One of the biggest questions on my mind with Game of Thrones this season is Tyrion’s ultimate purpose to the plot. Many have criticized his character as being an after effect due to Dave and Dan no longer having the books as source material for Tyrion’s better quotes. Barring banal dialogue, the real thing to figure out is his driving motivation: why is he still around?
At the end of Season 7, we started to see a more doubtful Tyrion where he spots Jon Snow and Daenerys having, erm….#boatsex. He gives a very dubious, perhaps even jealous glance at the door. Peter Dinklage himself in the aftermath video talked about how he loves Jon Snow and Daenerys but sees the dangers that this relationship can bring. More than that he points out that he has been smitten by Daenerys, which can turn out tragic as his past relationships have turned out.
Those doubts have yet to manifest in the current season, although we do see more doubts from Daenerys in placating Tyrion for his various mistakes as her Hand. Mostly, it’s been about Cersei’s deception, especially in not sending her army to aid the North. Both Sansa and Daenerys doubt Tyrion’s intelligence in his underestimation.
But the real question is whether or not Tyrion really has been deceived in all of this. While we cannot directly view what goes on inside of his head, we can see dubious shots of him such as him looking at Bran (and vice versa) or the way he presented the Lannister army joining the North. Tyrion, himself, does not seem all that confident in his presentation, which has led me to doubt his character even further.
Also, there’s a part where Tyrion questions Jamie in episode 2 about Cersei’s pregnancy. I feel as though there’s an unsaid pact between Cersei and Tyrion, which is why Cersei allowed Tyrion to leave unscathed during their confrontation in season 7 episode 7. But what is that pact?
On the one hand, Tyrion seems to earnestly wish to preserve his house. Naturally, he wishes his brother good fortune. But why Cersei? After all that she has tried to do against him, it’s hard to imagine why he can imagine any possibility of forgiveness for him in all of this.
But perhaps, that is his hidden agenda. Perhaps, like Ser Jorah with regards to Robert Baratheon, Tyrion wants a royal pardon if he can gain favor with Cersei. After all, the real contention Cersei had with Tyrion was how she believed that he assassinated Joffrey. Now, that Jamie has provided evidence from Ollena Tyrell that it wasn’t Tyrion, part of Cersei’s hatred might abate.
One could argue that she still finds hatred towards him as a result of what happened from how he murdered their father, Tywin. Yet you have to admit (just like Cersei) that Tyrion’s actions have allowed Cersei to gain her ultimate prize (which was the Iron Throne).
How might he pull things off? If rumors are correct, Tyrion will be tried for treason in the last episode by the rulers of the realm. But what is that treason? How does he betray everyone?
One possibility that I believe is that he knows Cersei will still send the Golden Company. But unlike Tywin Lannister, who in the Battle of Blackwater, saved King’s Landing at the last second, Cersei intends to backstab everyone. To do this, she must gain the North’s confidence.
There is a scene in episode 2 where Tyrion mentions he would stand near Ser Davos to give a signal by fire. Daenerys quickly shoots the idea down and requests that he stay in the crypts with the others. While Ser Jorah does council Daenerys to keep Tyrion as her hand, I feel Daenerys still does not fully trust Tyrion and she detects that he might pull something off, anticipating Cersei’s assault and Tyrion being the one to give off the signal.
However, considering that the dead number in the 100s of thousands, why should Tyrion believe that his sister’s plan would succeed? How would he plan to escape in all of this? He witnessed the dead himself and seeing the army of the dead with their numbers means that he should completely ally himself with the North.
My only conclusion in all of this is to examine his character and figure out his core values. A while back, he talked about liking power when he was the Hand in King’s Landing. More than anything he admits that he feels he was born to handle power. So playing the game is what he enjoys best. Taking chances and seeing how high he can rise.
Perhaps, he anticipates the carnage from everything and hopes that all the forces defeat each other in a zero sum game where he manages to come out on top. I figure he might attempt to lead the North to King’s Landing eventually to have both forces whittle each other down. I imagine that there’s still a great deal of Wildfire remaining. So if the dead arrive along with the North, he can exact revenge against the people of King’s Landing for his trial as well as wipe out any possible rivals to allow him to become the ruler. Maybe in his mind, if he can eliminate the dragons, he might be able to convince Daenerys towards a different path.
Most of this is simply speculation on my part. I’ve read some varying rumors and have been trying to put together the end game. Tyrion’s fate seems to impinge upon what he hopes to achieve. I feel that he keeps his cards very close to his chest and that he has a few more tricks up his sleeve to use when the time is right.