Why would Tywin risk losing his most important son in battles that could have killed Jaime Lanister at a young age?

While researching this question, I came across this question and answer.

There is an excerpt in one of the answers from The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros, p121

Ser Jaime was also Lord Tywin's heir, however, and carried all his hopes for the perpetuation of House Lannister, as his lordship's other son was a the malformed dwarf, Tyrion.

Although it states why Tywin had to allow Jaime into the Kings Guard, it does not state why he would risk his son's life in battle.

At the age of fifteen, Jaime fought in the battle against the Kingswood Brotherhood, after which Jaime was knighted on the battlefield by Ser Arthur Dayne.

It just goes against all logical thinking to allow a green, young boy to fight in a dangerous battle when he is so important to probably the most prestigious family in Westeros.

Or is there some significance in being in a battle, like having to fight in one before you can be given knighthood? Or is there another reason as to why Tywin would allow this?

  • 5
    Keep in mind, in this universe, 15 is not a "young age" for people to go to battle. I think Robb Stark is 15 or 16 when he becomes King of the North. In the books, subtract four or five years, at least, from everyone's TV age. I think they aged them up just because of all the nudity in the TV series and the potential problems they would have if they were depicting minors in such a setting. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 20:36
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    Not fighting in battles would be considered cowardly. No lord would want his son called a coward; especially not Tywin.
    – RichS
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 7:17
  • @RichS, in the TV show, Ser Loras Tyrell's own grandmother says he does not do the fighting in battles.,
    – KyloRen
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 7:20
  • 1
    @KyloRen Ah, but Tywin has very different values than the Tyrell matriarch. Remember Tywin saw his father as weak and thought his father's inaction led to House Lannister being weakened. After restoring his family reputation, he certainly would not want any member of his family seen as cowardly or weak.
    – RichS
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 6:17
  • 1
    Westeros is a tough neighbourhood. While Tywin would have wanted Jaime to survive, he would have been no use if he couldn't prove himself in battle.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 2:59

2 Answers 2


The answer is in Chapter 44 of AFFC, not the show sadly.

Tywin's Wishes

Jaime saw his mother in a vision and this is what she said:

Tywin dreamed that his son would be a great knight, that his daughter would be a queen.

It was Tywin's heart's desire that Jaime become a great Knight. No one ever became a great knight without fighting in battles.

Jaime's skills

Jaime showed very high aptitude in martial arts since his childhood and thus his father never worried about his skills in defending himself. He however provided him with masters at arms and armours which would probably be very expensive and of high quality. We do know of Jaime's golden armor which people think is gold but is actually gilded steel.

Highborn Customs for Upbringing of Children

All highborn lads are supposed to be squires and win their spurs of knighthood.

According to AWOIAF wiki:

When a boy reaches adolescence, he graduates to being a squire. Squires learn how to properly care for and use weapons, armor, and horses as well as learning about chivalry. In time of war Squires join their masters in war, assisting them with their equipment and fighting by their side in battles.

Is Battle Veterancy required for Knighthood?

Not really. If you are following the usual path (page->squire->knight) It depends on the Knight squiring you to determine when you are ready get your spurs aka Knighthood.

Other than that you can either buy your knighthood e.g. Ser Glendon Flowers or you can win it by performing a great deed of a non-military nature e.g. Ser Davos Seaworth winning it by supplying the Starving garrison of Storm's End with food. You can also be knighted for valor in Battle even if you were never a squire e.g. Ser Jorah Mormont winning his knighthood in Siege of Pyke. To learn more about the knighthood paths, see my previous answer here.

Is it wise to let a green young boy in War?

By Westerosi and medieval standards, Jaime was 15 which is almost the age of a grown man. Jaime was green but how do you propose he would have gained experience if not by fighting? Every warrior is green at some point and through battle he gains experience.

Tywin's own father was a weak man of non-martial nature which is why Tywin wanted his heir to be a puissant warrior, so that he could secure Tywin's legacy even after Tywin was dead. That's where we see Kingswood Campaign, a small campaign against a glorified band of bandits. Can't see really a lot of dangers when Royal Army marches against outlaws.

The Kingswood Campaign

Jaime followed the regular route and became squire and ward of Lord Sumner Crakehall as per Westerosi customs. Squires attend to their masters in battle so Jaime did as well in Fight against the Kingswood brothehood. Jaime was not supposed to do what he did but as fate would have it, Lord Crakehall was injured and Jaime took it upon himself to protect his "father figure".

That's when people realized the true potential of this young squire as he held his own against the infamous Big Belly Benn and Smiling Knight. His performance was so impressive that a legendary Knight of Kingsguard, Ser Arthur Dayne promptly knighted Jaime at end of the campaign. Jaime won his knighthood in that campaign by none other than Ser Arthur Dayne.

Besides you are over-estimating the danger of the campaign. Kingswood brotherhood were essentially a band of outlaws. They were not a dangerous Army, they relied on guerrilla tactics and support among the masses to hide after their raids. It was a perfect testing ground for a young squire aspiring to be a Knight. Besides, Jaime would have an Army around him.

Outlaws, Ransoms & Nobles

Kingswood Brotherhood was notorious for kidnapping nobles and demanding ransom. Nobles and Knights are usually held captives for ransom if they are bested in battle. Even if Jaime was defeated, he would have been taken captive as Heir to Casterly Rock was worth a lot of ransom.

Tywin's mindset

Tywin always thinks more about his ideals and wishes about his family than his actual family. He was more concerned with making his son a great Knight. Such ambitions don't always pay off, Mace Tyrell wanted the same for his son and heir Willas but poor Willas was paralyzed after losing a jousting event against Prince Oberyn Martell. (In show there is no Willas Tyrell).

Jaime did not take any more risks than any other noble highborn lad serving some Knight as a squire. Those dangers are part of being a Knight and a Lord. Which is essentially what those young boys are being trained for. Seeing the mess weak Tytos Lannister had created, Tywin was determined to make his heir strong and capable.

TL;DR Tywin wanted his son to be a great knight and thus did whatever was necessary to hone his martial skills.


The Op wrote:

At the age of fifteen, Jaime fought in the battle against the Kingswood Brotherhood, after which Jaime was knighted on the battlefield by Ser Arthur Dayne.

It just goes against all logical thinking to allow a green, young boy to fight in a dangerous battle when he is so important to probably the most prestigious family in Westeros.

In that case:

Why did the Frankish King Theuderic I of Austrasia (c. 485-533/4) send his young son the future king Theudebert I (c. 500-547/8) in command of the army that defeated the invaders under King Hygelac about 516 AD?

Why did King Alfonso VI (1047-1109) King of Leon and Castile, "Emperor of the Two Religions", send his son and heir Infante Sancho (c. 1093-1108) to command the Spanish army against Almoravid invaders in 1108?

Why did Conrad III (1093-1152), King of the Romans, send his son and co-king Heinrch-Berenger (1136/7-1150) (Sometimes listed as Henry VI, but not to be confused with Emperor Henry VI who was actually Emperor Henry V and king Henry VI) in command of an army against the Guelf forces, defeating them at Flochberg 8 February 1150?

Why did Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250) send his son and heir, Conrad IV (1228-1254) King of the Romans, in command of the army defending Germany against the Mongols, the deadliest army yet seen, in 1241?

Why did King Edward III of England (1312-1377) allow his son and heir Edward the Black Prince (1330-1376) to command part of the army at the battle of Crecy in 1346?

And so on and so on. If you answer those questions about the behavior of real historical persons, you can understand why the author of A Song of Ice and Fire thought that was plausible behavior for a fictional pseudo medieval lord.


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