Tyrion Lannister

The Imp


Called the Imp, the Halfman, and worse, Tyrion Lannister is the youngest
child of Lord Tywin and Lady Joanna and has the singular misfortune
of being born a dwarf to a father who despises weakness, to say nothing
for being blamed for the death of his mother. Due to prejudice on account
of his stature and the chilly environment of his father’s house, Tyrion has
grown up bitter, jaded, and full of sarcastic wit.

Tyrion appears to be a grotesque freak; however, he is by far the most
human and empathetic of the Lannisters. He jokingly admits he has a
weakness “for cripples and bastards and broken things.” What he says in
jest is true in this case. Because he knows what it’s like to be reviled and
outcast from society, he is able to identify and empathize with others
easily. He is kind but not weak. Certainly he isn’t as physically powerful
as Jaime or as beautiful as Cersei, but his determination, compassion,
intelligence, and courage make him more than their equals in many regards.
That is especially true if he has time to think and talk his way into
or out of a situation. Tyrion may not look it, but he is highly charismatic
and disarming, and he uses that to his advantage. Tyrion uses these same skills to overcome those who would make him a target for derision or the butt of jokes. It is common for him to
be targeted by japes, but Tyrion always laughs along with the joke, and
then he uses his wit to make his attacker look like a fool. He uses his
disability as his armor. Because he doesn’t allow his dwarfism to be a
weakness, it isn’t. He is wise beyond his years and a bigger man than
most of those twice his size.

Tyrion is short, with stubby legs that carry him unsteadily. His head is too
large for his body, and he has a squashed forehead, jutting brow, and one
green eye and one black. His hair is white-blond, and when he occasionally
grows a beard, his whiskers are a mixture of blonde and black hairs.


Tyrion’s birth set the stage for his life. His mother died due to complications—
complications Tywin blamed on his son, as if Tyrion had
killed his mother on purpose. As well, Tyrion’s dwarfism was considered
a disgrace, and Tywin never spoke in defense of his son. If he
had, he might have been able to prevent the rumors from spreading
that some sort of demon had been born to House Lannister, or he
might have kept people from calling Tyrion “the Imp” or any number
of other names. But he didn’t, and so Tyrion grew up as an outcast and
pariah in his own home.

Tyrion’s childhood was spent alone, avoiding the cruelty of his sister
and the iciness of his father. Although he was left to his own devices
he was close to his older brother, and the two explored the tunnels
beneath Casterly Rock, where they played games and fantasized
about bold knights, adventurers, and dragons. Tyrion was fascinated
with dragons.

When Tyrion grew older, he and his brother were riding when they
came upon a young woman being bullied on the road by a couple of
thugs. Jaime drove off the bandits, and Tyrion cared for the girl. Not
long after, the two were married in secret and hid out in an old country
house, where Tyrion, for the first time in his thirteen years, knew peace,
love, and happiness. Tragically, his father cut his marriage short. When
Tywin learned of the marriage, he was enraged. He claimed the girl
was a whore, and to prove it, he gave her to his guards, paying the girl a
silver for each man she bedded—and he made Tyrion watch. When the
last had finished the savage business, Tywin commanded that Tyrion
take her and give her a gold coin because “a Lannister is worth more.”
The marriage annulled, Tywin hoped this lesson would teach Tyrion
something about his proper place and purpose and put an end to these
romantic follies.

From that moment on, Tyrion hated his father. Jaime claimed he
had, in fact, set up the incident and hired the girl to please Tyrion, but
this did little to assuage his guilt and self-loathing. Tyrion despised
the girl for breaking his heart, his father for his cruelty, and himself
for being fooled.

Henceforth, Tyrion spent his time educating himself, dabbling with
whores to slake his thirst for love, and cloistering himself away in his father’s
house to flee the memories haunting his nights. He read constantly,
learning everything he could about the history of the Seven Kingdoms,
the legends of the First Men, tales of the dragons, and every subject ever
written on. He also studied people and how they related to each other.
Because he lacked the physical charisma of his family, Tyrion had to learn
how to manipulate or reason with people in order to get by. Anyone who
took Tyrion at face value definitely underestimated him.

Now an adult, Tyrion is something of a hanger-on, a courtier, and, in
the eyes of his sister, a fool. He spends some time at Casterly Rock, but
he spends far more at King’s Landing, where he keeps the company of his
brother, the king, and the rest of the court. He’s still something of an outcast,
but he hides his doubts behind his cutting wit and his sharp retorts.

Tyrion Lannister

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