I was reading racefortheironthrone's essay series on Hands of the King, and it’s still an excellent read, even though it’s from 2012; I recommend it!
(Not-so-secretly hoping that Steven Attewell will do a follow up to that piece incorporating the new information from TWOIAF.
Read: please talk to me about Tywin the politician.)
Some of my favorite parts:
Tywin took to the reins of power with alacrity, and followed the Machiavellian maxim of carrying out violent suppression in a swift and comprehensive fashion at the beginning of one’s reign by making Houses Tarbeck and Reyne examples to all other Westerland lords. The complete destruction of the two Houses would be considered a vile war crime in our time, but it had its intended effect […] That it was this act that brought Tywin to the attention of the prince and that it was perhaps his most defining act speaks volumes about the man himself and the early sadistic tendencies of his prince.
At the Tourney at Lannisport, surely orchestrated by Tywin as a celebration of his family’s glory with Cersei as the Queen of Love and Beauty, the Lord of Casterly Rock made a marriage offer to Aerys Targaryen for the hand of his son and heir Rhaegar. The King didn’t just refuse the offer, but he did so in a deliberately insulting manner, saying, “You are my most able servant, Tywin, but a man does not marry his heir to his servants’ daughter.” This not only created a personal conflict with the King, but also limited Tywin’s pursuit of power for the Lannister family; interestingly, we never heard of Tywin offering Cersei’s hands to any other after the Rhaegar match fell through. Tywin’s offer to marry Jaime to Lysa Tully seems to date to about this period, which might suggest that Tywin was responding to his political difficulties by reaching out to the lords of Southron Ambition as a possible hedge.
While Tywin’s skill with the finances of the state was legendary, King Aerys’ over-extension of Tywin Lannister’s uncompromising attitude towards rebel vassals turned a minor dispute over a town charter and customs duties into a tax rebellion against the monarchy in the Crownlands. When King Aerys attempted to end the so-far peaceful rebellion with military force, he ignored Tywin’s policy of overwhelming force in favor of attempting to arrest the Lord Denys Darklyn with just the Kingsguard and wound up captured by the man he arrested.
Read More →