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

I doubt very much that Tywin meant anything by naming his child Tyrion. It is hinted that Mad Aerys might have fathered Tyrion, and it is common knowledge that Tywin despised Tyrion, but I have a hard time seeing his name being relevant for any of these things. – TLP

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

  • 4
    Here is a good answer: westeros.org/Citadel/FAQ/Entry/Who_is_Tyrions_father
    – TLP
    Feb 27, 2013 at 14:45
  • @TLP a summary of that link would be a great answer.
    – Beofett
    Feb 27, 2013 at 15:00
  • 9
    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, 2013 at 15:53
  • 3
    "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, 2013 at 15:55
  • 5
    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, 2013 at 15:59

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 1
    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, 2013 at 21:33

In the World of Ice and Fire (the Untold History of Westeros) more detail is provided, suggesting that Joanna mostly stayed at Casterly Rock after the bedding, but showed up to present Cersei and Jaime to Aerys when they turned six, and the king made some lewd comments that compelled Tywin to attempt to return his chain of office. No more is made of it, but soon thereafter Joanna is pregnant and gives birth to Tyrion.

More to the point, a great deal of detail is provided about how Aerys children tended to be stillborn monsters (more so as his madness worsened) and his jealousy over how perfect Jaime and Cersei were when they were born . . . and Aerys make's non-too-subtle comments about how he'd like Tywin to bring Joanna back to court.

There's a lot in that narrative to suggest Tyrion is Aerys's son, though how he could have raped her without Tywin knowing, or how he compelled her to sleep with him, is unclear. Perhaps he just threatened to have Tywin's head off if she did not? That is not alluded to, though, as far as I know.

Also, several of Aerys' stillborn children had tails, and it is rumored that Tyrion had a tail, but was lopped off at Lord Tywin's command. Martin is pointing very heavily at Tyrion being a bastard Targaryen.


I would love for this to be true, but one thing that says otherwise is the eye colour: one green, one black. If the theory is true, then he wouldn't have the Lannister colour eye, as there be no Lannister genes in him - unless Joanna was a Lannister too, but that would bring up a load of other questions.

  • 5
    I don't believe in the theory, but Joanna was actually a Lannister.
    – Jaciq
    Apr 16, 2015 at 16:28
  • 1
    This feels more like a comment than a real answer. Apr 16, 2015 at 23:48

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