Now that the final season of Game Of Thrones is only a few short months away there’s no better time to go into some of the biggest changes to, and omissions from, George R. R. Martin’s original works. So if you’ve watched the series without reading the books and you happen to find yourself wondering why everyone seems to be so afraid of Tywin and that Rains of Castamere song, or trying to figure out why everyone keeps talking about the valonqar, we’ll get into some of the best details the show forgets to tell you about the house that always pays its debts.
10. Brightroar & Tommen The Second
Valyrian steel seems to be all the rage in Westeros. Whether it’s Joffrey gloating over Widow’s Wail, the sword Tywin had melted down from Ned Stark’s own Valyrian steel sword, Ice, or Jon Snow’s blade, Longclaw, you can count on Valyrian steel playing a big part in the life of most of the major houses. Heck, even the Tullys have one. So you can imagine the dismay of the Lannister family when Tommen the second, years before the events of Game Of Thrones, takes the family sword, Brightroar, and runs off with a ship to witness the Doom of Valyria first-hand while hopefully picking up some valuable trinkets along the way. There’s a reason you hadn’t heard of Tommen the second or Brightroar before this moment, and it sure isn’t because that both came back to Casterly Rock in glory.
9. Tytos The Laughing Lion
While Tywin Lannister is a relatively big part of the first few seasons, Game Of Thrones doesn’t shed much light on Tywin’s youth or his father. Perhaps the showrunners, much like Tywin would have, just preferred to leave Tywin's inconsequential father in the past where he belongs. When Tywin’s father Tytos took off as Warden of the West, the people of his court partied for days and nights with the jovial king, the laughing lion as they called him. That was, however, before they realized what a weak-willed pushover the laughing lion was. Tytos nearly bankrupt Casterly Rock before Tywin stepped in and brought it back from the brink.
8. The Reynes Of Castamere
One of the reasons Tywin Lannister inspires so much fear in those around him throughout Game Of Thrones is because of the actions he took as a young man (the ones that inspired the song “The Rains Of Castamere”). While his bannermen had been laughing and borrowing great deals of money from his father, Tytos, Tywin was off fighting battles, battles that would prepare him for his return home. One of the houses that borrowed a great amount of gold from House Lannister, the Reynes, had no intention of paying the money back. This was enough for Tywin to lay siege to their home. And when they fled to the to caves beneath their castle, Tywin sealed off the entrances and drowned the 300 men, women, and children that had hidden within the depths of the caves. He let them scream all night until finally there was silence.
7. Kings Of The West
When Game Of Thrones kicks off, the Lannisters are one of the most powerful families in all of Westeros. Tywin, the former hand of the king, warden of the west, and richest man in Westeros. Cersei, Queen of the seven kingdoms, mother to the future king(s). It seems like the Lannisters couldn’t get much higher than they are when the series starts off. In the books, however, House Lannister’s past is shown in much greater detail. While the Lannisters of Game Of Thrones are simply wardens of the west, past generations of Lannisters were kings. That is, until Aegon Targaryen showed and brought the six kingdoms to their knees.
6. Gold & Silver Mines Of The West
It is said in the books that a man once tracked down a lion that had been terrorizing his village, all the way back to his cave. When the hunter entered the cave, he killed the lion along with its mate, but when the hunter noticed three small cubs he decided to let them live and turned to leave without harming them. When the old gods saw this act, they rejoiced and shone a light into the cave where the hunter stood, illuminating the golden walls. Above this cave is where Casterly Rock was eventually built. No one knows what happened to the three lion cubs, but with their cave in his possession, the hunter could buy any story he wished.
5. Lan The Clever
While the Lannisters of Game Of Thrones have enjoyed their home at Casterly Rock for a long time by the time the events of the show take place, that was not always the case. Long before the Casterly Rock belongs to House Lannister, it belonged House Casterly. It is said that Lan the Clever of House Lannister found a secret entrance into Casterly Rock and began pulling pranks and howling at night until the Casterlys fled the castle and their home, leaving it to Lan the Clever. Tyrion, however, believes Lan simply snuck in and impregnated the women of the house, forcing the family to let him in their home.
4. The Field Of Fire
In the books, it is said the Aegon the conqueror only used the combined power of all three of the dragons he and his sisters controlled one time. Aegon was forced to use the awesome power of his family’s three dragons in a fight against the united forces of House Lannister and House Mern, led by the kings of the rock and the reach, respectively. With a combined force of nearly 60,000 men, Aegon gathered his dragons and burned his enemies down, melting their armor, and delivering a decisive blow. Loren Lannister, the then king of the rock, used this defeat as an opportunity to bend the knee and retain all his lands while becoming warden of the west. This is the same battle that House Mern’s bannermen, House Tyrell, bent the knee and received Highgarden as a reward.
3. Useful Bannermen (House Clegane, Payne, & Lefford)
While many other houses (like the Starks or the Arryns) assemble bannermen based on things like friendship and goodwill, House Lannister prefers that their bannermen serve an actual purpose. Each house brought under the wardens of the west is brought in to serve that land in a way that is best suited to the Lannisters. House Clegane, for example, is needed because every master needs a beast to command. It’s all a matter of how you use the resources and the people around you, or at least that’s how the Lannisters choose to view the world around them and the people in it.
2. Cersei’s Full Prophecy/ The Valonqar
Game Of Thrones fans may already be familiar with the prophecy Cersei received in her youth from the witch Maggie the Frog. And while the series did show some of the prophecy that was relayed to Cersei in that shack in the woods, fans of the book may have a little advantage over fans who have only watched the series. In the books, when Cersei demands that Maggie the Frog tell her the future, Maggie informs Cersei that one day she will be slain by the “valonqar” (meaning little brother) when he wraps his hands around her throat and squeezes the life out of her. While the series may have intentionally left that section out, we’re betting it’ll come back to haunt Cersei.
1. Tywin & The Mad King
In the series, Game Of Thrones briefly alludes to the type of relationship that Tywin Lannister had with the Mad King Aerys Targaryen. However, George R.R. Martin had much more to say about their relationship in the books. For starters, Tywin and Aerys were actually best friends when they were younger - it was only after Tywin became the Hand of the King and began running the kingdom with an unceasing level of perfection that King Aerys began to grow mad with no real purpose to serve. Their relationship only went downhill from there, and with Aerys descending steadily into madness, there was no hope to return to the relationship they once had.