I remember once hearing a fan-theory about Tyrion Lannister, guessing that he may not be Tywin’s son at all but, rather, the son of Mad King Aerys Targaryen. I dismissed that one immediately, didn’t think it was remotely credible. But, as I’ve read the books that Game of Thrones is based on, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin, I’ve begun to think that it might actually strike very close to the mark, just slightly askew of it.
I theorize that there is a Lannister, or, rather, two Lannisters, who have Targaryen blood. They were raised as Lannisters, and so that is what they are, but they are also Targaryens. They are “Targaryen Lannisters,” if you will. But not Tyrion. No, I believe it’s actually his siblings, Jaime and Cersei.
That might seem as far-fetched to you as Tyrion’s supposed descent from Aerys seemed to me, but if you’ll follow me, it may seem quite obvious by the time I’m done. 😉
To be clear, I don’t believe this is true for the TV series. I believe it is strictly limited to the books. Martin himself has commented that the differences between the two are cumulative, growing on top of each other from the start until there are wide distinctions. So, perhaps it’s not really a “Game of Thrones” theory so much as it is a “Song of Ice and Fire” theory. Point being, I will be referring only to the books, rather than the show, to support this.
On the show, Jaime and Cersei are Lannisters, plain and simple.
In the books, Jaime and Cersei are Targaryen Lannisters, I believe.
As for proof, the first thing to remember is that when George R.R. Martin is writing it, there are no accidents.
Ok, that might be oversimplifying things a bit. I rephrase:
When a multitude of “coincidences” align, it’s probably not coincidence, especially when Martin is behind them.
To start with, a scene between Dany and Barristan quite clearly spells out that Mad King Aerys absolutely wanted – not loved, wanted – Tywin’s wife, the Lady Joanna. But, as I understand it, Tywin soon took her out of Aerys’ reach at Casterly Rock. That happened fairly early on, which is another point against the notion of Tyrion being the king’s son, but if Aerys simply managed to get to her soon enough, then it is possible that Tyrion’s elder twin siblings could have been the result.
Alone, that’s just speculation, but there is a surprising body of potential evidence in Martin’s work.
My suspicions first became aroused when my chaotic mind took note of two small details in two important scenes, both of them told from Jaime’s perspective.
The first is when his “father,” Tywin, wants to relieve Jaime of his post in the Kingsguard and send him back to inherit Casterly Rock. Jaime refuses, so firmly that Tywin renounces their relationship. “You are no son of mine!” he says.
The second is when Jaime is speaking with his aunt, and she mentions Tywin’s true heir. Her words were to the effect of, “You are such-and-such and Cersei is such-and-such, but it’s Tyrion who is truly Tywin’s son.” She said something similar to Tywin a number of years prior, and he refused to speak to her for half a year over it. She was referring to their similarities: growing up mocked, in the shadows of their fathers, becoming cutthroat and ruthless, so cunning and forceful that other men would do well to fear them.
Now, both cases are meant figuratively, to some extent, but I couldn’t help but notice the coincidence of their joint meaning. If Jaime were not truly Tywin’s son, then neither would Cersei be his daughter, and so Tyrion, the one who Tywin dismissed and treated horribly, would be Tywin’s only true son. How poetic would that be?
It wasn’t much, at the time, but it still stuck in my head.
It was Cersei who actually got me thinking about this as a real possibility, though.
Again from Jaime’s perspective, we see Cersei reacting in a strange, aroused way to a great fire. She commanded, as Queen-Regent, that the Tower of the Hand be burned, all of it. All the assembled nobles were, of course, duly impressed, but Cersei? Cersei’s reaction reminded Jaime directly of Mad King Aerys. When he set a great, consuming fire, like the one that consumed a certain Lord Stark, he, too, was aroused, much to the discomfort of his wife, who was on the receiving end of his brutal, savage lust.
Elsewhere, in Dorne, the Martells are happy to receive, from Cersei, the gift of a skull, supposedly having belonged to a gigantic man who raped and murdered their kin. There is some suspicion, but, as one of them says, Cersei would be mad to give them a different skull and try to pass her humongous minion of as someone else, which is exactly what Cersei did.
Cersei demonstrates, countless times, a combination of madness, especially in fear of her brother and a prophecy, and idiocy. The list of examples is so long that I’m not even going to try to include it here.
So, Cersei is basically mad and going madder, quickly, in startling similarity to the Mad King. Considering the tendency towards madness among Targaryens and the lack of it among Lannisters… well, that’s another coincidence.
In fact, the Targaryens went mad so often that it became said that when one of them was born, the gods flipped a coin and the world held its breath. How significant is that?
Cersei claims so many times that she and Jaime are one soul in two bodies, in essence, having two heads for one soul, like two sides of a coin. Jaime’s unfolding story makes it clear that most of his sins were done in following Cersei, and as he departs from her, he becomes a better man. They are still very similar, but differences emerge, with Jaime becoming more stable as Cersei goes insane.
So, with fifty-fifty odds, Cersei is obviously mad, while Jaime is not.
Of their children, one is also mad, one does not seem to be, and the third is undecided as of yet but seems fairly simple-minded for his age.
Aerys was mad. His son Rhaegar was not. His son Viserys was. His daughter Danaerys is not. Fifty-fifty results, again.
While there are other Targaryens, such as Aegon and Jon Snow, who also break this trend, both young men are said to be Rhaegar’s sons, and thus immediately descended from a more sane branch of the family. Also, considering the things each of them get up to, their sanity is somewhat debatable. 😉
Heck, even the Baratheon descendents of a purported Targaryen bastard display some madness. Robert Baratheon had a mad hatred of House Targaryen, while Stannis… oh boy, where to begin with him. Renly might have been the most sane of the three, but we didn’t get to see much of him. They certainly would balance the overall scales of mad vs not mad, even if both of Rhaegar’s sons are sane.
And then there’s what Jaime and Cersei may be most famous for: incest.
This is another hallmark of the Targaryen dynasty. If I depart from the books for a moment and look at the show, Jon Snow and Dany are revealed to be relatives in the same scene they couple up, having fallen for each other pretty quickly. Perhaps there’s something in Targaryen blood that calls to itself within the family?
Then, not only are Jaime and Cersei guilty of incest, but the books also reveal that there was one person, and only one, which Cersei was more attracted to than Jaime: Rhaegar Targaryen. He is, after all, a full-blooded “dragon,” not a half-bred one like Jaime may be.
I’m even reminded that the theory about Tyrion pointed to Aerys’ ugliness as a possible source for Tyrion’s dwarfism, but that makes little sense, given that he sired the handsome Rhaegar and the beautiful Dany, not to mention how Jon and Aegon are said to be very easy on the eyes as well. Why not two beautiful Lannister twins as well? Meanwhile, Tyrion’s ugliness would be no one’s fault but Tywin’s, whose soul was so rotten that his corpse filled the Sept of Baelor with its stench.
That’s not remotely the end of it. Especially with a little imagination.
Imagine being Robert Baratheon, destroying Targaryens and supposedly having children with Cersei, but having more Targaryen children pop up under his nose. Certainly the truth of who produced these three golden-haired children managed to evade him, so why not this?
Imagine being Tywin Lannister, and as he destroys other people’s entire houses to further his own legacy, he’s unaware that his legacy is already ashes at his feet. Imagine his outrage when Aerys knighted his son to the Kingsguard, only for Jaime to not truly be his son at all.
Heh, imagine the Martells, so outraged at what was done to their family, such that they reach out to join with the last visible remnant of House Targaryen, a maneuver which proves most costly… and here Myrcella is actually a Targaryen right under their noses.
Imagine the entire plot, furthered by Varys and Illyrio and all the rest, to restore a Targaryen to the Iron Throne… and, in fact, there already was one!
Imagine the third dragon’s head of prophecy being a Lannister. Hopefully Jaime, but how messed up would it be for it to be Cersei?
Not as if Martin has ever messed with his fans and turned all sorts of expectations upside-down and inside-out before… right? 😉
So, to wrap this up with a summary:
- Aerys did want Lady Joanna. Was he successful?
- Tywin and his sister separately discredit the strength of the blood-ties between Tywin and Jaime.
- Cersei is mad, while Jaime is not. Which is in accordance with…
- Half the known Targaryens have been mad and half haven’t been.
- Jaime and Cersei are as incestuous as the Targaryens, and the only one Cersei found more handsome than Jaime was also a Targaryen.
- Even the beauty of the Lannister twins is in line with that of the Mad King’s other children.
- Finally… just imagine what it would mean. 😉
Is it at all definite? No, I think not. But there’s a remarkable amount of coincidence, possibility, and potential in all these hanging threads which would simply be tied off in a neat knot of intrigue if it turns out that Jaime and Cersei were the Mad King’s children.
What do you think? Have I gone loony, or am I on to something here?
Are Jaime and Cersei Lannister, in fact, bastard Targaryens?
Wow, I must say that I’m kind of convinced. I did only skim through your theory because I haven’t read the books and am only 2/3 through the TV series, but it was an interesting read!
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Thank you! 🙂
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