I was thinking after the most recent Game of Thrones episode - it was clear that Tyrion was going to be found guilty anyway according to Tywin's plan. He drove Jaime into making the deal he was planning to make all along, which in turn would make Tyrion plead for mercy (as it was Jaime who was asking Tyrion to do that).

In my opinion the single thing that drove Tyrion over the edge and ruined Tywin's plan (to send Tyrion to the Wall and make Jaime produce offspring to continue the family line) was Shae's testimony to the court. I can't possibly believe that Tywin was not aware of the list of witnesses and of the effect Shae's appearance and words might have on Tyrion.

So the question is - why did he allow her to testify? Just to humiliate Tyrion even more? Why did he not consider the possibility that her appearance might enrage Tyrion and drive him to demand the trial by combat thus ruining the initial plan?

5 Answers 5


I wouldn't necessarily go so far as to say his goal is simply to humiliate Tyrion. Whenever there are recollections of Tyrion's past and his father's treatment of him, they seem to be in response to Tyrion's behaviors that his father considers antithetical to "being a Lannister" and seem to be extreme lessons to toughen him up.

Tyrion lives his life in pursuit of base pleasures and takes very little seriously. His father lives a humorless life in pursuit of solidifying the family legacy. Though he blames Tyrion for his mother and despises his physical limitations, his treatment of Tyrion doesn't seem simply emotional and reactionary.

He's the same with Jaime and Cersei - his treatment of them is similarly to forge them into the Lannister image - it just isn't nearly as extreme. His lesson with Shae is "I told you not to fraternize with whores, you did, now I'll show you the consequences of your misplaced trust."

Cruel lessons, but lessons nonetheless.

Another thing I thought of

His betrothal to Sansa Stark - she's by all accounts one of the most desirable girls in Kings Landing. Pretty, a maiden, and most importantly, the perceived heir to Winterfell. If Tywin's goal was humiliation, he could've arranged a different marriage. But Tywin cares about Lannister appearances first and foremost, so like the arranged marriages for Cersei and attempted one for Jaime, he sought out a suitable match befitting a Lannister. No matter what he personally thinks of Tyrion, he wouldn't do anything just to humiliate Tyrion, and by extension the Lannister family. His actions seem to have a purpose.

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    This what makes Tywin an interesting character -- he's not motivated entirely by hatred, or entirely by a desire to preserve his family, but by a mixture of both. Tywin himself probably doesn't know where one ends and the other beigns. But in the case of calling Shae as a witness, I think his purpose is clearly to humiliate and punish Tyrion. He may well believe that a quick execution would be too merciful, and instead Tyrion deserves to live out his life on the Wall knowing just how little he meant to Shae. Commented May 13, 2014 at 19:44
  • It's certainly possible - especially if he thought Tyrion were truly guilty. If that's the case, he might have been so disappointed that he was just writing Tyrion off as a lost cause and unconcerned with trying to prove a point.
    – coburne
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 19:52
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    I think disappointed is putting it very mildly. Tywin knew as well as anyone how insane Joffrey was, but he was still the King and Tywin's grandson, so Tywin would have been absolutely furious. But unlike Cersei, he's also smart enough to realize there is no hard evidence connecting Tyrion to the murder. That might have factored into his decision to send Tyrion to the Wall. Tywin might also still be trying to teach Tyrion a lesson; Tyrion might do something to redeem himself in the Night's Watch, which wouldn't happen if he was simply executed. Commented May 13, 2014 at 21:17
  • I honestly think Shae was threatened. You could see that from her face. Commented May 14, 2014 at 9:17
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    Another (from Tywin's point of view) excellent reason for marrying Sansa to Tyrion: the people of Winterfell would never accept a dwarf as ruler. This eliminates Sansa's collateral threat to Lannister. Any more suitable husband might be tempted to rule Winterfell independently of Tywin's interests. Commented May 18, 2014 at 1:30

Throughout the books and series, it is made very clear that Tywin despises Tyrion. Bringing Shae in was not necessary to secure Tyrion's conviction, but it was an opportunity for Tywin to hurt Tyrion further.

Don't forget that, if all went according to Tywin's plan, Tyrion would go to the Wall and Tywin would never see him again, so this was Tywin's last chance to humiliate his son.

In addition, Tywin has a very low opinion of Tyrion's courage. Tywin would expect him to take the easy way out and go to the Wall.

None of this is necessarily objective or good strategy on Tywin's part, but that's the point. In spite of his cold and calculating demeanour, his hatred makes him far from rational where Tyrion is concerned.

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    I see, than it is ironic, that Tywin who says that he 'always puts the family name first' is being outdone by his own hatred to a member of his family.
    – Pavel
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 18:12
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    I think up to that point it was all circumstantial evidence. Shae testifying puts it being doubt in the minds of all the judges one of whom Prince Oberyn is dare I say it impartial???
    – Pompom78
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 17:18
  • @Pompom78: yup, I agree. “Bringing Shae in was not necessary to secure Tyrion's conviction” — she was the only witness to actually say he planned to do it, because she was the only witness Tywin could pay to lie in court. Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 14:43

I'm pretty sure Tywin had little to do with the preparation of the trial beyond acting as a Judge. All of the witnesses were under Cersei's employ, including Shae, be it forced or not. Why would Tywin deny Shae from being a witness if he didn't know she was a whore at the time? (which he didn't). Tywin had no "plan". He was always going to give Tyrion the option to join the Night's Watch even before Jaime argued with him. He just took advantage of the situation as the opportunity arose and made a deal with Jaime, offering conditions that he was intending on doing anyway.

Tywin may despise Tyrion, but he will still not let his own family blood spill if he can avoid it.

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    “ All of the witnesses were under Cersie's Employ, including Shae, be it forced or not. ” — source? Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 21:29
  • Well, T.V. wise, Jamie says, "Cersie has manipulated everything and you know it". Bookwise, its riddled with evidence during the whole trial. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 21:48
  • Ah yes, and in Season 4 Episode 1, a handmaid overhears a conversation between Shae and Tyrion and then reports back to Cersie in the same episode during the scene with her and Jamie. This is how Cersie knows of Shae's true identity and uses it as leverage. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 22:12
  • Gotcha. I don’t think the TV show made it entirely clear that Cersei was behind everything at the trial — from what we see on-screen, it could equally have been Tywin. (And it’s Tywin’s private chamber where Tyrion finds Shae after the trial.) Interesting info from the books though. Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 16:13

Tywin, in general, is a master of realpolitik, and consistently shows a complete disregard for other people's feelings. By disregard, I don't mean that he takes pleasure in making people miserable - he just considers feelings to be irrelevant to the maneuvering required to gain, exercise and hold political power. His disregard for the emotional, irrational aspect of people's behavior is shown clearly by his response to the Red Wedding. When Tyrion says "The North will never forget this," he responds that he hopes so. While Latin is not spoken in Westeros, "Oderint dum metuant" (Let them hate as long as they fear) is very much Tywin's style.

As such, Shae's appearance at Tyrion's trial is just another brick in the edifice of Tyrion's guilt. That it will hurt Tyrion is (largely) beside the point. Tywin's loathing for Tyrion consistently causes him to disregard Tyrion's feelings, and it never occurs to him that Tyrion would behave so irrationally as to turn down his chance at survival.

  • This question is largely a matter of opinion, isn't it?
    – Kaiser
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 21:22

Ever since Tyrion's first marriage, his father has been critical of him being with whores, and he even threatens him about it in the books:

Tywin warns him that he will hang the next whore Tyrion takes to bed.

Also, back in the first season (and first book), Tywin explicitly told Tyrion not to take his whore to court. Not only did Tyrion bring her to King's Landing anyway, he eventually made Shae his wife's handmaiden.

Now that Tywin knows the truth, he may have arranged to call Shae as a witness to teach his son a lesson as well as to punish him for disobeying a direct order.

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    And, of course, for those who haven't read the books - he's in for a surprise. Heh, heh. Commented May 18, 2014 at 4:06
  • Tywin is critical of Tyrion being seen in public with whores, because it tarnishes the family name. We know Tywin is not opposed to whores in private ;)
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 15:33

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