WARNING: spoilers for season 7 (episodes up to 5th) below.

In early seasons Tyrion is shown as a clever person who outsmarts Cersei, Stannis and others.

Yet starting from, I suppose, Season 5-6 almost most of his plans/advice fail for some reason. E.G.

  • deal with slave masters → slaver ships attack (and only saved by Deus Ex Daenerys)
  • getting reinforcments from Dorne → Iron Fleet is defeated
  • capture of Casterly Rock → Highgarden is defeated
  • capturing a whight → probably some suicide squad members loss with very weak hope that Cersei will join the White Walkers war

So my question is: why is it so? One can point that out-of-universe explanation is there is no GRRM backbone of the books now (as it seems that previously mastermind Littlefinger is also kinda becoming less smart). But is there in-universe explanation other than circumstances were unfavourable?

  • 4
    Because Daenerys having a hardtime makes a better story than she just sweeping the seven Kingdoms with her dragons. They want to show Cersei's fate is not sealed yet
    – Aegon
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:02
  • 5
    Or if you want me to give you spiel, Yara lost because the enemy took her unaware. Casterly Rock because Tyrion counted on Jaime stubbornly defending it, but Jaime gave it up and took High Garden instead therefore outsmarting him. Only Casterly Rock seems to be purely Tyrion's blunder.
    – Aegon
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:04
  • 4
    I would like to suggest that subconsciously, he may not want to succeed. We know that he does not want his brother to die even though his plans might well have cause this and in fact, his brother missed dying by a split second although this was due to Daenerys taking matters into her own hands in this case.
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:17
  • 4
    @PaulD.Waite For the record tho, Robb never won a battle directly against Tywin Lannister. He fought only against Jaime and Ser Stafford Lannister. He didn't march on the old lion even when the lion was licking his wounds at Harrenhal, making excuses that he didn't have enough men to take on Tywin
    – Aegon
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:21
  • 6
    Because the writers fall into the usual trap so many writers do: "let's have smart people make uncharacteristically stupid decisions in order to add tension by having unexpected events".
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


While this is very opinion based (and likely to get closed for that reason...) I will take a stab at this anyway:

Because he lacks spies and because he does't know how much his brother and sister have changed since he left.

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

—Sun Tsu, The Art of War (emphasis, mine)

Tyrion does not know his enemies anymore:

  1. He has not taken into account that Jaime is no longer the proud and "noble" knight that he used to be, who refused to kill Ned Stark in the street, because: "It wasn't clean." Jaime has become cunning and ruthless and no longer lets sentiment impede his better strategic judgement. As Tyrion says himself in S7E05 when speaking with Jaime:

You made me look like a complete fool. I thought I'd surprise you by hitting Casterly Rock, but you were three steps ahead of me. Abandoned the family home, completely unsentimental. Father would have been proud.

  1. He has no spies in Westeros. This is a serious problem. Neither he, nor Varys (as suspicious as that is...) seem to have any advance knowledge of troop movements or events in Lanister controlled territory, let alone fleet movement! (one would think that with all that water between the Iron Islands and King's Landing, that someone - I'm looking at you Dorne! - would have noticed hundreds of ships sailing merrily along...)

Not knowing his enemies, but knowing himself, according to Sun Tsu, at best gives Tyrion a tie.

Even more speculative speculation about the lack of knowing his enemies follows:

  1. He does not know anything about the Qyburn factor, since this is a character that appeared and then came to prominence, after the death of his father.
  2. He may not know just how far down the road of emotionless psychopathic monsterhood his sister has walked since her imprisonment by the High Septon and since the death of her two other children.

One final note, Tyrion is a man of conscience. A man of principle, who seeks to do the least harm in all of his actions. This may be good for a leader in peace time, but in war, he may be getting too soft. If he is going to help Dany win this, he needs to find some of his ruthlessness from the first couple seasons once again...

  • 3
    A good quote to add would be him admitting surprise to Jamie leaving they're ancestral home, since he may have been unaware of the lack of gold in Casterly Rock.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 12:41
  • While reading your answer I understood that invasion seems not to be carefully planned. Dany used “just hit it” tactic whole time and it while it worked up for now it doesn’t work that good in Westeros. So it’s strange they didn’t bring a capable warlord with them or at least they could arrange some preparations & research. And it also counts as Tyrion fault because he must have knew it.
    – Runnick
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 17:24
  • 2
    "He has no spies in Westeros." Good point. If Tyrion could convince Bran Stark to come to Dragonstone, Bran would serve as the ultimate spy!
    – RobertF
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 17:47
  • 2
    Good answer. I'd also add that Tyrion is no general. In fact, none of Dany's core group of advisers - Tyrion, Varys, Grey Worm, Missandei, Ser Jorah - is a general. Nor is Dany herself. She's got the Dothraki, but she killed all their leaders. So she's got literally no-one with experience equipping and leading an army, and no-one with any knowledge of strategy or tactics.
    – Moriarty
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 22:08
  • @Moriarty Good point. Tyrion evaluated Casterly Rock to be important because of political reasons, not military ones. The people she lost so far have not been generals either: Olenna, Ellaria, Ser Barristan. Yara is actually close, but specialized in a totally different type of warfare than the one Dany needs. Daario might have been useful, but unfortunately he was left in Mereen.
    – Annatar
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 7:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.