Of all the Lannisters who got their audience to grab their chairs and beanbags, Tyrion was the one who took them all by surprise by his timely dark wit and narcissist delivery of obvious truths.
If there was one GOT character everyone admired for his brave use of words over his swordsmanship, it was the Lannister Imp, or so he was called. The Internet quotes Tyrion’s lines, not just for the hidden wisdom, but also for its attempts to understand the human psyche and behaviour.
Let us look at 10 of the most famous quotes of Tyrion Lannister, and the lessons contained in them, that hold true even today.
1. “Let me give you an advice bastard. Never forget who you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like an armour, and it can never be used to hurt you.”
The scenario: These are undoubtedly the most famous words uttered by the most complicatedly loved character of the series, and it stands for a good reason. Not only because it was an advice wrapped in snide remark, delivered by a dwarf to a ridiculed bastard. These lines also introduced to the audience the intellect that was Tyrion Lannister.
The lesson: To all the men out there who lurk in the shadows of their biggest flaws, Tyrion explains how the best thing one could do to escape from taunts and judgements from haters, was to accept the weak spot and wear it like a badge of honour.
2. “It’s hard to put a leash on a dog once you’ve put a crown on its head.”
The scenario: Telling your sister, who also happens to be the Queen mother, that her son is the worst that the Kingdom has seen might be a tricky subject. Not for Tyrion of course.
The lesson: When the incompetent find themselves in positions of responsibilities, they struggle to make the right choices. Yet, once they have tasted power, it is almost impossible to make them understand that they don’t deserve it.
3. “I believe that the only difference between us and the Wildlings is that, when that Wall went up, our ancestors happened to live on the right side of it.”
The scenario: For a kingdom that is struggling to maintain peace and order, it is not easy to accept and understand the views of the enemies or the rebels.
The lesson: The difference in opinions between two worlds could be resolved simply by putting humanity and history of civilization before human ego and racial supremacy.
4. “Well, my brother has his sword, and I have my mind. And a mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone”
The scenario: During the time of approaching winter and war, men of the middle ages found it difficult to tolerate, much less understand, why one should carry books instead of swords and knives. Tyrion attempts to explain in layman’s terms.
The lesson: Let’s just call this Tyrion’s version of ‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’ And a writer’s words need to be sharpened and polished, much like the arms and ammunitions of the age.
5. “When you tear out a man’s tongue you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”
The scenario: Tyrion, trying to be a rebel again, questioning the ways of the old kings and the mindless use of violence?
The lesson: Silencing the voices of truth does not always ensure victory to the liars. It only paves a breadcrumb trail to their biggest downfall, the shrine of their secrets.
6. “Just because I pay for your services doesn’t diminish our friendship.”
The scenario: Paying warriors to fight for you was not unusual for the Princes of the middle ages, especially for the physically challenged ones. But what was unusual, however, was a bond between them that transcended the monetary agreement.
The lesson: Today, men at large like to believe or are taught to believe, that any relationship outside blood or romance, comes with a price tag. And yet, once a while comes along a bond, born out of an obligation or servitude, but grows to hold more value than gold.
7. “A very small man cast a very large shadow”
The scenario: It took vast amount of knowledge and intellect during the dark ages to convince men that size did not matter.
The lesson: Size does not always matter. But where it does, and you are left feeling smaller, remember to manipulate your opponent’s perception.
8. “Daenerys: My enemies are in the Red Keep! What kind of a Queen am I if I am not willing to risk my life to fight them? Tyrion: A smart one.”
The scenario: Being the King’s Hand (or the Queen’s) was a position of great responsibility that needed more wisdom than information or skill.
The lesson: Even the bravest of hearts need the council of experience to achieve greatness.
9. “I try to know as many people as I can. You never know which one you’ll need.”
The scenario: So yeah, maybe Tyrion was referring to lovers and whores, washed up on the shores of his memories, but he certainly knew whom to remember and whom to forget.
The lesson: Never underestimate the power of an unassuming ally, no matter how insignificant they might seem. The size of the armies always mattered when winning or losing the war.
10. “You love your children. It’s your one redeeming quality, that and your cheekbones.”
The scenario: When trying to get into the good books of your enemies in an attempt to bank a favour, Tyrion chose to be kind and honest.
The lesson: Respect the virtues of your enemies and be brave enough to accept them. That way you will always know, when they actually mean compromise and when they don’t.