Tywin Lannister seems like a smart guy who wouldn't miss something as apparent as Joffrey not being Robert's son. At the same time, he has shown he cares about his family's honor and reputation (for example, by his hostile attitude towards Tyrion's hookers).

At the point of the story where Clash of Kings ends, is he aware of Joffrey's true parentage? If so, has he shown any concern about this?

You're welcome to include references to the later books if those make it clearer what Tywin knew at this stage, but please enclose substantial events in spoiler markup.

  • 16
    I'd suggest you keep reading, and ask the question again if you still need the answer after reading A Dance With Dragons. You ask for no spoilers, but if your question is answered in a later book, then the answer is itself a spoiler.
    – Mike Scott
    Nov 27, 2011 at 9:06
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    I agree with Mike. Any discussion about this issue is probably going to be laced with spoilerrific material. I'd rather you finish the published material before entering any kind of discussion. Nov 28, 2011 at 17:00
  • @SystemDown I upped your comment, simply for the use of the word Spoilerrific :)
    – johnc
    Nov 28, 2011 at 21:05
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    Why do people come here and ask for information when they don't want information?
    – TLP
    Dec 9, 2011 at 1:04
  • @TLP: I guess I was looking for speculation from people who are around the same point in the series as I am. Dec 11, 2011 at 22:32

3 Answers 3


As of the start of Clash of Kings, we have no proof that Jaime and Cersei's relationship and its results are known to any but a handful of people. The only living ones being Jaime, Cersei, Tyrion, and (IIRC) Catelyn. (I believe Jaime admitted the truth to Cat at some point during his captivity but I could be misremembering that.) Its likely that Cersei's other lovers strongly suspect the truth -- Lancel is scared witless at what Jaime will do to him -- but I doubt Cersei has actually confirmed those suspicions for any of them.

However, I would speculate that it's very likely that Tywin Lannister knows the truth by that point, for several reasons:

  • Stannis told everyone. Stannis's entire motivation for revolt in Clash of Kings is his sincere belief that Joffrey is not Robert's son, and he made sure everyone important knows it. Of course, even people who oppose the Lannisters have written this off as a political tactic, and Tywin certainly rejected Stannis's claim outright, but that doesn't mean he doesn't believe it.
  • Tywin is at least as intelligent as Ned Stark and Jon Arryn. If Ned could figure out the truth in a few months at Kings Landing, it seems likely that someone like Tywin would have been able to do so after almost a decade.
  • They had been caught before. When they were younger, a servant caught the two of them having sex, causing their mother to separate them. Its not known if she told Tywin about their actions (he would have been away acting as Hand at the time) or not, but its likely he would have suspected something was up in any case.
  • Tywin has seen her sometimes-irrational fixation on Jaime in action. Remember, she is the reason Jaime was brought to King's Landing and invested into the Kingsguard, which she orchestrated so she could be closer to him. In response, Tywin quit his post and took her with him back to Casterly Rock, since Cersei just robbed him of his heir.

However, even if Tywin does know Joffrey's true parentage at the point he arrives in Kings Landing, there is no way he would ever speak about it openly, and I find it unlikely that we'll get a POV from him any time soon. So the best we can do is speculate, and my conclusion is basically:

As intelligent and practical as Tywin is, I find it hard to accept that, when confronted directly with the truth (via Stannis), he was unable to come to the correct conclusion.

  • Mostly I agree, but IIRC Jaime joining the Kingsguard had nothing much to do with Cersei. He joined in the time of Mad King Aerys, years before Cersei was married off to Robert and sent to King's Landing. (Tywin wanted to marry Cersei to Prince Rhaegar, but he was refused.) Jun 3, 2014 at 19:47
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    At the time Jaime joined the King's Guard, Tywin was Aerys' Hand and Cersei was in King's Landing with him. She's the one who convinced Jaime to come to King's Landing and join the Kingsguard to "be close to her"; except her plan backfired and pissed off Tywin, who quit his position and took Cersei back home with him. Jaime "remembers" all of this at some point on his way back to King's Landing with Brienne.
    – KutuluMike
    Jun 3, 2014 at 19:54
  • Fair enough, I'd forgotten that. Jun 3, 2014 at 21:33
  • @Michael, are you up to date on the TV series? Do you think the scene with Cersei and Tywin from the end of season 4 matches up with what we know about Cersei and Tywin from the books? I thought that the characterisation of Tywin in the series, as being so focused on House Lannister that he was blind to what his own children were doing, seemed pretty accurate. Do you think that a similar scene could have happened in the books?
    – Lou
    Aug 3, 2014 at 18:26
  • Personally, I don't like that scene, for two reasons. One, I think it's out of character for Cersei to stand up to her father and risk him doing something stupid that would cost her power. And two, I think it makes Tywin look a bit less savvy. However, there's more backstory to Cersei/Jaime's relationship in the novels, including the fact that they were caught having sex at least once, which is missing from the TV show, so I think in the novels that scene would definitely have been out of place.
    – KutuluMike
    Aug 3, 2014 at 21:51

I believe that Tywin Lannister knew because Kevan Lannister, his right-hand man knew. In A Feast of Crows, Cersei's POV pg. 163, "Tommen has his mother." Ser Kevan's green eyes met her own, unblinking. A last drop of wine trembled wet and red beneath his chin and finally fell. "Aye", he added softly, after a pause, "and his father too, I think." They had just discussed Jaime being appointed the King's hand, which had he refused. Cersei was claiming Kevan needed to stay in King's Landing to protect the King.

  • What edition of the book do you have? This quote is on page 115 of my US trade paperback.
    – Niall C.
    Sep 18, 2012 at 0:01

In Clash of Kings, he maybe didn't have any proof of the relationship, but I really think he always knew it, for several reasons:

  1. Jaime spoke with Cersei about once, years ago, when a Lannister's maid caught them "playing", and their mother had to separate them. I really think that Tywin was aware of that.

  2. Tywin isn't a fool, and its pretty obvious that Jaime stayed in Kings Landing because of her. From a point, a lot of people seem to know that Joff wasn't Robert's son, so its hard to believe that Tywin didn't notice that.

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