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I noticed this comment, and have to admit that I completely missed any references to this while reading the books.

What hints exist, in either the show or the books, that suggest that Tyrion may have been a royal bastard?

I would prefer direct quotes where possible.

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Here is a good answer: westeros.org/Citadel/FAQ/Entry/Who_is_Tyrions_father –  TLP Feb 27 '13 at 14:45
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I am not really a fan of this theory, which is why I just provided a link instead of an answer. :) I think a much more interesting theory is that Jaime and Cersei are Aerys' children. Which, strangely enough, also explains Tywin's disgust with Tyrion, in that Aerys may have fathered his great and golden twins, but all he could manage was a dwarf that also killed his wife. It would also coincide better with potential wedding incidents, it would explain Cersei's madness and Jaime's potential greatness. It would also make more sense of Cersei + Rhaegar. –  TLP Feb 27 '13 at 15:53
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"Madness and greatness were two sides of the same coin and every time a new Targaryen was born, the gods would toss the coin in the air and the world would hold its breath to see how it would land" -- Jaehaerys II Targaryen –  TLP Feb 27 '13 at 15:55
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As an aside, it would also give a nice continuity to the Brienne & Jaime relationship, in that Brienne may be a descendant of Dunk, and Jaime a descendant of Egg. (Dunk & Egg). –  TLP Feb 27 '13 at 15:59
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Whoa, number of views went up from 500 to 1000+ since I linked this question in a reddit post. You owe me a bronze badge, Beofett. :) –  TLP Apr 25 '13 at 12:00
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1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The theory that Tyrion is the son of Aerys II Targaryen mainly stems from two passages in the books:

First, in A Storm of Swords (Book 3) Tywin says this to Tyrion as a rebuke when the latter claims succession to Casterly Rock (emphasis mine):

"Men's law give you the right to bear my name and display my colors, since I cannot prove that you are not mine."

This passage has also made it's way to the TV series (episode 1, season 3).

Second, in A Dance with Dragons (Book 5) Ser Barristan tells the following story to Dany about her father, Aerys II (again emphasis mine):

"Prince Aerys... as a youth, he was taken with a certain lady of Casterly Rock, a cousin of Tywin Lannister. When she and Tywin wed, your father drank too much wine at the wedding feast and was heard to say that it was a great pity that the lord's right to the first night had been abolished. A drunken jape, no more, but Tywin Lannister was not a man to forget such words, or the ... liberties your father took during the bedding."

There are a few other more subtle indications that some have taken as support for this theory: Tyrion's fascination with dragons, his odd hair coloration (pale blonde as opposed to the golden blonde the Lannisters are famous for), and narratively the fact that he seems to be on his way to unite with Dany.

However, there are several problems with this theory. Tywin's hatred of Tyrion can be easily attributable to the latter causing his mother's death during birth. Something Cersei holds against Tyrion as well. Doubting Tyrion's paternity could very well be Tywin lashing out at his son out of grief, since by all accounts Tywin was deeply in love with Joanna, and he isn't exactly the forgiving type.

The account of Aerys taking liberties with Joanna is also not without problems for this theory.

Barristan's story indicates that Aerys did something objectionable during the bedding. In Westerosi culture, the bedding is the name given to the first time a husband lies with his bride (sometimes witnessed by the feast's guests who have had too much to drink). So if anything, this story casts doubt on the paternity of Joanna's first born: Jaime and Cersei, not Tyrion. Sure, Aerys may have raped or seduced Joanna at a later date, but apart from his known lust for her we have no evidence of this ever happening.

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You might also factor in that Tywin indeed tried to kill Tyrion (or failed to help him) when he was charged with Joffrey's murder. He intended Tyrion to take the black, much like Randyll Tarly forced his son Sam to take the black in order to remove him as heir. –  TLP Apr 2 '13 at 21:33
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