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Is Tyrion a Targaryen? These clues in early ‘Game of Thrones’ seasons may prove it

I know, this is an old theory and debate, but I can’t help but continue to theorize as the premiere of Game of Thrones season 7 inches closer. Like many of you, I’m re-watching Game of Thrones in anticipation for the new season, and my husband and I recently made it to season 3 this past weekend. Every time we re-watch the show (yes, that’s me admitting this isn’t the first time I’ve re-watched the series), there’s another nugget, clue, Easter-egg that we discover. Half or all of these have probably already been uncovered in a slew of Reddit feeds, but indulge my seven-months pregnant-self and take a look at the clues we found in seasons 2 and 3 that further feed the theory that answers the question: Is Tyrion a Targaryen?

This post was updated on June 19, 2017.

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Quick Background: Where did this theory begin?

Before diving into clues of Tyrion’s true heritage displayed in the show, let’s quickly review where this theory began. Other than the fact that Tyrion is a complete badass and everyone wants him to ride a dragon just for that sake alone, there is some solid history around Tyrion possibly being a Targaryen.

Here are the cliffnotes:

  1. According to George R. R. Martin’s World of Ice and Fire (which I would highly recommend picking up) when Tywin was Hand to King Aerys II Targaryen, they started off on OK-terms, then as Aerys become more of “The Mad King”, their friendship fell apart.
  2. The Mad King took, “certain liberties” of his Hand, and many think that one of those liberties was his wife, Joanna.
  3. World of Ice and Fire hints that while Joanna visited from Casterly Rock to King’s Landing, she got busy with Aerys (whether on her own will or not), and this was when Tyrion was conceived.
  4. This would explain why Tywin hates him, but is too proud to tarnish the Lannister name and reveal his true heritage. The fact that Joanna died during childbirth is the icing on the cake to Tyrion being doomed to his father hating him forever.

Let’s get to the clues in seasons 2-4 that may show Tyrion is a Targaryen.


Clue #1: Season 2, Episode 10, “Valar Morghulis”

In the season 2 finale, “Valar Morghulis”, Tyrion wakes up from his injuries from the Battle of the Blackwater and starts to remember the traumas from battle. The directing here cuts to Tyrion’s eye, which shows flames and screams from the battle. The flames can also be taken as a little Easter-egg of the fire living within Tryion as a true Targaryen. See the clip below.

One could also argue that Tyrion’s bravery in leading the battle (while Joffrey was off cowering, I might add), proves the metaphorical fire that lives within him through his Targayen blood. Now, the next clue provides more literal interpretation that Tyrion isn’t full-Lannister.

Clue #2: Season 3, Episode 1, “Valar Dohaeris”

In season 3’s premiere, Tyrion visits Tywin (who has recently been named Hand of the King, again), looking for some sort of validation of his bravery at the Battle of the Blackwater. If Tyrion was ever going to impress his father, this would be the perfect situation to draw his gratitude. Of course, Tywin claims that a real hero doesn’t go looking for thank-yous, and when Tyrion follows up saying that he deserves to be named heir to Casterly Rock now that Jaime is full-blown King’s Guard, Tywin loses it. It’s what Tywin says about why Tyrion will never be Casterly Rock’s heir that hints Tyrion is not his son. See the clip below, and note specifically the following dialogue:

Why? You ask that? You, who killed your mother to come into the world? You are an ill-made, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust, and low cunning. Men’s laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors since I cannot prove that you are not mine. And to teach me humility, the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion that was my father’s sigil and his father’s before him. But neither gods nor men will ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse. Go, now. Speak no more of your rights to Casterly Rock. Go. [Tyrion walks away] Oh, one more thing. The next whore I catch in your bed, I’ll hang.

Tywin is too proud to let the Lannister name be tarnished by a bastard Targaryen son bore by his wife, so he keeps the secret. It probably also drove Tywin insane that aside of Tyrion’s physical appearance, he embodies the intelligence and wit he would dream for in a son.

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Clue #3: Season 3, Episode 10, “Mhysa”

This clue comes from another scene with Tywin and Tyrion in the Hand’s office, where Tywin once again tells Tyrion how he puts the Lannister name above his undying hatred for him. Tywin lectures Tyrion about how a “man does everything in his power to better his family’s position, regardless of his own selfish desires”. He proceeds to say that calling Tyrion his son was one of the sacrifices he made to keep the Lannister name strong.

“I wanted to carry you into the sea and let the waves wash you away. Instead I let you live, and I brought you up as my son.”

Yikes. If the theories are true, how would it look if it go out that Aerys bedded Tywin’s wife and had a bastard son with her? See the scene below (start at 1:37):

Clue #4: Season 4, Episode 10 , “The Children”

In the season 4 finale, we are brought yet another tense scene between Tyrion and Twyin. Tyrion’s champion, Prince Oberyn/The Red Viper, lost his fight with The Mountain, which sentenced Tyrion to die. Jaime smuggles Tyrion out, because he loves his baby brother and it’s adorable, but before Tyrion leaves he has to go see his father.

As we all know, Tyrion painfully finds Shae in his dad’s bed, who says, “Tywin … my lion …”, and as all of us screamed at our TV screens, Tyrion surprised us by choking her with what is presumed to be Lannister-gold around her neck. Then, Tyrion goes to see his dad on the shitter, and Tywin tries to use his savvy-ness to talk Tyrion out of using his own crossbow on him. When Tyrion shoots him and it starts to settle in to Tywin that he’s dying, he says, “you’re no son of mine,” before Tyrion shoots another arrow in him. Who could blame Tywin for (almost) revealing to Tyrion that he’s a Targaryen bastard before he takes his last breath? Relive the scene here.

OK, so how would Tyrion’s true heritage be revealed in the show?

There are a number of ways Tyrion’s true heritage as a half Lannister/half Targaryen could be revealed:

The obvious one: Tyrion hops on a dragon, and Dany confirms that only a Targaryen could do that (maybe a Red Priestess also confirms it?)

The easy way: Bran has a vision that confirms it.

The long shot: Aerys had some sort of birth certificate that proves Tyrion is his bastard son.

What other clues throughout the early—and current seasons—did you pick up on that feed the Tyrion Targaryen-theory? Tell me in the comments, or tweet the team @Pure_Fandom!

Want more Game of Thrones?

Check out our Talking TV With Liz and Lindi Podcast, where my Pure Fandom co-founder Lindi and I break down the latest Game of Thrones theories and recapping the new season:

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5 mind-blowing ‘Game of Thrones’ theories that could happen in the final seasons

Featured image: HBO

Written by Liz Prugh


Liz Prugh

Liz is the co-founder of She loves geeking out over any and all sci-fi/fantasy and always thinks vampires are cool. You can currently find her co-hosting the Pure Fandom Podcast and writing about pop culture. Nerd out with her on Twitter @lizprugh.

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