Game Of Thrones: House Lannister

In the second part of our focus on the key players in the fourth season of Game Of Thrones line up we take a look at how the Lannisters are faring.

After the woe of the House Stark, we find the Lannisters in a seemingly better position but still with demons of their own to fight. The biggest demon of the lot is patriarch Tywin Lannister, a wonderfully sinister Charles Dance. Ruling his family with an iron fist, he is also the driving force behind the Iron Throne itself as the Kings Hand. The only one with the power and sense of his own magnificence to stand up to the unruly urchin that is his grandson, King Joffrey, Tywin has no equals in the game of thrones.
And speaking of Joffrey, is there a less likeable character on television? If you can think of one let us know. He not only treats his family with content, including his mother, he made his fiancé fear for her life and has threatened to rape her now she’s been forced to marry his uncle. He’s murdered prostitutes, beheaded the noble Ned Stark after promising to spare him. The list goes on. Sadly, in the world of Westeros this behaviour means he’s likely to live for a while yet. Despite being a coward at heart, see his limp ‘performance’ in the battle of Blackwater, he rules through fear.

Luckily for Sansa Stark, Joffrey’s former fiancé, the uncle in question is one of the few characters in the show you might actually want to root for, “the Imp”, snarky Tyrion Lannister. Along with his brother Jaime Lannister, Tyrion has had the most satisfying character arc of the three seasons so far. The standout turn of the show from Peter Dinklage has seen the previously womanising alcoholic that loved nothing more than lying in one of Littlefinger’s brothels drinking and shagging, turn into a hero of the battlefield – that battle of Blackwater again – fall properly in love (with Shae), become a caring, if reluctant, husband (to Sansa), and be one of the few with some sort of morals. And the interplay between Tyrion and Bronn, the sell-sword who’s paid to keep him alive, is funny and brings some much needed lightness to the show.
Then there’s Jaime Lannister, the golden boy, “the Kingslayer”, who could do no wrong, except sleep with his twin sister, father her three children, push a small boy (Bran) out of a window, kill the king he should have been defending, capture Ned Stark, again the list is pretty long. But that was Season One, in Season Two he was captured and spent almost the whole year sitting in a prison in a field. It felt like a huge waste of one of the most interesting characters in the show, but it was all setting up to focus on Jamie for Season Three. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau must have been delighted when he saw the script and how central hi portrayal of a man seeking redemption was to the show. The defining moment, and one of the most shocking, was the loss of his right hand, his sword hand no less, early in the season. As a man he was defined by his prowess in battle, everything he was and everything he strived to be was tied up in being the ultimate soldier, to have that taken away was to strip him of his very identity. From that moment we saw a different Jaime Lannister, the layers were continually stripped away until he was barely a man, before his relationship with Brienne of Tarth rebuilds him as the man he could always have been. Possibly the most interesting aspect of Season Four will be seeing how this new Jaime Lannister fits into the Kings Landing he left behind in Season One.
We can’t really talk about House Lannister without discussed Cersei, the widow of the late King Robert Baratheon, mother of King Joffrey, daughter of the Kings Hand Tywin Lannister, lover of her brother Jaime Lannister, enemy of the Stark family. Put like that there’s not much to redeem her but as we discussed in our Hero or Villain article it’s less clear cut than that.

Game of Thrones

Based on the bestselling novel series A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin, HBO's Game of Thrones has revolutionised the fantasy genre for mainstream television. With new prequel series in the pipeline, the show bows out in 2019 with a spectacular six-part finale. Check out our extensive coverage of the show with our Game of Thrones Revisited, covering every episode from seasons one to seven.

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