‘Game of Thrones’: Worst Mistakes Made by Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion Lannister might be one of the most intelligent and cerebral characters on Game of Thrones, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t makes mistakes. The truth is that Tyrion’s mistakes have dictated his current path far more often than his successes.

Here are 10 of the worst mistakes Tyrion has ever made and where it’s gotten him.

1. Stopping at the Crossroads Inn

Tyrion sits up against a pillar in chains, looking down on the crowd while deeply contemplating

Game of Thrones | HBO

While stepping foot into the Crossroads Inn where a vengeful Catelyn Stark just happened to be might be attributed to bad luck, Tyrion’s actions before and after this event don’t exactly display his usual intelligence when it comes to politics.

For starters, Tyrion’s brash and silent indication to Cersei and Jaime that he suspected them as responsible for Bran’s fall should have alerted him to the fact that a target was now on his head. But even if he trusted that his own family wouldn’t harm him, you’ve got to know something is up when a shady Petyr Baelish smilies his devious smile and shows you a Valyrian steel dagger for no reason.

In fact, the Baelish knife scene makes you wonder why Tyrion didn’t pursue him. Given the facts, all the information points directly back at Baelish, which could have caused his entire master plan to implode and prevent half of the current Game of Thrones mess from coming to fruition.

2. Getting lost in the politics of King’s Landing

Tyrion wearing a black leather vest, standing in front of a long table and holding a cup of wine

Tyrion as the Hand of the King | HBO

In Season 2 of Game of Thrones, Tyrion gets named Hand of the King by his father Tywin, and immediately takes that as a cue to jump headfirst into the political machinations of King’s Landing. Initially, he’s incredibly successful, winning the loyalty and protection of the Vale’s hill tribes, rooting out an informant on the Small Council, and marrying off his niece in exchange for an alliance with Dorne.

Things fall apart the second Tywin arrives though, sweeping the rug out from under Tyrion the second the he is indisposed. Having made a good deal of enemies during his time as Hand, Tyrion finds himself with nothing but the hatred of his family, and a king that’s determined to make him look like a fool at every opportunity.

3. Taking to the battlefield during Stannis’ assault on King’s Landing

Tyrion yelling angrily, dressed in armor and wielding an ax in the middle of a raging battlefield

Tyrion takes to the battlefield at Blackwater. | HBO

Even after wading too deep into King’s Landing’s politics, Tyrion could very well have come out on top had he not decided to lead an assault against Stannis’ invasion at the Battle of Blackwater. During the battle Joffrey tasked one of his men to try and kill Tyrion, wounding the dwarf and putting him out of commission for weeks while he recovered.

During that time, Tyrion was unable to counter any of the moves his father enacted to remove the power he’d accumulated during his time as Hand of the King. Had he decided to remain on the ramparts, Tywin still would have arrived in time with reinforcements to win the battle, and Tyrion would have been able to at least try combating his father’s political maneuvers in the ensuing days.

4. Falling in love with Shae

Tyrion sobs, as he pulls a chain around Shae's next, as she drapes off the end of the bed

Tyrion during Shae’s final moments. | HBO

Tyrion doesn’t exactly have a good track record when it comes love. His first marriage was to Tysha, a wheelwright’s daughter who turned out to be a prostitute. When his father Tywin found out, he commanded each of his guards to have their way with her, paying a silver coin to each guard and forcing Tyrion to watch as a lesson.

The book version is much, much darker. In the book, Tysha isn’t actually a prostitute and Tywin instead has his guards rape her. Either way, this isn’t a good precedent.

Shae shares many of the same qualities as Tysha, so it’s a wonder Tyrion didn’t see the consequences coming a mile away. Not only does Tyrion put Shae’s life directly in danger the moment Tywin is aware of her, but their relationship continues to complicate a series of political moves. His marriage to Sansa Stark and his decision to cut ties with Shae comes back to haunt him when she testifies following “The Purple Wedding” that he was responsible. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Tyrion ultimately finds her in his father’s bed, killing her in a fit of rage.

It’s fair to say Tyrion should avoid love in the near future.

5. Losing his cool at his trial

Tyrion Lannister grimaces, as he closes both fists and pulls them in close to his chest, while shackled in chains

Tyrion on trial | HBO

Sure, we know that Tyrion eventually escapes capture at King’s Landing and goes on to become the Hand to the Queen for Daenerys Targaryen. But at the time of the trial, when he was accused of killing his nephew Joffrey, he had a pretty decent arrangement set up for him if he admitted his guilt. The deal was sealed by his brother Jaime, who managed to convince their father to send Tyrion to the Wall rather than executing him.

Initially agreeing to the terms behind closed doors with Jaime, Tyrion decided in the closing moments of the trial that he’d had enough. He completely lost his cool in the ensuing action, spitefully confessing to any and all crimes he was accused of, and demanding an ill-fated trial by combat. That, of course, brings us to his next big mistake …

6. Opting for a trial by combat

Oberyn Martell with spear in hand, jumps at a full armored Gregor Clegane, who's falling backwards to the ground

Game of Thrones | HBO

It seemed like a great idea. After all, Oberyn Martell was a highly-skilled warrior, having been known to fight in the pits of Meereen. But Tyrion of all people should have known better than to trust his life to someone who was consumed by anger and revenge, not to mention arrogance. As a result Tyrion and the fight’s onlookers watched as a Oberyn toyed with The Mountain for the entirety of the fight, missing out on opportunity after opportunity to finish off his opponent and get Tyrion off the hook.

While it’s fair to say the fight was probably one of Oberyn’s tougher match-ups, it’s also clear he’s trying to prolong the fight to get an answer regarding his sister’s death. Did Tyrion have a better option? Probably not. But then again, if it wasn’t for his decision to use trial by combat he’d probably be dead.

7. Openly (and frequently) voicing his displeasure with Joffrey

An animated gif of Tyrion slapping Joffrey across the face

Tyrion slaps Joffrey | HBO

Don’t get us wrong, as viewers, we have zero regrets for all the times Tyrion saw fit to slap Joffrey across the face. But when the tables are finally turned and Tyrion is left with no political sway in King’s Landing, it leaves Joffrey with a huge chip on his shoulder, as well as the means to exorcise that anger in full.

Joffrey spends the better part of his remaining days gleefully torturing Tyrion in every imaginable way, all because the dwarf couldn’t be more tactful with his hatred of the young, petulant king.

8. Killing his father

Tyrion aims a crossbow, looking directly into the camera

Tyrion aims his crossbow | HBO

On a purely cathartic level, watching Tyrion fire a crossbow directly into his scheming father was satisfying to say the very least. But the fallout from Tywin’s death led to a series of unmitigated disasters in King’s Landing. Without Tywin’s steady hand to guide the throne, Cersei was unleashed. Chaos reigned supreme from there, as a full-scale war with the religious arm of the government ensued, King Tommen committed suicide, and Cersei blew up the sept, killing almost the entire Tyrell family in the process.

All this could likely have been avoided had Tywin been alive to stop it, and the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Tyrion as a result.

9. Drinking his way across Essos

Tyrion scowls with his arms crossed, with an empty carafe of wine sitting on the table next to him

Tyrion imbibes his favorite wine. | HBO

Tyrion’s reputation as a drinker precedes him just about everywhere he goes, and it has a habit of getting him in trouble fairly regularly. We see that firsthand in Season 5, when he and Varys begin their journey to Meereen to pledge their services to Daenerys. Tyrion spends a majority of his time on that journey drinking himself into a stupor, and as a result, gets quickly captured by Jorah Mormont.

Seeking to present the dwarf as tribute to Daenerys to earn her favor, Jorah takes them through Old Valyria, where he contracts greyscale. After that, the duo is captured by slavers and conscripted into gladiatorial combat in the fighting pits of Meereen. So while Tyrion does eventually end up at Daenerys’ feet anyway, he does so at the expense of Jorah, who now is left to wander the world in search of a cure for his horrific disease.

10. Making a deal with the slavers

Dragons flying above a fleet of ships sailing away

Game of Thrones | HBO

Tyrion’s most recent mistake was assuming that talk and politics could solve the conflict between Meereen and the slavers. With Daenerys Targaryen away, Tyrion quickly brokered a deal that Meereen would stay free while all other cities in Slaver’s Bay would phase out slavery within seven years. This move initially seemed successful. That is, until the slavers came back prepared with an armada ready to take back Meereen by force once and for all.

Of course we all know how that ended. Arriving just in time, Daenerys quickly puts an end to the siege with her three dragons and got an entire fleet of ships in one of the greatest sequences Game of Thrones has seen yet. And if the final episode in Meereen taught us anything, it’s that the middle ground between Daenerys and Tyrion is definitely the best option.

Additional reporting by Nick Cannata-Bowman. 

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