isolation. He bought into his father’s notion that he was worth nothing, and that no woman would ever love him unless he paid for it. He killed Tywin because to Tirion there was no other choice. He would not be free from his father till his father died.

    Both of those things will drive any sane person completely mad in a short period of time, he’s had it done to him since he was born. It’s hard to understand the pain the character suffers or the real meaning behind their actions, unless you’ve suffered that pain and can relate to it. Remember his perception of the world is vastly different from your own because his experiences shape his world. Just as yours shapes your world. It changes the context of every interaction when you look at it from -Tirion’s- life not your own.

    Take his wedding night for instance. He’s been told to do this thing, to take Sansa. Tywin is once again hurting -someone else- to get to his son, not only that by marrying Sansa to Tirion it’s also getting back at the Stark clan for the shame they’ve made him suffer. Tirion’s not a fool by any stretch. By being married to him Sansa is humilated and embarrassed and he knows this, and even more so people will further shame her for being intimate with her husband, the little twisted monster. He -can’t- do that to her. He -wants- Sansa to love him, to accept him, to see he’s -not- like his family. He wants just -one- person in the entire world who will love him for who he is, and not care that he’s this twisted cripple who should never have existed. He can’t do that if he forces himself on her, he can’t show her he’s better then them. So he waits, and he’s willing to wait, and it’s frustrating because every nice thing he does is returned with spite. It’s not about power it’s about a desperate need for someone to love him. And Sansa refuses to. She’s like all the rest in the world. All she sees is his appearance and how it embarrasses -her-. So she doesn’t even try to get to know Tirion.

    1. Very well said! My only disagreement is with your analysis of Sansa’s feelings. I think she’s simply had too much pain in her life from all of the Lannister family to be able to handle the idea of marriage with one. The appearance is just the cherry on top.

    2. 1- I also suffer from depression. It is not an excuse.

      2 – Tyrion is powerless relative to Tywin, but it’s a big mistake to paint him as powerless. He is a highborn man from one of the most wealthy and powerful Houses in Westeros, and has sat in multiple Small Council positions. We regularly see him exercise power over people weaker than him: women, slaves, smallfolk, the relatively lower-born, etc. If being powerless was an excuse, there’s a long line of people ahead of Tyrion.

      Wedding – Tyrion is given the option to marry the willing Lollys Stokeworth instead of Sansa, but he refuses because he thinks she is fat, stupid, and too lowborn for him. (I find this incredibly ironic, since she’s largely “fat” and “stupid” resulting from the trauma of being gang-raped, as Tysha was gang-raped, and is higher-born than Tysha was.) Tyrion decides he would rather marry an unwilling but beautiful child.

      1. “Wedding – Tyrion is given the option to marry the willing Lollys Stokeworth instead of Sansa, but he refuses because he thinks she is fat, stupid, and too lowborn for him. (I find this incredibly ironic, since she’s largely “fat” and “stupid” resulting from the trauma of being gang-raped, as Tysha was gang-raped, and is higher-born than Tysha was.) Tyrion decides he would rather marry an unwilling but beautiful child.”
        It even worse than I thought I didn’t know that about Tyrion story, I think the show washed away almost all his faults oO
        People bring the “pity him” game (as usual, pity the men when they are in the wrong, because they obviously are the only ones suffering and explain the wrongdoings) but aren’t able to feel an once of compassion toward the female characters who endure as much if not worse…. shows how much internalized the deshumanization of women as gone.

  13. I really wonder where they’re going to go with Show Tyrion, especially in regards to he & Shae’s relationship, because I just can’t see it matching up with the books. If Shae does come to betray him I just can’t see how that’s going to feel real or make sense. This is a woman who turned down a bag of diamonds to stay with him, who turned down being his rich mistress with her own property if it meant accepting his marriage to another woman, and who has consistently shown no fear of Tywin or the court of King’s Landing and only ever wanted Tyrion to abandon his Lannister identity/duties and run off with her. So in what scenario will she start banging other people behind his back and turn on him?

    I can’t see her following her book self’s path, nor Tyrion, nor even Tywin. Their show selves, as we have gotten to know them, would never make these decisions and end up how they do. And yet, GoT writers have generally stayed pretty true to book characters’ fates… Would they really give Shae and Tywin totally different endings? Can’t see that either.

  14. A very interesting and possibly important exception from Tyrions general attitudes towards women are Penny. He treats her like a friend and takes responsibility for her, without hoping for love or even wanting to have sex with her. Otherwise he seems to think about every woman as someone to have sex with. Penny is parhaps the first woman he meet whom he recognizes as a peer and a person first and foremost, since they are both dwarves.

    I think Tyrions behaviour towards women is quite much a matter of repeating the traumatic end of his first marriage. Jaime told him his wife whom he loved was a whore Jaime had paid for, and lord Tywin commanded his guards to rape her while Tyrion watched, and then forced Tyrion to rape her. Likely Tyrions whoring are his way of attempting to catch up were he and Tysha left, and his expectations of a woman are shaped by how Tysha treated him. Tyshas true feelings is of course unknown. Since Penny is a dwarf Tyrion doesn’t recognize her as someone similar to Tysha and he can interact with her without having to deal with his old trauma.

  15. I am sorry, but you have completely misunderstood Tyrion as a character. Despite his intelligence, his cunning, his basic decency and yes, even the fact he is brave. All people, and women see is a dwarf. Feminists I’m afraid have a massive blind spot, because they want to think the best about themselves. Tyrion is a realist, as that quote shows:

    “Tyrion: Let me give you some advice bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.
    Jon: What the hell do you know about being a bastard?
    Tyrion: All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes.”

    He doesn’t want to pay for love, for sex, for affection, but he has no choice. He also recognises his hypocracy, that he himself his attracted to beauty and rejects the ugly. This is the weakness of the ugly and undesirable in a society that values looks. Feminists will accept that men are shallow, the pressures on women to conform to a standard of beauty.

    Yet they can never look at themselves and confront their own shallowness. Tyrion isn’t given a choice between “whores” and true love, he has no choice, because women will never want him.

    1. You say that feminists want to think the best of themselves, but I have to admit, I’m not sure I can think of ANYONE who doesn’t want to think the best of themselves. That’s hardly a feminist-specific or female-specific trait.

      I approved this comment a few days ago, but in light of recent events, I’m regretting it. You’re saying it’s women’s fault that he’s angry and bitter and a rapist, because none of them ever look past his face and love the *real him*. Of course. He’s not responsible for his actions. Women drove him to do it by denying him the sex and affection he was entitled to from them! If only one of them had actually LOVED him. Except that one did, Tysha… things didn’t really work out well for her either.

      And that quote of Tyrion’s is about how SOCIETY views him, men and women and family and everyone, not how women deny him love so he’s forced to use and eventually murder prostitutes. That’s a pretty twisted interpretation of an otherwise compelling moment.

      1. So you’re willing to give Cersei a partial pass for her vicious inhumane behavior because of the world she lives in. Yet with Tyrion, who suffered a far crueler uprbinging which included being physically and sexually abused by Cersei as a child, you refuse to absolve him of any of his less desirable tendencies and actions. You even go so far as to twist his positive traits into negatives.

        You don’t condemn him for killing Tywin but condemn him for killing Shae, who came out of the woodwork to slander Tyrion(hardly different than actively trying to kill him) at his trial and then completed a further betrayal by sleeping with Tywin who had become Tyrion’s mortal enemy. Why the double standard here?

        Tyrion does exhibit misogynistic tendencies, but despite a brutally abusive upbringing, and world that is generally misogynistic he frequently does exhibit genuine empathy and compassion. His refusal to force himself on Sansa is not basic decency, far from it. In that society the Man is supposed to consummate the marriage on the first night with or without the woman’s consent, yet doesn’t because he is genuinely concerned for Sansa’s well being.

        In contrast, Cersei, despite being very privileged generally displays a level of empathy one might expect in a reptile. She genuinely does not care when others are brutally harmed murdered or maimed. With Cersei it’s not nurture she was born to be a sociopath.

        As for Shae your defense was weak. She had enough jewelry and possessions to leave King’s Landing and live a life of comfort on her own terms. It wasn’t survival that motivated her to slander Tyrion at his trial and then hook it up with Tywin, it was avarice and greed.

        1. This article isn’t about Cersei. Nobody ever said Cersei got a pass.

          Shae is a lowborn woman in the hands of Tywin. We already know what Tywin does to lowborn women who cross him. Shae does not have agency in this situation.

    2. “Feminists have a blind spot because they want to think the best of themselves.” You’re right. Males don’t suffer from this at all. That’s why you not only consider yourselves to be superior to us (recently coming across a blog created by males devoted to the notion that women should be treated like nothing more than animals proves that), but not many males I’ve met can take responsibility for their own actions and have no problems sticking up for themselves, but abhor a female’s viewpoint and get annoyed when women call them out on their garbage. You’re part of the reason the sexist and illogical “friend zone” exists. It’s a way of shaming women for not being interested in a male because our bodies apparently belong to you and you’re entitled to them, which means that any woman who could turn you down is a major douchebag, right? Grow up, sweetheart. Stop blaming feminists for everything when the reason they exist is because your gender oppressed them and saw them as inferior to you in every way. And you say we’re the conceited ones.

  16. Just two cents from a kid trying to confront his own potential misogyny:

    Jaime has been the only consistent, positive, emotional feedback in Tyrion’s life. An unloved person has little motive for good deeds, however Tyrion has shown himself to be willing to put his life on the line to save another, among many other good deeds. Is he misogynistic? Sure. Are there varying degrees of misogyny? Absolutely. Does it stop him from being an overall good, moral person?

    Let’s consider the idea he knows he’s misogynistic (the dude’s brilliant, so who’s to say he hasn’t already thought of this himself?). The man lives in the Lannister family, corrupt and fickle. The pain caused by his family fuels his need to be loved, which, in turn, fuels the hate that he has for women, as he feels none genuinely want him. It is precisely his ability to put these issues on the backburner to handle all the business thrust upon him by that same, terrible family, in a relatively upright manner, that makes him a hero.

    But what kind of hero murders Shae and Tywin, right? Well, put yourself in his shoes. The man is forced to exile himself from a country and peoples he put every good bone in his body into. If the people forsake him despite his good deeds, then the last bastion of good in Tyrion has been forsaken. How does a man without personal happiness handle this? Too bad it doesn’t matter; on top of his bed of toppled dreams in King’s Landing are Tywin and Shae. Not to mention the news of Tysha’s reality coming to light. Oh, did I mention he had been lied to for years by the one family member good to him, Jaime?

    In a system without justice, is it wrong for him to finally get some? I’d say no, but the murder of Shae was simply excessive. However, was the crime itself an act of misogyny? I say, “no, it was a heat of the moment crime.” Would it have happened if he had not been trying to screw around with whores (definitely an act of misogyny)? No.

    Is it possible that he can overcome his misogyny? If this is the case, does this imply that the misogyny he feels is a direct effect of the infectious nature of his surroundings?

    What if Tyrion loses the battle with his misogyny? Could he go power crazy out of unhappiness and disappointment, and rule as another mad king?

    Tyrion has not finished his character development, so we won’t know exactly what Martin wants us to take away from him yet, but his issues with women will definitely play another role by the end. Truly, I think Tyrion is capable of successfully confronting his problem, however it should be noted that the potential for evil is always staring Tyrion in the face. In my book, he’s to be commended for making the best of it as well as he has.

  17. you’re completely wrong. Tyrion falls under the category of an HSP, a Highly Sensitive Person. He legitimately processes everything differently, constantly taking in all the subtle emotions and feelings around him on such a level that the average human isn’t accustomed or even remotely related to. This, in combination with his dwarfism and abandonment is the cause of his romantic inconsistancy. Are there undertones of mysogeny, GOD YES, but in this rare case, the mysogeny is only a symptom of something MUCH more defining.

    1. I’m not sure we can diagnose Tyrion like that, and I certainly don’t think we can use it to excuse his actions. One fifth of people are HSP, but that doesn’t mean one fifth of people get a pass for misogyny.

  18. The first time I noticed Tyrion’s sexism was in how he sent Myrcella off to the Martells without a care about how she felt about it.

    The problem with Tyrion is he is too used to controlling women. It is the relationship he has with prostitutes, the relationship he has with Shae where he controls everything from her guards to what she wears and he loves keeping Cersei powerless.

    (Also his threat to rape Tommen was directed at Cersei and used as a way of controlling her, so no it is not comparable with his desire to rape Cersei)

    1. he sent myrcella away to protect her from the crap that was happening in kings landing because of the war joff started by killing ned. as hand of the king he was within his rights and it wasnt meant to show power over myrcella or cersei. its what happens to ladies in westeros. thats not tyrion thats their culture. or are you meaning to imply that catelyn as well is a mysoginist betrothing off arya to the freys who are notably fickle and generally awful without consulting with her first. or catelyns father or pretty much every nobleman with a daughter/niece/granddaughter/sister. unlike cersei who had ros beaten to show power over tyrion

      1. Sending Myrcella off to Dorne had the duel effect of protecting her from the battle that was about to take place at KL. However, what happened if Pycelle hadn’t been the one to nark on Tyrion? What if it had been Littlefinger of Varys? Wouldn’t she have then been sent to Theon or Lysa? The Martells, the Greyjoys, and the Arryns are all very unfriendly with the Lannisters. The Martells have a legitimate grudge, Theon is openly fighting against the crown, and Lysa recently tried to have Tyrion killed with the added bonus of being the blood relative of the families controlling the North and the Riverlands. The Arya/Catelyn/Frey situation isn’t comparable. The Freys were not the most dependable family, but at that point they also hadn’t committed open treason against the Tullys. Catelyn had no way of knowing that the Red Wedding would happen at the time of the brokering of the marriage arrangement. Arya’s life was also in far more imminent danger than Myrcella’s. Arya was already in the clutches of the enemy, whereas Myrcella only had the potential to be endangered.

        Tyrion ultimately used Myrcella as a tool to find out who was more loyal to Cersei than to him. It’s politically savvy and clever and somewhat amusing, but it also highlights the disturbing nature of Westerosi culture and Tyrion’s character.

    2. Yeah he literally does not care where Myrcella even ends up. He picked a few semi-believable stories, told one to each possible mole, then just shipped her off based on the one that tattled to prove a point. Not only does he not care what she thinks, he doesn’t care if it’s a good match for her, or if she’ll even be safe. The Martells and the Arryns and (in the show) the Greyjoys all hold a grudge against the Lannisters when he comes up with this plot.

      TBF, in the books, instead of sending Myrcella to the Greyjoys, the third option is sending Tommen to the Martells. So it’s not as though he cares any less for his niece than his nephew. Still pretty questionable morally.

  19. None of what is written in this article establishes Tyrion as a misogynist. At best, you’ve successfully showed that he’s a control freak with a Napoleon Complex.

  20. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who feels this way about Tyrion. He’s written well in that he has both good and bad traits as any human does. However, I found his obsessive sheltering of Shae to be disturbing, his thoughts and behavior concerning Sansa despicable, and his inability to acknowledge his own responsibility in the Tysha incident irredeemable. I am so tired of fans claiming that his hard life and the able-ism of Westeros give him a free pass to do whatever he wants, including strangling a woman who may have had to sell her body to Tywin to survive. Regrettably, we never know Shae’s side of things. We never know how she actually felt about Tyrion, how she came to give testimony against him in court, and how she ended up in Tywin’s bed. And yet, some people find it completely acceptable for Tyrion to strangle first and ask questions never because he’s so damaged and no one ever loved him. This seems to be a theme with Tyrion, as he participated in the gang rape of his wife and never questioned the event until Jaime outright told him that he had been lied to and that Tysha wasn’t a whore.

    I don’t hate Tyrion. He has a lot of problems, he has a casual nastiness that makes it difficult for me to find him likable, but he does do some good things even if they are always for himself first and foremost. If anything, this highlights the realities of human nature, which is fine. I do, however, think it highly problematic that many fans of the series overlook the darker nature of Tyrion’s character — such as raping the bed slave in ADWD — because he is damaged and sympathetic.

    What is interesting is that Tyrion and Cersei share many similar qualities, and yet people are fully willing to recognize that Cersei is awful but Tyrion has “reasons” for his behavior. Both seem kind of horrible to me, if in slightly varying degrees.

  21. Practically everyone is a misogynist though, but at least Tyrion has got good reason to be.
    It’s a safety mechanism. He knows his situation and he’s been convinced his whole life that women are shallow and will only love him for his power and money.
    He isn’t an innocent character by any measure and there’s plenty of times where he acts like a dick but in his heart of hearts, he just wants to do what’s best for everyone and himself. He is one of the few characters in ASOIAF that care, and he is doing the best with the cards he was dealt.
    If Tyrion wasn’t a dwarf, he would soon be lord of Casterly Rock, and would be loved by the smallfolk and would be a good leader for the Westerlands. it’s sad that he never was given the chance

    1. I’m not sure there’s ever a “good reason” to be a misogynistic. We can sympathise with a character’s situation and still hold him accountable for the terrible things he thinks or does.

    2. A man always has a “reason” to be a misogynist, but a woman who’s bitter as a result of living in such a male-dominated world is a man-hating feminazi who’s a menace to society, right? I love how quick males are to defend their horrible traits, yet are just as quick to condemn a woman for, well, everything.

  22. Rhiannon, your text is excellent, and expresses everything I have been thinking for a while now. And not only mysoginistic, but also he is power greedy, envious and manipulator, just as Tywin is, and Cersei. He is amazing, but you wouldn’t imagine one Jon Snow (a true noble hero) or even Jaime (who is no hero) having rape thoughts. I remember I was shocked when Tyrion slapped Shae in the books… only because she comments about Tywin power over him, and it is true, not even sarcastic. I was shocked as well during the Battle of Blackwater how cold and indifferent he was seeing soldiers burning from wildfire as much as Stannis’ soldiers. He is far from saint, sometimes a bit hateful too… but people like to hate Cersei. Because she is a woman.

  23. I don’t think its appropriate to apply our modern-day values and expectations to a historical figure (I know its fantasy, but their society is very similar to the middle ages). You say yourself that there are many other characters who are far more misogynistic. Put through the lens of the time, Tyrion is pretty respectful by comparison.
    Like it or not, the middle ages was a terrible time for women. The show and books are pretty true to the prevailing attitudes of the time. And most people are aware of that, save for the idiotic ‘nice-guy’ types, but who cares what they think anyway? They’re not the ones reading your article and giving it deep thought!
    I also don’t think Tyrion is a woman hater. Tyrion is a people hater. He hates everyone (at his lowest) and feels everyone has wronged him. He doesn’t just want to kill Cersei, he wants to kill Jaime too. Everyone he knows has betrayed him in some way, who can blame him?
    Tyrion is above all a very interesting and complex character. I for one don’t really care if a fictional character is a misogynist because its just nice to see a complex and unexpected character in a very trope-heavy genre. Everyone has their bad traits, and I would rather read about someone who is sexist sometimes than a boring old perfect hero.

    1. With all the other amazing, strong, complex and clever female characters in GoT, I can forgive George for his misogyny in certain characters. And if anyone follows Mr.Martin’s website or interviews, you know he has an enormous amount of respect and adoration for his wife.
      Let’s also keep in mind that Tyrion is a fictional character in a fantasy novel.

      1. I am pretty sure Tyrion’s misogyny is part of the point of the character. He was initially presented as a pretty textbook clever, snarky underdog fantasy hero, but as you read on you start to see he’s not as spotless as we’d like him to be. Tyrion’s misogyny doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on GRRM any more than Ramsay’s psychopathy reflects badly on GRRM.

    2. These books and characters were written for a present day audience, so it’s perfectly legitimate to apply our sanitised modern viewpoints to fictional, non-historical characters and settings. People in the High Middle Ages, from which the series takes great inspiration, had values we can never hope to fully appreciate and understand. Is it not less appropriate to attempt to view the books in a potentially misguided understanding of people who can never be a possible audience?

      1. Exactly.It always bugs me when people try to deflect criticism with “Oh that’s just how it was in old westeros.” As if Westeros was a real place. Bull! Itmakes me wonder if people really can’t tell the difference between reality and fiction.

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