With all of Tywin Lannister's talk of protecting the family legacy why did he never remarry after the death of his wife? He was still relatively young at the time and there are examples of older lords taking new brides.

It seems odd that he wouldn't try for more children seeing as he believes only Jaime is a suitable heir to Casterly Rock. It may be that he didn't want to create alternate claimants to the Rock but that seems like weak reasoning. Especially considering how he sought to wed Cersei to Loras intending, in part, for her to have more children.


2 Answers 2


George R.R. Martin answered this question in correspondence with a fan.

Q: And lastly, why didn't Lord Tywin ever remarry after his wife died? Surely he would have had ample opportunities to do so? Thanks.

GRRM: Maybe he didn't want to.

You have to know the background of Tywin's marital life to understand why he may not have wanted to remarry.

Tywin married his cousin Joanna Lannister even though such a marriage brought no political advantages to House Lannister. Why? Because he loved her. He never loved anything more than her. Given his childhood and formative years, Tywin had grown to despise laughter and viewed it with suspicion. Yet he laughed with Lady Joanna, her and her alone. It was often said at the court that Lord Tywin might rule the seven Kingdoms (As Aerys' Hand) but it was Lady Joanna who ruled him. The last joy went out of Tywin with Joanna's last breath and he never so much as smiled again.

Tywin already had three children so he didn't need to remarry to sire heirs. Even if he hadn't had children, House Lannister survived through his brothers. So getting more children was probably not a huge concern for him, especially since childbirth had cost him the love of his life. So in short, he never moved on from Joanna and he simply had no wish to remarry at all.

Of course he was no stranger to whores after Joanna's death (Shae's one example). There are theories among the fandom that the secret tunnel from Tower of the Hand to Chataya's brothel may have been dug on Tywin's orders, allowing him to visit whores in secrecy. Given how he despised whores and those who frequented them, publicly, he could hardly become a patron openly. But it seems all that was limited to physical base needs, not because he ever wanted to have a woman again in his life.

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    Tywin already had three children so he didn't need to remarry to sire heirs. While that is correct, do keep in mind that Tywin despises the idea that Tyrion is his heir due to Jaime joining the Kingsguard. Might not be enough incentive in and of itself but it is relevant to not that Tywin did not have three children who he'd be happy to have as his heir; he only had two of those, one of which couldn't be his heir and the other wasn't first in line either.
    – Flater
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 8:33
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    @Flater In his mind, Tywin never gave up on Jaime. Whitecloak or no, he was still his heir as far as he was concerned. Not to mention, even if Tywin had sired other sons, Tyrion still would be his legal heir like Samwell Tarly was Lord Randyll's heir. Just siring other children wouldn't have disinherited Tyrion, he would need to either murder him (Something he never did despite all his hatred even in the years when Jaime was not KG), or send him to the wall (Something he tried to do after Joff's death).
    – Aegon
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 9:08
  • So Ramsay (already having been legitimized) murdering his little brother was not inheritance related?
    – Flater
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 9:20
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    As for the question of Jaime being capable of inheriting Casterly Rock, I suspect it was no accident that one of the first acts of Joffrey was to retire Barristan, thereby creating a precedent of Kingsguard being able to be peacefully retired. I would guess Tywin had a hand in that and that he always had the same fate in mind for Jaime eventually (it just became easier to establish the precedent once Robert was out of the picture). Certainly he never seems to consider Tyrion or Cersei serious contenders for heir, so he must have had a plan for Jaime.
    – delinear
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 16:15
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    @delinear It is possible, from the canon, we know that Tywin was furious about Selmy's retirement. Now was he sincere? Or was he just putting up an act in front of Tyrion? My money's on sincerity since Tywin didn't have any reason to lie to Tyrion about that. But then again, Tywin doesn't always confide all his plans in Tyrion, just what he needs to know. And then yet again we see him pestering Jaime to become his heir because "The door was open". TLDR possible but not really confirmed or heavily implied.
    – Aegon
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 16:20

George R. R. Martin has been asked this before and this was his response:

And lastly, why didn't Lord Tywin ever remarry after his wife died? Surely he would have had ample opportunities to do so? Thanks.

Maybe he didn't want to.

Westeros, So Spake Martin, POVs and the Red Viper

As for what we can garner from the text to back this up see below.

There are a few reasons here but I believe it comes down to mainly that his love for his wife was so deep he didn’t want to remarry. He then of course already had heirs who at that point weren’t going anywhere and would be inheriting the Rock. Lastly, he might not have wanted to create two “rival factions” in his children as he believes a strong family is the best type of family.

His love for Joanna

He had an extremely close love for Joanna and so probably didn’t want to remarry. This is mentioned multiple times in the text but to pick a particularly telling example:

In 263 AC, after a year as the King's Hand, Ser Tywin married his beautiful young cousin Joanna Lannister, who had come to King's Landing in 259 AC for the coronation of King Jaehaerys II and remained thereafter as a ladyin-waiting to Princess (later Queen) Rhaella. The bride and groom had known each other since they were children together at Casterly Rock. Though Tywin Lannister was not a man given to public display, it is said that his love for his lady wife was deep and long-abiding. "Only Lady Joanna truly knows the man beneath the armor," Grand Maester Pycelle wrote the Citadel, "and all his smiles belong to her and her alone. I do avow that I have even observed her make him laugh, not once, but upon three separate occasions!"

The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II

In fact it would not be amiss to say that a part of him died that day and he was probably in deep mourning for some time and so probably did not want to.

A queer time to come visiting. His mother had died giving him birth, so the Martells would have found the Rock deep in mourning. His father especially. Lord Tywin seldom spoke of his wife, but Tyrion had heard his uncles talk of the love between them. In those days, his father had been Aerys's Hand, and many people said that Lord Tywin Lannister ruled the Seven Kingdoms, but Lady Joanna ruled Lord Tywin. "He was not the same man after she died, Imp," his Uncle Gery told him once. "The best part of him died with her." Gerion had been the youngest of Lord Tytos Lannister's four sons, and the uncle Tyrion liked best.

A Storm of Swords, Tyrion V

There was a worm inside the apple, though, for the growing madness of King Aerys II Targaryen soon imperiled all that Tywin Lannister sought to build. His lordship suffered great personal loss as well, for his beloved wife, Lady Joanna, died in 273 AC whilst giving birth to a hideously deformed child. With her death, Grand Maester Pycelle observes, the joy went out of Tywin Lannister, yet still he persisted in his duty.

The World of Ice and Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons

His heirs

He already had heirs at this point and Jaime at 8 was already showing signs of becoming a strong warrior. As such he wasn’t going anywhere at that point in time so in Tywin’s mind he probably had no worries about Jaime inheriting the Rock. Of course it was only when Aerys slighted him that any worry would have shown.

Day by day and year by year, Aerys II turned ever more against his own Hand, the friend of his childhood, subjecting him to a succession of reproofs, reverses, and humiliations. All this Lord Tywin endured, but when the king made his son and heir, Ser Jaime, a knight of the Kingsguard, he could abide it no longer. Lord Tywin at last resigned the Handship in 281 AC.

The World of Ice and Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons

At this point Jaime and Cersei were 17ish, if I’ve worked that out correctly, and so perhaps Tywin didn’t want to create two rival factions in his children as he believes in making the Lannister’s the most powerful and strongest House.

It’s also worth noting that at this point if he did remarry there would be a strong possibility that any new heir inheriting the Rock could have been a young Lord and it seems highly likely that Tywin would share Roose’s view on young Lords. He almost certainly wouldn’t have wanted it despite being quite a young Lord and the youngest Hand himself.

"And won't my bastard love that? Lady Walda is a Frey, and she has a fertile feel to her. I have become oddly fond of my fat little wife. The two before her never made a sound in bed, but this one squeals and shudders. I find that quite endearing. If she pops out sons the way she pops in tarts, the Dreadfort will soon be overrun with Boltons. Ramsay will kill them all, of course. That's for the best. I will not live long enough to see new sons to manhood, and boy lords are the bane of any House. Walda will grieve to see them die, though."

A Dance with Dragons, Reek III


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