Recently, a Twitter trend started, reminiscing how good Tyrion Lannister was in Game of Thrones. And to be honest, who can blame them? After all, everyone is living in quarantine and losing their minds. However, I have a slight problem with Tyrion from the show. The issue is that I believe Tyrion from the Game of Thrones books is far better than the one we saw in the show. And I’ve read them, so trust me I’m writing this piece with a lot of love and knowledge for the character.
In defense of Peter Dinklage, he did a great job!
Now, the first thing I have to make very clear is that this is in no way a criticism of Peter Dinklage’s performance. He did a splendid in portraying David Benioff and DB Weiss’s version of the character. Instead, this article analyzes how Tyrion Lannister was a far more complex and interesting character in the show than he was in the books. Show Tyrion wasn’t just nicer, but more good looking too!
He is too good looking in the show
The first obvious difference is that the show’s version of Tyrion Lannister is too… good-looking. Seriously, Peter Dinklage is hot compared to Tyrion from the books. In A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion was already disfigured and devious-looking. And on top of that, he got a lot more than a scar from the Battle of Blackwater. His entire nose was cut out in that battle. This tweet depicts perfectly how vastly different the two characters looked. Peter Dinklage somehow turned hotter after his battle scar in the show. But, in the books, the battle wasn’t as generous to Tyrion Lannister.
— 3rd Shift (@_3rd_shift) April 20, 2015
However, the main differences lie in the nature of the characters, what they went through, and how it changed them.
Tyrion was a very complex and grey character in the books
Now, this is where the differences become severe. In the show, Tyrion Lannister was a whisker away from being called the hero of the show. He had an amazing heart, was kind to almost everyone, and barely lashed out or showed cruelty over anyone. But, that was far from the case in the books. In A Song of Ice and Fire, Tyrion was a very complex and grey character. The years of insults, beating, and abuses he had seen from everyone inside his family and outside of it made him a very cynical person. Let’s take a look up-close!
1. He almost forced himself on Sansa Stark!
Okay, this bit might not make him better but hear us out. Remember that scene where Tyrion comforted Sansa on their first night that he had no intension of forcing himself on her? Yeah, it didn’t go like that in the books.
On their first night, before refusing to touch her unless she asked, he had her strip naked for him. Yes, it sounds creepy and disgusting, but this is the Game of Thrones universe we’re talking about here. Tyrion Lannister not laying a hand on Sansa is a pretty big deal in that case. In the books, he told her:
And I am cleverer than most, surely wits count for something. I can even be kind. Kindness is not a habit with us Lannisters, I fear, but I know I have some somewhere. I could be… I could be good to you.
2. In the books, Tyrion is selfish and power-hungry
Other than that event, Tyrion Lannister was power-hungry in the books. In the show, we never got to see the side of him that craved power and the right to his inheritance. He mentioned his right on Casterly Rock repeatedly in front of his father, Tywin. Moreover, he didn’t want to join forces with Daenerys Targaryen for the betterment of the realm. Instead, he wants to do it to become the Lord of Casterly Rock. By birth-right, it’s what he deserves, but we all know how Cersei and Tywin would never want something like that.
3. Tyrion Lannister is more vengeful in the books
Now, this is a major difference between the show and the book Tyrion. In the show, Tyrion Lannister was more egalitarian, whereas he had no such sympathy for the people, or even his brother Jamie Lannister!
In the books, Tyrion fell out with Jamie Lannister
This was a major change in the plot of Game of Thrones vs A Song of Ice and Fire. Remember that scene when Jamie frees Tyrion Lannister from the gallows and sets him free? Yeah, the show cut out a major detail which was a part of the books. That was the incident over Tysha.
Tysha was mentioned in the show as the first wife of Tyrion. He used to think she was the only woman who ever loved him. He had saved her from being accosted by some outlaws when he was on his way to Casterly Rock with Jaime. After that, Tyrion took care of her in a nearby inn. They both drank, got drunk, kissed and ended up making love. Tyrion fell in love with the girl, and the two were married by a nearby Septun, with pigs as witnesses. They would kiss and make love in bed all day long, but it wasn’t to last.
When Tywin Lannister got news of this, he was furious that a commoner had dared to marry a Lannister. He commanded Jaimee to tell Tyrion that she was a whore he had hired to make Tyrion a man. Tysha was then taken and gang-raped by guards in the barrack, with each one paying her a silver coin. In the end, Tywin forced Tyrion to rape her, and that is the brutal way with which his first marriage ended.
Jamie eventually told Tyrion the truth
When Jamie was trying to free Tyrion, he finally told him the truth about Tysha. He said:
She was no whore. I never bought her for you. That was a lie that Father commanded me to tell. Tysha was … she was what she seemed to be. A crofter’s daughter, chance met on the road.
This broke Tyrion down completely, after which he falsely claims that he killed Joffrey. But, he regrets it a few moments later when Jaime finally leaves. When he left for Eassos, he often had dreams where he would kill Jamie in his dreams, but felt guilty about it after waking up. It changed and damaged his very soul, but more importantly, it led him to kill his own father Tywin.
Killing Tywin made Tyrion Lannister more cynical
The incident with Tysha completely broke Tyrion Lannister, so much so that he felt no shame in killing his father, Tywin Lannister. He had absolutely no loyalty to House Lannister, unlike in the show where even in season 8 he was willing to bet in favor of his House. His mind was constantly riddled with thoughts like:
Sansa, Shae, all my women … Tysha was the only one who ever loved me. Where do whores go?
The words “Where do whores go” constantly rang in his ears throughout his time in Eassos. This is what his father said about Tysha when Tyrion asked him where he sent her:
Wherever whores go.
This goes to show how damaged, cynical, and selfish Tyrion was in A Song of Ice and Fire. But, it doesn’t make him evil. In fact, it makes him more real and believable than what we got in the show. David and Dan practically made him a hero, when in the books he was far from it. He had his flaws and demons, but they weren’t without reasons. And they’re completely understandable, except for a few. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Tyrion Lannister from the books was far better and more real than the ones we got to see in the show.