As the cheeky, cunning Tyrion Lannister once said to Jon Snow, "My brother has his sword, and I have my mind." Does he ever. During the eighth season of Game of Thrones, it is the smallest Lannister, Tyrion, who possessed the most smarts. Since his family received the accolades and held most of the political power, Tyrion used his charm, cunning, and wisdom to get by, and he succeeds in doing so many times.
Yet, there are still some questionable moves made by the little lion, and even some outright idiotic ones. This is particularly the case during the show's last two seasons, when blind loyalty seems to get in the way of critical thinking. Let's take a look back at the event-filled life of Tyrion Lannister and examine his 5 smartest, as well as his 5 dumbest moves.
10 Genius: Saving Sansa From Joffrey
In a move that proves both cunning and bold, Tyrion makes a point to step in as Sansa is about to be disrobed and lashed for her "crime" of being related to the "rebels" Ned and Rob Stark.
After Joffrey declares that "The king can do as he likes," Tyrion retorts with "The Mad King did what HE liked." Additionally, after being told not to threaten the king, he replies with "I'm not threatening the king, I'm educating my nephew." It's this witty bit of dialogue that gets Sansa out of trouble. While he manages to protect Sansa in a number of ways throughout the early seasons of Game of Thrones, this shines as a prime example.
9 Wasn't: Shipping Myrcella Off To Dorne
In Season Two, Tyrion sends Myrcella, the only daughter of Cersei, away to the southern lands of Dorne. The idea is to offer her as a wife to Trystane Martell, the son of the kingdom's current leader.
While this attempt at peace was admirable, Tyrion neglected to realize just how much resentment these two factions had for one another, and that having her sent away would lead to her demise. He had virtually no leverage or assurance this truce wouldn't be broken - with the leadership of Dorne only promising to send troops to the Lannister cause, which they didn't do. This was a rare head-scratching move made by Tyrion - at least until the show's later seasons.
8 Genius: Getting The Hill Tribes To Fight For Him
Let's face it: it probably doesn't take a ton of cunning to outsmart Shagga and his band of hill tribes. Still, Tyrion makes a great move that essentially kills two (or perhaps even three) birds with a single stone here.
He manages to avoid the danger of the tribe's threat to kill him, but moreover, he turns it around on them and promises them all the richest they could want if they'll fight in the War of the Five Kings for Him. With this simple yet smart move, he gains a battalion of fighters to aid him in his battle, and impresses his father Tywin in the process.
7 Wasn't: Keeping Shae At Kings Landing With Him
It's a bit of a headscratcher as to why Tyrion decides to risk his standing and reputation in King's Landing by harboring Shae, a prostitute from the Free Cities of northern Essos. Of course, we do know why on a certain level, of course. But given Tyrion's methodical, careful approach with just about everything else, it seems a bit reckless and out of character for him to keep her hidden there.
Not only does Cersei eventually catch wind of this secret relationship, but Shae herself eventually betrays him. The Lannister wasn't thinking with his brain on this occasion, and it ultimately got both he and Shae in deep trouble.
6 Genius: Attacking Stannis' Fleet At Blackwater
Tyrion's cunning and wit are exemplified by his moves as Joffrey's Hand, but his tactics and leadership during the Battle of Blackwater stands out. It's Tyrion's leadership, organization, and tactics in rallying the seemingly outmanned troops that brings about the unlikely victory against Stannis.
While quite a few attackers manage to make their way to the walls of the castle, the dwarf has the sense to exploit their ace in the hole: the devastating Wildfire, which is essentially the Westeros version of an atomic bomb. Striking right at the heart of Stannis's troops, he wipes out a large chunk of their forces by igniting the saturated waters of Blackwater as a number of his ships make their way to shore.
5 Wasn't: Informing Dany Of Varys' Betrayal
While it seems that both the spine and brain of the once sharp Lannister had dwindled in the series' final seasons, one of the most questionable moves has to be his informing Dany of Vary's plan to betray the queen. Obviously he knows Dany will show no mercy, so he's essentially condemning his longtime friend - a man who saved him from certain doom in King's Landing - to an ugly death. Besides, the Lannister surely knew what it was like to be betrayed, as Varys had done the same thing to him at King's Landing.
Tyrion could have simply kept the plot under wraps and stayed out of the ordeal, likely saving both himself and Varys. The plan to poison her would have first had to fail, and even if it did, it's highly unlikely that Daenerys would have caught onto the fact that Tyrion had knowledge of such a plot.
4 Genius: Maneuvering His Way Out Of Vale Captivity
The son of Tywin seems to be in dire straits when he's captured by Catelyn Stark and held in captivity by House Arryn. Considering he resides at a keep with a dangerous pit, and he's being held hostage by two houses which have recently been slighted by his family, death for the dwarf seems imminent.
But he begins to pull some strings; first by bribing the guard to receive an audience with Lady Arryn and negotiate his release. While he gets to speak with her, he fails to convince her of his innocence in the murder of Jon Arryn or Bran. He then demands a trial by combat, which he wisely chooses the practiced fighter Bronn to represent him.
3 Wasn't: Trying To Negotiate With Cersei
In a move that's both pointless and dangerous, Tyrion tries to convince Cersei to surrender by walking towards the gates of King's Landing. You can argue it was an equal or greater move of idiocy on Cersei's part to refuse this, and to kill Missandei, her only bargaining chip.
Still, given Tyrion's smarts, it's both moronic and out of character for him to walk directly into harm's way when a simple order by his scorned sister could have easily seen him killed. It's also apparent that this is a hopeless attempt in the first place, given his sister's lust for power and hatred of him.
2 Genius: His Moves As Hand Of The King To Joffrey
That ill-advised blunder of a "truce" with Dorne aside, Tyrion's brief time as Hand of the King was time well spent. Considering the financial crisis and the many factions standing against King's Landing and the Lannisters at the time, Tyrion did the best he could to keep the peace and maintain order in the city.
He kept the maniacal Joffrey at bay, exposed the corruption of Grand Maester Pycelle, and replaced the malignant Janos Slynt with Bronn as Commander of the City Watch. And while his alliance with Dorne failed, he successfully fended off Stannis at Blackwater and negotiated a treaty to return his brother Jaime from Stark captivity. Given these less-than-ideal circumstances, Tyrion certainly made lemonade out of lemons.
1 Wasn't: Allying With Dany
Sure, it may seem wise for Tyrion to ally with the "just" Mother of Dragons. Yet, fans who stuck around until the series finale know this was ultimately a devastating choice. While Dany's "Mad Queen" moment did somewhat come as a shock, there were some red flags.
For a man who prides himself on wisdom and strength in pursuit of "peace," these traits seemed mostly absent when backing Dany, even as she burned countless thousands of people alive in King's Landing.